The number one question I’m asked is “How can I build a money making blog?”. You see, the steps of creating a blog are not that difficult, there are millions (if not billions) of blogs out there already. What is difficult is monetizing your blog successfully.
In this post I’m going to go through the 10 steps needed to create a money making blog.
But first let me get some common questions out of the way.
Can you make money with a blog?
Yes, even newbies who have never blogged before can create a blog and make money. It doesn’t require much technical knowledge, but it does require consistency and a dedication to hard work.
How much money can you make blogging?
This entirely depends on you. How hard are you willing to work? How much time are you willing to put into this new project? If you are willing to do the work, the amount of money you can earn is limitless. There are bloggers making $1,000 per month, others making $10,000 and yes there are even bloggers making a staggering $100,000 per month!
How long does it take to make money blogging?
Well think about it. What do you need to make money with a blog? You need traffic (people visiting) and you need something to sell (people buying). You can figure out what to sell rather quickly (we’ll get into this later). Now the only question is about getting traffic.
So essentially the real question should be…
How long does it take to get a lot of traffic to my blog?
The answer depends on a few factors. Are you willing to pay for traffic from Google, Facebook and Twitter? If so you get traffic and start making money on day 1.
If you don’t want to pay to get traffic right now, you’ll need to generate free traffic. The main sources of traffic would be the most popular sites out there: Google, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
With Google, expect traffic to come in after around 1 year of blogging. With social media networks however, you can get traffic right away. This is why I always tell newbies to forget spending time and money on SEO when you’re new. Concentrate on getting traffic from social.
Okay now that we’ve got those preliminary questions out of the way, here now are the 10 steps to creating a money making blog.
1. Create Your Own Blog
Yes this first step is obvious. But people still think they can create a blog on a platform like Blogger or Tumblr and make money. Nope, not going to happen. Not even as a test will it work.
In order to create a money making blog you need to have your own domain name. I’ve got some nifty tips on how to choose the perfect domain here.
If you’re worried about making money with blogging and you don’t even have a blog yet – stop worrying! There is plenty of time to worry later. Right now, you need your own blog and your own domain.
Here is a detailed guide on how to start your first blog.
To get a blog up and running, you need two things: a domain and a web host. A web host is like the landlord and you’ve got to pay rent. For newbies I recommend using BlueHost as your webhost. Here are the reasons why:
- You get a free domain name.
- It’s super cheap. Less than the cost of a Starbucks drink.
- No technical knowledge required to get your blog up and running.
- 30 day money back guarantee if you change your mind.
2. Write Your First Blog Post
Once you have your blog up, it’s time to write your very first blog post. If you’re sitting there staring at a blank screen, frozen in fear, stop it. It’s just a blog so get over it!
In your first few blog posts, you’re going to want to set the tone for your blog. You need to feel authentic, so find your voice early on. If you have a lot of knowledge and experience on a topic and want to share it, that’s great. But to create a successful blog, you need to approach your topic in a fun exciting way.
You need to create great content. This blog post you’re reading is over 2,000 words and I think it’s pretty good. But guess what? There’s probably 100 other blog posts out there better than this one. That’s my motivation.
So my advice? Do a Google search for the topic you’re going to write about. Look at the top posts on Google for those keywords. Then create content that’s much better than your competition.
I write up a detailed guide on how to write your first blog post here.
3. Get On Social Media
You need to register on all the popular social media sites. This means even registering on sites you don’t plan to use right now, like perhaps LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat. The reason being that if your blog takes off and becomes a great success, you’ll want to have your blog name registered on those services.
Add your logo or headshot to each service, a header image, a good bio and your link. Then, populate your accounts with the few blog posts you’ve written up thus far.
For now, do not worry about buying ads or getting more followers. We’re just establishing our accounts so we can come back to them once we’re ready to promote our blog.
4. Launch Your Blog
Do not keep waiting for the perfect time to launch your new money making blog. Trust me, it will never be ready. Your blog will always be a work in progress.
With that said, it makes no sense to launch an empty blog with a “Coming Soon” sign. Nobody, and I mean nobody, will want to come back. So you do need some content on your new blog before launch.
I think a good rule of thumb is 10 blog posts. 10 is enough content to get people interested in your blog enough to follow you on social media or subscribe to your mailing list.
When you launch your blog, you need to come out with a bang. Publish multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook, add comments on other blogs, post about it on Facebook groups and add pins to Pinterest.
This is not the time to be shy. Ask everyone you know to retweet your tweet, share your Facebook post and repin your pin. Ride this wave of excitement and let the momentum take you wherever it may.
5. Get Traffic From Pinterest
For newbies, Pinterest is a great source of traffic. The reason being that one pin you post can go viral and bring you thousands of visitors in one day. You don’t need a lot of Pinterest followers to get traffic from Pinterest – just a good pin.
With Facebook, your blog post isn’t going to be seen unless you pay to boost your post.
With Twitter, the vast amount of tweets means that your message will quickly get lost in the shuffle.
The shelf-life of a tweet is mere seconds, he shelf-life of a Facebook post might be a few hours. But the shelf-life of a pin on Pinterest could be months!
Newbies should treat Pinterest as they would Google, as a search engine, a visual search engine. So in order to get traffic from Pinterest you need to create images that have a high engagement rate, add text on your images with your keywords, add a good descriptions to your pins.
6. Get Google Traffic
I mentioned earlier that it might take a new blogger up to a year to get good traffic from Google. But this is only true if you’ve done the right SEO on your blog.
I couldn’t possibly go into depth about what good SEO is here on this post, but here are a few things you need to be doing:
- Write good titles. Your title and your url need to have your keyword while still being click-worthy.
- Do on-page SEO. This means using headings (h1, h2, h3), adding descriptive alt tags to images and linking internally to your own content.
- Acquire backlinks. Get your great content shared by other bloggers. One great way of getting links is by guest posting on similar blogs as yours.
- Write great content. There’s no substitute for great content. If you write great stuff, people will stay on your page longer, share it more and link to it more.
Even though you won’t be getting traffic from Google to start, it’s still important to lay the groundwork for later.
Think of your first year blogging as a dating period with Google. They’re just feeling you out, seeing if you’ve got what it takes. Six months in and you’ll get to first base (a little bit of traffic). If their users are clicking and staying on your site, you’ll get to second and third base (even more traffic). By the end of the year, if you have lets say 50-100 high quality pieces of content and a good amount of quality backlinks, Google might just let you go all the way and give you that number one spot on the search results.
7. Grow Your Email List
Building an email list is such as important part of blogging and I wish I would have started growing my email list years ago.
What you’ll realize as a blogger is that you will notice that your income will come mostly from your email list.
You see, when a visitor arrives at your blog, they are their for your content. They had a question on Google and they went to your page to find the answer. As soon as they find the answer, they are leaving.
Will they ever come back? It’s doubtful. Even if they bookmark your blog (btw wtf still does that?) they most likely won’t come back. Why would they? If they have another question they’ll just Google that question too. Even if they follow you on social media, odds are they won’t see most of your tweets and they won’t come back to your blog.
With email, you are given access to something very personal, their email inbox. You now have access to reach them right on their smartphone. This means that you have a direct personal connection with them. I can’t overestimate how valuable this is.
Even if you don’t know what to write to your subscribers, build your email list. Even if you aren’t going to write anything to your subscribers, build your email list. Even if you don’t think anyone would join your email list, build your email list.
Get the picture? If you want a money making blog, you need to build your email list at all costs.
Spend the time to create beautiful optin forms with a call to action. Offer what’s called a “lead magnet” like this one to get them to give up their email address.
To really give a boost to your subscriber count you will need invest in an email optin form tool like Thrive Leads. You can utilize exit-intent pop-ups, slide-ins, optin bars and more to get more people to join your email list.
8. Apply To A Display Ad Network
With display ads, you are paid regardless of whether the user makes a purchase. Sounds sweet right? You don’t have to sell anything. You just place an ad on your money making blog and you get paid. Simple. The more traffic you have, the more you get paid.
Display ad networks work with a metric called CPM (cost per mille, or cost per one thousand impressions). So if your CPM is $1, you are making $1 for every 1,000 ad impressions. If your blog has 25,000 monthly impressions, you’d make $25 per month.
Using a display ad network allows you to focus on what you do best: writing great content and promoting it. There would be no need to become a spokesperson pitching products to your readers.
Here is a list of the top networks to join:
- Google Adsense: Most newbie bloggers will want to join Google Adsense. With this network you get paid per click. The amount depends on the niche of your blog and how much the advertisers are bidding for placement.
- Mediavine: To apply, your blog needs to have had 25,000 sessions in the last 30 days. A lot of bloggers swear by this display ad network.
- AdThrive: This display ad network is for pro bloggers only. You need a minimum of 100,000 pageviews monthly to apply and a majority of your traffic coming from the US.
- Media.net: Run by Bing & Yahoo! This ad network is a good alternative to Google Adwords. It’s much easier to apply so it’s ideal for newbie bloggers.
While display ad networks are simple and seem intriguing, there’s something wrong with it. You get paid just for the views, so do people click? If they click, do they buy?
You just don’t know, but logic tells me that they are buying things. If they weren’t, your traffic would be deemed less valuable and you’ll either earn less per visit or you’ll be terminated from the program.
So if your readers are buying things, why not make a commission out of what they’re buying? You stand to make more money that way. This leads me to the next way to create a money making blog: affiliate marketing.
9. Join Affiliate Networks
Some bloggers don’t want to rely on affiliate marketing. They might be great at blogging but not so great at selling. Since with affiliate marketing you get paid only once a sale is made, I can understand the hesitancy to commit fully to affiliate marketing.
But let me tell you, it’s possible to make even more money with affiliate programs.
Let’s use the previous example of 25,000 monthly impressions. Out of those, how many click and how many buy something? Let’s say you get only 1% of your users to click on the ad. That’s 250 clicks. Out of those clicks, let’s say 2% of them end up making a purchase. That’s 5 sales. If you’re selling something that nets you a $10 commission per sale, you would have earned $50 – twice as much as a display ad network.
Here are some of the top affiliate networks to join:
- Amazon Associates: No matter what your blog is about, odds are there are products on Amazon that fit your niche. You can create a post reviewing a product. Another idea is creating a post comparing two products side by side. If you can’t find products to match your niche (if you have a spiritual or finance blog for example) then you can also promote books.
- Shareasale: There’s thousands of products to promote here from digital ones to ones selling physical items. I use this program to promote Tailwind (a Pinterest scheduler), Long Tail Pro (a keyword research tool) and Monster Insights (detailed blog post stats from your WordPress admin).
- Clickbank: This one is geared mostly toward ebooks. I’m not a fan because of how cheesy most of the landing pages look. This affiliate program is very popular in the health & fitness sector.
- Commission Junction: I wouldn’t recommend this network to anyone. They charge your account “inactivity” fees if you don’t generate sales. This is horrible for newbies, your money ends up disappearing before you can make enough to reach the minimum payment.
10. Create Your Own Products
I’ve saved the best for last. Do you really want to create a money making blog? I mean a real money making blog that generates massive long-term revenue for you? If you answered yes, then you must create your own products.
Now don’t let that statement scare you. Your blog is digital and it’s free, what you need to create is something else digital but charge for it. Here are some examples of products you can create, regardless of your niche:
- Ebook: This is by far the most popular way to make money creating your own products. It is not difficult to write an ebook. Just open up Word or Pages and start writing. You can even use content from your past blog posts in your ebook. Get cover artwork done on Canva yourself or order it on Fiverr. Convert your doc to pdf and you’re done!
- Course: You’re the expert who has their own blog. Your readers are all potential students. Create a video series and offer it as a course. You can do this easily with Teachable.
- Coaching: You can offer one on one personalized coaching. This service works best when you already have ebooks and courses to offer and someone wants special help.
I would advise you to first try selling other people’s products. You can sell someone else’s ebooks or course for a commission. Once you start making sales, you have proven you’re a good marketer. Then, and only then, should you start pitching your own products.
When you take the time to create your own product to market on your blog, you are in full control. You choose your ads, you choose your marketing strategy and most importantly – you choose the price.
By creating your own products, you don’t share a penny with any network, you just keep the high profit margins all to yourself.
There you have it, 10 steps to creating a money making blog. If you’ve found this post helpful, I’d appreciate it if you could pin it on one of your Pinterest boards!