Does blogging pay? You better believe it! These benefits for blog writers start with money, and include recent research findings about how blogging pays financially, emotionally, and socially.
If you want blogging to pay your bills, you have to approach it like you would any small business. That means you need to be disciplined, professional, business-like, and adopt a long-term mindset to blogging.
Read books like How to Start a Blog that People Will Read. Bloggers like Mike Omar want to teach you how to create a website, write about a topic you love, develop a loyal readership, and make money blogging. There is a ton of information on the internet about how to make blogging pay, but it takes time and effort to sort through the redundancies and distractions. The reason I always encourage readers to buy books is threefold: 1) we learn better from concentrated, focused information in books; 2) we aren’t liable to be distracted by flashing advertisements and bunny trails; and 3) we want to support writers – blog and otherwise.
In this article, I share the results of a recent research study from Penn State University, which highlights several benefits for blog writers. This is a different slant on the “how blogging pays” question – and it’ll help you see different ways to profit from blog writing.
Does Blogging Pay?
The short answer is yes, blog writers can definitely make money. The long answer is in How Bloggers Make Money – 8 Most Important Tips and various business and blog writing books. Blogging does NOT pay overnight, and it does NOT pay to steal blog posts from other writers.
I’ve been making money as a blogger since 2008. My highest annual income was $60,000 in 2011 but then I screwed it up by going back to school to get a Master’s of Social Work. I lost momentum – it’s sorta like closing your business for a couple of years, and then having to rebuild. Now I’m making about half of what I was before.
If your blog pays more than $1,000 a month, you’re in the top 7% of bloggers (according to a poll by a professional blogger, but I can’t remember who. The statistic stuck in my mind because hooray! I’m in the top 7%).
“Bloggers are usually not paid and, except for a few A-list bloggers, most of them are unknown,” says S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University. He believes that feelings of connection and empowerment may explain why blogging is still popular, despite a lack of financial rewards for bloggers.
10 Ways Blogging Pays Writers
Money. Blogging pays, but it takes work. You have to be dedicated to your topic and your blog. You have to turn your blog into a business, not just a hobby. You have to be financially and emotionally prepared for the ups and downs of running a business. You have to be disciplined and able to work independently. There are lots of other “have to’s” if you want blog writing to pay, but I have to walk my dogs in an hour and am running out of time.
Satisfaction of working for yourself. I love the freedom and independence of building my blog business. I did get bored for awhile, which is why I went back to school…but after doing two nine-month social work internships, I realized that I don’t want a real job. Blog writing is the work I love, and even if blogging isn’t paying me $60,000 a year again. Yet.
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Challenge. It’s exciting to find something you’re passionate about, create a blog, write posts, watch your traffic grow, and get paid for your blogging efforts. It’s a daily challenge to find phrases that are searched for online (search engine optimization or SEO), and write posts that balance SEO with voice. Blog writing is very challenging.
Motivation. In the Penn State study, researchers asked 340 female blog writers about their blogging activities and their feelings of empowerment. The survey of bloggers, who were drawn at random from a web directory of blogs written predominantly by women, showed that the more visits a blog gets, the more likely bloggers continue writing.
Community. Writers who blog for personal reasons – such as personal blogging for emotional healing from depression or loss – felt a greater sense of community online. I don’t enjoy blogging about my personal life…and perhaps that’s why blogging does pay for me.
Self-confidence. Blog writers who wrote about external subjects said blogging made them feel competent, assertive and confident. “Those women who write mostly about their personal lives and daily experiences become more empowered by developing a strong sense of community,” says lead researcher Carmen Stavrositu, who is an assistant professor of communications at the University of Colorado. Blog writers who connect with others who share similar experiences feel like they are a part of the community, which helps increase self-confidence.
Influence. “Women who received a high number of site visitors felt a deeper sense of agency about blogging compared to those who received fewer visitors, ultimately leading to a greater sense of influence,” said Stavrositu.
Empowerment. When writers blog about issues that are not as personal, they feel more empowered because they believe they can change issues – especially when they have a lot of readers. This study also found that blog writers who received many comments felt more empowered than those who received very few comments. See how many ways blogging pays? It’s not just about money.
Connection. The more comments you receive on your blog posts, the more connected you feel. You don’t feel alone out here in cyberspace – you can actually develop good friendships online. That’s an emotional benefit of blog writing. Of course, the downside of this is also true: bloggers may feel less empowered and perhaps even inferior if they receive few comments.
Platform. If your goal is to be a published author, you need a writing platform. Blog writing can be a tool to promote yourself as an author and sell your writing. Your platform proves your ability as a writer to promote and sell your book on a national or international level. It provides a measure of security to the publisher and acts as a vehicle to promote your book. Blog writing pays by helping you convince publishers that you have readers, a fan base….a tribe.
Before I walk my dogs, I have to share an interesting aside – not related to the ways blogging pays writers: Blog writers are more likely to be female! I didn’t know that. In the study, researchers picked female bloggers because women tend to create more blogs than men. Women also abandon blogs less frequently than male bloggers.
What do you think – how does blogging pay you financially, emotionally, socially? If you really want to know if blogging pays financially, read Types of Blogs That Earn the Most Money.
Source of the research findings: Comments, traffic statistics help empower bloggers. Penn State University, published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.