A decade or so ago, blogging was an afterthought that some entrepreneurs undertook after establishing successful websites. Fast-forward to 2015, blogging has revolutionized content publication, thanks to blogs such as The Huffington Post and TechCrunch. Due to the growing popularity of blogs, coupled with their potential to generate huge revenues, more and more bloggers are turning their passion for blogging into a full time job. Here are some tips on how to start a blog that makes money.
Infographic courtesy of: Jeffbullas.
Offer Free and Paid ServiceBloggers have now adopted the freemium business model popularized by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. This model revolves around offering basic services free of charge and more advanced services/features for a fee. For instance, if you are an expert in a certain field you can publish content that is freely available to everyone who visits your blog and then charge a consultation fee to anyone who requires additional information from you in your area of expertise. This strategy can work very well for IT experts because there is a shortage of job seekers with STEM skills in many parts of the world.
CrowdfundingTraditionally, businesses or aspiring entrepreneurs could only raise funds from mainstream financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. Thanks to the Internet, today entrepreneurs can seek funds to grow their businesses from a large pool of potential financiers online, and this has created a revenue generating opportunity for bloggers.
The industry as a whole has seen massive growth, increasing from a $530 million market in 2009 to $10 billion in 2014. This increase is expected to continue, capping at $300 billion by 2025.
Paid PostsYou can easily monetize your blog by adopting the paid posts strategy. This means paying excellent writers to create and submit quality posts to your blog. In most cases, paid posts are usually industry or market-niche specific. At this point, it is worth noting that there is a huge difference between paid posts and paid advertisements. Paid posts usually focus on providing unique, informative, and consumer-friendly content. Moreover, paid posts do not necessarily focus on a specific product/service. On the other hand, paid advertisements tend to focus on promoting a particular product, service, organization or an individual.
Write an eBookAlthough the Internet is a content-rich resource, there is a dearth of consumer-friendly content. A good example is the trading industry. Many novice investors cannot make sense of the financial jargon typically used in balance sheets, profit-and-loss statements and investor term sheets. Furthermore, they tend to have minimal knowledge of basics such as market volatility, Fed monetary policies, risk management, asset diversification, and asset classes. If you have a background in investing, trading or finance/banking, you could start a blog and target this demographic with eBooks that talk about investing in layman's terms. You can even turn eBook publishing into a revenue generating activity if your blog attracts a lot of traffic and has a loyal fan base. In this case, the sky is the limit because there are numerous ways you can spin eBooks into revenue streams.
Staying FlexibleIt is important to keep in mind the innovative payment methods that are entering the market. Whether it is Venmo or Apple Pay, there are a variety of electronic payment methods that are being used, particularly by millennials. These methods could have a huge impact on how bloggers send and receive money, so it would be wise to explore future payment methods.
In 2011, AOL acquired Arianna Huffington's The Huffington Post for $315 million. This shows blogging can be an extremely lucrative activity if you are willing to work hard and promote your blog to as many web users as possible. Good ways of monetizing your blog include adopting the freemium business model, writing and selling eBooks, focusing on paid posts and offering crowdfunding solutions. Also, don’t forget to stay innovative and flexible with your payment style.
When you are going to start your blog, remember, done is better than perfect.
This is a guest contribution from Ryan Ayers.