In this post, I will walk you through the steps to make money blogging. If you don’t already have a blog, it is easy to start one. Follow my guide to start your WordPress blog now.
Our First Blog
My wife and I started our first blog about eight years ago. I set up WordPress for her and ran the geeky stuff and she wrote the content, mostly recipes. The blog was really more of a hobby while my wife was on leave with our first child. We had no idea you could make money blogging.
We thought it was amazing years ago when after several months of advertising, the first $100 in earnings landed in her Paypal account. Fast forward to today, she sold over $500 in eBooks just yesterday and also made money advertising and from affiliate links. Blogging is now a full-time income allowing her to stay home with our four young children even in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area.
Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. However, it did take longer than it should have because we had no idea what we were doing. Below, I am going to share our experience and strategies so you can start making money from blogging now and avoid the mistakes we made.
How to Make Money From Blogging
I get the question, “How do I make money blogging?” all the time. Family, relatives, friends, pretty much everyone wants to know how to make money blogging once they find out it is possible. Over the years, I have watched many bloggers I provided technical support to grow their earnings from their blogs into a full-time income. Every one of those bloggers followed four basic steps to create, grow and monetize their blog.
Here are the steps bloggers follow to make money:
Only four steps, how hard could it be?
How to Start a Blog
Starting your blog is the easiest step. You can get a new WordPress blog up and running in about 15 minutes if follow my guide through step 3. Additional steps in the guide will set you up for success by teaching you to install themes and plugins and setting important configuration options.
Learn How to Start a Blog Now with our step by step guide.
How to Create Great Content for Your Blog
To be a successful blogger you need to provide your readers with something they will find valuable or useful.
I’m sure you already have a few ideas for your blog. Now, you need to take those ideas and turn them into a content strategy.
First, make sure you have a place to write down your ideas and take notes. If you don’t already have a place where you gather your thoughts for your blog, make a new Google Doc or another file on your computer.
Choosing a Niche for Your Blog
If you haven’t already decided what your blog is going to be about, you need to spend time choosing your niche. Even if you have chosen a niche, you should consider whether it fits well with your interests and whether it is too broad.
To pick a niche for your blog think about the following:
- What are you knowledgeable or passionate about?
- What interests, hobbies or ideas do you enjoy discussing with others.
- Does the topic provide you with opportunities to teach your readers or create a product?
Consider picking a smaller niche rather than a very broad one. For example, you might really be into cooking, but a food blog is an excessively broad topic. Instead, pick a smaller sub-topic to focus on. For food or cooking, that might be vegetarian recipes or desserts or maybe you are gluten-free. No matter your topic, choose a niche that is personal to you, so you can grow along with your readers and share your knowledge and experience with them.
You will know you have the right niche when you can easily write down ten blog post ideas you are excited about sharing with your readers.
Once you have the niche or topic of your blog, continue to the next section.
A Blog Content Strategy
Again, to be successful you need to provide something of value to your readers. Spend as much time as you need to make a comprehensive outline of future blog content. This is best done in a Word processor or Spreadsheet so you can easily edit and rearrange the information.
You should spend at least 15 minutes but maybe a lot more thinking about your overall strategy and outlining a basic plan for your blog.
Start with the skill or improvement your readers will have after they read all of your blog posts. Solve a problem.
What is the broad knowledge or skill your readers are going to learn from your blog?
- Will they learn how to eat a paleo diet?
- Will they learn how to be a better salesperson?
- Will they learn how to be a makeup artist?
Next, brainstorm pieces of knowledge or steps you could teach them to reach that goal. Each one of these could be one or more blog posts! (Don’t worry if you are unsure of all the steps or information needed, you can learn along with your readers!)
If you aren’t already skilled or knowledgeable in your niche, consider doing some research and making a broad outline of your niche. Do that now if you need to.
Make sure you think about the knowledge level of a beginner in your niche. What basic information or techniques will they need to get started? What advanced skills will they want to master?
Is there a logical order to some of the information or steps. Go ahead and arrange your ideas in an order that makes the most sense.
Further reading on creating a Content Strategy:
Crafting a Blog Content Strategy
How to Create a Killer Content Strategy
Once you have a content strategy in place, it is time to start writing some content. However, do not forget to come back to your content strategy from time to time to improve it as you grow and learn your niche.
Writing Great Content
Useful and engaging content wins repeat visitors who bookmark your site, subscribe to your email list and share your content across social media. The more helpful and engaging your content is the faster your traffic is likely to grow.
As you write, remember to do the following:
- Write a compelling title.
- Use sub-headings H2-H4 to break up your content by subtopic.
- Use the List block when applicable.
- Use short paragraphs.
- Edit your post, check your spelling and grammar.
- Avoid long complex phrases and run on sentences.
- Use images to break up long blocks of text.
- Link to other blogs or websites that are relevant to your post.
- Try to write 500 or more words per post.
The first thing a prospective visitor sees is either your post title or a featured image from your post. Write a title that makes a reader want to learn more. Learn how to optimize your post titles.
Similarly, beautiful photos increase traffic significantly. If you are taking your own photos for your blog take an online photography class to improve your photography skills.
How to Promote Your Blog Posts
Visitors do not appear like magic. New blogs take time to rank in Google and receive free organic traffic.
Here are 16 ways to promote your blog and drive traffic to your site today.
- Share your Content like crazy on the networks your audience uses.
- Link to your blog from your social media profiles.
- Create a YouTube account and post a related video. Embed the video in your post and link from the video description back to your blog post.
- Share your posts more than once.
- Share the day you publish your posts. Experiment with the time of day you share.
- Share the next day after you publish.
- Share three days later with a new description or image.
- Share a week later to keep the momentum.
- Create a compelling image. You can find free images that have no copyright restrictions on Pixabay. Try PicMonkey to create and edit shareable images with text overlays.
- Ask friends and family to comment, like or reshare your content on social media.
- Make it easy for visitors to reshare your content and images on social networks. Activate social sharing in WordPress Jetpack by going to Settings –> Sharing and then configuring the options. Or install a social sharing plugin.
- Join Facebook Groups in your niche. Share your content when appropriate. If you cannot find a Facebook group, start one and invite others interestd in your niche.
- Pin your post images with some teaser text to Pinterest.
- Search for group boards on Pinterest and message the owner to join, or create your own group board and invite other bloggers to the group.
- Include keywords in the description of your Pinterest Pins and make your descriptions longer.
- Capture your visitors’ email addresses so you can email them your next post. For a new blog, you can start with JetPack Email Subscriptions for free and move to a more robust paid email marketing service later.
- If your niche is relevant to a business audience, post on Linkedin. Post during business hours. At the beginning of the week post at the beginning of the workday. Toward the end of the week post on Linkedin in the early afternoon.
- Link your related posts together to keep visitors on your site longer and more engaged.
- WRITE A GUEST POST on a larger blog in your niche.
Send a direct message on social media or email with an introduction and a proposed guest post topic.
Reach an agreement to write a guest post with the understanding that the guest post will contain a link back to your blog.
- Check out this post by Buzz Blogger with 500+ places to syndicate your content.
Start Making Money with Your Blog
Whether your blog is a hobby or your business there are dozens of ways to make money.
However, you are going to need traffic to your blog to monetize it and, the more traffic, the greater your earnings potential. If you haven’t set up your blog yet, get started today with our easy step by step tutorial on starting a new blog.
Make Money with Advertising on Your Blog
Many bloggers make a full-time income with display advertising on their site. Advertising revenue is directly related to site traffic. It typically takes more than 100,000 page views a month to see real income from advertising.
At almost any amount of traffic, you can run ads yourself from networks like Google AdSense or Media.net using a WordPress plugin like Advanced Ads. I recommend against this if you are just starting out. The revenue will not be worth the hassle and you may alienate your earliest fans.
Once you meet the minimum requirements of a premium advertising partner like Mediavine.net or AdThrive, your earnings potential is significantly higher. These partners manage all the advertising for you, optimize the placements and ensure advertisers pay top dollar to be shown on your site. While these ad networks do take a cut of the revenue, in our experience, it is more than made up for by their expertise and ability to increase the ad rates paid for placements on your site. (And I mean like 2-5x what you could earn yourself even after their cut.) Once you have around 50,000 pages views a month, apply to a premium network like Mediavine.net or AdThrive to supercharge your ad earnings.
Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
After advertising, affiliate marking is the next most common way bloggers make money. Of course, you can combine the two!
Really it is that easy. Link to a product at Amazon or Walmart in your post and anyone that follows that link and buys that product or other products in the same session will earn you a commission of a few percent of the purchase cost. For example, Amazon’s commissions range from 2% to 10% with products like electronics having lower commissions while clothes and beauty products have higher commissions.
Make Money Selling a Product or Service on Your Blog
Countless bloggers also make an income selling a product or service on their blog. Your product can be virtual or physical.
Examples of digital products you can sell on your blog:
- Photographs, Music or other Art for reuse
- Memberships to exclusive content or groups
- Other Printables for teaching, organizing or for kids etc…
A great way to sell a digital product is to use Gumroad.com. Gumroad will manage all the users, payments, storage and limit access to your products to paying customers. There are also WordPress plugins that can do this but they typically take a lot more configuration and technical knowledge.
Examples of physical products bloggers sell:
- Unique Art
- Other supplies, instructions or parts to create things
- A gadget or other manufactured product
Yep, some bloggers even work with manufacturers like those at Alibaba to brand, customize or improve an existing physical product and then sell it through their blog.
An excellent example of that is The Inspiralizer. The Inspiralized blog did not invent spiral cutters but instead worked with a manufacturer to improve an existing model and custom brand the result. The Inspiralized site still runs on WordPress!
You are only limited by your creativity.
Try a variety of strategies to diversify your income and keep creating and promoting your content!
Start a Blog Now with our step by step guide.