Jealous of your friend who gets to stay at home while you waste hours a day getting to the city only to be cramped up in a desk sitting in one spot for 8 hours? Whether you want to quit your day job, take care of the kids, live in the middle of nowhere, or just make a few extra bucks on the side–learning how to make money blogging can be an excellent way to enjoy the stay-at-home life.
Trust me, I know. I’ve done it myself.
I’ve been freelance writing for over five years now, and only after a few months, I could do it full time from the comfort from my home. Eventually, I got tired of working for no-name blogs for 20$ an article and decided to create my own.
I created Best10VPN.com in Dec of 2015, and in only eight months the site has 300,000 views and thousands of dollars in revenue. Now, every day I get money from my blog even when I’m working on different projects at the same time. It’s great that I’m making money, but it’s also awesome since I’ve helped tons of users find better products to help their online security. I’ve also shed light on an industry and given some great products the praise they deserve (as well as given bad products fair reviews).
When I first started writing on the internet, I felt like I could never do it. There was so much crap out there, and I wasn’t even confident that IT was possible anymore. How do blogs even make money? My friends and family would tell me it was like winning the lottery.
After a few years, I found that wasn’t true at all. ANYONE can make money blogging.
At the end of the day, it’s most important to make money–you need to pay the bills, support your family, and put food on the table, but if you want to make money blogging–you need to make sure your blog is valuable to users in one way or another. My best articles to date making the most money have also been the most useful to my viewers.
If you can keep that in mind, and follow these 7 steps to make money blogging, you will know how to make money blogging like I do.
Table of Contents:
#1 Find Your Niche
You might be here if you want to make money blogging but you aren’t even sure where to start. Maybe you don’t even know what blogs make money, or if your idea could make money. Well before you start, you need to make sure you have a niche and a focus. It’s important to think about how you’ll monetize and grow your audience.
For example, while a gaming blog sounds like a good idea (and a very popular one), the competition, and monetization strategies are both very high and weak which means you’ll have a hard time making money. However, if you find a subject that is less competitive but still searched for, and there could be decent ways to monetize your content, you might have found something.
I started out in the VPN industry since I’m excellent at computers and internet security. I knew a lot of VPN content out there on the web was lacking–whether poorly written or just misleading sponsorship content masquerading as honest reviews.
While there was some competition, my expertise with previous industries and experience with computers gave me an edge. My chosen industry was easy to monetize since most VPN providers have good affiliate programs.
To find YOUR niche, you need to think about what you are good at.
Are you good at gardening? Tech products? Cleaning? Wood carving?
Whatever it is, try to decide how much competition there would be and if there would be products you could advertise or companies you could team up with.
If you’re a good gardener, you might make a gardening blog and help users with tips and tricks on how to garden better. Then you could create a newsletter with helpful products, a gardening eBook, or maybe team up with Home Depot.
If you aren’t sure about your Niche yet, keep reading. These strategies will help you form an idea about how to make a blog successful and potential ideas that could work with these plans.
#2 Find a Good Web Host
The first thing you need to do before starting your blog is to find a good host. Sure you could make your blog on Tumblr or something similar which doesn’t require you to purchase a domain or hosting, but these methods lower the amount of control you have when customizing and monetizing your content. If you want to make your blog official, you will have to purchase a domain and use a web host to host your website’s server.
The good news is that most web hosts provide easy ways to get started–with free domain names, and one click installations.
However, it’s not as easy to find a good web host as you can think. We’ve reviewed a good variety here already, with some being the best obvious choice. However, there are an equal amount of web hosts that plenty of authority sites recommend as a good web host, but we’ve found better.
Yes, you’ve probably heard of Bluehost as a good starter web host for blogging. Take a look at the full review here. However, while Bluehost is a popular option, it’s not necessarily the best if you want to make money blogging.
One reason is that there are cheaper options available, and the less money you need to invest, the more likely you are to take the first step into making your blog. For that reason, and among others, I’d recommend A2 Hosting.
Once you pick out a good plan at A2 Hosting, you will need to install WordPress.
WordPress is the best platform for blogging–period. With great plugins and an easy to use interface made for blogging–you can’t go wrong. You should be able to install WordPress onto your server with the included cPanel administrative panel that comes with your hosting plan. Once you get WordPress setup with A2 Hosting, continue to the next step.
#3 Find a Good Theme
Once you have WordPress installed, you’re going to need a good theme to make your blog attractive. While not the most important thing, a lot of users will judge your blog just by how it looks–and that’s the first thing they’ll notice.
You’ll also need to consider what type of theme you want for your blog. Is your blog going to be more of a magazine or a standard blog setup with one long post-like and a sidebar?
There are hundreds of themes to use with WordPress, and it can be hard to find the right ones. It can be harder to even use them! Keep in mind that if you want a consistently updated theme that not only looks great but is easy to use and secure, you might have to purchase a paid theme. While it might be tempting and more practical to get a free theme, a lot of paid themes are easily worth the small purchase price of 30-50 dollars.
If you want to find a good theme, I would recommend checking out the Thesis Theme. This is a GREAT theme for entry-level bloggers and even advanced bloggers. It’s simple, easy to customize, and has a great support community.
When I started out blogging, I wasted hundred of hours testing out crappy free themes that I’ll never get back!
#4 Make Stellar Content
One of the most important things to remember when considering how to make money blogging is the content. Content is where your blog lives and breathes. It’s the heart of your blog!
Without good content, you will never make much money. Content is what distinguishes great sites from bad sites. In fact, I’ve encountered many websites that seem to be making fair amounts of money, but I can tell that their earnings are suffering due to poor content.
When producing stellar content, there are many important factors which will let your content deliver. Here are five of the most important aspects that you have to master to have good content.
#1 Accurate and Catchy Titles
Having a great title in a blog post is essential. You’ll find a lot of blogs telling you to use numbers, or to utilize some secret formula. I’m not going to give you a secret formula, or an outline you can just fill out every time you need a title. Instead, I’m going to help you understand what makes a good title and why.
To make a good title, you have to consider some things.
- SEO + Catchiness
Some articles are geared for SEO, and some articles are geared to have catchy titles. Knowing what people will search and making that your title can be an excellent way to get traffic. The best plan is to make catchy titles that are also good for SEO.
This is especially useful if you manage to have a unique title that no one else has but people still search for. A lot of the time the good titles are already taken, so you need to be creative. This could be a simple variation or a twist.
If you’re writing an article about the best makeup kits of 2016–that would be a good title, except someone else probably has the same title. This title is competitive whereas something more specific could get you more success. I’ve had excellent experience with titles after researching my field to know what people are searching for, and then seeing if anything useful comes up in Google.
While I’m certainly no makeup expert, you might find that no one has written an article about the best makeup eyeliner kits. In a lot of ways, creating your title this way can also be a good way to get content ideas. Make your titles specific if you’re a new website. Longer tail keywords won’t be as competitive!
The main idea to remember when creating titles is to give it some thought. List out five specific titles before you choose one. Brainstorm and let your creative juices flow. Sometimes a good title can make or break your content!
It’s also very possible to get article ideas from SEO keywords from a tool like LongTailPro. More on that later…
- What about Clickbait?
Truth be told, clickbaity titles can work and in a way, they are almost an art form. However, that doesn’t mean that your titles need to be clickbaity. Most of the time, depending on your audience, clickbait titles can be a turnoff and make viewers frustrated.
Using your titles as a way to draw people in can be very effective–just don’t be misleading. For my email newsletter subject lines, I just don’t name them Newsletter #3–instead, I dramatize the subject of the content to get more readers that are curious to open the emails.
One of the easiest ways to make your content stand out from the pack is having good grammar. I can’t tell you how many blogs are active on the internet written by people who either don’t natively speak English or are too lazy to spell check. If you can give your content this particular sort of polish, you have an easy step up. Good grammar makes your content easier to read, and you don’t risk alienating some of your more opinionated users.
Do you suck at grammar?
No problem. I do too. Over the course of writing this nearly 6000-word guide, I’ve had over 200 mistakes fixed.
I use Grammarly. Grammarly is a free / paid software that corrects grammar–whether that be spelling or punctuation issues–that you can install into your browser as an extension which works with most text entry fields. (It doesn’t work with Google Docs, but you can still copy and paste your text from these documents into Grammarly’s cloud-based editor).
So whether you’re writing a blog post on WordPress, or just an email, Grammarly can fix grammatical errors with uncanny accuracy. In addition, Grammarly is super smart at giving you better words to use that are less cliche.
If you’ve always wanted a proofreader, but can’t afford a real human, get Grammarly–the next best thing!
Personally, I subscribe to their yearly plan since I couldn’t live without it. I fix errors that I couldn’t see otherwise, and it makes the normal grind of spell checking bearable. The result is content I feel confident in showing off, and if you are freelancing along with making money with your blog, you won’t ever feel nervous sending off a document again.
When considering the lengths of your blog posts you need to think of what kind of blog post you want. Regarding SEO, 300-500-word posts are recommended.
However, if you want to make an authority post (like this one I’m making), you will need more content. With posts like these, you need to outline all the points you want to make and how you are going to make them.
Style for content means many things. This is how your content looks. You need to use formatting to make it easy to read. Make liberal use of headers, italics if need be. Take a look at some blog posts similar to the type you would want to create and try to format yours the same.
Formatting isn’t everything–since you also need to consider what type of images you will use in your posts. Featured images sit at the top of your post, and in a blog, they are the face of each post in your main directory. So your featured images need to look good! Also, put a lot of pictures within your post, but not too many that it interrupts the text flow. Too many large chunks of text can scare readers off…
There are a few ways to do this even if you aren’t a photoshop master. One of my favorite tools to use is Canva.com. It’s sort of like an online photoshop for noobies. However, the best part about it is that it includes pictures you can either use for free or pay for.
A lot of stuff is free, and the interface and the navigation is just flawless to operate.
If you need stock images, I would recommend a few resources:
Great website to find stock images. These pictures could be a hit or miss, but combined with Canva, you can spice them up a bit.
Great site for finding free minimalist icons. Just make sure to filter things right, so you’re using the free ones not paid.
Similar to Pixabay, but these images look more professional, if not as specific to your searched keyword.
#5 Give Content Value
Perhaps the most important thing about your content is the value you give to your audience. This also means this is the hardest part of your content. I believe that no one makes truly unique/organic content that often. Most of the content on the internet is already there, and it’s up to you to take content and ideas and form them into your content.
If I were you, I would find some good topics around your field. So if you want your blog to be about wallets–for example, start reading articles others have written about wallets and understanding what makes these articles good or bad. Then, take the ideas and put your spin on it. Leave out the bad parts. Then find another and another. The basic idea is to research and take the best parts of other articles and make your article out of it.
Now this doesn’t mean to just copy paste content and put it on your blog. I’ve seen someone do this to my posts before, and it was so obvious I could see it in the HTML code when I inspected the content in my browser. Good job!
Learning from others and forming your own opinion should be your default strategy starting out (you’ll realize this is how a lot of content is made and operated), but once you narrow down your niche and start understanding the field you’re blogging in, you will come up with unique ideas, and this is where your blog can shine with some truly organic content.
Once I started getting some real background in the VPN industry, I could identify pain points within the community and write articles that other VPN review sites weren’t covering. To this day, these articles get the most views and make a majority of my revenue.
Keep in mind, that at the end of the day, your content needs value. So make sure that something with your content is giving VALUABLE advice or help to your reader. This is my goal with this article. I’m giving out a ton of resources to help you guys make money blogging.
How can you make money blogging without a good way to monetize your blog?
In a lot of ways, people give up at this step. They have good content, a good theme, and maybe even a good web host. Hell, a lot of people give up at this stage even if they have a lot of viewers and traffic.
Yet, once you find out how to monetize your blog, it seems quite easy.
There are a few basic ways to monetize your blog to make money blogging, depending on the field–each way has varying results.
Email Marketing (use email list to reach out to user base with promotions and updates to your blog)
Building a blog has many opportunities but creating a newsletter from a blog can be an excellent way to make money blogging.
A lot of people say that the real money is within the newsletter. It’s true, once you get a lot of subscribers you can target them with some great content and opportunities. Newsletters are the perfect way to remind your visitors to check out your content. You can send them helpful products (here is where you put affiliate links), roundup posts, or any other genius ideas you come up with.
If you want to take it to the next level, you can every create content specifically for newsletters (like newsletter articles! addressing pain points that your audience might have–and then give them a solution).Not only can you give them some helpful affiliate products, ebooks, or anything new updates, but when they check out your blog again it gives you more traffic!
If you want to start email marketing the easy way, I would recommend using an online email service like CovertKit. You may have heard of MailChimp or CampaignMonitor, and ConvertKit is similar. You might think that making newsletters is hard, however, ConvertKit is not only easy to use, but it’s also perfect for WordPress Bloggers. You can set up various groups to email, and every email sent out is mobile-friendly.
Affiliate Marketing – Good for Reviews, Product Placement
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money blogging. Affiliate marketing works by you advertising products with links. Every time someone clicks on a link and buys a product, your partner you are an affiliate with sends you money. This is the most effective way I’ve made money online so far.
Now, if you are an affiliate a lot of people could question the validity of your content. But that’s only because they don’t understand how affiliate marketing operates. Affiliate marketing means you are simply getting money for putting links in your content. If you do it right, you won’t compromise how legitimate or truthful your content is. However, a lot of affiliate marketers make the mistake of conducting affiliate marketing with undisclosed sponsorships.
My VPN website is an affiliate site, but we don’t take sponsorships in our ratings. This means that every review and rating is factual and not paid off. We don’t disclose that we are sponsored because we don’t take any sponsership money. However, a lot of sites out there are sponsored but claim they aren’t.
Affiliate marketing is an invaluable way to make money if you’re writing reviews, or if you have a blog that could include product links somewhere within the content. Or say if you have a popular blog about gaming, you could become a Lootcrate affiliate. Maybe you love to write about gardening so that you could include some recommended tools.
There are different ways to become an affiliate, but one of the easiest ways is to become an Amazon affiliate–so almost every product you could want you could link to and get a percentage of once someone buys it. There are also other websites out there like DigitalRiver that include a ton of programs. In addition, there are also specific companies that run their affiliate programs, and some companies will let you become an affiliate if you reach out to them.
If you don’t want to use affiliate marketing as a way to monetize your blog, perhaps consider Google Adsense.
Google Adsense (similar to affiliate marketing but less work and perhaps less payoff)
Google Adsense, in many ways, is an entirely separate approach to making money with your blog. I wouldn’t recommend using Adsense and affiliate marketing together.
With Adsense and affiliate marketing, your main goal is to get people to click on ads and leave your website. However, with affiliate marketing, you want people to click on specific links of your own while Adsense works by getting users to click on external ads. Adsense would just give your other links more competition, and you don’t get the same type of cutbacks.
Adsense is good for blogs that get tons of traffic where you haven’t worked on content to be spliced with affiliate marketing. It’s also good for blogs that can’t make much money with affiliate marketing.
Adsense can target people very well whereas Affiliate marketing takes more effort on your part. However, Adsense has taken a large hit recently with more and more people using Adblock. You can make a lot of money with Adsense if you have TONS of traffic, but with that same traffic, if you can, you can make a lot more with affiliate marketing integrated within your website and content.
Generally, I steer clear from adsense since I haven’t made much money blogging with it integrated.
Sponsorships (easy way to display ads)
Sponsorships come in handy where you have a particular audience and you want to monetize it. If you have a blog with a lot of lists, you can sell out disclosed sponsorships spots to be placed at the top of the list to get more views. Or you can just have a sponsor for each blog post, or you can even extend this sponsor into videos and podcasts. It’s similar to Affiliate marketing, but paid sponsorships usually include more biased promotion on your part.
Or you can just have a sponsor for each blog post. You can also extend sponsors into videos and podcasts. It’s similar to Affiliate marketing, but paid sponsorships usually include more biased promotion on your part.
Ebooks (great way to monetize previous content and build newsletter list)
If you have a ton of content on your blog, you can take a lot of it and transform it into an eBook. Make a catchy title, and an affordable price, and you could sell the book and make money off content you’ve already generated! Or if you want, you can use the book as a way to encourage people to sign up to your blog’s newsletter.
If you want an easy way to sell any products on your blog, whether through eBooks, courses, or anything–check out SamCart. It’s an easy to use shopping cart that integrates with your blog and website with useful upsell features.
Workshops / Teaching Programs / Webinars (best once you have a large audience)
While more difficult to do without an audience, these live demonstrations and guides can be helpful to users. This one is semi-redundant, but I thought it’s important to keep in mind opportunities down the road. Of course, if you’re just starting out, you might not have a webinar or workshop. However, once and if you have a lot of users in your community visiting your blog, courses and online sessions are great ways to make money with your blog to build a brand and generate large sales volumes. Some blogs and websites use this as their main monetization method!
Some blogs and websites use this as their main monetization method!
Donations (great for art blogs or other unique valuable forms content)
If you have a devoted following and truly valuable content, you can always make some money off of donations. Consider using a service like Patreon! Donations would work best if you had an art blog, some sort of valuable video content, or anything else that feels more like a product you are giving to your audience for free.
If you have tons of views, great content, and a website that has taken you awhile to create–but you aren’t making money, you could just sell it!
Surprisingly, a lot of websites go for QUITE hefty amounts–even for just a domain name. So you might just be better off saying goodbye to making money blogging and just SELL SELL and sell…
Goodbye my son…
#6 Share Content and Get Views through Backlinks
While every step we’ve taken will help you to make good money with blogging, if no one is looking at your blog posts and content then you won’t make any money. Sure, just by pumping out search engine optimized articles you can get some views from Google later on down the line. However, no one wants to wait that long–and if you want to speed up the process, you need to share your content. But how?
There are a lot of ways to share your content, but the best ways to share your content and for it to affect your website is to get links that people click on. So if you post your blog posts to a twitter account that no one reads, this will give you a backlink, but Google won’t see it as very valuable. The more backlinks you have that people click on when sharing content, is how you will get views.
There are a few good ways to do this.
Where to post and share content to get valuable backlinks that people click on:
Reddit is one of the best places on the internet to share your content. However, it’s also one of the worst places. The reason is that people on Reddit HATE advertisement with a passion. Even if it’s useful, or not so useful, you’ll find your posts get downvoted pretty quickly. On the rare chance that you have good content and a community that welcomes it, you can do very well.
Sometimes even if your stuff gets downvoted or not many upvotes, you get enough clicks and views to give your posts a SEO boost. Then, once Google picks it up, and people like the content, it’ll rise. I’ve had a few articles go viral this way.
How to Reddit?
Don’t spam! Posting links in subreddits that hate link posters will only get you banned–very quickly. Some good ways to unobtrusively post content to Reddit is after a helpful comment inserting a link.
This takes time, but if you spend some time building up a Reddit account with good karma you’ll get much better results than just only posting links all the time.
Generally, Reddit likes you posting 1 link to 10 comments.
TIP: Check out TrackReddit
TrackReddit is an amazing tool for monitoring Reddit for your blog keywords. You simply input a list of things to track and then once it finds conversations you can go to them and comment with your own advice and links to relevant content.
If you manage to get a viral article on Reddit and then proceed to dominate search results, you could be well on your way to making money blogging quite early indeed.
There are a ton of communities all over the internet, and while they aren’t as easy to find or as concentrated as the ones on Reddit, they can still provide value to you as a place to engage with readers.
Find some good forums on your topic, and build up a reputation with good posts and then start integrating some of your blog post links into posts and you’ll get some referral traffic right away.
Stumbleupon is a better place to just dump links. You can submit links, and if people like it–it’ll rise quickly. If not, you’ll likely get 10 views max.
The thing with Stumbleupon is that you need very specific types of blog content. Things like infographics and evergreen content (not news based or time limited) do well here.
Twitter can be a decent way to build a community, but you will be hard pressed to find anything useful in your feed.
The basic way to get a following is to find some competitors, follow their followers, then post content and engage with people on a regular basis. My favorite way is to search content through hashtags and respond to people that way with helpful links here and there.
#7 Understand SEO
I’m not going to write an essay about SEO. You can find that in a lot of other places about the correct places to put header tags. Instead, I’m just going to simplify SEO and explain to you how I handle it.
Basically, as a blog, once you get into the top 10 Google rankings you will start seeing more traffic and revenue if you’ve monetized your content properly. You do this from backlinks that we discussed in the sharing content section, as well as keyword research, and optimizing your content’s SEO.
If you want something cheap to start with right away use the Google Adwords keyword planner tool. With this tool, you enter in some phrases and it can give you more phrases with some good ideas of how many people would see an ad.
In order to make my articles good for SEO, I use the Yoast Plugin on WordPress. Basically, the trick is to make Yoast as green as possible which means your article has the best SEO.
If you want some more advanced tools to give you an edge, you can check out some SEO tools like LongTailPro. LongTailPro is like Google’s keyword planner on steroids. You can find tons of keyword ideas as well as analyze your competition inside Google. You can also find your niche blog idea this way by analyzing some terms and what the market is like in that category.
Say you want to make your blog about noise canceling headphones, for example. With this tool, you can search this phrase and find other keywords that you can focus on and make your blog out of to rank highest in those terms.
Make Money Blogging Conclusion
This has been one long article, hasn’t it?Well, make no mistake–while anyone can make money blogging, it’s not easy to do so.
It just goes to show you how many parts there are to making a successful blog that actually makes money. Sure you could create a blog that is like a diary, or just post some recipes, but that isn’t going to make money is it? If you want to make money blogging, you have to treat it like a business, and every good business has tools and concepts you must implement to be successful.
We’ve covered a lot, from how to make your content, monetize it, and share it. Each aspect will help you master the art of making money with your blog.
One of the most important things to realize is that you can’t do everything at once. Making a money-making blog is a long and detailed process with multiple elements that will contribute to its success. For that reason, I recommend bookmarking this article so you can come back and check up on what categories and resources you have been neglecting.
Maybe this week you are focused on SEO, while next week you’re focused on figuring out more ways to monetize your content.
Understand you can’t do everything at once, and take things step by step–don’t give up, and you’ll be making money blogging with the best of us.
Helpful Resources mentioned in this article:
My favorite hosting provider giving the best prices and features.
Email builder that is super easy to use.
Best keyword research and niche website idea builder. Great way to get ahead of the competition and see what’s REALLY going on in Google.
One of the best ways to start selling products like eBooks, courses, or anything else you are intent on selling on your Blog to make money.
Amazing browser-integrated grammar and spell checker that I can’t live without while making money blogging.
Thanks for reading this guide on how to make money blogging! Let us know if you have any questions below!