How do bloggers earn money?
This question has been frequently discussed as I’ve been toying with blogging as an income source and I’ve been shocked by the amount of money that some bloggers earn and the amount of people who think blogging is simply a pro-bono hobby. But I can assure you, you CAN make money blogging; and it can be an incredibly lucrative business and a great source for additional income.
“Making sense of cents” is a popular finance blog that has over 300,000 monthly readers and their income is posted regularly just to show readers how lucrative it can be. From the comfort of their own home, the couple made over $90,000 last month. Yes, $90,000 in a single month!!! How is that possible?
Higher page views = Higher returns
Once a blog post is initially published, it’s value is calculated in page views. Some posts are more popular than others, so bloggers take advantage of the highest performing posts by showcasing popular posts on their website and recirculating articles using different media outlets. Surprisingly, recirculated posts can generate roughly the same amount of interest as the initial post.
If you’re active on social media, you may have seen the same article pop up at different times, sometimes weeks, months, or even years apart. That’s because it’s probably one of the higher performing articles, which generates traffic and therefore income opportunities. But you’re probably less likely to read the same article the second time around, which means the same article is potentially engaging a new audience every time it recirculates.
Traffic now means greater potential for even more traffic later, which ultimately equates to additional income opportunities. The more an article circulates, the greater the odds are that someone will find it via google search or through another media outlet; this is the basic idea behind SEO (search engine optimization). The more people talk about and share articles, the higher thost articles climb in search results. If you have timeless content that’s popular, the post becomes bigger, better, and stronger every time it’s shared.
Selling your digital real estate (blog)
So, you have an audience and regular traffic to your blog. Now what? How do you make money? Just like advertising space or commercial real estate property, the higher the traffic volume, the more expensive that space will likely cost (“location! location! location!”). Blogs are digital real estate that can be used to sell goods, services, or ad space. If your blog has 100,000 views every month, do you think you’d be able to sell a few products through your website? Absolutely! Do you think companies would want 100,000 readers to see their advertisements? Absolutely!
And that’s precisely what happens on blogs. Products, services, and ad space are sold on blogs in a variety of ways. Most links within a blog that redirect you to a different website are links to third-party affiliates that have agreed to pay bloggers based on new views, leads, or sales. If there is demand, it CAN and IS sold on blogs in some form or fashion.
If you’re a fan of blogs, you may not even realize you’re being sold to because you’re simply redirected to another site in most cases. Purchases are normally processed through another website entirely. This process/agreement between the publisher (blogger) and the advertiser is called affiliate marketing. I’m quickly finding that there are a BUNCH of different affiliate marketing programs (hundreds, maybe thousands). I’ll blog about them as I learn about them but for now, I want to introduce you to the affiliate marketing companies that I’ve signed up for. And the reason I’ve signed up for these particular programs is because I’m either a satisfied customer (bluehost – discussed below) or I use products on their platform (Amazon, for example).
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing where a company rewards affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The best way to explain this is simply to provide an example.
I am an affiliate marketer for Amazon. Last week, my blog post was, “About to be a full-time RVer? Here’s the ‘stuff’ you actually need” (click here to read). In that blog post, I had links to Amazon products that were essential for full-time RVers. Every link redirected visitors to a specific product, which was associated with my Amazon affiliate account. Every time someone purchased one of those items, I received a commission.
Amazon is one of MANY affiliate marketing programs you can use to monetize a blog. What’s great about affiliate marketing is that unlike traditional sales where you’ve got to create a story line that illustrates the value of a specific product (your company’s product that you’re forced to sell, regardless of whether you believe in its value), affiliate marketing allows you to sell items organically because the product fits into your personal story line! And that’s why blogging is so popular – because reading about the author’s life is learning about their values; and someone with shared values is normally someone we can trust. Everyone wins!
Affiliate marketing companies that I currently use:
Amazon Affiliate Program – Amazon is extremely flexible and you obviously have very few limits with regard to products. You can link to search results (such as RV parts), specific products, or place image/banner ads in your website. Commissions are based on a percentage of the sale that originated from your affiliate link and the pay fluctuates depending on the type of product.
The cool thing about the Amazon program is that you get paid for all items purchased under your affiliate link. As long as the reader clicked on your affiliate link and purchased an item without closing out that window, you get paid on all of their purchases (Tip: you can also get paid on items you purchase through Amazon). One guy received over $1,000 in commission because someone purchased an above-ground swimming pool using his affiliate link…and he was linking to an item that only cost $10. So if you’re reading this and you plan on buying something BIG on amazon, use this link. 🙂
– MatoMySEO is a consulting company that specializes in content marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Essentially, they help companies market efficiently. They use the affiliate program to increase their own exposure, which is a value add to their clients who use them for advertising.
What’s cool about this affiliate program is that you receive a commission from anyone who uses your link to sign up as an advertiser AND you receive a commission from anyone who uses your link to sign up as a publisher (blogger) and then signs up new advertisers under their affiliate link (kind of like a direct marketing but there’s no risk and you’ll keep all of your friends).
bluehost – bluehost is the company I use to host the website you’re reading this on right now. If you have your own domain (website), you must have a company to host that website.The “host” is the server that your website sits on; it’s what holds all of your website data and allows other people to access that data.
Bloggers who have their own website (such as www.thefrugalrver.com rather than something.blogger.com) have more flexibility in terms of visual customization and monetizing. Having your own domain/website is the “right” way to blog if you plan on monetizing and bluehost is quickly becoming known as the “go-to” hosting service for most bloggers. They’re cheap and versatile. I’ll talk more about that in a later post.
Bluehost has an affiliate program that pays you $65 for every new referral who signs up to use them as host. Bloggers use them because they probably found a referral link in another blog somewhere, which is a great marketing strategy on their part. Additionally, bluehost is arguably the best service at the best price! So with the affiliate program, bluehost gets exposure and bloggers get a great hosting service at the best price along with an opportunity to make some money through their referral program. win-win-win.
Full-time RVers, full-time bloggers
If you’re active in the online RV community, I don’t need to tell you how helpful your full-time RV neighbors are. Full-time RVers have a unique lifestyle in common, which creates an immediate bond that very few people can relate to. They often learn together, work together, and grow together from the comfort of their RV’s even if they’re hundreds of miles apart. Unlike today’s average neighborhood, full-time RVers are active in their community and they’re always willing to help. They (we) are passionate about our lifestyle and we LOVE talking to others who are just as passionate!
Within the small community of full-time RVers is an even smaller group who earn a living on the road. There are quite a few full-time RV bloggers and they are just as helpful as every other full-time RVer. They’re easily accessible and more than willing to answer any questions. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve had several phone calls with complete strangers about how to utilize resources to help each other grow. Helping a complete stranger, unfortunately, is almost unheard of these days…but helping strangers is quite common amongst RVers and it often turns into a great friendship!
The cool part about full-time RVing as it relates to blogging is that you can write about tips and techniques to help your fellow RVers, or you can simply write about the lifestyle. It’s a unique lifestyle that captures a glimpse of the kind of freedom most people dream of. And because of that, full-time RVers and bloggers can quickly gain followers.
To me, the coolest part about full-time RVing and blogging is that I have an opportunity to help and inspire thousands of people without leaving my RV…and all I have to do is write about my life.
Interested in blogging? Read “How To Start a WordPress Blog“.
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Cheers, The Cobia Family
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