I used to write books on programming and Web development. You know those big ones, like doorstops? Then I found out that the only difference between writing published books and blogging is the amount of money you make.
And here’s the thing; blogging pays more. Much more.
I decided that writing a freely available blog that anyone could access without paying a cent for was a much better way to help people learn about the technical challenges of starting an online business and creating a website. Especially since it paid me, as an individual, more.
Ok sure; the total revenue generated by the books was probably more than I earn from the blog. But as the author, you only get paid 15 -20 % of the net profit from book sales, so the real money goes to someone else. Getting 100% of the revenue from your own blog is much better than taking 15% of the net revenue of a published book. Any day.
Don’t believe me?
The $1000 blog post
Here’s a snapshot that I took a while back, of the earnings made from Google ads on a single blog post about home business ideas, over the course of 3 months:
The earning for that 3-month period comes to a touch over $260. Looked at another way, this post earned just over $1000 for that year; and that’s only on Google Ads.
That’s not really the end of the story either. There are plenty of other ways to make money from an article this.
Don’t stop earning
Readers might decide, after browsing the ideas on that page, to start their own business. They’re going to need a lot more information to help them get started. Where there’s a demand for information there’s an opportunity to create great content to meet that demand (and that means more revenue from more ads shown on more pages).
But we can do more than show ads to this type of reader.
In order to start their own business, they will likely need a number of paid products and services (like Web hosting, website builders, domain registration, accounting, payments, tax, planning, software, office products, etc). I can’t provide these personally, but I can review and compare the best ones to recommend to my readers and earn additional income from affiliate links.
Affiliate links aren’t the only way to make money from your web pages either. There are lots of options. The most common are:
- eCommerce sales
- Paid advertising
Depending on the type of content you’re sharing there will probably be scope to do one or more of any of these methods of revenue generation. The trick is,
Ensure your content is always valuable and relevant for the reader and the revenue will follow.
Let’s assume that someone reading our list of ten ideas has been inspired to start their own business. They might decide to draw up their own business plan. Naturally, I want to help them do this because it means that I can keep them engaged, giving me more opportunities to earn.
I researched and created a popular free business plan template for online startups. But while offering a free template is great for the reader, it’s not ideal for making money.
What to do?
Fortunately, there are some great business plan services available that offer professional, standards compliant business plan builders that I can recommend to readers at the same time.
Look closely (at the two red download links in the screenshot below), not only is there a free download there’s a link for people who want a truly professional, top of the range, easy to make, standards compliant beauty of a business plan:
In other words, I do exactly what is promised (and what the reader expects) by offering a great free business plan template on that page. At the same time, I also offer a bit of extra value in the form of an industry leading service that people might prefer.
I get paid a small affiliate commission for any customers that make a purchase, and here’s the conversion report from the last week in August:
That’s $40 more than I would have derived from advertising alone. Not to mention that I was able to create another useful piece of content that ties in nicely with the business ideas article. By offering a related piece of content that would be directly relevant to readers of one article, I’ve also created an additional source of revenue for the blog.
A blog makes money by weaving together highly useful and interesting pieces of content that relate to each other in such a way as to “funnel” readers towards a conversion point.
If you do a good enough job, those readers will genuinely find your content helpful and come back time and time again to get the information they need. Each time they do, there is a quantifiable average amount of money they generate for your blog.
Over time, organic traffic and readership (i.e. email lists, social media followers, RSS subscribers, etc) build up and the amount of money you can earn grows and becomes more stable and sustainable.
Other benefits also start accruing. The more popular your blog becomes the more likely it is to capture high rankings in Google search results and this can lead to plenty more income.
Do a search on Google for “online startup business plan” and you should see my free template post at the top of the results (but under all the paid ads). Ranking well in search results gives your blog posts the ability to reach new audiences, impress them with your mad skills, and make cash.
Sure, it takes time. Absolutely, you need to have something useful to share. Of course, you need to present it in an engaging and exciting way. Undeniably, it takes time and practice to get right.
But can you actually make money?
Without a doubt.
Featured photo credit: Thomas Hawk via flickr.com