How to Make Money Blogging (2018 Guide)

how to make money blogging imageBlogging gets cooler when you’re actually making money blogging.

Being able to pay the bills and quit your job is the goal of many a blogger.

But how do you make your blog earn for you?

This is what I’m about to show you in this guide.

So let’s get moving, shall we?

Let’s start with a few tweets of wisdom:

One of the main attractions of blogging is earning money from home by just blogging. But the laptop lifestyle, as it's known, is about much more.Click To Tweet
As a blogger, you're not homebound. You can work from cafes, on the move, and from any location. Even when you don't have access to wifi, you can be creating blog content or getting inspiration for new content.Click To Tweet

And of course, blogging is not location specific. I’m in the UK, but I could blog about events in Canada or Australia.

So How do You Make Money Blogging and is it Possible?

Yes, of course it’s possible!

The web runs on content.Click To Tweet

Verizon bought Yahoo! even though the company was leaking money and despite the Yahoo! mail hacking issues… because the value is in the massive network of content that Yahoo has.

So blogging does earn many their living. As for the ‘how’ part: there are many ways to make money blogging, which is great news as it really opens up the possibilities and lowers the entry barrier.

If you had to do X Y and Z to be able to earn by blogging, then only those who have X Y and Z would be able to make this work. Luckily, that’s not the case.

Almost every subject can attract an audience and create a revenue stream for content creators.Click To Tweet

There are countless money making blogs that are well-established across more niches than I could ever list, which brings me to the next question in this guide:

Is it Too Late to Make Money Blogging?

It’s a good question, and fortunately, the answer is no, you are not too late. Even if the world runs out of topics, you’ll be able to succeed with a retro blog about historical topics, so don’t worry.

Blogging is about providing content to an audience.Click To Tweet

Apple and Samsung have yet to release new models of their smartphones… so anyone could start a technology blog and start there. Likewise, every car manufacturer has yet to invent and create new car models. You get the gist…

New stories are being created  in the world every day, such as:

  • news events
  • political events
  • music releases
  • celeb news
  • sporting events
  • food recipes
  • scientific discoveries (medical, astronomical etc)
  • and on and on and on
As long as the world keeps moving, there is content to report on.Click To Tweet

If you’re a thought leader, then your day to day thoughts can pull in a crowd.

Ok, so let’s now get to the part where the seekers of all things free and all things easy get a shock.

How Much Can You Make And How Long Does it Take to Make Money Blogging?

Seriously, I hear this all the time. These are half-baked questions. Let’s have some fun…

How much can you make?

  • $2.3 million

How long does it take to start making money?

  • 37 days, 6 hours and 21 minutes.

I mean, come on!

How much can you make?

  • what’s the blog about? (not all blogs earn the same amount of money…)
  • how good is the content?
  • how often are you prepared to publish content?
  • how are you monetizing your blog?
  • how much traffic does your blog get?

How fast can you start earning?

  • how fast can you publish content?
  • how are you generating traffic?
  • how are you monetizing that traffic?

Here’s the bottom line:

Blogging takes effort and time.

Earning from your content is directly related to how valuable your content is to your audience (effort) and how much content you can serve to your entire audience (time).Click To Tweet

In other words, earning from blogging is a mid-to-long term play. And no, that doesn’t’ mean it takes years – it can take weeks when you do it right, but it’s not going to be overnight unless you are a total ninja and you can generate quality content fast and generate an insane amount of traffic, all of which takes effort, time and skill.

So if you’re looking for a way to make money blogging quickly for free and by doing very little then you need to sit down somewhere quiet and spend an afternoon in your head preparing yourself for a re-entry into planet Earth.

If you’re still here, then congratulations. Don’t worry about the seekers of the free and easy: it’s natural selection. They are filtering themselves out, which means less noise for the rest of us.

Ok, so lets you and I pick up speed now and get moving to the meat of this. Let’s talk platforms!

What Are The Best Blogging Platforms to Make Money

There is more than one blogging platform out there, but it’s no secret that WordPress is – for many, including me – the best blogging platform.

Yes, you could use Blogger and other hosted platforms, but the real issue with that is that whilst you own your own content (unless the terms of service state otherwise…) you don’t own the platform.

If you're serious about becoming a blogger, then you need to own your platform. For this, I recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog.Click To Tweet

If you don’t have the ability to set a WordPress blog up, you can always start by setting up a free blog. Don’t stress, just do it. You can always export your content out in future and set up your own blog.

Next, you’ll want to make sure your foundation is sound. Use a good, fast, well-coded theme. Free themes don’t usually tick that box. If you’re interested, I use Elementor on many of my sites and Astra Pro on this blog. You can check out my entire stack here.

Once you have the right theme on the right platform, hosting is the other piece that makes up your foundation. In my recommended hosting for WordPress post, I go into detail about the hosts I like to use.

Once you have those things in place, you’ll want to make sure your WordPress blog is optimised for speed.

That will complete your foundation.

As you can see, there’s a bit to do before we even start creating content! But the good news is that you can switch host and change your WordPress theme at any point, so if you’re already blogging, explore those options and consider what’s best for your blog at this point in time.

If you’re an advanced blogger and you host on a VPS but need to step things up, you may want to take a look at Kinsta.

So that’s the platform + foundation covered. Now you’re ready to roll, so let’s talk content.

What’s Your Blog About?

When it comes to choosing the topic of your blog, I recommend you give this plenty of thought. If you’re like me, the temptation to just jump in and run like the wind will be overwhelming, but people like you and I, as much as we hate to, need to slow down sometimes.

Now, let me just add here that there’s nothing wrong with taking an idea and going all out and creating a great success story… that happens often and it could happen to you too. What I’m saying is that some thought and planning can increase your chances of success.

So how do you pick a blog topic?

They say you should write about what you’re passionate about. I don’t think that’s a requirement for success, but it does help, without a doubt.

  • the more you know a subject, the more content ideas you can generate with more ease
  • the more passionate you are about a subject, the easier it is to make the effort to create content
It's all about making it easier for yourself. The easier your chosen path is, the longer you are likely to stick to it and the less stress and heartache involved.Click To Tweet

So my advice is to write about what you know. At least to start with. There’s nothing stopping you from writing about unfamiliar topics as long as you have access to research online, but why make things harder than they need to be!

Here’s a caveat: you can always base your blog on your timeline. For example, if you’re learning a new craft or you’re going on a journey or trying to accomplish something, blogging about your progress can create a massive fan base for you if your topic is interesting to enough people.

Even if your blog is about blogging, if you’re a newbie and you’re documenting your journey as you go, talking about the tools you find and test and your ups and downs, you can make that work too.

Self-documenting blogs can be very inspiring to others embarking on the same journey as you.Click To Tweet

If you take the self-documenting approach and you make it to the other end, you can seriously monetise your blog by creating a course explaining step by step what you did.

There’s a huge element of earned trust and authority that comes from seeing somebody start out from scratch and following their journey and watching them hit the big time. Even if somebody stumbles upon your blog after you’ve made it, learning your story creates massive trust.

This is why rags to riches stories are so compelling. They lower the bar and make the goal much more real for the rest of us.Click To Tweet

The second part of choosing a blog topic is all about the audience. The key is to:

  • make sure there is an audience for this topic
  • make sure the audience has disposable income and is willing to spend on their interest
If you enjoy a particular hobby, then you are already part of a niche that you know well.Click To Tweet

Things I would consider are:

  • are there others like you?
  • are there others interested in joining this niche, who may be researching?
  • are there common problems that this niche faces that you can solve or advice on?
  • do you and others in your niche like to spend money on your hobby?

Golf is an example of a niche where people spend big time on their hobby. They want to know the latest tips and tricks to improve their game, they want to know what pro golfers are up to, and they want to buy the products (clubs, balls, and all the other gear) that enable them to play their sport.

Car booting (bargain hunting) on the other hand, is an example of a bad niche to go into if your intention is to make money. That’s not to say you can’t monetise a blog on this topic – if you grow the blog audience well, you could sell advertising space to event organisers, antique dealers and more.

But we’re not trying to make things hard for us here, so let’s keep to the easier and safest routes.

Here are some ideas for blog topics

  • product reviews
  • travel
  • lifestyle
  • fashion
  • politics
  • celeb (gossip)
  • recipes
  • sport
  • local interest
  • video games
  • etc

Those are ‘root’ ideas if you like. They are very general. Take one that interests you and try to narrow your topic as much as possible to appeal to a specific demographic.

For example, if your blog is about technology, then you’re entering a huge and very competitive niche. There are big, well-established technology blogs.

So narrow down.

An example of narrowing down a tech blog topic could be focusing on:

  • a certain demographic (e.g. millennials, OAPs)
  • a specific technology (e.g. iPhones, Snapchat)
  • and so on

If you want to blog about blogging (another very competitive niche), then think about who you are and see if you can narrow your topic. For example:

  • blogging for stay at home mums
  • blogging for travellers

A perfect example of narrowing down your audience

Some years ago, I travelled to Spain by train. I hit the net in order to research and plan my journey across the UK and France and discovered a fabulous blog that this guy had created as a hobby (The Man in Seat 61).

The guy is an avid train traveller who has made the UK – French crossing on the Eurostar more times than I’ve had hot dinners. He started documenting his journeys, adding photos of his seats, his accommodations, what he was eating and where…

But more importantly, through his self-documenting, he was providing really valuable content about what to do, where to eat, how to book trains, what things to be aware of, what were the best times to book and why and so much more.

The blog became an invaluable resource for train travellers and for those researching that particular train journey. It has become a priceless resource for travellers, and – in my opinion – an inspiration to many bloggers.

So, in this case, the blogger had naturally narrowed down his topic (train travel) whether by accident or design to suit a segment of that entire niche (people who are travelling on the Eurostar from the UK to France and vice-versa).

So choose. Think and choose and narrow as much as you can. Get specific. And most of all, don’t delay.

How Often Should You Blog?

Now that we’re up and running and we’re clear on the subject, it’s time to start publishing good content. How often is a great question.

Daily.

Heh. How does that sound?

In my opinion, you should aim to blog daily for at least the first 6 months, then pause and take the temperature to get a gauge on things. After all, if the topic turns out to be a dud, you want to verify this as fast as possible. And if it’s gold, you want to be successful as fast as possible.

So blog daily, at least to start with.

You could start blogging 3 times a week if that’s more reasonable for you, but I do suggest that you work up to once a day at least for a period of time.

If that doesn’t sound possible, relax. It’s all about practice. Start with 3 times a day and you’ll soon get to a point where you find that easy, as long as you stay consistent.

To keep you going, think of this:

The more content you create, the more people that can find you. The more traffic that you get, the faster you can earn from all your hard work.Click To Tweet

Remember that each time you have to write content.

The other side of the coin is that your content can really help other people, often times more than you could ever imagine, and that’s a cool thing. If that gets you going, then think:

The more content you create, the more people you can help.Click To Tweet

How do You Create Your Blog Content?

There’s far more to talk about in this section than I can possibly fit into this blog post, but fear not because I’m going to break it down into a summary for you:

  • figure out what your audience wants
  • write about it
  • include the words that your audience would naturally search for (e.g. if you’re blogging about oranges, then make sure the word ‘oranges’ is included in your title and content)

Sound easy? Well, that’s really the key.

Writing compelling content may take a little bit more work though.

Here’s what I recommend:

  • read and study other blogs that you enjoy – study how they structure their title and content
  • write as if you were writing to a good friend

And finally, when it comes to finding out what your audience wants, you may need to do some keyword research.

I use the Google Planner (which is free) and sometimes Market Samurai for more in-depth keyword research.

Can you skip keyword research?

Yes, so don’t stress. You can always start to improve your targeting later. Nothing is more important than actually getting started.

You can start by writing topics that solve the problems that you’ve personally encountered. Other people will be experiencing the same issues, and if you write about those issues and your solutions, they may well find it.

Remember: the more content, the more opportunities to get found (i.e. the more traffic to your blog).

Now, let me add that keyword research can really help you find the people you want to connect with. I’m not playing that part down. However, if your content is interesting and compelling and others start discovering it, you can potentially go viral or at least create a ton of traffic without ever going near a keyword research tool.

So the question of whether a keyword tool will help you get there faster is another half-baked question because it doesn’t take into account the type of content you’re creating and how you’re creating it.

For example, if you blog about celebrities and a celebrity couple split up, then you don’t really need to do keyword research on what people are searching for. Common sense dictates that [celeb name 1 + celeb name 2 + event] will work just fine.

Our train traveller hero in the earlier example of a perfect blog with a narrow audience doesn’t really need to do any keyword research, because he’s documenting his journeys and his content is rich enough to include the right words that his audience would naturally search for, like names of trains, place names, station names etc.

Should you need it, here’s my guide to doing keyword research.

And this brings us nicely to the next piece of the puzzle:

Get Traffic to Your Blog

To get traffic (i.e. visitors) your content needs to be seen (i.e. discovered).

Here are some tips for making that happen:

  1. write good content that includes the words that your audience are searching for and variations of that same search. Here are some examples of variations on the topic of blogging for money:
    1. how to earn money blogging
    2. how do you make money from a blog
    3. how do you monetize your blog
  2. post links to your content on social media platforms, including:
    1. Facebook
    2. Twiter
    3. Instagram
    4. Pinterest
    5. Google Plus
  3. repeat 1 and 2

There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your blog, but the above should be part of your routine.

Posting links to your content on other quality websites will naturally create backlinks and increase the visibility of your content.Click To Tweet

Other ways to drive traffic include:

  • YouTube
  • podcasting
  • paid ads (PPC)
  • guest blogging

For many, these traffic generation methods may be more advanced, so at the very least start with the Social Networks and work your way up to more advanced strategies.

Now, once you start to get regular visitors to your blog is when you can start to think about monetisation (remember those guys asking how fast can you earn money from a blog? Well, you’ve seen the work that’s needed beforehand, and this is why we had to get rid of them).

How Do You Earn Revenue From a Blog?

Ok, so here we are at the proverbial bottom line. This is the real question many are asking. And here’s the real answer:

There are many ways to make money blogging.Click To Tweet

So let’s quickly delve into some of them right now:

  • you can make money by promoting Amazon products as an affiliate on your blog
  • you can earn revenue by running Google Adsense on your blog
  • you can also make money by using affiliate programs that you can then promote
  • you can also earn money blogging without using ads by promoting affiliate offers in your blog posts
  • you can also make a living by selling your own courses or digital products (no ads required)
  • you can make money selling services on your blog
  • you can even make money blogging for companies by using your successful blog as ‘proof’ of your skills

The list goes on – you can get as inventive as you want with this, but the above is a good starting list.

The main key here is traffic.

You must get visitors to your blog for them to see whatever it is that you are promoting or selling, for them to buy and for you to earn.Click To Tweet

There are other factors of course, including:

  •  the offer must be suitable and compelling to the audience (obviously)
  • the blog must inspire trust in your visitors

The first point is easy peasy: don’t sell a knitting product to a biker. There will of course always be a smart arse that points out that a biker could well enjoy knitting. Heh.

The point is that you do not want to spend your time and effort blogging to attract bikers to then sell them a knitting product because your conversion rate is going to stink.

Instead, spend the same time and effort creating content that appeals to an audience that is interested in knitting, and when you make your offer, your conversion rate – all things being well – will be higher.

And by all things being well, I mean:

  • use a decent host
  • use a well-designed theme like Astra Pro
  • create quality content that appeals to a certain demographic that can afford to spend on their interest

Here are some places that will help you monetize your blog:

  • you can join the Google Adsense program here
  • you can join the Amazon affiliate program by searching the web for ‘Amazon affiliate program’ (you will see the results that correspond with your local Amazon)
  • you can find products to promote as an affiliate here

 In a nutshell: the blueprint

  1. get the right foundation (WordPress self-hosted is best, but a free blog will do to start with)
  2. get the right hosting
  3. get a good theme
  4. choose your topic wisely
  5. create quality content
  6. distribute your content on social media to reach your readers and increase your blog traffic
  7. monetise your blog using any of the methods discussed

And that’s your blueprint for starting or improving a blog and earning revenue from it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide and I hope it gives you enough oomph to give this a go and become the next success story.

Now, we covered a lot of stuff here, didn’t we? So let me give you everything in one place to save you from having to keep scrolling up and down.

Here we go:

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