How do I make a living from my blog?

I received an email today which captures the feelings of many enthusiastic new bloggers.

I move from super-evangelical about the various benefits/values of blog to almost semi-depression that will never be able to make a living with the stuff.

I was moved to offer the following encouragement:

I would not be too hasty about never making a living with your blog. As a citizen publisher, you are building a following and generating a buzz about your talent, your personality, and your abilities that you choose to showcase.

I think the publishing model of yore is slowly crumbling. What comes next is not too clear, but it takes lots of promotion to sell a book, or a product or a service. In the past, you would have had to hire a flack or hope that your publisher would place ads for you. Now you can talk about your creation until you are tired of it or until you drive away your visitors. Hopefully, you will be creative enough that you will be able to reach out and generate interest in what you do.

Nothing happens overnight. There is no magic about communicating to potential customers. You do it well and give them something that interests them and promise more to come.

Try it and keep at it until you see results. If the results aren’t what you want, make the necessary changes and continue.

I am sure that most of my visitors have thought about making money through or from their blog. I think that it is doable, but it is a matter of focusing on objectives and working towards achieving them, which can take some time. The only magic involved is finding a business proposition that works for you.

You might as well say, how do I make a living with my website, or printing press, or digital camera. I think the answer is the same in all situations. You find a need and you satisfy that need in a way that provides you with an income that is greater than your expenses.

Think of yourself as a citizen publisher. How does a publisher make money? Any publisher has to sell product. You either create the product or you sell someone else’s product directly or through advertising.

With a blog, and some expertise, you can be a published expert on a particular market niche that is not being served well. You can sell products, plans, books about the product or area and keep up a running commentary on developments in the field.

It all depends on your ability to write convincingly and create favorable impressions about your expertise and reliability as a provider of these products or services. Whether your niche is catapults, leather masks, marketing strategies for micro-businesses, or pet massage, you can promote it more cost effectively through a blog than you can any other way.

You could promote a bed & breakfast or an entire region of bed and breakfasts with your blog. Craft fairs, vacation spots, anything of interest where there is not much up-to-date information all of these and more make great blogfodder and interesting reading.

I think in time there will be many established ways of making a living with this marvelous tool we are still discovering. In the meantime, I find it to be a great learning tool.

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0 Responses to How do I make a living from my blog?

  1. Andreas says:

    Blogs are good at making things happen indirectly.

    There are a couple of blogs creating an income for the writer. AdRants comes to mind as an example, but these are the exception rather than the rule. Most blogs are written to support the writer’s primary activity, which is where the income is being generated. And with some pretty clever people (Doc Searls, Jeff Jarvis and many others) making their thoughts publicly available there is less and less reason to actually pay for content.

    Citizen publishing is spreading further and faster than ever before, information is becoming less and less of a commodity, simply because more and more of it is being released without the author asking for any kind of payment. To give an example, when we were researching whether we wanted to go for finance I simply read a couple of VCs blogs and within hours had all the information I needed. That kind of knowledge is priceless and until recently would have been impossible to come by.

    The reason I read blogs is to learn from others, the reason I publish one myself is to share my own knowledge. Money doesn’t come into that equation as far as I am concerned.

    Information wants to be free in the same way that nature abhors a vacuum. It’s not some moral view, it’s the natural state of affairs. It’s the path of least resistance.

  2. David says:

    “I think in time there will be many established ways of making a living with this marvelous tool we are still discovering. In the meantime, I find it to be a great learning tool.”

    I am glad you were moved to write such an eloquent piece of prose!

    I may have some actual results shortly, but, in the meantime, one of the most valid points is, it is ‘a great learning tool’.

    In the brief time I have been ‘blogging’ I can list what have learned:
    1) New Software
    2) To build, not one, but multiple websites on a host of real-life business and personal applications
    3) About blogs and the technology that sits behind it, along with the uses of that technology
    4) The remarkable ability a blog has to create networks of people interested in common ideas and topics
    5) SEO
    6) It is an excellent place to categorize, store and find information that is useful to me and it does it faster, better, easier, cheaper than anything have tried before
    7) On a more personal level, the world is full of kind, generous people, who take the time to communicate and provide counsel. So, on that higher, personal level, the ROI is enormous!

  3. Bill says:

    I think there are two important factors to keep in mind about blogs when speaking of them in terms of making a living. One is the fact that the blog alone won’t be enough – not for the majority of people. As with most marketing tools, it is a synergistic element. You need to promote your product or service in other places too and all the tools should leverage one another. (For example, a business card with the blog’s URL included.)

    The second thing to keep in mind is the blog works best as a retention tool as opposed to an acquisition one (though it may do both). A blog supports customers and potential customers. It helps them use the product or service, provides new ideas and suggests enhancements. It might be about activities surrounding the product or service. It helps to create a community around your product and generate conversations.

    Your other marketing elements (print etc.) are more directly related to the selling of the product/service.

  4. I know it’s not popular with everyone, but I’ve made over $200 so far in my first month with Google ads…

  5. Vikk says:

    Money. Well, I remember the day, vividly i might add, when I received notice that someone somewhere actually bought one of my iguana lunchpails from my CafePress store on my blog. Five dollars in the till is five dollars in the till. Then I received notice that one of my sponsor affiliates received an order. Last week another notice floated through. I’m still waiting for my Amazon check. What I need to do is get my google account operational.

    While I may earn money from my blogging activitgies, right now I seek to create an Internet presence and increase my readership. How do I do that? Mostly through writing what I hope is good content.

  6. The time is coming soon when blogs will separate into a few groupings.

    One group will be entirely opposed to accepting revenue of any sort from their blogs. Those blogs will be purely for personal enjoyment, or for disemmination of opinion and information, without possible “contamination” from advertising.

    Another blog model will be the blog as a revenue source, in and of itself. Either through active or passive income generation, this group of bloggers will want the blog to be the business.

    A third group of bloggers will consider the blog an additional, and complementary business tool. Instead of being relied upon to generate revenue per se, the blog might act as a catchment basin for readers and prospective customers. The blog might serve as an extension of marketing, public relations, etc.

    TMOG: $200 from Google ads is very very good. That level of income is probably in the higher percentiles of blogs for sure.

    Vikk: Your CafePress income is starting to appear. Bycontinually adding more top quality content, your readership, and their purchases will grow accordingly.

  7. aviraj says:

    hi,guys I think the answer is the same in all situations. You find a need and you satisfy that need in a way that provides you with an income that is greater than your expenses.


    TITLE: Blogging with nothing to blog
    BLOG NAME: writelife
    DATE: 09/01/2004 11:12:25 AM
    I’ve been off the radar for the last week or so and it has prompted a view thoughts about writing and blogging; specifically, what do you do when you have nothing to say? Generally, I think if you have nothing

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