Blogging isn’t just a hobby for many people. It’s a way to make big bucks, and anyone can learn how to make money blogging.
For starters, you need to have something intriguing to say and the willpower to build a following. Next, you must ditch the watered-down and cliche advice that ‘experts’ give (like making money from blogging takes years of blood, sweat, and tears).
More importantly, you need someone to let you in on the secrets of how to make money from your blog, which is why I’ve written this detailed guide here in my second blog after years in the field and have been successful with one different niche. In it, you’ll find a solid plan and literally all you need to start and monetize a blog from scratch.
Ready to take your first step? Continue reading this article!
Affiliate Marketing: This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the link to buy a product, I get a commission, at no cost to you but help me survive my blog and produce more articles.
How to start a blog for free and make money
This is a no-brainer. Before you actually start making money, you must have a blog.
Here are the steps to get you started:
- Select a profitable niche
- Choose your blogging platform
- Choose a domain name
- Get a web hosting plan
- Install WordPress
- Design your blog with themes and include plugins
- Write your first post
1. Select a profitable niche:
A great topic that can make you money from blogging should be an intersection between what you’re passionate about and what interests people. If you don’t have a flair for your niche, then you’ll likely burn out before your first paycheck. However, that doesn’t mean you should make lengthy posts that excite you, but nobody wants to read.
If your blog doesn’t interest people enough to put their money down, you won’t make enough money from blogging.
Not sure what topic to blog about? Here are some tips to help you out:
Visit existing blogs: If successful bloggers are writing about a topic, then chances are that you can make money the same way. However, to really fatten your paycheck, you need to fill the market gap. What are these successful bloggers missing that your audience needs?
Use Google and perform keyword search: Using Google Trends is an easy way to find topic demands and how they change over time. If people are increasingly searching for a topic, then they definitely want to read about it.
Use social media: Check out the demand for your topic of interest on social media. For example, if you’re a classical music enthusiast, finding a classical music sub-thread on Reddit is a great sign that you can blog about it. People often go to social media when they can’t find answers to their questions on search engines.
Consider different content types: No rule says you must write one type of content. You could do interviews, reviews, list posts, buying guides, among many other options. In truth, your writing style doesn’t matter as much as how you pen your content down.
Nail this step, and you’ll have viewers trooping in. Miss and any other thing you do might not matter much. Therefore, ensure you find the best niche available.
Here are the types of blogs that make money:
- Health and fitness
- Home décor
- Personal development
- Money making and management
- Beaty and fashion
- DIY and crafting
In my previous post, I have written how to choose the profitable blog niche.
2. Choose your blogging platform:
When you decide on a topic, the next step is to figure out what platform to use. Here, you have two options:
- Create a blog from scratch: Generally, this is the option for established bloggers that want to make money blogging.
Starting a blog from nothing requires you to be involved in the nitty-gritty process. You’ll have control over your blog’s design, customization, and URL name. But the rather obvious drawback is that you have to pay for all you enjoy.
- Use a free platform: Since you’re here, we can bet you’re looking for a way to make money from blogging without having to pay anything. A free platform is an exciting option for beginner-bloggers looking to make money from blogging. They are easy to set up but a tad limited in what you can customize.
If you’re serious about making money online, one of the top blogging platforms to consider is Self-hosted WordPress. At the moment, over 39% of all websites use WordPress as their blogging platform, and it’s not difficult to see why.
WordPress is easy to use, install, and upgrade from the free plan to get more functions. Plus, it’s really flexible and customizable: everything you need to stand out!
3. Choose a catchy domain name
Your blog’s domain name is the address people type to check out your content. To avoid any mix-up, you’d want it to be the same as your blog’s name.
In truth, your domain name is more than just an address. Having the right one plays a vital role in branding your blog.
For example, if bodybuilding is your thing, getting a domain name that reads ‘johnsbody.com’ won’t do you much good. However, a domain name like ‘liftandflex.com’ will make your blog stand out. It’s easy to remember and unique. More importantly, it tells you that the site is about bodybuilding at the drop of a hat.
When you consider that all domain names are equal, you’ll appreciate the deals that Weebly offers.
4. Get a web hosting plan and install WordPress
Next, you need your website up and running on the internet.
Web hosting is a service that allows you to put your blog on the internet. It is linked to WordPress and your domain name such that when a user clicks on the domain name, the web hosting runs WordPress and opens your blog.
Again, to have this service, you need a provider called a web host. Generally, sites where you can buy domains also provide web hosting plans for you.
5. Design your blog with themes and include plugins
No one wants to look at an ugly site with terrible color blends. Therefore, to make your brand attractive enough to make money blogging, you need to pick the right theme. In WordPress, this refers to your website’s design, and there are thousands of themes to select.
Having a lot of options isn’t always the best deal. For one thing, too many options can make it a lot harder to make a decision. Hence, I recommend you check out Weebly to find the right one for your blog as you may have all in one place.
At Weebly, you get access to cool templates and features. But the best part is that the software also allows you to create a custom theme by dragging and dropping design elements.
How to install a WordPress Theme
- On your blog, head over to Appearance > Themes > Upload > Upload Themes.
- Select the file that contains the theme.
- Click on ‘Install Now.’
WordPress is loaded with features you need to create a successful blog. For example, you can preview themes without activating them on your site or split a post into multiple pages. However, to get more out of the blogging platform, you need to install useful plugins.
There’s no such thing as a must-have plugin. However, some plugins can make a whole lot of difference. Weebly offers performance, security, backup, SEO, and social-sharing plugins to increase your blog’s functionality.
How to install a WordPress plugin
- On your blog, head over to Plugins > Add New.
- Select ‘Upload plugin’ and find the plugin you want to add.
- Click on ‘Choose File.’
- Tap on ‘Install Now.’
6. Write your first blog post
At this stage, you have a working blog. All that’s left is to write your first post, which frankly is the fun part.
How to write a blog post on WordPress
- On the left pane, click on ‘Posts.’
- Next, select ‘Add New.’ This launches WordPress’s editor, the space you get to add your content.
- Click anywhere on the window to write your blog post. WordPress creates text blocks as you type. And if you need to add an image, audio file, a quote, or a cover, click on the plus icon at your top left.
A step-by-step guide on how to make money blogging for beginners
Your work is far from over when you have a blog. In truth, the money-making steps we are about to reveal all revolve around one thing: getting people to take the action you want.
Here’s an action plan to make money blogging:
1. Work on your content skills
What separates the best bloggers from strugglers? You bet it isn’t the theme, design, or plugins viewers are greeted with.
Ultimately, it’s the content people find on the page.
So, how can you improve your content skills and make money blogging? You need to:
- Find and write about highly discussed content in your niche
- Deliver the value people are looking for
- Master how to make your content captivating
We know these steps look like a backbreaker, but it’s a proven way to attract people to any blog. Stick to it, and you’ll see massive results.
2. Figure out how to increase your blog traffic
So, you have a great website, a badass topic, and amazing content on your page. Of course, if no one knows about it, you can’t make money from your blog. But that’s the confusing bit for many beginners. Should you get a traffic source or evangelize about your blog on social media?
In truth, there’re a lot of tricks to increasing your blog traffic, and no one is better than the other. You just have to find one that works for you.
Here are the popular options:
(i) Promote your blog yourself on social media: The whole world seems to be on social media. So, open social media pages if you really want your blog to get noticed.
At least have a Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter account for your blog. And while you’re at it, ensure these accounts all have the same design that’s consistent with your brand.
On your social media pages, you can:
- Share latest blog posts
- Reach out to influencers that can share or promote your blog
- Host a competition with an end-game to generate traffic
- Get into paid social media adverts
With whatever option you choose, ensure you use the right hashtags.
(ii) Use search engine optimization (SEO) to your advantage: People search for questions on Google all the time. But hardly anyone gets to the fifth page of results. If you want to get noticed quickly, you need to be literally at the top of your list. And how do you do that? By finding ways for your blog to rank higher, which is all SEO is about.
Things you can do on your blog pages are:
- Keyword optimization
- Internal linking
- Include metadescription, etc.
(iii) Write about news stories
There’ll always be stories relating to your niche in the news, and that’s another way to reveal your blog to readers.
For example, picture you choose fashion as your niche. When a new clothing line makes the news, you can
- Review it
- Talk to journalists
- Ask for a comment
- Give your opinion.
That way, your readers can get informed about the latest styles, and you can use it to increase your following.
(iv) Reach out to other bloggers
If your on-page SEO strategies don’t yield results, then you can reach out to bloggers that write about similar topics (but not your competition). Another blogger can help you increase your traffic through off-page SEO strategies with backlinks.
(v). Build an email list
Let’s be honest. No one likes email pop-ups. However, as someone looking to make money blogging, having an email list is an effortless way to retain and build a relationship with your readers. After all, if you can’t grow your traffic, you shouldn’t lose readers.
An email list is also one of the best ways to predict your blog’s revenue. As a rule of thumb, each subscriber should get you $1 in a month if you play your cards right.
There are several ways to send out emails. However, the best way to stay on top of your game with your email list is to use an auto-mailing service.
Getresponse is a simple tool you can use to send out automatic emails. It also has an automatic response feature if you’ve got a lot of similar mails in your inbox. Getresponse’s features go for a premium, and you can request a 30-day free trial of any of its plans.
4. Get a unique mechanism
What’s going to make you different from anyone else that reads this guide? The answer is simply your unique mechanism, which is anything special about you and your method.
For someone bloggers, their unique mechanism is the humor in their content. For others, it’s their intuitive way of explaining. Every successful blogger has one.
Developing a unique mechanism also involves finding out the money-making method that works best for you.
Top things you can do to make money blogging
For these methods to yield results, you have to think like a CEO and take your blog like a start-up.
1. Become an affiliate marketing: This is one of the top ways many successful bloggers make money blogging. Affiliate marketing simply involves helping a company sell its products or services by recommending them to customers.
As an affiliate marketer, a company can:
- Pay per sale
- Pay per lead
- Pay per click
In either case, your commission is usually a fraction of the total cost of the service or product.
How to use affiliate marketing to make money from your blog
- First, find a lucrative affiliate marketing program. Virtually every e-commerce shop has one. Most companies will provide you with links.
- Next, put these links in your blog post so they can lead readers to the brand’s product page.
A more effective method to get your readers to take action is to create a landing page for the product or service. A landing page is a standalone page for advertising or marketing. Luckily, creating one is easy. You just need a software that lets you build one, and Leadpages is a top choice.
Leadpages helps you host landing pages, so you don’t have to create a separate website. With it, you only need to drag and drop elements. Leadpages is available at an affordable price, and you can request a 14-day free trial on any of its plans.
One tactic people use with affiliate marketing is to sell products before the product is actually created. To do this, you need to:
- Create a landing page.
- Tell viewers the products are coming soon.
- Wait to check if people will order the product. If your viewers aren’t interested, then you simply refund the money.
This tactic works for identifying products that are worth promoting, measuring the its demand, and weighing the viewer’s trust in you.
2. Advertise brands
Another thing you can do to make money blogging is to sell ad space on your blog to a brand. Here’s what you need to do:
- Place the ad in a convenient space. Ensure it doesn’t affect how viewers see your content. Therefore, avoid places close to the search bar, scroll bar, or menu button. Readers get frustrated when they mistakenly click ads, and this can make them leave your blog.
- Ensure sure your readers can relate to the ad. For example, there’s hardly any use in advertising a sports-betting brand if you run a clothing blog for babies.
Usually, you’ll need to join a network to get started, and Google AdSense is one of the popular choices.
3. Sell ebooks, courses, and workshops
You should be an authority on a few topics in no time if you’ve picked the perfect niche to blog about. With this expertise, you can start and sell online courses, ebooks, and workshops. To nail this method, ensure you:
- Don’t make materials that anybody could’ve created.
- Make ebooks, workshops, and online courses that are easy to understand.
4. Consult and coach
If being a mentor is your forte, then you can also make money from blogging by coaching and consulting. The key things to note with this money-making strategy are:
- Add value to your customers.
- Have the confidence to get the job done.
5. Offer freelance services
Brands or mentees still can’t figure things out after you coach or consult for them? Get the work done instead.
Freelancing is one of the most lucrative ways to make money through blogging. However, it’s also the most intensive.
From writing, photography, programming, or designing, you can offer freelance services for virtually anything you blog about.
6. Speak at events
If your blog readers consider you an authority in what you write about, you’ll often get gigs to speak at events. This is one of the easiest ways to make money through blogging because speaking events last only a few minutes.
Successful bloggers can take home six figures from a single gig.
7. Write guest blogs
Guest blogging offers you:
- A chance to get more traffic to your blog
- Some money for your guest post
Usually, a blogger, journalist, or writer will call or email to get you to contribute to a story or make a post. However, you can also go out and get gigs yourself.
Sometimes, the best deals come when you ask for them.
8. Write sponsored posts
Some brands don’t buy into the idea of using ads to promote their work. Instead, they prefer an entire post on their products and service. This is another method you can use to make money with your blog.
Ensure you make the sponsored posts you write on social media or your blog interesting. But more importantly, reveal that it’s a sponsored post.
9. Use your blog to showcase your work to employees
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or employee, you can use your blog to indirectly add to your monthly paycheck.
Blogs are useful platforms to promote your work or products, and you can make it your online profile. Moreover, if you successfully run a blog, you can use it as proof that you have an entrepreneurial bone in you.
Mistakes bloggers make when trying to monetize their blogs
In truth, blogging isn’t a way to make fast money. Don’t also fall hook, line, and sinker for the tale that it’s a process that takes a long time. If you have a solid plan and avoid mistakes, then you should start seeing results in a short while.
As a blogger looking to make money online, here are a few pitfalls you should be on the lookout for:
1. You don’t have a target audience: If you don’t know who your target audience is, you can’t tailor your content to meet their needs. More still, knowing that your audience is ‘children’ or ‘doctors’ isn’t specific enough. You’ve got to narrow it down that you expect your audience to all have a profile.
2. Your blog is a show-off: This is a common mistake among bloggers that directly sell a product or service to readers. Nevertheless, any blogger can start thinking everything is about them and neglect their audience.
3. You’re not direct or concise with your words: If you want your readers to sign up to your mailing list, then say so. Don’t say they should click on a link for a surprise. Also, make it clear how they should take the action you desire. If there’s a button, clearly state that they should click on it.
Clarity helps in passing your message to your readers.
4. You don’t track your progress: No matter how effective your action plan is, you can still improve on it. Therefore, keep track of what works and by how much.
While the money you make is important, you should also keep tabs on other key performance metrics like time on page, bounce rate, etc.
5. You’re taking on more strategies than you can handle: For example, selling eBooks, hosting webinars, guest-writing posts, and offering freelance services all at once is too much for one blogger.
In order words, your drive to make money from your blog shouldn’t push you to use all the methods we’ve listed above. Instead, stick to one or two that work best for you.
6. You’re not aware of your competition: No one’s going to cut you some slack when you start out. Many bloggers will be in your niche, and most will target your ideal audience. To make money from blogging, you’ll need to fight off this competition using effective strategies.
7. You write too much: The whole essence of having a blog is to write about topics in your niche and use that to make some money. So, one thing your readers won’t appreciate is you bugging and wearing them out with posts. Doing so can make it look like you have ulterior motives.
For example, imagine you have an email list for your blog. Sending automatic emails weekly is great. But if your readers get an email from you every day, then you should expect your following and traffic to nose-dive.
Ensure whatever marketing, advertising, or money-making strategy you do with your blog is subtle.
FAQs on how to make money blogging
Q1. How much money do people make from blogging?
Blogging is like entrepreneurship. Some people get it right, and others don’t. In essence, the cash you can bring in from a blog depends on many factors. Ultimately, if you work consistently, you can make six figures or at least a few hundred bucks steadily.
Q2. How long does it take to start a blog and make money from it?
I’ve provided virtually everything you need to get a working blog. If you follow it to the letter, making a basic blog should take you all but 30 minutes. If you’re quick, then maybe less than half an hour. Either way, you’ll likely spend more time designing and tweaking it to meet your taste.
Afterward, it should take 3 months or less to make at least a few dollars from your blog.
Q3. What technical knowledge do you need to start a blog?
You don’t need to have any technical skills to start blogging. You should be able to carry out every step of the way yourself unless you want to create a blog from scratch without using a blogging platform.
Q4. Can you run a blog as a full-time job?
Yes, you can take blogging as more than just a hobby and turn it into a career. However, there are only a handful of full-time bloggers around.
Q5. Do you need to pay taxes on the money you make from blogging?
The IRS categorizes the money you make from blogging as self-employed income. Whether you operate it as a side hustle or a full-time job, you’ll be required to pay tax to the government.
It’s possible to make money blogging, and I’m confident I’ve shown you how in this article.
With the tools, tricks, and tips that I’ve listed for you above, you should have no problem monetizing your blog full-time or as a part-time endeavor.