Making money from your blog isn't easy – and it's very difficult to turn blogging into a full-time job. But with a little work, it's possible for most bloggers to generate a part-time income from their blogs.
Before you do anything else, make sure you have the right foundations in place. If you are using a basic blogging template that looks the same as thousands of other blogs, then you might want to consider creating something more professional, and personalised.
You can easily customise the colour scheme of a blog, and make your own blog header using free software such as Picasa or Picnik.
Many brands prefer to do business with blogs that have their own domain so you might consider investing £20 in a .com or .co.uk address. (This can easily be set up to become the default address for your existing blog.)
The next step is to make sure people who find your blog know what services you offer, and how they can get in touch. Create an "About" page on your blog that briefly explains who you are, what sort of things you write about, and details of any awards, or rankings your blog might have achieved.
Finally, make sure to include ways for people to get in touch via email or Twitter.
One of the most common ways to make money from blogging is through advertising. Some bloggers sell ads directly to agencies and brands. The advantage of this is that the blogger has complete control and takes all the profit, but it can be difficult to find advertisers if your blog is quite new.
An alternative can be to register with an affiliate advertising network such as Google AdWords or Affiliate Window, which you can apply to join. If a visitor to your blog clicks on an ad and then buys something, you'll receive a percentage of what they spend. Affiliate ads pay significantly less than direct ads, but they are easy, and require little upfront work by the blogger.
Increasing numbers of bloggers also earn money by writing "sponsored posts" for brands or hosting "guest posts" written by a brand on a topic related to their company. Fees for these posts can range from £40 up to £200, if your blog is a good match for the product.
If you are interested in writing these kinds of posts, registering with the Tots100 and Foodies100 is a good place to start. You should also state on your "About" page that you accept these posts.
If you don't want to publish advertisements and advertorial on your blog, then you might consider whether you can create something to sell on your site. Many enterprising UK bloggers have created e-books of recipes, craft activities, knitting patterns and even short stories, which they sell through their blogs, using Paypal.
Creating an e-book needn't be complicated, and can be done using programmes such as Microsoft Word, although you'll make more money if you invest some time in designing your e-book with pictures and an enticing cover.
Don't forget that if you do start making money as a blogger, then your blog will almost certainly be viewed as a 'trade' and you should register as self-employed.
You may need to file a tax-return, so it's important to keep records of everything you are paid, as well as any expenses you incur in running your blog – such as buying software or paying for domains and email services. If in doubt about any tax issues, you should take advice from a professional.
More blogging advice on Parentdish:
Blogging: How to Get Started
The Dos and Don'ts of Blogging
Have Fun Blogging