Blogging for Fun and Profit

Photo by David Smith

If you enjoy writing and have one or more topics you’d like to share with the world, blogging may be for you. The first step is to get a blog.

Blogging for Fun

Even if you want to make money blogging, it’s not a bad idea to start with a free blog. WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and many
others offer a free blog. The only catch is that you can’t advertise unless you switch to their paid service. You can always do that later. A free blog gives you the opportunity to discover whether you can write articles people will enjoy. Also find out if you can post an article every week so visitors will keep coming back. This also gives you time to learn more about blogging from sites like Problogger while not spending money on an unprofitable blog.

Blogging for Profit

If you know you can write at least one quality article every week and want to go for earning a profit, the same sites that offer a free blog have paid services available. You will be able to make money using the methods mentioned below.

The positive side of using ready made blog services is that everything is ready for you; no studies are required except for their guidelines. The negative side is that you will have a monthly cost of $200 or more.

To cut costs, you can buy your own domain name and hosting. Then it will cost you $200 or more a year. The down side of this plan is that you will need to learn everything yourself or buy packages to add to your site.

Finding Your Audience

When you first start posting articles to your blog, nobody will know it exists. You can start your audience by emailing all of your friends and relatives, but what you really need is to share your work with everyone. There are a few ways to do that.

Social Sharing

Twitter, Facebook and dozens of other social sharing sites will let you post links to your blog articles. Join as many as you like. Every time you put up a new blog article, post a link on your social sites. Don’t post a link to the main page; link to the article itself.

Blog and Site Directories

Another way to increase your blog’s visibility is to get it listed in directories. Search Google for “blog site directories” and add your site to as many as you find relevant. Some will require you join their site. Some will want money. It’s up to you how far you will go to get listed. Paying money for a listing doesn’t guarantee the listing is any more valuable than a free one.

Article Directories

You can get links to your site from article directories by posting articles related to your blog. All good article directories allow you to include at least one link in the author resource box at the bottom of the article. When writing your blog posts, consider writing the same article in more than one unique way so you will have extras to post on article directories. There are dozens of these. Most pay nothing. A small number will pay, such as Associated Content, Constant Content, and Helium.

Guest Posts

Once you have a good number of articles on your blog, you should consider swapping guest posts with others who write about the same subject. Some sites will let you guest post without doing a swap.

How many articles should you write before you propose a swap? Any site with 30 or more articles is visible to all the search engines if the author has made any effort to spread the word. Any site with 50 or more articles is making money (unless it can’t advertise). Start looking to swap when you have 30 articles up and a few extra on hand.

Comments

Commenting on similar sites is one of the easiest ways to get links to your blog. Don’t comment unless you have something meaningful to contribute to the subject of the article. A simple “Great article. Keep it up.” can get you flagged as a spam commenter.

Updates to Your Site

You will post to your social sites when you post a new article, but there are other updates too. Review your old articles for typos, out of date information and any other changes that will improve them. Make the changes without updating your social sites. Not only does this improve the quality of your site, but when search engine spiders come crawling, they will see the changes and give your site a better ranking.

Profiting from Blogging

Here are some of the most popular ways to make money from your blog.

Advertising

You can offer advertising space in the sidebar at set rates depending on the size of the ad. You can also sign up for Google Adsense if you have enough regular visitors. Like all of the topics in this article, research is the key to maximizing your success.

Affiliate Marketing

To earn money from affiliate marketing, you sign up as an affiliate for a site and then put links in your articles and sidebar. You can sell books, music and movies for Amazon, for example. Research products related to your blog’s niche and look for the affiliate signup link on the merchant site.

Freelance Writing

Starting out, you can only make freelance profits by going to the customer. The offers will be low, so low as to be insulting. Fifty cents an article? One thousand dollars to write a book length autobiography? The positive way to see this is that you will be increasing the amount of work you can say you’ve completed. On the other hand, you could wait until you’ve proven yourself with your blog.

Once you have a good collection of articles on your site, those looking for freelance writers can see proof of your ability. You can add a tab to your site offering your services at your rates. Calculate the least you would do the work for and double the price. This gives you room to negotiate.

Ebooks

As you blog about your subject, you will discover you are becoming something of an expert on many of the sub-topics. Consider writing some ebooks. Pick one topic and read everything you can about it while compiling research notes. Take an occasional research break and arrange the notes under chapter titles. Concentrate on getting a complete outline at first. When the research is done, write the book quickly without editing. Finish the book by re-reading and editing it several times.

There are several sites where you can sell your ebook, including your blog. Most of these will also let you become an affiliate and profit from selling ebooks by other writers. I’ll give you one lead to look into: E-junkie.

I picked up these tips while researching how people make money online. My research notes accidentally grew to over 30,000 words. An ebook is likely. While I saw many offers to “buy the book” along the way, all the information you could want on any of these topics is available free if you are willing to do the research and reading.

Will I write more articles that focus in on the sub-topics of this article? Will I still be writing generic articles about writing? Will there be more articles on writing fiction and traditional publishing? Yes to all the above.

Article by Ivan Izo.
Image by Ivan Izo.

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2 thoughts on “Blogging for Fun and Profit

  1. HP van Duuren December 8, 2010 / 11:54 pm

    Yes, Blogging can be Fun,

    At first I had a hard time to think of topics to write about and to actually constantly come up with ideas for new posts to write. Since I begun to not view my posts Not as Individual Posts and more like writing posts as ‘Comments’ on my own previous posts, more like a ‘Conversation’ it begun to flow. Also when I get comments on my posts, it’s alway’s great to see such feedback from readers and I also like to answer those comments like in a conversation.

    BTW when I started blogging I actually received
    Hundreds of comments on Several of my Posts!!!
    (Unfortunately most of them where
    in Chinese Charakters I can’t read :))

    For what making a profit is concerned, I do think that to actually make it profitable it’s important to somehow help your audience. For example solving a problem that for example the readers of my Writers Lifestyle Blog are having, or offering resources they can use. So I am always on the look out for those things.

    For example recently I discovered a problem that I as a Blogger-Writer have myself, the problem is to have a hard time think about frequently taking Short Breaks. Thinking about taking (Coffee) Breaks gave me the idea to put up Coffee Makers and Espresso Machines on that blog.

    Since you obviously are a Writer and also did Research on how People make Money Online, I was wondering if you might know about other specific things – that I currently don’t already have on my Writing Lifestyle Blog (or any of my other Blogs) – that could help to make my Writing Lifestyle Blog more Profitable?

    Like

    • David Smith December 9, 2010 / 2:06 am

      I had a look at HP’s Happy Blog and HP’s Happy Writing 2.

      First, HP’s Happy Blog. One thing that is probably hurting your sales in a big way is that the main page looks like an affiliate sales page. The text is many different colors and different sizes and there are ads on the content side of the page. Those kinds of pages work great if the visitor clicked a link for the product you are selling. If they clicked a link to read articles, a sales page format will just scare them away. The content side of your page should look like most other blogs; a title in bold black, maybe a photo related to the article, a paragraph in black text and a more link to read the rest of the article; repeat until the end of the page.

      The second biggest problem I noticed appears on both of the two blogs. It’s the problem of advertisements appearing on the content side of the page. The visitor is reading what you have to say, and suddenly there’s a commercial, a photo ad. If they want to buy something unrelated to what you’re writing (to help support your site), they can find the ads in the sidebar. The best way to set up advertising within what you write is with text links that take the reader to an affiliate sales page when they are clicked.

      To summarize making money with a blog.

      First, you want to write articles that will attract many readers. Most will just read articles and spread the word. That attracts more readers.

      Second, you have offers for products in the sidebar or with links in the content. Some readers will want to know more and click the links. They have moved from reader to potential buyer.

      Third, either your own sales page or the page at the affiliate’s site tells them more about the product. Some visitors will buy and you make a little profit.

      What your sites seem to be doing now is jumping right into the third step and I imagine that’s not good for sales. I hope this helps. If you want more tips on blogging, one of the best sites to check out is Problogger at http://www.problogger.net/.

      Like

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