Tae a second to Google “making money blogging.” There are an incredible number of people out there running blogs you’ve never heard of, giving you advice on how to make money doing exactly what they do, if only you buy their book about it.
This is a great indicator of the state of monetized blogging. There are billions of people on the Internet, and millions of them are running blogs. Everyone wants to make money from their blog, and everyone who does wants to make more. Most of those people realize that one good way to make money is to sell your expertise in making money to other people who also want to make money.
The end result is a lot of advice and not a lot of value. What ends up happening is a lot of new bloggers spend more time trying to monetize than they do trying to run a good blog. They never make much money, so they need to make money on the side. Where does all this side money come from?
Okay, so this is a route only a few people take, but it’s valid for those few people. When one blog doesn’t earn much, but it technically turns a profit, that profit can be leveraged into another blog. Chain this effect and you end up with a network of a dozen or more interrelated or unrelated blogs, all of which are earning a little bit of money, just enough that they support themselves and bring in a little extra profit.
The advanced version of this technique is raising the profile of the oldest site and then selling it off for a profit. Make a site, buff it up, sell it, reinvest in the next site in line, and repeat. It takes a special kind of character to invest in a site but not grow personally attached, so make sure you have that in you.
Most bloggers start out as writers looking to showcase their skills and make money on the side. By offering yourself up as a freelance writer, you can put those skills to use while getting paid.
Ghostwriting is the typical start for many bloggers looking to make money. Using content mills or hunting down sites that pay for writing, they write whatever comes their way for a small fee. Over time, they can leverage that into private clients and higher priced, higher profile work. All of it goes back to experience and references, which can promote the second phase.
The second phase is the bylined work. It’s the same thing, writing about whatever you want, only instead of posting it on your blog, you sell it to other blogs. This helps earn you a reputation and links back to your home blog, which grows as a result.
This is one that you tend to only be able to pull off when you reach a certain level of popular. Jon Loomer, for example, is an incredibly popular and prolific blogger in the Internet Marketing scene, and he spent a lot of time getting to that position.
One of the things Jon does these days to make money is sell consultations. He has free consults, he gives away hours of his time for contests, and he sells them directly. To people who know him and his work, the chance to have a solid discussion with him is quite valuable indeed. The caveat is, it took a long time for him to get to the position where he was able to sell his time as effectively as he can sell the products of that time.
Ebooks are an easy extension of blog writing. Take a popular or detailed post, expand it by three or four times, and sell it for a few bucks. You can try to sell it exclusively on your website as a means to bolster your audience, or you can sell it on the usual ebook self-publishing routes like Amazon Kindle Direct or whatever they’ve named the Barnes and Noble equivalent these days.
Some bloggers actually make enough money from selling ebooks that they abandon their blogs entirely, turning their sites into marketplaces through which you can buy their books. I don’t know that I would recommend that path to a new blogger, but it entirely depends on how much traction you can get to your ebooks.
This one is more for bloggers who are also coders at heart. The idea is that you want to make your blog unique, so you create some custom plugins or code for your site. Then you showcase them in your blog and work to attract attention to them and their functionality. When you have interest, you sell the code, like on a WordPress plugin marketplace or CodeCanyon.
You can also pay freelance developers for code that you can then re-sell, but you have to have a guaranteed audience for the code, otherwise you won’t make back your initial investment, let alone turn a profit.
Think of everything I just said about selling software, and apply it to graphic and site design instead. It works the same way, though you have more options with design. You can sell your graphic design services, or you can become a freelance web developer. You can develop themes for WordPress and other CMSs, or you can contract for original, unique development.
As a blogger, you have to have a great grasp of the English language in order to succeed. You also have to have a good idea of the standards in web writing. With those, you can promote yourself as an editor, willing to check over and fix the copy written by others.
Like it or not, most bloggers are doing their blogging in their spare time. It takes quite a while to get to the point where you can make a satisfactory living off blogging, enough so that you can quit your day job. A lot of bloggers never reach that point; they work their day job and use a blog for some fun money on the side.