How to Make Money from Blogging

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The best way to make money from blogging is to create your own self-hosted blog and fill it with awesome content.

If you can’t do that or you don’t have the inclination, the next best option is creating blog content for other people. Let’s take a deeper look into the subject.

To make enough money from blogging to replace your day job, you need to go into it with a business mindset. If your goal is to create your own blog that generates passive income each month, you need to allow enough time for your blog to mature and earn trust.

This can take many months or years to achieve. So this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Taking the second option and blogging for other people can generate income more quickly but that might not be what you want to do in the long term.

Remember though, you could always do both if you have enough time on your hands and enjoy writing!

With that out of the way, let’s look at two ways you can make money from blogging.

1) Start your own blog

Starting a blog on its own domain is THE best long-term solution.

If you choose to use one of the best free blogging platforms, you run the risk of having your account shut down at any time. On top of this, some of the platforms don’t allow you to display ads or they take a cut of the money you make.

When you run your own blog on your own hosting, you have way more control over your site and you take 100% of its earnings. 

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

When you have your blog set up on its own hosting through a reliable and trustworthy web hosting service, you can make money from it directly and indirectly.

How to make money directly from your blog?

Making money directly from your blog involves people visiting your site and clicking ads and other promotional offers you wrap around and into your content. You don’t need to interact with visitors in any way.

You just provide the platform and the rest takes care of itself. This is where the term ‘passive income’ comes from – you’re making money online while doing nothing.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple or easy as that.

Not in the modern online space anyway.

And you’ve spent months or years creating content, growing your blog and earning trust from your readers/visitors and Google, so once you’ve nailed that part, it’s nice to be rewarded. Right?

Making money directly for your blog typically involves using:

  • Display ads from providers like AdSense and Ezoic (the two best options for complete beginners)
  • Affiliate offers (you get paid a commission for every sale your link generates (read our beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing if this is something new to you))
  • Amazon reviews, listings or mentions

To make enough money to provide you with a decent standard of living from these methods, you need traffic. If you decide to only use AdSense or another ad service, you need lots of traffic. I’m talking about many thousands of visitors per day. Every day.

For the other methods, you don’t need as much traffic. But it definitely helps.

How do you get people to visit your blog?

This is the tricky part. But keep reading because it’s possible.

Setting up a blog is easy for most people. Generating ideas and turning those ideas into content takes time and effort. And this is the point where the majority of people who try to make money from blogging or starting their own website, fail.

There are two reasons for this:

  • They create content that a new blog is never ever going to rank for
  • They give up before their blog has had time to mature and earn trust in search engines (ie Google). Typically, a new blog takes around two years to generate enough income each month to replace a regular wage.

When you start a new blog, Google just won’t send traffic to articles that target the juicy keywords you’re thinking about. Things like ‘make money blogging’ or ‘best credit cards’ or ‘top travel tips’.

It just doesn’t happen because the competition for those topics is too fierce. The pages that have been around for ages always outrank new pages.

So, instead of targeting competitive keywords like the ones mentioned above when you first start blogging, you should focus on keywords and phrases with less competition.

To find those phrases, you need to do something called ‘keyword research’ and ‘competitor analysis’.

What is keyword kesearch?

Keyword research is all about using free and paid-for tools to discover the words and phrases people type into Google. Once you have this information, you can start generating content ideas for your blog.

One of the simplest ways to discover new phrases is by using Google itself. When you start typing words into Google’s search bar, you’ll notice Google provides additional phrases by adding words to your original query.

Those additional phrases are called ‘long tail keywords’ and are the keywords you may stand a chance of ranking for. But even some of those are way too competitive for new bloggers. So you may need to dig deeper still.

A popular option for new bloggers is the simple question and answer format. You find questions people are putting into Google that don’t have a lot of competing pages and write an article focusing on the answer(s).

That’s how keyword research works in a nutshell but there’s more to it than I have the space for in this article.

What is competitor analysis?

Competitor analysis is all about looking at the websites, blogs and webpages ranking for the keywords and phrases you want to target to establish what you have to do to beat them.

For the most part, you won’t stand any chance of ranking your blog’s pages for at least six months after you launch

Another way to make money directly from your blog involves working with brands and businesses that need exposure online. They pay you to write and publish a piece of sponsored content that mentions their product or service. This could be in the form of a review or a mention in a blog post. You publish it on your blog, the brand pays you and everybody’s happy.

(If you publish sponsored posts, you must disclose your affiliation with the company including a line or paragraph along the lines of: “This is a sponsored post for SuchACompany.”)

How to make money indirectly from your blog?

By offering services, courses, and coaching.

This is not a hands-off (passive income) approach so you will need to engage with clients and work hard. The upside to this type of work is the financial rewards. You could earn far more money from providing services, courses, and coaching than you ever could from ad clicks and sponsored posts.

And the risk factor, of losing one or more of your passive income streams, is lower. If you’re running AdSense and making 100% of your income from those ads, and Google decides to drop your site from the search results or worse still, close your AdSense account, your income stream will dry up there and then.

Back in the early days of blogging, after the initial burst of personal journals, people blogged for the sole purpose of attracting more clients to their websites. By publishing content that answered questions, they were able to reach them at a critical point in the buying cycle.

If their content impressed the potential buyer enough, they had a warm lead. One that could be nurtured with more relevant content showcasing their expertise.

Nothing’s changed since those early days of blogging.

These days, however, we often refer to it as content marketing.

How long does it take to make passive income from a blog?

While it’s not impossible to launch a new blog today and start making money within a few weeks, the chances of this happening are slim.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to wait, you must get proactive when it comes to marketing your content.

If you don’t like the sound of marketing, think of it as promotion. All you’re doing is telling people about the great articles you’ve written. If you’re proud of what you’ve created, this shouldn’t feel at all sleazy.

And whether you like it or not, it’s the best way to get people to your blog at the beginning (and beyond). All the popular bloggers will tell you the same thing.

Getting traffic from Google in the first six months is tough (the best option during the early days is social media (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) and emailing people to let them know you exist).

As long as you stay within Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, create content people want to read, and don’t get caught selling links or doing anything dodgy, the largest search engine in the world will eventually send you traffic.

2 ) Freelance blog writing

There is a crazy amount of demand for freelance writers these days. The content marketing revolution means people are publishing more online content than ever.

According to this article on Marketing Profs, two million blog posts are written every day.

Great news for freelance bloggers and writers!

Yet, while there are plenty of businesses wanting and needing fresh content. There are also plenty of people from around the world willing and able to supply it. This makes freelance writing a competitive space to be in. And this is noticeable in the rates on offer across the various sites where freelance writers find work.

If you look in the wrong places for this type of work, you’ll soon discover the crazy cheap rates people offer for “high-quality content.” They expect you to write at 1,000 words (sometimes more) and infuse your article with lots of graphics and screenshots.

And how much are some people offering to pay the lowly freelance writer for this type of epic content? I’ve seen online ads offering a measly $10 or $20!

But you can avoid the low-paying clients and find work that pays well. You just need to know where to look.

Try using one of the popular online job boards listed here. These job boards may not be the places to find the best work, but they are a good starting point.

You might have to trawl through a lot of adverts to find the perfect job(s) for you. But if you’re persistent and focused, you stand a good chance of finding what you’re looking for.

A word of advice when using these boards – read the advert thoroughly and follow the instructions within. Some advertisers include specific requirements you must follow, such as mentioning a word in your application or using a particular subject line. They do this to stop spammy applicants who apply for every job they see. Failure to follow the instructions could mean your email gets ignored.

Also, always be on the lookout for rip-off merchants and people who offer silly money for quality work. Before you start searching, put on your BS Detector and turn it up to the max.

Problogger

Everyone knows this one! It’s been around for years and is the go-to board for new and established freelance bloggers. Its popularity is great for advertisers but means tons of competition for freelancers.

Pay rates vary wildly but you can find well-paid jobs here.

Visit Problogger.

Blogging Pro

Another popular freelance blogging jobs board with plenty of work opportunities. This one isn’t as busy as the Problogger jobs board, but it’s one you should check whenever you’re looking for work. Going off the recent listings, Blogging Pro posts about three jobs a day.

Visit Blogging Pro.

Upwork

Upwork is a huge freelance marketplace with a global reach. Because of this reach, you often find more low-paying jobs than high-paying ones. With perseverance, you can find some great blogging jobs.

TIP: When you’re looking for new opportunities on Upwork, use the advanced search filters.

Visit Upwork.

Freelance Writing Gigs

The boards at Freelance Writing Gigs contain curated job adverts from various sources such as Indeed, Blogging Pro, and Craigslist. They publish a new page each day that lists the newly found writing and blogging opportunities.

Visit Freelance Writing Gigs.

Indeed

Indeed is a massive job site for everyone, not just folk working in the digital space. To find blogging work you’ll need to enter a relevant keyword into the search box. ‘Blogger’ is a good start but do expand on that and search for things like ‘writer’, ‘content’, and ‘copywriter’ too. Leave the ‘where’ field blank to return more results.

Visit Indeed.

Media Bistro

Media Bistro has a huge list of jobs in the digital and creative sectors. You’ll need to filter the results to dive into the ‘Writing & Editing’ section or use the search function to quickly find relevant results. Huge companies like Bloomberg and Verizon advertise here.

Visit Media Bistro.

Freelance Writing

Freelance Writing runs a curated jobs board featuring ads from many of the sites listed above. It also runs a section of exclusive ads, which you can easily find by using the search filter.

Visit Freelance Writing.

When you first start freelance blogging, don’t expect to earn a lot of money per job. You might get paid around $50 for 500-750 word articles. It’s not a bad rate for a complete newbie and it will increase as you gain experience.

After a short while, you could be earning $150 or more for longer articles.

Wrapping up

I hope this article gives you enough information about the two typical ways people make money from blogging.  I admit I’ve only skimmed the surface of the topic but I hope you have a clearer view of how it works, and realize that anybody who has the passion and determination can make a living from blogging.

One piece of advice I would give you on the topic – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Create as many revenue streams as you can as you never know when one will dry up.