Wondering “How do bloggers make money?”
That probably means you’re interested in starting a blog yourself.
Blogging is one of the most amazing things that could’ve happened to so many bloggers including myself. Not only is there so much personal satisfaction but there is an opportunity for financial gain.
Fast forward almost a year of blogging and I learned so much. Not only do I know what I should have done sooner but what I should have never done at all. Luckily for you, I have written this guide on how to make money blogging.
Although it is important to say, income earned is on a personal basis and blogging can take either be quick or slow process. It will all depend on you. Luckily for you though, this guide will give you a great head start!
Why is this guide different?
When I started blogging almost a year ago, I read every single post I could find on Pinterest. I read every “How to Start a Blog” post, every income report, basically anything that I thought would help me build a profitable blog.
I thought I’d become a millionaire in a month.
What I wish I had and what I really needed you will find in this post. A clear how to guide that explains how to make a blog AND how to earn money online.
Starting a blog isn’t just purchasing hosting and becoming instantly wealthy. Sadly, that’s the truth we believe when starting out because that’s what we’re told.
The truth is, hosting is only a small percentage of what makes a successful (profitable) blog. You obviously DO NEED hosting – since without it your blog won’t exist.
But having a blog live on the internet isn’t going to do anything.
Now with all that said, let’s dive right into how to start your own blog AND ways to make money online.
Profitable Blog Niches
Contrary to popular belief, if you want to make money blogging the most important thing is not your hosting company. It’s your niche. The money is where your niche is.
Although you can make money on almost any topic, you are more likely to make money on these. Why? Because they are evergreen topics.
This means that, regardless of the time of year these niches are always being searched and always relevant. So their lifespan can potentially last forever. So what are some of these money making niches?
1. Health and Fitness
Everyone and their moms are always trying to lose weight! This niche is #1 on my list because this is trendy anywhere not just blogs. This is a great niche to be in because your market can be anywhere.
You can target this audience through Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube even Facebook! Not only that but you can easily bring in a lot of traffic to your website which can mean a lot of money in your pocket. If done correctly, this can be a money generating machine.
Have you heard the saying it takes a village? There’s a reason for that. New parents (and even some seasoned) are always looking for advice!
Parenting is tough and always in need of help. People aren’t going to stop having families any time soon which makes this a very much evergreen niche.
In my opinion, to be successful in this niche you should niche down. Parenting is very broad and can get lost with all the other blogs just like it. But what’s going to make you MORE special?
Think of a problem and solve it!
Another niche that never goes out of style is money.
Many topics related to this niche can be: budgeting, personal finance, how to make money doing x, etc…
To get more ideas on what niches you should choose read 8 Popular Blogs Driving Traffic and Making Money over at Twins Mommy.
Elna from Twins Mommy runs several successful blogs in different niches. If you want to learn about choosing the perfect niche for your blog, she is definitely your go to!
How to Set Up a Blog
My honest advice and opinion is start right off the bat with a self hosted blog. There are two ways you can host your website. You can self host your website or get a hosted website. The two most common are WordPress (self hosted) or Squarespace (hosted).
My blog is a self hosted site and I would recommend anyone wanting to start a serious blog to go this route.
Like I said hosting is a small step in this process so we’re going to cover this really quick.
I recommend using Bluehost. I have no problem recommending them since my site is hosted through their platform.
I loved how easy it was to connect to WordPress plus they gave me a free domain which is roughly about $15 in savings. I have never had any issue and have even had great experiences with their customer support.
Hosting Update 2/2019:
At the time of this update, I switched hosting companies from Bluehost to A2 Hosting.
For my entire first year of blogging I used and loved Bluehost. It was 100% worth it! I loved that they started me out with a free domain, they have a simple way of starting out with WordPress and have amazing customer support.
I honestly love and would still recommend Bluehost.
As my blog grew and my needs as a blogger changed, I decided to take the plunge by switching to A2 Hosting. Both are amazing hosting platforms and would 100% recommend the two.
You can read more about my reasons for switching to A2 Hosting plus a one year review on Bluehost in my post: The Best Hosting for Bloggers
A2 is officially my Number 1 recommendation followed by Bluehost!
If you want the best hosting for bloggers
Once you’re set up you need to decide what you want your blog to look like. You can easily upload a theme onto WordPress which will have the templates of how your site will look like.
You can also use a free theme that is available on WordPress. I love to use the plugin Elementor Pro to create my own pages. This is a good option if you want to get a free theme and customize it yourself without having to know how to code.
You can also get some beautiful themes from Bluchic.
Building your Blog
Like I said before, hosting and WordPress are just a small fraction of your blog. Purchasing hosting and installing WordPress is simple. Creating content your audience will love and ultimately pay for …not so much.
You can make one page to have all your disclosures.
You will also need an About Page. You can either opt to make an entire page with your story and background or you can have a recap on your sidebar/homepage. I find this page to be very important because it allows your readers to trust you through knowing you.
You can really sell yourself here by saying why you started your blog, why you are an “expert” in this topic and why you’re so passionate about it. In my About page I also like to add a contact form or you can create an additional page for people to contact you.
This is really where you’ll hook your reader and get them to trust you. Your blog content needs to be valuable.
Let’s begin with your Foundational Posts. Usually you will hear bloggers tell you to fill your site with “pillar posts,” well I say you need foundational posts. A foundational post will show your readers what your blog is all about.
If you have to wrap everything up into 5 blog posts – have those be your foundation! And since this is a how to post about making money, then your foundational posts must include opportunities for you to make money.
How can you do that? This will depend on how you plan to make money (keep reading for some examples). If you plan on making money through ads then you need a lot of traffic. So you are going to want to real in as many people as possible.
This means amazing headlines and posts on topics people love. Can’t think of any? Then maybe your niche is not profitable.
I highly recommend staying focused with building content for your blog. I KNOW it can be very easy to steer away to do more “fun” things. This is something that I didn’t do and that I wish I did.
The biggest lesson I have learned is to do the projects with the highest return on investment. What does that mean?
Do the tasks that will be bring in the most value (in this case income) for the amount of work you are putting in. Without content on your blog there is no way you can earn an income.
Keep writing posts that bring either traffic or earns you money. Once your blog is running, check your analytics and see what’s performing best. In your highest ranked posts add as many (without overkill) affiliate links as possible or have your best opt in freebie on that page.
I go over my exact content creation process in my New Blogger’s Started Kit eBook. Download it for free below!
Going off from above: make goals! Stay on track with a content schedule. Don’t feel rushed to pop out 10 new posts in a week because it seems like the right thing to do. Once you have your foundational posts you can then slow down and start doing 1-2 posts per week. Consistency and quality is better than having a bunch of random low quality posts.
Don’t post just to post!
I have learned that it’s better to make goals backwards. Start from where you want to be (end goal) and what steps it will take to get there. If income is your goal then you will need to know how much you are planning to make by X Months and what you need to do in order to get there.
How many at what price tag per month will you have to sell to reach your goal?
Aside from financial goals, you should also be planning how you are planning to grow your audience. Are you a Pinterest Ninja? Instagram genius? Whatever it is make a social media strategy and stick to it.
As your blog starts to form and you have enough content on your site (all important pages and a minimum of 5 posts) you will want to start getting traffic. Yes! The exciting part – getting people to read and engage in your content! The easiest way to get started is through social media.
Like I said above, choose whatever site you are strongest at. ALSO, DON’T SPREAD YOURSELF THIN. Be the master at one – give one site 100% and guaranteed it will explode your traffic. You can’t be an expert at everything. My top two places to start is Pinterest and Facebook.
Pinterest helps you build a brand. People can get a sneak peak of who you are before going to your blog. Build a cohesive profile with branded pin images.
Learn more about creating cohesive pins and building a business Pinterest account in the eBook!
Facebook is great for giving your site a mini boost plus you get to build relationships with fellow bloggers. We are no longer at the age of “competition.” Fellow bloggers should be seen as colleagues that can HELP you grow. Many Facebook groups allow you to promote your posts and ask any questions that need immediate answers.
I highly suggest making some blogger friends to grow with.
PIN FOR LATER
Freebies & Email List
As soon as you start getting eyes to your blog you want to not only retain them on your site but you want to capture their information. This is what is called list building. The only way to get someone to hand over their information (usually their email address) is by giving them something else in return. These are called opt-ins or freebies.
Aside from building your list you also want to make sure that you are nurturing the ones you do have. This is another huge mistake I made. I was collecting emails like playing cards. They were there just for show and once I actually started to send them emails most of them were not opened. Whomp whomp.
Make sure to develop a small sequence of emails to keep their interest. You can send them a welcome email (who you are and what they can expect), tips/ more free valuable information and then once they are settled in send them an offer to a product. This is called a sales funnel.
AND FINALLY….. you can decide how you want to make money. Although I do want to say that I have heard of many bloggers that made sales from a product they made without sending it to a list BUT majority of people recommend selling to your list because it has a higher conversion rate.
The top three ways I recommend making money is:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Offering Services
- Creating & Selling Products
Affiliate income is money that you get by promoting and ultimately selling a product that is not yours. You partner with a company or product (usually start with something you are already using), they will give you a link that is tracked.
In some cases, companies will pay for clicks or referrals but more often then not there must be a sale in order for you to gain commission.
The biggest or most popular amongst these I would say is Amazon. But I personally have found most of my affiliate programs through Share a Sale and VigLink. These sites are called affiliate networks. They are a database that allows to search and apply for several affiliate programs from a single site.
The best way to make affiliate sales is by creating blog posts around the product. You can do this by doing a review, tutorial or example of how this product has helped you in some way.
Ana- The She Approach
Out of her first $10,000 earned, $6,211 of that was made through affiliate marketing. Although Ana does not post regular income reports, she does have a blog post that goes into detail how she earned her first $10,000.
Ana loves writing about Affiliate Marketing (in particular through Amazon) and blog growth in general. She has a pretty awesome post on how you can Monetize your Blog with Amazon Affiliate Links.
To me this is the easiest way to get started making money. This is actually how I made my first income on this blog. This to me is easy because you are offering something you already know how to do. I offered writing services and graphic design for bloggers.
This worked well for me because I knew a lot of busy bloggers that couldn’t keep up with content and other projects they were working on. (Through Facebook groups and networking I was able to find work.) I just sent to my blog to reference my work – I even created a landing page that had my services and prices.
Trust me people will pay if it means they don’t have to put in the work. What are your strengths? Do others struggle with it? Don’t be afraid to market yourself and sell your services.
Another great way to make money with your blog is by selling your own product! Do no be intimidated by feeling like you have to create an extremely large and extensive course. Like I said above, people will pay for a desired result.
Think about something that you probably already created – what super secret sauce have you discovered that helped you? A lot of my freebies and content is of things I needed first and then shared.
Kristin – Believe in a Budget
In Kristin’s July 2018 Income Report, she earned $18,128.60 that of which $9,266.50 were of her Products and Courses. I love Kristin’s income reports because she adds that month’s highlights and a couple of extra details that other bloggers don’t add.
She is a perfect example of a bloggers selling her own products and making money.
Multiple Streams of Income
If you are thinking of making big bucks then it’s wise to consider having multiple streams of income. Don’t rely on a single way of making money. If one falls short then you have another to pick up the slack.
My biggest tip!
Don’t waste time. If you have already made a plan, stick to it. When you start a task – complete it! I wasted so much time starting a tasks and then starting another and another and ultimately never completing anything. It’s better to take one complete day planning than to waste months trying to regroup again and again.
Make a plan and a routine and stick to it.
Have you started a blog yet?
Tell me in the comments if this resource has helped you start your blog – I’d love to hear from you! If you haven’t started your blog, what’s holding you back?
If you need additional support, comment your questions below. Please also share this post with your friends on social media. Thank you!
- How to Start a Blog on a Budget
- 20 Ways to Make Money with your Blog
- My Favorite Resources
- The Ultimate Blog Funnel