make money blogging

Make Money Blogging - The 5-Step Process

Let's be very clear right from the start: You don't necessarily need a blog to make money online. There are plenty of other ways to earn money online, blogging is just one of them. However, things are changing very fast in the Internet era and maybe 10 years ago most of the people started blogging as a hobby, but today I would say, that most people want to make money blogging.

(Of course, not everybody will shout it out loud and they say that they do it only from passion, which can be true, but I'm quite sure that there is at least a little secret intention somewhere in their mind for money, too.)

And that's completely okay. Why not make money with your blog when there is a lot of work with it? Not only the technical part of it but also publishing always fresh content that your readers will love is not easy at all. So let's see how you can make money blogging.

"There is nothing fancy about blogging. The caveat is this: provide the answers to the questions of your ideal readers." John Chow

The 5-step process

I want to introduce here a 5-step process, which is a sure-fire way to make money with your blog:

  1. Start your own blog
  2. Create valuable content that attracts a lot of people
  3. Get your visitors subscribed to your email list, or invite them to your social media accounts so that later you can reach out to them easily
  4. Create more valuable content and helpful information for your audience (tutorials, how-tos, checklists, videos, etc.), something that helps them to solve their problems.
  5. Finally, sell your products or services to your audience.

It's that simple.

Or at least it looks very simple. But the truth is, the majority of people fail already at the second step. What can be the reason for this? Is it really so hard to create valuable content and get people subscribed to your list?

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Skills needed to become a successful blogger

If you are brand new to blogging (writing), marketing, self-employment, sales, communication and similar areas then you have to develop a lot of different new skills. It can be that you are a person who has some of these skills by default, but if you don't then you have to work on each of them. And this takes a lot of time and energy. You have to become a new, better YOU, the higher level of yourself.

For example, you have to learn to

  • work alone (without a boss)
  • create a business plan
  • find out and make a plan on how you want to monetize your blog
  • plan your daily, weekly, monthly routines, tasks
  • set goals and deadlines and track them
  • make decisions and take the responsibility for them
  • measure your results
  • communicate to people
  • design your website and make changes on it
  • write email follow-ups to your audience
  • etc, etc, etc...

The good thing is that you don't need to have all these skills right from the start. My advice is that you start doing the things one by one and you get all the necessary knowledge as you go. You will make mistakes, you will have to restart some things, you will have to change your plan maybe several times and yes, you can easily fail, too. This is all part of the process. Don't be afraid of these, because this is the way to become a better version of YOU.

But as we're talking about blogging the one and most important thing is that you never stop doing is: writing valuable content for your audience. 

Are you a blogger or a business owner?

Read the list again, what can you see? Usually, who is the one who has to deal with all these tasks (except the technical things)? Yes, it's the business owner (or maybe the top managers at bigger companies). So if you are serious about your blog, if you really want to make money blogging then you have to become a business owner and your blog is your business. I know it's hard for some people, but this is the most important skill that you have to learn before you start: to change your mindset to a business owner's mindset.

How can you make money blogging?

Now that you know that you have to learn a lot of new skills and become a business owner, let's talk about the real ways that you can use on your blog to make money: 

  1. Sponsorships and advertising
  2. Affiliate Marketing
  3. Provide a service
  4. Sell physical products
  5. Sell digital products

1. Sponsorships, advertising, banner ads

Advertising Networks - Google AdSense

Google AdSense is the biggest and most popular advertising network. To make money with AdSense is legit and relatively easy. Thousands of people earn good money with it, the payment is safe and on time.

  • Easy to use
  • Good option also for beginners
  • You get paid per click (each time somebody clicks on your ads you earn money) Don't ever click on your own ad!

First of all, you have to apply. It's not that easy that you just register and next day you can put ads on your site. Google AdSense has an approval process and it can easily happen that they reject your site. My first application was denied, but 3 months later I reapplied and they accepted my blog. I'm not quite sure what they check, but before you apply it's better to complete some things:

  • Check out the AdSense program policies
  • Provide sufficient high-quality, useful and unique content (min. 5-10 posts)
  • Have an organized site with a clear overview and easy navigation (working menu items)
  • Optimize your site for search engines (basic SEO)
  • Create a nice design and an overall good user experience
  • Make sure to have a Contact and About page
  • Create Privacy Policy (My site was approved without this, but it's true that they can check it)
  • I've read it somewhere (but maybe it's not mandatory for Google) to have an e-mail address with your domain, but I think that it's a good idea to create it anyway, it looks much more professional than a Yahoo or Gmail address

Once AdSense approved your blog you can start placing ads on your site. You can decide how many ads you want and where you want to put them, but you can't control what kind of ads these will be. Google checks what kind of content you have on your blog and based on that picks the advertisers offers. Like this, the ads can relate to your content or the browsing history of your reader.

They pay based on PPC (Pay Per Click) - you get paid when someone clicks on your ad. I put it here again: don't ever click on your own ad! You won't earn more money with this, but you can get easily penalized.

Advertising Networks - Google AdSense

Some people think that advertising is a very lucrative option for bloggers. It's only true if your blog is very-very popular and has a high amount of page views. If you check the income reports in my previous post you will see that the main income of these bloggers comes from other channels.

On the other hand, many people instinctively developed a so-called banner or ad blindness. They learned to browse and read the Internet without paying any attention to the ads. As they were not there at all. Probably it's because they just had too much of them and they don't want to see them anymore, so the easiest way is to ignore them. Sometimes people who really hate ads just install an ad blocking plugin or add-on to their browser. These don't help the advertiser or the blogger who wants to earn money with ads.

Sponsored posts

It's basically when a company or business asks you to write a paid post about their products or services and publish it on your blog. For very beginners, it's not really an option, because who would pay for a blogger with almost zero page views. But with time as you write better and better articles and your blog gets more and more page views it is a good opportunity to try.

Either the companies find your blog or you have to find the companies. Write about products only that are related to your niche and possibly that you've used or tried. Also, don't get too greedy, you don't have to accept every offer. You have to remember that your audience likes your own ideas first of all. If they feel that you write only for the money, it can hurt your blog.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is definitely the most popular method to use when you want to make money blogging.

It is when you promote somebody else's product or service on your blog. No wonder why it's so popular. It's very easy to start, it has no costs and the number of promotable products and services are growing continuously. You can find affiliate programs for every niche. The method is completely legit and available for everyone.

You can read more about affiliate marketing in this post: How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Pat-Flynn-Affiliate-IncomeIt's enough to take a look at Pat Flynn's latest income report. He earned almost $57K only with affiliate marketing in one month! Just because he promoted products on his website.

Pat's main niche is making money online, so it's obvious that the products he promotes are all related to that. AWeber and ConvertKit are autoresponders for email marketing, Bluehost - hosting service, etc. Only tools that are useful for building an online business.

There are different affiliate programs available:

I recommend to check them one by one. Find out what kind of products can be promoted and check the conditions.

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3. Provide a service

Until now we talked about advertising and promoting someone else's services and products. Definitely, this is the easiest way to start with, you don't need any special skills for this. However, sooner or later you might want to create your own service or product. 

As you become an authority in your niche you will be able to create stuff that people need. Maybe it's difficult to imagine when you're a beginner, but as you learn more and more about your topic, you will notice that people will look at you as an expert. And this is the time when you can also sell your own products.

What kind of services can you offer?

It can be really anything that you can imagine and fits your niche. For example:

  • complete certain tasks (e.g. install WordPress, create a Facebook page, design a logo, create a business plan, help with any steps your readers might need in their progress)
  • tutorials, guides, training, coaching, workshops, seminars

If you don't have anything in your mind, go to Fiverr.com and check what kind of services people offer there. Search in your niche, you will be surprised that people pay for many things. Maybe you can offer that service to your audience, too.

Don't think that nobody wants your service. Know your audience, find out what they want, what they need. Jot down what they ask and create your services based on that. Remember, that people want to save time or they just don't want to do some things. So if you offer something that saves time for them, they will pay for that.

Before you decide, you have to know that offering a service can be very time-consuming if you're personally involved. So you have to know your limits. This also means that your potential income is limited and it's not possible to create a passive income from this.

4. Selling physical products

This is not the same as promoting other's products. Here you sell others' or your own products in your webshop. As a blogger, you create your own online store and start selling products. You attract your audience with your posts to your blog, you build a relationship with them and thus, they want to buy from your shop because they know you. Again you have to choose your products to fit your niche because that's why your audience visits your blog.

To run an online shop requires serious planning. There are many things to consider, so make sure you study the process before you start.

5. Selling digital products

Selling digital products on your blog is a lot easier because you don't have to worry about the production and the cost of it, inventory, shipping, etc. like in case of physical products. It's very cost-effective to create them (usually they only need time), the margin can be much higher. It's easy to update them and you can use affiliates to promote your products.

The most common digital products are:

  • E-books
  • Online courses
  • Software and applications

As you can see blogging gives you several opportunities to make money online. That's why a blog is a very powerful tool in your online business. As I told you in the very beginning, you don't necessarily need a blog to make money online, but it's one of the best ways to build trust with your audience.

As a last thought, let me give you another tip. Try to create several income sources. It's a common advice actually for everybody, but it's especially true for the online world. If you only focus your business on affiliate marketing and only on one product you can easily get disappointed when the company decides to stop selling that product or just lowers the commissions.

Let's get Online!

You can make it happen.

Thanks for sharing!

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