Blogging can be a highly fulfilling profession regardless of your niche. Even so, it can be hard to figure out how to get started as a professional blogger, particularly because there are so many different ways to take the plunge.
However, when you break it down, there are three primary paths towards becoming a professional blogger. Weighing up the pros and cons of each can help you decide which is the best for your situation and overall goals.
In this post, we’ll explain what it means to be a ‘professional’ in the blogging industry. Then we’ll share three routes you can take to become one yourself. Let’s dive in!
What it means to be a professional blogger
Bloggers can be divided roughly into two categories: hobbyists and professionals. However, the line between them can get a little blurry as there are hobbyists who manage huge, high-traffic sites and professionals working on smaller publications.
Therefore, what makes a blogger a professional isn’t the size or even the quality of their site. Rather, professional bloggers create written online content as their primary paid occupation, rather than blogging as a pastime.
This definition excludes those who run blogs for no pay at all and those who blog on the side for small amounts of revenue to supplement their main income, regardless of the size or quality of their blogs. It also doesn’t specify that you have to have your own blog.
Accurately distinguishing between professional bloggers and hobbyists provides key insight into the industry. When you break down the definition of a professional blogger, many opportunities for making a living writing online content start to open up.
How to make a living as a professional blogger (3 routes to take)
If you’re hoping to start writing full time, it’s important to know what your options are. There are three main ways you can become a professional blogger and make enough income to live off of. We’ve explored them in depth below, so let’s take a look!
1. Start your own blog and monetize it
One possible route for becoming a professional blogger is to launch and monetize your own site. This is the route most people think of when they consider starting a blogging career.
There are many advantages to this method. Primarily, it gives you complete control over your content, your income, and your work schedule. Being your own boss can feel pretty liberating, and frees you up to pursue other interests.
This flexibility can be particularly appealing to those who wish to travel more, don’t work well under a traditional work structure and schedule, or have caregiving responsibilities. It can also be highly fulfilling, as you can focus exclusively on subjects of interest to you:
Plus, it’s pretty easy to get started. Launching a blog with a platform like WordPress is fast and accessible from a budgetary standpoint. Monetizing with ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts may take a little more work, but is also fairly straightforward.
The main downside to starting and monetizing your own blog is that it takes time. Most blogs take months or even years to start making a significant amount of money, and that’s if you’re able to pull out all the stops when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), web design, and other management elements.
When you’re first starting out, having your own blog requires a lot of time and energy for very little payoff. If you don’t think you can stick it out, this route may not be for you. Fortunately, there are other ways to make a living as a professional blogger.
2. Get hired by a company to write for a business blog
Believe it or not, there are people who will hire you to write their blog for them. As far as finances go, this can be the most lucrative route for professional bloggers (unless you make it big with your own blog, but it’s pretty rare).
If you’re hired by a company to write a business blog, you’ll primarily benefit from a guaranteed income. You won’t have to stress as much over traffic levels and click-through rates (CTRs) since you’ll have a paycheck coming on a regular basis (although they are still indicators of your performance as an employee).
Depending on the company you work for, you might also be entitled to benefits including health care, vacation days, and a retirement plan. These features can provide you with a peace of mind you might not have working for yourself.
For some, the drawback to blogging for a business is the lack of control over the content you’re creating. On this path, you’ll probably spend a lot more time writing marketing-focused posts than you might like:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the competition for these positions can get pretty steep. Checking job posting sites such as Indeed regularly can help you stay on top of any new positions that become available.
If you’re planning to apply, make sure you have a portfolio of writing samples ready to go. While any piece that shows off your writing skills is useful, work demonstrating your knowledge of SEO and other aspects of digital publishing is also important.
3. Work as a freelance blogger
Freelance blogging can be a nice, middle-ground option for many. This type of professional blogger has more control over their posts, as they can pick and choose the projects they work on. They also have the flexibility that comes with self-employment, while maintaining a slightly more predictable income.
However, as a freelancer, you’ll have to source your own clients. This is often the most difficult part of becoming a professional blogger. Your income relies entirely upon your ability to find and keep a fairly large volume of high-quality clients, and it could eat into your already valuable writing time.
Again, a portfolio will be extremely beneficial to you. You’ll also need to work on your self-promotion skills and start networking with other freelancers and professionals in your niche. Creating a profile on LinkedIn may be helpful.
Businesses and individuals come to these sites to find freelancers for hire. Unfortunately, most freelance job marketplaces will take a portion of your earnings as compensation for promoting you – so make sure to consider this when setting your rates.
Become a professional blogger today
Becoming a professional blogger can be a fulfilling way to make a living. However, if you don’t have the time or resources to start your own blog, a career as an online content creator may feel out of reach. On the contrary, it’s absolutely achievable given the right mindset and approach.
In this post, we’ve looked at multiple ways to go about making a living as a professional blogger – three to be exact. Let’s quickly recap them:
- Start your own blog and monetize it.
- Get hired by a company to write for a business blog.
- Work as a freelance blogger.
Do you have any questions about the different ways you can make a living as a professional blogger? Leave them for us in the comments section below!