Business owners today understand that they need a website. That much is pretty clear.

While a website is something of a bare minimum for business, a blog can be a true revenue generator – so long as you approach it properly.

Most small business owners have a huge opportunity to generate extra income from blogging, but most don’t know how to do it.

Today, I’m going to share the basics behind blogging and how to make money from blogging. I’m also going to show that it isn’t hard and doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

What is blogging anyway?

Simply put, a blog is a web-based log of articles. Get it? Web + log = blog. How creative!

Anyway, that’s it. That’s all there is to it. Many websites today are actually blogs – a place where authors can publish their content over time and have it collect over time. This article is written in a blog, for example.

So the big difference between a website and a blog is that a website is generally thought to be static – you publish your content once and forget about it. A blog gets updated routinely over time with new articles and other content.

Why blogs are great

Blogs are fantastic for a few reasons:

  • Google loves them, so blogs get found in search engine results.
  • People love them because they can come back to a blog again and again over time and get value from them
  • Blogs can help your business make more money

It’s the third benefit that I want to focus my attention on for the rest of this post.

How to make money from blogging

There are two basic ways of making money through blogging:

  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Building an audience

I’ll explain each approach in the paragraphs below.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is simply the act of promoting someone else’s products for a commission. For example, let’s say your business has some software that it sells for $100. If I were to become your affiliate, I would promote that software for you. If I sell any software for you, I would earn a commission. Cha-ching!

This is an especially nice way to get started making money online because it means you don’t have to create any of your own products. Affiliate marketing is especially popular for software, software as a service (SAAS), and information products like ebooks and digital magazines. This is because these kinds of purely digital products have no production cost – you can reproduce a PDF infinitely without incurring any cost. That means product makers can offer very generous affiliate commissions without needing to worry about breaking even.

Commissions on affiliate products can range from about 5% all the way up to 90%, depending on the product and the vendor.

There are many, many companies that offer affiliate programs for their products. Normally, you can check the menu on the bottom of a company’s web page for a link that says something like “Affiliates” or “Affiliate Program”. Googling [Your industry] + affiliate program can help you find programs as well.

If you’d like to try affiliate marketing, I recommend checking the companies that you already buy from and are familiar with to see if they have affiliate programs.

In the past I’ve used Amazon.com’s Associate Program and Commission Junction to find products to promote.

Once you find products to promote, you can blog about them and explain to your readers how the product can benefit them or show them how to use it. Then, you can include a link in your blog post to encourage people to buy the product.

It’s very, very important that you let people know you are promoting things as an affiliate. Full disclosure is the law in many places, and just plain good practice. My experience is that people don’t mind you promoting products as long as you’re up front about it.

I also recommend that you not promote anything you aren’t familiar with, yourself. You could inadvertently promote a bad product and seriously damage your reputation and upset customers. Bad times.

Building and audience

Building an audience is the slow-and-steady way to earn money through blogging, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in effectiveness.

People do business with other people they know, like, and trust. Blogging is a way to help people to get to know, like and trust you.

By creating content over time (text, audio, video, etc.) that is high-quality and delivers value to the people who consume it, you build “trust equity”. Over time, people get to know you through your style of writing (or speaking, etc.) and your personality. Over time, people start to see you as an expert in your field.

As this happens, you can connect with these people through social media or an email list and build an audience. This is what some people call the “Mini Oprah effect”. These people will be receptive to you communicating with them because they feel like they know you and that you know what you’re talking about. This makes it easier to sell the products and services your company offers.

An example…

For example, let’s say you stumbled on to a financial advisor’s blog. The financial advisor writes high-quality blog posts regularly over time, and you become a regular reader. You eventually sign up for their email list, where you get even more high-quality, relevant, helpful content. One day, the planner sends an email selling a personal finance course for $97 – a course you could definitely use.

Now think to yourself – how much more likely is it that you buy the course from this financial planner than you would if you had seen an ad for the exact same course on a poster on a bus. In general, people are much, much, more likely to buy from the person they have some sort of relationship with.

Moving forward

I hope you’re starting to see that blogging can be incredibly valuable in the long run if done correctly. Whether you start promoting products related to your business, start building an audience, or both, blogging can be a very effective way for businesses to make money online.

If your business has a blog, share it with the TCC community in the comments below and let us know how it’s helped your business.

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