Today we’re going to talk about how to make money blogging. I know this may seem absolutely crazy that we’re already talking about this, but I’m a firm believer in working backwards on a problem to figure out the solution.
We’re working backwards from our end goal of how we want to make money blogging, and then we’re going to work from there to figure out what we’re going to post about and what our lead magnets are going to be.
WHAT DOES MONETIZE YOUR BLOG MEAN?
To start, we’re going to talk about what it means to monetize your blog. You can monetize your blog in a variety of different ways. Some strategies work better than others, and some require a lot more work, effort, traffic, so not everything I list here is going to be perfect for you.
I’m just going to explain each one, and then I want you to try to figure out which one is going to be the best fit for your lifestyle and where you are at in your blogging stage.
Probably the most popular way to make income from blogging, and why a lot of people start blogging, is to make passive income. Passive income basically means that once you’ve set up your system, you would be making money while you’re sleeping, essentially.
The system runs itself, and you don’t have to do any other work or marketing for that system. Just because it’s passive though, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. You still have to set it all up in the beginning and that does require work.
When should I start monetizing my blog?
I personally feel that you should start monetizing your blog immediately. Blogging is a lot of work, especially when you’re starting out. I think you should take advantage of any sort of income you could possibly get.
Especially, when you start off blogging, you’re trying to do a lot of things the free way, like scheduling your social media. You’re always looking for the free option. Starting to make money right away allows you more opportunities to start paying for tools that could actually make a huge difference in your business.
A big misconception is that people think you need to have a lot of blog posts and a lot of experience before you can start making money with your blog. That’s so wrong! I actually started making money with my blog after five blog posts. That just goes to show that you can start immediately.
Also, I’m a firm believer of doing work once. If you were to write 100 blog posts and never have monetized any of them, you’ll have to go back through and add links and do work and re-do those blog posts so you can earn money from them.
I don’t see the point in doing that, of going back and doing the work a second time, so I think you should start right away and create those blog posts with money in mind.
How to Make Money Blogging
We are going to review the four strategies to make money blogging, affiliate marketing, advertising, services and products.
Affiliate marketing is when basically you are paid to promote someone else’s product. Sometimes it can be referred by you. People talk about it as their “referral program”.
When you see those income reports from big bloggers on Pinterest, if you ever click on them, you’ll see a large portion of their income comes from affiliate marketing.
I definitely suggest that you start off with affiliate marketing right away. You do not need a lot of traffic for this one. It’s probably the least amount of work compared to the other ones I’m going to go over.
The different ways you can earn money with affiliate marketing is pay per click, (which is very uncommon now), paid for a lead (A lead would typically be if someone opts in for a free trial or opts in for a newsletter), or paid per sale. Paid per lead commissions are typically really small. Pay per sale, typically the commissions on a lot of these products are, some are between 40% and 50%.
If you just got one sale, it would equal all of your efforts for some of the other strategies I’m reviewing. An example would be that I am an affiliate for Elite Blog Academy. Last I checked, that course was $997. $997 times 40%, that’s $398 that I would make as an affiliate if someone were to purchase that course using my link.
That would be a lot more money that I would make from one purchase compared to how much I would make from 100 purchases of my own product. Obviously, you can probably tell that affiliate marketing is one of my favorites.
Advertising is very easy to monetize and put on your blog, but sometimes there are some requirements. A popular one for advertising would be an ad network, like Google AdSense. For Google AdSense, your blog has to exist for at least six months.
When you get into some of the other ad networks that pay out more, you have to have a certain amount of traffic that you’re getting from your blog. That may not be an option for you right now. One thing you can do (that I played around with) is create your own little ad graphics or ad images and put them throughout your blog posts.
The images link to one of my affiliates and the payout would be much greater than an ad most likely. It’s a way for me to get used to using ads throughout my blog posts and for my readers to get used to seeing ads.
Another option is private advertising. Basically with private advertising, the person would come directly to you and they would say that they’re interested in advertising their product on your site.
They would probably want to do that through either a sidebar ad, being featured in your newsletter, or a social media shout out. They could also be a sponsor for your podcast or YouTube.
With private ads, it’s typically a one time thing that’s either monthly or it just happens once, like in a shout out. Monthly would be if you had a sidebar up on your blog for an entire month.
You really only want to recommend brands and products you really trust because you don’t want anything that would conflict with your blog’s mission statement, like we talked about yesterday. Actually, that really goes for everything I’m reviewing right now. You don’t want to do anything that would possibly impact your blog’s mission statement.
I would definitely suggest going back through that mission statement when you’re thinking about the different ways you want to make money blogging. If your mission statement is that you want to provide real quality education or quality content about parenting, then you probably wouldn’t want some sort of sex ad or something up on your site.
Make sure that no matter what you pick, it all coincides with your mission statement and what you want your readers to feel when they’re on your site. Maybe you don’t want to do advertising because you feel spammy or scammy by having ads on your site. It’s completely up to you.
Underneath advertising are sponsored posts. A sponsored post is basically a blog post that someone pays you to write. Again, you should be selective on what type of product your sponsoring for your post. Sometimes you’ll just get something for free out of a sponsored post. Sometimes you’ll get paid. It really depends on what the opportunity is.
If you have space in your editorial calendar, then it’s a great way to fill in an empty slot while also making some money.
Services. A lot of blogging experts and business experts suggest that you do services before you go into launching a product. The reason they suggest that is by doing a service, you learn a lot more about your target audience for the product. That it would actually help you create the product.
I’m not completely on that bandwagon. I created a product before I created a service, but I also was very sure of my product and knew that it was something that people would want to purchase. Services allow you to validate the idea if you’re unsure if anyone would purchase it or not.
Some popular services you could offer are being a virtual assistant. You could offer coaching or consulting services. You could do live speaking events. Pretty much anything else you’re really good at you could offer as some sort of service.
The big thing with services and why I did not choose this one is because I have a full time job (as you probably know from my blog posts). With the amount of time it takes for me to work on my full time job and then also work on my blog, there just wasn’t enough time for me to take on clients as well. It would really start to impact my time with my family and my daughter, so I decided to skip services.
That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t change if I were to ever leave my full time job. At that point, I probably would offer some sort of services, but for now, based on what my family needs and what fits with my lifestyle, services just won’t work for me.
The last one is your own products. With your own products, there’s a couple of different routes you could go. You could do an e-course (a course online), or you could do an actual live course or workshop.
You could sell an ebook. You could do a physical product. That’s something you would actually create and mail out. You could do a digital product. A digital product would be like creating custom landing pages for someone for their blog or blog design or printables.
You could do a membership or a subscription site. I have seen a couple of really great ones. When you do it right, it could be really successful. Again, you’ll just need to be coming up with new content for your subscribers so they feel like they’re getting the best value for their membership. That may not fit in with your lifestyle.
If you’re starting out, some of the easiest products to start with are either a digital product or ebook. Creating courses can be time consuming. You could even do a workshop if you really like the idea of coaching, but you can’t necessarily be coaching full time. You could basically just do a live event that people pay $15 or something to attend.
If you do a course or an ebook, that’s going to be something that you can do with passive income fairly easily. The workshops, coaching and the physical products require you to be more hands on.
TIPS TO SUCCESSFULLY MONETIZE YOUR BLOG
I just want to go through some tips to successfully monetize your blog before we end. You want to experiment and try different things. If one thing doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean you’re never going to make money blogging. All it really means is that this strategy isn’t working and you should try another.
You really should only promote things that you believe in, products you use yourself or brands you really trust.
Make sure you know your limits because the worst thing you want to do is drop the ball on one of these sponsored posts or if you’re creating a product and never deliver it you will have customer service issues. You want to make sure you know your limits so you’re always delivering what you promised.
Then most importantly, start right away. Create it once so you don’t have to do work twice. Like I said, I started earning money with only 5 blog posts, so I know it’s completely possible and you can do it too.
If you want to learn more please join my Free 5 Day Challenge to Plan Your Blog for Profits. This blog post was part of day 2 and there are more goodies inside just waiting for you!
Choosing the right blog niche will allow you to grow your blog faster. Follow along as I uncomplicate picking your blog niche.
Imagine you are searching the internet for a recipe for dinner tonight. You only have 30 minutes to make it because once again you forgot to defrost the chicken.
You find a big list of dinner recipes on Pinterest. Which one are you going to be more likely to click on?
- 10 Dinner Recipes
- 10 Quick Dinner Recipes that only Take 30 Minutes
You’re going to pick the second one because it fits your needs/situation.
You don’t want to sort through all of the awesome dinners that take hours to make. You want just the ones you are going to have time for.
People who see your blog posts online think the same way. They want content focused on their exact situation because that’s what’s going to help them the most. That’s why choosing a blog niche is so important.
Ok, so I know some of you are thinking, but those 10 recipes might be great to have for another night when I have more time. Ok true, but how many Pinterest images have you saved for later and never read? You want to create topics that people want to read right now…not save for later and forget about.
You want your blog to be the PERFECT fit for a specific type of reader. It will allow you to grow your following/community fast. You will become a go-to resource for that audience and quickly establish a strong online presence – even if you have no online presence when you get started.
So, how exactly can you choose the best blog niche? Let’s go through the steps.
How to Pick a Profitable Blog Niche
Before you start, keep these things in mind….It doesn’t have to be perfect. Do not let perfectionism to stall your progress.
STEP 1: Pick Your Passions
Grab a pen and a pad of paper and start writing a list of everything you are passionate about. I mean everything! There is no wrong answer here and you don’t need to limit yourself! Write down all the silly, serious, random things. If you are already blogging, what are you currently blogging about? Include in this list – What could you talk about every day non-stop? What are your hobbies?
Step 2: Pick Your Strengths
What do you enjoy teaching others about? What are you better at than the average person?
What do you have a lot of experience doing? What’s something really unique/cool that you’ve accomplished? Ask yourself these questions to start brainstorming your main areas of expertise.
You don’t need to be the #1 expert in your blog niche to make an impact. You can share your journey as you become an expert.
Step 3: Where Can You Profit
Look at where your passions and strengths overlap. Highlight them on your sheet. What problems do people have in these areas? What problem could you solve for them? What are people willing to pay for? How can you help others in a UNIQUE way?
The space where all of the things on your list overlap is your profitable blog niche.
Hold on to your list because we are going to use it again when we determine our blog mission statement and topic categories.
Last week I explained how I figure out my blog niche. This week I want to dive a little deeper by picking our blog categories and mission statement.
Why do we need a mission statement or topic categories?
My first year blogging I failed because I was all over the place with my blog posts. I didn’t have a clear focus and was not really the go to person for anything. You want to be someone’s go to.
When you think about planning, time management with your blog or learning shortcuts to make yourself more productive, I want you to think about me. When you think about traveling with your family…I do not want my name to come up. True fact…I actually hate to fly!
Going through this process gave me even more clarity on what I was going to blog about and what I want my blog to be known for. Let’s dive in.
How to Pick Your Blog Categories
Step 1: Organize Your Passions
Pull out your passion list. I hope it was really long because that means you were really thinking. Cross off everything you either a) don’t want to blog about or b) don’t really love. You may have been blogging about things that other bloggers blogged about but you didn’t love doing. Maybe you started writing about some topics but have other interests now. Maybe you put some things on your list that you think you “should be” passionate about just really are not.
Whenever I have writer’s block it is usually because I am either not passionate or knowledgeable on the topic.
Next, Combine your list
Your list should be a lot shorter with that cross off and hopefully, it revealed to you some of the things you are passionate about and could blog about! Look at your list again and start trying to combine things.
For example, my list had time blocking, using a planner, routines. Hmm can you say category? Yes, so one of my blog topic categories is time management and my subcategories are time blocking, planning tools and routines/schedules.
To make this easy I grabbed highlighters and just highlighted all of the similar things. Those became my categories. Here are the highlighters I got on Amazon and these are the post-it notes you will need for the next step.
Do you see any consistency?
Look at your list and see what is left. Do you have any categories that just don’t make sense? They do not all need to be the same but if you have a random one, either cross it off or figure out how you can work it in.
For example, I listed meal planning, but everything else is time management. So I could do something like meal planning shortcuts, or how to save time meal planning. This is totally up to you! Either figure out a way to incorporate it or cross it off though.
Side note…I once told my blogging coach I wanted to write a post about yarn dryer balls. Can you see how if you came to my blog and saw a post on your yarn balls you would be thinking WTF?
Create a Mission Statement
Seeing what you wrote down as you did the first four steps hopefully helped you see the direction you want to go with your blog. Take the time now to ask yourself some questions as you look at that list:
– Who is the audience I am trying to reach? What does their day look like? Are they busy or need something to do?
– What do the things left on this list say about me?
– How do I want people to feel when they are on my blog?
– What do I want them to do when they are on my blog?
– What do I want my blog to stand for?
Try to create a couple sentences (or one run on sentence) that sums it all up. This would be your blog’s mission statement. This statement is really for your own use and doesn’t need to be shared with your readers. BUT, if you then shorten it, it would really become your blog’s tagline.
How to Write Blog Posts Perfect for Your Blog Niche/Audience
Once you’ve decided on a blog niche, you need to start publishing blog posts. But you can’t just pick any random topic. You have to select a topic that falls in one of the blog categories we just outlined AND it needs to support your profit plan.
Now if you are thinking…content creation and profit plan…Oh my! Don’t worry I have you covered! In the next couple weeks I plan to take a deep dive on how to set up your plan to profit so you can set up your content to succeed.
Click here to sign up for my free 5 day challenge to map out your content ideas and how you will profit from those ideas.