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Technology / Small business blogs

How to make money from blogs

We all know blogging can be good for business, but how do you make money from blogs? I have worked strategically on a variety of blogs and other web 2.0 strategies and have some sage advice and revenue models for would-be bloggers to consider.

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Of course for every ‘blog-star’ who successfully turns a humble little blog into a money-making machine, there are hundreds who don’t. Most underestimate the time involved to ensure the blog is continually updated and refreshed with relevant content.

Here are some tried and tested methods for how to make money from your blog or site.

1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Advertisers ‘pay per click’ received and these clicks are priced according to supply and demand of various key phrases and keywords determined by the advertiser. These can be embedded within links in the blog content or as standalone ads in designated ad space.

2. Affiliate Marketing

This is where you implement tracked outward links on your site and get paid for each ‘referral’ (sale, lead or valued user behaviour to the advertiser), as confirmed by an external affiliate network tracking system. You’ll need to join an affiliate network to obtain these links (usually free) such as ClixGalore, or alternatively the merchant may also run an internal program.

If your blog includes any recommended products such as books and software, consider including an affiliate link and taking a cut of product sales.

Want more articles like this? Check out the small business blogs section.

3. Subscriber Marketing

Consider the value of your subscriber database, and if you have the ability in your blog to collect subscriber details. You can monetise this by selling space within any subscriber e-communications to merchants who want to target your customers. This can be a great value-add for your clients, as rather than offer the space to a competitor, think complementary services to your brand or business, which would have real value to your subscribers.

Before focusing on how to make money from blogs, you’re best to concentrate your efforts on creating a business blog that will attract the kind of traffic capable of impressing advertisers. Here are some tips for creating a ‘sticky’ blog:

  • Find your unique voice and stick to it – readers are typically attracted to bloggers that talk in a straight-forward, no-nonsense style. Make it look good – even the most appealing blogs can be devalued by poor design – consider engaging a professional to create a blog design that is attractive, functional and consistent with your brand.
  • Find a unique subject matter and narrow your focus, for example rather than blogging on the broad realm of PR, consider PR for not-for-profits.
  • Keep it brief – make sure you edit the content (or have someone else do it) and be sure to delete any superfluous words.
  • Include links to other relevant blogs/websites.
  • Aggregate content – this will enhance your SEO and attract more visitors because you can become a single reference point or qualifying gateway to further resources.

And the drawbacks…

  • Creating a great blog is time intensive, be realistic about the time required to make it a success.
  • Technical knowledge – you may need to call in the experts for initial (or ongoing) support and to explain the different monetising options available.
  • Blog readers are notoriously fickle – you will need to keep the content fresh and engaging if you hope to keep them for the long-term.

Do you have any tips on how to make money from blogs? As a reader, what keeps you going back to certain blogs?

Zoe Warne

is co-founder of August and focused on all things digital - from social media to developing online strategies with business savvy.

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