I remember seeing this shirt years and years ago. It was pretty funny actually. Well, you might not think so. Especially if you’re considering a career as a blogger. But, mind you, this was well before I even considered starting a blog, let alone trying to come up with ways I could actually make money while doing it. Want to know what the shirt said?
“More people have read this shirt than your blog.”
Sure. It might seem slightly offensive. But isn’t it somewhat true? For the most part, bloggers struggle to gain traction and boost visibility. And rightfully so. It’s not easy getting people’s attentions these days, is it? Thinking back on that shirt now, I realize that there is this massive struggle that bloggers have. As writers, we’re a creative bunch. Many of us don’t have the wherewithal to drive traffic, let alone make any money while blogging.
So I got to thinking. How do people actually do it? How do the most infamous and well-known and established sites actually make any money from their blogs? Now, as an internet marketer, that question resonated with me for a long time. To be honest, I had no idea how people were doing it. I remember reading about bloggers making tens of thousands of dollars per month and thinking — Wow, how do they do it?
Let’s just say that I figured out what you might call the secret sauce here. I discovered some of the most potent ways to make money blogging. I mean, a blog is just a blog to most people. But when you leverage it the right way, that’s not all it is. A blog is a proverbial cash machine. And not just any kind of cash. We’re talking passive income here.
Passive income is important because time is more valuable than money. For anyone sitting on the sidelines wondering whether they should start a blog and whether it can actually make you any money, it’s time to get in the game. Blogging, by far, is one of the easiest and most sustainable sources for income on the internet. Hands down.
Why would you work once and only get paid once when you could work once and get paid repeatedly? That’s how I look at blogging. Okay, so enough of the rant. I’m sure you want to cut to the chase and get to the meat of it. I get it. That’s fine. So after years and years of doing this, I’ve effectively boiled this down to 10 of my go-to strategies for making money with a blog.
How To Make Money Blogging
Whether you have a blog right now or you’re just thinking about starting a blog, understanding how to make money doing it is critical. The truth? Most people that start blogs for the creative aspect of writing are effectively lost when it comes to generating an income from it. But the beauty of having a blog is that not only can you generate a part-time income, you can actually live off the money generated.
I know it seems far-fetched to most people who don’t understand the oftentimes-murky world of making money online, but it’s one of the most powerful tools you can have in your online marketing arsenal. However, before you get there, you need to take the proper steps. You can’t just throw a blog up and expect to start making money right away.
Rather, there’s a certain logic and path that you need to follow. Do that the right way and you can expect to reap the benefits. Keep in mind that this isn’t some overnight expedition. This takes time. But if you take the right steps you can expect to sincerely rake it in.
Step 1 — Find A Profitable Niche
I recently wrote an article about how you can find a profitable blog niche. I honestly think that if you don’t do the proper research at the outset, you’re largely wasting your time blogging. You need a niche that has high demand and the potential to bring in a significant amount of revenue. To do that, you should go after the right niche located in the right industry.
There are primarily three industries that you’ll find the most profit in online. Read the article to see what they are. But, more importantly, you need to select the right niche within the industry. Remember, these industries are vast. You can’t expect to compete with well-established blogs if you’re serious about gaining quick traction unless you pick the right niche.
Step 2 — Launch Your Blog
There’s definitely a right and wrong way to launch a blog. You could do an all-star launch that will get you some much-needed traction. Or, you could fizzle out, crash and burn from the get-go. Considering there are so many aspects when it comes to starting, configuring and successfully launching a blog, you honestly need to do it the right way or it’ll be a wasted effort.
Pay attention to the details. Properly configure the site, ensure that the URLs are canonical, create a pleasant design that’s fast-loading, and so on. You also have to ensure you go with the right hosting provider. You can think of your hosting provider as your partner. When something goes wrong, can you turn to your partner? Will you get quick support if there’s downtime or your site gets hacked for example?
One great company you should consider checking out to host your blog is BlueHost (although I’m an affiliate, I also use BlueHost for my niche blogs and firmly believe in them as an incredible hosting company).
Step 3 — Build An Evergreen Content Jungle
Most people wonder how much content is enough content for when you launch a blog. Well, it’s not just about the quantity. Clearly, it’s about quality. But it’s also about evergreen content as opposed to content that has a shelf-life. The first thing i always do when launching a new blog is to ensure I have at least 10 high-quality evergreen pieces of content. If you can launch with more, then that’s even better.
Evergreen content is the type of content that stays relevant for a very long time. Don’t think news and events; think tutorials and walkthroughs. The more time and energy you put into these, the more relevant they’ll be, and ultimately, the more visibility and traction they’ll gain. This isn’t just about organic search rankings. You’ll want useful and relevant content that’s going to help you attract, nurture and build the right audience with paid marketing as well. So don’t try to take shortcuts here if you’re serious about making money with your blog.
Step 4 — Address Site Speed And Other On-Site Technicalities
While the technicalities of launching a blog might not seem all too appealing to you, if you’re serious about turning it into a proverbial cash cow, you need to address site speed. Google, in a fairly recent study, found that 53% of users are likely to abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Think about it yourself. Wouldn’t you prefer a fast-loading site over a slow-loading one? Even if you had to dig a bit deeper for the answers you were seeking, we’d all opt for speed over sluggishness.
There are a few important tools you can use here to ensure that everything is running smoothly. First, dig deep into some of the SEO optimizations that you can do. Next, use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. You can also use tools by GTMetrix, Pingdom and Varry. Then, ensure you install Google’s AMP plugin along with the corresponding AMP Analytics configuration.
Step 5 — Add A Powerful Backstory To Relate Your Journey
Next, you’ll need to relate your “hero’s journey” to readers. The truth is that people want to know about you. Who are you and where did you come from? What made you want to start the blog? The more they know about you, and the deeper you delve into your backstory, the more they can connect. If you do this in an authentic way and offer some transparency into your life, you’ll find it easier to make money from your blog.
Why? People buy on emotion. Not on logic. And if they can connect with you on an emotional level, and they learn your struggles and a bit about who you are, they’re far more likely to become loyal fans and followers. This crowd will buy just about anything you peddle them because they believe in you rather than simply discovering your blog one day and finding a useful piece of content. It’s very powerful. Try it and see what happens.
Step 6 — Create Secondary Pages And Add Contact Details
There are loads of steps that you need to take, but this is going to put you into good graces with search engines like Google. It’s simply good practice to ensure that you handle all the meticulous details so that you provide a concrete foundation for your efforts going forward.
#1 — Advertising & Sponsors
Clearly, the first thing that most people think is the primary source of revenue for bloggers is advertising and sponsors. Now, although I can tell you confidently that it’s not, many newcomers to the blogosphere opt for this strategy in an attempt to earn an income with their blogs because they think it presents the least friction.
It does. In a way. But it also doesn’t, in another way. Advertising through popular PPC platforms will present a challenge to newly-minted blogs. You can’t expect to earn much through this strategy unless you have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of visitors per day. Yes. I said per day.
Still, you could opt to find sponsors who would effectively pay you more, send you on free trips, or even cover part of your expenses while building up your blog. You would likely make more money this way than the PPC route. In fact, this is effectively how many Instagram influencers are able to travel so freely.
#2 — Affiliate Marketing
One of the best ways to make money blogging is to opt for affiliate marketing. What is affiliate marketing? You’re effectively selling products and services for other companies. You’re an affiliate. Think, salesperson. But you never actually have to speak to anyone on the phone or close a deal.
However, as an affiliate, you do need to make certain disclosures. As part of FTC’s regulations, you need to highlight any relationships you might have as an affiliate marketer so that people understand that you’re being compensated for your opinion. Not all affiliates do this to the extent that they should. But you most certainly should. This is especially true if you’re running a U.S.-based business.
You can find affiliate offers on sites like ClickBank, CJ.com, Share-a-Sale and Impact Radius. You could also approach some companies directly who might not have their affiliate offers listed there. For example, Fiverr and FreshBooks both have their own affiliate programs, outside of the popular platforms. Do the due diligence and find relevant companies you can promote on your blog.
#3 — Premium Content Paywall
Blogs are a great way to create membership sites or paywalls. Simply give away tons of great content and invite readers to pay to read more. You could easily build out a premium content section on your blog that will provide more enhanced tutorials or even video walkthroughs. It’s a simple and effective way to generate money.
The best way to do this is to provide some limited time very-low-priced access to the content. Pick an irresistible number that would be hard to pass up like $1 for 7 days. After those 7 days are up, you’ll ask the members to pay another amount to continue accessing your content.
This model works great for established sites. If you have a new site, you could opt for the freemium model. That means, give them limited access to the “paid” membership content for free. You could restrict certain sections and ask them to pay if they want to access to sections. This could remove price objections if you’re a brand new blog with very little authority.
#4 — Coaching
Coaching is a great way that you can earn some money from your blog. The best part about coaching is that you could easily charge a significant amount for coaching clients. That’s especially true if you’re already an established authority in your niche. Even if you’re not, you could setup lower-priced coaching such as group coaching or simply start out at a lower price.
The best way that you can launch coaching is through the velvet-ropes approach. Don’t allow anyone to simply pay to become a coaching client. You need to engineer an application approach. Make them apply to work with you. And make them submit an application fee. This way, you’ll find out who’s serious and who’s not.
When you turn the tables like this, it’s a great way for people to convince you to work with them. You’re simply removing the option to purchase. Ask them to tell you about their business in the form and give you some reasons why you should work with them as their coach.
#5 — Webinars
Webinars are big-money generators. If you don’t know the first think about webinars, understand that it’s likely the best way that you can make money online, hands down. This is especially true if you have a pre-existing audience. Selling through a webinar medium is like selling in person. It’s about as close as you can get to doing just that.
However, in order to truly make money from a webinar, you need to understand the anatomy of a webinar. What is a webinar exactly and how do you structure one in order to optimize your sales? This isn’t as easy as it sounds and it will take you time to get used to pitching in this environment.
You can also use webinars for training your readers on some subject and do a soft-pitch at the end. Evergreen webinars are great for making passive income, while the live training is terrific if you’re looking for active engagement and trying to sell high-ticket products or services.
#6 — Ecommerce Sales
Another great way to make money from your blog is through ecommerce sales. Ecommerce is a booming business and what most people don’t realize is that there is a lot of online shopping happening away from big sites and brands like Amazon or Walmart. Your blog provides a great avenue and resource for selling any type of product through an online store medium.
You simply attract the buyers in through content and present them with the ecommerce products as a choice for purchasing. Make sure the content is relevant to what you’re peddling. Don’t write blog posts that have nothing to do with the underlying products if your goal is to make money by selling products off your blog.
You can use a great plugin like WooCommerce, along with a Stripe account, to sell your ecommerce products directly from your blog, which provides very low friction to getting things up and running.
#7 — Ebooks
I didn’t start out as a blogger. I started out simply writing ebooks at the tail-end of the self-publishing era. Of course, Amazon’s KDP offered a great avenue for getting your ebooks to the masses quickly. Createspace was also terrific for offering print-on-demand publishing that would get purchased, printed and sent without ever having to deal with the entire process.
You can succeed with the ebook approach and make money by selling them through your blog as long as they’re relevant to whatever it is that you’re blogging about. Again, this is all about relevance. Think about it yourself. If you find some great content on a blog and you see a book advertised for something that has nothing to do with the topic, are you likely to buy it? Of course not.
However, if you do come across some great ebooks that help to further strengthen or assist you with the topics covered by the blog posts, you’ll be far more likely to purchase it. Plain and simple. Create relevant ebooks to your blog’s topical content and you can do well with this strategy.
#8 — Courses
One of the ways that I love to generate income online is through courses. Courses offer passive income, which is by far the greatest type of income you could ever generate. But building the courses is nothing short of arduous. First, you have to select a platform. If you go with Udemy, you can expect to pay a hefty price for it.
Now, I’m a big fan of Udemy’s platform, so don’t get me wrong. But, other platforms, like Ankur Nagpal’s Teachable or even Kajabi, are way better if you want to control the funnel and the customers more directly. With Udemy, you don’t get that same control. But you do get access to a massive member base. That’s big for people who don’t want to do their own marketing.
But it’s much more lucrative to control the entire funnel. In my opinion, you should use a site like ClickFunnels (which I’m an affiliate for but house almost all of my membership content there) to build out the entire course. This can be incredibly lucrative if you know what you’re doing.
#9 — Email Marketing
The money is in the list. The money is in the list. The money is in the list. Yes, it’s that important. If you’re not marketing via email, as a blogger, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. But you can’t just spam them. You have to regularly deliver valuable content to them. Again. Not spam.
Keep in mind that people are wary these days of parting with their email addresses. There truly is so much spam out there. And in order to get that email address, you need to deliver something of value. Like a lead magnet. It could be a cheatsheet, a checklist, a simple ebook, or something else, as long as it’s consumable in 20 to 40 minutes.
You should also automate your email marketing by building out email sequences with drip campaigns. I use ConvertKit (and am also an affiliate for them), but you can go with many others such as MailChimp, Aweber and GetResponse. There are loads of options out there. All you have to do is choose one of them.
#10 — Podcasts
Okay. So you won’t make money by blogging with a podcast overnight. It takes time. You’re effectively building an audience. But, this is one of the best ways that you can disseminate real value that is being listened to around the blog by countless people who are looking to learn and educate themselves on a variety of topics.
Podcasts truly are a terrific way that you can build your audience. Remember, as a blogger, that’s really what you’re doing. You’re creating a platform here. Yes, social media will help you to do this, but the podcast medium is going to help you do this bigger and faster than ever before.
Create a podcast that’s topical and relevant to whatever it is that you’re blogging about. Again, that’s the most important thing you could do if you’re serious about generating some cash from your blog. Always think relevantly to the topics that you’re covering and you’ll be able to peddle a whole slew of products, services and information like that.