Can a blogger from Malaysia make a full time living from blogging?

BLOGGING, Malaysian blogger

The answer to this question is it is quite unlikely if you only rely on blogging to make a living, ie writing articles.

If you wish to be able to earn a full time income, then your primary source of income would likely be blogging related but not from blogging and placing advertisements.

My story

I have been blogging for more than 10 years now. Most of it was done on a part time basis.

About 9 years ago, I actually took on a paycut job to give it a go at blogging. Reason is because when I worked at my full time corporate job, I am too mentally exhausted each day to have any inspiration or energy to sit down to blog.

Within about few months, I knew that earning income via blogging is not viable.  I was already having a low paying job and finding it hard to make ends meet at certain times. And what I earned from my blog is not even a quarter from my low paying job.

My primary form of site monetization was via Google Adsense. Bear in mind in about 10 years ago, Adsense paid much more than it did today. During that time, it was the primary source of monetization for all bloggers as affiliate sales were just starting to pick up.

After about a year, I went back to the corporate world when my former boss called me back. I turned off all my site monetization because I was not sure about how to manage the taxes (that time, it was so new that there was no clear guidelines by LDHN).

In 2017, I find my situation took a change. I resigned from my job last year to care for my mother full time. I knew that leaving a corporate job without a job was equal as a career suicide but I did not want to live my life regretting of things that I should have done but did not. What I had to give up was nothing compared to the sacrifices that my mom had made for us.

In terms of food and living expenses, it was taken care off but I had to scale down on my life dramatically. No more impulse purchases when the whim and fancy hits me.

However by the second month when I went to settle my credit card bills (it happened to be higher as my twice a year insurance charge came in), I realized that I needed to have income or else I will run into deficit soon enough.

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My blogs, which I have long neglected came to the rescue.

By July 2017, I reactivated my site monetization, redo my sites and starting to blog actively again. In a way, circumstances placed me back into the position of having to blog again.

What I learned as a Malaysian blogger

Malaysian life

It is going to be a year where I started blogging actively again. I wish to share with you some insights that I have.

Blogs targeting the Malaysian market will not make much money from Adsense or affiliate sales.

There is a huge difference in terms from Adsense earnings based on the geographic location of your readers. If your readers are accessing your site mainly from US, Canada, UK and Australia, you would earn better rates via Google Adsense.

If your readers are mainly from US, then you can even earn money through Amazon Affiliates which is one of the most popular affiliate programs out there. Do note that your conversion for Amazon affiliates would not be high for markets out of the United States.

And if most of your visitors are from Asia, ie Malaysia, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Thailand, etc….. forget about placing Amazon affiliates as they would not buy from Amazon from US and pay for the crazy shipping fee. Most items are available online via Taobao, Lazada and Alibaba at a much cheaper price anyways.

Your best bet would be placing advertisements like Google Adsense however the CPC (cost per click) would be way much lower compared to from US.

Hence, you may have a better shot if during the beginning, your specifically create niche sites that mainly target visitors from US.

Do bear in mind that all blogs would require time to take off and for you to see results. You must be passionate in the topic that you are writing about or else you would not be able to sustain as a lot of effort is required.

And don’t quit your job just yet.

How bout influencers?

Influencers- ie those who are well known in their niches such as beauty, food, etc with large social media following do go full time doing blogging or vlogging via their YouTube channels.

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Their primary source of income would come directly from product sponsorship, direct advertisement placed, services offered (such as content writing or building websites) on their blog and engaging them for talk, etc. But indirectly, it is from the blog or YouTube channel because it is through them that advertisers got to know about them.

From my observation, it is tough because there is a lot of effort that needs to be done- ie constantly stay updated to the latest trend, having to be out there and having to spend a lot of money on clothes, make up, accessories, travel, etc to be able to provide the content required. If there is no one who is sponsoring the item (economic situation is also not looking too good hence a lot of advertisers are not able to freely give up free product samples), they would often need to buy the items themselves for review.

By the middle or end of the month, money may be tight or not enough.

It is also very competitive because each day, there would be new people, younger, prettier and more happening competing for the same audience and advertisers that you are doing.

Then how could a Malaysian blog/YouTube make money then?

Of course there are still a handful of blogs and YouTube channels founded by Malaysians but have audiences from around the world. Examples are hongkiat.com and YouTube channels such as MGAG and jinnyboytv.com.

For hongkiat.com, the reason because the site is popular is because they produce a lot of content and articles that readers search for. For that, they would require a team of dedicated good quality content writers that continue to churn out useful articles.

For YouTube channels, it is because they produce a lot of entertaining and shareable content. They have a professional team (that really acts well) and quality equipment to be able to film videos that are of high quality.

I do not subscribe to many channels in YouTube but I subscribe to MGAG and look forward to watching their new videos. Even though many of their videos are in collaboration with advertisers, but it is done in such a way that it is not a sellout.

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They still maintain their originality and entertaining us with their funny jokes and antidotes. In fact, I do hope they would continue to have advertisers so that their brand stays strong and we get the funny, Malaysian style videos.

Below is one of the first videos I have watched which I have rewatched a number of times:

If the YouTube channel which have full time staff, props, and expensive equipment- it is impossible to survive based on the ads that play during the video. Collaboration with popular brands is definitely required to pay for the expenses and the staff’s salaries.

To reach the level of popularity, one often need to be truly passionate in what one is doing.  If not, it is very hard to  continue to churn out creative blog posts or videos because it is hard for creativity to flow without passion and inspiration. Day after day, night after night. Basically you would need to eat, sleep and dream of your blog or channel.

Conclusion

From experience, blogs targeting Malaysian niches pays much lower in terms of advertisement earnings. You can start a blog  but would need to target more profitable niche if you have the goal to earn a substantial amount of income to eventually make a full time living from blogging.

And you must have the passion for that topic because blogs/YouTube channels are very competitive. If you have no interest, it shows in your writing and your videos and no one /very few would visit your site or channel. Also, the passion is the energy that you would require to keep you in the months and maybe years before you could see any results.

Once you see the potential in what you are doing, perhaps you would then want to consider to take your site or channel to the next level by investing in equipment and hiring employees/ good writers.

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  • Jo

    Thank you for sharing, hope to learn more from you. Please pm me.😊

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