Blogging is no longer an amateur pursuit for online writers. These days it is a multi-million pound industry where successful bloggers – both old and young – can go on to earn a fortune.
A top blogger such as Huda Kattan can charge £10,000 for one online article when she agrees to mention a certain cosmetics product. This is because the beauty expert has more than 30 million followers on social media she can influence.
Others, including blogger Amber Venz Box, have used their skills to create a multi-million pound business. Her firm rewardStyle helps bloggers and brands to make money online.
Silver lining: Top blogger Huda Kattan can charge £10,000 for one online article
But blogging is not just about making money – it is also an important way of spreading views to the social media generation. Among the most influential are political commentator HuffPost, the offbeat website Boing Boing and the technology news provider TechCrunch.
Anyone can join in the blog writing adventure if they have access to the internet – either to build up a business empire or to share their inner thoughts. The first step is to find a so-called ‘platform’. This is the software and web page support you need so others can read your blogs on the internet. Among those to consider are WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, TypePad and WIX.
Most offer a basic free service but you can spend £20 a month on extras – such as having more creative website designs for your blog pages or additional space for photos or the use of videos, known as ‘vlogging’. Separately, you might consider buying your own domain name, a website address that people can visit online. This can cost a further £10 a year. Known as self-hosting, this allows visitors to go straight to your website page for blogs.
Most importantly of all, you must find something worth writing about – a niche that others will find fascinating. James Prestridge was driven by a passion for movies rather than making money when setting up website Close-Up Culture 18 months ago.
It now attracts up to 20,000 readers a month. He pays online service WordPress £7 for a monthly ‘premium’ deal so he can write reports on new movie releases and publish film star interviews. James says: ‘For me it is all about sharing a passion for movies and learning as a writer. I do not want to shove my opinions down people’s throats or to go out of my way to criticise. I want to showcase what is best, not what is mediocre.’
The 24-year-old film critic, from Watford, Hertfordshire, writes at least four 800-word blogs a week. Thanks to his growing following, he is now invited to film premieres and given interview opportunities.
Promoting a blog is essential to encourage people to read it. Social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter are all essential for spreading your work.
Jasmine Johnson, of Brixton in South-West London, has a travel blog ‘byjasminejohnson’ promoted on Instagram that is linked to her website Travellr.co.
Passion for film: James Prestridge was driven by a love for movies rather than making money
The 24-year-old online content manager says: ‘Using social media is key if you want to establish a following. People have short attention spans so you have to be brief. I try to be authentic. Pictures are also crucial.’
Bloggers sometimes promote goods or services – in exchange for payment or freebies. But Jasmine fears this can compromise the integrity of writing and put off online visitors unless you are careful about how it is included.
Jasmine occasionally gets paid £100 for mentioning products she particularly likes in her blogs. But she ensures she always includes the words ‘hashtag ad’ after any reference to make it perfectly clear to readers that it is a promotion.
Jasmine bought a blog template for a one-off £30 from provider ThemeForest and now pays £7 a month to use the blogging services of WordPress.
To make a blog attract readers and potential business sponsorship, it is vital to remain focused on what might appeal to a reader so it gets shared on social media. Before posting a blog online check it for accuracy and content – ensuring there is both entertainment and information – or you will struggle to maintain interest.