If you landed here you either have a small blog or you have been wondering are there actually any small blogs that make money?
A very common misconception about making money blogging is that more page views equal more money. I mean, it sounds totally logical, right? More pageviews equal more ads, which equals more revenue.
By the same logic, more followers equal bigger brand sponsorships, right?
While I wholly support more content, more pageviews, and more reach, I’m here to show you “the riches are in the niches”.
You do not need a large pageviews count or tons of followers to make money blogging or be successful in the blogging business.
By targeting a small, but loyal audience of readers that you can directly serve as a blogger, you can grow a substantial business and make money blogging!
Hello! I’m Julia, and I make big money with my small blog
I run a Hawaii-based travel blog that teaches US-based rehab therapists, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists, how to take short-term travel assignments for work.
My blog, The Traveling Traveler addresses all aspects of traveling for work, from what to pack as a traveling therapist, how to find housing, and even the best sites to see while on location.
For the past three years, my blog has made me between $3,000 to $9,000 a month in business earnings.
My small blog income comes from:
- 20k pageviews a month
- 4k Instagram followers
- a Facebook group with 12k members
- an email list with around 3k subscribers
- ZERO ad revenue!
I serve a small group of travelers and create content for them. While I don’t have the wide reach that other travel bloggers may have, I get to sustain a full-time business creating the content that I love and serving the community that I am a part of.
Plus, I do all of this while still working as a traveling therapist myself.
INFO: Marissa here — I was BLOWN AWAY by Julia’s numbers. I get between 100,000 to 150,000 monthly readers to my blog –around 40% organic and 60% from Pinterest and other social media sites — but my top-earner is ad income! Really excited to read all of Julia’s tips. 👀
5 secrets that help my small blog make money
Here are my best tips for those of you interested in making money with a small niche blog.
#1. Focus on serving your niche
As a blogger, you are serving a community at large.
When you have a huge reach, it might be difficult to understand and serve your community.
As a small niche blogger, I have the benefit of understanding exactly who follows my blog and what they need from me.
I’m able to better serve my community because I understand them very well and can tailor my blog and products to meet their needs.
I’m a firm believer that to be successful and make money blogging, you need to put the needs of your audience and serve them before you consider making money for yourself.
When I endorse a product or sell through affiliate campaigns, I support that product because I know my audience needs that product and it would help them.
I am not guessing if my audience will want it — I know they will be because I’m able to understand the ins and outs of my audience very well.
This is a benefit of being a smaller blogger with a smaller reach. You can target sales of products very directly.
The key to being a successful blogger is to understand your community and what they need from you.
#2. Know what your blog audience wants
For small bloggers, I believe you can get the best sense of what your audience wants by interacting with them directly.
Another benefit of being a small blog is that I can interact with every communication I receive.
Not a VA, but me!
I receive all of their emails, DMs, PMs, and comments, and I listen to them and I respond.
This has given me so much insight into the questions that my readers have, while getting to know them on a personal level.
Another way to get to know your audience is to ask!
On Instagram and Facebook, you can run polls asking questions and collecting answers.
Similarly, you can send out surveys over email to see what your audience wants. Q&A is a great way to learn what matters and what your readers want from you.
Finally, review your Google Analytics to see which pages people are viewing and how long they are staying on the page.
Google Analytics ranks your top viewed pages and shows you how long readers stay on the page.
The pages with the more views and the longer times dwell times (the time that people stay on-page) can prove to be some of your more well-received pieces.
I create new content by expanding on the topics that already have traction on Google and people are reading.
PRO-TIP: Check out the online course website Teachable to see how much people are willing to pay for the courses that you want to offer – you can even try various courses to see how they are laid out.
#3. Find the best and highest-paying affiliates for your small blog
Creating content for what your readers want to read is the first step to make money blogging.
Once you have the content and audience in place, then what?
There are endless ways to make money blogging. Personally, I chose a strategy of selling high-earning affiliates as a primary income stream.
I think affiliate income, which is a commission for sales, is one of the best ways for newbie bloggers to make income and one of the best ways for small blogs to make money.
With a large number of pageviews, you can earn a substantial affiliate income from sales of everyday products, like clothes and gear through affiliate programs that offer small commissions.
However, as a small blog, I recommend that you try to select products that can earn you higher amounts per sale, such as by selling online courses, or high-ticket products.
By selling higher-priced items with higher commissions, such as online continuing education subscriptions such as the popular online continuing education website, MedBridge, and receiving referral commissions for job placements, I can earn more with a smaller audience.
I recommend searching within your own niche to find the affiliates that work for you and your readers.
Many online courses have a higher commission and higher selling prices, which could be a great place to start.
You can also apply to be an affiliate for your web hosting company, the software that you use, website themes, etc.
If you don’t have any brands in mind that you may want to be an affiliate for, you can search online affiliate platforms and search brands that have affiliate programs. You can create a profile and apply to each brand separately.
Some of my favorite affiliate platforms where I locate brands are:
#4. Develop products that solve a problem for your blog’s audience
Relying on others for your income, through affiliates, sponsorships, advertisements, etc, takes control out of your income and puts it in the hands of others.
Just recently, Amazon announced that they were lowering their (already low) commissions.
During the COVID crisis, I had one company email me to say they were canceling their affiliate program completely.
By creating your own products, you have complete control of sales.
You develop the product, do the beta testing with your audience, determine the price, and sell the product.
I HIGHLY recommend creating and selling a product because it puts you in control of your income.
I currently sell online courses that teach my readers the skills that they need to be successful as traveling clinicians. I may develop other products in the future too.
I strongly encourage you to consider the needs of your readers and develop products around those needs.
Are you interested in travel therapy? Check out Julia’s fantastic courses for PTs, OTs, and SLPs looking to make money while traveling the world.
#5. Work as a freelancer or consult with aspiring bloggers
As a niche blogger, you can become a leader in a space much easier than in larger spaces.
You’re a big fish in a small pond!
While my pageviews and following may be considered small for most professional bloggers, I have established leadership and authority in my field.
Because of this, I created opportunities to do freelance and consulting work for others.
As a freelancer, I do writing, social media creation, marketing campaigns, and consulting for other brands.
Because of my authority in the niche I write about, I charge expert level fees for professional writing and other social media services.
Consulting is where I am spending an increased amount of time this year to expand my services. I want to pick up more consulting clients in 2021 and expand my business through this avenue.
WANT MORE SIDE HUSTLES? Read this post with the 10 hottest side hustles of 2020.
My closing thoughts on being a small blogger
Bigger isn’t always better.
You can make money from a small blog! Having a small audience can allow you to understand them and develop products for them or find affiliates that serve their needs.
Do you make money from a small blog? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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This guest post was written by Julia Kuhn: Julia is a speech-language pathologist who spent the last 10 years taking short-term travel assignments across the United States. She is the owner and founder behind The Traveling Traveler LLC, where she teaches other clinicians how to travel for work, connect with other travelers, and get inspiration for their journey. Connect with Julia on Instagram