Over the years, I’ve learned that one of the best ways to make a profit by doing something you enjoy and having fun is to start a blog about your hobbies. When I first started this blog, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I did have fun writing and learning about the process. Learning about technology and how it affects our lives was a topic that I found particularly fascinating. I am also interested in entrepreneurship and learning about the traits of successful people and businesses. So I segued this blog to touch on technology related topics in those years. This interest has kept my passion alive for running this blog and over time this blog has become profitable.
I’ve learned a few things in this process.
- You can blog about anything.
- You can make blogging fun, entertaining and engaging by picking a topic that you’re already passionate about.
- A blog or website can always find a way to earn some money.
- Starting a blog isn’t difficult and the overhead is low.
These are just a few of the broad ideas that I picked up over the years, but I think the above bullet points hold true. So let’s talk about how anyone can start a blog about any topic of interest and at the same time turn it into a profitable blog or website.
You Can Blog About Anything
If you have a hobby or interest in any field. I believe there is a way that you can talk about your interest on a regular basis. Just think about anytime you get together with your friends who have a similar interest. You start talking to them and maybe the conversation goes on for hours. Can you take that same conversation and put your thoughts down in writing? Perhaps break it up so you can do shorter articles on some focused points and spread out some blog posts? Sure you can!
Pick something as simple as Football. Perhaps you have a favorite team that you follow. Or you are involved in a fantasy league and have some favorite players. That’s source material for a weekly article that discusses your personal thoughts on how your team might perform that week. You can talk about players, injuries, strategy. These are likely things you’d talk to your friends about before the big game anyways.
Or maybe you like to build things. Woodwork, metalwork, models, puzzles, etc… You could write about the different techniques that you’ve learned over the years. Give pointers on unique problems that you’ve run into in the past or present. Talk about your latest project. Even take your audience through your latest project step by step as it progresses.
If you like to read. You can discuss your favorite books.
You love doing projects with your kids. You can talk about that.
My point is any topic that you find interesting, you can talk about. If you can talk about it, then you can write about it.
You Can Make Blogging Fun, Entertaining and Engaging
Half the battle is won in picking a topic that you are passionate about. Don’t make the mistake of thinking about a blog as a way to make money or simply as a business. You run the risk of burning out and losing interest. Instead, think of it as an extension of your existing hobby.
Many people keep a logbook or diary of their hobby activities. For example, one of my hobbies is saltwater reefkeeping. I have my own small saltwater aquarium. In my hobby, many people will keep a log book of their aquarium parameters, take pictures, and write down any significant events to keep track of the changes in their aquarium.
As another example, I know many people who get involved in a fantasy sports league who keep track on their team or player’s statistics.
These are things that can be easily transferred to an online article for a blog.
Because you are passionate about the topic, it becomes fun for you to upkeep the blog. Your passion about the topic will translate to the blog and engage your audience.
You Can Always Find a Way to Monetize a Blog or Website
There are a million different ways to monetize.
Once you’ve found a topic of interest to you, think about all the different nuances of your hobby. Are there tools that you need to use in your hobby? Products that help you? Books that you’ve read on the topic?
Each of these things are potential areas of profit. I’ll discuss just a few ways that you can monetize a blog or website. Truly, the limits are your imagination.
Market the Products that You Recommend
One way to make a profit with your hobby is by recommending products that you personally use and earn a commission through a process known as affiliate marketing. You can simply partner with a site that sells the product so that whenever someone makes a purchase on your recommendation, you earn a small commission. Most online merchants have a link on their website to allow you to become a partner or affiliate. (Usually you can find these links n the footer menu)
When you partner with a website, they give you a special tracking code that you use when you are linking to their products. It’s generally as simple as copying and pasting the code. Whenever someone clicks through that link and makes a purchase, you get the credit and earn some money.
As a start, you can join up with an online merchant that everyone knows and uses, such as Amazon.com. Amazon has their own amazon associates program that allows you to link to any product on their site as an associate and earn a commission. How many products have you purchased from Amazon for your hobby?
I would recommend just starting off with Amazon to get your feet wet. But as you gain some experience, then looking into partnering with other online merchants that may payout better or have more focus on your specific hobby.
You can also decide to sell products directly, but creating an online store section of your website. You will earn a greater share of the profit on your sales, but this process may incur additional costs for carrying inventory, shipping, etc… If you get a good amount of traffic, it’s not a bad idea to go into direct retail as well.
Start a Mailing List
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “The money is in the list.” This is also one way to start the process towards monetizing. A mailing list is a way to build some direct marketing power. It generally doesn’t make you money by itself. What a mailing list gives you is a targeted audience for your recommendations.
Because people have to take extra steps to sign on to your mailing list, you know that these people are interested in your recommendations. This is particularly true if you are very descriptive about the purpose of your mailing list. Tell them that the mailing list makes specific personal recommendations to take their hobby to the next level. Explain that there will be product recommendations about items that you’ve specifically used in the past as well as more detailed strategy discussions about those topics. Then you know that the people who sign up are the ones who are more inclined to make a purchase on your recommendation.
Many people not only market their mailing list on their own blog or website, but also hire a service such as www.listgiant.com to build their list. This is because the power of direct marketing to an audience that has signed onto your mailing list with the purpose of receiving your recommendations is extremely profitable.
Sell Advertising Space on Your Blog
This is a standard method that most information services make a profit. Think of commercials on television or ads in a newspaper. As your blog becomes better known in your hobby circle, you can start selling advertising space to various vendors and merchants in your niche.
This can lead to more stable income as you set a standard rate for your advertising space. You can charge a monthly fee to host a banner ad in your side bar or set a flat rate. You can really create any kind of fee structure that you works for your website.
Starting a Blog is Easy and the Overhead is Low
The overhead for starting a blog is minimal. You can really start of by creating a free blog through a number of services such as blogger.
However, you lose a bit of control by using a free service, so I recommend using a paid host, which generally costs less than $10 a month. For the cost of a meal, you can start a wordpress blog and have complete control over the appearance and function of your blog. It’s really worth it.
As a starting website or blog, I recommend using Hostgator which starts as low as $3.96 a month for shared hosting. They have an easy to use one click process to install and start up a wordpress blog. I was a long time user of Hostgator shared hosting for a few years before my blog outgrew their services. They are easy to use and customer friendly as well as low cost. That’s just about everything I would want in a hosting service.
So, the overhead is low. But what if you aren’t technology saavy?
Don’t be intimidated! It’s really a one click process to start up a blog and there are tons of online resources. You can follow my guide on how to set up your first blog on Hostgator or look up any number of resources with a simple search.
If you feel really intimidated, you can practice by setting up a free wordpress host over at wordpress.com and try it out before getting a paid host.
Good Luck with Your Hobby Blog!
I think a hobby blog is one of the easiest and enjoyable ways to earn some extra income. Even if you don’t do it for the money, it’s a great way to share and expand on your passion. You’ll find as your write, it helps you look for new ways to play around with your hobby and have some fun. And if you can earn some extra cash to help support your hobby all the better. Good luck and enjoy!