Every time you click an advert on this blog I get paid a few pence, but it won’t cost you anything to learn how I do that…

This article will explain how you can start making money blogging or selling services online. By Simon Donohue, editor and writer of Dadsdayoff

One of the main reasons I started the Dadsdayoff blog was to learn more about digital communications and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to promote products or services, or have an outlet online for their writing.

I was a qualified print journalist for a long time – 15 years at the Manchester Evening News – before the advent of the internet, learning a lot about online publishing as the newsroom shifted from print only to digital first. I’m old enough that my first few jobs as a reporter involved sitting at a manual typewriter tapping away, so I’m very much a digital explorer rather than a digital native.

Digital has provided tools beyond the wildest dreams I had as a young reporter, when the process of publishing involved dozens of people and significant investment in infrastructure.

The words I typed would be edited on paper by my news editor, then by a sub-editor, then they’d be moved about by a compositor, placed by a page designer, bundled off to a printer… It was an intense process.

Now I write via an app and hit publish. Just me, no matter where I am. Just like the Bolton Metro News – my first paper – my words can be distributed to thousands of people. And I’ve monetised my blog too, through advertising and affiliate marketing.

If you see an advert for something you’re interested in on my blog it’s because websites collect cookies with information about your browsing history and searches, then serve up relevant advertising. Click on one now if you like but be sure to come back to read finish reading the article as it will tell you how you could place your own on a site in future. If you did click an advert that was of interest to you, I will have been paid a small amount – probably a few pence – by Google, which places those ads on behalf of paying customers.

How much you get paid per click depends on the subject. Some categories are more expensive than others. The number of visitors to your site also has an impact.

So how do you set about making money in that way?

  • First, have something to write about or sell. It’s easier to maintain a passion, or write content for a purpose – business promotion for example.
  • Remember the mantra is “telling not selling” – people will engage more and for longer if they feel they are being entertained and informed rather than sold to.
  • Once you know what you want to write about, you’ll need a platform to write on. Social media platforms are a start but you can’t easily monetise them.
  • Start out with a free WordPress site – other free blogging sites are available – as it’s really easy to use and it will give you a taste of how it feels to write and publish. The free version has limitations in terms of design and will carry adverts that you can’t control, but you’ll be up and running in no time.
  • Promote your work by sharing links to your posts on social media.
  • Still interested? Move on up to a hosted WordPress site. It’s more difficult to do and requires some technical knowledge but gives you more flexibility and control over things like plug in features, design and advertising
  • Speaking of which, it’s relatively straightforward to set up advertising on your site through Google. It won’t make you a fortune if you have low traffic but it’s an interesting exercise if you simply want to learn more about digital and website monetisation
  • You’ll need to register for a Google AdSense account, then associate your website through a verification process.
  • Once you’ve done all that, you can use it to generate adverts that you can place on your website using the WordPress dashboard
  • Adverts are generated by Google depending on the interests of the person visiting your website, using their browser cookies to indicate interests.
  • What you’ll be paid is based on the number of people who see the adverts and the number of times they click through, which obviously generates a higher return
  • You might not make a fortune and probably won’t but it’s a very rewarding way of learning more about the nuts and bolts of digital publishing and promotion.

If all of this sounds interesting but you’d like some help setting up a website or writing content for a business blog or website, send me an email at: dadsdayoffmcr@gmail.com