When I first heard you could make money blogging, I was skeptical. It didn’t make sense to me. How could someone get money just for writing articles on a website?
Eight years ago, I started my own personal finance blog. The goal was to be encouraged and held accountable as I worked to pay off debt.
As part of that journey, I started reading other personal finance blogs. Soon enough, I came across articles about bloggers making money online.
Being deep in debt and desperate, I wanted in. Within six months, I had officially “monetized” my blog.
And you can too, if you do it right. Just follow the tips below on how to make money blogging as a beginner.
In This Article
How to Get Started Blogging
When I started my old blog, I was definitely a newbie. I could operate WordPress on a basic level, but that was it.
It didn’t help that I’m not a techy person by nature. Luckily, there are resources out there that can help even the newest (and non-techiest) of bloggers get started.
Check out the information below and use it to start your own blogging side hustle.
Set Up a Blog
Of course, you need to start by setting up a blog. If you already have one, great! Skip to the next section.
If you don’t, here’s a brief summary of how it’s done.
- Determine your brand. Figure out what you want your blog to teach and represent.
- Visit a website host such as Bluehost which will host your blog for as little as $2.95 per month. Use the link above to get the Well Kept Wallet special discount.
- When you’re signing up with Bluehost, choose your domain name, which is usually the same as your blog name. Choose something that is catchy and makes sense for your topic.
- Use WordPress as your blog platform. I find it super easy to work with.
- Sign in to WordPress, choose your theme and start writing!
For more detailed information on setting up a blog, read How to Start a Blog in Ten Minutes or Less. This article will give you clear, step-by-step instructions on starting your blog.
Next, let’s talk about some ways you can make money with your blog. These are some of the most popular avenues to blog revenue.
Money-earning bloggers often earn revenue through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing allows you to earn money by referring people to products or services.
For instance, let’s say you link to a product on Amazon. Someone clicks on your link and buys the product (or even a different product). Amazon will pay you a commission for sending the buyer over.
There are hundreds of companies that will pay you to send customers their way. Survey companies, stores, websites and others will pay you for connecting them with customers.
However, you’ll have more success with affiliate income if you have a plan. There are certain techniques bloggers use to get affiliate traffic. Here are some tips.
1. Create Content Around Products
It’s important to not make affiliate links too “salesy.” You’ll want to create content around products and services.
However, be sure the content itself provides value. When you include affiliate links, make sure there’s a good reason. The content should be relevant and not sound like a sales pitch.
Consider these two examples:
- You HAVE to use Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book to get out of debt. You just won’t succeed if you don’t use his plan! It’s the best book on the planet!
- My wife and I used Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book to get out of debt. It had a plan that worked well for us. We had researched other books, but found this plan the best fit for us.
In the first paragraph, the author acts like her readers just cannot survive without the book. It sounds annoying and like her only goal is to earn commission.
In the second paragraph, the author is simply sharing what worked for him. The affiliate link in the second paragraph is more seamless.
In other words, it’s clear that the goal of the second paragraph isn’t the sale. Instead, it’s to share a tip in the midst of a bigger purpose: helping readers get out of debt.
So, when you’re creating content, use your affiliates as an added bonus. Don’t use them as the center of the content.
Your goal should be to write helpful, authentic content. If you can add an affiliate link as a part of that helpful content, great!
2. Include Relevant Links
This tip piggybacks off of the first tip. Be sure the affiliate links you include are relevant. They have to add value to what you’re talking about in the blog article. Here are some examples.
Example 1: Non-relevant link
You’ll want to start your debt payoff plan by making a list of your debts. Write them in order from smallest to largest. Record the balances, minimum payments and interest rates.
Buy this pillow from Amazon now. You’ll love it!
After you write your list of debts, you can start creating your budget. Your budget is what will help you…
Example 2: Relevant link
You’ll want to start your debt payoff plan by making a list of your debts. Write them in order from smallest to largest. Record the balances, minimum payments and interest rates.
After you write your list of debts, you can start creating your budget. Personal Capital can be a great budgeting tool. Your budget is what will help you…
The link in the second example makes perfect sense to include. The writer is suggesting a product that will help the reader budget well.
In addition, they’ve included it seamlessly, as mentioned above. In the first example, the affiliate link just looks like another ad. There’s no rhyme or reason for mentioning the product.
Be sure when writing articles to include links that are relevant to what you’re trying to teach your reader.
3. Grow Your Audience
Affiliate links are useless if you don’t have any audience. A big part of successful blogging is to grow your audience. Here are a few ways you can do that.
Write Great Content
This might seem obvious, yet it can’t be overstated. The main key to growing your audience is to write great content.
Anyone can learn how to write great content. If you want to improve your articles, Ashley Barnett’s course, Hit Publish, teaches new and intermediate bloggers how to write the best content on the internet.
You want to write articles that are engaging and useful. Humor helps, too. The information in your articles must bring value to your readers.
People who read blogs are typically looking for two things:
Network With Other Bloggers
One way to grow your audience is to network with other bloggers. The blogging community is very interactive.
Find other bloggers that write about subjects similar to yours. Visit their sites. Leave comments on their posts. Share their articles via social media.
Know that while networking is important, it’s vital to be authentic as you do it. Work to make new friends. Give as you learn from others.
Another option for networking with other bloggers is to ask if you can write for their site. Create quality content that fits in with the theme of the blog. Put one link in the post back to your website.
That way, when someone reads the post, they have a reference back to your site.
Be Active on Social Media
Being active on social media is another way to grow your audience. Share your posts on Facebook and Instagram. Start a Pinterest board.
In addition, follow other bloggers with similar sites. Share their posts. Give sincere praise to them on social media.
Follow your readers’ social media accounts, too, if you can. Be interactive, sharing information and working to be a friend.
Have Drawings and Giveaways
Drawings and giveaways are another option for growing your audience. Know that you don’t have to go broke doing this.
You can give away a free coaching session on whatever your topic is. Or create a free ebook or other electronic prize.
Make a big deal about the contest. Get your readers involved. For instance, let’s say you write a post about vacations. Ask readers to share comments about their favorite vacation.
Tell them that all readers who leave a comment or submit a story will get an entry into a drawing. The drawing will be for a free ebook (one you wrote) about how to travel for cheap.
Be creative and think of things you can give away that will add value to your readers’ lives. Share about the contest on social media.
Work to give to your readers, and your readership will grow — as long as you have great content.
Another way to make money as a blogger is via advertising revenue. Think of the ads you see on blogs and websites.
Google Adsense is one source of ad revenue. It’s a great option because it’s free for you to install.
When you install Adsense on your site, they’ll place ads on your blog. Each time a reader clicks on an ad, you get a small commission.
Google works to keep the ads relevant to what you blog about. For instance, if you blog about parenting they might have ads for diapers or kids’ clothing.
You might not get a lot of clicks at first. However, as readership grows, the number of clicks can grow too.
In addition, as your blog grows, you may be eligible for advertisers that pay more. Note that some of the companies that pay more require higher site views.
Selling online courses is another way to make money blogging. Is there a subject you can teach to others? You can teach it via an automated online platform.
The course subject should be related to your blog. And the topic or subject needs to be worth paying for.
Some ideas for course topics include:
- How to make something
- How to do something
- A way to achieve something, like financial independence or debt freedom
Think about your gifts and talents. What are you good at? What have you achieved in your life? Are there things you have overcome?
It’s important when creating online courses that you think about your audience and how you can help them. Talk about how you’ve achieved or made something. But you’ll also need to give instructions. Don’t just tell your story.
Think about how you want to break your content down into lessons or learning modules. What types of visuals will you use? You can use video, audio, written content and activities. Decide what works best with the content you’re teaching.
When you’re finished creating the course, upload it on your site and sell it for an attractive price. Automate it so that it’s a true passive income source for you.
You might be thinking, “But, I don’t know how to create an online course.” If that’s the case, check out Teachable.
Teachable helps you create and sell your own online courses. It makes it easy for you to get your course up and running and available to readers.
eBooks are another popular income source for bloggers. As with online courses, you’ll want your eBook to share valuable information.
Here are some tips on creating a valuable eBook.
- Decide ahead of time what you want the topic of your book to be. Make sure the topic fulfills a need.
- Write your outline. Be sure it covers all of the bases of your topic.
- Write the book. It can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Make sure the content is engaging and informative.
- Edit the book for grammatical and spelling errors. Or, pay someone to do it for you.
- Publish your book using an eBook publisher or publishing software. An eBook publisher would be someone like Amazon that publishes eBooks for authors. Publishing software helps you design and publish the book yourself. Microsoft Publisher is an example of publishing software.
- Price your book attractively. List it for sale on Amazon or on your website. You might try a limited time offer for super cheap and then move to an affordable regular price.
- Share news about your book on social media and your blog.
Again, content is king here. You’ll need to write and publish information that is useful to a wide audience. Think carefully before choosing a subject and then write well.
Once you publish your eBook, put it up for sale, and get the marketing done, you’ve got a passive income source.
Freelance writing is a popular way to build an audience for your blog while earning money. This is what I did.
I wrote for other blogs. Each post contained a bio with a link to my blog. The bio brought more visitors to my blog, which produced more income.
Here are some things you can do to find freelance writing work:
- Start by networking with other bloggers. Visit their blogs, read them and leave comments.
- As you get to know other bloggers, offer to write on their blogs.
- Eventually, you’ll know them well enough that you’ll feel comfortable asking if they’re hiring. If they say no, ask them to keep you in mind and ask if they know others who might be hiring writers.
It may take some time for you to find writing gigs. However, if you’re good at writing, you’ll get the work.
Keep these tips in mind as you work to find writing gigs for other bloggers.
- Keep your word. A blog owner needs to know they can count on you to deliver what you say you will, on deadline.
- Do your best to learn and follow grammar and spelling rules.
- Be sure to do what the blog owner asks. In other words, follow all directions.
- Add in links where applicable. Help the blog owner increase their affiliate income.
As you improve as a writer, more work will come. Your reputation will precede you. The blogging community is a tight-knit one. This means that if you’re a good writer, people will come to know your name.
Hint: Besides checking with other bloggers for jobs, you may be able to find gigs on Upwork or Craigslist.
Coaching is another route to making money with your blog. As a coach, you will help people do what you do.
For example, Kayla Sloan, Well Kept Wallet’s virtual assistant, teaches people how to become virtual assistants.
Her course, 10kVA, can teach you how to makes thousands per month online as she does.
The course runs on an automated platform, like I mentioned above. However, for an additional cost Kayla will personally coach you on becoming a VA.
You can coach people on just about any subject you’re good at. Maybe you can coach people on how to pay off debt.
Or, become a life coach and teach others how to achieve their dreams. Coaching is a bit different than creating a course.
When you create a course, you’ll be selling an automated program. As a coach, you’ll work directly with your clients.
You’ll give them one-on-one advice on whatever it is you teach. They’ll pay you a set price (usually an hourly or half-hour fee) for that coaching.
Understand What a Coach Is
It’s important if you want to make money as a coach to understand one thing. Coaches are meant to be encouraging to their clients.
A good coach can listen, understand and direct people in a positive manner. You’ll need to make sure you have these qualities if you want your coaching business to be a success.
If you’re encouraging by nature, and you know a lot about your subject matter, you could earn money this way. Advertise your services on your blog so people know about them.
Another way to make money with your blog is to start a podcast. In case you don’t know, a podcast is an audio segment that’s available on demand.
You’ll spend time each week interviewing someone or talking about a subject. Advertisers will pay for advertising spots on your podcast.
Or, you can advertise your courses and other products on your podcast.
Note that it can take a while to earn income from a podcast. You’ll have to grow your audience well before advertisers will pay to have an ad on it. But it is another source of potential income for bloggers.
The Key is Multiple Streams of Income
Nearly every successful blogger I know uses multiple sources of income related to their blogs. They have ads. They include affiliate links where appropriate. Their resources page has a course or eBook on it.
Separately, your individual sources of blog income might not seem like much. However, together and over time, they can grow.
It’s kind of a “slow and steady wins the race” deal. However, the harder you work and the better your content, the more you can speed up the race.
Just keep working until your blog income grows to where you want it to be. When I owned my blog, it made several hundred dollars per month.
However, I know bloggers whose blogs make seven digits per month. Yes, that’s over $1 million each month in income.
It takes some work to make money blogging, but it can be done.
Selling Your Blog
If the time comes to sell your blog, you can make money that way, too. Blogs are usually bought out by bigger blogs that feel your blog has potential or is a competing source.
In my case, my blog was bought by a bigger blogger who was better than I at monetizing blogs. He owned several blogs and wanted to add to his list.
If you decide to sell your blog, here are some tips.
- Blogs typically sell for between 12 and 24 months’ worth of revenue. So, if your blog makes $1,000 a month (from all its sources) you can expect to get $12,000 or so for it. In some cases you might get $18,000 or $24,000. It all depends on what a buyer thinks the potential for your blog is.
- You can sell your blog by advertising on a site like Flippa. Flippa is a popular place for buying and selling blogs.
- Be patient. Selling a blog takes time and negotiation. I got several offers before I chose the company I sold my blog to. Others offered much lower prices.
My blog was unique in that I had really high traffic but low revenue. This was because I didn’t put much effort into revenue building due to time restraints.
The buyer I ended up choosing saw that it was truly a diamond in the rough and offered a price that was higher than the others.
- Be objective about your blog’s worth. You need to see it for what it truly is. Don’t expect a higher price than 12x the monthly revenue if you don’t have a good reason for expecting more.
- Decide what kind of an offer you’re willing to take. Sometimes it’s worth taking a lesser offer if you really want to get the blog off your hands.
Selling your blog is like selling any other business. You need to negotiate and be objective about what you’re selling. However, if it’s worth what you think it is, a buyer will likely come along.
Did any of these ways to make income with a blog surprise you? Do you own a blog? If so, are you using it to make money? Why or why not? In what ways are you earning income from your blog?
Feel free to share this information on social media if you think it will help someone.