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How to Get Started Making Money as a Blogger
Blogging is one of the oldest ways to make money online. It’s harder than ever to make money in such a crowded industry, but anyone can do it if they’re willing to put the time in. There are many steps to making money as a blogger.
Even if you follow them it could still take months before you see a single return on your investment. Here are the 30 great tipsfor getting started making money as a blogger.
1. Decide on Your Niche
The first step is to decide what you want to write about. Some people believe that you should write about what people are reading about. This is true to an extent.
It’s only true within the niche you’re writing in, as opposed to the niche itself. You need to make sure that you’re writing about something you’re interested in, above all.
No matter what you’re passionate about there will always be an audience that wants to read about the same topic. However, what you must keep in mind is that if you’re not passionate about your writing you’ll give up within a few months.
People will also notice whether you’re truly passionate about your subject. That passion is infectious and it’s what will keep people reading.
2. Purchase a Domain Name
The domain name for your blog should be memorable and it should stand out. You’re not going to find any common domain names to choose from without spending a lot of money, but you can still make your brand memorable.
Adding a simple word onto the end of your word string can give you a domain you can use for your blog.
Your web host likely deals in domain names. However, we recommend NameCheap due to their great service and free WhoIs Guard your first year.
3. Find a Hosting Company
Now that you have the ingredients of your website in place it’s time to find someone to host it. In general, you should stick to the well-known brand names.
They’re well-known for a reason. Be willing to pay a few extra dollars for a hosting plan just to get a good quality host.
We highly suggest using BlueHost since they only cost $3.95 per month, and often have specials for even cheaper than this. Not only that, but you also get a free 30-day trial. In any case, make sure you do your research too see that they offer great service and support.
4. Design Your Website
After you have the foundations of your blog in place it’s time to design the parts that people are going to see. We recommend using a platform like WordPress for this. Over 50% of all the websites on the Internet are powered by it.
You should shell out for a paid theme purely because you want your website to look as unique as possible. Plugins can further help to define your blog.
You don’t need to have any technical experience to design a website. All you need to do is drag-and-drop to fit elements in place.
If you do want to employ a web developer, sites like Upwork will help you in finding a professional. Take note that this route could set your progress back months, though. You can also choose to hire me!
5. Create Social Media Accounts
Once you have your website up and running you should start creating social media accounts. These will be your primary promotional outlets.
Keep in mind that you should limit the number of social media accounts you have at your stage. It’s better to concentrate on one or two at this stage and gradually branch out later.
Consider your audience when deciding on the social media accounts you’re going to use. Facebook and Twitter are a necessity, but you should also add a specialist social media network.
For example, if you’re starting a cooking blog it’s going to be extremely visual. This is where a network like Pinterest will help you to reach your target audience.
6. Write a Month’s Worth of Content
At this stage you have everything setup and ready to go. The only thing you lack is real content. The worst thing you can do is to write one blog and officially launch your operations.
When your first readers visit your blog you want something else to keep them there. A month’s worth of content is more than enough to make sure that you have enough content on the website.
If you have the functionality on your website you can even backdate this content to give off the impression that the blog has been up and running for a little while.
7. Sign Up for a Newsletter Platform
The most powerful promotional option you have is your newsletter list. This is how you will reach your fans directly.
A big newsletter list filled with engaged fans will come in useful later because that’s when you can start to sell them additional products. Start building your newsletter list early.
One of the best newsletter platforms is Mailchimp. It’s free for your first 500 subscribers and there’s a number of pricing packages based on the size of your list.
You can even purchase additional services, such as automation. You have complete control over exactly what you pay for.
8. Work on Growing Your Social Media Following
Five years ago bloggers would have suggested that you begin working on your SEO. Today things have changed because now it’s all about social media.
A popular social media profile will do more for your blog than concentrating specifically on SEO. It can take time to build up your social media following, but you can get a head start through being an active participant on it.
Join in with conversations relevant to your industry. You need to make sure that you’re making yourself as visible as possible by taking advantage of popular hashtags.
Interact with your followers and try to answer questions with more questions. Keep the social media conversation going.
If people see a social media profile filled with conversation they’re more likely to join in. This will also help with improving your SEO.
9. Build Up Anticipation for Your Blogs
You need to get people excited about your next posts. You also need to train your new following to visit your blog on a certain day of the week.
The key is in social media. Post about your upcoming blog a few days in advance of its actual release. A little teaser or preview will remind your target audience that you exist.
It’s how all the big bloggers get more engagement and ensure they get a big spike in viewing figures on release day.
10. Learn the Value of Scheduling
The worst sin as a blogger is to miss a release date. You shouldn’t be scrambling to get everything done on the day the blog is supposed to come out.
Your content should be scheduled well in advance of the day it’s supposed to come out. This all goes back to having an organized schedule.
How you organize that schedule is entirely up to you. Some bloggers decide that they want to write all their content for a month on one specific day.
Others will write a week of content at the same time every week. However you do it you should make sure that you have a firm schedule in place.
This will prevent your blog from missing postings.
11. Launch Your Blog in a Big Way
The release of your blog to the general public should be a big deal. Make it into a big deal by celebrating it. Post it all over social media and make it clear that this is a BIG deal.
It’s too early to start launching competitions because you likely wouldn’t get many entries, but you should still try to celebrate the launch of your blog.
Launching your blog in this way will make it seem like something special is happening, and anyone participating will feel special.
12. Let People Opt In for Your List
An opt in can happen in multiple ways. The first type of opt in is within the newsletter list itself. Separating regular alerts from regular round-ups is important for making sure that you’re not spamming your followers.
Everyone has different preferences for how often they want to be notified of something new happening. On your blog you should have buttons at the end of every blog relating to your newsletter.
People should be able to subscribe to your newsletter within just a couple of clicks. Make it as easy as possible.
13. Create a Daily Promotion Habit
You should be promoting your blog’s content every single day. It doesn’t matter how often you post. Not everyone is going to be there on release day.
This doesn’t mean that you should just post the same links every day. That will make you sound like a bot when the goal is to make you seem as accessible as possible.
For example, on one day you could post on Facebook a follow-up question to one of your blog posts. Some people will answer and some will be interested enough to go back to that blog to find out what you’re talking about.
Get into the habit of setting aside a certain amount of time each day for interacting with your followers and promoting your brand on social media.
14. Connect with Other Bloggers in Your Area of Expertise
Guest blogging remains one of the best ways to promote your brand. It might not have the same SEO value it once did, but reaching another audience is invaluable.
Guest blogging also comes with the advantage of adding a new voice to your blog. People will get tired if they hear exactly the same voice all day every day.
Connect with other bloggers in your niche on social media. You’re not going to necessarily start offering guest blogging opportunities at this stage.
Just start to build the relationship as friends. Interact with their posts and share some of their content that you genuinely enjoy.
Social media networks like LinkedIn are perfect for this because they facilitate highly detailed conversations. Try to seek out the blogger’s professional profile when you make a formal approach.
15. Decide on Your Newsletter Schedule
The reason why we mentioned the two types of opt-in earlier is because not everyone wants to hear from you every day. You need to decide on a newsletter schedule that allows you to promote without bothering your followers.
There is no right or wrong answer for this. It’s all about experimentation. Some bloggers find their audience prefers once a week, whereas others send out newsletters a few times per week.
The best way to find out is by asking your followers and playing around with your schedule.
16. Begin Working with Affiliate Marketing Services
Affiliate marketing will be one of the primary ways that you start to make money from your blog. It remains one of the best ways to start making an income. All your links should be affiliate links.
Every time you post you should have some affiliate links there. Most services demand that you be open and honest about your relationship with these services, so don’t shy away from it.
For example, Amazon Associates makes it very clear exactly what has to be on your website, and the exact wording of the statement you have to make. Failure to put it in can get you kicked out of the program and it could break the trust of your customers.
So how do you make sure your affiliate marketing efforts are successful?
Only promote products that your audience is going to love. Don’t promote irrelevant products because they won’t respond to them.
Ideally, you should only promote products that you have tried yourself. Nothing can ruin your reputation like promoting a product that turns out to be terrible.
Never assume that something you promote is good. Discover the truth for yourself.
17. Join Platforms that Allow You to Sell Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are posts where you’re paid write about a specific company. Platforms like Social Fabric allow users to sell sponsored posts as part of a big marketplace. Other platforms include Blogsvertise and TapInfluence.
Selling sponsored posts is no different from writing an ordinary blog. The only real change is that they’re slightly more promotional and they include links to brands.
Your readers won’t notice much of a difference at all because it will still represent a consistent voice and a consistent level of content.
The key to making sure that sponsored posts don’t interfere with your brand is to check that the content is useful and relevant.
Don’t allow a short-term payday to get in the way of your long-term goals. Furthermore, you should ensure that you disclose when a post is sponsored.
Blogs have been brought down before because the owner allowed sponsored posts without disclosing.
18. Interact with Other Bloggers on Facebook Groups
You already know how important it is to connect with bloggers in your industry. What you may not have known is that this doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a public setting. Sometimes you just want to sit down and talk business with people.
This is where Facebook groups come in. There are hundreds of Facebook groups for bloggers only. These groups don’t have any readers inside. They’re just blog owners discussing the challenges and trials they’re going through as professionals.
You’ll find these groups come with a number of key benefits. To begin with, these groups are excellent avenues for getting solutions to your problems.
Sometimes you will run up against a problem that only a professional can answer. Facebook groups will have people who have gone through the same problems before.
Interacting with other bloggers can also reveal guest blogging opportunities, upcoming changes brought by Google, paying blog work, and general observations.
19. Work on Streamlining the Blogging Process
The business world in general is always thinking about efficiency. How can they streamline their processes? Sadly, the same doesn’t always apply to blogging.
One of your main priorities as you get your feet wet should be to streamline the blogging process. This is where you have to start taking some of the money you’re earning and reinvest it in the blogging process.
Work on streamlining the blogging process so you spend less time on the menial tasks and more time on the things that matter.
One plugin you should pick up, for example, is CoSchedule. This is a content marketing calendar that makes it easy to plan your content and know when to promote it.
Tools like this will save you time and grow your audience. Collaboration and smart marketing is the key to successful blogging at the professional level.
20. Start Attending Blogging Conferences
Blogging conferences are happening all over the world. You can find big conferences and small, local conferences for bloggers in specific niches. You should make a point of attending blogging conferences a couple of times every year in order to network.
Networking is critical offline because this is the time you truly make lifelong connections. They could prove incredibly useful later on. Conferences can be expensive, but most of your expenses will be tax deductible come tax time.
21. Plan Your Holiday Campaigns Months in Advance
What you have to remember is that the holiday season is the time when people have a lot of spare time on their hands. This is the time they’re likely to be reading your blog.
You need to use the holidays to your advantage, which is where special holiday campaigns come in. Don’t underestimate how much work it takes to build a holiday campaign.
Many bloggers will use a special holiday theme for their website. Others will decide to create special holiday content.
But all of this happens alongside your usual activities. That means you’re going to have to step up your work load to craft your holiday campaigns. The best way to handle them is to start planning your holiday campaigns well in advance.
22. Conduct Regular Review Meetings
The concept of a review meeting might seem like a strange one for anyone working as a blogger because you’re the only one on the team. Self-reflection is one of the most useful tools at your disposal.
Every week or every month you need to set some time aside to review your blogging performance. This will involve looking at your traffic stats and checking on your engagement levels.
You’ll also review your income and expenses. After you’ve done that you need to come up with a plan for how to improve your performance. This is the most important part of the process.
23. Create an eBook
Do you know how the majority of bloggers make their money? Affiliate marketing is the classic way to make an income. It’s far from the main way to make an income, though.
Creating an eBook, and other similar publications, will expand your brand beyond the blog. We’re in the middle of an eBook revolution and independent authors are making a huge amount of money from Amazon Kindle and other retailers.
When writing an eBook it should be related to your blog. This will encourage your readers to check out your work to find additional content.
It will also tie your readers further into your brand, therefore making it less likely that they’re going to go elsewhere in the future.
Your eBook should be professionally edited and should have a professional cover. It will cost some money to create the eBook, but if you have a big following you can make your initial investment back quickly.
24. Begin Reviewing Products
Product reviews are things that come after you have been blogging consistently for a while. Companies have noticed you and they want to get you to promote their products.
The product review post is where you review a physical product and tell your target audience what you think. The rewards may be just the product or you could get paid on top of that.
You must tread carefully when reviewing products. First of all, you have to offer to give an honest review. Don’t feel compelled to say good things about a bad product because a company is paying you.
Secondly, make it clear at the top of any such post that you were given the product in exchange for an honest review. Be completely transparent about your relationship with the company.
25. Teach Others How to Do Something
The majority of industries and niches have potential for teaching. One example is if you’re writing for entrepreneurs who are starting a small business for the first time.
You could teach entrepreneurs how to come up with killer ideas or you could show them how to improve cash flow.
If you really know your stuff one of the most lucrative ways to make money from blogging is to start offering your services as a teacher.
This can come in two ways. You could create a course and sell that course. Alternatively, you could put some time aside for personal one-on-one coaching.
To make this work you need to be extremely specific. Don’t just tell entrepreneurs how to start a business. Show them how to start a business during the first month.
Courses can be hosted directly on your blog or you can use a platform like Udemy.
26. Branch Out into Other Forms of Content
Bloggers can do so much more than produce written content. Once you’ve got a regular stream of written content you should start thinking about how you can go further than that.
Branching out into infographics and video content are all options. You need to focus on how you’re going to bring in a new audience. Many people prefer to consume video content instead of written articles.
Diversifying will allow you to expand your audience and expand your income. But how do you get started with new forms of content?
Start with the equipment. Anything you shoot should be in HD and you may need to invest in a video editor to add those finishing touches. Shooting a video is completely different to mapping out an idea in Microsoft Word.
Get used to using the equipment and shooting yourself. You don’t need to be a movie star to create interesting video content, but you do need to make it look professional.
27. Make the Move to Paid Content
Bloggers will gain no money from 90% of their content. The way big bloggers get around this is they use the ‘exclusivity’ factor.
Part of their website will be sectioned off for those who are willing to subscribe to get into the VIP club. Your super fans will be the ones to pay for something like this.
To avoid annoying non-paying users you don’t sacrifice any of your paid content. These VIP clubs are designed to offer some added extras.
Paid content can include more detailed blog posts, freebies, and exclusive access to special events. Later on you may decide to offer subscriber-only live streams. VIP users might even get a say on the direction of your content.
28. Try Adding Donations
A ‘Donate’ button on your website sounds like a ludicrous idea. What many bloggers have found is that this button does work and people do donate their spare dollars to a website that they appreciate.
Your blog might be too young to really take advantage of something like this, but as it gets more visibility your costs will go up and donations will be welcome.
This is not something you can or should push. Just place it in a visible location on your website and every so often you’ll be pleasantly surprised that people have donated. Link it up to PayPal to make donating as easy as a couple of clicks.
29. Employ New Writers
Guest bloggers are good, but they’re not there for the long haul. Sooner or later you’re going to find that people want to hear from someone different.
This can happen when you start to run out of content ideas. Employing new writers is a great way to introduce new viewpoints and new voices.
You can find new writers for your blog through social media, or even from your active readership. Create a page on your website advertising for writers.
Get them to write a blog post on any relevant subject and judge from there. Offer some compensation to them via direct payments or through revenue share agreements.
This likely won’t be a consideration in the beginning, but later on it’s a great way to sustain and elevate your income.
30. Consistency is the Key
The previous 29 tips will show you how to start making money from your blog. The primary characteristic you need is consistency.
It’s easy to give up because your blog hasn’t made any money during the first few months. This is why the majority of blogs are abandoned.
Consistency in your voice and your scheduling will eventually yield you the results you want. If nothing seems to be happening you have to take an honest look at your blog and question whether you’re giving your audience what they want.
Remember that everything is about giving people what they want. If you can’t do this you’re never going to make any money.
Most bloggers didn’t make any money from their first attempt at making a blog. Blogging looks simple, but this is deceptive. Writing and publishing is only the tip of the iceberg.
Be willing to give it a few shots before you give up and before you know it success will be right around the corner.
For those of you getting serious about making the leap, read our guide on 7 steps to start a successful personal finance blog (steps are also great for those who want to choose another niche).
If you have any questions on starting a blog or want to add in some tips, feel free to leave them down below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!