Seven most successful ways to make money through a blog

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In this article, CA Karan Batra shares seven practical and successful ways to make money through a blog based on his extensive experience. If you want to get started in this direction, check out some resources at the end of the article.

About the author: Karan Batra is a chartered accountant and is regularly featured on NDTV, ET Now, CNBC etc. He also blogs regularly on charteredclub.com.

I’ve been making money online for more than 13 years, and I must say that this is the best time to start a business online. Today’s opportunities are immense compared to what they were a few years back.

Earlier, people were never comfortable swiping their cards online or buying a digital product. But, covid has changed everything. From millennials to senior citizens – everybody is now online.

And if you think that there is a lot of competition, then let me tell you that the demand is so high that if executed properly – online businesses make much more money than offline. A lot of my friends who started post covid are already earning crores within two years of operations, and in this article, I will be sharing my practical experience – the seven most successful ways to make money through a blog

1. Advertisements

The easiest way to make money online is through advertisements. You write a blog or create a video, and Google would be happy to start displaying advertisements on your blog/video. You can easily partner with Google Adsense, and if you have some decent traffic, Google would be happy to stay displaying ads on your website on a revenue share model.

You may have seen ads of big brands appearing on a small blog/video and wondered how such newbies get big clients. Then let me tell you that these ads are facilitated via Google Adsense. Google Adsense acts as an agent between the advertiser and the publisher and takes his share.

Usually, Google Adsense pays the publisher per click basis in the range of Rs. 8-10 per click if the visitor is from India. But the important question is how many people click on advertisements and how many just skip them? Usually, a 1-2% click-through rate is considered fairly good in the Industry. Thus, if you are getting, say, 3 Lakh page views per month, and if 2% people click on your ad – you get 6000 ad clicks. And at Rs. 10 per click, you make Rs. 60,000 per month.

The more ads you display, the more the probability of getting an ad click. However, displaying more ads also means that the website may look spammy and turn away your visitors. So you got to strike the right balance between the two.

But then, how do you make more money? The best way to make more money here is to focus on audiences from developed countries like the US, Canada, Europe etc. An ad click by a visitor from these countries usually earns around Rs. 60-80 per click, which is six times what you earn from an Indian audience. And thus, your income shoots up from Rs. 60,000 per month to Rs. 3,60,000 per month.

I have been earning from Google Ads for more than 13 years now, and I must say that this is one of the best ways to get started because on day one – the only person willing to pay you is Google Adsense. Although the scope of growth via Google Adsense is very limited, you should not rely on Advertisement Income only, it is a good place to start. Most blogs start with some side Income from Google Adsense and slowly start earning from other income sources.

Once a good number of monthly visitors comes to your website, advertisers will directly start contacting you rather than displaying the ad via Google. And direct advertisers pay much more than what Google says. The income from direct advertisements is at least double (maybe even more) what a blog earns from Google Adsense.

2. Affiliate/ Commission Income

Once a person has set up a blog channel – they can also start recommending some products to their users. Say, for example, I was recently looking to buy a laptop and read reviews online. Many people had written reviews about Laptops and given a purchase link to the Amazon store. If I buy a laptop using their affiliate link, they would be paid a commission by Amazon, which is around 5%.

Thus, if I buy a laptop for Rs. 40,000, the blog channel which recommended me to buy this laptop will earn Rs. 2000, which I think is good. And tying up with Amazon is also fairly easy; almost everyone with a genuine blog gets approved.

Similarly, people earn by recommending credit cards online. A successful referral to the Credit Card company earns around Rs. 300 per customer.

Brokers like Zerodha don’t spend a single penny on advertisements; they acquire users by paying a commission to the referring blog. Zerodha usually pays 10-20% of the brokerage to the referring person. And this is a lifetime commission, i.e. till the time the trader pays the commission – Zerodha will keep sharing this with the referral. And if you think Zerodha does not charge any commission – let me tell you Zerodha earned brokerage revenue of Rs. 2,729 crores in FY 2020-21.

So yes, Zerodha does charge commission in some cases. And because they pay lifetime commissions from revenue generated, you see Zerodha and Angel Broking affiliates everywhere. You just refer the customer once and keep getting a lifetime commission.

3. Sell e-books/ courses

Rather than selling other products, you can also create your own digital product and sell it online. Earlier, people never used to pay online to read paid content, but the world is changing, and if the content quality is good, people do pay.

But again, the conversion rate is fairly low, around 1-2%. In fact, in the entire online industry, the conversion rate is 1-2% only – whether that is advertisements, commission income, or e-books/courses.

Selling an e-book/course to someone who has already purchased from your website is much easier than selling to someone for the 1st time. And therefore, people try to upsell to the same audience or create multiple products for the same audience, as selling to an existing customer is much easier than looking for a new customer.

When selling digital content, you must see what value your content gives your audience. Content which helps them to clear an exam or to earn more money by acquiring a new skill usually sells much better than any other type of content. Digital Marketing Courses, Stock Market Courses, Exam Coaching Classes etc., usually sell the best.

4. Sell Services

After writing for a couple of years on a topic, you will become an expert, and people may also start contacting you to help them with something, and you can always charge a fee for it.

You may either venture into an industry where there is:-

  1. Huge volumes, but the amount made per customer is low or
  2. Low Volumes but amount made per customer is High, or
  3. Both

Venturing into the 1st one is easier; that is where I started. Apart from earning from advertisements, I used to provide ITR Filing Service wherein the volumes are massive during June-July when ITRs are to be filed.

However, ITR Filing is a seasonal business; therefore, I ventured into the 2nd one as well, wherein volumes are low, but the amount earned per customer is high. Moreover, I looked to expand into a category which is not a seasonal business.

And the business I narrowed down is Dubai Company Formation Service,  a highly specialized service which very few people provide. Therefore, the customers don’t mind paying higher for this.

As a general concept – there is more money in the export market than in the domestic market. Thus, if you target providing services to foreign customers, the probability of making big money rises substantially as you would now be earning in dollars.

5. Organise Events

Once you have a loyal fanbase, you can also start organising events and earning through them. Brands like Yourstory, which started as content websites, earn a lot through events wherein they charge an entry fee and a sponsorship fee.

Such brands use content to drive traffic to their website and ultimately try to sell them something. The whole logic of writing content is to bring customers to your website and then sell them something or make money through them in some form or the other.

And the income earned from Advertising in a physical event is certainly more than the Advertisement Income earned from a Blog.

6. Subscription Websites

You can also start a subscription website and start charging a monthly subscription fee to the users. And if you think about who pays subscription fees in a country like India, many websites post the latest court rulings on their website and charge their customers a fee for accessing the court rulings.

When you are charging any fees from your customer, you should consider why a person would pay. You will have to give him the necessary value to attract payment. The customer is not a fool that he will pay for something available for free online. The customer will only pay when you provide some value to the customer, which nobody else is providing.

7. Sponsored Post

This is the most controversial one, but the article would be incomplete without discussing this.

Sometimes, brands also approach you to publish their new product offering. And once you have a blog with decent traffic, advertisers will start contacting you to publish a sponsored article.

Say, for example, if Samsung launches a new phone – they will approach Technology Bloggers to talk about their product on the website, or if Hyundai launches a new Car – they will approach a car blogger to showcase their car to his audience.

I don’t think anything is wrong with doing this until we only showcase the product to the audience and do not mis-sell the product. Suppose you say that an Insurance Plan of Company A is better than an Insurance Plan of Company B even when it is not – then that is morally incorrect. But, if you just say that Company A has launched this Insurance Plan with these features – I don’t think there is anything wrong with it until there is no mis-selling.

The Govt is trying to create norms around this as well that if an Influencer is being paid money – he should mention that this is a sponsored post. Some people already do the same (without any legal requirement) as they feel it is their moral responsibility, whereas some don’t.

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Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over nine years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation for promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.


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