From Ads On Blog, Affiliate Income To Membership Subscription From Fans

The future of blogs is here. Also, the road to earning money will become better. Once, the subscription economy of blogs spreads like a fire.

Blogs To Rise

The Internet has given an open ground to everyone. Earlier only reputed newspapers and magazines used to write about their perspective. But now, the doors are open to everyone.

Because blogs have been introduced. You can make one for free, hosted on someone else’s server. Or you can buy the hosting and put your domain name on it. Regardless, you can write anything you like.

No one is stopping you, no permission required. Of course, thousands of people won’t flock to your writing the moment you write. But there exists an opportunity. Anyone can use search and land on your writing.

Also, you can share your blogs with friends and they can read and share further. And blogs do get read as much as traditional newspapers and magazines.

Since, everyone can write,  start a blog – everyone has done that. And now, there are thousands of blogs on any given topic.

It feels crowded and it is. But that’s the price of opening the land of opportunity to everyone. But it’s beautiful.

Writing And Earning Money

Earning money online is nothing sort of a miracle. And when you earn money from writing, that’s whole another world.

But because the internet was new and not too many blogs – earning from writing became an easy endeavour. You were lucky if you were one of the starting breeds. You could have started a blog about anything – write 500 words article and it would rank on the Google search. Which brings you tons of visitors.

And then you can either slap advertisements on your blog or affiliate links. Boom, you can earn a nice paycheck. And therefore, many people earned a lot of money.

But the times have changed. It is no longer an easy thing to write an article and get rankings. There are too many blogs competing for the tiny space. And so does the advertisement industry.

Ad revenue is on the decline because of the bidding system, the middlemen in most cases Google is eating up the bulk of revenue. And you as a user, are left with pennies.

Advertisements can still bring you revenue but you would need millions of visitors for sustainable living. Which would be impossible for the majority of the blog owners.

Google Ads And Others

When it comes to advertisement, Google is the main contender. Initially, when Google started selling ads, it promised a good deal for everybody. You would bid $10 to be placed in one of the blogs. Google would take $2 and the blog owner will earn $2 and you as an advertiser will earn $6. Out of which you will have a profit of $2.

So everyone wins. But when Google started taking up more money while giving less to the blow owners. For example, Google would now take $6 and give $1 to blog owners. You as an advertiser have no choice but to be content with the $3.

Because if you don’t advertise then Google will give the spot to the competitor. So regardless of your position now, you are required to keep paying money to stay afloat.

It is similar to the rental game which happened – one of the buildings in prime location gave the location to you for a small rent.

Once you started getting customers, she approached your competitor with statistics of how profitable that is – and sold the location to them.

And the landlord kept doing that, increasing rent and pocketing huge money. And you have no choice but to keep giving money or else your competitor wins and you lose. You will win for pennies – but that’s the silver lining, you win. Regardless, the biggest profit keeping giant is the landlord, Google.

Ads Are Dying And They Should

Internet users have become used to ads such that they don’t click on it as often. Or they block the ads in its entirety. So, if you own a blog, it is difficult to earn a good amount of income with ads.

Also, the amount of traffic you would need is mind-boggling. Hence, most people are straying away from ads as their primary source of earning.

Many new avenues exist like affiliate income where you recommend a product or service and earn a commission. Or sell your software, course or membership for valuable content. Hence, this has become the go-to for many blog owners.

The transition has happened where many blog owners have to learn about affiliate marketing, making a course and delivering content in a community so that there be money coming from their writing craft.

But can there be an alternative which doesn’t require a writer to juggle all those hats? Yes, if you want to create a course – then good for you. But if you just want to write, can you make a living.

Subscription From Fans

The best way to earn money is to do so with your direct fans. Let’s take an example – if 1000 people read your blog and 100 of them become your fans, you can ask them for a $10 monthly subscription. And boom, you are earning a cool $1000 per month.

And when you grow your fanbase, your earnings will grow too. Unlike advertisements or affiliate income, you don’t have to constantly pull in new customers.

All you have to do is make sure your current fan base remains loyal. And doing so is easy. Keep creating content on a regular basis. And ask for feedback on what to change or not.

The best thing about subscription income is that – you don’t need millions of visitors to succeed. Hence, many small niche blogs can become successful.

This type of shift didn’t happen with advertising. Also, since, you aren’t looking to scale much. You can focus on clear writing and taking a stand. You are liable to your fans and not some advertising giant with random rules.

Locked Content

One of the easiest things to do when asking for subscription is to provide some kind of locked content. For example, many writers write 5 articles a month. But free readers can read only 3 of them. While the paid users can read all the 5 articles.

This way, the writer can earn money. The readers who don’t pay get to read some articles. And the super fans who pay up dollars get to read all the article.

Another way is to lock features like comments and groups. So the free readers get to read all the article but can’t comment or get involved in the group. And the paid audience enjoys every feature.

I am okay with restricting certain features. But I am not a fan of locking articles for giving them a bonus to the paid users.

Coming from a poor background, paying for articles isn’t something I could do instantly. And as Seth Godin says, if what you are saying is important then don’t put it behind the paywall. The best approach is to give access to other things like emoji access in comments or access to private groups for discussion.

But the ideas in an article should be free for everyone to read and take away as their own.

Wikipedia – Example

But the majority of the publication is where I see locked articles as a bonus for driving subscriptions. And hence, it doesn’t make me happy.

I love Wikipedia and Brain pickings website. Both of them doesn’t restrict their content for anyone. But they need money. So they have a donation button. Which can be used by anyone to donate monthly or one-time money.

And boom, you earn money without restricting content. Brain pickings is an example that an individual can do this. And Wikipedia is an example that this can happen at a massive scale.

When your content creates value for people, a few fortunate will come forward to support so that the blog stays online. And when you are making your content public, many people can benefit from it. The only criteria for finding your content should be that the people searching should be online.

That’s it. The economic background shouldn’t decide if they can have access or not. Because we have enough and frustrating experience of such things in the offline world, too many to count.

The principle is what that matters – as long as enough fortunate members chip in, everyone benefits. And the average benefit increases helping everyone.

The Future – Collaborative Publication

A book store is a fascinating place, you as an author don’t compete with other writers. When someone buys a book, they are more likely to buy another one too.

So, it’s not you vs others, it’s you and others in the game together.

And I think the future is in the same direction. There won’t be big companies or mega blogs with lots of fans. Rather it will be many small blogs connected to each other. And often promoting others. It would be a big collaborative effort.

For example, the blogs would be connected via a directory or publisher. And there will be many publishers. You can search and find any blogs via the publisher and subscribe to it. Regardless, the content is free, you are showing a way to support.

And then there will be random suggestion below every article or so about 3 relevant publication or blogs. And slowly, it will become a tight place for blogs to thrive.

Also, it should be easy for new people to join and get support. Once, this happens, it would be a win-win for everyone. Because the collective audience will decide who will get how much money and that too after giving every blog a fair chance.

Companies Need To Align By Being Good

Right now, most companies are advertising hard. They throw up the money and boom the leads come in. But that won’t be the future.

If you are a company then either you need to start your own blog or some content service so that the audience can find your stories. And then you can share your new products or services on a regular basis with your fans.

Or maybe, connect with a publisher which will act as a niche and then allow all the blogs under them to connect with the brand, if they want.

In either way, the quality of the promotion should be controlled. And it can be because there is no financial incentive for blogs or publisher to resort to cheap tricks. In short, you need to play by the good rules. And everyone deserves the chance – that’s the democratic way of doing things.

Internet was made for this and it will thrive to its maximum potential when these things are at its core values.

Most compromising happens because of a desire to earn a quick buck. Eliminate that and you have got a winner system.

Start Now

 The movement has started. There are many players like Revue and Substack which acts as a publisher. And blogs have subscription under them. But there is locked content – I hope that changes.

Also, there are many self-hosted membership solutions available. And it is promoted. Many newspapers are leaning towards supporting themselves with their fans. Because ads are trickier and unpredictable.

Writing, in general, is improving. Because when you don’t have to focus on more eyeballs, you stop writing unnecessary click bait titles.

And you focus more on quality than quantity. Because you already have enough attention, why screw it up.

Regardless, now is the best time to start a blog – either self-hosted or on a publisher account. The landscape is changing rapidly. Get your feet wet now and live the transition of the future of written content.