In the past, I’ve worked as a journalist and press officer—as well as being a qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor. Combining my media skills with my love of fitness and nutrition, I started my own blog, Sweat Like A Pig, four years ago. Never did I imagine that, four years on, the income from my blog would allow me to quit my day job… and get paid to travel the world…
Right now, I’m staying in Split, Croatia—the tenth city I’ve visited in four months. What I love about my “job” is that every day is different.
Below are five strategies that have allowed me to make money by blogging only three years after registering my domain.
1. Grow your readership
Produce high-quality, engaging content that provides some value to your readers. Write in an authoritative yet relatable tone. Post regularly and, if possible, at the same time each week so that your readers know when to expect new posts.
However, there is no point in producing great content if you only have six readers. Once you have written a few interesting posts, turn your attention to increasing site traffic by commenting on other blogs and sharing posts on social media. The more people who follow your blog, the better.
Find other blogs in your niche and spend an hour each day commenting on their posts, making sure to link back to your own blog in your comments. Provide an incentive for people to follow your social media pages by sharing others’ articles and providing extra tidbits of information that regular blog readers will not receive.
2. Create a media kit for brand collaboration
Once you’ve increased your readership to at least 500 hits a day, put together a media pack and start approaching companies. Your media kit should include your name, website URL, a brief description of your blog theme, your average monthly views and audience demographic (which you can find by setting up a Google Analytics account, your email subscribers, your total social media followers, and the names of any brands you have previously worked with.
You can either contact media agencies that will find suitable brands for you to collaborate with, or you can approach the brands you are interested in directly. Explain why you want to work with a certain company and what you can offer them. You may be asked to write a product review, host a giveaway, or embed a link back to their website in a regular post. The larger your readership, the more you can charge for a sponsored post.
I work with two media agencies regularly and receive several other emails per week offering me sponsorship opportunities. Although it’s easy to get carried away with sponsored material, try to only accept posts that are line with your regular content. If you’re a fashion blogger who suddenly writes a post about a window cleaner, you’ll likely lose the respect of your readers. Likewise, don’t turn your blog into a giant advertisement. I post a maximum of two sponsored articles per month, which blend seamlessly into my content as I post approximately three times per week.
3. Use Google AdSense
Using Google AdSense is an easy way to add a passive stream of income to your website. It’s a completely customizable service, whereby you choose the size and location of the ads to post on your website. Every time someone clicks on an ad on your page, you earn money.
4. Start an Amazon Affiliate program
Whenever you mention a product, link to its Amazon page. Set up an Amazon Affiliate program and you’ll earn a small commission every time one of your readers follows a link and makes a purchase—regardless of whether or not it’s the product you mentioned.
5. Add a service or product
Finally, consider adding a specific product to your website that uses your area of expertise. Look at your most popular blog posts and think of how you can turn the information into a service. Are you an expert on photography, writing poetry or baking cakes? Considering putting together an e-book or offering private consultations.
More than half of my blog-related income comes from the services I sell online, and I also have an e-book as a passive source of income. Excluding your writing time, the cost of producing an e-book is very low; the only expense associated with mine was the cost of design, which was $120. Given that I sold my e-book for $49, the overhead costs paid for themselves in a matter of minutes after launch.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]