Successful bloggers have been making money off their passion projects for years. With established audiences, a set voice, and a strong web presence, these writers, photographers, and artists are beginning to transition from simple blogs into money-making businesses. This transition, however, might be more difficult than you expect. You cannot assume that your readers will want to pay for products and services, and you have to choose your “products” carefully. Below are a few tips for successfully transitioning your passion project into a source of income.
Build an Email List—If you’ve been in the blogging world for a while, you likely already have a newsletter or subscriber perks. Start early and promote often; when you make the switch to an income-generating business, these readers should be the first to know. Disseminating content via an email list is also a fantastic way to beat the Facebook and Google algorithms—your readers will see what they want to see, and it will be delivered straight to their inboxes.
Determine How You Want to Make Money—Do you want to sell a product? Do you want to introduce a subscription service to your reader audience? Do you want to utilize click or affiliate adds? Think critically about the people in your audience; what would they pay for? What do they want to see?
Begin with a Merchandise Line—If you plan to sell a physical product, begin by introducing a line of merchandise with your blog’s name or logo. Think hats, t-shirts, and the ever-popular tote bags. Similarly, if you have been generating content for several years, you likely have enough to fill a book. Consider publishing a “Best of ___” book through your site.
Avoid the Subscription Model—These don’t work, period. If your money-making idea involves imposing fees on your devoted readers, your venture will, inevitably, fail. Instead, consider instituting a generous payroll. Established media outlets utilize this tool; allow your readers to access fifteen articles each month before imposing a subscription. You can also create “Member Perks” wherein monthly contributors have access to additional or new content.