Can you really make money blogging?
You can’t imagine how many times I’ve heard this question. And even though I keep answering it and keep telling people that it is indeed very possible to do blogging for money even if you are not a genius, they still have their doubts.
Honestly, if you ask me, I believe that all these people who doubt that you can make really good money from blogging are underestimating the true power of the internet.
People are hungry for useful content.
According to Internet Stats, there are more than 4 billion internet users in the world. That’s 4 billion people who are here to find solutions to their problems, to find entertainment, to connect with each other.
Let’s face it: Every single person in this world is good at something and very bad at many other things.
What do you do to improve some of your skills? You go search for information that can help you evolve, and that’s where bloggers come in.
One of the reasons that made me fall in love with blogging is that you can do it from any place in the world. You can do it while relaxing on a beach, you can do it while you’re visiting your parents etc.
You are not bound to be in a single place, but instead, you have unlimited choices and opportunities. Of all the ways to make money online, blogging is my personal favorite.
And you can do it too.
So, if you are good at something and you feel like your knowledge can help other people, why not write about it and make money from it?
And that’s where this article comes in handy. I have created this guide because I wanted to give you a better understanding on what you must do before you even think about how to make money blogging, and then what steps you must follow and what are the most effective ways to do it.
The 4 Big Steps
If I had to summarize the entire process of being successful and making money with your blog, I would have to split it into 4 steps:
- Create your blog: Find a niche, pick a blogging platform, get your domain name and your host.
- Start creating amazing content: The most important factor that will determine how big your success is going to be.
- Promote your content: There’s no point in having amazing content if no one’s reading it. Go and let people know that your content exists and that it’s awesome.
- Start making money: This has to be the last step, and you can’t rush it. It’s very important that you think of ways to monetize your blog only after you have a solid audience.
Step 1: Create your blog
The first step to start making money blogging is to actually create your own blog.
The first and foremost thing that you must do is to choose a niche.
It has to be something that you are passionate about, but it also has to be popular, because it is easier to generate more traffic and sales.
According to The Balance Small Business, the most popular niches to make money online are:
- Fitness and weight loss
- Dating and relationships
- Wealth-building through investing
- Make money on the internet
- Beauty treatments
- Gadgets and technology
- Personal finance
If your topic is not on this list, that’s ok. Remember that these are the most popular ones, but there are still many other niches that can be very profitable. Just make sure that you’re not the only one interested in the topic.
Take your time and don’t hurry.
You don’t want to rush and to realize 5 months later that this is not working because you are not that passionate about the topic or because not many people are interested in the topic. That is going to be a great waste of time, energy and money, and you may feel that you don’t want to do this ever again.
Do your research and find out how popular is your topic and how many people are interested in it.
Now, it’s time to think about your desired platform and to get you a domain name and a host.
Regarding your blogging platform, I’m going to have to ask you to trust me on this one and to choose WordPress.
Very briefly, WordPress now powers more than 30% of the websites on the internet, and it has thousands of templates and plugins to choose from.
Next, we need to get you a domain name and a host.
To do this, I strongly advise you to invest some money, because if you want to go for the free platforms, like Medium or WordPress.com, you won’t be able to make much money.
You can’t hope to make a living without investing some of your own money, and it really is not that expensive.
1. Go to NameCheap(affiliate link) and register your domain name.
They have really good promotions, you get free WhoIs Guard and the dashboard is very easy to navigate (you’d be surprised how important this is, especially for new users).
If you register through the link I mentioned before, you get 19% off for a .com domain.
2. Get your hosting service.
Although I do suggest that you start with a cheaper service, there are two hosting providers I highly recommend: SiteGround and WPEngine.
SiteGround is the cheaper host, and I recommend you start with it if you’re new to blogging. They have amazing support and I had never had any issue with their service.
WPEngine is the more expensive alternative, and it’s for more serious bloggers. They are the best WordPress hosting provider out there, so if you can afford it and you are really serious about this, don’t hesitate and choose their service.
I managed to get you a special offer, so if you click on this link, you get a 20% discount for the first year + 4 months free, which means that you get to save $112 for the Startup plan, or $928 for their Scale plan.
Pick the one that you prefer and when you’re done, come back to continue reading this guide.
//SiteGround and WPEngine are affiliate links, which means that you get a better offer and I get a commission for each sale made through those links.
For a more detailed process to create your blog, read this article.
Step 2: Start creating amazing content
From this point on, you are officially a blogger, so what do you need to do?
It’s obvious: start blogging!
But you don’t want to do this like the average blogger and post 400 words article without providing any useful information.
You want to create some amazing blog posts that make you feel eager to show the world what an expert you are.
If you don’t create great content, why should anyone read your blog, when they have much better alternatives? It might sound harsh, but it’s the truth.
Always aim for at least 1,500 words. You don’t have to post daily. In fact, I don’t recommend it at all.
Take your time and write the best content you can think of. Write it, rewrite it, then rewrite it again, and only then you may click the Publish button.
Your content is your product. Your focus is to solve the problems your audience may be facing. If it’s not doing this, then no one will want to read it.
Aim to become the Go-to blog when people are searching for a solution regarding your topic.
That’s why I can’t stress enough how important it is to focus your entire attention, especially in the beginning, to create the best content possible.
Here are just a few tips that I have for you:
- Create original content: The internet is stuffed with lots of ideas that seem to repeat themselves in one way or another. Break that never-ending cycle and start coming up with fresh ideas and approaches.
- Create short introductions: Include only a few paragraphs to tease your audience, but don’t write countless words just for the sake of reaching your desired word-count. If you can’t achieve it and think to write a longer introduction, just don’t! The sooner you get to the point, the better.
- Use images, videos or infographics: They make your content look more appealing and they can greatly increase how much time people spend on your website and how the information gets to them.
- Create appealing headlines: This is one of the most powerful strategies to increase your CTR (Click-Through-Rate). If you create appealing headlines, people can’t help but click on your blog posts.
- Speak about your failures: This can help you build trust because your audience wants to learn about a specific situation that has happened to you. They might be in a similar situation, so your experience can be very valuable.
- Ask your audience what problems they have: Then, create an article where you explain how to solve them. Also, look at your comments and even on other blogs comments, because that’s where you will find what people are actually struggling with the most.
Step 3: Promote your content
You have at least a few articles that you feel extremely proud of. Now what?
Well, it’s time for you to promote your content and drive people to read it.
There is a very important point I want to make here: if you think that once you have your content, the audience will come to you just like that, you are wrong.
Once you have your articles, it is time for you to go out there and start promoting it. There are many strategies, and this is not the point of this article, but to list out a few, here are some of the top ways to promote your content:
- Guest posts
- Paid advertising
- Social media
- Commenting on other blogs
- Participating in forums
- Answering questions on sites like Quora
Out of all these options, my top choices are guest posting, social media and commenting on other blogs.
But that’s just me, so if you find that other strategies work better, then by all means, go ahead and use them. All that matters is to have as many people as possible find out that your content exists.
You might find this step to be the hardest one, and indeed it is. I know your struggle, but you have to believe that, with the right strategy, one day people will notice you.
I wish it was easier, but I know it’s not. Driving people to your website is difficult, especially for beginners. That’s why it’s important to be consistent, to keep trying different methods and see which one works best.
You can do it! Just be patient!
Here are some links that I recommend you read to learn a few ways to generate more traffic:
Step 4: Start making money
You have finally reached the most exciting part: how to actually make money with your blog.
By now, you already have a solid audience and you have established yourself as an authority. People find your content useful and they believe trust your opinion and your expertise.
So, it is finally time to make money with your blog.
There are many options to choose from if you want to monetize your blog, and depending on your niche, some may work better than others. That’s up for you to test and decide. My job here is to tell you what options you have and how to proceed.
I will also link to other sources, so I recommend you check them out and learn even more about the ways to benefit from each one.
Ways to make money
This is my personal favorite method to make money from your blog, and I believe that in most cases, it is also the most effective.
What is affiliate marketing?
Basically, it is a business model where you promote other people’s products, and if you manage to convince people to perform a specific action (for instance, click on a link and buy a product/service), you get a commission.
There are tons of affiliate marketing opportunities online, and for me personally, this has been the most successful way to make money with my blog.
Check out this article I created about affiliate marketing, where you will learn all you need to take care of if you want to make money through this method.
Create an eBook
Creating an eBook can be one of the best ways to set you up as an authority and earn money from it as well.
One of the reasons I find this method very attractive is that you can do it at any time with little to zero money spent, depending on what your goal is.
Just sit down on your computer, open your word processor and start writing. There’s no pressure, no rush, so you can take all the time you need to come up with a true masterpiece.
There are two ways to take advantage of an eBook:
- You create a free, useful eBook that people can get if they subscribe to your email list. Create an eBook of a guide, useful tools, resources, best practices, whatever it is that you believe people will want from you in exchange for their emails. This is one of the most commonly used and effective ways to increase the size of their email list.
- You create a more comprehensive, detailed book that you can actually start selling. Now, this is going to take a lot more time and effort than with a free eBook, because you need to put a lot more thought and energy into it.
If you don’t know what you could write about, take a look at all your blog posts and see which ones get the most comments and social shares. That might give you a clear idea on where to start and what people are most interested in.
Once you have your idea, it’s time to start writing.
There are a few tips that I want to share with you here:
– Split it into multiple pieces: One of the main reasons why people abandon their mission to write a book is because it can feel extremely overwhelming. “Am I ever going to finish writing all these 75,000 words?”. Well, if you start like that, you won’t go too far.
My suggestion for you is to split up your book and create an outline. Once you have the outline, you will see that it has many chapters, and all those chapters have different sections, those sections have paragraphs and so on.
So, decide for yourself how many words you want to write per day. It can be 200 words, it can be 800, it can even be 2000. That’s entirely up to you.
The important thing is that you must not let any day go by without adding anything to your book. This way, that burden of writing an eBook seems a lot easier to manage and it won’t feel so overwhelming anymore.
– Pick a great title and a nice looking book cover: This makes people decide if they want to click on your book and read more about it, or they ignore it and move on to the next one. First impression matters, so you must be able to arouse their interest.
Hire a designer and have him design your book cover. There are all sorts of gigs out there, depending on your budget. Just make sure it’s eye-catching and it doesn’t have a boring title.
– Don’t edit while you’re writing: This is going to make it a lot harder for you to reach your word-count goal. The first time you write it, just but your words and ideas on the paper. That’s the main goal.
After you’re finished, now you can start editing it, reorganizing it etc. You can also hire someone to help you with that.
– Always proofread your work: Besides making money, you want to publish an eBook because you want to look like an expert.
That’s why is important to proofread your book. Having grammatical errors or bad punctuation can make you look unprofessional and it can seriously hurt your sales.
There are two ways you can earn money with your eBook.
You can either set up a local shopping store and a PayPal account and sell it on your own website, or you can do it through a third-party store, like Amazon.
There are different advantages and disadvantages to publishing on Amazon.
The main advantage is that you have access to a massive audience of over 80 million people, and they take care of everything.
The main disadvantage, though, is that they keep a 30% commission for each sale.
With that in mind, it is up to you to decide what is the best approach and what strategy has the best changes to drive you more sales.
If you have a large audience, then I suggest you sell it on your own website, but if you don’t, it’s best if you start selling it on Amazon, because it can reach a lot more people.
This is the most commonly used method for beginners to generate income from a blog.
The most popular advertising platform is Google AdSense.
The way it works is, it basically shows ads to your audience relevant to the topic of your page. If they click on the ad, you get paid.
While it may seem pretty easy, it is actually extremely hard to make a good income with Google AdSense, and I don’t recommend it for beginners.
The reason why you should avoid it if you’re just starting out is that you need A HUGE audience to see any results. Most of you will have a hard time getting there, and it will take a lot of time. That’s why I believe you should find better alternatives.
If you are interested in it, though, read this article and find out more about how to earn money with Google AdSense.
Another way that people make money through advertising is by selling an ad-spot on their website. If you have a decent audience, you can find people that will want to pay you to have their logo or service show up on your sidebar or any location you agree with.
You can earn money by including someone else’s link inside your content. When I first started out and I was looking to build backlinks, I tried to tell different bloggers about my new content, and the majority of them asked me for a commission.
I did not accept any of their offers, but if you can get a decent audience, people might ask you to include their link into your articles for a fee.
You can charge any amount you want, depending on how big your blog is. I’ve seen some bloggers charging $30, and others over $500.
The last method to earn money through advertising is to write a paid review. There are websites where you can find different clients willing to pay you a certain amount if you write a review about their product/service on your blog.
Personally, I only recommend this if you only review products that are good and relevant for your niche.
Create an online course
Selling your own online course can be one of the most rewarding ways to make money online.
Many bloggers choose to create an online course after they build a big audience because it can ensure their success and they can make really good money out of it.
If you want to start selling courses online, you have a few alternatives:
The advantage of selling your course on Udemy is that you have access to a huge number of students and you don’t have to market your course that much, because Udemy will do that for you.
The downside, though, is that they are almost constantly running different promotions and sell all the courses for about $10, and they keep a commission of 50%. Most people don’t want to work hard to have their product sold for only $10.
Another reason why some people avoid using Udemy is that you can’t use your student’s email. Therefore, you can’t let them know when you’ve updated your course, you can’t email them to share any additional info and resources, none of that.
That’s why people choose to go to other platforms.
Out of all of these, my personal favorite is Teachable.
What I enjoy the most about it is that I can have complete control over the course landing page, the students, pricing, I can run different coupons and I can affiliate with others to sell my course.
However, the downside to Teachable is that it does not do any marketing for your course, so that is entirely up to you.
That’s why I don’t recommend you start creating an online course right as you start your blog. Instead, wait until you build a larger audience and only then think about creating your own course.
A popular tactic that you might want to try is to create a free course at first, and then recommend people to enroll for a paid, more advanced course you created on a topic.
This way, people can check if they like your style, and if you can convince them with your free course that you have a lot more awesome things to share and why enrolling for the paid course is a great way to improve a certain skill, you will find your sales increase dramatically.
Below, I will list a few resources if you want to learn more about creating a course on Teachable or Thinkific.
Sell a digital product
This can work for almost any niche possible because there is always something you can create that your audience can benefit from.
For example, if you are a web designer, sell an HTML&CSS template. Of course, you can do that on other big marketplaces, but they will keep a commission, so you might find it’s a better idea to sell on your own website.
If you’re blogging about fitness, then share a new workout you came up with or a nutrition plan, anything that people find useful and are willing to pay for it.
You’re blogging about personal finance? Sell an Excel template that can help people better organize their budget, their expenses, and their income.
I am not going to list out every niche out there, but I just wanted to give you an example that you can find something to sell that people may want to spend money on. It’s up to you to convince them to do so.
Just like selling an eBook, you can also create a local shopping store and a PayPal account where you can sell your products.
Sell your services
Many bloggers write about their niche to promote themselves.
If your blog is about teaching other people how they can improve their writing, you can provide your services to write for them. The benefit is that they can already see your work, love it and will trust you completely, so you should find many job opportunities.
If you’re blogging about design and illustration, tell people that you are available for freelance work and you can create them an infographic, a logo, a web design template, whatever you’re focusing on.
Create a membership website
Once you have a solid audience, you can think of creating a membership section on your blog or an entirely different blog, that people must pay for if they want to see your content.
You can charge them monthly or yearly, and the amount you should charge depends on how amazing and useful your content is.
This is effective for larger websites, so if you are at the beginning, you might want to postpone asking people for money to see your content. You need to build trust first, then they will be more willing to pay to see more advanced, premium content.
For further reading, check out this article from Copyblogger.
Making money with your blog is possible!
Remember the key steps that you must follow:
For me personally, affiliate marketing is the most rewarding method to make money online, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be your case too.
I’ve read about people earning millions of dollars selling eBooks, others do that with their membership website and so on.
It all depends on what you focus your attention on.
Be patient, be consistent, provide your audience with answers and they will help you monetize your ideas.
Which of these methods do you intend to use/use already? Let me know how they worked for you in a comment below.