If you’ve ever wondered how bloggers make money, you’ve come to the right place!
I was halfway through my graduate degree in Human Resource Management – preparing to enter corporate America- when I realized that I was spending a lot of money and putting in a ton of effort for something I didn’t even think I enjoyed.
My sister had been encouraging me to begin blogging for several years, but I didn’t know at the time that someone could make a living from doing it. I pictured myself juggling graduate school, a full-time job, parenting, and blogging at the same time and knew it was impossible.
But finally, I decided to start living my life with passion and stop living it with regret. I took the leap into the blogging world and haven’t looked back since!
It is possible to work part-time as a blogger, but I have chosen to make it a full-time job. I fly solo with no help from a team. You do not have to be a genius or know anything about creating an impressive, large-scale business to make money blogging. I’ll show you how.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.
How to Get Started Making Money Blogging
Whether you have never heard of blogging until today or you have been blogging for a while now, here are some beginning steps to help you get started. If you have already completed some of these steps, just skip them and start where you are.
- Create a Blog
- Create a Business Plan
- Create your Brand
- Create Quality Content
- Build Relationships
- Educate Yourself
- Promote Content
- Decide on Income Streams
1. Create a Blog-
Obviously, before you can make money from a blog, you need to have one. For less than a $20 bill, you can create a blog in a matter of minutes. Just follow my tutorial on How to Start a Profitable Blog and I’ll guide you through it, step-by-step.
2. Create a Business Plan-
So many bloggers and business owners skip this step, but it’s imperative that you create a business plan. The consequence for not creating one is a lack of focus and can be detrimental to your business. If you’re just planning on starting a blog for fun, you can skip this step, although it can still be very beneficial to you.
3. Spend Time Creating Your Brand-
I wish I had known more about what branding was before I began blogging. Branding is the image you want readers to have from your blog or business. Branding extends beyond just your logo by helping readers recognize you in a crowd of other blogs. It also helps enhance value, increases your sales, and creates an emotional connection between you and your reader. In addition to your logo, your brand extends into your personality, voice (writing style), colors, images, fonts, etc. These should tell a consistent story throughout your blog.
4. Create Quality Content-
Before you have a blog, you need to research what you’re going to write about. Try to choose a niche that other people are interested in. Choosing to write about bathing dogs may not attract a ton of readers, but writing about dogs, in general, gives you a much higher likelihood of people stopping by to read. By choosing your niche wisely, you can rest assured that people are going to be seeking the information you can provide on your blog. The key, then, is to provide quality content that answers your readers’ questions or solves their problems.
5. Build Relationships-
As you write quality content, spend time researching some Facebook communities within your niche. Once you’ve found some communities to join, start building relationships with members of the group. Leave comments, ask questions, and answer questions! By answering questions, people will find that you’re both helpful and knowledgeable. With so many groups out there, it can be daunting to find just the right groups. Start by downloading my free resource with over 40 blogging Facebook and Pinterest groups you can join to start building relationships today!
6. Invest in Quality Trainings-
Take time when you’re not writing to invest in some quality training. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a stupendous training for learning the ins and outs of how to make money blogging through affiliates. Michelle earns well over $100,000 a month through her blog and she teaches you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing to be successful.
Learn. Learn. Learn. With some patience and persistence, it’ll definitely pay off.
7. Promote Your Content-
Creating high quality, useful content is only part of the work. Once that content is created, you must share it using many different platforms. One of the best sharing platforms is Pinterest. Pinterest is a search engine and has the potential to boost your blog’s success astronomically. Other than Pinterest there is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Tumblr, and much more!
Remember: You can have the juiciest most helpful, most well-written content on the face of the planet, but if nobody knows about it, it’s not going to go anywhere. Share it!
8. Decide on Your Income Streams-
There are many ways to make money by blogging, so when you create your business plan (because I know you’re going to, right?) you will identify how you plan on earning money, where you expect to receive that money from, and your goals. There are several ways you can make money. The rest of this post will outline 5 specific ways bloggers make money.
What You Should Know Before Blogging to Make Money
- Most of the money bloggers make does not come from blogging itself. They use their blog as a home base for building useful content and growing an audience. Then, they launch products and/or services that they feel their audience will benefit from. These products and/or services become their source of income.
- Every blogger makes money differently. The key is to find what works for you, your audience, and not to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Just like you wouldn’t invest all your money into high-risk investments, you shouldn’t rely on one source of income when blogging.
- Making money from blogging takes a lot of time, patience, persistence, and creativity. While it’s definitely feasible, you must be dedicated.
- The amount of income is not always consistent. One month, you may be extremely successful and the next month, you may not be.
5 Streams of Blogging Income
The following are the 5 income streams bloggers use:
- Digital Products
- Physical Products
- Affiliate Marketing
E-Books- As a blogger with expertise in a specific area, you can write an e-book on a particular subject, market it, and sell it to readers who are interested in learning more.
Bloggers write about everything from blogging, to teaching elementary students how to read, to how to take quality photographs. The possibilities are as endless as any paperback book in Barnes and Noble.
E-Courses- If you can make an e-book about a topic, the topic may also lend itself to becoming an e-course. E-courses offer the customer a more interactive experience. They are usually broken up into modules that have the “student” complete specific tasks before moving on to the next one.
Memberships- Many bloggers offer memberships to communities that offer support, guidance, and access to premium content (similar to V.I.P. access). Sometimes these communities are free, while other times they are offered at a monthly rate. To earn an income by offering memberships, the community must offer something highly valuable.
Selling Websites, Blogs, and Content- If you have the expertise, you can design websites and sell them to people who either don’t have the technical abilities, the time, or the desire to start a website from scratch. Some bloggers create actual businesses complete with logo, branding, and even products ready to sell. All that is left for the buyer is to grab the baton, set up their own business plan, and start selling. Although costly up front, this makes it easier for some customers who aren’t as concerned with building a business from the ground up. They have their sites set on making a profit from something they believe will sell.
Photos- Images are extremely valuable in blogging. Your content must be amazing, but your images are equally as important if not more so. People are visual, so having quality photos not only creates a professional image, but it also gives your reader a better experience. As a result, there are many bloggers who are also exceptional photographers. They create stock images that bloggers, who may not be good photographers, can use in their blog posts. Some examples of websites that do this for free are:
Pixabay – Over 960,000 free images for commercial use with no attribution required (giving credit to an artist).
Unsplash – Similar to Pixabay, Unsplash offers free high-resolution images for commercial use.
Burst- Free photos for entrepreneurs – Subscribe to their newsletter and receive new images delivered right to your inbox every week.
There are many other websites that offer free for commercial use images. Remember though, because they are free, there is a higher likelihood that you will see these images on other blogs and websites.
In contrast, there are bloggers who sell images for use. These are better because the likelihood of seeing these images on other blogs dramatically decreases.
Creative Market is a fabulous place for bloggers to sell products, such as photography, online. This site is similar to Etsy, but different in that it sells only digital products to web creatives.
Fiverr- Fiverr is another great website where you can sell either a service or a digital product. It is aimed at entrepreneurs like you, who want to help other entrepreneurs. Although some products and services are offered for more, a majority of them are offered at $5, hence the name, FIVErr.
The sky is the limit when it comes to selling physical products and there is no denying that the online marketplace is booming and will only continue to grow as more people are looking for more convenient ways to shop.
Handmade Products – Whether you’re a skilled bracelet maker or especially talented in watercolor paintings, customers love originality and they’re willing to pay to have it. Etsy is king when it comes to the handmade product marketplace, but thousands of bloggers sell their products on their own websites, too!
Manufactured Products- If you haven’t heard of Amazon, you’re really in the dark. Some people aren’t talented enough to create their own products. If that is true for you, selling manufactured products may be the answer. Many people sell on Amazon without having to keep an inventory or even ship items themselves. How do they do this? It’s called drop shipping and you can read all about it on Steve and Jennifer Chou’s blog, My Wife Quit Her Job. On their website, they share the story of how Jennifer was able to completely replace her job making 100k/yr. with the profit from her online store, all within one year.
Services vary depending on the niche, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking about whether or not there is a service you could provide to your readers:
- Website Design
- Administrative Tasks
- Social Media Manager
- Business Coaching
- Financial Counseling
- Party Planning
- Wedding Planning
- Nanny Services
- Software Writers/Developers
- Public Speaker
- Transcription Services
- E-Course Design
If you think you may have a service to provide, that’s great! There is little cost involved, with no inventory management required. It’s all in how you market your service.
Many people have never heard of affiliate marketing, but it’s an extremely valuable income stream. Affiliate Marketing is when you market and sell other people’s products for a cut of the profit. This helps both you and the creator of the product. Although the creator does not keep the entire profit from your sale, they are still making money they would not have otherwise made through your efforts. The income you can earn from affiliate marketing can add up very quickly. The key is to market products that you love and that you believe will help your readers.
Most companies offer affiliate marketing and will oftentimes seek you out, as your blog grows because they know how valuable this method is. Take a look at any website you love and you’re almost certain to find a link that allows you to sign up to become an affiliate, no matter your niche. These are just a few:
Home Decor Niche
- Pottery Barn
- Joss and Main
- Neiman Marcus
- World Market
- Banana Republic
- Old Navy
- Brooks Brothers
- Forever 21
- Taste of Home
- Smart Kitchen
- Coffee Blenders
- Tasty Food Photography- Pinch of Yum
- Everyday Healthy
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing– Everything you need to learn about earning a profit through affiliate marketing
Blog By Number – A step-by-step, elementary course for beginning bloggers with schedule
Amazon Affiliate– Learn how to become an Amazon affiliate through this e-book
Building a Framework– Learn how to begin building a profitable blog from the ground up
There are different types of advertising so taking advantage of the different types is one way you can differentiate your income streams:
Display ads- These ads are literally displayed on your site. Some give a payout to you based on the number of clicks and some of them pay out based on purchases made through clicks only. These ads are meant to complement your blog’s niche, appealing to your readers and resulting in sales. Display ads are often provided through ad networks such as Google AdSense, Leadbolt, Ad Recover, and RocketFuel to name a few. These are easy to use because once they’re put up, you just let them do their thing. Although it can be difficult to earn a substantial amount of money from display ads, it is another small source of income that is easy to apply.
Private ads- As your blog grows, companies may approach you to advertise on your site. This is because they know you have a unique group of readers that may benefit from what they have to offer. Likewise, it can be beneficial to you as the owner of your blog, to reach out to companies and ask if they would like to advertise. Of course, the expectations must be made clear ahead of time such as the cost to them for advertising, time frames, and how to reapply. Not sure what to charge? Search around on other blogs; many bloggers have a link that goes directly to a page that spells out their expectations ahead of time.
Sponsored Posts- Similar to private ads, sponsored posts require you to work directly with another company. You do this by agreeing to share your opinion about their product by writing a post about it. For more details about writing sponsored posts, visit Allison Boyer on her blog AllisonBoyer.com.
Giveaways- A great way to bring traffic to your blog is to sponsor a giveaway. Great care should be given when choosing what to give away. Whatever it is should be directly related to your niche and your readers. Not only are you helping your readers out, but you’re also providing an advertisement for the company. Visit Meylah’s post for 10 tips on hosting giveaways.
Where to Go From Here
First, create your blog and business plan. Then, you will easily identify income streams that fit your skills and abilities. As time passes, you will further discover what fits you, your goals, and your reader’s needs. No two bloggers’ income streams are alike. Some focus mainly on affiliate marketing, while others have a desirable service that their readers find particularly valuable. Regardless, everyone can make money blogging if enough time and effort are put into set-up and management.
Educating yourself is the best way of determining what is right for you and your business. The courses introduced in the blogging section of affiliate marketing above are phenomenal starting places and there are tons of other courses and e-books available to help you on your journey to entrepreneurship.
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