This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll make a little bit of pocket change to keep this blog up and running when you make a purchase through them. Thanks as always for your support!
Hey gang! I am super-psyched about today’s post because it’s all about how to make money doing what we all love – blogging! The tips I give you today are a combination of things I’ve learned on my own plus tips I’ve picked up from other bloggers along the way.
I only made about $1,000 in my first year blogging and then about $5,000 in my 2nd year. Whatever I’m doing seems to be working, so I’ve captured everything I do into this little post just for you.
By no means am I at the point yet where I can make writing/blogging my full-time income, but I really believe one day in the near future, my blog income will be sufficient enough to support my whole family.
The great thing about blogging is that you can be your own boss, set your own hours, work from anywhere in the world and get paid to do what you love. If all of these things sound amazing to you, then you are in the right place!
Let’s get started…
1. How to get started blogging
This may be a stupid question, but it’s really not if you think about it. Before you can start creating content, developing a following and earning income, you have to set your blog up the right way. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve hopefully read my other posts about how to start a blog.
You can’t focus on earning income in the beginning. The first thing you have to do is decide on a blogging platform. There are several big ones out there, but to me, WordPress is by far the most superior one of them all. Click here to view my detailed post on how to start a blog. I also have a free 7-day email course designed to help you start a profitable blog. Both of these tools are great starting points if you’ve never dabbled in the blogging world before.
Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of how to set your blog up, you can get started on your way to creating amazing content!
Make your blog design amazing
With WordPress, there are unlimited options to customize your blog. If you don’t do anything else with your blog’s design, make sure that you don’t use the default WordPress themes. Not only do they point you out as a newby, but they can also make you appear lazy. Thousands of people are already using the default WordPress themes, so why be one of them?
Go the self-hosted route
You may hear “free” vs “self-hosted” a lot when researching WordPress. Here’s the low down – there are two versions of WordPress. WordPress.com is the free version. It’s ok if you are starting out with no intention of growing and monetizing your blog. WordPress.org is the self-hosted route. By self-hosted, I mean you are using WordPress with a web hosting provider from which you have purchased a hosting plan and domain name. If you need a domain name, you can register one right now from NameCheap.com starting at $.88 cents! For web hosting, there’s really no better one in my opinion than SiteGround. I switched to them towards the end of 2017 and have been extremely pleased – both with the price of their service and with their customer service!
Related Post: Why I Moved My Site To SiteGround
2. Drive traffic to your blog
There are so many popular ways to drive traffic to your blog:
- Sponsored Posts
- Email Marketing
One of the biggest drivers of traffic to my blog is Pinterest. In 2017, I signed up for the unlimited plan with Tailwind. I pin about 100 pins throughout the day. The rule I made up for myself is for every pin I share from my own blog, I repin 3-5 pins from other bloggers.
As you can see from my list above, Pinterest is just one of the many ways you can drive traffic to your blog. My recommendation is not to try everything at the same time. Pick one or two and focus on building a strategy to drive traffic. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to mix it up.
When you are trying to think about the best ways to build traffic, think about the places you go to find traffic. Do you go to forums? Facebook groups? Twitter? Think like your audience!
Related Post: 15 Little Tricks to Get More Blog Traffic
3. Write stellar content
Like I’ve said before, anyone with an internet connection and time can sit down and write a blog post. Not everyone can sit down and write QUALITY blog posts. This is where you come in. Write valuable and shareable content. What are people looking for? What type of information are they seeking? If you write about things that don’t get a lot of attention, you aren’t going to see much traffic.
If you are planning a blog post about new cars, do a quick search on Google or Pinterest for new cars. Then, you’ll be able to see what readers are looking for when they search for new cars. Are they looking for trucks? Mini vans? Blue cars? Red cars? Cars under $30,000? Do a little keyword research and find ways to insert those keywords into your content.
I highly recommend (and use) Google AdWords
Related Post: How I Write And Publish Quality Blog Posts
4. Don’t write just to write
I can’t stand when bloggers just write a post to write. You know, the ones that have no purpose for the audience other than “hey, look at what I just did!” I often refer to a blogger who only posts about running in marathons. Enough of the bullshit. If you want to chronicle your life like that, get a diary. If you want to serve a purpose and get readers interested, your posts need to accomplish something for THEM, not YOU.
Focus your posts on the needs of your readers 100% of the time, and you will be surprised at the results. Don’t try to shove your personal life down our throats. We already see it every day on social media. Solve a problem. Provide a tip. Write a tutorial. Record a how-to video. You see where I’m going with this?
5. Only promote relevant/high-quality products
Once you sign up for sites like Amazon Affiliate or ShareASale, the temptation is going to be there to sign up for many different programs that promise a good commission. Resist! I make a rule to only promote products that are relevant to my readers, are high-quality or are products that I have used myself. If you promote lingerie on your sports blog, you probably aren’t going to see much commission.
Please, please please do not shove your affiliate links or banner ads down your readers throats. You are trying to build their trust, not turn them away. Find creative ways to integrate your products into your posts. The more you build trust with readers, the more conversions you will see.
Wondering how to make money with affiliate links? Check out this post.
6. Create a Tools/Resources Page
If you don’t already, create a separate page on your blog for tools and resources you use. You can also include products you recommend. This should be a page that is regularly updated as you learn of new products and find better tools to blog. Take a look at my resources page for a good example.
Your resources page should NOT be a page full of affiliate links and ads. While you can include some affiliate links to products you use, make sure you create a good balance. The primary focus of your resources page is to help others – not yourself. If you run a parenting blog, a list of good parenting tips, books, baby products, etc. is a good idea to start with.
Add to your resources page regularly, and make sure you put a “last updated” date on your post to let your readers know your page is constantly updated.
7. Be yourself
I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve read in the past where I could tell the blogger was writing to try to impress someone. My rule of thumb is that I’m no different writing a blog post than when I’m talking to someone. The more truthful and genuine you are, the more your readers are going to trust you and your expertise. After all, you started a blog because you are an expert in some field, right? Let your voice shine and don’t try to be someone you aren’t.
The key to making your connections real with your readers is truly to be real. What they see is what they get. Don’t try to deceive or hide something from your readers. Be honest, forthcoming and be willing to take criticism. You are the voice of your blog, so let that voice speak when you are writing your next blog post.
8. Implement a solid email marketing plan
I don’t care which email marketing tool you use to gather user emails and to send out your newsletters as long as whatever you are doing is consistent. I personally use MailChimp. It’s got great free options until you get a large number of subscribers, and it is very useful if you are trying to create an email course like mine.
Related Post: How to Skyrocket Your Email List in 30 Days
Ready to start writing?
You can do it! It’s time to bear down and do the dirty work that will eventually pay off. I hope these tips help steer you in the right direction to better and successful blogging. Don’t forget to share your posts on social media and look for ways to network with other bloggers. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!