With many Indians still practicing social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), life isn’t what it was a few short months ago. Cut off from face-to-face interactions with friends and coworkers, some have turned to blogging as a way to keep in touch. In this post, I’ll first describe the steps to starting a blog then explain how you can eventually earn money blogging.
However, turning blogging into a credible source of income takes time. You need to have patience and a lot of dedication to churning out quality content month after month before the cash register starts rolling.
The good thing is that the overheads to the activity are very low. You can start a blog from the comfort of your home and pursue the activity as per your convenience.
Start a money-making blog in 4 steps
If you have basic writing skills, a topic you love and the ability to work for a time without seeing any reward, blogging might be a good way to make money.
- What to blog about?
- Which blog tool is best?
- How often to publish articles?
- Making money from your blog.
Let’s explore how to start a blog and make money in detail.
1. What to blog about?
The first order of business is to choose a topic for your blog.
It is imperative that your blog is focussed towards something you enjoy and are passionate about.
Remember, this is something you will have to be committed to for the foreseeable future.
You also need to have a decent grasp on the subject you intend to talk about. It is absolutely okay if you do not have a mastery over the topic, as long as you are willing to learn and grow.
Pick an overarching theme for your blog that gives you enough room to talk about different things.
Your blog could be about dealing with misfortune. You could post daily or weekly accounts of your life during COVID-19, sharing tips on how to stay healthy and positive. Such a blog could also share resources you find online.
Or you could decide to blog about something you love — say, gadgets. Keep in mind that you want your topic to be big enough that it will be of interest to many people.
So blogging exclusively about the iPhone will appeal to a certain segment of Apple loyalists, but will not allow you to reach a bigger audience and generate many posts due to the limited scope of the topic.
However, if you choose to blog about smartphones in general, you will have more than enough information to engage with a larger group of people and never run out of things to write about. Then if you see a great response on say, blog posts related to Apple or Samsung products, you can do more posts on these topics to cater to your patrons.
Fact: Statistics suggest the average length of a typical blog post is 1,151 words.
2. Which blog tool is best?
Picking a blog tool to build your blog is the next important step. WordPress and Blogger are two popular options in India.
As a beginner, you would want to pick a platform that is easy to set up and manage. Something that:
- Does not require any technical skills
- Offers a variety of templates and widgets to add your personal touch
- Has enough flexibility to grow in the future
Make an informed choice when selecting your blogging tool, as switching platforms later can be really difficult and can have an impact on your monetisation.
For step-by-step instructions on how to set up your new blog you can read this post.
Fact: Roughly 76.5 million bloggers use WordPress.
3. How often to publish articles?
Nothing kills a blog faster than on-again-off-again sharing. If you want a loyal group of followers, create a calendar to plan your content so that your posts go out at regular intervals.
Just as you anticipate your favourite television show on specific days of the week at a specified time slot, your blog posts need to maintain a schedule that is sacrosanct. If you decide to publish one post every Tuesday, make sure you do it without fail.
Broadcast your schedule out to your readers on social media so that they know when to expect your next post. Spend the time between posting to interact with the readers and plan and write your next posts.
Fact: Blogs that share 11+ posts in a month demonstrate a noticeable uptick in traffic.
4. Making money from your blog
If you start with the objective of making quick money, then you’ve begun on the wrong foot.
Expecting your blog to make a full-time income within a few months is unrealistic.
Even with regular content, it takes an average of about six months to see some loose change, 12 months for it to become a legit side gig and maybe 24 months before it can be considered as a serious full-time option. Your income stream will vary vastly, just like any other venture.
Here are some methods that can help you earn money blogging:
The simplest way to start making money from your blog is through pay-per-click ads, also known as Cost Per Click or CPC. Every time a visitor clicks on one of your ad links, you receive a small income from the advertiser.
CPC works both in the form of text links in written content or display ads that can be placed on various parts of the blog such as the header, footer or sidebar.
Google AdSense is one of the easier ones to start with. Once you gather enough readers, you could also consider Media.net, AdThrive, Infolinks and Mediavine.
One of the best ways to earn money blogging is through sponsored content or advertorials. These can be:
- Subtle brand or product mentions within a post
- Dedicated product reviews and giveaways
- Push newsletter/social media alerts sent to your followers
If you have a strong social media presence, you could even charge the sponsor per medium/ per post. Many a times, businesses may even offer you a free product in addition to the monetary compensation.
Fact: Studies show that about 74% of customers prefer to learn about a brand from articles rather than advertisements.
You can earn a commission by recommending products or services to your readers using a custom link or a special code. You earn credits every time someone purchases through your referral. This credit can be in the form of:
- Cash incentives
- Discounts for you when making a purchase with the seller
Brands such as Amazon, Flipkart, GoDaddy Affiliates, MakeMyTrip, SportsKeeda, etc. have a large repository of products you can promote, and strong affiliate programmes in India.
Product sales and merchandising
This works for bloggers who have a sizeable and active reading audience. If your blog is a promotional tool for your business, you can look to make direct sales from your blog. On the other hand, you could brand your blog/expertise through:
This is a profitable venture, but comes with the hassle of producing physical products, managing inventory and shipping in addition to other resource costs.
Related: How to sell online
There is only one key ingredient to how to start a blog and make money — excellent content! Focus on building a strong repository of blog posts that are meaty and helpful to the audience. Diversify your income opportunities across the blog and through other social media outlets.
The money will find a way to you.
That’s how to earn money blogging
Blogging is a great way to connect with the outside world, sharing your experiences, thoughts and feelings. You can even add a steady stream of income, but it takes hard work, perseverance and time to show results.
- If you decide to take up blogging, the first thing you need to do is decide what you want to blog about. Ensure it is something you are passionate about and gives you enough breadth of topics.
- Next step would be picking a blog platform that will give you maximum exposure, along with being easy to use and customise. WordPress is the medium of choice for many bloggers.
- Once you have things set up, you will need to create a content calendar. This will help build a strong reader base and keep your audience engaged.
After you have substantial content on your blog, it is time to start earning money blogging.