These days,it seems like everyone is blogging: From fitness fanatics and travelers to corporate brands and executives, people representing nearly every hobby and industry have something to say on the web. Running your own blog gives you the freedom to express yourself, feed your passions and identify with others who share your interests.
Whether you're blogging as a marketing tactic for your small business or trying to turn your blog into a source of income, here are three of the most popular options for documenting what you have to say, and how to make money from it.
Some bloggers just want to write. There are numerous potential topics, ranging from hobbies (such as baking or fishing) to self-help. Oftentimes, these blogs may feature media, like a photo or video, that fits the piece of writing.
Jill Nystul, founder of the blog One Good Thing, said that although she began her blog as a side project, she eventually succeeded enough to quit her day job and become a full-time blogger.
"It has been a good source of income for myself and my team of four full-time and two part-time employees for a few years now," Nystul said. "There is good money to be made if you have decent traffic and can get in with a reputable ad network."
Nystul advised aspiring bloggers to write consistently about topics in which they have particular expertise, and to use social media to their advantage.
"Roughly 50 percent of our traffic comes from social media right now ... and that's the lowest it's ever been. It used to be closer to 80 percent," Nystul told Business News Daily. "The longer we've been around, the more traffic comes from direct search — which obviously we prefer because it is more reliable. But if we want to continue to engage our core readers and find new ones, social media is here to stay."
Networking is also important for success in the blogging industry, Nystul said. Creating relationships with other bloggers, which can result in collaborations and incoming links, helps increase traffic and credibility for your site, she said.
As content becomes increasingly visual, a photo blog is a great way to engage your target audience. Sites such as Tumblr allow users to post or "reblog" images and share captured or digitally created photos of their everyday lives.
Similar to traditional blogs, photo blogs can have words along with images, such as captions or words that complement the scene. However, the page is primarily lined with pictures rather than word entries.
Travel photographer Perlito R. Pagay recently started a photo blog on WordPress called Globaltrail, where he shares the beauty of the Earth through his own experiences.
"This kind of blog is more on seeing the real subject [through] images rather than using our imagination [through] narrative," he said. The intention behind his photography is to share "entertainment, awareness, information and knowledge" of a particular place or event.
Pagay advised all potential photo bloggers to focus on a single subject, understand and maintain a specific purpose (e.g., entertainment, awareness), ensure clarity of the photos, and add descriptions below each image.
Zuzu Galova and Peter Sedlacik, founders of Lens Between Us, travel the world, taking photos of each other and sharing them on their blog. The duo started their blog almost three years ago during a trip to Portugal.
"We wanted to have something that would document our travels, almost like a diary, so if we look back, we know exactly where we were," Galova and Sedlacik said.
Although the original idea was intended merely as a side project, Lens Between Us wound up going viral and is now a potential profession for the two photographers.
"If we could find a brand who would sponsor us, then we would be able to travel the world," they said.
Galova and Sedlacik believe the most important component of a photo blog's success is to be consistent. If you find a concept you like, keep working on it, they said; people won't find you overnight.
Vlogs, or video blogs, allow you to share your insight through videos, usually of yourself. YouTube has millions of budding vloggers, from makeup artists to comedians, who make up this rapidly growing segment of the blogging community.
YouTube star Tori Haughey, founder of Trending With Tori, said vloggers are "able to connect with their viewers through video, which makes things more personal and relatable."
Haughey grew her following by focusing on topics that resonate with her, like fashion, beauty and baking.
"My channel consists of the things that I personally love, and I like to think that there is something there for everyone," she told Business News Daily.
Emelyne Behr, a popular vintage-inspired vlogger, has more than 86,000 followers on her YouTube channel, SweetEmelyne's. In addition to recording videos of baking and beauty tips, she writes for her personal blog, which she uses primarily for recipes.
Pairing the two platforms helps grow a connection with her audience. She also promotes all of her content on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
"It helps remind people to check out my content," Behr said.
Behr noted that, although competition is getting steeper on YouTube, brands are recognizing the power of vloggers and are more willing to work with them.
"When I first started, it was much easier to get noticed than it is now," she said. "However, now it's also much easier to get sponsorships and brand deals with companies."
Both vloggers offered the same advice: Be yourself. By creating videos that excite you and express your talents and passion, you allow yourself to stand out, engage with your audience and enjoy the process.
Earning income from your blog
Blogging may seem like a "too good to be true" career choice, but with the right mindset, dedication and effort, you can succeed as a well-known and well-respected blogger. Paid advertising, sponsorships and e-commerce on your blog are all great ways to generate income.
Marketing blogger Amy Lynn Andrews has been blogging profitably for more than a decade. In this post on her website, she recommends blogging about topics you are passionate about and allowing the money to come organically. Though the process of blogging itself may not afford you a salary right away, the platform is the perfect point to start earning money.
"After proving their trustworthiness, bloggers use their blogs as springboards to launch other products and services that bring in income," Andrews wrote. "Examples are e-books or books, speaking gigs, products, e-courses, etc."
As you grow, you can monetize your blog in the ways that best suit you and your audience, she said. "For example, blogging about knitting? Sell knitting patterns," she wrote. "Blogging about fly fishing? Sell your services as a fly fishing guide. Blogging about being a preschool teacher? Sell preschool curriculum."
If you work hard enough and your ideas resonate with your audience and partners, you can make decent money, Andrews said. Take it from her — she makes six figures a year.
Where to start a blog
The following websites are among today's most popular platforms for launching a blog.