Blogging to pay the bills
It seems like an enviable life, sitting at your desk at home and blogging for a living. What can beat working to your own schedule with no bosses breathing down your neck, no more office politics to deal with and no arguments over who has or hasn’t contributed to the tea fund?
But is it realistic to think that a career can be earned as a blogger, perhaps even to the extent that you can pack in the day job altogether?
The answer to this is, in truth, both yes and no. For, though the largest part of the blogosphere are amateur hobbyists, happy spending their evening and weekends sharing their personal thoughts with the world, there are some who make a perfectly respectable living through blogging – and a very select few who have used it as a platform to earn genuine riches.
However, it’s not a simple process and certainly not a case of handing in your notice today, starting a blog tomorrow and watching the cash roll into your account. Bloggers can either earn money through advertising revenue – be it banner ads, affiliate income or pay per click links – or charging for premium content, but either avenue requires a sizeable and loyal readership to be built up before a living can be made. If you’re determined to take a stab at becoming a professional blogger, then, to begin with at least, it will have to be a side project alongside your regular job while you build up something which can be turned into cold, hard cash.
But even if you can make some money, how realistic is it that blogging can become your primary or even only source of income? Information is difficult to come by, but figures put together by ignitespot.com in 2013 suggested that 14% of bloggers earn some form of salary through their writing, with average earnings of just under £17,000.
Likewise, a study from 2012 by Blogging.com, which surveyed a thousand bloggers, found that 17% of them earned enough to support a family or supplement their lifestyles through blogging, while 81% have made little to nothing from their endeavors. Of course, those figures are skewed by the likes of Perez Hilton, one of the highest-earning blogs on the web, which brings in its owner, Mario Lavandeira, a whopping £300,000 per month. Like most, Lavandeira began his site as little more than a hobby, but his mix of sensationalist and often controversial celebrity stories and engaging style quickly saw things take off. However, for every success story like Hilton’s there are thousands more who earn just a mere fraction of that as a supplement to their wages.
The key, it seems, to building a readership that can then be monetised is writing good content. Not only quality content – which one would expect goes without saying – but also regular content. Whether money is made by ads, affiliates or subscriptions, generating traffic is the crucial aspect and to that end, readers must be given a reason to come back to your site day after day after day. One post per day might not sound like much, but the time taken in researching, writing and editing that one post to ensure it is of a quality to stand out from the crowd can stretch into hours. If it becomes your job then that’s great, but in the process of building up your blog’s following it can be an arduous task.
Another important aspect of building that audience is interaction and promotion. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become important tools through which to promote your blog, giving writers a greater reach than they had before. Taking the time to plug your new articles on those sites, as well as interacting with those who read and comment on your work is a great way of building a rapport with the people whose views will generate your income.
In summary, while there is definitely a way to make a living through blogging, there is a long and hard road to be travelled before you can get there. But it can be done and has been done. Perhaps it’s more realistic to think of it as a way to add to a part time income, but if you’ve got the talent for writing and the work ethic required to put in the hours, there’s every chance you could be successful.
Things to consider when trying to monetise your Blog:
- How do you want to make money from your blog?
- PPC Advertising – Pay-per-click means that you will be paid every time one of your visitors clicks on an ad on your site. This includes both the traditional banner-style ads as well as the native advertising widgets which sit at the bottom of your content providing the reader with more content from across the web. For more information on PPC advertising check out this beginners guide.
- Affiliate Advertising – For a full understanding of exactly what Affiliate advertising entails and how you can get involved here is an insightful guide from a successful blogger.
- Sponsored Posts – Being paid to write content for or about specific brands and topics is a great way to develop your blog and start earning money quickly. However, it is essential that you remain well within Google’s strict quality guidelines.
- Have you set up your business correctly?
- Is your blog self-hosted? Do you have your own domain name (i.e. not a .WordPress or .BlogSpot domain)
- Have you registered yourself as self-employed?
- Have you set up your bookkeeping correctly?
- Are you monitoring your incomings and outgoings for tax purposes?
- Have you registered for VAT
- Have you registered for self-assessment tax returns
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