Money

How to Start a Blog in 2021: Actually Boost Your Income

25 min read  ∎  Updated: February 16, 2021
Uday Tank
Uday Tank
Head of Content @ Hurryworld (or, in plain English, I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is EPIC).
Content Guide

Back in 2014, two friends were introduced to blogging. One went the way of health and fitness blogging
and the other, lifestyle.

While researching the business, they learnt that while it was possible to start with $0, it was better if they invested a few dollars. One of them saw sense in the advice and took out a loan to build, grow, and market his blog. But the other guy – who was scared of loans – went the way of zero-dollar investment.

A year later, the former started reaping the dividends of his investment in the form of thousands in traffic and six-figure earnings.

Unfortunately for the other guy, he was completely out of the blogging industry. Low traffic, low earnings, and low conversions represented the highlights of his blogging career.

“If only I knew,” he muttered to himself.

Did you know that you can make as much as $1m annually from blogging?

Trust me; I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen people do it time and again.

Although I can’t start mentioning all their names, you can find a few names that come to mind in the table below.

These are blogs and success stories that inspire people to become bloggers. These superstar bloggers continue to inspire others to this day – and they have kept beginner bloggers motivated to not give up
whenever it got tough, especially in the early days.

I hope their numbers inspire you to start a blog today.

Note: numbers are based on my own personal research of the highest-earning bloggers of 2021.

If you, too, would like to be like these guys, all you have to do is read this post till the end.

Why are you starting a blogging business?

Before you think about starting a blog, you need to know why you want to do it.

Remember, people do things for different reasons – and blogging is no exception.

For example, some people do it to make money, to create an audience around a topic they’re passionate about, to build a professional resume, or to enhance their writing skills.

what are your main motivations for blogging

Source: GrowthBadger

Once you understand the “why,” it will be almost impossible to back out of the business until you’ve accomplished that purpose.

How to Start a Blog: A 5-Step Guide

1. Planning Your Blog

Planning your blog

The first step in the process is planning.

Grab a pen and paper, or create a note in your notepad/tablet/smartphone and start planning your blog.

What do you want to blog about?

That question seems like a pretty straightforward one. But, trust me, it takes some people months to figure it out.

Many people who want to start a blog struggle to decide on what to write about. With so many possible topics to explore, it can be difficult making your mind up about one.

To help you out, here are some simple tips to follow:

  • Consider your passions. You can get an idea by following your passion. This could be football, entertainment, travel, fashion, adult content, etc.
  • Consider the blogs you read and think about the content that is missing from them. Examine those blogs you frequent to see whether there are some things you’d like to read which aren’t there.
  • Teach everything you know. You can take a hint from that particular thing you know so much about.
  • Focus on presenting solutions to problems. Look around you at your office, household, family, pets, society, politics, lifestyle, the products you use, etc. Identify problems, and start blogging about their solutions.

What category/niche does that fall into?

Using the tips above, I believe you must have some ideas popping into your min right now.

What category/niche does this idea fall into?

That’s your blogging niche!

Generally speaking, the figure below shows some of the most common blogging niches.

101 blog niches

Monetization potential of your blog niche:

It’s not enough to just choose a blog niche (what you want to blog about). You need to be sure you’re choosing something that will fetch you money.

To know which blog niche will fetch you the most money, consider the three factors below. Any blog niche that ticks all three boxes is what you should blog about.

1. Audience revenue potential

The audience revenue potential of a given niche is how much the audience in that niche is willing to spend to solve their pain points.

Like it or not, not all niches have willing audiences when it comes to spending money.

The sports niche is one where audiences are usually reluctant to spend money. The dating niche, on the other hand, is known to attract audiences that are happy to spend.

Generally, in order to know whether the niche you’ve chosen has a great audience revenue potential, simply check whether it falls in the category of the most profitable blog niches.

Note: There are big, popular niches that have been around for years and that can make a lot of money. These niches are known to be traditionally profitable.

The figure below highlights some of these niches.

best blogging niches graph

Source: The Blog Millionaire Podcast

Other traditionally profitable blog niches include:

  • Health & Fitness
  • DIY & Crafts
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Dating

2. Is there an opportunity to target businesses?

Does the niche you’re choosing have the potential to target businesses? Businesses have larger bank accounts than individuals and are more likely to pay you without hesitation.

If you choose a niche that allows you to target individuals and businesses, your chances of making money will increase drastically.

Thankfully, all the traditionally profitable niches we’ve mentioned above offer you this opportunity.

For example, if you’re blogging about travel, you can write blog posts targeting individual travel (holidays, vacations, getaways) and business travel (group travel, business meeting travel, businesses sending employees abroad, etc.).

3. Affiliate marketing potential

Affiliate marketing is another tactic that bloggers use to make money.

In affiliate marketing, a blogger (called the affiliate) accepts links from a brand or business owner to advertise their products on his blog. Then, in return for this publicity, the brand pays the affiliate a certain sum (commission) based on the number of referrals generated through the links on the affiliate’s blog.

affiliate marketing potential

Source: larryludwig.com

However, not all blogging niches are created equal when it comes to affiliate marketing.

While some niches pay bloggers a huge sum in terms of affiliate marketing commissions, others pay them peanuts.

I’m sure you’re not looking to make peanuts.

So, when choosing a niche, you need to ensure it’s one that pays bloggers (affiliates) well.

The figure below shows some affiliate marketing niches that pay bloggers handsomely.

Source: jellymetrics.com

To join an affiliate program in your chosen niche, simply follow these steps:

  • Figure out the companies or brands offering affiliate programs in your niche and apply on their websites.
  • If you're accepted, you'll be given a unique link (affiliate link). Find a way to fit this link into your blog content.

When a user clicks on the affiliate link in your blog content, the brand/company will pay you a commission for the action performed.

Note: All the traditionally profitable niches we mentioned earlier are also good affiliate marketing niches.

Brainstorm some blog name ideas:

I believe you now have a clear idea of what you want to blog about.

Think of some names that fit this idea.

Logically, these should be names that explain what the blog is about at first glance.

Brainstorm at least five names and write them somewhere. (More on what to do with the names later.)

Note: If you cannot think of any good names, go to a platform like Fiverr.com and hire a freelancer to help you brainstorm new blog name ideas. They shouldn’t charge you more than $5 for it.

Identify your blog goals:

Finally, when planning your blog, you’ll put into writing the things you want to achieve with the blog.

If you want to make money with it, have a clear monetary goal, which can be $10k or $1m per annum.

If you want to use it to make an impact on a group of people, set your sight on a specific number – maybe 100 people per month or more.

In order to be more pragmatic with your approach, you can use the SMART criteria guidelines – Specific,
Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Smart meaning in detail

Source: hydratemarketing.com

As a hypothetical example, you can have something like:

  • Perfect and launch my blog on February 16.
  • Publish up to ten blog posts of 1,000+ words by March 16.
  • Publish five guest posts by April 11.
  • Get as many sign-ups on my email list as possible.
  • Network with a minimum of five affiliate brands by April 30.
  • By the end of my first year of blogging, I must hit at least the $100k annual revenue mark.
  • See to it that my blog attracts up to 5,000 visitors/month starting from April 16

2. Setting Up Your Blog

setting up your blog

Now that you’re done with planning, let’s get to the real work.

Not too long ago, it took a tech-savvy person to create or understand the process of creating a website. Back then, even if you weren’t a web developer or designer, you had to understand a thing or two about website development to own a site.

Nowadays, things are much easier.

With so many articles (like this one) and materials scattered all over the internet, anyone can DIY their own website.

For those who don't have the time or who want a highly sophisticated site, you can choose to hire a web developer.

The choice is all yours.

That said, below are all the options you have as far as creating your blog is concerned.

1. Website Builders

The easiest way to create your blog is to use a website builder. Website builders are platforms that offer "pre-designed site creation tools."

In simple terms, they give you a couple of templates to build your site with. Just select one and edit it to your taste. Voila!

These services tend to offer either free or paid versions. As you might guess, the free option comes with a ton of limitations.

Generally, blogs built with a website building platform are best for hobbyists.

If you're looking to make money from blogging, this is not the type of blog you want to create.

That said, there are various popular website builders among these, such as Wix.com, Squarespace.com, Weebly.com, and Wordpress.com.

2. WordPress.ORG CMS (Content Management System)

You’ve probably heard about WordPress before now.

WordPress is a content management software that allows you to create a responsive and SEO-friendly blog.

Note: There is a huge difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While the former is a website building platform (similar to Wix and Squarespace), the latter is a content management software.

It offers you free and premium themes and plugins to create and customize your blog.

Unlike the website building option, WordPress.org CMS blogs are great for money-making purposes.

This is one of the best methods to create your blog.

What are WordPress themes?

According to WPBeginner.com, "a theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets used to define the appearance and display of a WordPress powered website.”

What are WordPress plugins?

Have you ever visited a regular blog that has eCommerce features? I mean a blog where you can read blog posts, and at the same time, buy things.

Have you ever visited a regular blog that has eCommerce features? I mean a blog where you can read blog posts, and at the same time, buy things.

In itself, a blog is not an eCommerce platform. But with the aid of an eCommerce plugin, a site owner can turn their blog into a marketplace.

Simply put, plugins are tools that allow you to increase the functionality of your blog.

3. Hire a website developer

The last method of building a blog site is by hiring a website developer or website development company. When you hire these types of people to build your website, they will also most likely use HTML/CSS/Programming, WordPress.org (Content Management System), or a website builder to build your blog.

However, the option they'll use will depend on:

  • The purpose of your blog: whether you want a hobby blog (website builder) or a blog you can monetize (HTML/CSS/Programming/WordPress.org).
  • Your budget: How much you're willing to spend.
  • The type of control you wish to have: whether you want to be in total control of your site (HTML/CSS/Programming), or you want your site to exist via someone's platform (WordPress.org).
Building a blog from scratch by hiring a web developer:

In truth, this is by far the costliest option, as it means you outsource the job to a professional web designer who you'll have to pay.

Keep in mind that you are only paying for the design here. You will also have to pay to have the website hosted, to have content created (or do it yourself) and to manage the website going forward.

The more you outsource these tasks, the more "hands-off" you become. You also wind up paying more. Of course, you do get professional results, and for people who want nothing to do with a website, throwing money at the issue can be a satisfying solution.

How much does it cost to hire a web developer to help you develop your blog?

Having researched a couple of web designer fees in the industry, this is what we found out.

  • $250-650: You get up to 5 web pages, along with proper content
    management.
  • $650-1,300: This boasts the usual content management system. But in addition, you'll also get other integrations like social media, Google My Business, Google Maps, and Google Analytics.
  • $1,300-3,250: Includes all the functionalities we mentioned above plus eCommerce features.
  • $3,250-13,000: This is usually the price range for creating password-restricted sites.
  • $13k+: A high-end website with bespoke functionality

Note: Depending on the web development company, these costs can sometimes include:

  • Only site development (coding) or site development (coding) and design (themes, layouts, UX, etc.).
  • All phases of development, including web development/design, web hosting, domain name, content creation, and overall site management.

Before you agreed to work with a developer/designer, be sure to ask them about all the areas that will be covered.

Although you're leaving the entirety of your blog creation process in the hands of a developer, there are a few things you'll have to do yourself.

These include:

1. Deciding the type of web hosting to use

You can choose from 4 main types of web hosting:

  • Shared Hosting (average price = $2.49 – $15/month): this is the type of hosting in which your site is on the same server as several other sites. Generally speaking, shared hosting is best for people dipping their toes in the waters of the internet , like YOU.
shared hosting

Source: Hostgator.com

  • Cloud hosting (average price = $4.50 – $240 per month)

This is a type of hosting that doesn't take place on one physical server. Instead, it happens over a number of connected servers that form together to make up "the cloud."

Usually, cloud hosting makes it easier for your website to scale up as needed. It also aids faster load times, which is good for site rankings on search engines (SEO). It's generally best for those sites that cannot afford even a few hours of downtime.

Cloud hosting

Source: Hostgator.com

  • Virtual Private Servers ( average price $20 – $80 per month)

VPS is quite similar to shared hosting in that you'll still be on the same server as a number of other sites.

However, the portion of the server which you rent will be partitioned from the rest.

This means that your site won't be slowed down or affected by the activities of the other sites on the same server (as we commonly experience with shared hosting).

VPS web hosting is best for websites that have outgrown shared hosting but haven't gotten to the point where they require or can afford a dedicated server.

VPS Server or Virtual Private Server

Source: Hostgator.com

  • Dedicated Servers (average price $80 – $300 per month)

As the name implies, dedicated server hosting is when you rent a full server from a web hosting provider, all for yourself.

Usually, the people that go for this type of hosting option are big businesses that get a lot of traffic and who require the highest level of security.

As a beginner, you obviously don't need a dedicated server (and may not even be able to afford it).

But hopefully, in a year's time, your site will have grown to the point where you need one.

Dedicated server hosting

Source: Hostgator.com

Looking at the four options we've highlighted above, you can clearly see that the shared hosting option is what you need for now.

It is affordable for your budget, safe for blogging purposes, and specially designed for beginner bloggers.

Although there are many web hosting companies offering shared hosting services, the best names in the industry include:

  • Bluehost – Best Web Host for Beginners
  • Dreamhost – Most Affordable Monthly Plans
  • HostGator – Best Scalability for Price
  • Hostinger – Best Cheap Hosting Plans
  • A2 Hosting – Fast and Reliable Shared Hosting
  • GreenGeeks – Best Eco-Friendly Hosting
  • WP Engine – Best Managed WordPress Hosting
  • Inmotion – Best VPS Hosting
  • SiteGround – Best Customer Service
  • Nexcess – Best for Scaling and Growth

2. Deciding your domain name

It’s up to you to tell your developer what name you want to give your blog. Although he will normally have to verify whether this name is available or not, you can save his time and yours by researching a few domain name ideas ahead of time.

Thankfully, you already wrote down some blog name ideas earlier, didn't you? Now is the time to bring them to life.

For example, let's say one of the names you brainstormed earlier was "My Pet Home." You can use a domain name generator like Domain Wheel to check whether this name is available for purchase.

If not available, the system will generate suggestions for you, as shown below:

my pet home keyword on domainwheel.com

As you can see, there are lots of variations. And that's just from one name idea.

Now imagine that you brainstormed five names. How many domain name suggestions do you think you'll have?

After settling on the right combination for a keyword-based name, all you need to do is give this name to your developer. He’ll know what to do with it.

3. Creating Your Blog Content (Posts)

creating your blog

What is a blog post?

  • The “How-To” format: These types of posts teach readers “how to” do something. E.g., how to repair a broken item.
  • The List-Based Post: These types of posts are created to summarize a given subject in a number of points. You see them everywhere on the internet. E.g., 7 reasons why people love football, 7 tips for becoming a pro boxer.
  • The “What Is” Post: These are posts that teach people things that they may not know. E.g., what is the best way to save money in 2020?
  • The Pillar Page Post: Pillar pages are longer than typical blog posts, because they cover all aspects of the topic you’re trying to rank for.
  • The Newsjacking Post: Posts involving news, breaking stories, trending stories, etc.
  • The Infographic Post: A visual way of speaking to an audience when you think they may not have the time to sit and read a full-length post.

How often should you create blog posts?

If you want to make money from blogging, you need to create content regularly.

Higher amount of quality content = Greater traffic = Increased revenue

But how often should you write? you may wonder.

Should you write posts daily or once per week, or a couple of times a month?

In truth, the answer varies across different niches.

For example, if you’re starting a news blog, you may already know you have to update your blog with new posts almost every day. For someone in the home decor niche, however, creating new posts might be a weekly or fortnightly thing.

That said, multiple research studies have shown that bloggers who update their blogs regularly with new posts acquire more readers/customers/subscribers than those who don’t.

blog post graph

Credit: writtent.com

What makes a good blog post?

A good blog post is interesting, educational/informative, and engaging. A good blog post is one the reader doesn’t close until they reach the end.

If you want to make money from blogging, creating these types of posts is what you should always aim for.

Naturally, users read blogs because they want answers to their questions (pain points).

However, they don’t expect to get these answers in a boring way, but rather in an interesting way.

That said, the following are the formats that a good blog post should take:

  • Has to have a catchy introduction. After reading the first few paragraphs, the reader must be hooked to the point where they want to read the rest of the post.

Having said all these, how do you actually go about writing an informational and engaging post?

Let’s find out!

How to Write a Blog Post

1. Choose a few blog topics

The first challenge you’ll have to overcome as a writer is the challenge of knowing what to write about.

If you’re lucky not to have this challenge, then good for you. Write down all the blog topic ideas you have.

For those who may be stuck on ideas, there’s no need to panic.

Try these tricks:

  • Spy on your competitors’ posts to see what’s working for them (other blogs in your niche). Type their site URL into the Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. On the Top Pages report, you should see a display of all the top-performing posts for that site. There’s your inspiration for topics. Look at the keywords and phrases in the titles of these pages, and coin your own topic from them.
  • Enter your term into the Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, and use either the Phrase Match or Questions report. Both these reports will pull a big list of keyword ideas for you. Scroll through the options in this list to see which ones interest you.
  • Go to Pinterest and search for keywords such as [blog post ideas for XX niche], where XX stands for your niche name. E.g., blog post ideas for lifestyle niche.
  • After blogging for a couple of weeks/months, you can get future topic ideas from previous posts’ metrics. Simply go to Google Search Console (GSC) and have a look at the Performance report of your blog and posts. The Performance report will show you what search queries people use to end up on your site/post.

For example, say you run a pet blog and notice that someone ended up on one of your posts titled “Benefits of dogs at home” after searching for “how many dogs should one have at home?” This can give you inspiration on what to write about.

2. Decide on your final blog topic

Normally, your final blog post topic should be one which satisfies the criteria in the figure below:

decide on your blog topic

Source: Ahrefs.com

You’ve already written down a few blog topic ideas that interest you. Now, it’s time to know which one of them has the highest traffic potential.

Enter all those topic ideas into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and scroll down to look at the SERP overview. From here, just check the column that tells you how much estimated monthly organic traffic the top-ranking pages have.

3. Check whether you can rank for this topic

The aim of creating a blog post is for people to see it. Unfortunately, no one will see your post if it doesn’t rank on at least the first page of search engines.

Competition is one factor that can prevent a post from ranking amongst the top 10 in search engine results.

If the competition for a given keyword/topic is too much, you may struggle to get any post you create using that topic on the first page of Google.

This is why, before you make up your mind on that topic you’ve chosen from step #2 above, you need to check what the competition is like for it.

Head to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and enter your topic.

Check the Keyword Difficulty metric, which gives you an estimate of how hard it would be to rank in the top 10 Google search results.

As a very general rule of thumb, a KD lower than 10 should be “rankable” for a beginner blogger. Anything above that isn’t good enough.

Once you see a topic that checks all these boxes, you’re good to start writing.

4. Create an outline

The first step in the writing process is outlining.

You already know what you want to write about.

So, put this topic down, and outline all the sub-topics that will come under it. You can use some sort of headers to describe each sub-topic.

5. Write your first draft

Now, start adding content to all those skeletal points you highlighted in #4 above.

This step is where you begin to pour your heart out.

You will go under each sub-topic and develop the point the header is talking about to the best of your ability.

Don’t beat yourself up too much about organization, grammar, or perfection. Just write, write, and write.

Once you’re done drafting the post, you can then use tools like Grammarly to check for grammar and spelling errors.

6. Seek out an editor

If you have the funds, you can hire a proofreader and editor on any of the freelancing platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, etc., to help you proofread and edit the post.

This is more like getting a second opinion.

The chances are that a third party will be able to point out things like logical loopholes and poor flow that you wouldn’t be able to spot on your own.

Just be sure you read the reviews of any freelancer you’re hiring, and also ask for samples of their previous work.

7. Format and publish

Formatting a post means rewriting it in a way that’s easily digestible for readers.

For example, anywhere you have huge blocks of text, you can replace them with bullet points. In other areas, you can replace them with images. Any “big words” present in your work should be replaced with simpler, easy-to-understand alternatives (tools like Hemingway can help in that department).

A blog post is a piece of content (or article) that provides insights, thoughts, and stories about a given subject on your blog.

Usually, they help you boost traffic, awareness, credibility, conversions, and revenue.

Depending on the subject you’re trying to discuss, a blog post can take any of the following formats:

4. How to Promote Your Blog to Gain Traffic

how to promote your blog by hurryworld

As we pointed out earlier, the higher the number of people reading your posts, the greater your chances are of gaining customers/subscribers/leads for any of your blog purposes.

For example, if you’re monetizing your blog via affiliate marketing and only a few people see your posts, it’ll be hard to make money from your blog at all, let alone make a living blogging.

But if you get thousands of readers to read your posts, you can bet that at least a few hundred out of them will click your affiliate links, meaning more money for you.

So, let’s see the blog promotion strategies that are working for bloggers in 2021.

Run paid Facebook ads

Facebook ads can fetch you thousands of site visitors and hundreds of site subscribers per day.

The Facebook platform is a goldmine for finding audiences if you know how to use it.

Facebook has created an algorithm that uses AI to find people who are the “perfect fit” for the stuff
you’re promoting.

They literally use a powerful technology that allows them to know exactly the type of content that each
user on their platform likes.

Now, once you pay Facebook to run an ad for you, they’ll start showing your content to those users that
like that kind of post.

In summary,

  • You publish content on Facebook.
  • You give Facebook a small amount of money.
  • They find people who already LOVE the kind of stuff you’ve created... and they show it to them.

The result?

You get raving fans flocking into your site: an audience of people who say to themselves, “Wow... I’ve never heard of this guy/gal... but I sure like their content. I’m definitely following them to catch up on regular updates.”

Interestingly, you can run a Facebook ad for as little as $1/day.

Create share-worthy content

Create great content and ask your friends/colleagues/industry experts to share it.

This is a strategy that looks pretty straightforward by itself. But, in truth, it’s one of the hardest you’ll find on this list.

The reason is that nobody likes to share cliché, outdated, or whack content.

Everybody loves to be the one who brings great information to others. So, if you’re asking people (your network) to share your content, then the information in the content has to be truly share-worthy.

I remember when one of our writers at RankWisely created a sports-related guest post on an industry-leading site and asked his friends to share it.

He got over 10k reads in less than five hours of requesting shares, despite forwarding the post to only 100 of his friends and colleagues.

To ensure you’re creating share-worthy content, ask yourself: “Would I love to share this content with my friends if someone asked me?”

Your answer to that question will tell you whether people will share the piece or not.

Dominate Google result pages

I’m sure you know that Google is the first place a huge fraction of internet users go when searching for things online.

If you’d like to attract some of these people to your blog, you should strive to get your site to rank highly on Google search result pages (SERPs).

The advantage of ranking highly on Google is that it is a long-term stream of traffic. Unlike the other strategies on this list, Google will continually expose you to new audiences for many months, as long as you maintain your position on the SERP.

To rank high on Google, you’ll need to work on your site’s SEO (search engine optimization).

There are a few strategies you can put together to make SEO work for you. But most of them are quite technical and time-consuming.

The best way to guarantee results is to work with an SEO agency.

A good agency like Rankwisely will adopt both On-Page and Off-Page strategies to get your site ranking highly on Google.

For example, these agencies can help you to create guest posts and generate backlinks (one of the most important Google ranking factors) from highly authoritative websites in your industry, while also working on your blog site’s back-end to improve its on-the-page SEO chances.

Work with influencers on social media

Go on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, and ask influencers to mention your blog posts or blog to their audiences.

If your blog is truly relevant to their audience and provides a real solution to their pain points, they’ll be more than happy to give you a mention. However, some of them may ask you for money in return.

Be active on relevant forums

The internet today is filled with various online communities.

There are Facebook, Whatsapp, Reddit, Quora, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other industry-specific web forums where like-minded people come together.

Some good examples of industry-specific web forums include:

  • Product Hunt (producthunt.com)
  • Hacker News (news.ycombinator.com)
  • Growth Hackers (growthhackers.com)
  • Stack Overflow (stackoverflow.com)

To find relevant groups to join on these forums, you can follow these tips:

  • On Facebook: Go to the fan groups of your niche’s leading bloggers, customer groups of brands in your niche, or simply relevant interest groups.
  • Find relevant subreddits: Since there’s a subreddit group for people who love a certain type of game, I’m sure there’s one for whatever you’re blogging about.
  • Find relevant forums: Simply Google search “[your niche name] forum”, e.g. fashion and beauty
    forum, sports forum, tech forum. I’m sure you’ll find a few online forums you can join.

Guest blogging

Guest blogging is another strategy that is known to bring huge traffic results.

I know I mentioned it as part of the things an SEO agency can do for you, but you can also DIY.

All you have to do is create a post, pitch to some of the biggest websites (those websites you know attract tons of visitors) in your niche, and then publish your post on their site.

You’ll get traffic in two ways from using this method.

1. From the site you’ve guest blogged.

2. From Google.

Getting traffic from the site you’ve guest blogged

Every reader visiting that site will see your post. And if you’ve created the post based on our earlier suggestions about how to create a good blog post, the chances are that these readers will click on your post.

Now the challenge you’ll have is getting these readers to visit your own blog after reading your post.

You can beat this challenge by following these tips:

  • Use a catchy and attention-grabbing keyword to highlight the anchor (a link in the post that takes readers to a page on your blog). For example, let’s say you blog about travel destinations, and you publish a guest post on the subject “Places to visit in France.” In this post, you can make your keyword anchor something like “You can find free meals at these spots in France.”
  • Place this link anchor somewhere in the beginning or middle of the post so that readers can see it quickly.

Getting traffic from Google

When people are coming to a blog via a popular site in the industry, Google believes there is something exciting about that blog. As such, they reward such a blog with a higher ranking on their SERPs.

So, anytime you get quality backlinks from popular sites in your industry, you can expect a good ranking from Google, which translates to more exposure and site traffic for you.

5. How to Monetize Your Blog

how to monetize your blog

Now to the part where you learn how to make money blogging.

Remember, we mentioned a couple of bloggers making thousands and millions of dollars at the beginning of this post.

Below are some of the things these guys are doing.

1. Affiliate marketing

I also briefly mentioned affiliate marketing at the beginning of the post.

And to be frank, you don’t want to exclude it from your blog monetization strategies. It’s one of those things you make money from without really doing anything online.

How it works:

affiliate marketing how it works

Source: masterblogging.com

A brief summary of what you see in that figure is:

  • Find a brand in your niche.
  • Promote one or more of their products on your blog (via your informational blog posts).
  • Add an affiliate link (which the brand will give to you) into the blog post.
  • Encourage your site visitors to click this link.
  • Earn a commission based on the commission model of the brand.

Usually, there are three commission models in affiliate marketing, which are:

Pay per sale

In this program, you get paid a percentage of the sale price of the product you advertised on your blog after the consumer purchases the product as a result of clicking through a link on your site.

Pay per lead

Here, you get paid for persuading your site visitors to visit the brand’s website and complete a desired action. Usually, the desired action will be:

  • Filling out a form
  • Signing up for an email newsletter
  • Subscribing to a package/offer
  • Making a purchase
  • Downloading items

Pay per click

Here, you get paid for encouraging your site users to move from your site to the brand’s site. It doesn’t matter what they do when they get there; you’ll get paid.

The two main challenges you’ll face when trying to monetize your blog this way are:

  • Getting enough traffic to your site.
  • Finding the right brands to work with and affiliate programs to join.

As far as the first is concerned, I believe we’ve already discussed that in the previous sections. So, you should have no problem bringing traffic to your site.

For the second part, you can find affiliate programs to join by following any of these tips:

  • Check affiliate networks: Some of the most popular affiliate networks to join include ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, Rakuten Advertising (also known as LinkShare), Pepperjam, AvantLink, Impact, and Link Connector.
  • Check company websites: In your affiliate niche, search for popular company names and check whether they offer affiliate programs.
  • Check affiliate websites: There are tons of sites like RetailMeNot, Brad’s Deals, Ebates, and SlickDeals, which promote companies that offer affiliate programs.
  • Check affiliate program directories: There are some sites on the internet like HighPayingAffiliatePrograms.com, which are dedicated to listing all the affiliate programs that are out there. Check them out to see which programs are available.
  • Check Google: Or you can simply Google search “highest-paying affiliate programs in [name of niche]”, e.g., highest-paying affiliate programs in travel niche.

2. Network with people looking to advertise their offerings

This one is pretty straightforward. Let people run ads on your blog and get paid for it.

Across all industries, there are people looking for established platforms to run ads and promote their offerings. This includes brands, small business owners, non-profits, individuals, etc.

If your blog is attracting lots of traffic consistently, you can pitch to these people by yourself via emails, telling them how much traffic you get monthly and how advertising on your blog can benefit them.

3. Run ads on your blog with Google Adsense

You can also monetize your blog using Google Adsense.

What’s Google Adsense? you may wonder.

AdSense is a system whereby Google matches ads to your blog based on the type of content you publish and the visitors you attract.

These ads belong to brands/business owners who are looking to promote their products. However, since these brands pay different amounts for different ads, the amount you earn will vary. Typically, it varies from $0.20 to $15.

How Adsense works:
You alert Google about the existence of ad spaces on your blog

you alert google about the existence of ad spaces on your blog

Before Google can display ads on your blog, it needs to know that there are spaces for ads on your blog. To make these spaces available, all you have to do is paste ad codes on your site and then select the area on your blog where you want the ads to appear.

Google displays the highest paying ads on your blog

google displays the highest paying ads on your blog

As soon as ad spaces are available on your blog, Google accept bids from various advertisers/business
owners, all of whom fight to get a spot on your blog. In the end, Google displays the highest-paying
advertiser’s ad on your blog.

You get paid

Google completes the billing process by accepting payments from the advertisers, from which you’re paid your cut.

Although people might tell you that Adsense is not a good way to monetize your blog because of the meager amounts you get, it’s actually one of the best ways for beginner bloggers to make money.

At the early stages of your blogging career, it may be tough to make money via any of the strategies we’ve mentioned before. But the few dollars you make from Adsense in those early days are what will keep you going.

4. Sell ebooks

As a blogger, you’re also a full-blown writer, which means you shouldn’t have difficulty writing books.

You can make money blogging by writing ebooks that align with the tone of your blog.

Let’s say there’s a subject/skill/concept in your niche that people are having a hard time comprehending. You can develop an ebook to address the subject and solve people’s problems.

You can easily promote your ebooks by using any of the blog content promotion strategies we discussed earlier in this post. Once people know about them and love your creation, they’ll surely patronize you.

Alternatively, you can sell your ebooks on platforms like:

  • Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Selz
  • Lulu
  • E-Junkie
  • Payhip
  • Feiyr
  • BookBaby
  • Blurb

5. Sell courses

Remember that not everyone likes or has the time to read books. Some people prefer to take visual
courses, wherein they can see examples and get a detailed explanation of the subject matter.

One of the myths in blogging is that you have to be a professional to create a course. This is not true.

You don’t have to be a certified professional to create a course that teaches people how to do something.

Once you have the basic knowledge and genuine understanding of the subject, you’re good to teach your audience.

How to Come Up With Course Ideas


The best way to create a course your audience will be willing to buy is by identifying their pain points.

What is something they don’t know and may be willing to pay to learn about?

You can find out by:

  • Sending out a survey: The fastest way to know what problems people in your audience have is
    to ask them.
  • Read blog comments: Comment sections can be a goldmine of ideas. If you don’t receive
    comments on your own blog, you can check competitors’ blogs.
  • Think of that special niche-specific skill you have: You can come up with course ideas by putting together a list of things about your niche that you know or do better than other people.

Hosting Your Courses

One way you can host your courses is with LMS hosting for WordPress.

The advantage of hosting courses this way is that you get to keep your profits for yourself. But, on the downside, you’ll have to set everything up on your own or hire a developer to help you with it.

Alternatively, you can host your courses on a third-party platform.

Normally, these platforms will either charge you a monthly fee or ask to split the revenue with you based on some agreed percentage.

WordPress Extensions for Your Courses

  • LearnPress
  • LearnDash
  • WP Courseware
  • LifterLMS

Third-Party Platforms to Host Your Courses On

6. Sell coaching services

As a blogger, you can easily work as a coach too.

Regardless of your blogging niche, there’s bound to be an opportunity for coaching. Seek this opportunity out and make the most of it.

For example, if you run a mom blog, you can offer coaching services to site visitors such as single moms, moms of special needs kids, moms needing help with kids, etc. If you run a fitness blog, you can create a coaching program that trains people to become fitness trainers.

7. Sponsored posts/reviews

You can also make money from your blog by simply providing honest opinions and reviews about brands
and their products.

How this works is that you approach a brand and offer to write a review or give a shoutout to them on your blog. In return, you ask them to pay you a certain fee.

Your bargaining power here is the huge audience you have on your blog. Brands know that if they get a mention or review on a blogger’s site, it will result in more exposure for them. This will, in turn, lead to more customers.

This is a form of influencer marketing in blogging.

And as you may already know, influencer marketing has been gaining a lot of traction lately.

estimated influencer marketing growth

Source: influencermarketinghub.com

This is one of the least common ways of monetizing a blog, because you’ll need lots of traffic and credibility to get started.

If your blog isn’t getting hundreds of thousands of visitors, it may be hard work convincing brands to come to your platform.

It’s important to state that caution must be exercised when you’re monetizing a blog this way. You have to ensure you’re providing your honest opinion at all times, so that you don’t end up lying, misleading, or misinforming your audience. If a brand is just good, don’t go about saying they’re the best in the
industry.

Remember: you don’t want to tarnish your blog image for just a few bucks!

Conclusion

On a final note, you can see that blogging is a really labor-intensive endeavor.

From creating the blog to the monetization phase, there are so many dots to connect.

However, with diligence, dedication, and hard work, it shouldn’t be long before you go smiling to the bank.

Just make sure you follow all the steps in this guide as described.

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