Blogging: A PR Tactic or Source of Revenue?
If your sole reason for blogging is to make money, this may not be the blog post for you. I would hope that you blog with the intention of making something to share with others simply because you are passionate about your subjects, or to offer something useful for readers.
Sure, there are plenty of ways to make money blogging: advertising, advertising, promotions, and advertising. (I'm sure there are other ways to make it happen, but I think those sort of sum up the ways you can make some revenue blogging.)
But, in order to get people to advertise with you, you need to have a quality blog or concept to get them interested. Blogging takes some skill (if anything, simply writing skills), but it also takes persistence. Your blog will never grow, take off, or gain popularity if it is a very part-time effort, and your short-term goal is to make money. It may not happen for months, or years.
To build your blog up to be all that it can be (and maybe make some money blogging online), you need to start your blog off right. Here are some tips:
Take the time to design your blog. This doesn't mean that you ought to hire someone and spend a large amount of money to get your blog looking good. Instead, simply spend some of your own time working on your blog's design. There are free templates all over the Internet that can improve your blog's overall feel. If you don't know any HTML or CSS, no worries; Blogger and Wordpress make it pretty easy and fool proof to get a new template up and running. If you want to customize anything, be prepared to teach yourself some basic HTML and CSS.
Make your blog interactive. When people have choices, they are more apt to make some sort of action. If your end goal is to simply increase traffic or increase the amount of time someone stays on your blog, make sure there are lots of choices on the homepage. Try not to make it too overwhelming, but a sidebar with articles, other blogs, or videos can help make your blog feel more interactive. This can also involve a forum (which takes a lot of work and moderation), allowing comments, or sending out a newsletter asking for your readers to get in touch. Whatever way you choose, get people to act.
Maintain your blog; it requires up keep. This can include downloading a new template for your blog once you get more comfortable with templates or HTML, but it also requires that you update links, post regularly, and ask for advice. Also, keep up with your readers: comment back, reply to emails, and keep the line of communication open. When readers feel open to get in touch, they might be more prone to.
Don't expect to make money in the first 6 months. Your traffic will be minimal, your site ratings will be low at best, and you won't receive any offers for advertising. But don't discourage! Great efforts (especially when it comes to blogs) take time to come to fruition. You will see things change slowly but surely.