Can you still make money blogging in 2017?
Actually, yes, although it's not necessarily easy.
A lot of big, obvious niches, like travel, are pretty well saturated already.
Plus, unless you're getting Buzzfeed levels of traffic, it's hard to rely on AdSense alone to bring in revenue.
In most cases, ads will barely cover your operating costs.
But there are a bunch of different ways to monetize a blog, and they work well for a pretty wide variety of different niches and topics.
Blogging isn't something where you're guaranteed to get rich overnight, even in a subniche with a lot of potential.
If you go this route, it should be because you enjoy writing about something. It's not worth subjecting yourself to a grind that you'll end up resenting.
In a recent article in Entrepreneur, entrepreneur and blogger R.L. Adams offers a bunch of ways you can turn a successful blog into a reliable source of revenue, beyond just ads and affiliate links.
The right promotional strategies, combined with some smart monetization tactics, can actually make a solid profit over time.
1. Learn SEO the Right Way
Although you shouldn't start a blog with the intention of optimizing it to oblivion, you most certainly should understand the fundamental principles of search engine optimization so that you pay attention to the key aspects that will impact your ability to rank on search engines like Google.
You should always be increasing your knowledge and expanding your skill set.
2. Regulary Build Useful Content
If you're serious about succeeding with your blog, you need to build useful anchor content.
It needs to be engaging, keyword centric, insightful, unique and well written. Don't write your content for search engines.
Rather, write your content for humans while also paying homage to search engines and what they want. Simply put, it's a skill that develops over time with practice.
It's also important to regularly publish your content on a weekly basis.
3. Sign Up to an Email Marketing Platform
The best avenue for making money from your blog is through email marketing, plain and simple.
Hands down, this offers one of the quickest and surest strategies for earning an income through your blog.
But before you get there, you need to sign up to an email marketing platform like Aweber, ConvertKit, MailChimp, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft or any other number of platforms that exist out there.
4. Build a Lead Magnet
If you're serious about marketing anything online, rather than opting for running ads on your blog (which won't make you real money unless you have at least hundreds of thousands of visitors per day) or engaging in affiliate marketing…
You should build a topical lead magnet that will sell a digital product or offer that you create in the back-end.
The lead magnet will entice people to sign up to your list and provide you with their email address.
5. Build a Digital Product and Position Your Offers
Email marketing and lead magnets are all designed to help you build out an automated sales machine.
However, you need a digital product, service or other kind of offer in the back-end to do that. You can create multiple offers or products, that can lead people up a value chain towards your high-ticket sales.
6. Create a Sales Funnel
Take the time to build your automated sales funnel.
There is so much involved with sales funnels, but the basic premise is that your visitors will show up to your site by discovering your content, drop into your sales funnel through an offer via your lead magnet or some other tripwire…
And they'll then be led through a journey with drip-fed messages at some periodic schedule that will allow you to sell your products and services on autopilot.
7. Get Social
Building a blog isn't easy by any measure. To help you along the road towards success, you have to get social.
Not only by linking up with other like-minded bloggers interested in online marketing, but also by sharing and engaging with others on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.
8. Market Your Content
The single most important strategy you'll find for building up a blog and boosting your visibility on search engines like Google, and my all-time go-to strategy for rocketing up the search rankings on Google's SERPs, is content marketing.
Marketing your content is an intricate process that involves long, seemingly-never-ending hours of building more useful off-site content that links to your primary anchor content, but it's well worth it.
You can use this single strategy to rank number one on Google's searches for nearly any keyword if it's done the right way. There's most certainly an art to this as well as a technical outline and to doing it the right way.
Don't try to spam or overstuff keywords in an effort to market your content by any means.
Content marketing can be done with articles on sites like Medium.com or Scribd.com, it can be done by answering questions on Reddit or Quora, and it can be done with videos on YouTube or Vimeo, along with a variety of other means.
The point is that all of the content has to be useful, period. Don't try to do the least amount of work for the greatest return.
You need to do the exact opposite if you want to succeed.
9. Monetize Your Content
Let's face it, starting and running a blog can get costly. Don't expect to get rich overnight.
However, you can take certain measures to monetize some of your content along the way.
Be sure that you remain topical with your content and that your lead magnets help to drop people into a sales funnel that will eventually sell your high-ticket items.
However, aside from that, you can always opt to generate small amounts of cash flow by doing other things such as creating articles that will lead people to courses or audiobooks that you've developed, or building out video tutorials that will ultimately sell some big package or system that will help to teach people whatever it is that you're really good it.
You can learn more about how to create and monetize a blog over at Entrepreneur.