One of the hardest things about being a blogger is creating something that can sustain you and pay the bills. Making money from your platform certainly isn’t easy, especially for those who are just starting out. There are several blog monetisation tools avalible such as affiliate links and AdSense banners or indeed bloggers can do direct content partnerships - but it's hard to know which is best for you and your readers.
Sat in a heaving Café Nero, looking over the top of a frothy cappuccino, Hana told me about how it all started for her way back in 2007 with a niche blog about Apple products. From there she moved into fashion and then computer games, eventually selling her second blog in 2012. “Back then blogging was a very different beast” she tells me, “content aggregators and RSS feeds like Google Reader were the best ways to promote your posts. But then social started to take over and that changed everything…”
So Hana, why do you write a blog?
Well my blog gives me the opportunity to express the many little pieces of my life. It’s taken me a while to find my true authentic voice but now this blog really reflects me and what I’m up to.
And why do you think people read blogs?
The person behind a blog is always what creates the connection. Blogging is about relationships and building that one-to-one link between you and your readers. That’s people read and it’s why they come back again in the future.
What’s involved in writing and maintaining a blog?
From my experience writing an average blog post takes anywhere between 2-8 hours. But it’s not just about creating the actual content – you also have to work hard on building influence on all your social channels. To create a profitable platform you have to be regularly active on all your channels, you have to be consistent in the quality of your content (that includes all the imagery) and also it’s important to stay engaged with your community.
How do you approach the challenge of making a living from blogging?
Well the two most important questions I ask myself when considering a new stream of income from my bog is:
When it comes to adding value for my readers, I’ve found giveaways can work really well. When I run a giveaway my readership size tends to increase and I find lots of people get involved so I can tell people are really engaging with it – so it’s a win-win for me. In fact, I’d recommend Rafflecopter to any bloggers looking to run giveaways. It’s a great tool for managing the process and tracking the reach of your campaign.
It’s also really important that I only work with brands that are relevant to me and my readers. So for example brands like Sweaty Betty or Oliver Bonas which I like anyway and so would naturally talk about on my site.
How do you find brands to work with?
At the moment I don’t tend to approach brands, they have tended to approach me when they think there is a good fit. But saying that, I am also planning to build my credibility in certain areas and then I might approach the relevant brands. For example I talk a lot about tea, so I might think about some great tea brands I could collaborate with.
Have you ever placed adverts on your site using a tool such as AdSense?
Yes I’ve used AdSense before, I found it easy to use and easy to install and I liked that you can choose how the ads look on your page. But in reality it requires loads of visitors to your page to make it worthwhile. It’s a nice bit of pocket money but it’s never going to a make the average blogger a decent living. I haven’t bothered putting it on my current blog for this exact reason.
I’ve found that doing direct banner deals is much more lucrative. You can charge around £200 per banner if you sell the space directly to brands but the negative here is that it takes time to do those deals of course.
And finally, what advice would you have to a new blogger just starting out and looking make a living from their blog?
Start a self-hosted WordPress blog, don’t spend too much on design in the beginning and start writing as much as you can. You can fine-tune things as you go. Be consistent, authentic and active – it pays off! You can start making money in 6 month. And whenever you’re stuck, ask for help. This is a big one yet often forgotten. There are so many people who will love to help you. Good luck!
If you found this article helpful, Hana actually offers ‘Zero To Blog’ workshops and courses where she draws on her own experiences to teach you everything you need to start your own successful blog. Check it out here: http://www.hanajaywrites.com/product-category/courses/