Looking for a guide on how to start a money making blog? You’ve come to the right place!
I’ll give you all the steps, information, and tips you need to know to start making money online with a blog.
But before I get started, let me warn you that this is not a “get rich quick” scheme of any kind. Blogging takes patience and dedication. Period. You will put in months of hard work before seeing any results or money rolling in. So, if you’re looking to make some quick cash, this is not where you should be looking. Instead, check out this post with 9 Easy Ways To Make Extra Money.
This guide is meant to be followed in the chronological order it’s been written in. It might seem a little backward and odd, I’m aware. After all, creating the actual website is the very last step! However, if you want to start making money as soon as possible, I assure you this is the best way to go about it. These steps will set you up for success with your blog.
So… let’s get started! Here is how to start a money making blog!
Disclosure: This post about how to start a money making blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of my links, I may receive a commission or credit at no additional cost to you.
Why Do You Want To Blog?
This is the first and most important question you need to answer. Your why will determine every single step of building your blog from the very beginning.
I can assume that because you clicked on this post titled “How To Start A Money Making Blog” that you are interested in starting a blog to make money. And while that is the focus of this blog post, you should know that there are certainly other reasons to start a blog, too.
Here are some common ones:
– share life experiences with family and friends
– to keep a collection of poetry or fiction writings
– for fun
– as a personal record of your life, like a diary
– to support a particular cause, such as social justice or otherwise
These are all excellent reasons! You can also blog for more than one reason, of course. I blog to make extra income and because I love to write. However, the main reason I started Life Lived Curiously was to make money in addition to my full-time job.
I strongly suggest determining whether you hope or expect blogging to be an extra source of income from the onset. That way, you can set up your blog correctly before it goes live. You can decide later on that you want to try monetizing your blog, but this could involve some serious extra work to switch up the purpose of your website.
So, if you DO want to make money blogging, keep reading! If that’s not a top priority for you, you can also keep reading, as I’m sure you’ll learn something new! But, this may not be the best resource for you.
How Can You Make Money From Blogging?
There are many ways to make money from blogging! This section goes hand in hand with the next section – selecting your blog niche. Certain niches lend themselves to be more successful with certain money-making strategies.
Everything has advertising these days. You can’t visit a website or watch a video without having to endure some form of advertising. This website has ads displayed. Scroll up or down a few paragraphs, and you’ll come across an ad. I get paid for every impression the ads on my website receive. The more views my website gets, the more money I make.
The downside to this method is that you need a lot of website views to make real, substantial money. By a lot, I mean I didn’t start making over $1 per day until I reached an average of 200 daily website views. 200 may not seem like very much, but when you’re just starting out, it’s a lot! It took me over an entire year of blogging to reach that point.
To display ads on your website, you have to apply and get accepted into an ad network. There are many ad networks out there – some pay significantly more than others. However, the higher-paying networks have strict page view minimums to get accepted.
I started out using Google AdSense, which is one of the easiest networks to get into. After reaching the minimum page view requirements, I applied to Mediavine. Mediavine is one of the highest paying ad networks out there for small or individual bloggers. Their current minimum to apply is 50,000 website sessions in the last 30 days.
I got accepted into Mediavine in May 2020. Currently, I make over $600 per month by having Mediavine ads on Life Lived Curiously!
Affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to make money blogging. The basic premise is that you promote a product that you use and love in a blog post. If someone purchases that product through your unique link, you get a percentage of money from the sale.
The way to get these unique links that give you credit for a sale is by joining an affiliate network. Each network has certain companies that partner with them to give publishers (bloggers or content creators)w access to affiliate links. So, by joining one network, you can have access to hundreds of companies to promote!
A sponsored post is when a company pays you to write a blog post featuring their product or service. Some companies have minimum requirements before they will partner with you. If there’s a brand you really love, try reaching out to them with an idea!
Selling A Product
Selling a product is a great way to make money from your blog. Most bloggers that choose this method opt to create a digital product to sell, like an ebook or online course.
Select Your Blog Niche
What do you want to write about? If you already know, you can skip this section. However, if you’re still unsure what niche you want to focus your blog on, it’s important to figure that out.
A niche is a specific topic or subject area that you’ll be focusing your blog content around. Some are very broad, such as lifestyle. Some are very specific, like keto-friendly weight loss recipes and tips.
How To Pick Your Niche
I’ve read a lot of conflicting advice on selecting a niche. Most people suggest getting into a niche you absolutely love and are passionate about. I don’t agree with this advice if your main goal of blogging is to make money. To make money with your blog, you need to pick a profitable niche.
What do I mean by this? A niche that lends itself to making money with the methods described above. Let me explain with a personal story about how I started blogging.
I had always wanted to start a serious blog. Blogging article after blogging article I read recommended focusing on my passions. At that time (and still now!), I was extremely passionate about libraries. They’re my happy place, I love to read, and I’ve always wanted to be a librarian.
So, following the advice of so many successful bloggers before me, I started a blog about libraries. I started The Library Diary in October of 2018 to get non-librarians interested in learning and caring about libraries.
By March 2019, I was out of content ideas. Plus – news flash – barely anyone wants to read about libraries!! So “following my passion” left me with a dozen blog posts, no way to monetize my website, no dedicated readers, and barely anything to show for 6 months of hard work.
Looking back, there are many things I would do differently to make The Library Diary more successful. However, those changes would not be able to fix the most colossal issue that blog had – the niche. I went into blogging to make money, and I essentially picked a profit-resistant niche. Think about it… I was informing my readers about a service that provides free books, movies, music, and computer/internet access.
Even if I had posted affiliate links for books or DVDS, who would buy them when they can borrow them for free from the very public institution I was so passionate about promoting? So… that left me with ads and sponsored posts, both of which you need an established audience of readers to make money from.
Long story short, you need to seriously examine how much opportunity to make money exists in each niche you’re considering. Doing that would’ve saved me both money and time at the onset of my blogging journey. Don’t make the same mistake as me!
What Niches Are Profitable?
So, this brings us to the next logical question – what niches are in fact profitable? What blogging topics lend themselves to making the most money?
Here are some popular and sure-fire money-making blog niches:
– Health and/or Fitness
– Making Money Online
– Fashion and/or Makeup
– Personal Finance
These are just some possibilities. I plan on writing a guide to profitable niches soon, but in the meantime if you need more information or ideas, I suggest checking out Pinterest. It is a treasure trove of both helpful (and non-helpful) blogging information. However, once you click on a few links, you’ll soon be able to discern which websites are credible.
*Here’s one last important note about selecting your blog niche!* While money-making potential should be your #1 factor to consider, there are a couple other things you should also think about.
1. Pick a topic you have at least some knowledge about. Knowledge and tangible results builds up trust within your audience. Readers who trust you are more likely to: purchase your product recommendations, buy your digital products, and come back to your website for more information later on. If you choose a topic you know nothing about, it will require a ton of research on your part, in addition to being more difficult to write in a convincing fashion (that builds trust).
2. Pick a topic you at least somewhat enjoy. The importance of this will depend on your own personality. If all goes well, you will be writing about the niche you pick for years to come. If you don’t mind writing about something you’re not interested in if it makes you money, then more power to you. However, if you’re like myself and prefer to learn more about things you’re already interested in, then pick a niche you at least somewhat enjoy. Spending your free time writing and promoting your blog will certainly seem like less of a chore if you go this route! Trust me.
Learn The Basics Of SEO
I highly suggest learning at least the basics of SEO before starting your blog. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. In regular people’s terms, it means designing your blog and writing your posts in a way that make them more likely to pop up in search engine (aka Google or Bing) results.
Having good SEO on your website will get you more page views. Period. If you decide to skip this step, you’ll eventually come back to it in the future. At that time, you’ll already have many blog posts and an up-and-running website that will all need to be updated. Learning about SEO now will save you having to completely re-do your work in the future.
You can find a TON of SEO resources on Google and Pinterest for free, however it can certainly be confusing in the beginning. Many websites dive straight into the technical jargon, which can be tough to understand as a beginner.
If you’re willing to invest a little in a paid course, I 100% recommend the SEO For Bloggers ebook by Nele van Hout. Not only does it explain SEO in understandable terms, but it provides actionable advice to improve your blog and posts!
Write 10 Blog Posts
Okay, this might seem a little out of order, I get it. But I think this is a great way to jump-start your blog before it’s even launched! It’s a smart idea to have 5-8 posts already up on your website when you have it go live. This way, when someone visits your blog in the beginning, they have more than 1 article to read.
I suggest brainstorming as many blog post ideas as you can. Sit down for an hour and use a pen and paper to write down everything you can think of. Pick 12-15 ideas to start writing out into full-length blog posts. Finish at least 8 of them, and you’ll have an awesome foundation of articles to start your blog with.
If you have trouble getting this far, then it might be a good idea to reevaluate your niche selection. It’s SO much easier to change niches before having an actual website! This exercise is a good litmus test to try out before you buy a domain and fully setup your blog.
Create Engaging Social Media Accounts
Making connections is a great way to generate buzz about your blog before it’s even launched! The platforms I would absolutely suggest starting up are Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
Pinterest is actually considered a visual search engine, not a social media platform. But either way, as a blogger, you NEED to get on Pinterest as soon as possible. If you can get your account up and going before you have a live website, it will only jump start your growth once you have your own articles to promote.
I personally get 93 % of all website traffic directly from Pinterest! That’s HUGE! So, without Pinterest, my blog would basically be non-existent at this point. I learned everything about Pinterest from 2 different online courses. If you want to seriously grow your Pinterest account as fast as possible (which you should!), investing in an online course is totally worth it. It’s the quickest way to learn Pinterest best practices. You could certainly try to experiment and figure out what works best on your own, but that could take a while.
The first course I took was the Big Pin Energy Guide. This course gives you step by step instructions on how to set up and optimize your Pinterest account. The guide focuses on manual pinning strategies, which can be extremely effective. Manual pinning is when you post pins directly through Pinterest, and don’t use a third-party scheduler (like Tailwind). Manual pinning grew my blog to getting over 25,000 sessions per month, which allowed me to get accepted into Mediavine.
The second course I took more recently was Pinterest With Ell. This course focuses mostly on Pinterest strategies using Tailwind, the Pinterest scheduler. Since I rely on Pinterest for so much blog traffic, I found myself spending hours per day manually pinning. I barely had any time to create new content! That’s when I decided to invest in Tailwind. Pinterest With Ell gives you everything you need to know to grow you Pinterest account with Tailwind!
Twitter has an awesome blogging community! You can connect with bloggers from around the world both within and outside of your niche. I like interacting on Twitter because there is simply unmatched engagement with other users. It’s so easy to chat with other bloggers and your readers. If you’re not sure where to start, go to my Twitter profile here and look at who I’m following.
Facebook is the best way to get your friends and family interested in your blog. I have yet to find a successful strategy to grow my Facebook page to have followers outside of my personal Facebook friends. However, I also haven’t spent a lot of time on trying to figure it out. I still recommend making a Facebook page for your blog, as certain article-types (recipes and personal stories) do well.
Setup Your Self-Hosted Website
It’s finally time to setup your website! FINALLY!
Since your end goal is to make money from your blog, it’s extremely important to use a self-hosted platform. What does that mean? In very simple terms, a self-hosted blog is one that’s hosted on a third-party server. This means that the data of your website is stored separately from the actual platform you create your blog on.
For example, this website is built using WordPress.org (I’m sure you’ve heard of it). But, my actual website is hosted by a company called Bluehost. I pay a yearly fee to use the server space my website takes up – kind of like rent. In comparison, if you use a free blog platform, such as Wix.com, your website is hosted by Wix. Additionally, your domain name will have “.wix.com” in it.
Without getting too technical, the reason you need a self-hosted blog is because you can’t make much (if any) money with a free one. Plain and simple. You need access to the back-end code to be able to display ads on your website. Additionally, many free blog sites don’t allow affiliate links.
Steps to Setting Up A Self-Hosted Blog
1. Buy A Domain
The domain name of a blog is usually the blog’s name. Sometimes it’s a variation of the blog name because the desired domain was already taken. When deciding what domain name to buy, make sure to type it out all smushed together like it will show up in the address bar. This way, you’ll see if there’s any weird spellings without any spaces between the words.
There are many places you can buy your website domain. If you sign up for Bluehost, you get your first year of domain name usage for free!
Even though I know you will, try not to sweat too much about your blog and domain name. If you have great content, no one will care what your blog is named. Seriously! I spent waaayyyy too long fretting over a name for my blog, and no one besides me has ever cared what it’s named.
2. Sign Up For A Blog Host
If you haven’t figured it out already, I totally recommend using Bluehost! In a year and a half of using them, I’ve never had any issues. Their customer service is excellent, and it’s extremely easy to connect your domain to WordPress.
Use this link for Bluehost to get 1 year free for your domain name and your first year of hosting for only $3.95/month!
3. Connect It To WordPress
There are several platforms you can use to design your website. WordPress.org is definitely the most popular, and it’s what I use for Life Lived Curiously. It’s easy to navigate, and you don’t have to know how to code in order to build a website! Because it’s such a popular platform, there are tons of tutorials online for just about any problem you might come across. Plus, like I said above, it’s as easy as just one click to connect your domain to WordPress with Bluehost.
I do not have any experience with other self-hosted website platforms, so if you’re interested in finding other options, you’ll need to do some searching of your own.
4. Find A Theme
If you do choose to go with WordPress, you’ll need to find a theme. A theme is basically a template for your website design. Because all of the back end, technical processes are done by the developers, there’s no need to code anything when you have a theme!
There are both free and paid themes. If you’re unsure how committed you’ll be to blogging, or don’t know exactly how you want your website to look like, it’s a good idea to start off with a free theme. Themes do require a little bit of work to change, but it’s definitely doable. However, if you are full-in with your blog from the start, I suggest purchasing a premium theme. Paid themes have more features and customization options than free themes.
My favorite place to find themes is Theme Forest by envatomarket. They have hundreds of WordPress themes to browse, have an easily navigable website, and always have links to demo websites so you can see what the themes look like in action. I got my theme for Life Lived Curiously from Theme Forest!
5. Get Designing!
You’re Ready To Start Blogging
Congratulations, your blog is now set up! Now, the hard work begins.
My biggest tip for building a successful and money making blog is to be consistent and DON’T GIVE UP! It will be hard in the beginning and you’ll probably question if all the time and effort will ever be worth it. Well, if you stick with it and keep working hard, it certainly will be worth it.
I can’t even count how many times I decided to “quit” blogging. During my first year, I constantly felt discouraged. I focused too much on the numbers – not enough blog views, not enough Pinterest clicks, not enough people following me on Twitter. You’ll probably have the same thoughts at some point.
I stopped blogging for a week every so often. One time I even went over a month without posting anything. But, the key to my success is that I never actually gave up completely. I always eventually came to my senses and got back on the grind.
My dedication and willingness to put in hard work with little reward during my first year of blogging has completely paid off! Life Lived Curiously now consistently brings in over $700 per month from ads and affiliate marketing, and I plan to keep working hard to grow that number. My goal is to blog full-time and not have to rely on a regular job for income. I know I’ll get there eventually! You can too if you stay consistent and don’t give up. Trust the process.
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to start a money making blog. This is my first post about blogging, but I plan to write many more helpful articles in the near future. In the mean time, if you have any questions about blogging, please reach out to me! You can message me on Twitter or Facebook, or just shoot an email to email@example.com and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can!