If you want to learn how to make money blogging you're going to need a lot more more than a blog niche, some related content and an ability to write.
I'll show you not only how to make money blogging but more importantly, how to beat your competition out and drive the "lions share" of organic traffic to YOUR site.
It doesn't matter whether you're starting from scratch, if you can follow a simple guide, you're good to go.
Let's not waste any time.
Develop A Strong Will To Succeed
We all have dreams.
But many of us underestimate their power to bring about the manifestations that we want and we sometimes neglect to embrace them quite as much as we possibly should.
Now I'm not talking about the fairies and goblins that you're conjuring up here. I'm referring to conscious visualizations.
Consider this example. For centuries, nobody believed it was physically possible to run a 4 minute mile until, in 1954, Roger Bannister did it.
According to Tony Robbins, not only did Roger train physically, he also made a mental shift.
He visualized, over and over in his mind, breaking that 4-minute barrier, knowing that all the physical training in the world would be meaningless without making an adjustment to his belief system.
He conditioned himself to become so certain that he was capable of achieving this feat, that he believed, without a shadow of a doubt, that he would do it. And he did.
Now I can teach you how to make money blogging but the determination to succeed has to come from you.
Blogging to make money is not a sprint but a marathon that will take mental stamina and if you want to make it out there you’ll need to . . .
Draw Up A Sound Business Plan
I always used to shy away from the thought of a business plan so if your heart's just sunk, I understand.
I'm not suggesting you spend weeks drafting the most formal business plan. Your success depends more on the type of planning you do, not how much planning you do.
Research conducted by Tim Berry concludes that those who finished their business plan were about twice as likely to achieve business growth while also being able to secure investment or get a loan than those who didn’t.
When it comes to how to make money blogging, it's more about setting out on your journey with a destination and a roadmap than a complex business plan.
Consider the example of NASA sending a rocket into space. They know their starting point (A) as well as their destination (B). Their aim is to get from point A to point B in the quickest possible time.
In theory, you may envisage a straight line from A to B. But in practice, it doesn't work that way. Both earth and the destination are in constant orbit, in much the same way that a business is in a constant state of flux.
Now I want to ask you a question. Do you have any idea what percentage of the time such a rocket is actually "on course"?
It's around 3%. Which means that for 97% of the time, the rocket is constantly re-aligning and re-adjusting to bring itself back on course.
And that's pretty much why you need a business plan. It's not an exercise you undertake at the start of your journey and then forget about. It's a reference point that you should constantly refer to, to ensure that you are still "on course".
The best place to start is to get hold of some sample business plans that will help you to draft your own.
A good business plan will help you to formalize and . . .
Use Your Unique Value Proposition To Your Advantage
Your unique value proposition is nothing more than that which sets you apart from the rest.
It lies at the heart of why your readers should make use of you and not your competitors.
Convertkit lets you know that their email software will not only allow you to connect with your audience but you'll be able to do so while you go about doing nothing more than the work you love. Makes it sound so effortless!
Knowing your value proposition or unique selling point will make it easier to market your business and ...
Drive Traffic To Your Site
In order to make money blogging, you have to sell something.
And if you want to sell something, you need people to sell to. In other words you need blog traffic.
But traffic doesn't just magically land on your site from out of the blue. You have to entice users onto your site.
Now web traffic can either be paid or organic.
The advantage of paying for traffic is that it can be generated immediately. If you have the budget for it, that's great. Google and Facebook will love you.
But seeing that you're reading and learning about how to make money blogging, I'm pretty sure you don't want to pay for traffic. So I'm going to concentrate on free or organic traffic.
Unfortunately, this is going to eliminate Facebook (and other social networks) because their algorithms restrict your free promotional posts to about 5% of your followers unless, of course, you pay for advertising.
So that leaves us with SEO which is clearly the most worthwhile strategy but it’s a long term strategy and one that I encourage you to concentrate on heavily.
It starts with adopting proper on-page SEO strategies, complimented with a number of off-page promotional strategies, the most noteworthy being link building. Google won’t suddenly start sending you streams of free traffic until you’ve built up some site authority. Outreach and guest posting are the only “proactive” methods I’d suggest for link building.
But a prerequisite for quality backlinks is . . .
Epic, Long-Form Content
Have you ever searched the internet for ideas to write about? Something to get past the writer's block that we all face from time to time?
What were you looking for? Information? A solution?
Whatever it was, you were looking for something that YOU wanted to read about. Right?
You see, there are two types of topics you can write about on your blog.
- The things you want to write about.
- The things that others want to read about.
While content lies at the heart of every blog, writing about topics that your audience isn't interested in reading isn't going to help you any.
What's important is to understand the problems that your users are facing and to craft your content around solving those problems.
If you can't help your audience to solve their problems, they'll simply find someone who can.
This requires a strong . . .
Focus On Your Blog Niche
Simply put, your blog niche is the area in which you specialize and what you "talk" about.
If you blog about food it's pointless writing posts about fashion. Users who land on your blog for an Italian meatball recipe aren't going to be interested in reading about the latest Guess handbags. They're going to be interested in a side dish that goes with meatballs or a recipe for tomorrow night's dinner.
Whatever niche you decide to focus on, it should be one that's in demand. Better still, a growing niche with an audience that's ready and capable of spending money on the products and services you offer, would be first prize.
Google Trends is a great way to see if your intended niche is in demand and to ascertain its interest over time. You can make comparisons and check your niche against specific countries and over predetermined time periods.
The next step is to ...
Monetize Your Content
The internet is rife with monetization ideas.
Unfortunately, most of them either don't work or are not worth the effort to pursue them.
For instance, the time and effort spent in writing content to promote a $130 headphone on Amazon for a commission of $7.80 isn't going to produce any meaningful income unless you're able to sell large volumes. And listing products on your site without much content isn't going to generate traffic from Google.
So in order to best show you how to make money blogging, I'll be sticking only to the monetization methods that really work.
Monetization Methods That Work
Properly done, affiliate marketing is a really effective way to generate passive income on autopilot.
So that when you wake up in the morning you find some decent money in your account.
The primary prerequisite for success in this vertical lies in the creation of high quality content that adequately addresses solutions to your users' problems. In other words, your content must be extremely helpful and to this end you will have to concentrate heavily on user experience.
The secondary requirement is to ensure that you spend your time wisely by prioritizing your efforts to highest and best use.
This monetization method remains one of the most solid ways to create passive income streams and can be achieved through:
- Content creation.
- Email marketing.
- Social media marketing.
The initial effort to become successful at affiliate marketing is substantial because:
- It takes times to produce quality content.
- A fair amount of content is required to keep users interested in your blog.
- Substantial effort and time is needed to promote your content, build your domain authority, drive traffic to your site and get your posts to rank in Google search results pages (SERP).
But once you get past this you will have laid the foundations to monetize your content year after year, on autopilot.
That's where the dream of making money while you sleep comes from!
If this monetization method appeals to you, you'll want to learn exactly how to make money from affiliate marketing.
And once you've done that, you'll want to read about the highest paying affiliate programs so that you can start making some real moolah!
This is probably the most effective way to make money blogging but you must make sure that your course/s are going to attract sufficient demand.
I would suggest you stick to 3 easy ways to gauge demand:
- Are other successful bloggers making money with similar courses?
- Are you making money from affiliate marketing in the vertical? This is a great way to test the waters.
- Does Google Trends show demand?
Online courses can literally make you thousands of dollars in a short space of time.
But you need a base to be able to market to.
If you're lucky enough to have a pre-existing audience that you've created through social media or your circle of influence, this is something you can start making money from immediately.
In truth, most people need to build an audience in order to benefit from selling online courses.
But again, once you get past that, this is a brilliant way to rake in the dough.
If you look at some of the most successful operators in this vertical, such as Pat Flynn, you'll quickly learn that an email list is a great way to market online courses.
But it's not the only way.
If you have some financial resources, you can run some paid promotions such as:
- Google PPC advertising.
- Facebook advertising.
- Promoting a Facebook post.
- Offering a free webinar as a hook for your online course.
Setting up an online course with Teachable is effortless. You can either work with your own site or you can get a dedicated, "out of the box", professional website (minimal configuration required) specifically for your courses.
All plans include unlimited videos, unlimited courses, unlimited hosting, payment processing, student management, lecture comments, quizzes, no fees on free courses.
Another great portal for online courses and/or membership sites (under your own brand), allowing for an an unlimited amount of students and no transaction fees is Thinkific.
Because the supplier ships direct to your customer, dropshipping allows you to create an ecommerce store without the need for carrying costly inventory / stock.
This not only reduces your capital outlay but also reduces risk considerably. If a product doesn't sell, you can simply swap it out for something else.
This is an extremely lucrative form of monetization as long as:
- You can find niche products that will appeal to a segment of the market that is financially able to spend.
- You can make sufficient profit.
- You have honest and reliable suppliers that carry genuine products. I can't stress this enough.
Ali Dropship (the dropshipping arm of Ali Express) is a huge marketplace for dropshipping products and I don't know of many people who haven't heard of Ali Express. There are more than enough vendors on the platform, however, the products are all Chinese and quality can be problematic.
There's no problem using your own website together with the Ali Dropship Plugin which enables one to import products into your online store or alternatively, you can purchase a bespoke store / website which I would personally recommend.
It's your future business we're talking about here and a pre-built, bespoke solution is worth every cent.
Spocket is another dropship supplier that focuses exclusively on original products from the USA and EU only. The quality is far higher but range is limited.
You could also look at Selz.
A membership site is normally one that charges either a fixed upfront fee or a recurring monthly payment in return for access to something exclusive.
These kinds of sites may grant access to restricted content, online courses, information, a community, products, services, help etc.
Like I said above, Thinkific is a great platform for this.
My Recommended Strategy
- Start with Affiliate Marketing. It's the best foundation for making sure that your further monetization methods will fly. It will also provide you with an automated way to generate passive income while affording you a solid financial backstop together with the freedom to do the things you want, when you want.
- Progress to online courses. This can also be fully automated and while it can be much more lucrative than affiliate marketing, you must first learn the ropes of online marketing.
- ECommerce often follows from an affiliate marketing website but requires a more active role in your business.
Armed with everything I've given you about how to make money blogging, you should now be ready to ...
Start Your Blog
All the theory in the world will get you nowhere unless you take positive action.
Probably the biggest fear most people have when it comes to starting a blog is the lack of technical know how.
Well I can assure you that you don't need any!
If you follow my step by step tutorial, I’ll have you up and running within half an hour maximum.
Then concentrate on ...
Growing Your EMail List
Like I already mentioned, your content is your key to traffic.
Now it's pointless getting all this traffic to your blog unless you're going to do something with it.
And I'm not referring to selling something which is, of course, the ultimate objective. What I'm referring to here is developing another avenue to enhance your online sales.
Consider this example.
You decided to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing and you obviously dropped some affiliate links into your posts.
From the traffic you had on your site over the last month, you managed to sell 6 hosting plans. That generated the tidy sum of say $360. But you neglected to get those users to subscribe to your email list.
A month down the line, 4 of those six people are ready to find an email service provider so that they can set up their on-boarding automation and email sequences.
At the time they first found your website, they happened to be in the right place at the right time so they purchased hosting through your links.
But during the month they subscribed to a free webinar on list building with someone else. And because this blogger had been sending them keep in touch emails on a daily basis, that's where they purchased their email software.
They'd long forgotten about you. They probably didn't even remember which website they visited when they followed your link to buy their hosting plans.
And this happened because you failed to maximize your traffic exhaustively.
This is a huge mistake that even some of the most well known bloggers have made.
The hosting sales you made were all once off sales.
Let me tell you something.
Your email list - or rather your subscribers (audience) are your most valuable asset.
It' has proven to be far more effective at getting sales than any other marketing channel.
Because it's a whole lot easier to sell to a warm lead than it is to to sell to a cold one.
The people on your list are already primed. You've built relationships with them because you've kept in touch regularly. And because of those relationships, they trust you. So buying from you is a no-brainer, isn't it?
And what's more there'll be countless opportunities to cross-sell, up-sell and even down-sell those same people.
Once those people are subscribed to your list, you can segment the list so that the content you write in your "keep in touch" emails is relevant to people at different stages of their journey.
It doesn't make any sense to send out an email promoting web hosting to people who already have live blogs, does it?
Convertkit makes it all so easy. It allows me to segment and automate my sequences with just a couple of clicks, saving me a huge amount of manual work.
There's absolutely no way you can do things manually once you have more than a few people on your list. It's also the easiest product to use and support is always available if you need it.
No excuse for neglecting to build an email list and grow your audience. Then all that's left to do is to ...
Set Up a Sales Funnel
If you've ever been to an auction you'll know that there are usually plenty of attendees.
A good auctioneer will go out of his way to ensure that the auction room is full.
Why does he do this?
Quite simply to create competition.
He under quotes the price of the item being sold thereby leading people to believe that the item will sell for a bargain price. And because of that, the auction attracts plenty of people.
But how many people actually land up bidding?
Well it's the same with a marketing funnel or sales funnel.
As you can see the sales funnel begins with creating awareness. This is where you cast your net far and wide in order to draw in as many potential buyers for your products or services as possible.
Not everybody will be interested and you will notice that the number of people who show interest in purchasing is less than the original "catch".
After evaluation of the product, service or idea, the number of actual prospects reduces even further and what comes out of the bottom of the funnel are your purchasers.
Now your sales funnel is what generates your income.
It's the end result of your marketing campaign that leads to sales.
Your sales funnel could be a free webinar that you put together with the objective of convincing people how much your product is actually needed by them - how much pain it will save them and how much success it will bring.
And the stimulus for getting people to attend the webinar comes from recognizing their problems and marketing a solution that will remedy them.
Going back to the diagram above, the awareness part at the top of the funnel relates to the traffic that you get to visit your site. The interest part of the funnel relates to the need that you create through solutions - conversions. And the evaluation and purchase parts relates to sales.
Traffic + Conversions = SALES.
And that, my dear friend, is how to make money blogging.
How much traffic do I need when considering how to make money blogging?
The amount of traffic you’ll need is going to be relative to how much money you need and how you’ll monetize and promote your site.
Ads could generate about $800 per month from 100,000 monthly visitors while a course could generate that from 1 or 2 sales. Personally, I’d rather aim to have quality, targeted traffic rather than any traffic.
How much content do I need to make money with my blog?
Have you ever seen any of these types of posts floating around the internet?
How I Grew My Email List When I had Only 5 Blog Posts
How I Made $2000 Blogging In My First Month
How I got 50,000 Page Views In My Second Month Of Blogging
Do you believe any of them?
You can’t grow an email list off 5 posts. You can’t even get 5 visitors to your site off 5 posts!
You need plenty of exceptional quality posts to start making money online and to keep the momentum going.
You should start seeing some traffic once you’ve got about 20 to 25 posts under the belt. But that’s not where you should aim to stop. The ball should start rolling [slowly] from there.
In my view, the more content you have, the better your blog will perform. The only caveat is that all your content must be of the highest quality.
How much knowledge and experience do I need before I can make money blogging?
This is something that all new bloggers go through. But where does it start and stop? How much experience do you really need to be an authority on a subject. A year? Two? What’s the number?
Surprisingly, not much.
I learned this from an affiliate manager for a product I promote. At the time I wasn’t using their product but I really wanted to. So I wrote to her explaining how I was battling to get traffic to my blog and that my income was under pressure as a result. I elaborated by telling her how I wanted to learn enough about their product to put a review together that I believed would help boost my web traffic.
Well I got a really nice reply explaining that I should go ahead and buy the product for my own use.
She went on to tell me that I didn’t need to be an expert on the subject and that all I really needed to promote the product effectively was to be a few steps ahead of my audience.
I learned something really valuable that day and now I’m passing it on to you.
Is it true that the only people making any money are those that teach others “how to make money blogging”?
I don’t know where this comes from but some people believe that the only people who make money from blogging are the ones who teach others how to make money blogging. That’s just absurd.
Take a look at the Pinch of Yum Blog. This is a food blog that’s coining it in a very competitive niche.
Look at Dr. Mercola. He’s made millions from the sale of natural supplements. And what about Engadget?
People are making money from their blogs in all kinds of niches where there’s a reasonable demand and where there are users who are searching for solutions. In fact, some of the really small niches are ideal for selling high ticket items like courses.
There’s always been good money to be made in smaller niches simply because they’re very specialized and people will pay top dollar for the right advice.
Will I be able to make any money in a competitive niche?
Want to know why a competitive niche is a surefire way to make money?
Because there’s a ton of demand!
According to Netcraft’s October 2018 survey there were over 1.67 billion websites on the world wide web so I honestly don’t think there’s a niche left that has little to no competition?
Instead of thinking about competition in a negative way, why not start thinking about building relationships with other bloggers in your niche. This will help you because you can find ways to get in front of their audiences.
All it takes is a mention in a social media post. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin. One mention could drive a bunch of traffic to your website and that may be all you need to breathe some life into your business.
If you keep looking over your shoulder, you’re never going to move forward!
How long will it take me to start making money with my blog?
With due respect to the honest operators out there (and most are), you need to be very mindful that the internet is plagued with dodgy, self proclaimed gurus who hold themselves out to be expert marketers.
These are a bunch of fast talkers who suck you into a world of make believe, getting you hooked on their product launches until they bleed you dry of every cent you have.
Don’t believe what they tell you.
If you want to make money blogging, be prepared to invest time. Lots of it. There’s no such thing as “make money blogging online fast”, unless you’re into those $50 surveys. But that’s not blogging for money.
All I can tell you is that it takes time to start making money.
It’ll take at least upwards of a number of months to a year depending on how quickly you can build an authoritative site.
Stop worrying about how long it’s going to take to make money. The best things in life don’t always come quickly.
Rather concern yourself with building great content and monetizing your site effectively.
When the bucks eventually start rolling in you’ll be able fire your boss and start living your life the way you want to.
What are the best ways to make passive income from my blog?
Passive income is a form of recurring income that you earn on a regular basis without requiring you to be physically present in your business.
To generate passive income streams through a blog requires a substantial amount of initial work (and sometimes money) but the eventual income streams pay huge dividends.
Passive income streams can be achieved through any, or a combination of, the following methods:
Affiliate marketing – a referral fee or commission for referring people to a product or service. Your fee is earned on the purchase of a product.
Advertising – External advertisers place ads on your site and you get paid based on the amount of traffic that your website attracts. Most people incorporate an advertising network onto the website, e.g. Google Ads or Mediavine as opposed to selling web space privately.
Membership website – You get paid by members who get access to premium content, courses, resources etc. that are not available to the general public. The monthly fees generate a passive income stream.
E-Books – Multiple sales generates income on a regular basis.
Online Courses – multiple sales to new users generates a really nice flow of passive income. The upfront work is substantial but the sale of a single course may generate the same income that is required from 10 affiliate sales.
Personally, I believe it’s best to diversify your income sources. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
How much money can I expect to make when considering how to make money blogging?
It’s not often I answer a question with a question. But how much money would you like to make?
You can make as much or as little as you like. Your earnings are dependent only on yourself.
There are bloggers who are making upwards of 7 digit incomes annually and others who are making enough to cover living expenses.
If your intention is to blog part time to make extra money, then extra money is what you’ll make.
If you intend to make a business out of your blog, then you can earn very well.
Some bloggers set up multiple blogs in different niches using different monetization methods while others stick to a single blog.
In his book, “The Science Of Getting Rich”, Wallace D. Wattles explains, “…but when two men in the same business are in the same neighborhood, and one gets rich while the other fails, it indicates that getting rich is the result of doing things in a Certain Way.”
How much money you make depends purely on you and your outlook when it comes to generating wealth.
The two most frequently asked questions I get are:
- Can I start a blog for free?
- Is is really possible to make money blogging?
I spent over 20 minutes thinking about how to answer these questions for you, so let’s get straight to it.
You can certainly create a free blog on either wordpress.com or Wix. But you don’t get the benefit of using your own domain name which is pretty much counter intuitive because you can’t start building a brand that way.
That’s one of the reasons why wordpress.org is the most widely used platforms on the internet, powering over 35% of all websites on the internet including those without a content management system.
However, web hosting isn’t free.
That said, if you’re just starting out, you can get brilliant hosting for $10 per month, no contracts just simple pay-as-you-go pricing.
So for under twelve bucks you can start a blog on the world’s most trusted platform, WordPress.
Remember that blogging is a business the same as a physical one.
So you’ll need to be prepared to invest in certain tools in order to give yourself the best shot at making it successful.
There are no other barriers to entry but like any business, it’s hard work. Nevertheless, the rewards are phenomenal.
I spent over 29 years in businesses I wasn't passionate about. Yes I made money, but at the expense of lifestyle.
Now I get to live my life exactly the way I want to while I help others to achieve the same.
I don't believe you'd be reading a post about how to make money blogging if you thought any differently.
Or would you?