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Passive income and making money from a blog in 2022

Passive income and making money from a blog in 2022

A few weeks ago I shared an article I was featured in on Metro about passive income and how I earn passive income through my blog. Since then I’ve had so many chats and questions from you guys so I thought I’d go into a bit more detail about making money from a blog in 2022.

I’ve been a full time blogger since around 2017 and, while lots has changed since then, the fundamentals are still the same. The best way to earn money as a blogger is to create useful content that helps people. Of course, there are more tactics and strategies than that but if that’s at the core of what you’re doing then you can’t go wrong.

If you’re in it to make money then you can. In fact, it can be a very lucrative business with extremely little financial investment to get started.

If you’re thinking about starting a blog in 2022 or maybe reviving an old blog that hasn’t had much attention then I would 100% encourage you to do so!

I know that from the outside it probably seems like you’d be better off starting a YouTube channel or an Instagram or TikTok account. I think it’s because you can see all the stats and the likes and engagement and the numbers over there, so it feels like that’s where everyone is! But blogs are bigger than ever before! 

If you think about how often you Google something and a blog comes up as the top result. It isn’t huge media companies getting the top spots anymore, it’s bloggers. It’s regular people sharing their expertise. They’re sitting at their kitchen tables sharing really valuable information and making a living from it.

You don’t need a degree or fancy equipment or specialist knowledge. You just need to be passionate and willing to learn!

What is passive income?

Passive income is money you earn without really doing any work. You’ll need to work hard to set it up, but then you can sit back and watch the money roll in….

Well kinda, I wish it was that simple!

A simple example of passive income is a landlord or landlady. They buy a house and then rent it out and each month they’ll receive money from their tenants without really having to do anything. 

Passive income with blogging requires a lot of time and effort to initially set it up but once you’re all set up you could be earning a six figure income with minimal effort.

If you’re thinking that it sounds too good to be true…well yea…it isn’t that simple.

Most bloggers will earn passive income through:

  1. Display adverts
  2. Affiliate marketing

You’ll write a blog post and your followers will read it and then it will continue to be read by people who find it through Google searches for years to come. 

For me, passive income hasn’t been about setting it up and then shutting my laptop and forgetting about it. It means I can work really hard for a few months and then not work at all for a few months and continue to earn the same amount of money.

It gives me the freedom and flexibility to work when I want. For example, I currently work part-time (about 16 hours a week) but when my youngest child starts school I’ll work 9-3 again. I work harder in the winter than the summer so I can take 2-3 months off over the summer. When I had my kids, I worked really hard while I was pregnant so I could take it easy for a year after they were born. 

Passive income for me is about working REALLY hard for a short period of time, then not working at all for a longer period of time.

It’s a bit like a HIIT workout for your career! It’s short, intense bursts of work so you can then  sit back and relax.

It isn’t for everyone. Some people hate HIIT! Some people would rather have a slow and steady workout that lasts twice as long but they enjoy it more. I totally understand that but I personally like to work really hard, get it done and then chill!

Passive income earning potential

Lots of people who earn passive income won’t take that break like I do and will continue to keep adding to their monthly income. Passive income earnings through blogging are potentially unlimited, the only thing holding you back is the amount of content you (or your team) can produce.

This is why passive income is so exciting!

Maybe when my kids are older I won’t take as many breaks and will keep adding to my passive income pot. I’m not sure because the work/life balance is so important to me but it’s always nice knowing I have that option.

What’s the difference between a blogger and an influencer?

First things first, let’s clear up the difference between bloggers and influencers.

In some ways, there are no differences. Bloggers and influencers both attract an online following and create content that influences their followers. That influence is often used to encourage people to buy things or change opinions. 

The biggest difference between bloggers and influencers is that bloggers create most of their content for their website and influencers usually create more for their social channels.

Another big difference is that bloggers tend to create more ‘evengreen content’ which means we create blog posts or videos that are searchable and relevant for years to come, whereas an influencer’s content is often more about that first 24 hours of going live.

On the surface, it might appear that it’s the same thing but on a different platform but it’s a bit more than that because the way you earn money is different.

Most influencers will earn the majority of their money through brand partnerships so you’ll often see them promoting products and services.

Bloggers will also do brand partnerships but they’ll also earn a big chunk of their income through display advertising and affiliate sales too.

While no one particularly likes display advertising, it means bloggers can earn money by creating content that doesn’t have to lead to a sale.

This blog post for instance isn’t written for any other purpose than to provide information and have people read it. I earn money by people reading this post, so I don’t need to try and sell you anything.

Influencers will also earn money through affiliate marketing. If a huge Instagrammer shared a link to the trainers she’s wearing and thousands of people bought them then she’ll be doing well! But, from my understanding, you do need to have a very big online following to really make this work.

Why I’m a blogger

First and foremost, I’m a blogger because I enjoy writing long-form blog posts like this. 

I studied English Language and Literature followed by journalism and began my career as a writer. I love photography and making videos but my main skill is writing.

Writing is also something I can do very quickly which, in my opinion, is an underrated skill in blogging!

I enjoy Instagram but I do find that spending a lot of time on Instagram has a negative impact on my mental health. I start comparing myself to others and feel like I can’t focus because I’m always wanting to check my Instagram stats!

If you’re more visual and prefer photography and videography over writing then creating content for social media makes more sense.

Of course, you can do both and be a blogger AND an influencer. You’ll also find that your blog will help you grow your social media channels and vice versa. But most people will have one platform they really specialise in and prefer to spend more of their time.

The second reason I still focus on blogging is because of what I mentioned above about bloggers not having to create content that leads to a sale. I just don’t feel comfortable constantly trying to sell something! I love that I can earn an income simply by creating informative content that is free for you guys to read. The more people who read my blog, the more money I earn so it pushes me to create the best blog posts I can to ensure you all keep coming back! Yes, the ads are there on the side and yea, they’re a bit annoying but I’m pretty sure most of us have learnt to live with them!

Pandemic learnings

The biggest thing we’ve learnt during the pandemic is that anything can happen and we really need to be ready for any possibility! 

For me, the biggest outtake from it all was that I need to be more in control of my earnings.

Prior to the pandemic I relied on brands to reach out to me and offer me work.

I basically sat at my computer waiting for the work to come to me.

And I was very, very lucky because for over 10 years the work did come! But I’ll be honest and admit that this was always quite stressful and I was well aware that it could dry up at any moment and I was relying too much on other people ‘choosing me’. If for some reason they didn’t choose me then I’d have a serious problem.

And that serious problem came in 2020!

Pre-covid I earned money via:

  1. Brand ambassadorships
  2. Paid press trips
  3. Advertorials
  4. Instagram collabs with brands
  5. Affiliate marketing
  6. Display advertising

During the pandemic, my top 3 earners fell off a cliff and there was little to no work. 

Instagram temporarily became my saviour and the majority of my work throughout the pandemic came from Instagram. But, like I mentioned above, spending lots of time on Instagram is tough! I started to lose track of what I was doing for me and what I was ‘doing for the ‘gram’. Was I painting my living room green and filling it with plants because that’s what I wanted, or because I knew it would do well on Instagram? Was I going paddleboarding to have a nice time or to get a nice photo? It really wasn’t good for me!

But it was good to figure out what worked for me and what I enjoyed the most.

So I was left with affiliate marketing and display advertising and the realisation that these two income streams had so much potential.

Previously they’d just been things I’d had on the backburner. They didn’t require much effort and were basically a byproduct of the other things I did.

Let’s say I went on a press trip and wrote three blog posts about it. I’d then add display ads and affiliate links to those posts and they’d bring in a bit of additional money but I didn’t put too much effort into it.

But now, well now I really needed to put the effort in!

Display advertising for passive income

The biggest thing I’m working on in 2022 is increasing my passive income through display advertising. That’s the adverts you see in the sidebar and throughout the content on this blog.

Display advertising is all about tiny numbers coming together! I’ll earn pennies for each person who reads my blog but those pennies do add up when you have hundreds of thousands of people!

So that’s the goal, to have hundreds of thousands of people every single day!

And rather than focusing on the pennies, it’s best to focus on the people. Keep creating content that people want to read. And lots of it!

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you receive a small percentage of a sale when someone buys a product or service you’ve recommended.

You have to sign up to an affiliate program and you’ll get a special link that tracks how many sales come from people clicking from your link onto the sales page.

Affiliate marketing isn’t a huge one for me but it’s something that happens quite naturally when you start getting lots of pageviews.

I wrote a blog post about a 3 day trip to Krakow. In that post I mentioned the hotel I stayed at and 10 people have booked that hotel after seeing me mention it. Each sale is small but there’s a lot of potential, particularly on blog posts that go viral or get lots of traffic.

Affiliate marketing can be very strategic but I personally keep it simple. I don’t force products into blog posts simply to make a sale, but if a product naturally comes up then I will include it and add an affiliate link where possible.

Should you focus on a niche?

The main advice out there, and the advice I’ve been giving for the past 10 years, is to focus on one niche. You need to make yourself an expert in one particular area. Not only will your audience trust you but Google will trust you too.

Let’s say you’re a cake blogger and you specialise in baking gluten free cakes. If you publish a recipe about a new gluten free orange cake, your recipe is likely to get more views than a general food blogger who blogs about all kinds of cooking.

You are the expert, Google knows you’re the expert and your audience knows you’re the expert.

Sounds simple. So what’s the problem?

The problem with this is that for most people it is BORING!

We’re multi-faceted humans with so many interests and passions. Most of us will get really bored if all we ever do is make gluten free cakes! I love a gluten free cake as much as the next person but I couldn’t write about them all day every day.

While niche content is the fastest way to grow, it can also be restrictive and most people will eventually lose their passion for that one topic. Most of us start blogs because we love the creative freedom to write and take photos of the things we love, so it’s really important to hold on to that passion or your blog is going to lose its spark. 

My advice would be to start with a niche and slowly branch out to other areas.

When the travel industry was crushed many travel bloggers were forced to create different types of content and adapt our blogs to ensure we were creating posts that people wanted to read. No one wanted to read about a 2 week itinerary for Thailand when we weren’t even allowed to leave our homes!

My main focus has always been travel but since having children I have shared more parenting and lifestyle posts too. During lockdown I blogged about life with 3 children, our lockdown routines, getting a Peloton bike and owning a static caravan and these are still some of my most popular blog posts!

It proved to me that I don’t need to focus on one topic and sharing a variety of content keeps it interesting for me.

Staying consistent

Staying passionate about your blog is 100% the most important thing because the difference between success and failure is consistency.

You need to consistently produce great content for at least a year before you’re going to start seeing any financial results.

And this is where most people fail. Most people get bored after a few months. Or they blog just once a month and don’t understand why they’re not earning a fortune from their 12 blog posts a year.

To put this into perspective, I have almost 1,500 blog posts! I think you need at least 100 blog posts before you start seeing big results.

This is also one of the reasons why a blog isn’t the best business if you’re purely in it for the financial rewards. There are better ways to earn money.

But if you have a passion and a love for writing and photography then I can’t think of a better business!

I use WordPress.org for my site.

I host my blog through Try Assistant. I’ve used Chris for years and years and he’s amazing.

The theme I use is Trellis by Mediavine

For display advertising I use Mediavine

My biggest earners for affiliate sales are Get Your Guide and Amazon

The Metro article: How to make money from home: 15 passive income sources

Some great podcasts about blogging and passive income

ProBlogger Podcast

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn

The Influencer Podcast with Julie Solomon

Building your Brand with Liz Mosley

Mona

Friday 28th of January 2022

Interesting article. Do you have any information on getting more views? My blog is about traveling on the intercoastal waterway on a small trawler.

Eagle32pursuit

Monica

Monday 31st of January 2022

I recommend using a tool like Keysearch to do keyword research to make sure you're using the right keywords and phrases that people are actually searching for. For example, I had a blog post about my 'weekend in Rotterdam'. It was long and informative but didn't get any traffic! So I looked at keysearch and realised no one googles 'weekend in Rotterdam' so no one was finding it via Google searches. I realised that thousands of people were searching for 'things to do in Rotterdam'. So I changed the focus on the article to '10 things to do in Rotterdam'. It was still the same article and was still all about my weekend in Rotterdam, I just changed the focus to something people were actually searching for. I hope that helps!