It seems like everybody these days wants to make money blogging or running their own website.
A student of my Keys to Freedom Course recently sent me an email.
I’ll call him Rocko. Rocko asked:
“G, I’m making money by doing what you’ve said, but I have some questions about stage three of the course, which involves building my own site and reaching the wider marketplace. How do I go about it and what is the secret to success? Is it really, actually possible to start a money making blog?”
I explained to Rocko that all of his questions would be answered in part three of the course, but the email did give me a brainwave – I could write a post on AoS showing people how to start their own money making blog.
The answer is, yes, it is very possible to start a money making blog, but it isn’t gong to happen overnight and it isn’t easy, which is why 90% of crybabies who try and fail call the ebooks and courses teaching them how to do it a scam. They want to be Donald Trump in a month, and it just isn’t happening so they quit.
There are a thousand and one blog posts titled “Make money blogging” and “Start a money making blog”, but every single one of them will tease you, tantalize you and draw you in, then ask you to buy the ebook to find out more. While I do offer a course on making money online, it isn’t about blogging per se, but rather it’s about working online for extra cash as a Freelancer. Blogging constitutes a fair portion of my online income, and the section about blogging in the course is small compared to the rest.
So, without further ado, I’m going to show you how to make money blogging. I’ll also provide all the evidence you need to show you how I have done it myself. It’s far from a scam or con, and if you aren’t in one the digital media revolution, you are missing out on the gold rush of the new millennium.
Step 1: Believe In Your Idea
This is where 90% of bloggers fail or get discouraged.
You don’t have to be Mark Zuckerberg and come up with an idea that’s going to make you billions of dollars. The likelihood of that happening is somewhere below a fraction of a percent. Unless you are either a genius or extremely lucky, you aren’t going to become a billionaire, or even likely a millionaire, through blogging. You don’t need a revolutionary new idea to make money with a blog. You just need a good idea, common sense, and a fresh perspective or voice. You also don’t need to make a billion dollars – making an extra $1000-$5000 per month will make a huge difference in your life and is possible for most decent bloggers in their second or third year.
I own 4 blogs, and not a single one of them is revolutionary. All the subjects I write on have been written before, what makes them generate cash is the fact that I write with a unique voice, in my own style, from a different perspective. I’m not the first to write about men’s fitness, self-improvement, and lifestyle, and I won’t be the last. The difference is I didn’t copycat other successful blogs in this genre, I just wrote as G, my readership grew, my traffic increased, and I started making a few hundred bucks every month or so. Nothing extraordinary in that and it could easily be replicated by most people with common sense and a little business savvy!
It’s best, though, to pick an idea you are interested in writing about. Blogging is a very long game, and if you don’t have the interest or desire, you aren’t going to make it. It took my 2 years to make a single penny from the Art of Selfhood, but I’ve watched that change slowly but surely, and when I came up with my own product to fit the blog’s audience and solve a problem for them, I started making enough to pay some of my bills.
Interest is the key. I would still write on AoS if I didn’t generate a single dollar. I love this niche and I enjoy the emails I get from my readers and people who have told me how a post changed their perspective or how they made positive changes in their lives as a result of reading the blog. I enjoy that element of blogging just as much as making cash because it makes me feel that my work matters and I have made some positive contribution to the world, even if it isn’t on any grand scale (yet).
If you take one idea away from this post, let it be this one. You won’t make it if you don’t have a passion or at least a genuine interest in what you’re writing about. Your readers will sense it, and you won’t have the endurance to make it in the long run.
If you love to travel, write about travel. If you are a runner, write about running. If you make money playing the stock market, write about that! Don’t try to fake it, because your writing will show you up every time.
Step 2: Just Write From Your Heart for a Year
Forget about making money for a year (minimum). You should have some sort of long-term business plan for your blog, like selling an affiliate product or creating your own information product, and it can often help to have some ideas even before you begin, but by far the best strategy is to just write and forget all about the money for at least a year.
I already touched on the fact that it took me two years to make any money from the Art of Selfhood. Be honest with yourself – are you willing to write for two entire years, paying for your domain and hosting, without making money? If the answer is no, don’t start. If the answer is yes, don’t hesitate, for if you have any talent or skill whatsoever, you will succeed at making money from your blog with this sort of perseverance.
Another thing new bloggers overly concern themselves with is SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It involves researching keywords and inserting them into your texts so people on Google can find your site. It has its place, but not in the beginning. Nobody is going to find your site on Google until you are very well established, so while you might pay some attention to SEO, you really don’t need to worry too much about it in the first year.
Step 3: Forge Alliances with Other Bloggers
Blogging is a little like networking in the real world, you’ll need to forge alliances and make yourself known to the community you are participating in by writing. Guest posting on other blogs, or just providing useful, insightful comments in general will attract new readers, some of whom will like what they see, decide to stick around, and become loyal readers. Later when you decide to sell something many of them will support you just as a way of saying thanks for all the content over the years, but you should always be aiming to serve up a product which is actually useful to your audience and will help them solve a problem or get what they want from life.
If other established bloggers do decide to link back to your blog, you’ll notice your search engine traffic picks up. I’ve seen this time and time again as I’ve reached out to other blogs within the men’s lifestyle niche. While some guest posts had a negligible impact, some made a huge difference. One tripled my traffic for a solid week.
Step 4: Sell Something & Persist
This is the final step in making money through blogging. You shouldn’t even be thinking about selling something until you have established yourself, have 100+ quality articles for your readers to enjoy, and have built a decent following of loyal readers.
Once you have done the legwork, it’s time to reap your rewards. When you sell a product, make absolutely sure it delivers value and helps your readers achieve a goal in some way. If you rip anyone off and under deliver, you will lose a reader for life and your reputation will suffer in the long term. You don’t want to work for 2 or more years and then burn the whole edifice of what you’ve built to the ground for a lousy payout. You’ve got to deliver over and above the quality of your everyday posts, so the customer feels delighted with what they’ve bought.
You’ll also notice that like anything online, blogging is a numbers game. While stores in the real world may convert most people who walk into a sale, online businesses are different because many are just stumbling through, not looking for anything in particular. Someone who walks into a 7-11 with a hunger to satisfy is a whole different ball game from someone browsing through the web while bored at work or to relax in the evening. You can expect a 2-3% conversion if you’re really great, your product is stellar and your copy is flawless. Therefore, the more readers you have, the more money you’ll make. It’s basic math.
This is actually a great business model because success in blogging tends to compound. As you refine your craft and create better and better posts, you’ll attract more and more traffic and this will lead to more and more sales. This is deeply motivating and you’ll find that the more money you make from your blog, the more great content you’ll want to produce! It’s the exact opposite of having a job where your results aren’t tied directly to your performance and you can get away with coasting. In the world of blogging, excellent work pays, and getting paid makes you want to produce more excellent work.
From time to time, as you get better at this, you’ll have what I like to call a ‘hit’. A hit is a blog post which sends a gigaton of traffic to your blog, and leads to a wave of money. Here’s an example of a couple of times my sites had hits:
I had a huge traffic spike at the beginning of 2016 when one of my most popular articles went viral and the site took 7,300 hits in a week. This may not seem big to the kings of blogging out there, but when you consider that at that point it was 4 months traffic by normal standards, you can begin to see how exciting your first taste of success as a blogger will be, and how a spike like this can lead to a whopping influx of sales, if you have your product set up to sell.
This also gives you confidence, and will cause you to create more hits. I’ve had a few more since on Aos, and if you look at the traffic as of March 2016 and compare it to all of the traffic in the previous year:
We’re only 2.5 months in and my traffic has outdone the traffic I got last year by 250%. That’s what it takes to win in the blogging game. You have to push through the first lonely and unsuccessful few years, and then you’ll start to have hits and successes. While my blog may be tiny compared to the likes of Start Gaining Momentum and other massive blogs, I am still rising rapidly and seeing the rewards.
Every once in a while you’ll see this:
On another of my beloved blogs, I scored a whopping 44,000 visitors in a single week. The downside? This was a brand new site which I had just moved across to WordPress, and I didn’t have any products set up. I missed hundreds of potential sales, but hey, the confidence boost was immense and I’ve had big successes on that blog since.
FAQ’s About Making Money Blogging
Q. There are so many other people doing what I want to do. I’m afraid the market is saturated.
A. Every market where there’s money to be made is saturated. The good news is, you don’t need the whole pie to be very comfortable financially. Just a sliver of the health industry would make you a multi-millionaire and just a nibble of the online gaming and gambling industries would buy you a Bentley and a mansion.
Do something different within an already saturated niche and watch the traffic come to you. If you’re alredy an expert you’ll get there lot faster.
Q. I am a good writer but I suck at designing websites. What should I do?
I always recommend you host with Bluehost and install 1-Click WordPress. It couldn’t be easier and I wish I had known about it from day 1 as it would have saved me literally endless headaches. There are plenty of templates to choose from to suit every kind of site, and you can easily redesign things by dragging, dropping and clicking. It’s so easy a 5 year old could do it.
Q. What does it cost to run a blog?
A. If you listen to my advice and go with Bluehost, it will cost you as little as $3.95 a month for their basic package. They will also allow you to host unlimited sites through that package, and you can upgrade as you get more and more traffic. Unless you are getting tens of thousands of hits a day, you most likely won’t need to. If you manage that within the first year, contact me without hesitation 😉
Q. What ways can a person make money blogging?
A. If you have colossal traffic you can make money through ads. If you don’t it’s a waste of time.
The two best ways to make money from a blog are affiliate sales and creating your own product. With affiliate sales you get a slice when you help someone sell their product, and through creating your own product you get to keep it all. Start with the former, end with the latter.
Q. What sort of traffic do I need to see before I start making cash?
A. It really depends on the genre. Some people create super-niche hobby sites with only a few thousand visitors a month and make thousands of bucks. Some people have broader, more general sites with tens of thousands of hits and don’t make as much as the specialized sites. Of course, some broader sites make their owners rich, too, so don’t discount them.
It all depends on your audience. Who are they? What do they want? Do they have extra income to spend on products online?
Aim for a 0.5% or 1% conversion rate to keep your expectations realistic. That should give you an estimate of the traffic you need & the price you need to charge for your product to make the kind of cash you desire.
Q. Which host is best?
A. I have hosted with Wix and WordPress.com and they are both frustrating in the long run when you want to implement advanced level settings. Use Bluehost and install WordPress with 1 click. It’s too easy and everything I did before that was a waste of time.
Do not be intimidated by the idea of hosting on a third party host like Bluehost, it is a lot easier than you think and they make it that way because they want your business. They will also talk you through every step if you get lost (if you get lost in a 1 click install, you should perhaps not blog).
Q. How much do you make from Blogging, G?
A. Unless you’re the taxman, that’s none of your damned business! Let’s just say blogging couldn’t yet buy me a Bentley, but it sure as heck makes breathing a lot easier and I am 100% certain that if the current trajectory continues, I’ll be fairly wealthy, fairly soon.
Make Money Blogging Summary
Making money by blogging isn’t for everyone. You’ve got to have a voice, something to say, skill and most importantly perseverance to succeed.
Nobody can do this for you. You’ll be putting yourself out there in front of the world to be sized up, compared and judged. It isn’t easy and it can be a lonely road.
Anyone who tells you that you can make tens of thousands blogging in no time is lying. It takes years to get to that level, if you ever get there at all.
Then again, as the old saying goes If you’re not in, you can’t win.
Get started blogging today. Any questions you have, feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to answer.
Desire. Decide. Persist.