This may go without saying, but the most profitable blogs are the ones that get the most traffic, or visitors. To maximize the number of people reading your blog, you need to pick a topic that you love, and that other people are interested in as well. Choose a general topic like "healthy living" over a more specific one like "dieting." This will attract a wider variety of people to your blog and prevent you from running out of material about which to write.
So how do you get people to find your blog out of all the others out there? In addition to posting your entries on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, experts recommend you comment on other blogs and include a link back to your blog site [source: Williams]. You also need to post on a regular schedule rather than only when you feel like it. Some bloggers do a batch of posts at one time and schedule them to go out on different days.
Once you get a significant amount of traffic, you can start thinking about earning money. The most common way bloggers earn income is through online advertisements. A popular way to begin publishing these is through Google's AdSense, a free service that matches ads with content on your Web page, then pays you based on how many people view or click the ads for further information. Other companies, like Blogads and BidVertiser, sell your advertising space to the most relevant and highest-paying advertisers possible. Like AdSense, these companies pay for every click on an ad, but they also charge a commission. (Blogads charges a 14 to 30 percent commission on each ad sale).
Generally, advertisers pay bloggers for every 1,000 readers that view their ad, a number called CPM (cost per thousand). The average CPM in 2012 was $2.66, and it is projected to rise to $4.68 by 2017 [source: Del Rey]. At the 2012 rate, a blog that gets 1 million page views a month can pull as much as $2,660 from a single advertiser. The most popular sites demand higher CPM rates. Another method is cost per click or CPC, where the blogger gets paid only when someone clicks on the ad.
Affiliate programs are another way to make money with a blog. Here, you team up with a company and link to a product or service on its Web site any time you mention it on your blog. Like advertisements, you typically get paid when someone clicks through to the affiliate Web site. If someone then purchases a product after linking to it from your blog, you also get a cut of the sale. Amazon and Apple's iTunes run popular affiliate sales programs for clothing, gadgets, books, music and other products.
Finally, you can earn money by selling merchandise on your blog. Darren Kitchen, author of the Hak5.org computer hacking blog, made $5,000 a month selling stickers, T-shirts, baseball caps and computer hacking tools on his Web site in 2011 [source: Murphy]. Other bloggers have attracted the attention of book publishers, making thousands of dollars by putting some of their blog posts in print.