By Jesse Collier. Updated June 2017.
Do you want to give blogging a shot? Read on to discover how to make money blogging and the best tips for creating a major source of income for yourself!
It has become a full-fledged career, and a lot of businesses are turning towards blogging to build their brand name. This has turned out fancy sounding jobs such as “web content creator” and “professional content marketer”.
Yet the good thing about blogging is that anyone can do it. As long as you have an idea and some persistence, you could build a brand around your writing. But how do these bloggers make upwards of $100k per month?
This guide will walk you through the steps on how to make money blogging and how to turn your blog into a money-making machine.
Read the top 20 ways to make money while at school and get a jump start on your future!
Get set… go!
Starting out with a blog can be a bit daunting. There’s so much information out there and finding the “right way” to begin can be difficult.
That’s why it’s important to realize that, while anyone can become a blogger, it does take a persevering and dedicated individual to make money from blogging.
However, we’re here to make sure you get off to the right start and to show you how to make money blogging with tasks that will have you learning in no time!
We’ve compiled a list for getting your blog started with simple tasks to get you on your way.
Figure out your niche
This is the make or break stage. If you have already figured out your interests, it will be easy to find a niche to write about. However if you have absolutely no clue, try giving this post a read on finding great ideas for your niche.
A lot of bloggers make the mistake of choosing a niche in which they have no interests in writing. This translates to their work and results in a poorly-maintained blog. You want to create a blog in a niche (or develop an entirely new niche!) and become an authority figure in it.
The whole point of blogging is to be a unique presence to the readers in your niche so they’re not reading the same material that can be found on other sites.
For example, you could combine your love for technology and the environment into a blog that focuses on technology in the renewable energy sector. This is a unique twist on the typical “all-things tech” blog. A lot of bloggers are turning to this approach of combining two seemingly unrelated niches to create a new one.
The big takeaway to finding your niche is to make sure that you stand out from the crowd in some way. Are you the first one to discover your niche? Research all that you can about it, then pour that new-found knowledge into your blog posts. Remember, people can smell you a mile away if you have no idea what you’re talking about.
Get a website
To become a serious blogger, you need to have a nicely designed website with a good domain name to house your blog. Not sure how to create a website? Read about it here and then come back to finish these steps! A fresh website will develop your credibility and show your audience that you mean business when it comes to delivering them information.
Design your blog
This is the best but also most important part! The design of your blog could be a huge factor to your readers’ appeal. You want to design your blog to be easy to read and navigate so your readers will come back.
In our article about creating a website for your blog, we encouraged you to use WordPress. WordPress has many themes that you can use to make your blog look just right. Choose one that personifies your niche and best portrays your topic to your readers.
Choose a theme that has an easy to read font as well as space for large images and even sidebar space. In the sidebar you can put social share buttons, ads, banners, or whatever you want.
At this point, you should have a website set up the way that best fits your topic. In order to build your audience, you need to create social media profiles for your blog. Use all of the most popular social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn to advertise your blog.
Make sure to invite everyone you know to like and follow your pages. Your social media presence will grow with time as you get more readers to your blog!
Set up accounts and pages for your blog and link them to your website. Make sure to have the same design scheme as your website to help develop your brand.
Speaking of your brand, you’re going to need a logo. Use a service on Fiverr or a similar site to get the perfect logo that your brand can revolve around. Make sure your logo, as with your domain name, shows to your readers what niche you’re writing about. Using sites like Fiverr ensures you don’t break the bank with your logo design as well.
For example, our logo clearly communicates that we write for students, as “students” is in the title as well as there being a grad cap on the letters.
Begin the content journey
So you have your website, blog, and social media accounts looking fancy and just the way you want. Now, it’s time to start writing content!
Look around on different sites in your niche and see what they’re writing about for inspiration, but don’t copy and paste their work into your blog. You could also have a look on Google Trends to see what people are searching in Google, then write an article about one of those topics.
Think what you want to write about before you write an article. Most bloggers leave the title for last or until they have written some content, so not having a title up front is perfectly fine. You could brainstorm for ideas, or read this article to get your gears turning.
Yet in order to make money blogging, you don’t want to write about your personal life unless you have something awesome or informative to share. In that case, the niche would be you. Sadly, unless you’re a globetrotter or a big name, not a whole lot of people want to hear about your life. People DO want to hear about new and exciting information that you can provide them though.
That’s not to say that you can’t include personal anecdotes in your article, just don’t center it around your life. The quicker you get into this mindset, the quicker you can make money blogging. It’s not hard, but it does take some getting used to.
Increase your exposure
Now that you have everything set up and some content on your blog, you need ways to attract readers to your articles.
One great way is to publish on all of your social media profiles. Even if it’s just updates on the design of your website, it will keep your readers engaged in your blog. Yet it’s a two-way street because in order to post to your fans, you need to get fans in the first place. That will come with time as your site grows and your influence increases.
Another way to attract readers is to set up ad campaigns on social media and through Google and/or Bing. At the beginning you won’t have much of a budget, but start low and work your way up. You ultimately want to make more then you spend, so keep reading to discover ways that you can monetize your blog.
Probably one of the best ways to get readers to your content is to write guest articles or comment on other blogs in your niche. Especially starting out, you won’t have much of a following, so writing for other blogs or commenting on posts from other blogs in your niche will increase your exposure immensely.
Make Money Blogging
It’s certainly been a process thus far! You’ve learned how to figure out your niche, set up your own website, design your blog, set up social media pages, write content, and increase your exposure. That’s a huge list!
Let’s get down to business though. We’re assuming you’ve clicked on this article to find out how to make money blogging. That’s great that you want to kick-start your business and grow your brand.
A few words of warning though. Making money from blogging requires dedication and perseverance. A blog that makes money is one that provides valuable information to its readers. The more valuable the information, the more readers, which translates to more money. Pretty simple right?
For some people, it can be. If you’re trying to compete in your niche with hundreds or even thousands of other brands, most probably larger than yours, then you need to provide your readers something different. Setting your blog apart from others will bring in more readers and more money.
Also, most bloggers use many different ways to make money from their blogs, which we’ll detail for you below. Most people make pennies to start out. It gets easier though, and you could turn those pennies into dollars in no time!
Affiliate marketing is when you use links, banners, and ads on your website to promote other products and services.
When users click on your links and spend money on that product or service, you get a small commission from the sale. Think of it as a tip to a waiter for providing exceptional service. It’s called “affiliate marketing” because your website is becoming affiliated with the brand you’re promoting.
Sign up to a large affiliate network such as Rakuten/Linkshare, which will provide you all of the banners and links you need to start making money from affiliate marketing.
Ads can be a very good way to make money. While they won’t perform as well as affiliate marketing in generating revenue, they’ll still cut you a nice slice of the pie.
There are many different ad-providing agencies out there, but one of the more popular ones is Google Adsense. They provide everything you need to embed ads in your website and content. Be careful though, as they have strict guidelines for ad placements so be sure to read them beforehand.
Brands will pay you with either PPC or CPM. PPC stands for “Pay-Per-Click”, where brands pay you a fixed amount for every click your ads generate. CPM stands for “Cost-Per-M” (M is the Roman Numeral for 1000) where you get paid for every 1000 impressions you get on your ads, or how many times people view the ads on your site.
Once you have a steady fan base, other blogs and websites from your niche or in related niches will contact you to write guest posts for their blog.
For example, if you know a lot about traveling to different countries, companies might want you to write a post on their blog about your travels.
This is a great way to make money, but what’s even more valuable is the opportunity to get your name and brand on other sites, AKA getting “backlinks“.
Posts on social media
After you have a large following, brands will start to notice you and will want to post their products or services on your social media pages.
This can be a great revenue stream, especially if you can get big names, as they’ll pay a lot more per post.
Companies are constantly trying to get their brands out in the open. Forums, websites, blogs, you name it. They want to create a network of sites writing about them, as that will increase the traffic to their sites. This is also what you want to do eventually.
Sponsored articles are articles you write on your blog about different companies. This will require some work though, as you have to look for companies in your niche and reach out to them to see if they would be interested.
For example, we have quite a few sponsored articles. Qmee, Swagbucks, and Mogl are companies that we have contacted and who accepted our request to write them an article. It’s a mutually beneficial agreement, as both of our sites benefit from the traffic we produce.
Sell digital goods
If you can prove that you’re really knowledgeable about your niche, you can try to sell people eBooks, podcasts, courses, or workshops that you create. While you will need video and audio editing software, this can be a very lucrative way to make money.
If you’re thinking about creating online courses, consider trying Udemy or a similar platform that makes the whole process easier and gets your courses up and running. You just have to create your videos and materials, then upload them!
You could also create an eBook about your niche and sell it on Fiverr or even on your website. Alternatively, you could set up a mailing list and give it away for free to subscribers.
The key to using ads and affiliate marketing banners is placement. People are more likely to click them if they’re in more prominent places. For example, people read from left to right, so putting ads and banners in the right sidebar will increase your CTR, or “click-through rate“.
Make even more money blogging
Still hungry for more ways to make money blogging? As you might have guessed, the key to making as much money as possible from your blog is to develop and increase your reader base.
A large reader base means that you will be more valuable to brands who may want to put ads on your site or social media profiles to show to your readers.
> Develop your reader base
It’s easy to say, “Get out there and get people to read your blog”. It’s another thing to actual do it. Don’t worry though, we’re here to teach you how to increase your following and turn your blog into a money machine.
There’s so many different ways to grow your reader base. You could go with a full social media onslaught or only focus on ads to bring in readers. But what if you don’t have any budget to start off with?
> News stories
There’s some great alternatives here. First, you could try getting involved in news stories that relate to your niche.
For example, let’s assume that you had set up the blog where you cover technology in the renewable energy sector. Let’s also assume that the scientists at Tesla (the car company, not Nikola Tesla) figured out how to turn water into gasoline to fuel cars. This would be a major breakthrough for renewable energy, and your blog could be at the center of it along with the top news outlets.
Since this would be a pretty major breakthrough in science, a lot of people would be looking for news on it. If you can write up an article as fast as possible, you can use it to promote your blog and get more traffic.
Don’t forget to get on social media, participate in discussion, and even contact media outlets to say that you’re available for contact. If you’re very knowledgeable about your niche, the media might even try to contact you!
> Viral content
Getting into news stories quickly will also cause your blog to go viral. The key to creating viral content is to write about large news stories that are going on in your niche. Viral content will increase your reader base for not just that article, but for your entire blog.
Now we’re not saying it will be easy to just snap out a piece that will attract thousands of readers. Since this is your niche though, you’ll be a lot more opinionated about the topic which will draw in readers!
> Your blog as a money machine
There are even more ways to make money from your blog than the traditional monetization methods. If you have a business or if you are applying for jobs, your blog can put you ahead of the pack.
If you have another site that sells products online, your blog would be the perfect way to promote your products (just don’t go overboard on it – you want to promote, not turn your blog into another product store).
You can also use your blog to land a job. A blog is the perfect way to showcase your ability to provide people with information and it is a great tool that will show employers that you have an entrepreneurial mind.
That’s a lot to take in! Let us know if you need any help or if you have your own blogging journey to share in the comments below.