If you are looking for a way to make money without working, buy a lottery ticket. If you want to learn how to make money blogging and earn a part-time or full-time income from home while enjoying a flexible schedule, new relationships, and the potential to help millions of people, then starting a blog may be for you. If you can think of a topic, hobby, or online business idea, someone is probably making money blogging about it, and so can you.
In this comprehensive article, I will teach you how to make money with a blog. But before we begin, let’s establish a solid foundation of what to expect as a new blogger.
Before Starting Your Blog
The biggest difference between the late 1990s (the dot-com bubble) and now is that free blogging software like WordPress provides the infrastructure for anyone to create a beautiful, high-traffic website that generates income. If other amateur bloggers can do it, you too can start a blog and make money online.
After all, I started with no formal computer science degree. I used to work in finance until I realized the power of the internet and how much I loved building websites. My goal for StartABlog123.com is to teach anyone how to blog, which as the domain states, can be as simple as 1-2-3. Making money blogging online doesn’t have to be the most difficult thing you’ve ever accomplished.
What To Blog About
Everyone has an interest or passion they are knowledgeable about. The best topic to blog about is the one that ignites your passion, not the one that seems commercially viable, although that is critical too. While it is important to provide readers with valuable information, readers can tell when a blogger truly cares about a subject. This creates a sense of trust with your audience, which will keep them coming back for more.
One of the lessons I’ve learned is to always offer your readers more than you ask for in return. If you present the best user experience, information, and insights, why should readers stop visiting your blog? You’ll have earned their “customer” loyalty and if your readers are existing bloggers, they will refer their own audience to check out your site.
The Riches Are In The Niches
There are blogs about business, technology, news, personal finance, trading/investing, mobile apps, social media, career advice, education, traditional and online marketing, gaming, politics, religion, art and crafts, fashion, food, music, mommy blogs, home décor or interior design, dating and relationships, and any subject you can imagine. Within each category or market are a number of niches. If this is your first foray into blogging, I highly suggest you start with a very low competition, niche site.
If you are unfamiliar with “niche sites”, they are blog websites focused on very specific subjects, audiences, or demographics. For example, within the health industry, you could concentrate on “How To Get 6-Pack Abs”, “Weight Loss Product Reviews”, or “How To Make Your Hair Grow Longer” because competing with WebMD or MayoClinic on everything health and medical-related is nearly impossible as a solo blogger.
Remember, ranking on the 1st page of Google for a keyword that gets 5,000 searches per month is significantly better than ranking at the bottom of the 2nd page for a term that gets 500,000 searches per month. Let’s be honest, not many people visit the 2nd page and you will not make money online with poor rankings and no traffic.
Why You Need Passion
So, why else is it important to pick a topic you are passionate about? The answer is simple – because there are no overnight millionaires online. Unless you are building technology that revolutionizes an industry, there is no instant fame, traffic, or money. Blogging for money takes time.
Just like any other business, the journey to success is long. It may be 6 months or 2 years before you see any meaningful traffic or income generated. It really depends on the size of your niche, the competition you face, changes in Google’s algorithm, your networking and social media skills, and a number of other factors. An online business has many of the same challenges a traditional once faces.
If you get lucky within the first few months and a big-time blogger or authority in your niche links to you, then congratulations, you are blessed. Otherwise, love what you do, blog for yourself, and anything else is gravy. Just don’t quit your day job!
Starting A Blog
Starting a blog does require an initial investment, but the start-up costs are extremely small compared to starting any other type of business. All in all, a blog can cost you as little as $50 a year or about $4 per month.
Domain and Blog Names
The first thing you need to do is brainstorm and register a domain name. Anyone who has set up a new email account knows that sometimes the most difficult part is finding a unique name. Your site’s name should reflect the content you will discuss so visitors are encouraged to click-through on search engines and check out your blog.
Try to find a short, memorable domain name that is a “.com”. While a “.com” is better than a “.net” or “.org”, there are some very large blogs who have been successful using those other extensions.
Once you choose a domain name, you will need to buy it. You can purchase domain names through BlueHost, HostGator or GoDaddy. We recommend you buy cheap hosting with the same company because you will get your domain for free.
Please note that, while you can start a blog for free at Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress.com, these free blog sites have limitations on design, control and monetization, and are not for people who want to start a professional blog, grow an online business and make money blogging. To become a serious blogger, you need your own domain name and hosting. Here’s our guide on coming up with a blog name.
A web host is a company that stores all of your blog files. There are lots of companies that offer cheap web hosting, but choose carefully since low rates can sometimes mean poor service and if your blog is never working, you can’t make money. In fact, Google and search engines may actually penalize you.
I personally recommend BlueHost because they offer the perfect combination of cheap prices, excellent customer service, and performance. For less than $4 per month, BlueHost gives you:
- a free domain
- unlimited bandwidth
- 99.9% up-time
- 24/7 support
- a 30-day money-back guarantee
You can set up your blog with our step-by-step guide.
How To Make Money Blogging
Blogs have start-up costs, although $3.49 per month for web hosting is hardly expensive, and they do not start generating revenue for at least several months. It may seem like a lot of work with no return, but this is true of many new businesses. If you become discouraged and stop working on your blog before it reaches a sustainable level, it will never get the traffic you need to make your blog attractive to advertisers and earn you money.
The good thing is that a single ad click can cover your hosting costs for a month or one private advertisement, such as a sponsored post or paid review from a brand, can pay off a year’s worth of web hosting. Now imagine you have the website traffic to get thousands of clicks or dozens of reviews each month. That’s how you make money blogging – earning traffic and then monetizing that traffic in different ways.
The following is a list of ways to make money online with a blog:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Freelance Services
- Sell Physical or Digital Products
Advertising is all about using your blog as a platform to promote and market other brands. The different types of advertising include digital or banner ads (e.g. Google AdSense), private ads (paid sponsored posts), paid reviews or giveaways, podcast sponsorships, etc.
Banner or display ads are the most common and popular way bloggers make money. Like billboards, bloggers place ad codes in their content, sidebar, and header to encourage visitors to click. Most display ads pay on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis, meaning you only earn money when a user intentionally clicks on a banner ad and visits the advertiser’s website. Fortunately for bloggers, ad networks have perfected their ad-serving by leveraging cookies and on-page data to serve relevant ads and maximize the likelihood that a reader clicks.
Display ads are generally provided through ad networks, companies that are large enough to act as middle men or brokers between advertisers and publishers. The largest ad network in the world is Google AdSense, although other companies like Media.net and Federated Media are great AdSense alternatives.
Affiliate marketers promote another company’s products or services, usually through a blog post. Affiliate marketing is most effective when a blogger writes a review discussing the features, pros and cons, customer service experience, and value of a product or service. Then by linking to the company with your unique affiliate link, bloggers earn a commission each time a visitor clicks through that link and makes a purchase with the company. This means that affiliate marketing pays bloggers on a CPA (Cost-Per-Action or Acquisition) basis.
With strong search engine rankings and regular traffic from social media, affiliate marketing can be a great way to monetize a blog. Here are a few tips on how to make money with affiliate marketing:
- When deciding what products or services to make money on, it is important to only recommend the best companies and products/services you would use yourself. Promoting companies with bad customer service or poorly reviewed or rated offerings is a sure way to lose all credibility with your audience and ruin your online reputation.
- Only choose products or services that are relevant to your niche and readers; otherwise, you run the risk of looking greedy, willing to promote anything, and out of touch with your loyal followers.
- You can choose to become an affiliate for a company directly (if the company is large enough to have its own affiliate program) or join a marketplace where you will have access to hundreds of different companies and advertisers. Some of the top affiliate marketing networks include Amazon, Commission Junction (CJ), Rakuten, ShareASale, ClickBank and Avangate.
- Look around for the best (highest) affiliate deal/commission. Some networks pay higher than others, and some companies pay higher if you work with them directly. Be cognizant of what other affiliates are getting paid, but keep in mind that some bloggers also refer more traffic and thus volume can play a role in how much money you make via affiliate marketing.
In general, when done right, affiliate marketing is the best way to earn money blogging.
Marketing your business is one of the benefits of starting a blog. If you have a skill, such as writing, editing, or designing, you can market your services online. The best part about being a service provider is that you are paid whether or not a website makes money or earns traffic. After you deliver your service or product and get paid, the burden of recouping that investment is up to the individual blogger or company.
Examples of services you can offer include being a virtual assistant, freelance writer, web designer, web developer or programmer, video editor, blogging or life coach, consultant, social media manager, SEO specialist, transcriptionist, tutor, or anything that fulfills a genuine personal or business need.
The two main challenges you run into as a freelancer are that your services are not scalable unless you build a team and your clients effectively become your bosses; otherwise, the startup costs are low, the capital requirements are minimal because you have no inventory, and you don’t have to worry about building a high-traffic blog. All you really need is a simple blog or website with just a few pages, such as Home, About, Contact, Portfolio, Services, Testimonials, etc.
Where To Start
To start making money from a blog, you obviously need to start a blog first. Whether you want to create a fashion, food, lifestyle or music blog, StartABlog123 has a complete guide to help you get started. As for how to make money blogging online, don’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated. Reading, learning, and applying this knowledge is a gradual process that every successful blogger has had to experience. There is no secret solution or easy way to blog for money. Becoming a successful blogger and earning a living online ultimately comes down to doing thousands of little things well over a period of time.