Join our Facebook Community

7 Tips for Profitable Niche Blogging

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of February 2010 Blogging for Dollars 0 Comments

Guest post by Deb Ng from Freelance Writing Gigs.

While going over my stats last summer, I learned something important: If I stopped blogging each day, I would still earn enough each month from my content to draw a salary and pay the bloggers who write for my network. I’m no longer breaking even and I can tell you, after almost five years of trying to make this blog work out, the rewards go far beyond that of money. Success is a great motivator.

I would like to tell those who don’t feel niche bloggers can’t earn decent advertising revenue, they couldn’t be more wrong.

“Make money online” bloggers are always pimping affiliate links. Niche bloggers can’t necessarily do this. Our readers don’t want to receive pitches every day. Moreover, not all niche blog readers are buyers. For example, selling high end products via a frugal living blog probably isn’t the best idea. The same with my freelance writing blog; one thing I learned over the years is that writers don’t open their wallets for the next big thing. If they’re buying products through an affiliate link, it has to provide tremendous value. When I have sold it’s with conferences, books, ebooks, courses and other teaching products. The bulk of my income doesn’t come from affiliate links, however. They come from private ad sales and Adsense.

So, niche bloggers, here is my advice to you:

  1. Traffic and community come first: To truly earn money through advertising revenue on a niche blog, you have to build trust within your community. Sure, you can place ads on your blog from the very beginning, but they probably won’t earn. Don’t focus on monetization right off the bat. Take the time to build traffic and community. Establish trust among your readers. Once you have an active community and regular traffic with a pattern you can rely on, then you can deal with traffic.
  2. Know your readers: Before you sell anything, you have to know your market. Tech blogs and “make money online” blogs can enjoy a more diverse income stream because their readers will respond to a variety of products and services. Not so much with nichier topics. Knowing your community’s habits is essential to monetizing narrow niches. For example, my community is made up of clickers, not buyers. As mentioned above, when they do buy, they choose items that teach. They don’t invest in gadgets but they will invest in materials to help them further their careers.  I learned what they like by playing with the various revenue streams and also by conducting polls and reading every single one of their comments and emails.
  3. It won’t happen overnight: Don’t be frustrated if you don’t begin earning as soon as you place ads. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your community wants to trust you – and your advertisers.  Give each ad some time to earn, but if you don’t see any response at all after a month or two, explore other advertising possibilities.
  4. Good content continues to earn over time: Timeless or “evergreen” content has the ability to earn for a lifetime. Try posting advice that will be relevant five years from now. In addition to current news and events, discuss topics that will always appeal to web searchers.
  5. Find other forms of passive income: Advertising isn’t the only way you can earn through your blog. As Darren has proved here, you can also sell ebooks, courses, work books, webinars and even a membership forum.
  6. Don’t wait for advertisers to find you: For me, private ad sales are the most lucrative. Other than Adsense, my highest payers are advertisers who didn’t come from a particular advertising agency. I found many of them on my own. Advertisers won’t reach out to you if they don’t know about you. If you have enough traffic coming in, create a press kit. List stats such as bounce rate, pageviews, traffic and more. Market your blog much in the same way traditional media market to their advertisers. See if you can convince potential advertisers to come on board.
  7. Don’t rest on your laurels: OK, so you have a few ads. I can tell you now, it won’t last. You can’t expect every advertiser to stick with you for years. They come, advertise for a while, and go on their merry way after sales start to lag a bit. Always be on the lookout for new sponsors and advertising opportunities to ensure there are no dry periods.

Many niche blogs are difficult to monetize, but they don’t have to be. If you study your community and traffic patterns, you can find some profitable solutions. You might have to think outside the box or sell your own stuff, but once your blog hits, the sales will soar.

Are you monetizing your blog now? What methods are using and how is it working out for you?

Deb Ng is a freelance writer, professional blogger, social media consultant and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network of blogs. Follow Deb on Twitter @debng.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Great article! After around 6 months of blogging I realized there was nothing special about my blog that could attract high traffic. My blog wasn’t known for anything in particular within the industry I blog about.

    I made the marketing decision to narrow my focus and specify my niche, and the blog has really taken off. More comments, more subscribers, more impressions, etc. This results in the blog being more profitable.

    Thanks for the great advice.

  2. great info, Deb. I also suggest that bloggers join discussion boards / forums to promote themselves in their niche. there are boards for ever subject, get involved! you’ll also learn more on the topic and become a better authority

  3. I would say that advertising is one of the hardest form’s of blog income to monetize – especially early on. I would instead focus on list building and affiliate marketing.

  4. Yes niche blogging is a good example of patience pays .. as being a specific niche blogger myself after 9 months slowly and steady I think so I am get the trust of some followers for sure… Hope to get some income from it too..

  5. Great ideas, and I love that you mentioned a frugal living blog since I am processing the monetization process now. I am a true “frugal living” blog as opposed to a deals blog, so I advocate not purchasing retail or choosing VERY wisely with your finances/investments. Therefore, there are very few affiliates that I advertise and pass up many pitches. For instance, even though I do a Frugal Fashionista series, marketing a $150 dress when I shop designer clothes at goodwill doesn’t really reach my target audience.
    I love that I built a community on my site before I even knew anything about making money on my blogs because my influence with my readers is now really strong.
    Thanks for some great ideas. :)

  6. What happen when they private advertisers advertise the same type of things that you could not sell as an affiliate marketer? May be the private advertisers will leave after one month because they did not get their value. So, you will have a high turn over and a constant struggle to find new advertisers. Also how do you feel knowing that the advertisers won’t be getting value for their money.

    I think you can always create tools and information products that will provide value to your visitors and that they will be willing to pay. Of course, you have to create these products.

  7. I guess that it still boils down to traffic be it advertising or affiliate sales. Advertising is still one of the essential way to monetize blog even if got sell own ebooks but don’t depend or placed too much hope on Adsense. Private ads income is more dependable and significant than Adsense.

  8. @wiseinvestor – Actually that depends on the blog. Adsense is the highest earner for my blog network – even more so than private ad sales. I would have gotten ride of it if it didn’t work out because ads are ugly and add clutter. However, it’s a good money maker for my blog. I wouldn’t write it off simply because it’s Adsense, everyone’s experiences are different.

  9. Knowing our readers need times, sometimes difficult to understand what they want. Not all of the readers to follow continuously feed.

  10. Traffic is nice. Targeted traffic is nicer. And more lucrative.

  11. Simple, insightful, and very helpful. I always get excited when reading about something I can actually implement in my own business:).

    Best,
    Ana/What is YourNetBiz blog post

  12. Point # 6 is dead on , we have had a steady flow of advertisers on our site, and none of them are from any agency or Ad service , other then Ad sense, but we really go into our community and promote the idea of online advertisement

    people may say well, I am online, I have a Facebook,Twitter, Myspace etc … but people fail to realize it is about visibility , while you may have 1000 friends , they might not all be login on at the same time , vs 1000 unique visitors

    so we build enough traffic to play that card and sell ads locally to business that want to be seen on our site

    we sell impressions and not click throughs , because most of our advertisers don’t sell a product you can buy online and most don’t even have a website, they just want to be seen.

    so don’t rule out Johhny’s Shoe Shop, or Joe’s Burgers as potential advertisers that are well with in reach

  13. I’m not a niche blogger (The Casual Observer is eclectic by design), but I’m trying to monetize my fiction eBooks via an online store.

  14. Deb, nice reading you again after a long time :)

    Point 4 is the most important one IMHO. No blog writer should concentrate on writing evergreens but once in a while a blogger should concentrate on such resource articles in his/her niche.

    Since Google Analytics started to output AdSense analysis it is easy to see those gems. And of course all the old hints are still valid: Best ofs, lists, collections …

    Writing a well researched resource article and seeing the long tail income/year jump over the three or four number border is priceless.

  15. Thanks for this post…I think you hit the nail squarely on the head.

  16. Advertising is one of the best ways to monetize a blog, but you do need some authority and good traffic to be able to make good money from it.

    Until then, affiliate offers and CPC adds can bring in some nice income, especially if you can get some sort of discount to offer your readers. Experimenting with different type of adds and their positioning is crucial for the best CTR.

  17. Google Analytics started to output AdSense analysis it is easy to see those gems. And of course all the old hints are still valid: Best ofs, lists, collections …

  18. Success stories are great to hear…especially about how blogging can be profitable.

    My biggest advertiser came thru my own searches and contacts. Your advice to go find them (advertisers) and not the belief that “if you build they will come” is spot on.

    And last, in this world of ADD and instant gratification, patience when building your community is easy to say and really hard to do.

    Just a thought, you did not mention building your email list for a newsletter etc as part of your passive income. Is it a part of your business model?

    Thanks Deb and Darren for sharing!

    Boomer54
    Mark

  19. I am just starting out, but I find that it is hard for a personal blog to make any money because the topics are all over the place. But I do find that all my real estate related posts far exceeds the other topics in terms of the number of readers, so niche blogging really works…

  20. Good read. It’s definitely better to build your community before you blast them with ads.

  21. Good article–I suggest we all take a step back for a minute and try to determine what our blog really “is:” a niche-focused site or a general topical site? Or something different all together…

    Great post, Deb, and thanks!

  22. Hi guys

    thanks for the great tips – i remember recently changing my websites structure and a few of my blogs so that the advert section was in a much better position and i couldnt believe how much of a difference it made.

    I also sell advertising on my twitter account and it allows me to have a very healthy income stream from twitter.

    Its all about spotting an opportunity and grabbing hold of it with both hands.

    kind regards

    sam
    X

  23. Joe T says: 02/20/2010 at 6:13 am

    “If you have enough traffic coming in, create a press kit. List stats such as bounce rate, pageviews, traffic and more. Market your blog much in the same way traditional media market to their advertisers.”

    I would love to hear more on this. Maybe even an entire article on it.

    If you are like me, you are new at blogging and you know little more than what you can read here and a few other sites. Things I don’t know related to the topic above:

    1. How do you know when you have enough traffic coming in to approach niche advertisers?
    2. How do you create a press kit?
    3. What is a good bounce rate?
    4. What is a good number of page views?
    5. What is a good average time on site?

    Thanks for the help. Any response or links to appropriate articles will be very appreciated.

    Joe

  24. @Joe T. – That’s a terrific idea and if Darren doesn’t mind, I’ll be happy to do a follow up.

  25. Very informative article. One thing I had to learn the hard way is that if you start a niche blog you should stick to that specific niche within the blog. I had about 150 posts on my blog and decided to switch niches and my blog got hurt badly in the search engines. It was almost like all the SEO I had done for the first niche was for nothing. Hard lesson learned the hard way.

  26. Great article! I’m a huge proponent for the value of content over the long term. For a particular blog in the highly competitive weight loss niche we did an aggressive article marketing campaign only to find that content we submitted back in early 2008 is still generating traffic in the 500+ per day range without ANY new additions!

  27. HI Darren, Regarding that third point,

    I’ve started constructing my blog about 2 month ago, and launched it about two weeks ago, I’ve already added some ads and affiliate links – do you think this could work? is it too early?

    Do you think my blog can work, and also make money?

    Ami
    Bee a Blogger | REAL-TIME Blogging Report

  28. Very informative article – loud and clear point out of all of this is point no.1 regarding community and traffic. This is the square i’m stuck on at the moment. Still trying to build community and that sense of trust you mention in your first point.

    Thanks again – look forward to more of your articles.

  29. I love the point about evergreen content. I hate writing things that are just going to expire. Feels like I only get a partial benefit from my efforts then.

  30. yeah, it won’t happen overnight

    but on your opinion, how does it usually take long?

  31. I am in this beginning stage so I am working on building the traffic and building the network of people around so I can have regular visitors coming on my site.

  32. I am monetizing my blog with adbrite and sponsored posts, links..etc

  33. Love it! However, my problem now is how to search good targeted visitors. Maybe advertising is one of the best ways to monetize a blog, but you do need some authority and good traffic to be able to make good money from it (and a lot of money of course).

  34. Indeed, community comes first. At an early stage, each visitor warrants attention and individual communication. That is part of the joy — authentic connection.

  35. keep on blogging!

  36. Great and awesome article. Another fantastic article to a fantastic blogger. Thanks for the post.

  37. Thanks for the tips. They’re hopeful. I’m almost finished with my first ebook. It sounds like I’m on the right track.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  38. I love the irony of a blog devoted to writing about writing a blog!

    http://francessmily.com/how-to-become-a-lingerie-designer.html

  39. I have the same question as above.
    It won’t happen overnight so how long it takes.
    Thanks for post

  40. So intelligent tips and information for blogs!I just now understand where I am wrong!Thank you so much for this nice information and tips!

  41. I will definitely put every words I read here deep into my thoughts. Initially before I experience the world of online blogging and website creation, I just thought, hey how hard it could be? After all, there are so many gurus around to teach you. Right now, after getting involved in a niche blogging, I found out that it’s not a stroll in the park as it takes a lot of courage and commitment to succeed.

  42. I am a producer of a niche product but not a blogger (yet). So maybe it’s a good idea to change my website to some sort of blog or community in order to get more people interested. Anyways, thanks for sharing your insights!

  43. Really well organized information and it would help to all starters in this big blogging world. I am also to new this world and currently i am in process of discovering myself in this field. And i totally agree with “niche blogging” nobody can expertise in all field. One should need to discover his/her forte and then follow it religiously.

  44. I like $5, particularly. As you build things up, it’s so valuable to create little ongoing moneymaking machines in the background. In time, these can become foundational revenue sources.

  45. There are so many advantage of niche blogging. I like to be blogging on a particular niche. It also good for perfectly monetize our blog.

  46. Great tips, I’ve come to know most of this through experience and other articles but good tips nonetheless.

    Tips 3 and 4 are great ones to make note of. Who doesn’t want to be rich overnight, but it just won’t happen, I wish it would though haha.

    If you’ve ever written some eHow articles, you’ll see how number 4 makes a lot of sense. Since you can see how well each article does individually as far as traffic and earnings, if’s easy to see that a well written article will continually be a top earner for a long time.

  47. Interesting.. I must do it too ;)

  48. great news , i hope i could post something here.

  49. I almost gave up trying to understand the point of the article until I forced my lazy self to read through the article again. But like before, that’s probably only me.

  50. Journey of Angel's says: 02/21/2010 at 3:40 am

    Please don’t roll your eyes………..
    I want to blog about my life with Lyme disease…and what I learn as I learn it. I have the desire to record my talks with the doctors (who, God bless them, are learning day by day), interview Dr.s that aren’t treating me also. I know nothing about blogging and don’t want to do it as a business, but I will invest many hours in it. Problem is, I DON’T KNOW HOW. Is there a place I can learn how and where to do this? I just happened onto this from Yahoo……….Thanks in advance. Angel

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…

Close
Open