How To Start A Blog That Will Make Money
Whenever I tell someone that I have a blog, they usually reply with "I've always wanted to start a blog" or "how do you actually set up a blog then?" - it's definitely something that most people have thought about doing!
But is it as simple as it sounds?
Yes. And also no.
It's relatively simple to set up a blog, even if you are not at all technically minded (trust me, I was terrified that I would never be able to set up my own website and have it looking half decent (but it's looking pretty good if I do say so myself!).
However, it's not as easy to start making money from it - you can't just chuck up a blog, type a bunch of words and expect to be a millionaire within a month. As much as some internet marketers like to try and sell us that dream, unfortunately it just doesn't happen that way!
But never fear, it IS possible to earn money from your blog, as long as you are aware that there are certain techniques to do so and recognise that you will have to put in the ground work in order to do well.
With that in mind, it can be tempting to put off starting up your blog for another day in the future, but the best day to start something new is today. Time is slipping by ever so quickly, and the sooner that you start your blog, the sooner that you can start earning money from it.
Determine What You Are Going To Write About
Your blog will need to have a general subject in mind, and although I have seen many a lifestyle blog that does well through different topics (e.g. a mum blog that also has food, fashion etc), it helps to have a narrow focus, because you want to have people remember you for something specific. So if they think "ooo I need to find out about xx" they know they can come to you. Make sense?
There are a million things that you can write about, but it's definitely helpful to bear in mind that you want to make money from the stuff that you are writing about. Are you going to be able to do so off what you are writing?
Don't be too put off though - one of the most successful bloggers I know made millions from writing about renovating camper vans.
There are tons of niches, such as:
- Personal finance (like this one!)
- Blogging (best to wait until you have some experience for this one though!)
- Interior design
And so on and so on. You can write about anything that you like - but my advice would be to make sure it's something that you're happy writing/talking about on a daily basis, and something that you can make money from. There are certain niches that do better than others in general e.g. blogging, making money, health and fitness.
If you aren't too sure about what you want to write about specifically, you can always start off writing about a few topics and then cut them down as you go - whilst it may not be the best strategy long term, you can figure out what you enjoy writing about and what works for you, and it's better to start then fret over what to write about for months.
Set Up Your Blog
This is a very common question whenever I tell people that I am a blogger - "how do you set up a blog then?" - the amount of times I hear this! It's probably 99% of the time I mention it.
I explain it briefly - you need to set up your blog on WordPress.org (not .com) and pay for blog hosting. There are a bunch of different hosts that you can get at various prices etc, but the one that I have is widely regarded as one of the best due to the fees and the speed/uptime etc.
I realise that this may all sound a bit scary, but I promise you that it's not, and it's what you need to do if you are serious about earning money from blogging. If you think about other businesses that you can set up, the start up fees will usually be way more than setting up a blog.
Instead of me waffling on about how to do it here, it's probably best that you head on over to my blog post that outlines all of it; I used screenshots for each step to help walk you through it.
If you are passionate about the subject that you are blogging about, you should be able to come up with a bunch of ideas that people would like to read about - think about things that you would search for in google on your chosen subject, and write about that.
Ok, that sounds pretty simple and there's a bit more work that goes into crafting a blog post than just that - but the best thing to do is to get started, and everyone's writing improves as they go along anyway.
How Are You Going To Earn Money Blogging?
You've set up your blog and you know that you want to make money from it, but here comes the tricky part - how you're going to do that exactly?!
There are a variety of ways that you can bring in an income from your blog, and these are generally:
You can pop some adverts on your blog, and earn money from the amount of people that click on them. You will need a lot of page views in order to get decent money from this, which is why many people wait until they get to a larger audience before introducing ads, as many readers find them off-putting - but on the other hand, if you have ads on your blog from the start, they won't be a surprise to your readers when they suddenly appear.
Good ad networks to join when you are a beginner are Google Adsense or Media.Net. Once you have larger page views you can apply to bigger networks such as Mediavine, which pay much better.
Sponsored posts are where a company wants you to write about them, and will pay you for the exposure to your audience. This is an important thing to remember, as many bloggers undercharge for their sponsored posts.
You need to remember that they are not just paying you to write a post (which by the way, takes effort and time in the first place) - but they are paying you for the influence that you have over your readers. You will have a good connection and trust with your readers, so the brand want to get in front of them.
Many bloggers have a rate card that they create and send to brands (myself included) where you can put how much you charge for specific posts etc. For example, I offer Gold, Silver and Bronze packages, with the highest fee being on the Gold package (I believe it's currently for a blog post and 3x social media sharing).
The amount that bloggers charge varies from blogger to blogger, but generally speaking, the larger audience you have (if they are engaged with your content), the more that you can charge. However, if you have a small audience don't be put off by charging what you believe you are worth.
A lot of the time brands will approach you for sponsored posts, so make sure that you are on social media, especially places like Twitter where they tend to hang out.
If you are not being approached - or even if you are - you can pitch to brands yourself for work. There are a few different ways to find the brand PR contacts, but the best tend to be to ask them directly for it on Twitter or similar, or search for them on LinkedIn.
When you reach out to them, make sure that you have an idea in mind of what you can work together on, and how it will benefit them to work with you.
Affiliates/commission/referrals - all the same thing...it's just generally referred to as affiliate marketing in blogger speak.
When there is a product or service that you recommend, a lot of the time you are able to have a personal affiliate link for it, so that when someone clicks on the link and purchases what you have recommended, you receive a small commission for pointing them towards it.
The main affiliate payments that I personally get are from recommending my blog hosting, blog theme and matched betting. If you are writing about a particular brand it's worth seeing if they have an affiliate programme - or reach out to them even if they don't and see if they are willing to create one just for you (I've had this done for me).
You don't want to recommend everything under the sun of course, and I would suggest that you only recommend things that you have used yourself.
The problem with the ways of earning money from your blog that I have mentioned above, is that they direct people away from your blog...but you really want to keep your readers on your blog, not tell them to click on a link onto someone else's site!
Therefore a great thing for you to do is to have your own products or services that readers can purchase off you such as:
- Templates (e.g. media kit, excel spreadsheets etc)
- Freelance writing
- VA services
Is It Really That Simple To Make Money On Your Blog?
I won't lie and say that you can make thousands from the get go, but I personally think that blogging is a fab way of earning extra income - and there aren't many businesses that you can start from home with such low start up costs.
You will need to put in the hard work and effort, but it's important to make sure that you don't spend 24/7 on your blog because that just isn't healthy!
Blogging isn't just about the writing (boo!), but also about marketing - you will need to share your posts onto social media so that people can find you (Pinterest is a great one to use), and you will need to give away a lot of free information and help to gain trust within your audience.
My advice would be to take the leap, work really hard on it, write the best content that you can (I only blog once a week so don't panic about the frequency, if it's good content then you'll be fine), sign up to affiliate networks and put yourself out there! You CAN make money from blogging, and there are millions who already do so - but they aren't you. We need your voice in the blogging world too!
What is your best advice for starting up a money making blog? Or are you thinking about starting one?
Other Ways To Make Extra Money Now:
- Start a blog with Siteground! This can start off as a fun side hustle, and have the potential to turn into a huge full time income (which is still fun!). Yes, you CAN make money blogging, and it's the best thing that I ever did. To get started, read my post How To Start a Blog.
- Answer simple questions on survey sites! This is a really easy money earner and I love it because I do it when I don't need to really think too much e.g. Netflix on in the background. Sign up to the best survey sites over here.
- Matched Betting - you don't need to be good at maths, it's not gambling, it's tax-free, it can be done at any time of day and earn you thousands extra per month. All explained here and you can sign up to my favourite site that will guide you through the steps.
- Mystery Shopping - I always thought these were a scam or a pain to do, until I got started! Since then, the free food and other items (e.g. clothes for me and my daughter) have convinced me otherwise! My favourite legit sites are rounded up for you here.