How to Make Money Blogging

If you’re a blogger becoming curious about how you can start monetizing your blog, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve done all the research for you and have some great tips and resources for you to use whenever you’re ready to take the next step.

So, how do you make money blogging?

The first thing you have to realize before you even make your blog is this: it’s going to take time. Lots of it. And you’re probably going to fail a few times before you get anywhere. Even successful bloggers now making a living off of blogging failed many times over the course of several years before they managed to make money.  So get prepared for a lot of hard work that won’t always pay off and probably a lot of heartbreak. But if you can get through all the doubt and the long hours, the pay off could be worth it.

Here are some things to consider before making your blog/while you’re blogging:

Money-Making Tips

The first thing that is suggested that you do is build your credibility. This avenue isn’t the fastest, easiest route to making cash, but it could land you a great job down the line. BloggingBasics101 explains it like this: “For instance, let us say you start a blog in the finance industry. People start reading your content, and your blog becomes very popular. You are now a recognized figure in the finance industry.” It’s the same if you’re a writer. If you dedicate time to a blog, that’s writing experience that you can put down on your resume to get you more writing jobs. Explore the avenues that having a blog can take you down.

Include affiliate links on your site. Advertisers will agree to give you commissions from each sale that comes from a buyer from your site. All you have to do is set up the unique link the advertiser gives you and he or she will know when someone has come from your site to buy something. (This, of course, means you need readers to come to your site and click the ad and then buy the product. Having the reader trust you is a good way to make more money through affiliate links.) Smartblogger says, “On software and information products, affiliates typically earn a 50% commission, or sometimes even more, so it can be quite lucrative.”

Sell digital products. Bloggingbasics101 says you can sell things like eBooks (if you’ve written or plan to write any books), or online courses or workshops, or apps. Just make sure whatever it is that you’re selling, you make it relevant to the reader. Make sure it’s helpful to them.

Bloggingbasics101 also says you can sell memberships. You can sell memberships to your reader, so they’re charged monthly to get better content than the readers who don’t pay. Again, make this helpful and worth the price.

Smartblogger says this is how bloggers make money: 

  1. attract visitors with free content
  2. offer a freebie in exchange for their email address
  3. build trust by providing a steady stream of useful content
  4. offer a product or service that will genuinely help them

This is where your readers trusting you comes into play. If they trust what you recommend, they’re more likely to buy the product, whether it be affiliate links or your own product. Email subscribers are your loyal customers; they’re the people you’ll make your money off of, so Smartblogger says gaining email subscribers should be one of your top priorities.

A lot of people will recommend that you sell ads on your site, but Smartblogger adamantly opposes this idea (since they’re the ones making $100,000 a month, I think we should listen to them). They have a whole post dedicated to why ads are a bad road to go down, and they mention it in all of their money-making tips and tricks posts. I’ll lay their reasons out real quick: you’ll make pennies off of them, they make you look like an amateur, they make your blog look gross, they distract your reader, and they can ruin your reputation. There are a ton of other reasons, all detailed by Smartblogger, so if you want to know more about why they’re such a bad idea, go here. Sure, they might make you a couple dollars on the side, but those consequences outweigh the benefits in this case.

Smartblogger also suggests this:

Host webinars. Webinars are “online workshop[s], lecture[s], presentation[s] or conference[s] available to several users at the same time” according to Smallbussiness.chron. They’re good for traffic, brand building, and lead engagement. To learn about about why webinars are important, go here real fast.

Smartblogger says you should start selling immediately. Even if you only make a few dollars the first few months that you blog, you’ll be more motivated to continue if you see the immediate result of money in the bank.

They also say you should share what you learned. Smartblogger pointed out that blogging is about helping people, even your fellow blogger, so share your experience if you think someone else can learn from it.

Smartblogger has some excellent, in-depth points that I didn’t go over, so click here to learn even more. Smartblogger gives helpful, and inventive ways to make money that I didn’t really see anywhere else so I think they’re a great resource for this topic.

Of course, these are just the steps to make money once you have a blog. If you don’t have a blog yet, check out my post about how to make a blog!

Photo courtesy of Marcela Palma.

 

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How to Make Your Blog Popular

One of the biggest concerns you might be faced with after deciding to start a blog is: how do I make it popular?

There’s no one surefire way to make sure that your blog gets the attention it deserves, but there are a few things you can do to help attract more readers. There’s a lot of good advice out there to help you, and I’ve compiled the things I found most helpful into this post.

The first way to give your blog a shot at stardom is to choose the right blogging niche for you. There’s a ton of information and tips on choosing a profitable niche, but if you’re just going to blog about something because you think it’ll make you money, it’s probably not going to go well. You’ll be less interested in the topic, so you’re not likely to put in the work and passion that is necessary for a successful blog. What you really want to consider is this:

  • What skills do I have that other people need advice on? As amylynnandrews.com says, your readers want you to solve their problems. Be it wanting to know how to start a blog or wanting to stay updated on the current on-goings in celebrity lives, there’s something your readers want to know. What do you know that you can help them with? What are you exceptional at? Are you qualified for a particular job? Share your expertise.
  • What do I love talking about? What can you talk for hours and hours about? Knowing what you love to talk about will help because that’s basically what blogging is: talking about stuff! Lifewire says you should make sure that whatever you’re talking about, you aren’t too sensitive about the subject, because people will probably want to talk to you about it and maybe even debate you on the topic, so you’ll have to have tough skin to run a successful blog.
  • What’s my passion? Bloggingbasics101 has some great questions you should ask yourself to find your passion: “What are your hobbies? How do you spend your free time? What types of classes did you enjoy in high school or college? If you could do one thing for the rest of your life regardless of salary, what would you do?
  • Is my life entertaining? Amylynnandrews says sometimes people just want to be entertained. Or they can live vicariously through you. If you’re hilarious or if you do fun things like travel a lot, or meet celebrities all the time, this route might be the one you want to take. However, this one is apparently much harder to gain a following through.

Make sure to choose something you know, something you love talking about and researching, and something you’re not too sensitive about. You’ll be spending a lot of time every week, maybe every day, on this topic, so you’ll want to choose something you can actually put the effort into. That way, you’re less likely to give up on your blog and more likely to want to make it successful. That’s also why choosing a niche solely because it’s profitable is a dangerous path to take. It probably won’t yield the results you want. Plus, readers can tell when you don’t care about something! But if you love what you do, everyone says it’ll shine through your writing.

Once you actually start your blog, you may realize that not a lot of people are reading it. That’s okay! There are ways to bring traffic to your blog to (hopefully) make it more popular.

Goinsblogger has a lot of great advice about this topic. To see his full post, go here. I’ll lay out the things I found most important, so you have a condensed version.

He says guest posting is actually the most important thing that you can do to get traffic onto your blog and I agree with him. Guest posting on another blog helps you reach someone else’s audience. If they like what you wrote, they’re likely to check out your blog.

Goinsblogger also mentions that guest posts are great for search engines. He says this: “The host blogger must include a link to your blog in the post somewhere (usually at the beginning or end). Over time, these backlinks will raise the value of your blog to search engines, making your content easier to find via Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.”

Allowing others to guest post on your blog is important as well. This builds a mutual relationship with other bloggers, and sometimes they’ll blog about their guest post and link to it, which gets traffic to your site! To learn how to guest post, click here.

Search engine optimization is also important. I really like goinswriter’s definition of it because it’s simple and easy for anyone to understand: “SEO is a series of actions you do to make people find your stuff online more easily (for free).”

It’s basically about using the same key words over and over again in your content until search engines eventually start linking to your site. I don’t really understand how that works (it goes over my head no matter how much I research it, I just know it works). Goinswriter has a wonderful series of posts about how to optimize your site for search engines, so check the first one out here!

Goinswriter also brings up the interesting idea that public speaking is a skill you must possess. He says public speaking can network you with other writers and can gain you more influence. I had never thought about this, but he’s right, writers must become public speakers, for more reasons than just to gain followers on their blogs. This is how you really get your voice and ideas heard. Check out his post on public speaking.

And, finally, he says you have to be funny, clever, and remarkable. You have to keep readers entertained. This is harder than you’d think. You have to know how to be funny and clever (yikes!). I’m sure this doesn’t come naturally to everyone (certainly not me). Luckily he provides a post on how to do those things too, so check out how to be clever and how to be funny.

Another blog I appreciate is moz.com. This blogger gives 22 great ideas on how to get more traffic to your blog, but I’ll only relay the ones I found most interesting and helpful. To see his full post, go here.

Moz says you should participate in communities where your audience already gathers. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, or a blogging forum, find people who want to read what you write. And then as frequently as you can, but without spamming people, reference and link back to your own posts, so that maybe some of those readers will become new followers.

The most interesting point he made was that you should participate in Q & A sites, like Yahoo!Answers, Answers.com, Quora, and any others you can find. Don’t answer every question; answer ones where “the question quality is high, and responses have thus far been thin,” and questions that are getting a lot of attention (like if a lot of people are searching for this particular question), and a question that you can answer “in a way that provides remarkable value to anyone who’s curious and drops by.” You can even answer a question in-depth in a blog post and link back to it. Moz says he actually does this a lot, because these questions are a good source of inspiration for posts.

Wordstream suggests that you write content that will last forever.  What they mean is that you should write something that time won’t make irrelevant. So blogging about what a certain actress wore on a certain day won’t withstand the test of time, but writing things like helpful tips and tricks probably will.

Those are the most helpful tips I found for improving your blog’s popularity! I hope this helps!

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Joe the Goat Farmer.

The Pros and Cons of Blogging

Blogging is becoming a popular way for people to make money. The problem is that it’s very competitive and it’s a harder job than people realize. And, sometimes, you don’t always get what you put into it. However, there are a ton of benefits if your blog succeeds. This post is here to lay out the pros and cons of blogging so you can see if blogging is the avenue you want to consider going down.

Pros of Being a Blogger:

  1. You can make money working from home! Who doesn’t want to stay in their PJs all day, drinking coffee at their kitchen table all while making money?
  2. Blogging helps you become a published author. Publishers nowadays are more likely to trust the work of someone with an online presence, but this isn’t the only way to become published, just so you know. Don’t freak out if you don’t think you can make a crazy successful blog. This would just be a perk of having one.
  3. If you have a business, amylynnandrews.com says this gets you more exposure. You can reach a ton of people without spending a ton of money doing so.
  4. You’ll become a better writer! If you have a blog that you update regularly, you’re writing consistently. The more you write, the better a writer you’ll become. That’s just the way it is.
  5. Incomediary.com says you can get a better job! Employees are now looking at your online presence–if you have a strong one, you’re more likely to get a better job. Blogging is also great experience that can open the door to multiple other jobs, whether you get “blog famous” or not.
  6. He also mentions that you can get immediate feedback on your writing. People will comment on your blog almost immediately, instead of having to wait months for a publisher to get back to you with their comments.
  7. He also talks about how you can express yourself and gain influence. If you have an online following, what you say is being heard. You have the ability to affect change because people are listening to you.
  8. You can help others. That’s what blogs are meant to do. You’re blogging to help other people with your expertise. What’s more fulfilling than that?
  9. Finchshells.com says you get free stuff! If you make a successful enough blog, companies will want you to try out their products so you can blog about it and get other people interested. You can get free nights in hotels, free vacations, clothes, dinners…it all depends on what you blog about, but this is totally possible.
  10. You get to write! All the time! If you love to write and you want to do it for a living, this is an avenue you might want to consider.

There are far less cons than there are pros, but they’re still pretty steep downfalls.

Cons of Blogging

  1. You could fail. Over and over again. Even the most successful bloggers out there failed four or five times, pouring in long, hard hours, just to have to shut down their blogs. It takes intense persistence and tough skin to be a blogger. You will probably face a lot of doubt and heartache before you start making money.
  2. It could take years for you to see any money. You have to keep at your blog day after day, week after week to make it popular and full of useful information, and it could take FOREVER to see the results. And, again, you could still fail after all that.
  3. You have to dedicate a lot of time to your blog. A LOT. It’ll be a full time job to make money off of it. Shoutmeoutloud.com says you have to have great self-discipline to make sure you have enough time for the blog and the rest of your life. But it could still certainly feel like the blog is taking over your life sometimes.
  4. He also mentions that the economy isn’t the most stable. There’s no guaranteed fixed income for a blogger, so sometimes you might end up with a lot less money a month than you bargained for. It’s probably smart to keep a side job until your blog is popular enough to sustain itself.
  5. He also brings up the fact that you’re alone. Being alone all the time has some major consequences, like depression. Ways to solve this problem are to either start a blog with a friend, make sure you’re making time to go out with friends often, or hang out at a Starbucks or something while you work to feel like you’re still part of society.

 

So there you have it! Those are the pros and the cons of blogging. A lot is expected of you as a blogger, but if you think this is the route you want to take, then start writing!

Photo courtesy of Maxpixel.

How to Make a Blog

If you clicked on this post, it must mean you want to make a blog. Yay! Welcome to the blogging community! I’ve done a ton of research to help you get started on kicking-off your blog, especially if you want to make a profit off of it. There’s a ton of advice out there for how to start one. It can be a lot to sort through. So I’ve found the basics of what you need to do and I’ve provided some quick resources to make things easier and less time consuming for you, ’cause I figure you don’t want to spend hours and hours sifting through dozens of guides, wondering which ones are the best and who you should trust.

Starting a blog is pretty simple in theory, but there are a lot of different platforms out there and it can be hard to know which one to choose. Basically every guide I came across recommended WordPress.com as their #1 choice for novice bloggers. It’s the easiest to use and navigate, and because I use and love WordPress myself, I can vouch for it. There’s no complicated computer skills necessary for using WordPress (fortunately for me!). But if you’re curious to know what the other major popular platforms out there are, here are a few examples:

  • Ghost
  • Joomla (This one has some pretty steep learning curves)
  • Drupal (difficult for beginners as well)
  • Medium
  • Squarespace

If you want to see more and know more about each, check them out here.

It’s suggested by makeawebsitehub.com that you self-host your blog. This means you buy a domain for your website and pay a small fee, some as low as $5 a month, to host your blog. You’ll especially want to do this if you’re planning on making any money from blogging. Most free blogging platforms won’t let you put up ads or sell affiliate links, so there’s basically no chance to start making a profit. Also, free platforms look unprofessional and you could lose your content at any time with no chance to recover it. Makeawebsitehub warns that your site could just be deleted for a minor indiscretion and you’d have no way to contest it. So if you’re planning on having a lasting blog that you control, you should consider self-hosting.

To pick a domain name, choose something that’s catchy, unique, descriptive, and easily remembered. Ending it with “.com” will make your site trustworthy and more easily remembered, according to Makeawebsitehub and amylynnandrews.com, but “.org” and “.net” work pretty well, too. Try to describe the blog in a couple words and make it fun!

So what is web hosting? It’s where your blog will be stored online. There are a ton of different hosting companies that offer an array of different hosting options for all kinds of different websites. The WordPress platform is free, but you’ll have to pay a couple dollars a month for the web hosting and domain registration. Bluehost.com is the recommended place to buy your domain and web hosting by Makeawebsitehub. He says it’s a simple installation process, it’s got great customer service, and it’s reliable. There’s also a money back guarantee if you don’t like it. It’s everything you could want! This site teaches you to use Bluehost.com and how to install WordPress once you have it. I would suggest going down this route. This blogger has looked into most platforms out there and knows what’s the best and will guide you through anything you get stuck on personally.

If that site doesn’t work for you, this one will also help you install your blog!

The next thing you’ll want to do is set up a theme, and Makeawebsitehub will help you with that too if you wish. Some theme platforms he suggests are:

  • Studiopress
  • Mythemeshop
  • Themeforest
  • WordPress Library

Your theme should reflect what your blog offers. If it’s more of a business blog, it should look professional and clean, but if it’s an artsy blog, you have more room to be creative.

The next thing you’ll want to consider is making a great “About Me” page. This will be one of your site’s most visited pages. Your first line for your “About Me” page should be a hook sentence or it should tell your reader who your blog is meant for. So if your blog is a business blog that’s selling a certain product and/or meant to help people who are also in the business field, you would let your audience know that. Let your readers know that your blog is there for them. Your “About Me” page is really there to convince your reader that you’re reliable and you’re the one they should come to for advice over your competition. You want your readers to trust you, so also show them who you are. Be yourself. Share your values and beliefs and tell them why you made your blog to begin with. But keep it short and relevant. No one wants to read a page full of boring backstory. And if you have any online testimonies that you can screenshot to help prove how reliable you are, this is the place to put them. Startbloggingonline and Melyssagriffin go more in-depth with how to make a perfect “About Me” page and this site will show you examples of great “About Me” pages. Check them out if you want to see more!

Those are the basics for starting a blog. You’ll want to check out my post about how to make it popular if you’re wanting to monetize your blog or develop a wide audience. But now you know how to get started!

Photo courtesy of Sophieja23..