Ever since the launch of Google’s Blogger in 2003, people have been tantalized by the prospect of making a living at blogging. It is possible, but only a tiny percentage of bloggers go on to have a self-sustaining blogger lifestyle. For the aspiring blogger, it is important to be realistic. Profitable blogging is better turned towards some other end, such as marketing a product, landing a book deal, or promoting one’s own career.
But blogging is an activity with zero barriers to entry and usually just about zero overhead cost. Any amount of money earned from the blog itself is a bonus. This is the optimistic phrase bandied about eCommerce sites: “passive income.” Which is actually not so passive when you count the hours put into it, but still almost feels like something from nothing.
Join an Affiliate Network
This is an online marketplace where businesses connect with affiliates to market their products and services. Some affiliate networks, like Amazon Associates, ClickBank, ShareASale, or E-Junkie, are common choices. Networks are only a starting point, though, because these programs pay 1% per sale on their best day.
After getting established, you can seek out new opportunities by hosting affiliate links from marketers directly. A higher-profile blogger can attract direct bids from vendors reaching out to them. With the right strategy, you can help this process along.
Blogging Strategy 101
Good blogging is an art form, and it’s beyond the scope of this article to teach good writing skills here. We will have to assume that you can already churn out 500 words that hold a reader’s interest and sound professional.
We’ll assume you have picked out a niche like Blogger, Tumblr, Wix, Medium, or another free platform. Or perhaps from your own domain with a WordPress install with rock-bottom budget shared hosting.
Here’s your path to blog fame:
• Write a ton!
• Be the expert in your field.
• Add personality, sparkling wit, savvy insider knowledge, or whatever helps you stand out from the crowd.
• Keep to a regular schedule.
• Build an email list of subscribers.
• Build readership through social media. Every post you blog should be blasted through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, whatever’s relevant.
• Gain more traffic through guest blogging. Find other blogs in your niche and offer a post. Most bloggers will be more than welcoming of the extra content.
At around, ballpark figure estimate, you want to have a pull of at least 1000 subscribers before you can count on affiliate marketing being worth your while. That’s not too hard to do in six months, or faster if you can make this a full-time project.
A Lot Depends On Your Market
You should pick a topic you want to write about already or at least something you’ll invest some passion in. However, the money you can expect to make leans heavily on your subject space, for two reasons. First, some topics have infinite competition. Second, some topics naturally pay better in affiliate ads than others.
Some quick examples:
• Legal blogs – Not too saturated, links pay decently.
• Movie review – Over-saturated to the point of silly, links pay barely anything.
• Death and funeral industry – Nobody blogs this, links pay very well.
• Travel – Heavily saturated, but pays great.
• Coin collecting – Minuscule coverage, links pay fair.
• Cannabis industry – Pioneer days with no coverage, links paying more every week.
So your links may be anything from pennies to dimes to higher profits if you command a small niche with a high turnover.
Protip: Count it as a labor of love first and a hobby second, with an income source as a distant third. The best blogs are written out of love, and they pull the most traffic.