Using Your Blog to Quit Your Day Job

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blogMillions flocked to see Julie & Julia in theaters and most probably left feeling a little ambitious and more than a little starry-eyed. What’s not to like about a story—a true story—where a regular, every day woman is catapulted to fame and fortune by a little cooking blog she updates from her NYC apartment? Doesn’t it just seem like it could happen to you?

You too can make money blogging. We live in an extraordinary time, because people are actually able to quit their day jobs to focus on their blogging. While the average Joe might not see more than $500 a month (on a really good month), perseverance and a lot of trial and error can put you on the path toward an office-free income.

Getting Started

The first rule of blog club is: pick a compelling concept. The best and most monetarily successful blogs have some kind of purpose. Whether it’s a “come with me on my journey”-type idea (like Julie Powell’s), or a series of how-to entries, or it’s ensconced within a certain niche and designed to inform, share and connect. Food, automobiles, parenting, shopping, fishing, exercising and weight loss…the key is picking something you are truly passionate about, because if you have interesting and insightful things to say you will get, and keep, readers—which is important if you want to make money.

There are a number of blogging platforms to choose from, the most popular two probably being Blogger by Google, which is incredibly user-friendly, and WordPress, which has beautiful, clean templates, but is a bit trickier to figure out if you’re a first-timer. Search for different blog options and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Nail Down Your Blogger Business Model

There’s a difference between wanting to get paid for blogging and wanting to have a career out of it, and you should approach those goals with different mindsets. Of course, one can turn into the other with success (or lack thereof) but a good rule of thumb is to set a weekly entry goal and stick to it for at least six months to a year. Like exercise, make blogging a habit.

Turn Your Words into Cash

Blog traffic is the first part of the equation, and to generate the kind of interest in your blog that will bring in money, you’ll need to market your brainchild. If you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, use your accounts as free advertising to all your friends, families and even coworkers. Dabble in search engine optimization, or SEO, by using commonly searched-for phrases and words in your content, to help your blog show up in search engine results. Find blogs that are similar to yours and post thoughtful comments, so that people who read that blog will want to come to yours and find out more about what you have to say (usually the name you sign off with turns into a link to your blog, so no need to leave your URL; that can be construed as tacky).

That brings us to ads, perhaps the best way for you to start making money with your blog. One lucrative way to generate income is to join an affiliate network, where you are paid by a major company, like Amazon, to advertise for them on your blog, and every time someone gets to them from you and buys something, you get a commission. It’s not only simple, it can add up quickly. Check out sites like Google AdWords, Microsoft adCenter and cost per click formats which can generate income.  (where you get paid every time someone clicks the link – and they don’t even have to buy something).

Beware of the Pitfalls

Pitfalls? What kind of pitfalls could there be when you get to write about what you love and then sit back and watch your blog generate cash? If you’ve reached the point where you can quit your day job, then you know it actually takes a significant amount of time to oversee everything. Since you’re not at an office surrounded by coworkers and friends, you may get a little lonely stuck at home with little human interaction.

Also, one of the major downsides is how unpredictable the blogging-for-money market is. Up one month, way down the next, it can be a financial rollercoaster, and even if you’re making thousands of dollars per month, you’re still just as susceptible. There are no certainties with blogging, but if you’re lucky, there can be success.

This post was written and provided by Arthur Klaus. Arthur has been making a living from affiliate programs for the last 5 years and is a freelance writer.