6 ways to earn through blogs

Number of blogs still rising despite popularity of social media. ZDNet Asia highlights different ways bloggers generate revenue while keeping their day jobs.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Social media may have stolen some limelight from blogs but online journals are still going strong and can offer additional income for amateur bloggers. However, a blogger shares that it is not a get-rich quick scheme and bloggers will need patience for income to come in.

Blogs were all the rage in the mid-2000s with many companies hopping on the bandwagon and launching corporate blogs, before social media surfaced and grabbed the headlines.

However, research firm Nielsen reported that despite blogs being overlooked as a significant source of online buzz, they are still growing. NM Incite's research also found that the number of blogs worldwide grew from 36 million in October 2006 to over 181 million by end-November 2011.

While some are operated by professional bloggers whose main income comes from blogging, there are also individuals who use blogs as a way to supplement income from their day jobs. One of them is Eddie Law, founder and director of Malaysian law portal eLawyer.com.my, who started blogging in 2007.

Law said he regarded blogging as a hobby and used his blog as a source of additional income.

As blogging was not a get-rich quick scheme, he said bloggers needed to be patient as turning their blog into passive income takes time. They also needed to write content that was useful and relevant for their target readers, he added.

In addition, choosing good domain name is important for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, he said. With SEO, sites will be ranked higher during online search and this will more likely lead to better clickthrough rates.

Here are some tips for bloggers who want to keep their day jobs and blog on the sidelines to earn extra income:

1. Online ads
Law shared that he uses Google Adsense on his blog for advertising. Such services allow online publishers to display relevant text advertisements next to their content.

2. Ads through blog ad network
Online blog advertisement networks such as Nuffnang and Advertlets.com cater to blog advertising. Both are Malaysia-based companies which allow bloggers to include display ads on their posts.

Advertlets.com believes such targeted advertising benefits both readers and advertisers as the advertisement reaches relevant audience, while bloggers can monetize what they love doing.

3. Act as referrals for products
Bloggers can also promote the products or services offered by companies and take a cut from the sales. Organizations such as Amazon allow Web site owners to earn advertising fees by directing readers to the e-commerce platform.

Bloggers also can approach the source of the product or service directly, and join their affiliate programs which can lead to a bigger revenue-share model than through a third-party service.

4. Selling themes for blogs
Bloggers who buy and use customized themes or blog design can also direct readers to purchase the theme they are using and keep a part of the sales as commission. As the designs are already implemented on the blogs, bloggers would only need to show and not have to spend time explaining to readers what the theme looks like.

For example, the developers of the Wordpress theme, Thesis, offers 33 percent commission--about US$28--for a sale of their theme through an affiliate program.

5. Sponsorship
For more mature blogs with high visitor traffic, the bloggers might be approached by companies to post sponsored posts or receive free products to review or use.

Bloggers should note, however, that some countries have implemented regulations stating that bloggers must come clean about whether they have received compensation for the blog posts.

6. Featuring work skills
Besides directly earning money through sales and online advertisements, blogs can also be used to feature the blogger's skills such as writing, photography or Web design, which can lead to potential new projects.

Career blogger Penelope Trunk noted that blogging is good for careers as a "well-executed blog sets [the blogger] apart as an expert in [their] field".

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