You might think its impossible to make money blogging but its really not that hard. After 10 months of blogging I’m now making over $1,500 a month from my various sites. Thats over $18,000 a year in extra income! If you need money or need some extra cash now then give blogging a try. Starting a blog might seem difficult but looking back it was pretty easy to do and I think you could do the same!
*Income Update: My total income has now reached over $22,000 and I’m averaging over $1,500 per month!
(Looking for other opportunities to make money? Check out our monster post of ways to earn money online)
How Much Can You Make Blogging?
So how much money can you make blogging? Well that all depends. There are some people who are able to make a living off blogging alone. These bloggers bring in $10,000 or more per month. Then there are a few like me who are making a $100-$1,000 per month. This is basically extra side income. Then at the far end there are a bunch of people who are only making $0-$10 per month blogging.
Blogging is very easy to do. You can setup a WordPress site in minutes with HostGator, BlueHost or GoDaddy. They offer great packages for beginners that start at $3.96/month. At $4/month its pretty easy to make money blogging because the start up costs are so low. (This site is hosted with BlueHost)
Obviously anyone can make at least a little money blogging but what sets those high earners apart? In my guide below I’ll explain exactly how you too can make money blogging!
#1 Find A Niche
The first and most important aspect of blogging is to choose a niche. Low earning blogs typically have very wide or undefined topics (like a blog about your cats?!?). These blogs will have a hard time building a readership because they don’t talk about anything specific. To make money blogging you want to find a good niche.
To find a niche you should write down a list of all the things you enjoy talking about, reading about, learning about etc. To make money blogging you need to be passionate about your topic so its best to write down everything you’re interested in and choose from there.
In my case I really enjoy reading and talking about money, debt and personal finance topics, that’s why I started ineedmoneyasap.com.
#2 Find A Keyword
So once you have a list of topics you’ll want to find a keyword. What is a keyword? And why should you care?
If you want to make money blogging you need attract advertisers. These advertisers are how you make money blogging. You want to choose a niche/keyword combo that you enjoy writing about but also in high demand by the advertisers.
To find out which keyword advertisers are willing to pay for you can use Googles Adwords tool.
Just type in your niche and choose your geography. Then Google Adwords will give you a list of keywords that relate to the niche you entered.
To choose a good keyword you want to look for a high number of searches per month, a high advertiser competition and a high cost per click (CPC). Keywords with a higher cost per click make it easier to make money blogging.
Just think, if you have two keywords, one with a $0.50 CPC and one with a $1.00 CPC, if you use the first keyword you would need twice the number of ad clicks just to earn the same amount of money (200 clicks x $0.50 CPC = $100 or…. 100 clicks x $1.00 CPC = $100). Obviously a higher cost per click is desirable.
But! Keywords with a high cost per click will also have a lot of competition from other websites who also want to serve those ads to prospective readers. More on that issue later…
#3 Brainstorm Posts
To have a successful blog you need to write at least one post per week. Some bloggers suggest that even this is too low. To make money blogging they believe that at least one post per day is required. This means you need to love what you write about (hence step #1).
Once you choose a keyword you should brainstorm posts that you could write. Not the whole post, just the post title or topic. Brainstorm as many as possible. For a good niche/keyword you want to be able to brainstorm at least 100 posts within 30-60 min.
You can use various tools to help you brainstorm. For example, when you type in your keyword into Google you’ll often get “related searches”. Use these keywords to help you brainstorm.
You can also use Google Adwords to help you brainstorm posts. Type in your keyword to get related keywords. Use these related keywords to then find more topics. The good thing about this method is that Google already tells you exactly what people are searching for. So you can pick and choose posts that are relevant to people searching for your keyword.
If you’re unable to come up with at least 100 post in 30-60min then you should go back to step #1 or #2 and find a new niche/keyword.
#4 Check Competition
Once you have a keyword that you’re passionate about and able to write about its important to check how competitive that keyword is.
What is keyword competition? Its the quality of sites that come up when you search for your keyword. Keywords with a high number of monthly searches or have a high CPC usually have a lot of high quality sites that come up Google’s top 10.
Why do you need to check competition? Its important to find a keyword that you’re going to be able to rank in the top 10 for. Google provides a lot of organic search traffic, traffic you’ll need to get new readers. You want to be able to rank in the top 10 for your keyword. This means that your site will show up in the top 10 Google results when people search for your keyword.
To evaluate the level of competition for a keyword you can research the sites using Open Site Explorer.
#5 Find A Domain Name
Once you have a good keyword you’ll need to find a domain name. Ideally the keyword is in the domain name. Why is this? Its simple. you’re site name is probably the most used format for linking to your site. By having your keyword in your domain name you’ll be getting very good “link juice” every time someone links to your site. This “link juice” is how Google decides which sites show up in their search results.
The more “link juice” that you have flowing to your site the better. But not all links are equal. Some links are good, some links are great and some links are actually bad for your “link juice”. Check out this guide for a complete introduction to link building.
Use HostGator to search for available domain names. The best kind of domains are the ones that end in .com. But domains that end in .org are ok too.
#6 Register Your Domain And Sign Up For Hosting
Once you find a good domain that contains your keyword you’ll want to register it and sign up for a hosting plan. You can setup a WordPress site in minutes with HostGator. They offer great packages for beginners that start at $3.96/month. There are also upgrades you can buy as your site grows.
#7 Install WordPress
WordPress is a blogging platform that makes building a site extremely simple. In total it took me about 30 mins to setup my first site with WordPress. Once you log into HostGator for the first time you’ll be guided through the setup process.
Personally, I find WordPress is very intuitive. Play around with the settings a bit. Find out how to make a post. How to change the layout etc.
#8 Choose A Theme
WordPress comes with a couple of default themes. These are ok for your personal blog, but if you want to make money blogging you’ll need to get a better theme. I’m using a theme from Elegant Themes called Nexus. There are tons of themes out there. Just make sure to get one that will be updated in the future as new versions of WordPress come out.
#9 Get A Great Logo
Having an awesome logo is super important for a new website. Your logo should be memorable and fun. It needs to convey what your website it all about in just a few seconds. Typically your logo is the first think visitors see when they come to your site. Having a shitty logo means visitors will likely bounce away quickly. This is bad for your rankings with Google. It also makes it harder to grow your site. You can crowdsource a great logo for only a little bit of cash from sites like DesignCrowd or Fiverr
#10 Produce Content
Content is king. Thats always been true. For newspapers, magazines, television channels and also the internet. When you create a website you need to produce amazing content. This comes with practice. You wont produce your best content your first time behind the keyboard. Write every day, or a few times a week, to hone your skills.
#11 Monetize Your Site
The last and final setup before you can make money blogging is to monetize your site. There are many different ways to do this. The method that works best will depend on your niche and your visitors. Try different methods and see which ones work best.
Adsense: The default method for monetizing websites. This is Googles ad program and you’ll get access to some high quality advertisers that are paying top dollar.
Media.net: This is the Yahoo/Bing ad program. It’s similar to Adsense but doesn’t have the same depth of advertisers.
Affiliate Sales: When you sign up to be an affiliate you are selling products on behalf of another business. They’ll pay you per sale or lead you generate. There are affiliate programs like Commission Junction that have many advertisers.
Amazon Affiliates: This is an affiliate program specific to Amazon. Because of Amazon’s size and penetration in the marketplace this is a great option for monitoring your site. Amazon pays a commission of 2-20% on their merchandise. When you send readers to Amazon and they buy something you’ll get a percentage of the sale.
Sponsored Posts: This form of monetization is frowned upon by Google but it’s a powerful way to monetize your site. Businesses will “sponsor” a post that is written specifically about a topic of their choosing. They usually get new customers or link juice through these sponsored posts.
eBook: Producing high quality content can also be used for an eBook. These books can be sold for $2.99 to $299.99+
Training Programs: Electronic training programs are another great way to monetize your site. These programs should provide value for your readers that isn’t available anywhere else.
Make Money Blogging!
Blogging is a lot of fun. Its a wonderful hobby and can turn into a very lucrative income stream. Making a little bit of side income isn’t all that hard. It does take a bit of practice but it’s definitely possible to make a lot of money online!!!
Photo by Matthew Pearce via Flickr