Since I started this blogging journey a few months ago, I have been asked this question numerous times: How do I start a blog to make money?
Answer: There isn’t really an easy way to answer this question. There are many many ways you can monetize your blog, and I will go through them one by one, but let this be your warning – none of them are get rich quick schemes. Earning a living through blogging takes a TON of work and even more dedication.
If you are in it for the long haul, then please read on.
A Little About Me
You may be wondering who am I to be talking about making money online, and how did I come to do what I do.
When I was pregnant with our daughter, I worked pretty much up until our due date. I went on maternity leave and then kept going in for one more shift, and one more after that, and then one more. I was completely burnt out. I work in one of the hospitals in our city, and I work in the Addiction Clinic. If you have any knowledge about the fentanyl crisis going on right now, then you can imagine how busy the clinic is.
As much as I absolutley love my job and all of our patients, I started dreading the day that I would have to return to work in a city where we have no family to help us out. We are also facing a childcare crisis in Vancouver, and the wait lists are astronomical.
I had been following a few women that I know and their journey to making a life online. I had tried MLM (multi-level marketing) and I was not in the proper headspace to succeed. I also did not want to be the one selling products to my family and friends. That was just not the avenue that I wanted for myself, and I couldn’t seem to sell anything. For those of you that have it in you, props to you!
I had researched for months and months during my pregnancy and shortly after Marlow was born how I wanted to do this. I had a couple of conditions that I still stand by and will continue to stand by as I grow my business:
- I wanted to learn something – I wanted to learn how to build my own website, I wanted to learn how to make money without having to pay for all of those ads you see everywhere no a days, and I wanted to learn so that I could support and help others who wanted to venture in to their own blogging journey.
- To tell the truth at all times - I want to share my experience, and my story honestly. I will not alter, or fudge my posts in order to gain a buck from my readers. This is a personal choice because so much of my life is posted on my website. I would rather my readers gain great information from reading, and come back often as I post new posts. Don’t forget to join my mailing list!
How do I Start a Blog to Make Money?
In order to start a blog, you need to follow a general set of steps to get up and running:
- Decide on your “niche” – This is the topic that your blog will be about. Mine obviously, is all things parenting. Anything can really be a niche. You are going to want to choose something that you are passionate and able to write about for a long time. You want to be able to provide a solution that people are having surrounding your niche.
- Choose a Blogging Platform – This is where you will create all of your website content. The most common one is WordPress, and this is the one that I currently use. You want to choose one that is user friendly because you will be spending an awful lot of time in here creating, editing, uploading, and general website maintenance.
- Choose a Domain Name - It is now time to name your website. A domain name is how people will find you, you want to be creative and choose something catchy, yet not too strange. Some sites offer free domain names which would essentially look like this: iamthemoodymom.siterubix.com. Kind of long and daunting right? If you really want to make a go of blogging I highly suggest that you purchase your own domain name. It would then look like this: iamthemoodymom.com. Much better, yeah?
- Choose a Hosting Provider – There are many website hosting providers that you can choose from. HostGator, GoDaddy, BlueHost. They all charge a fee, and will offer different options with their packages. Personally, I went with Wealthy Affiliate because it was also a teaching platform and a hosting site. It is more on the expensive side than just a hosting website, but like I said, I wanted to learn how to do everything myself.
- Choose a Theme – Your blogging platform should offer a number of themes. This is the style of your website, and how the content will be displayed to your viewers. Choose something that is very user friendly. You want to encourage your readers to look around and want to come back to your site. Ease of use is a great way to boost the chances of return readers.
- Create Content – To succeed in blogging you need to create consistent content that ranks well in search engines. There is a bit of a science to this, and you can get some help with finding great keywords with search engine tools such as Jaaxy. The key to this is finding high ranking keywords (lots of people search for them) with a very low competition rate (not a lot of other bloggers have written about it). Remember content is key, so write, write, write until your fingers fall off!
- Start a List – You are going to want to start Email Marketing. If you have ever heard the term “it’s all in the list”, this is totally true. I use MailChimp for my email marketing, but there are tons of options out there. I chose it mostly because it is free until 1000 subscribers, and I needed to save a cost where I could. ConvertKit is another popular one with different pricing options.
So there are the steps you need to take in order to start your blog. As you can see there are quite a few strides needed to get up and running. As I mentioned above, I use Wealthy Affiliate because they provide me with everything I need to get started: Training Modules and Live Video Training, Hosting up to 50 websites, Jaaxy, Support, Domain Purchasing, Website Security, Website Backup, WordPress and Themes.
I also highly recommend following Cate Rosales from sweetandsimplelife.com. She is a fierce female blogging boss who knows her stuff! She offers a great blogging course called “Becoming A Blogger”. She has taken her success and laid it all out in a super simple easy to follow course that sets you up for success! She also includes a ton of extras upon registration. Her Facebook group is by far the most supportive environment I have joined since beginning this journey.
If you would like to work with me directly, please email me at email@example.com to schedule your free 30 minute coaching call.
How to Make Money off of a Blog
Now that you have your site all set up, and a few posts up, you can start thinking about monetizing your blog.
There are several ways to monetize your blog depending on what you are looking for.
- Affiliate Marketing
- CPC, and CPM Ads
- Private Advertising
- Sell Digital Products
I will go in to these separately in more detail to give you an understanding of how each one works.
What is Affiliate Marketing and How to Get Sarted?
Affiliate marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to make money online.
Simply put, affiliate marketing is described like this:
- A retailer or advertsier has product to sell and agrees to give you a commission for every sale that you send her IF the buyer comes from your site.
- In order to do this you will get unique links from said retailer to use on your website. These will be a combination of banners (we will get in to what those are later), website links, photos, and other marketing tools specific to the retailer.
- You will recieve a payment as per the retailers payment schedule. This varies for each, you will need to check the fine print of each affiliate.
You can choose to use an affiliate network, or single affiliates. An afiiliate network is a company that offers a large amount of affiliates under one umbrella. This means that they take care of all the payments and you get one lump sum from all of your affiliates in that network.
Single affiliates are great as well, however, you will have to do your research and apply to companies that make your commission worthwile. Aim for 20% and up, and larger ticket items that will benefit your audience.
Some examples of affiliate networks that I use:
These are just a few of my go to affiliate networks, there are many out there and all you have to do is search for them. This definitely is not a get rich quick solution, it takes hard work and trial and error of finding out what your audience needs.
Understanding CPC vs. CPM
CPC – Cost-Per-Click.
This is the rate that advertisers pay a publisher every time someone clicks on one of their ads. These are usually banners that are placed in the sidebars of footer of your website.
CPM – Cost-Per-Mille (Thousand)
You get paid a fixed amount of money depending on how many people view your ad.
The most well known way of earning through CPC or CPM is through Google Adsense. This eliminates having to contact advertisers directly and Google chooses ads that are relevent to your niche to display on your website.
I will note that the earnings through Google Adsense is pennies compared to some affiliate offers. I would suggest finding good affiliates to work with first, and worry about this later. Google Adsense also only pays out once you have earned a minimum of $100 which depending on your website traffic, can take a long time.
I had someone email me a few weeks ago asking if I would personally advertise their product on my page for a fixed fee. This is private advertising, and if you have enough traffic, the advertisers will come to you directly.
You would offer a fixed fee for certain advertising – say post a banner for a certain amount of time, or post about their product on social media.
You can also earn more if you write a review, or recommendation about the products that they are selling. Please only do this if you have used them yourself, the advertiser may be willing to throw something in for you to actually try it out.
With private advertising, you are in charge. You make the rules here, and that includes cost. I would suggest being reasonable if you are just starting out and it is your first offer, but don’t budge on your price once you pitch your offer. Stand behind what you are offering and show what you are worth.
How to Sell Digital Products on a Website
if you are not interested in selling other peoples advertising or products on your website, you can essentially create your own. This can include any of the following products:
- Online Courses & Workshops
- Plug ins
- Website Themes
- Images, Video, Music
This can be fairly tricky to get started in. I know I had a difficult time filling a whole eBook when I first started. I recommend using a site called Teachable to create your courses. Canva is also another one I like to use. You can then sell them through a site called SendOwl.
Remember, you want to create a solution to your readers problem. Offering free courses, or free ad ons is a great way to get your audience to come back for more, or even sign up for your email list in return for a free book or course.
The Top Ten Secrets for Success
- Create a morning routine and do it – EVERY MORNING
- Law of Attraction & Positive Affirmations – If you haven’t read The Secret yet, I suggest you do. Today, and everyday…I say positive affirmations to myself in the morning as I do my meditation, and throughout the day as I need it. I put everything else out to the universe.
- Set goals – Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, and 5 years down the road is how I roll. It helps if you actually write them down. They are much easier to accomplish if you can look at them on paper.
- Get a day planner – and use it. Schedule in work/play/appointments and stick to your schedule
- Get a notebook to keep ideas in – trust me they will come to you at the weirdest times. Write them down or you will forget.
- Develop a Brand – Become an expert in your niche, and provide a solution to a problem. Become the brand. Be different than your competition. Be BETTER!
- Forget the Haters – There will be people who don’t like what you are doing. Forget them, they are not someone you need in your circle. Remember, people only hate on others that they are jealous of. Thats my take on it anyways. Own your business with confidence.
- Network – You are going to need support. Join a group of likeminded people on Facebook, or find a circle you can connect with and bounce ideas off of. Running your site as a one man band is extremely difficult and will likely lead to failure and burn out.
- Get Uncomfortable – Push yourself to get out of your comfort zone. This is how we grow, and how we reach success. Try doing something each day that pushes the bar a little farther. You will be surprised at how far you can go if you just do it.
- Jump With Both Feet – If you want to really earn an income blogging, you have to jump in with both feet. It will take a ton of dedication and hard work, sweat and definitely tears, but it is doable. You CAN do it!
“You already hold the keys to success, you just have to use them” – MB