If you’re starting from scratch with no traffic or influential friends, it’s easy to wonder. Is it reasonable for you to figure out how to make money blogging?
- Choose a Profitable Blogging Niche
- Level up Your Content Skills
- Figure out Which Traffic Sport to Play
- Grow Your Email List with Pop Ups
- Begin Monetizing with Affiliate Offers
- Develop a Unique Mechanism
- Launch the Minimum Viable Funnel
For that matter, how do blogs even make money? Ads? Or something else?
Well, let’s take a look at exactly how to do it. Here’s my complete step-by-step process for how to make money blogging:
Blogging is one of the best ways to make money from home, but it does take some time and a lot of hard to get it going.
It’s not unheard of for elite bloggers to earn over $1 million a year, but they all had to start at $0 at some point. Examples of the 1-million-dollar club:
- A Pinch Of Yum – stopped posting income reports, but they last made over $1 million a year. Theirs was the first income report I ever came across when they were making just over $1,000 a month.
- Making Sense of Cents – a personal finance blog that has consistently made over $1 million a year.
- Create & Go – Alex and Lauren quit their jobs before they made a penny. In fact, they were losing money. They made over $1 million after 2 years of blogging.
Let’s start with a little brutal truth, how to make money blogging shall we?
- Passion does not equal profit.
- Neither does expertise.
- Hard work doesn’t guarantee anything either.
You can be the world’s foremost expert on square-shaped tomatoes, wake up every morning with a burning passion to educate the public on their vast superiority to normal-shaped tomatoes. And work until your fingers bleed and your eyes fall out of your head, following all the right tactics for growing a popular blog, and…
You’ll never have a chance in hell at making any money.
- Nobody but you gives a damn about square tomatoes
- Even if they did care, they wouldn’t spend any money
In other words, you need a large audience who buys things. Without that, nothing else matters. It’s a prerequisite for everything else.
I noticed early on that bloggers buy lots of different things:
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Level up Your Content Skills
You’ve probably heard that “Content is king,” and it’s true… to an extent. A more accurate statement would be…
The Best Content Is King
If that’s hard to understand, think about it this way:
Lots of bloggers sit down and think, “What will I write today?” They jot down some thoughts, doing their best to be helpful, original, and entertaining. If they’re disciplined, they might even stick with it for a few months.
But it almost never works. Here are a few reasons why:
- What you want to say isn’t what other people want to read
- You weren’t using a proven content framework
- It’s not the best post ever published on the topic
Granted, it’s not your fault. Until today, chances are no one ever told you about any of those requirements. You thought you just had to write interesting stuff and publish it.
No, grasshopper. No.
The truth is, having good ideas and powerful words isn’t enough. You have to create the best content ever published on blog topics lots of people are interested in learning more about. And that brings us to the three levels of content creation:
- You know what content is popular in your niche, and you write exclusively about those topics
- You’ve mastered frameworks proven to make your content more popular (list post, how to post, etc.)
- Your content delivers more value to the reader than any other post published on that topic
You’re probably thinking, “Geez. That sounds hard.” And you’re right, it is.
I personally spent about three years honing my skills by writing for other sites before I started my own blog. It doesn’t have to take that long — I’m just a perfectionist, so I wanted to learn from the best people in my space.
Blogging is really no different than anything else. The more of a bad ass you are, the easier it is for you to make money.
So you want to know how to make money blogging?
Become a badass writer.
Then the next step how to make money blogging is to…
Figure out Which Traffic Sport to Play
When you’re a beginner, getting traffic is confusing.
Should you focus on optimizing your keywords? Growing your Facebook page? Leaving comments on blogs? Answering questions on Quora? Creating videos for YouTube? Starting a popular podcast?
And so on.
There are a gazillion traffic tactics out there. Everybody says theirs is the best. So, how long to make money blogging? You need to spend some time.
But here’s the data:
Pretty much all the traffic for written content comes from either Google or Facebook. The rest of traffic sources combined don’t even come close to competing with those two Goliaths.
So, how do you get them to send you a bunch of traffic?
One option is you can pay for it. They like that.
But chances are, you’re reading about how to make money blogging because you don’t want to pay for traffic. You want it for free, right?
Well, imagine this:
There’s an arena where all the bloggers in your space go to compete for traffic. The number of other challengers you defeat determines the amount of traffic you receive.
In other words, getting traffic is a sport.
- There are winners, and there are losers
- To be good, you have to train
- You need to study your opponents
There are actually two sports, and I’d bet you’ve heard of both of them: search engine optimization (SEO) and going viral on Facebook. Both take years (yes, I said years) of study to master, but you can start getting pretty decent traffic after just a few months of study and practice.
Which one should you focus on how to make money blogging?
Well, here are two questions to guide you:
- Is your topic something your friends and family regularly talk about on Facebook? Examples: pets, parenting, self-improvement, and health. If so, focus on playing the viral traffic sport.
- Is your topic something people actively search for information about on Google? Examples: product reviews, specific questions they would ask an expert, how-to information. If so, focus on SEO.
For most topics, you can do both, but one or the other will be dominant. In that case, focus on whichever one is dominant.
In the blogging space, for example, stuff about writing and grammar occasionally goes viral on Facebook, because we love criticizing our relatives about their terrible English.
On the other hand, you rarely talk with your family about blogging platforms, WordPress plugins, affiliate marketing, or any other blogging topics.
You will, however, search for them on Google. Just as you would guess then, the blogging niche is heavily dominated by search. Here’s a breakdown of traffic by source:
The truth is, we pretty much ignore Facebook. The volume of traffic available there comes nowhere close to the volume of traffic available from Google. So, we focus on Google.
I also spend WAY more time keeping up to date on SEO stuff than I do on social stuff. I’m a geek about it. Throw me in a room full of Google engineers, and I’d probably know more than half of them.
Not to imply I’m the best, though. I’m also competing against people like Darren Rowse, Amy Lynn Andrews, and Neil Patel. They’re pretty freaking good too.
In time, I think I can be better, but who knows? That’s why sports are fun. You never know who is going to win.
If you’re good though, you’ll always be in the “playoffs,” for your space, and you’ll get lots of traffic. Maybe not the most, but still plenty.
And then you can focus on how to…
Grow Your Email List with Pop Ups
Chances are, you see pop ups as an annoyance.
They get in the way when you’re trying to read. They ask you to hand over sensitive information like your name, email address, and phone number.
Sometimes you have to deal with multiple pop ups on the same site, and it makes you feel hassled and uncared for.
And all that sucks. In my opinion, you have every right to be annoyed.
But here’s the thing…
That’s where the money comes from. The best predictor of the revenue for a blog is the size of their email list. Here’s a breakdown of our revenue in my blog comparing revenue device from email to other sources.
The rule of thumb is you can expect to make $1 per subscriber per month. So, if you have 10,000 email subscribers, you should be able to make about $10,000 per month.
So obviously, growing your email list is a top priority. You might, however, feel conflicted about using pop ups. What are you supposed to do?
Here’s a different way of looking at it:
If a visitor comes to your site and doesn’t give you their email address, the chances of them returning are nearly zero. You’ll never have another opportunity to help them.
If you believe your content is the best, and you believe you can help them over time, I believe you owe it to them to be as pushy as possible about staying in contact. In other words, not using a pop up is unethical. A little annoyance is a small price to pay for change.
And remember, that doesn’t mean you have to be extremely pushy or spammy. You can absolutely use pop ups in authentic ways.
But you absolutely must use them. Assuming you want to make money, anyway.
Begin Monetizing with Affiliate Offers
So, you’re operating in a profitable niche, and you have traffic and an email list. What next?
Lots of bloggers jump into creating a course or book or community of some sort, but that’s a mistake, in my opinion. Before you start selling things, you need concrete evidence those things are what people want to buy. Otherwise, you’re risking wasting months or even years of your life trying to push a product no one wants.
The simplest way to obtain that evidence:
How to make money by blogging and Affiliate offers
By seeing what your audience buys from other people, you can get a much better sense of what they might want to buy from you. If you promote a product and it converts well, you should think about creating a similar product. If it doesn’t convert well, you should probably move on.
In other words, affiliate offers are a form of market research. As a bonus, you just so happen to get paid commissions on the products your customers buy in the process. So not only are you learning what your audience wants to buy, but you’re making money from your blog at the same time. Pretty sweet deal.
At my blog, I’ve tried lots of different offers. WordPress hosting, landing page tools, email marketing software, WordPress themes, and half a dozen different types of courses. Since we sell courses, I pay the most attention to the results from those programs, and here are a couple of lessons:
- End to end solutions sell best. Courses promising to take someone from knowing nothing to making money far outperformed the others. For instance, here’s a screenshot showing us as the #1 affiliate for Danny Iny’s Course Builder’s Laboratory:
Tools with a clear connection to making money also sell better than the others. For instance, landing page builders. As proof, here’s a screenshot of our earnings from promoting LeadPages:
By themselves, neither of those promotions really moved the needle on our revenue, but they did teach us useful lessons that went into creating Freedom Machine, which brings us to…
Develop a Unique Mechanism and figure out How to make money from blogging
Before you think about launching your own products or services, there’s one essential point about human nature you need to understand:
Whenever anyone purchases anything, they expect to transition from where they are now (Point A) to where they want to be (Point B). For example…
- When you buy pizza, you want to transition from being hungry and craving pizza (Point A) to tasting delicious pizza and feeling full (Point B).
- If you hire a plumber, you want to transition from having a clogged, overflowing toilet (Point A) to having a normally functioning toilet (Point B).
- When you buy a course on SEO, you want to transition from feeling bewildered and getting ignored by Google (Point A) to ranking for competitive terms and getting traffic.
The success of a product ultimately depends on helping customers make those transitions. If the customer doesn’t get to Point B, they typically view the experience as a failure.
So, here’s the magic question:
How to make money with a blogging? What makes you better equipped to deliver that transition than your competitors?
The answer to that question is what marketing expert Todd Brown calls your “unique mechanism.” It’s a little different from a “unique selling proposition,” because it’s not just something about you that’s different. It’s something about you or your method that makes you better able to help customers than anyone else.
For Freedom Machine, we have multiple unique mechanisms:
- Get published on Medium — a platform with more than 60 million active readers looking for content
- You don’t have to struggle with setting up your blog. We do it for you.
- A research concierge who will do your research for you instead of having to pay for expensive tools
- Content frameworks developed behind the scenes to produce popular content
- A monetization methodology proven by our success
- Advice on how to automate everything, so you eventually get more freedom
- Weekly calls with me where I will help you set up your Freedom Machine
Combined, those unique mechanisms are EXTREMELY convincing at setting us up as the superior solution. Therefore, the product sells like hot cakes.
To be clear… it’s not necessary to have 7 different unique mechanisms. Sometimes just one is all you need (i.e. fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less). The core idea though is to make sure you are obviously far more capable than your competitors at delivering results.
Then all you have to do is…
Launch the Minimum Viable Funnel
Look around at successful entrepreneurs of any type, and you’ll find a surprising trend:
They tend to sell their products before the product is created.
To most people, this sounds like insanity at best or a disturbing lack of ethics at worst. How could you possibly ask people to buy something that doesn’t exist?
It’s the same principle as Kickstarter.
You create a fancy minimal sales funnel of some sort (in this case, just a simple sales page), tell people the product is coming soon, and then wait to see if enough people sign up to justify making the product. If they don’t, you refund everyone’s money and start over.
In other words, it’s the final step in validating you have a viable product. The steps go like this:
- Identify demand by promoting affiliate products
- Find a unique mechanism that makes you clearly superior
- Test the demand for that unique mechanism with a quick and dirty launch before you create the product
In my case, the minimum viable funnel was a 90 minute webinar. The first time I did it, there was no product, no follow-up sequence, nothing. It was just a bare-bones test.
And it resulted in $126,000 in sales live on the webinar.
Seeing that $30,000 sales was my minimum for success, we went ahead and created the first version of the product live with students. About a year later, it’s now approaching $1 million in sales.
That’s also just one product. We have others, and we have still more in the research pipeline.
And guess what I would do if I had to start over again?
The exact same thing. It’s not easy, it’s not fast, it’s not even that sexy, but it works.
Ways How to make money blogging for beginners (with Examples!)
- Online Courses and Workshops
- Books and Ebooks
- Affiliate Marketing
- Speaking Gigs
- Selling Freelance Services
Now that you have a general framework to use, let’s jump into the specifics of how to make money blogging, including real-world examples you can study and learn from.
Here are the top 7 ways to make money blogging:
1. Online Courses and Workshops
Here at this blog, we make most of our income from online courses and workshops — over $1 million per year — but we are far from the only ones. Most of the people making serious money from their blogs are doing it through courses
Ramit Sethi reportedly crossed $10 million dollars in annual revenue with his suite of premium courses:
And it’s not only business or wealth focused topics that are doing well. You can find blogs on just about any topic monetizing with online courses. For instance, the popular interior designer Maria Killam has quite a few courses and workshops in her catalog:
Books and Ebooks
Quite a few writers have parlayed their blogging success into a major publishing deal. Mark Manson, for instance, published a post called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck in 2015. Millions of readers later, he got a book deal with Harper Collins and went on to sell over 3,000,000 copies in the US alone.
Self-published books have also been successful. The most notable success story among bloggers is probably James Altucher’s Choose Yourself, which is now sold over 500,000 copies:
If you’d like to earn some passive income and interesting how to make money blogging, one of the best choices is affiliate marketing — recommending the products and services of other companies in exchange for a commission.
Here at this blog, we make more than $100,000 per year promoting affiliate products, most of that coming from casually recommending products we love like Siteground (affiliate link) and Ahrefs (affiliate link).
But there are lots of other examples too. For instance, Digital Photography School has reportedly made over $500,000 in Amazon commissions from promoting photography equipment:
How to make money blogging online with Advertising
Normally, we’re not big fans of selling ads on your site. You need roughly a million visitors per year for the large advertising networks to take you seriously, and affiliate marketing is almost always more profitable and just as passive.
That being said, some niches like recipes, fashion, and news are hard to monetize through many of the other methods mentioned here, and they get LOTS of traffic. In that case, putting a few ads on your site can make sense as a supplementary income source.
Normally, you make money by joining a network. Nearly anyone can join Google AdSense, for example, and you can later grow into more selective networks like Mediavine and AdThrive.
5. Speaking Gigs
If your blog takes off, and you start being recognized as an authority in your space, you might be surprised by how many invitations you get to speak at conferences. And it’s amazingly profitable. I typically make a minimum of $10,000 per speech and it can go as high as $100,000 when you count product sales resulting from the speech.
Not bad for a 60-90 minute talk.
While this certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, doing a bit of coaching or consulting over the phone can earn you a surprisingly nice living, even when your audience is small. I don’t do consulting anymore, but the last time I did, I charged $1,000 an hour with a six-month waiting list.
But I’m not the only one. Going back to Maria, again, she’s been quite innovative coming up with ways to do design consultations by photo and email, currently charging $1,275 per room:
You can make this work in almost any space. You just need to know what you’re doing and be confident in the value you are providing to clients.
7. Selling Freelance Services
The next step up from consulting is to actually do it for them.
Typically, you’ll make more money with this than anything else, but it’s also the most draining and time intensive. That being said, I’ve seen bloggers make six-figure incomes with no more than a few thousand readers on their blog, essentially using their blog as a lead mechanism to get clients.
It’s so profitable, even if successful bloggers continue to do it. For example, Elna Cain continues to sell her freelance writing services:
If you’re a writer, designer, photographer, programmer, or other service provider where your skills can be sold digitally instead of you having to be there in person, you might want to consider it from day one. All you really need to get started is a contact form for clients to reach out to you.
Use it as a Content Marketing Tool for Your Business
It is also possible to sell physical products on your blog and to make money that way. Instead of thinking of it as making money from your blog, however, think of your blog as a content marketing tool that will drive visitors to your business website.
The possibilities are practically endless when it comes to developing a business blog. You could sell hand-made products, books, manufactured products, and so much more. Or you might already have a business and decide to start a blog to convert loyal customers.
Lets say, for example, that you refurbish and resell used smartphones out of your home. You could use a blog to attract visitors to your website where you list your current phones for sale. Your blog might cover topics about DIY refurbishing. On one level, it seems counterintuitive because you want people to buy your phones, but it also helps you build a brand and gain recognition. Social media guru Jay Baer explains the concept on Copyblogger:
I was at a conference a few years ago, and this is where I first sort of started thinking about this concept, and their founder, Robert Johnson, was speaking…
He said, “Well our best customers are the people that think they can fix it themselves.”
But eventually you are going to get out of your depth either on that project on a project down the road, at which point who are you going to call? Are you going to call somebody randomly that you discovered on Google or are you going to call the guys who you just watched their logo in the corner of a 14-minute instructional video?
This concept can also be applied to services in all types of industries. For instance, if you offered electronic repair services as opposed to physical products, you could still use the same blogging concept to increase brand awareness and convert more clients.
Another option to make money is to sell memberships to exclusive corners of your website. For instance, a career blog might charge $10 per month for users to gain access to their job board. A startup business blog might sell memberships to their forums where people can get personalized advice about their business.
The key here is that your exclusive membership has to be more valuable than something your visitors can find for free somewhere else, so be sure youâ€™re developing something of value and worth the price.
Use it to Build Your Credibility
Blogging to build credibility can lead to many money-making opportunities. For instance, let us say you start a blog in the finance industry. People start reading your content, and your blog becomes very popular. You are now a recognized figure in the finance industry.
Once you have that authority, people might approach you to co-author a book on debt management, or you could charge to speak at conferences or to run employee financial training days.
This certainly isn’t a direct form of making money blogging, but it has worked for many well-known bloggers, and it can work for you, too. If youâ€™re looking for a direct revenue stream, popular blogs have sold for 4-7 figures (sometimes more) by selling their branding and content.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that making money blogging is not possible by putting your site up and letting it sit there. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work here, so be sure youâ€™re willing to put in the time. Most bloggers donâ€™t see a spike of income for several months (sometimes years) after starting their blog. Before you dive too deep into blogging, remember these little bits of advice:
Create Quality Content
You are not going to make any money from your blog if people don’t read it. After all, your readers are the ones who are going to make you money, whether they’re clicking on your ads or buying your products. Always put your readers first.
Don’t Spend Your Time Exclusively on Your Blog
Developing a successful blog has a lot to do with building relationships. That can include relationships with sponsors, affiliate partners, or simply other bloggers who will direct traffic to your blog. Be sure some of your time is spent on forums and other blogs (or whatever works for you) to build these relationships and your blog.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
Not all of these tips and avenues of income are going to work for you. Don’t be afraid to tweak your methods to see what works best for you and your readers.
Making money blogging can take a lot of persistence, but it can pay off in the long-run if you’re starting out from scratch. Just remember that you don’t have to use all of these money-making avenues at once. Consider what other people in your industry are doing, and start from there.
Over time, you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t. If youâ€™re looking to make money from your blog, which option will you start with?
Let me know in the comment section :).
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Are you ready to start a profitable blog? How to make money from your blog?
Afraid you’re not technical and don’t know where to begin?
I am not a techy person at all and if I can do it – ANYBODY can do it. I will walk you through step-by-step on how to start a blog from start to finish.
How to make money by blogging online 2019 : Background Information
Before we get started, let’s do a quick overview of what you will need to start a blog and how to make money blogging fast:
- A Domain Name = your address on the Internet (For example: FattenTheWallet is the name of this blog).
- A Web Host = where all the files of your website are stored. My blog is hosted using Hostinger.
- WordPress.org = a website platform where all the magic happens. This is where you write your blog posts and control your website. Make sure you use WordPress.org (self-hosted) and not WordPress.com (free version).
- A WordPress Theme = design template. This is a layout of how your website would look.
When I first started, I thought all I needed to do was sign up for a website name and I would good to go. That’s how clueless I was.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog?
It costs as low as $0.99/month to have a blog up and running.
Can you start a blog for free? The short answer is yes. But here is why you should pay to have it self-hosted (WordPress.org):
- You own your site 100% – if you blog using the free version, you don’t own the content and they can delete it anytime for any reason.
- You don’t share revenue you earn from your site – if you make money from your blog, you don’t have to share it (you do if you use the free version).
- Total control – You can do whatever you want with your site and don’t have to follow WordPress.com’s rules.
- Professional looking site – Your website address would be www.yourblogname.wordpress.com instead of www.yourblogname.com if you use the free version. You see how unprofessional it looks?
Why You Should Choose Hostinger As Your Web Host
2. Technical Team – THEY ARE THE BEST! When I transferred my site from Bluehost over to SiteGround, they did everything for me. I just really love SiteGround.
3. Site security – an SSL certificate that comes very cheap for life long time for your blog.
4. No downtime with my site – downtime means people can’t visit your blog. You lose traffic = lose potential income.
5. Website backups – you don’t even have to worry about it.
How to make money blogging wordpress on HOSTINGER in 5 Simple Steps:
Now that we got the background information out of the way, let’s dive into it with these 5 simple steps.
Step 1: Choose a Hosting Plan
If you haven’t already, and choose a hosting plan.
Next, choose the plan that best suits you. There are 3 plans starting out. StartUp Plan is the most cost-effective for only $0.99/month. You can upgrade later as your blog grows. I started out with Single Shared Hosting for ONE websites hosting.
I highly recommend signing up for a 48 -month plan to save money in long term time.
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name
Don’t spend too much time trying to come up with the perfect domain name or else you’d never start a blog. Try to come up with 4-5 possible names just in case your first choices are taken. Check to see if it’s available. Find your domain on HOSTINGER.
It’s not a problem if you’ve already purchased your domain name elsewhere. You can still use HOSTINGER as your web hosting company. You don’t have to get the domain name and hosting plan from the same company, but it does make it a lot easier when starting out.
Step 3: Fill Out Your Information
Create a username/password and fill out all the billing information. If you have the money to shell out all at once, then go with the 48-month plan to save money. But if you don’t, then start out with the 12-month plan.
Step 4: Install WordPress for FREE
How to make money blogging on wordpress? Now is time to set up your WordPress. HOSTINGER do all the work for you.
Choose login details for WordPress. Your admin email can be your personal email. Make sure you write down your username and password because you will use it a lot to work later on.
Step 5: Select Your Theme
You are almost done. Now is the fun part. You get to decide how you want your site to look.
There are thousands of free and paid ones once you’re logged into WordPress dashboard, but there are some free ones from HOSTINGER that you can also choose.
I started out with a free theme, then switched to Divi theme, and then ended up using the Genesis Framework Brunch Pro for about a year.
I am currently using FLATSOME theme and I really love it.
Now, what is next? How to make money making blog?
Woohoo…It wasn’t too bad, right? Are you ready to start your first blog post?
Log into your WordPress www.yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin. Type in the username and password you just created above and voila! You are now logged into the WordPress dashboard.
If you have any technical problems, HOSTINGER is only a click away to help you. They have the best customer service I’ve ever encountered.