Guest post by Deb Ng from Freelance Writing Gigs.
While going over my stats last summer, I learned something important: If I stopped blogging each day, I would still earn enough each month from my content to draw a salary and pay the bloggers who write for my network. I’m no longer breaking even and I can tell you, after almost five years of trying to make this blog work out, the rewards go far beyond that of money. Success is a great motivator.
I would like to tell those who don’t feel niche bloggers can’t earn decent advertising revenue, they couldn’t be more wrong.
“Make money online” bloggers are always pimping affiliate links. Niche bloggers can’t necessarily do this. Our readers don’t want to receive pitches every day. Moreover, not all niche blog readers are buyers. For example, selling high end products via a frugal living blog probably isn’t the best idea. The same with my freelance writing blog; one thing I learned over the years is that writers don’t open their wallets for the next big thing. If they’re buying products through an affiliate link, it has to provide tremendous value. When I have sold it’s with conferences, books, ebooks, courses and other teaching products. The bulk of my income doesn’t come from affiliate links, however. They come from private ad sales and Adsense.
So, niche bloggers, here is my advice to you:
- Traffic and community come first: To truly earn money through advertising revenue on a niche blog, you have to build trust within your community. Sure, you can place ads on your blog from the very beginning, but they probably won’t earn. Don’t focus on monetization right off the bat. Take the time to build traffic and community. Establish trust among your readers. Once you have an active community and regular traffic with a pattern you can rely on, then you can deal with traffic.
- Know your readers: Before you sell anything, you have to know your market. Tech blogs and “make money online” blogs can enjoy a more diverse income stream because their readers will respond to a variety of products and services. Not so much with nichier topics. Knowing your community’s habits is essential to monetizing narrow niches. For example, my community is made up of clickers, not buyers. As mentioned above, when they do buy, they choose items that teach. They don’t invest in gadgets but they will invest in materials to help them further their careers. I learned what they like by playing with the various revenue streams and also by conducting polls and reading every single one of their comments and emails.
- It won’t happen overnight: Don’t be frustrated if you don’t begin earning as soon as you place ads. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your community wants to trust you – and your advertisers. Give each ad some time to earn, but if you don’t see any response at all after a month or two, explore other advertising possibilities.
- Good content continues to earn over time: Timeless or “evergreen” content has the ability to earn for a lifetime. Try posting advice that will be relevant five years from now. In addition to current news and events, discuss topics that will always appeal to web searchers.
- Find other forms of passive income: Advertising isn’t the only way you can earn through your blog. As Darren has proved here, you can also sell ebooks, courses, work books, webinars and even a membership forum.
- Don’t wait for advertisers to find you: For me, private ad sales are the most lucrative. Other than Adsense, my highest payers are advertisers who didn’t come from a particular advertising agency. I found many of them on my own. Advertisers won’t reach out to you if they don’t know about you. If you have enough traffic coming in, create a press kit. List stats such as bounce rate, pageviews, traffic and more. Market your blog much in the same way traditional media market to their advertisers. See if you can convince potential advertisers to come on board.
- Don’t rest on your laurels: OK, so you have a few ads. I can tell you now, it won’t last. You can’t expect every advertiser to stick with you for years. They come, advertise for a while, and go on their merry way after sales start to lag a bit. Always be on the lookout for new sponsors and advertising opportunities to ensure there are no dry periods.
Many niche blogs are difficult to monetize, but they don’t have to be. If you study your community and traffic patterns, you can find some profitable solutions. You might have to think outside the box or sell your own stuff, but once your blog hits, the sales will soar.
Are you monetizing your blog now? What methods are using and how is it working out for you?