Lesson 7 – Blogging for a Living

Not every self-employed person has a product or service to sell. Many hopeful entrepreneurs do not even want to consider sales as part of their business model. The reality is that with the internet there are so many online business models that you can avoid the sales game entirely.

bloggerOne of the popular routes is becoming a full time blogger. Like any career there are some who have become dollar millionaires and others who earn a decent living or side income from blogging. Of course there are the hundreds of thousands if not millions of faceless bloggers who have never been able to make even a cent out from their blog.

Here’s a fact – you can make a living out of blogging without selling anything but success is not guaranteed. As scary as it may seems to some of us who believe that a well paying job with a large corporate or an established traditional business model is the only way to earn a constant incomes, blogging is one of the frequently tread routes of ontrepreneurs.

You may want to search on Google and read up on bloggers across many different niches, from stay-at-home Mom blogger Heather Armstrong (www.dooce.com) to online entrepreneur guru Pat Flynn (www.smartpassiveincome.com). There are many many more successful bloggers and it is worth doing some research on them and how they did it.

What is blogging?

The term ‘blog’ was derived from the words ‘web’ and ‘log’. There are quite a few different interpretations of what blogging means but it is basically a website that is regularly updated with casually-written and usually informative content which appeals to a specific readership.

The key to establishing a successful blog is to write about things that interest you as the blogger and will also appeal to others. If you find something interesting then undoubtedly there are others out there who feel the same. Your readers are people just like you and can relate to similar interests.

Some bloggers write about their daily life with their family and pets. Others focus on specific industries or interests (known as niches) like cars or gardening. And there are those bloggers who just write about their online successes through blogging. It is a highly varied model.

Not all of these bloggers started a blog as a means of earning a living. Some just stumbled upon blogging success by accident, gave up their day jobs and made blogging into a full time career. But there are those bloggers who did start up with the intention of establishing a profitable online business.

The whole idea is that these blogs will appeal to a certain market segment and eventually the blogger can build up a readership of thousands if not millions of fans and followers. This fan or follower traffic is what can be converted into money as we explain later.

How to create a blog?

There are many free blogging platforms. Google’s Blogger.com is probably one of the more popular ones along with WordPress.com. However, if you are serious about trying your hand at blogging then you’d want to have your own domain (www. website address). The problem is that free blogs limit your branding.

For example if you have a blog named Mzansi Flow, you could buy the domain mzansiflow.co.za or mzansiflow.com and run your blog from it. If you opt for a free blog through WordPress.com or Blogger.com then you’d have to settle for the long domain such as mzansiflow.wordpress.com or mzansiflow.blogger.com.

It’s obvious which is better. Rather fork out a small amount of money and get your own domain and hosting. Apart from branding your own domain, your own blog allows you to use all the extras that are necessary in developing, monitoring and enhancing your blog. You cannot usually do this with free blogs.

How to start blogging?

The best part about a blog is that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the core of the blog – the content (blog posts). You can write in any language, any style and on anything you want.

Of course, if you want global appeal then you should stick to English and write in a casual manner about topics that are interesting to people across the globe.

So what do you write about? That really is up to you. Most successful bloggers will advise that you write about what interests you. The more passionate you are about the subject matter, the more likely you are to create quality blog posts on a frequent basis that are enticing to certain people.

You will want to adopt the same channels for acquiring visitors like any other website. Social media is usually the preferred channel but a well structured blog can also attract a lot of traffic from search engines like Google and even referrals from other blogs or websites.

The key is to continue churning out content to attract new fans and followers as well to keep your existing readers coming back over and over. Only when you have sufficient traffic in terms of monthly visits can you convert your blog into an income generating entity.

Take some time to read up more on how to launch and maintain a successful blog. There is no shortage of such articles on the internet. Here’s an article on strategies for a successful blog from the Entrepeneur.com website.

How to earn money through a blog?

There are many possible revenue streams to generate an income through a blog. The term ‘monetizaion’ is commonly used by bloggers to describe these strategies. A popular route to monetize your blog is to use affiliate marketing. We previously published a basic guide to affiliate marketing which you should read.

Basically affiliate marketing is where you sell another company’s products or services and receive a small commission. You can also sell your own products or service through your blog. Many bloggers like the ebook route.They write a short book on a topic of interest, usually with tips and solutions to a problem, and then sell these ebooks on their blogs.

If you build a popular blog and attract a loyal readership who is within the target market of your product, you will need to make very little effort to get them buying. This is the key of an internet business – targeted traffic.

A shop normally locates itself in the busiest place possible, like a mall, to get foot traffic. People of all ages, genders and socioeconomic levels may walk in. Some will buy but most are just browsers. With an internet business you can reduce the amount of customer who just browse and attract your target market quite easily.

So if you are serious about making a living from a blog, be sure to pick a niche that interests you but also has the potential to earn you an income from the type of readership that you are most likely to attract.

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