There are only really 2 ways to make money from writing on the internet:
The problem with a Paywall is that you really have to have a fairly large audience to start with. The problem with Advertising is that it’s advertising.
Really though, there are others, these two are just the obvious ones.
In around February of 2011, I decided to take a slightly different direction with my online writing. Up until then I’d just written about whatever came to mind, which was usually a brief opinion on something that someone else had written. I was trying to emulate the blogs that I followed myself, but I’m not that strong a writer and I don’t have access to the juicy inside information (or any information really). I was just adding to the echoes.
I started writing about my adventures in tech, explaining how I solved various coding-related problems. I was emulating a different set of blogs that I follow (of which there are fewer), but also the kinds of resources that I was using myself every day to solve the problems I would then write about.
My intention was to add value - where I had to cobble together 3 or 4 different blog or forum posts to find a solution, those that came after would find my single post that explained exactly how to do what needed to be done. If nothing else, I’m creating a resource for myself, so that when I come across the same problem next time, I can simply search my own blog.
A few of my posts seem to have served their purpose though, my Deploying Flask to Apache post has nearly 400 hits at time of writing.
So far this year, I’ve noticed an increase in traffic of about 50% overall, so I decided to try an experiment. I’ve added Google Ads to the sidebar, just beneath the main navigation. It’s not in the perfect place for maximum eyeballification, but it’s there, and I’ll be interested to see what happens with it.
Personally, I rarely, if ever click on ads, my brain has mostly learnt to filter them out so I don’t think I’ll get many pennies from this endeavour. It would be nice to make enough to pay for my hosting, which is currently very cheap (no kickbacks, I feel nothing but positive about them!). I might experiment with writing some reviews of stuff I buy and including affiliate links, although again, I want to make sure I’m actually adding value somewhere.
I’ve enjoyed writing my blog far more since I switched to a more technical slant, and a brief look at my post archive suggests that I’ve been keeping it up for longer than ever before! It has had an interesting effect on my coding too - I find myself working on things in my spare time much more often, so that I can generate things to write about in my blog!
I shall give it a few months and report back with what I find.