Society is much more supportive of creative types today. In fact, more artists are making a decent living by channeling their passions. And while it may seem unlikely, starting a blog could be synonymous with starting a business.
Whether you're blogging, or vlogging, 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. In fact, she quit her day job and became 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.
"The longer we've been around, the more traffic comes from direct search — which obviously we prefer, because it is more reliable," said Nystul. "But if we want to continue to engage our core readers and find new ones, social media is here to stay."
Networking is an important ingredient 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.
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 during a trip to Portugal.
"We wanted to have something that would document our travels, almost like a diary, so if we looked back, we'd 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 – they now have more than 33,000 followers on Instagram. They both head up the design studio CreaCrea.
Galova and Sedlacik believe the most important component of a photo blog's success consistency. If you find a concept you like, keep working on it. 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.
Emelyne Behr, a popular vintage-inspired vlogger, has nearly 160,000 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 to share recipes.
Pairing the two platforms helps grow a connection with her audience. She also promotes 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 much easier to get sponsorships and brand deals with companies."
Behr offered simple yet sound advice: Be yourself. By creating videos that excite you and express your talents and passion, you stand out. In addition you're able to engage with your audience and enjoy the process.
Earning income from your blog
Blogging may seem like an unrealistic career choice, but with the right mindset, dedication, and effort, you can succeed as a well-known and well-respected blogger. According to Sumit Bansal, founder of Trump Excel, the main ways to make a profit from blogging include:
Providing digital services/products
Bansal stated that one of the quickest ways to make money is by providing your own relevant services or products.
"If you're an expert in a niche, you can quickly create an e-book or a short video course and offer it to your audience," said Bansal. "This can be extremely profitable as you can keep all the money you make."
For example, as an expert in Excel spreadsheets, Bansal offers online training courses to his audience. Additionally, he added, if you're a designer who blogs about Adobe Photoshop, you can offer to create graphics for your followers.
Selling affiliate products
You don't have to create your own products to make a profit. With a decent number of subscribers, you might attract companies looking for partnerships to promote and sell their brand.
"If you have some following, you can pitch other people's products and can get a commission on every referral sale," said Bansal. "You can also use many amazing affiliate networks such as Amazon or eBay or Clickbank to refer their products and make a cut on every sale."
Including display ads
Display ads are a classic way to earn a profit on your site. According to Bansal, while they aren't the most profitable choice, you can make decent money if you have a relatively large following. He noted that Google Adsense, media.net and Infolinks are popular ad networks.
"Alternatively, you can sell your ad space to other brands in your niche," he said. "This can help you generate good recurring income."
Where to start a blog
The following websites are among today's most popular platforms for launching a blog.