Making money from my blog has opened up a whole new world to me. Not only am I self-employed, running my blog full time, but I also employ my husband to work alongside me. Gone are the days of us working opposite shifts and seeing each other for an hour or two a day. Having a blog is a great business, one that affords you a lot of flexibility, making it a great business for parents, students and anyone looking for a better work/life balance. Here are 5 steps to earning money blogging.
There is still plenty of money to be made by new blogs – after all, there is more than enough money in the world for everyone to make their share. There are so many great reasons to earn money from a blog. Some of my favourites include:
Having complete control of my own business: Have you ever disagreed with how management run the company you work for? Or perhaps you have been asked to do something that you don't really agree with. Now that I have my own business I am in complete control of what I do. If I want to take my business in a certain direction then I can, and there is no one else to answer to. I run things how I believe they should be run.
It is flexible: I have the flexibility to work whenever I want, wherever I want. It could be out in the garden, at Starbucks or even on holiday. Having a blog as my business means that neither my income nor my business suffer too much if I need to be away for whatever reason. If we have children then this is going to fit in perfectly around the time commitments that children will bring.
I work to make myself richer: I am no longer working to make someone else more money, every moment I work on my business is for me and my gain. I have seen my income steadily increase over time and it is exciting to know that it is all for mine or my husband's benefit.
Limitless earning potential: I have put together all of my affiliate marketing secrets into one place for you, in How To SMASH Affiliate Marketing as a UK Blogger. In this video and text course I cover everything from which affiliate programs to join to how to get over that fear of emailing your list. If you are interested in affiliate marketing then be sure to check out my guide to getting started with affiliate marketing.
Generating a passive income: Having a passive income should be our goal – this is money that we earn from one doing the work just one time. Traditionally this would be writing a book or owning rental property, however this is now so easy to do with a blog. Examples of passive income from blogging would be affiliate income, display advertising and ebook sales.
The opportunities that have come from having a blog: I have had some amazing opportunities and freebies come about as a result of having my blog.
There are 5 steps to take when you want to earn money from blogging. 3, 4 and 5 can all be done together, or in stages.
1 – Decide what you are going to blog about
The first step is one where many people get overwhelmed and they don't continue. Deciding what to write about is finding your niche. You need to find the right balance between getting it right but not letting it paralyse you. Start by thinking about what interests you – it was easy for me, I love making money so blogging about it felt very natural. Perhaps you are a crafter, a couponer, someone who loves model trains, a parent or a teacher. If you met me and we went out for dinner, what would you talk to me about, nonstop? That's what you are going to want to blog about!
You won't be the first person blogging about your chosen topic but you cannot let that stop you. As you start to develop your readership you will find that people keep coming back to read about you and your opinions.
2 – Build your blog so you can start earning money blogging
You will be pleased to know that you don't need a lot of coding or HTML knowledge to get your website up and running. You can choose a free website, however if you are serious about making money from your blog then I would recommend that you take the plunge and get yourself onto self hosted WordPress.
I have created a full tutorial on making your WordPress website with TSO host, including a 10% discount code – click here to check out that post.
Once you have built your blog, you are going to want to spend some time customising it with a theme. I am using Brunch Pro from Studiopress as my theme.
3 – Create useful, awesome and amazing content
Once you have a beautiful blog built, you need some great content to go onto it. I would suggest that you spend some time brainstorming between 20 – 50 blog titles or topics and then get writing! There is no magic formula for how often you should post, especially when you are launching a new blog. You want to have enough content on your blog to keep people reading, but you don't want all your best content published within a week and then no updates for months.
Ensuring that your content is useful, awesome and amazing might seem daunting, but there are a few things you can do to help you. Visit your favourite blogs and figure out what they are doing that you really love. Do you like it when the prices of products are mentioned? Do you like a summary of the blog post at the bottom? Do you like images throughout the post? Whatever you like, try to introduce to your posts. It is also really useful to try to answer questions, especially questions that people will search the internet for. One of my most popular posts with search engines is about spending money for Disney World, because it ranks highly when people search the internet for “how much spending money do I need for Florida?”.
You might want to consider having a lot of posts written and scheduled so that you can spend your time getting visitors to your blog without worrying about coming up with new content. You could start with one month's content, but if you are super organised then you might even want to go up to 3 months so that you can focus solely on promotion.
4 – Get visitors to your blog before you start earning money blogging
You have a beautiful website and some awesome content…now what? You need to get people to come to your blog and read what you have to say. There are lots of ways that you can attract readers to your blog. I can strongly recommend Lena Gott's book about how she went from 17,000 page views a month to a massive 350,000 page views a month in just 9 months. I have been implementing some of the changes she recommends and I have been seeing a steady increase in my traffic.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation is where you try to get your blog or blog posts on the first page of Google, Bing or other search engines. When someone searches the internet for something you have written about, you want your blog post to be high up there so that it gets clicked on.
Search engine optimisation can take lots of time so here are 5 tips to get you started:
- Install a plugin – I am using Yoast but you can also use All in one SEO. Using a plugin will give you prompts for every post you write, helping you to get your posts as search engine friendly as possible.
- Make sure your website is mobile responsive – that they automatically adjust to fit a phone or tablet. My theme from Studiopress comes with this automatically.
- Write to answer questions that people will be searching for – like my blog post on how much spending money you need for Disney World.
- Link to other posts on your blog, don't just link to “click here” but rather try to link to relevant posts using the right phrases.
- Submit your site map to search engines. Here's how to submit your sitemap to Google.
There is so much that you can learn about SEO but don't get too bogged down by it. You can also get lots of traffic from other methods.
I love social media, whether it is posting photos of my cats or promoting my newest post. Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are my highest social media referrers, although I do also have Instagram and YouTube for my blog. Twitter is definitely my favourite social media, and it is also my highest referrer. Check out 8 ways to grow your blog with Twitter for some pointers.
I am no pro when it comes to Pinterst, but it is something that I am actively working on. I am using Board Booster and TailWind to help me schedule and loop my pins. If you would like to get a $15 credit for TailWind then sign up using this link. Here is a video showing you how I make my blog images for Pinterest:
The key to promoting your blog with social media is to engage with others and not just keep pushing your own posts. You can engage with others by chatting to them, retweeting or sharing their content and liking their content.
Posting on other blogs within your niche is great for a number of reasons. Not only do you get a link back to your blog (which is good for SEO), you are also introducing yourself to a new audience, and if they like what you have to say then they are likely to check out your blog.
If I get approached about guest posting then I like the blogger to have a few ideas to pitch to me – asking to guest post and then having no idea what they want to post is a massive drain on my time. When you are looking to guest post make sure that you can deliver a blog post quickly (in fact, you might even want some posts already written to that if the blogger says yes you can send it over immediately) and make sure that you are getting a link back to your blog.
5 – Earning money blogging
Figuring out how you are going to make money from your blog is the biggie. There are tons of ways that you can make money from your blog:
Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing is where you promote a product or a service and you earn a commission for every sale that you drive. I make over £5,000 a month from affiliate marketing, so be sure to check out my guide to getting started with affiliate marketing.
Display advertising: The easiest way to get started with display advertising is to use a service such as Google Adsense. Display the code on your blog and earn some advertising income every time that your advert is displayed, and also when it is clicked.
Sponsored posts: A sponsored post is where a company ask you to write about them, their products or their services for a fee. This can be a great boost to any blogger's earnings. If you are not sure how much you should be charging then be sure to check out Michelle's survey results about what other bloggers are actually charging for sponsored posts.
Make money from your social media: You might think that only the big names with hundreds of thousands of social media followers can make money, but the truth is that we can too! If you have developed a decent social media following then consider monetising your social media accounts with Buzzoole, SocialPubli and FameBit.
Sell related products or services: Are there other products and services that you can offer? For example, you would write an e-book or sell your services as a social media whizz. Writing an e-book might seem like a daunting task however I managed to get my own book published quickly by following some fantastic guides online. I chose a topic that I knew a lot about (iPhone apps to earn cash from) and set to writing. Once I had written the main content it was easy enough to format using the Kindle guidelines, hire a proof reader and then upload. I have now been earning a great passive income from my book.
Other benefits include items to review and this could be anything from an item of clothing to a holiday!
So here you have them, 5 steps to earning money from blogging.