People have been asking about my blog. Friends, fellow bloggers, and even many of my awesome readers (those groups overlap!) have often asked me how I started my blog. The most frequent question I get asked about my blog is how I make money, and how I manage to increase my blog income. My blog started years after I had the idea. Every once in a while, I still kick myself for that. So, if you are thinking about starting one, don’t wait until everything is perfect, ducks are in rows, the kids are in college, or you become Twitter famous. It’s okay to start now. It’s okay to learn as you go. I started my own site on Valentine’s Day, 2013. It was a symbolic act of self-confidence and love with a story behind it. The look is a magazine style, which I got from a responsive WordPress template via a third-party vendor. From there, I fumbled and eventually learned enough about WordPress and the template I use, to manage this site. There is still a lot more I could learn. There is always more to learn. Many people begin making income on their blogs by joining Blogger Networks, then applying and being selected to do sponsored posts (campaigns), and that’s how I started. (paid content is typically written in my own words, based on my own opinions, about a product, service, and/or brand, often requiring specific links, features/quality highlights, and other minimal required mentions. However, some paid content might be a verbatim post, such as a coupon post. Usually, not.)
Once you get over the initial excitement of getting an awesome product or maybe even REAL MONEY: cash – moolah – dinero – bank – paper, in exchange for writing about something you already love on your blog, you get excited about making more money. It’s easy to get to a certain stagnant revenue. Then what? Well, like most things in life, in order to get more, you have to do more. In order to increase your blog income, you’ll have to make some changes first. Take a look at what areas you could INCREASE, on your path to increasing your revenue. Today, we’ll focus on three general things that I guarantee (not guarantee like – if I’m wrong, you can sue me, get your reading time back, or have some weird right to my first born child, but guarantee – as in, I’m pretty sure) will help you increase your blog income.
While these are easy things to begin addressing, they will still take effort. If you put in the effort, you may see an immediate increase in your blog income.
This part doesn’t actually help your blog become scalable, but people invest in and deserve quality. Your readers are giving you the most precious and priceless thing they have; time. Your income-producing clients are giving you money or something of cash value. It’s not a gift. They expect you to earn it. Even if you are great at something, you can always get better. Take a few things you are good at and make a committment to get better at doing them. I’m not going to tell you which areas to focus on though. You’ll need to do an honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, prioritize the things you want to get better at doing. To make things simple, start with one thing. Personally, I have the bad habit of trying to get better at everything at once. That’s a weakness of mine. I’m constantly having to slow down and focus. As long as you are moving forward, you are making progress. Now, if you procrastinate, maybe you need to speed things up a little. Deciding where to increase your skill level is the hardest of the three things we’ll focus on because it requires the most self-reflection. Here are some things you could consider getting better at:
- Blog Platform (WordPress, Blogger, or whatever platform you use to run your blog)
- Time Management
- Cold Pitches
I suggest picking three things as your top priorities and then attacking them one at a time. In business, just like life, sometimes priorities change. Okay. Try not to change them while you’re in the middle of working on one thing. You don’t have to be an expert at everything. Aside from some of the obvious benefits of getting better at something, another benefit is that you will get faster or more efficient, which will give you more time to focus on other things. Many networks offer educational support for their bloggers. Ask. Collective Bias even offers an entire school, Social Fabric University, exclusively for their bloggers, and it’s free! No matter what your budget is, you can increase your skills! That will make a difference. I promise.
Learn something new that will create more value for your readers and paying clients. Whether it’s technical or creative, having more to offer is key to making your blog scalable and increasing your blog income. Whether you learn to create a Flipagram or say goodbye to cellphone photography and start shooting with a DSLR, more skills will make you more competitive. People will notice. If you do not already know how to do some of the things in the SKILL LEVEL section, those are good places to start. In general, Writing, Photography, Video, Editing, Social Media Networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Snapchat, Vine, etc.), SEO, and Reach are all high priority areas for increasing your skill set.
Don’t count on just a few sources to generate income, no matter how big their contribution is. If you limit your income sources, you are limiting your income. Here are some ways you can increase your income to expand well beyond sponsored posts:
- ASK! (I have to put this as number one because it’s the simplest thing you can do. Ask the people in your sphere-of-influence about potential opportunities. I know there is a lot of competition out there. Not everyone is nice. I know. But, most people are awesome! Most bloggers are willing to share opportunities. Just remember that no one likes to be used or to work for free. If you want support, you have to be supportive.)
- Join More Networks
- Increase Your SKILL SET. For example, great videos typically pay more than a written post.
- Host Twitter Parties
- Attend/Host Live Events
- Create a Members only section or a store. (The possibilities are endless here. You could provide monthly meal calendars with recipes, printables, personalized content or product, exclusive membership resources, newsletters. You can create something that has a direct or indirect impact on your revenue. Wether you offer a product or service for a fee or offer either at no cost exclusively to subscribers, you will strenghten your client base.)
- Speak at Live Events
- Consult (are you REALLY good at something that your readers, colleagues, or brands would pay for?) Maybe you’re a great blogger already? Offer some consulting. Maybe you create the most amazing printables? Offer them on your site.
- Manage Social Media Accounts
- Consider Affiliate Marketing
- Get an Ad Network or change your Network to a better paying agency
- Do Social Share campaigns
- Become an Ambassador
- Freelance: Write for other sites
- Create a new product
- Adwords or a similar service
- Send Cold Pitches to Brands, local businesses, and any other potential clients
- Look into managing campaigns within Blogging Networks you’re already a member of or directly with brands.
- Offer live or online classes on something you’re great at and blog about
- Publish a book (e-books are awesome!)
If you are new to blogging, keep at it! If you are an experienced blogger, get back to basics. You can make a change today, with these simple things. If you want to increase your blog income, you’ll need to increase your SKILL LEVEL, SKILL SET, and INCOME SOURCES.
At some point, I’d love to break down all of these ideas and write more comprehensive posts about some of the specific suggestions. For now, I’m hoping this really gets you started. You can do this!
We’d love to hear your ideas, too. What are some of the things you’ve already done to increase your blog income?
By: Alicia Gonzalez