If you’re a designer, you probably have your own website or blog. You might use it as a portfolio, meant to show prospective clients and agencies what you’re capable of, or you might use it as a means of generating side income, by selling your creations. You might even use it as an outlet for creative expression, where you can produce and show off your art, free from restrictions or expectations.
In any case, your blog has the potential to make money. That might include direct sales, money from ads, or simply more opportunities. Obviously, you’ll want to optimize this as much as possible-but what exactly can you do to make your blog more profitable?
First, you need to understand the main ways you can make money from a blog. If you aren’t currently relying on some combination of them, your first step should be choosing one (or a blend) to follow:
- Your first option is to sell something tangible, such as prints of your artwork or products that feature your art prominently. You can do this through an online store attached to your main blog or site.
- You can also use your site primarily as a way to attract new opportunities, such as custom work or new jobs. If you do this, you’ll direct people to convert, contacting you on a separate page of your site.
- If your blog is generating sufficient traffic, you can monetize that traffic by selling ad space—but you’ll need thousands of recurring visitors to make that a reality.
- Affiliate links. Affiliate links are links to various offsite sources, including online marketplaces, which will return to you a percentage of any sales that resulted from your forwarded traffic.
- If your content is good enough, you may be able to sell it as a package of its own, such as in the form of a downloadable eBook.
How to Make Money
Assuming you’re following one of these strategies, how can you increase the amount of money you’re making? All of these strategies have the goal of increasing your traffic, increasing the number of conversions you get from your traffic, or increasing the value per conversion (or some combination of those goals):
- Travel to an exotic city. You could generate new interest in your brand by traveling to an exotic location, such as Rome, and allowing the culture, architecture, and design of that city to take over your blog for a week or two. Travel blogs are always popular, and your existing readers will be excited to see your unique perspectives on this new city (and new culture). It’s an easy way to inject new life into your blog and potentially attract a new segment of readers.
- Invite guest authors to contribute. Next, you can invite guest authors to contribute to your blog. This is going to have a few strong effects. First, your readers and followers are going to see some new perspectives, which they’ll appreciate; it’s going to keep them coming back for more. Second, the guest authors you invite will likely promote their own work on your site, representing a new channel of traffic coming your way.
- Change up your mediums. You can target a slightly different segment of your audience by including different formats and mediums than usual. It may force you to abandon your comfort zone, but it should instantly attract more people to your brand-and as an added bonus, you’ll get some practice in an unfamiliar area.
- Engage with individual users. If you want to keep your followers loyal, you’ll need to engage with them individually, and preferably on social media, where your interactions will be public. If they comment on your work, thank them. If they ask you questions, answer them. The closer they feel to you, the better.
- Capitalize on trending topics. If you can, modify your work so that it reflects trending topics. You could share your thoughts on the news, or take advantage of a soaring trend. It’s a good way to generate new attention, so try striking while the iron’s hot.
- Increase your profit margins. If you’re already making a decent stream of income from your existing audience, consider increasing your profit margins further. For example, instead of charging $20 a print, charge $25 a print. If your price increases are slight, your conversion rates shouldn’t fall, and you’ll end up making more money overall.
- Include more calls-to-action. Almost all forms of money-making on a blog involve calls-to-action—directions or phrases that persuade people to take the action you want them to take (whether that’s buying a piece of art or contacting you directly). In any case, including more calls-to-action can increase the number of people you ultimately persuade.
With these seven strategies, you should be able to successfully draw more money (and more power) from your blog. Experiment with them, add your own twists, and see how your tweaks impact your traffic, conversions, and overall earnings.