The Definitive Guide to Making Money Blogging
If you want to learn how to make money with a blog, then this is the article for you. I will walk you through step by step on how many folks make money with their blog and give you tips and tricks that I have learned along the way.
I started my blog in 2013, and over the past several years I have made tens of thousands of dollars blogging!
Back when I started my blog, I never really thought it would be possible to make so much money blogging in my free time. My main motivation for starting a blog was to help others by sharing tips and tricks around money saving, money making, and investing. I felt that I had a lot of ideas to share, and had done fairly well with money management over the years.
One cool thing about starting my blog was that it helped me to get even better at saving money. While researching topics to write about, I was able to apply a lot of the concepts I learned to my own finances to become an even better money saver. The same held true with stock market investing – I think I have read over 2,500 pages of investing material since starting this blog :-).
One awesome thing that I did not really anticipate happening was that my blog started to make quite a bit of money month to month. Making money with my blog started out slow at first, but it has certainly picked up quite a bit of steam over the years. The main point of the article is to share with you some of the tips and tricks for making money with a blog so that you can increase your blog income. Alternatively, if you are on the fence about starting your own WordPress blog, I hope to convince you that it is well worth your time to jump in and start blogging today!
Tips and Tricks – How to Make Money with a Blog:
Should my Blog be Self Hosted?
In one word, yes! Your blog should definitely be self hosted so that you have complete control over revenue opportunities. If you create a self hosted WordPress Blog with Bluehost (that link gives you a detailed tutorial on how to do this), you will have full control to place text, banner, and other sorts of advertisements that will bring in revenue for your blog.
I cannot mention this enough, but I highly recommend going self-hosted versus using sites like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. Having your own self hosted blog will look MUCH more professional and bring in advertisers and companies that are interested in promoting their products and services on your blog. Having a free blog can really impose a glass ceiling on your earnings potential.
I have also heard tales of folks with free blogs having their site deleted without warning or reason. If you have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into your blog, the last thing you want to have happen is for it to be deleted with no warning! I cannot even imagine how upset I would be if this were to happen to me. Just for this reason alone, it makes sense to self host your blog.
If you are interested in starting your own blog, I have created this awesome tutorial to guide you through the process. This teaches you how to start a blog for cheap and only ends up costing about $3/month with my special link! Set yourself up on the right foot to make money with a blog by going self hosted!
Do I Need a lot of Readers for my Blog to Make Money?
You do NOT need a lot of readers for your blog to start making some nice money. Obviously, the more readers your blog has the better in terms of ad revenue and potential folks that may sign up for your affiliate offer. BUT, you can make over $1,000 a month in your spare time blogging with only having 50-100 readers a day to your blog. That’s right – you don’t have to have a cult following like Dave Ramsey does to make money with your blog!
Every blog is going to be different and appeal to different audiences. If you can find your own voice and appeal to what readers are looking for, it will only be a matter of time before your blog begins to build a larger and larger audience. It does take some work to build up your audience if you are going for a really large monthly blogging income of $10,000 or more a month. None of this is difficult, it just takes time and effort :-).
Here are some of my top tips for increasing the audience size of your blog:
1) Create high quality blog content
This should go without saying, but no one will want to come to your blog over and over again if you content is boring or low quality. If you can spend extra time and effort to ensure your blog posts are high quality, you will get some awesome audience build over time. One of the best ways to ensure your posts have some “meaty” content is to plan for posts that are at least 750 words. Typically, the higher word count blog posts get more views from Google and will convey more meaningful information to your audience. Don’t go overboard though! Posts that are over 5,000 words tend to get too long-winded and readers can frequently lose interest.
2) Post regularly on your blog
One of the best ways to increase your audience is to entice readers to return to your blog over and over again. If you can get in a habit of posting regularly on your blog, readers will come back to your blog repeatedly to find your latest update. I suggest trying to commit to a minimum of one blog post a week. Once you get into the swing of things, this can be accomplished in about 30 minutes a week. Would you be willing to work for 2 hours a month a make over $1,000 a month? I thought so!
3) Comment on other blogs
One great way to get your blog’s name and brand out there is to comment on other blogs. When you comment on other blogs, there is an option to enter a web address that will link back to your blog. Blogs that share similar topics and information to your blog are the best place to focus your effort. If you ensure your comments are high quality and value adding to the conversation, you are sure to pick up readers that will be interested in your blog and click your link. This also helps to build your search engine optimization with Google (more on that below).
4) Improve your Blog’s SEO (search engine optimization)
This is something that is a bit tricky to cover in detail within this post as it would seem to go on forever. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with Google is of paramount importance. To give you the short version, SEO is basically the skill and technique of organizing your blogs content and links so that Google will tend to favor it over competitors. There are all sorts of tips and tricks to optimize the SEO for your blog. Look for a future post from me with my best tips and tricks!
5) Create Great Blog Post Headlines
This one goes hand-in-hand with tip #4 above. Which do you think readers would be more likely to click on and read about: “4 Reasons You Should Cut Up All Your Credit Cards Today” or “Credit Cards Are Bad“? You have to gain reader’s attention, get them interested quickly, and call them to action by clicking on your post headline link. There is a real art to creating headlines, and I am still on my journey to master this myself.
6) Network with Other Blog Owners
The idea here is to connect with other blog owners in your topic category. Have a cooking blog? Email other cooking blog owners and see if you can agree to a link swap or a guest post.
7) Write Guest Posts for Other Blogs
A guest post is when you write content for another owner’s blog. In exchange, you are granted one or more links back to your blog. This is a great win-win method to: make friends with another blog owner, introduce more readers to your blog, build up Google love, and generate some good will. Make sure you start by working with other blogs in the same topic or category as your blog for maximum effect. This can be one of the very best ways of reaching new readers.
8) Be Active on Pinterest and Other Social Media Sites
This is an area I really need to work on, but it has paid off big-time for other bloggers. Pinterest is one of the largest sources of blog traffic for many a blogger. If you are half-way decent at photo editing and creating appealing images, this is the tip for you! If you aren’t so great at it, that’s OK. Be sure you have a Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or other active presence and you are sure to build a nice following over time.
9) Ensure Your Blog Content can Be Shared Easily
Blog content that is easy to share gets more views on social media – period. It’s as simple as that! Make sure the content of your blog is simple to share by installing and enabling a plugin such as Simple Connect Widget. There are tons of social connect widgets available for a WordPress blog, this just seems to be the best one that I have run across.
10) Help Others Solve Problems
Many of your potential blog posts will help readers solve a particular problem them might be having. If that’s the case, search Google for websites where folks have posted questions for help. Often message boards will be a great place to answer folk’s questions and provide links back to your blog where readers can learn even more ideas on how to solve their problems.
How Long Does it Take to Start Making Money Blogging?
If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme, then blogging is probably not a good fit for you. If you check out some of my past income reports, you will see that when I started blogging I was just making a couple bucks a month. It wasn’t until 8 months after starting the blog that I was able to make over $100 a month.
Some bloggers that really dig in and put in the work are able to make thousands of dollars in a short amount of time. Many of these folks are well on their way to making six figures a month with their blog! For others that don’t put in the time, their blogs never really seem to catch on and things end up fizzling out.
I think this blog is an indication that moderate success is possible without any special knowledge or contacts. I will make over $10K in 2016 with this blog and probably put in 4-6 hours of work a month with it. That’s a pretty good return on investment I think :-).
How is Blogging Income Generated?
I receive this question all the time with folks wondering how to make money with a blog. Many folks are interested in blogging, but they don’t quite understand how blogging income in generated. It is pretty simple to make money with a blog – here are just a couple of the ways you can earn blogging income (also called monetizing your blog):
- affiliate income – this is where some of the big blogging bucks can come from. Affiliate income is when you promote a product or service on your blog. There are tracking links setup that will give you credit if a reader purchases the promoted product or service. If you are credited with a sale, then you earn a nice commission. These affiliate income offers are a great win-win for you and your reader. They don’t cost your readers any more than if they were just to Google the product or service and pay for it on their own and you receive a nice commission for the referral. A few examples of affiliate income posts can be found here: how to start and setup an LLC online and how to start a WordPress blog with Bluehost. These affiliate products generate a couple hundred dollars a month in affiliate income for MoneyAhoy.
- advertising text or graphics – you are probably familiar with this one. This is a simple way to make money with a blog. Advertisers pay you to place text or graphic banners on the top, side, or bottom of your blog. A blog is typically paid a monthly fee to host this advertisement.
- sponsored posts – sponsored posts are a great answer to the question “how to make money with a blog.” This is where a company or advertiser will pay to directly to host an article on your blog with a link to their website. Sponsored posts can be quite a lucrative form of blog income when you are just getting your blog up and running. Check out my article here on how to get sponsored posts on your blog.
- Google AdSense – this is a simple way to start monetizing your blog today. Sign up for a Google Adsense account here and throw up their ad on your blog. Your blog will start generating income immediately for each viewer that comes by as well as anyone the clicks on your ad.
You will typically be paid through PayPal or direct deposit with your blog income. There are thousands of companies that are looking to expand their online presence and will be willing to pay you as a blog owner to promote their products and services.
Can Someone New to Blogging Make Money?
New blogs can definitely make money – the market is far from crowded! There are over 7 billion people on our planet, and more people are getting online all the time. More and more businesses are also finding the need to advertise and conduct business over the internet.
As these trends continue, there will be more and more demand for advertising space on blogs. There are several newcomer blogs that earn 50 times what my 3+ year old blog does. There are also hundreds of different ways for your blog to make money. You can experiment with your new blog and find the right combination that fits your personality and style.
For these reasons, I believe there is always going to be an incredible opportunity for new blogs to make money.
What Ways can a Person Start Making Money Blogging?
There are a bunch of ways that someone can make money blogging and writing online. Some of these were highlighted above, but I go into more detail below and give more ideas:
- Affiliate income
- Display advertising
- Staff writing
- Blog sponsorships
Is Making Money from an eBook Realistic?
Yes – it is absolutely possible to make money writing your own eBook. With the advent of online and just-in-time printing, it has never been easier to write your own eBook and sell it online through popular advertisers such as Amazon.
There are many bloggers that make $20K plus a month off of their eBook sales! Check out my eBook guide here for more info on writing your own eBook.
What is Affiliate Income?
Affiliate marketing is an amazing way to make money with a blog. This type of opportunity allows you to make money while you sleep, eat, and do the dishes! The trick to this is that affiliate income is residual income – you can continue to earn money without doing additional work. MoneyAhoy consistently earns several hundred dollars a month through affiliate income. I am working to build this up as some bloggers are known to make over $50K a month in affiliate income!
As mentioned above, affiliate income is when you create a post which links out to a product or service that some company is selling. You receive a reasonable commission for this referral. The amazing thing about affiliate income is that it is a win-win for your readers. They don’t pay a penny more (sometimes they actually receive a discount) and you earn money on the side for referring to your favorite products and services.
Affiliate income is also great because you can continue to earn revenue month after month on that post you created years ago. That’s the power of passive income! You basically get to set it and forget it :-).
There are dozens of different affiliate programs out there that you can incorporate into your blog. Some of the top performing ones are:
- Amazon Associates – this allows you to link to Amazon products directly
- Commission Junction – tons of products and services that you can link to
- Flex Offers – pretty similar to Commission Junction
Here are some of my hard-earned tips for increasing your blogs affiliate income:
- Ask for a higher commission percentage – after you have been an affiliate for a while, there is nothing wrong with asking to be bumped to a higher payout percentage. I have had great success with this.
- Create tutorials for how to use the product – many readers are curious on how to use a particular product or service. If you can step readers through how to use it, there is a high chance you will build trust and they will click through your affiliate link.
- Create a resources or recommendations page – this is a catch-all page where you can serve up various affiliate products and services while you work on creating a more detailed post about it.
- Provide actual and honest reviews – no one likes fake reviews, and they are pretty easy to spot. If you are posting reviews for terrible products and everything is great, you are going to lose trust with your readers. The best way to increase your product or service affiliate income is to provide honest reviews.
- Don’t go crazy with affiliate links – just including 3-5 links throughout the post is the best way to boost your affiliate income. Having 20+ links is just sleazy and will usually erode the reader’s trust in your brand and any products or services that you may be promoting.
What is Display Advertising?
Display advertising is when you place a text or image in the header, sidebar, below posts, or the footer of your blog. Advertisers will pay you a set amount depending on the number of views that your blog receives. The best way to make money with the display advertising method is to have a high number of visitors to your blog every day.
Display advertising is an easy way to make money blogging because you just setup the code once (copy and paste) and then you are done. As you go on to create amazing content for your blog, your blog will continue to earn money on auto-pilot.
The most popular company that runs display advertising is Google. Their product, Google Adsense, is the gold standard in display advertising. There are many other companies that also run and host display advertising that you can utilize to make money with your blog.
Can Blogs Get Sponsored?
Yes – there are a number of ways that advertisers can sponsor your blog. The most common method of blog sponsorship is through sponsored or guest posts.
Other methods include paying for links in your existing articles or paying for links on your recommendation/resource page. You can also include advertiser’s text or banners as part of a blog sponsorship.
To gain a sponsorship for your blog, you can either actively seek one out by contacting companies. Or, you can wait for companies to contact you as your blog increases in popularity. The method that works the best for me is waiting for companies to contact me that would be interested in advertising on my blog.
What Are Sponsored Posts?
Sponsored posts and guest posts are when someone else writes and article for your blog. They will then pay you to place this sponsored post on your blog for your readers. Here is a link to my post on how to get sponsored posts on your blog.
There are two main methods to get sponsored posts on your blog:
- Sign up with one or more ad agencies similar to Link Vehicle, Izea, or Seeding Up. The companies will take your blog information and sell slots to advertisers. Once a match is made, you will receive instructions for the post criteria and be paid at the end of the month!
- Setup a contact page on your blog for advertisers to contact you directly. Once your blog begins to see increasing traffic, it is not uncommon for dozens of advertisers to contact you each month requesting sponsored post placement. It will be up to you which offers you choose to accept and which you will turn down.
Can I Make Money from Writing an eBook?
Yes – you can make quite a bit of money in this day and age writing an eBook. With the advent of online publishing there are millions of people reading eBooks each and every month.
The eBook I wrote: Stock Market Investing for Newbies has sold hundreds of copies and has made a decent amount.
There are some eBook authors that make thousands of dollars a month with their eBook offerings! Making money from eBooks can be pretty lucrative if you can build a following of readers.
Can a Blogger Make Money Writing for Other Blogs?
If you are still wondering how to make money with a blog, then here is another idea for you. Did you know that owners of other successful blogs are willing to pay for great writers? It’s true! This is a blog money making tip called staff writing.
The way it works is that other successful blog owners will pay for good content creators (like you) to create posts for their blogs relative to their niche. The best way to land these types of awesome money making opportunities is to have good contacts in the blogging community. This is best done by having an amazing blog yourself. That’s your best business card or resume to get your foot in the door to make money blogging as a staff writer.
Can a Blogger Make Money Freelance Writing?
So this isn’t quite in the same category as how to make money with a blog, but it can very lucrative method of making money online. The idea is that you leverage the professionalism and brand that you have created with your blog to launch into your freelance writing career. Many bloggers will also freelance write each month to bring in a considerable about of additional side income.
The best way to start freelance writing is to join an online freelancing website such as UpWork. With UpWork, you create a profile and then bid on jobs that you’d like to complete. They have hundreds of different categories of work and thousands of jobs each day in popular categories such as writing.
There are folks like Danny Margulies that make over six-figures a year with UpWork and are willing to help others learn how to follow in their footsteps!
Ready to Start up Your Blog and Make Money?
Are you interested in making money blogging? If so, then there has never been a better time than now to start blogging for money! Hopefully this article has convinced you that there are dozens of ways to make money with a blog.
If you are ready to start making money blogging, I created a detailed tutorial that will help you start a WordPress blog on your own for cheap, at only ~$4 per month (this low price is only available through my link) for blog web hosting. In addition to this amazing price, you will receive a free dot-com domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link if you register for at least 12 months of hosting.
Bonus Tip – Start Your Own Company
If you are ready to jump in with both feet and start to make money with a blog, you may want to consider forming your own LLC as well. I created a detailed tutorial that will help you create your own LLC online in just a couple minutes. Check that out if that sounds interesting to you.