Can you use blogging to make money or is it another one of those get rich schemes that will never work? My philosophy has always been, if others are doing it, then it’s doable.
Blogging has a low-startup cost with a large investment in your time. It’s not a 9 to 5 type of job, nor is it a work 2 hours a week to make money gig. I can tell you honestly that I make money blogging and have for years. In fact, that is how I earn my income. Life is much better this way!
Other people don’t always understand. A new acquaintance asked me what I do and I said, “I blog.”
Dare I explain?
Being successful at blogging took a lot of work, patience, and willingness to learn new skills. Expect to work at it for 3 to 6 months before money starts trickling in.
This post will help you understand how you can make money blogging and what it takes to make it happen.
How do Blogs Make Money?
Blogs make money through multiple income streams. You can use several methods such as affiliate marketing, advertisements, services you provide, eBooks, your own products and more. Using various sources of monetization combined can provide you with a substantial income in the long-term.
How do Bloggers Get Paid?
Bloggers get paid in a number of ways. If you are making money blogging with affiliate marketing, the affiliate company that you signed up with will pay you according to their policies. That may be a check, direct deposit, PayPal or another method. It works the same if you place advertisements on your blog.
If you sell your own products or provide services, you can make your own payment arrangements like PayPal or use services like Stripe.
There is no one way that bloggers get paid so you can expect money to come in from various sources.
What is the Best Way to Start a Blog and Make Money?
Here are the steps to make money blogging.
When you look at a list of steps, it seems fairly easy. It’s not. To make money blogging takes a lot of skills, consistency and self-motivation.
1. Develop an Entrepreneur Mindset
Whether you realize it or not, your blog is a business and you are an entrepreneur. If you treat your blog like a little hobby, that’s exactly what it will be.
One of your most important foundation skills is to develop a success mindset. The owners of blogs that make money are successful entrepreneurs. They have a plan that they work every day to make their blogs a success.
Why? They learned how to break through the obstacles and move forward. You can have all the know-how to create a blog but your mindset is what will help you succeed.
There are many ups and downs for any blog owner with a monetization focus. You may not make money with your blog for weeks or months. Do you have what it takes to keep moving forward?
Most bloggers just quit blogging after feeling defeated.
Don’t be that person. Understand that blogging is a long-term strategy. With the right attitude and skills, you can turn it into a successful money making blog.
One of the most important entrepreneurial mindset characteristics is the willingness to brave the personal sacrifices to make your success happen.
Personal development is a key way to fill your mind with positive reinforcement daily. You can read books or listen to audio. If you drive a lot, it’s a great way to feed your mind.
Here are some suggestions for books that you use to develop a successful, entrepreneurial mindset that never gives up.
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
- The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5 by Taylor Pearson
It takes more than technical skills to create a successful, money-making website. Developing an entrepreneurial mind is a continual process of learning and improving.
2. Choose a Niche Market for your Blog
Picking a niche market is the first step before starting your business. A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. Your blog is the “product” in a sense since you will be providing content that addresses the needs of your niche market.
Your audience is NOT everyone. You need an audience and that is achieved by creating content and offers for a well-defined audience.
The problem is that many bloggers choose a niche topic in a saturated market. There is nothing wrong with choosing a crowded market, but the question becomes: how will you do it better?
For example, there is a sea of “lifestyle” blogs on the Internet. The majority of these look the same and write similar content.
There are only a few that stand out in this vast sea. Why?
They have a unique perspective in this niche that helps them attract the right audience.
If you do what everyone else does, you’ll be like everyone else and become one of many in a vast sea hoping to get noticed.
No. Instead, be strategic. There are many niche blogs that make money and yours can too.
Keep this in mind:
- Will people in your niche market be interested in what you have to offer?
- Is your target audience excited about the topic?
- Does your audience want products that you have to offer and can they afford to pay for it?
These are valid questions that the most profitable niche blogs in the world asked before starting their blog.
For example, many lifestyle bloggers simply create content about their personal lives in hope that someone will notice. Instead of being so general, narrow your content to aim at a more specific aspect of lifestyle. Your audience should be able to understand exactly what your blog has to offer them.
That is how you’ll get more readers, subscribers and customers.
3. Setup Your Blog with Self-Hosted WordPress
There are many blogging platforms to choose from. WordPress blogs are used by 59.2% of websites created with a content management system (CMS).
In fact, WordPress powers some of the most popular websites in the world like The New Yorker, BBC, and Forbes to name a few.
There are two distinct types of WordPress blog:
- WordPress.com free version
- WordPress.com self-hosted version
You can opt for the free version to start your blog but only do so if you are not planning to monetize or be a serious blogger. They have policies in place with regard to ads, affiliate links and you’ll also have to put up with ads on your blog that are not in your control.
To start a blog and make money, use the self-hosted WordPress.org. You can do what you want, add any monetization method you want to, and create your asset on the Internet without any policy telling you what to do.
Start Your WordPress Blog the Right Way
Choose a web hosting provider. There are many to pick from. All websites are stored on servers, a special type of computer that provides the technology that is necessary for webpages to be viewed on the Internet.
A web hosting service provides these services for your blog.
I highly recommend SiteGround. I migrated my website to SiteGround and am very happy with their service. Not only that, my site speed increased quite a bit!
After SiteGround Migration
- Go to the SiteGround page, choose your web hosting plan. The StartUp plan will be sufficient for you to start. It will cost you $3.95 per month, payable a full year in advance. Click Get Started under the desired plan.
- Choose a new domain or use an existing domain name. If you don’t already have a domain name for your new blog, you’ll need to get one. If you already have a domain name, you can use it for your new self- hosted WordPress blog. Enter the information and click Proceed.
- Fill in all your personal information. You’ll have another chance to choose the web hosting plan that is right for you. At the bottom of the page, select Domain Privacy if you are registering a new domain name. You don’t need the SG Site Scanner option.
- After filling in all the information, click Pay Now. SiteGround will send you a confirmation email with instructions on how to log into your account.
- To install WordPress at your web hosting providers, follow the email instructions to log into your account.
- Go to My Accounts and then Cpanel.
- Under Autoinstallers, click WordPress and follow the instructions on the page.
After WordPress is installed, you can log into your Admin panel using the name and password you created. This is where the magic happens.
Install a WordPress theme, create Pages and Posts and start building a blog that makes money.
4. Write High Quality Content that Drives a Traffic to your Blog
Now it’s time to create website content. These are blog posts that you create that appeal to your audience. This is why you need to know your audience before you start.
Readers will visit your blog to read your content. Make sure it’s high-quality and provides valuable information to help your audience in some way.
For example, if your niche market is “busy women over 40 who need to lose weight,” focus your content around solutions that satisfy the intent of search queries from your audience.
One idea is healthy meal replacement shakes or how meal prep can help save time while incorporating healthy habits. You get the idea.
When you are blogging to make money, crafting your blog content around the needs of your target audience is the key. It is not writing blog posts that you feel like writing. You may be the only person interested in that content.
If you don’t create content for your audience, how would you attract the repeat reader or make money? People are searching for information on the Internet 24/7. Let them find your high quality content and think, “this is exactly what I needed to read!”
If you create crappy, thin-content, they will hit the back button and never return. That’s the truth!
Be sure to structure your blog posts for easy navigation. To keep readers engaged, use images and videos. 43 percent of people skim blog content and using visual elements will help your readers find those important pieces of content.
Learning how to write good content for a website is not easy but can be learned. Consider what you would want to read when you are searching for answers. Does your blog content live up to that expectation?
Coming up with blog content ideas can be a challenge. Check out this video to learn a few fun ways to find out what your audience might be interested in.
5. Build an Email List
Learning how to build an email list from scratch is the foundation of making money with your blog. This is how you continue building relationships with your readers and monetize that list through product recommendations.
If you didn’t have a quality email list, you would not have the ability to continue marketing to your audience over time. People may come through your website without you ever knowing who they are. If you give them a good reason to join your email list, now you can communicate with them further.
One of the most important list building strategies is earning the trust of those who choose to be part of your campaigns.
There are many list building strategies you can use. Here are three basic ways to build a quality email list:
- Build loyal fans with a simple form at the bottom your blog posts that says something like, “If you love this blog post, join our newsletter for more great articles like this one.”
- Create a free downloadable eBook as an offer to readers in exchange for their email address.
- Setup an exit popup is a message that displays to users as they are attempting to navigate away from your site. Give them a reason to stay!
Before you can do any of this, you’ll need to choose from many list building services to decide which one is the right fit for you.
I highly recommend ConvertKit, a powerful email service that gives you plenty of options for automation capabilities. Use their incredible forms to collect leads, autoresponder series and broadcast emails.
Remember, the money is in the list! Depending solely on your blog to make money is a mistake.
If you get traffic from Google, the algorithm can change and your traffic can disappear.
If you depend on Pinterest or other social networks for traffic, your account can be cancelled, the network can lose popularity or traffic can go down for any number of reasons.
You own your email list! Make it make you money.
6. Monetize your Blog with Products and Services
Once you have everything in place, start monetizing! Should you wait until you are more established? No way.
You are blogging to make money so don’t wait. There are several ways to start a blog and make money.
1 – Selling Advertising to make money.
Most new bloggers I talk to intend to use ad networks like Google Adsense to monetize. That’s a mistake. You would need a high volume of traffic to make even a few cents. For example, let’s say you want to make $100 a day.
Here’s some math for you based on making $1 CPS (cost per click):
$100 equals 100 clicks at $1 per click.
If your CTR click through rate is 5%, you need 2,000 visitors per day. (100/.05 = 2,000)
That is 60,000 visitors a month.
That is a very generous example of making money with Adsense. You would get more like 20 cents a click in which case you would need five times as many visitors to your site every day.
Let’s move on.
2 – Use Affiliate Marketing
With affiliate marketing, you recommend products and earn a commission if someone clicks your link and makes a purchase.
Each merchant has their own rules and commission setups.
This is the most effective way to make money blogging. You can sell affiliate products that align with the interests of your target market.
I see so many blogs with random ads that have nothing to do with their content. What’s that about? I don’t know but don’t do it.
Create each blog post with a purpose around the content your audience desires and products that are congruent with that content.
3 – Sell your Services
What services can you provide? Are you a coach, writer, designer or something else that is helpful? Create a service menu around your expertise and start working with client that find you through your blog.
4 – Sell your own products
Are you an expert at something that aligns with your niche market? Create your own product and sell it. For example if you are a crocheting expert, create a video training series for beginners and make some money from your expertise.
If you don’t have your own training products you can sell other people’s products through teaching websites like Udemy.
These are just a few ideas of how you can monetize your blog.
Final Thoughts on How to Use Blogging to Make Money
Starting a blog to make money is essentially starting an online business. Monetize from the start and have a content marketing strategy to help you plan out what to write about.
Once you start a blog and make money, you will be so happy you did! It’s an incredibly freeing feeling.