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Can Your Blog Make Money? Here’s How to Predict Your Chances for Income.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We’ve all heard of the many entrepreneurs who made it big thanks to a popular ; they either used their blog as an extension of an existing , or started blogging as a side project that ended up earning significant revenue.

Related: How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online

Knowing about the free website-building tools out there and the (perceived) ease of starting a blog, you’ve likely given this strategy some thought.

Would a blog actually help you make money, though? Ultimately, the answer revolves around three factors:

1. Monetization. What’s your plan to make money from the blog? You have many options, depending on your audience, intent and other ventures.

2. Traffic. No matter what monetization angle you choose, you’ll need ample traffic to support it. Your blog’s ability to generate that traffic is a significant indicator.

3. Upkeep and longevity. Though your blog will be free for you to create in most cases, it will cost time (and sometimes money) to keep your blog running. Your profitability will depend on what you invest in maintenance and improvement.

Want to know more? Here are the details.

Related: 5 Ways to Build an Audience for Your Blog and 10 Ways to Make Money Once You Have

Monetization

Let’s start with the different ways you can monetize your site:

Lead generation. If you already have a consulting or B2B business, you’ll need leads to close . A blog with enough calls to action should direct your readership to your contact page and earn you more appointments, which you can potentially close as sales. With lead generation, your blog will serve as an extension of your business rather than an independent revenue-generating opportunity.

. If you have something to sell, a blog can support those sales. For example, you might open a store to sell apparel, crafts or even an ebook. You could then use your blog to provide value to your potential customers, eventually forwarding them to product pages to consider making a purchase.

. If you have sufficient traffic, you won’t have to sell anything to your readers to make money; instead, you can generate revenue by attracting advertisers, who will pay you based on the volume of traffic you receive, or (more likely) based on the number of people who click on the ads you place. In some cases, ads can annoy readers, so be careful when you place those early ones; and keep a fair balance of ad content versus free, valuable content.

Affiliate linking. You can also make money through affiliate links, meaning links to other people’s products and services that you include in your blog content. You’ll get a percentage of any sales that your links generate, and again, with sufficient traffic, that could represent a substantial stream of revenue.

Traffic

No matter which approach you choose, you’ll need adequate traffic to earn enough value from it:

Targeting. You’ll need to start with the right . Ideally, you’ll choose a specific target niche that’s wide enough to have a large readership but narrow enough to avoid significant competition. That way, you can earn the most relevant followers while dealing with the least amount of competition. Make sure to research your target audience and existing competition before proceeding; try to find something unique that people really need.

Value. You then need to find a way to provide those users with value. Usually, that means providing them with the best content you can produce and that is timely, unique, helpful, thoroughly researched and well written. The more value you offer your readers, the more they’ll naturally be attracted to you, and the more they’ll spread the word of your existence.

Promotion and support. Even if you have a strong content base, and a hypothetically valuable niche, you won’t get far unless you spend time promoting and syndicating your material. You need to build up an initial audience base and encourage them to spread the word about you, building your brand reputation and circle of influence simultaneously. There are many ways to do this, including (SEO),  and paid advertising, but you’ll need to use at least one of these strategies to start building audience momentum.

Upkeep and longevity

If you want your revenue stream to last, you’ll need to make investments to keep your blog running and relevant for the foreseeable future (and ensure those costs don’t eat into your profitability):

Relevance longevity. You’ll have to keep your design and content updated to appeal to your target audience, whose interests may change — especially if you have significant competitors encroaching on your territory. You need to be prepared to do near-constant tweaking.

Ongoing costs. You’ll probably have to pay for things like hosting, marketing and advertising, so make sure you build those expenses into your long-term profitability plan.

Ongoing time investment. Creating new content, engaging with your followers and building your reputation is going to take several hours of work every week. Without that investment, your blog will be unable to sustain itself.

Related: How To Make Money From Blogging

So, can your blog make money? If you address all of the above points confidently, and walk away feeling that you’ve conquered all three areas of profitability, there’s nothing stopping your blog from being profitable. It’s still a long-term strategy, and one that might not pay off right away, but with a strong foundation, you’ll be ahead of the vast majority of new online entrepreneurs.

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5 Ways to Generate Passive Income and Keep Your Job

8 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Passive income is the Holy Grail for online marketers. It's automatic. Effortless. But, not at first. In the beginning, it's grueling. I liken this to doing the most amount of work for the least initial return. However, over time, as your passive income begins to increase, your reliance on an active income plummets. That's when the real magic starts to happen.

For most people, that means an exit from the proverbial rat race. It equates to freedom. True financial independence. An extrication from the shackles that binds us to the 9-to-5 corporate life-sucking job. It means being unleashed. Living a fulfilled life. And having total freedom to live, work and roam free at your leisure.

Yes, it's Utopian. That's by design. But, if you're sitting there thinking that passive income is impossible because you're too busy working a day job, think again. Not only is it possible. Not only should you do it. But, you'd be silly not to put as much of your effort into generating a passive income immediately.

However, this comes back to the old discussion of pain versus pleasure. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure. When our backs are against the wall, we act. When they're not, we relax. The truth is that the pain-versus-pleasure paradigm only operates in the short term. We'll only avoid pain in the here and now. Often not in the long term.

The day before our taxes are do, there's pain. Lots of pain. We know what happens if we don't file. Same thing the night before an exam or a paper is due. We spend so much time procrastinating that it's only at the point when the pain of continuing the procrastination exceeds the pleasure of putting it off any longer, that we actually take action.

But, when it boils down to it, passive income isn't that hard to generate. When you know what avenue to take, and you follow along with a few simple steps, you can do it. It just takes time. Don't expect this to materialize overnight. Unless, of course, you have money to invest in something like real estate or high-yield dividend stocks.

Related: 17 Passive Income Ideas for Automating Your Cash Flow

There are dozens of ways to generate passive income. However, the option you select has to do with two metrics: time and money. Either you have a lot of time or a lot of money. Most people usually don't have both. But, if you have a lot of money, generating passive income almost instantly is easy. You can buy up some real estate and begin enjoying rental income. Or, you can invest in a dividend fund or some other investment vehicle that will begin generating a steady income for you.

However, when you lack the money, you need time. You'll need to invest the upfront time now in order to reap the benefits of automatic income later. It just doesn't happen overnight. So don't expect it to. However, you can do this without quitting your day job. All it takes is some sincere effort over a consistent period, and voila! But, to get there, you'll need to consistently burn the midnight oil or get up at the crack of dawn. Your choice.

Related: 15 Property Management Tips for Entrepreneurs Seeking Passive Income From Real Estate

1. Start a blog.

One of the best ways you can create a passive income is by blogging. Yes, in the beginning there will be no income. Expect that. But, over time, you'll start to generate an income from that blog. Eventually, it will snowball. Potentially, it could earn you six or seven figures per year, sometimes even more.

There are some basic steps you'll need to take before you start a blog. Don't just rush headfirst into this without planning first. Blogs in the following sub-markets make the most money:

  • Dating and relationship related blogs
  • Money related blogs
  • Diet and fitness related blogs

However, you should pick a niche and blog about that. If you're launching a money related blog, maybe it'll be about how to make money in real estate or simply how to make money online. Pick the niche and stick to it. If it's a diet and fitness related blog, maybe the niche is the Ketogenic diet, the Atkins diet or some other form of diet or fitness.

Related: How to Make Over $1,000 a Month by Blogging

2. Launch an automated webinar.

Webinars are absolutely crushing it these days. If you're looking to create a serious amount of passive income, consider launching an automated webinar. However, before you do that, make sure you do that webinar live every single week for a year. Once you've got that webinar converting, automate it.

Some people take it automated well before the year is up. When it converts, it converts. If you target the right people and you're able to create the right message that appeals to your audience, you might just hit a home run. An automated webinar often involves the creation of a webinar funnel. That includes, not only the webinar, but also the email sequences, and possibly a self-liquidating offer, and maybe some done-for-your services and up-sells.

It's not as complicated as it sounds. There are loads of things to keep in mind when building out a webinar. It's not a simple task. But, when it clicks, it's a proverbial money-making machine. Not only do you make money fast, but it's often more than you had ever dreamed of.

Related: 12 Steps for Creating the Perfect Webinar

3. Write a ebook.

Ebooks are one of my favorite sources of passive income. Now, you can do this the simple way and just publish it on Amazon‘s KDP. Or, you can go all out and build yourself a book funnel. Book funnels are powerful, but they won't be fully passive. For example, if you do a free-plus-shipping offer for your ebook (converting it into a physical book), you'll need to create some one-time offers (i.e. extra training) and up-sells (i.e. an audiobook). But, a book funnel can be very powerful.

But, you don't need to go further than that. You can simply write it and publish it and collect the income. That's all. Send out a couple emails to your list (if you have one) or post it on social media, and there you have it. Passive income. Now, the amount of income you receive depends on the quality of the book you've written. How well did you craft the message? How targeted was the information to your audience? It counts.

If you want to take it a step further, you could easily create that ebook into an audiobook using the Audible platform. You can either produce the audiobook yourself or hire out a producer to do it for you. You can either pay them a flat fee or a royalty from the proceeds of the audiobook.

Related: Want to Write a Book? Consider These 3 Self-Publishing Options.

4. Do affiliate marketing.

One great way to generate a passive income is through affiliate marketing. Now, this does depend on the size of your list. Yes, size matters when it comes to your list. Especially if you're looking to make some serious money and do it on autopilot. But, list-building takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. And you need to add value to your list or you become obsolete.

Build a list in a particular niche and tell them stories. Create a bond. Build a relationship with them. It's important. Then, when you've created a bit of culture, start marketing affiliate products or services to them that you think they might like. Just be sure that you personally vet out whatever it is that you're selling to avoid complaints if the product or service falls short.

And if you're wondering whether you need a blog or a website to build a list, you don't. You can use sites like Medium or Quora or LinkedIn Publishing, and place a call-to-action to join your list. It's as simple as that. Build up quality content and invite them to join your list. Then, start marketing to them.

Related: How to Make Money Online in 6 Easy Steps

5. Build an information product funnel.

Sales funnels are powerful. They offer the highest potential for income on the internet. When configured properly, they can also easily be scaled. You will need to understand a thing or two about conversion optimizations. And, possibly Facebook ads. But, you can source out whatever confuses you.

The hardest part about building an information product funnel is coming up with the right hook. There is so much competition out there that virtually everyone has just about done every type of product or service. The goal is not in recreating the wheel. You simply have to model what's working, but not copy.

Find something you can sell that will entice enough people. In other words, pick a hot market. What are people buying up like crazy? Is it something diet related? Is it money related? So on. Find what's working and build out a better version of it without actually copying it. Add loads of value and watch as the money comes rolling in over time.