I started to make money off of blogging from day one and you can too! Trust me, I’m not a prodigy or an exception. I just took the time to do some planning and set up systems that ensured I’d have a good chance at being profitable right away. And wouldn’t it be nice to have some income to cover your basic blog expenses and purchase a few software programs or subscriptions that would really make blogging easier?
Let’s talk about the alternative. Many bloggers toil away for months and years, grinding out articles and posting on social media, doing all the things they think bloggers should be doing. And yet they aren’t making a dime.
They’re working soooooo hard, but working hard isn’t enough these days! You have to work smart. That means thinking like a business person…because your blog is a business and you are the CEO, honey.
That means that in addition to taking care of all the little details and doing the day-to-day busy work, you also need to develop the skill that allows you to step back, look at the big picture, and make decisions based on what is going to bring in the bank, baby!
So here are some tips that will help you learn how to make money off of blogging from the beginning and grow that income into a healthy revenue stream!
TIP #1 – Have an income plan
The first question you need to ask before you even start your blog is: How am I going to make money off of this blogging business? If you’re already blogging but not turning a profit, you need to put an income plan together pronto!
There are dozens of ways for you to make money off of blogging, from affiliate marketing to selling digital products, coaching, and ad revenue. I’ve outlined 12 Ways Bloggers Can Make Money in this article so you can consider your options and decide which ones are right for you. To create steady income you should choose at least one primary means of income to pursue.
Once you have one revenue stream flowing smoothly, you can add another, then more. Most blogs combine three or four income streams to create solid revenue.
So what does an income plan look like?
Let’s create a scenario to help explain this concept.
Cindy is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. She wants to help more people get healthy and lose weight than she is able to reach in a face-to-face setting so she starts a blog. She figures she can post some great articles and keep people updated on the latest information in diet and exercise.
After giving the matter some consideration, Cindy decides she wants to offer her audience a recipe book and menu plan to make it easier for them to eat healthier. She has also developed some easy workout routines that burn off the fat and tone you up fast, so she could offer some video trainings or a membership club. And finally, she spends all kinds of time researching and testing supplements, products, and equipment that are related to this field. She decides she could suggest the best ones to her followers and readers.
So Cindy is putting together a rudimentary business plan. She will:
- sell a digital product in ebook form containing her recipes and a meal plan.
- create a course or video series, also in digital form.
- create emails and blog articles promoting products, supplements, or equipment that she believes in.
This income plan is more thorough than the ones that 90% of bloggers create—or don’t create which is often the case. If Cindy wanted to go a step further, she could plan out how she intends to make the $3,000 in monthly income she needs to replace her job as a trainer.
First she’d need to decide how much she plans to charge for each product or service in her income plan:
- Recipe/meal plan ebook = $27
- Workout routine training videos = $47
- Affiliate marketing of related products = $11 average commission
Then she’d need to speculate how many of each product she needs to sell in a month to meet her income goals:
- Recipe /meal plan ebook = $27 x 35 = $945
- Workout routine training videos = $47 x 20 = $940
- Affiliate marketing of related products = $11 average commission x 100 = $1100
If she met these goals, she’d make $2,985 in a month’s time. That almost meets her income goal of $3000 (however she will need to take expenses into account.)
Finally, if she wanted to be really prepared, Cindy should plot out how she intends to promote her products and affiliate links so that she has a good chance to meet these goals. Statistics show that between 1 – 5% of people who visit your blog will buy from you. A slightly larger percentage will sign up for your email list to get something free. Once you’ve had a chance to build trust with your audience through email and show them the value you can offer, the percentage of people who will purchase a product or service you offer goes up even higher.
With this in mind, Cindy puts together this plan:
She decides to offer several free recipes so people can try out her cuisine before they buy the book. She plans to write numerous articles that discuss healthy eating and then promote her free recipes as incentive to sign up for her mailing list.
Cindy does something similar to promote her exercise videos, discussing fitness and toning in her articles and offering people a short sample video for free to get them on her list.
Her primary sales tactic will be to create several email automation series that go on to promote her paid recipes and exercise videos as well as her affiliate links in a helpful and non-salesy way. Once people sign up for her list, they’ll get about three dozen emails full of relevant helpful information over the course of the next three months.
Based on average conversion rates, she estimates that she needs to get at least 300 people to sign up for her mailing list every month if she hopes to meet her goals so she promotes those blog articles and freebies like crazy on social media.
That’s her plan…and it works!
People start signing up, and the sales and affiliate commission begin to roll in on autopilot. Cindy creates her next product and continues to promote her freebies on social media and in her blog articles, thus increasing her capacity to earn money!
TIP #2 – Focus on your audience, not you
In order to create a profitable blog, you need to attract an audience. In the online world (and the real one too) you’ll find that people are always looking for solutions to their problems, answers to their questions, and a way to fulfill their needs.
As a blogger, your first instinct might be to write about what interests YOU. But that would be a mistake. If you want to build an engaged following, you need to focus on your audience. Ask yourself, what kind of people are they? What problems are they experiencing? What challenges do they face in their lives?
Then, sit down and brainstorm how to help them solve those problems and overcome those challenges. People will pay you to help them achieve a transformation—even a small one. Consider the mother of a newborn baby who stays up all night fussing. The poor mom just wants a few hours of uninterrupted sleep and she’s willing to do just about anything to get it.
You can help her move closer to a full night’s sleep by providing an affiliate link to a product that’s known to help, or selling a training or course that will offer her solutions to get her baby sleeping better. She doesn’t have time to do the research, but you can do it for her. Since this is important to her and her baby’s health, she will be willing and grateful to spend money to achieve the transformation.
When you focus on your audience and the transformation you are helping them achieve, you are going to tap into a revenue source that will help you achieve the transformation you desire—to build a full-time income from your blog. This is how you make money off of blogging!
TIP #3 – Start with the easy income streams
Some income streams are easier, faster, and cheaper to set up than others. I highly recommend that all bloggers start with affiliate marketing. One of the reasons I was able to make money off of blogging from day one is because I started affiliate marketing on social media about three weeks before I launched my blog.
I ended up earning $90 my first week of affiliate marketing on social media, and had earned enough to cover all my start-up blogging expenses by the end of the month. I continued to incorporate affiliate marketing into my blog and it has become one of my primary revenue sources. I’ve never had a month where I didn’t bring in any income. Not one. So in my opinion, it’s worth investing the time and attention to learn how to incorporate affiliate marketing techniques into your blog.
If you need training to incorporate affiliate marketing into your blog, I highly recommend a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle, the course creator, has been affiliate marketing for many years and she earns over $50,000 a month from her affiliate links. Amazing, right? Her course is easy to understand and incredibly thorough. It’s like the bible of affiliate marketing, and I refer back to it ALL THE TIME!
That’s right, even though I’ve established my affiliate income, I continue to go back and review her material and incorporate more ideas and techniques into my blog. The course is that good! Plus she offers links to dozens and dozens of affiliate marketing programs in all niches that are great for bloggers. You will greatly benefit from her years of experience and expertise and the time you will save is worth gold.
TIP #4 – Practice good SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is an incredibly important aspect of blogging, one that 90% of bloggers neglect because they’re intimidated by the process. I admit, I put SEO off for far too long because every time I tried to tackle it, my head just started to spin and I felt overwhelmed. But SEO is SOOOOOO important because the search engines will bring people to your blog on a regular basis. Regardless of what kind of income plan you developed, you need traffic and eyes on your site to make it work!
SEO for your blog involves many areas of blogging including:
- How you structure your blog posts
- Titles you choose for your articles and subheadings
- Length and structure of your sentences
- Alt tags or descriptions you use on your graphics and images
- The meta data in your blog post
THE BEST SEO TRAINING
It can be a little confusing and overwhelming at first. So you can imagine how relieved I was when I came across this book by Gabrielle Gundi called “The Sassy Way to Ranking #1 in Google with SEO…when you have NO CLUE!” I actually have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, and was able to add her book to my KU library for free, so I didn’t even have to spend any extra for the amazing training in her book. Even if you don’t have KU, her book is only a few dollars! Affordable!
She explains the basics of SEO then offers suggestions on the best (and cheapest) tools out there, shows you how to use them, and gives you tips on how to make your blog rock the search engine results. For the first time I don’t feel like I’m completely lost when it comes to SEO and I’m starting to see an increase in traffic to my site from search engine results. If you need SEO help, you can grab her book here.
THE BEST SEO TOOLS
I also recently discovered Hike SEO, a newer SEO tool that is less expensive and easier to use than any of the others I’ve tried (even less than the paid tool Gundi recommends). It will help you search for keywords to use on your blog, track which keywords you are ranking for, investigate your competitors’ keywords, and so much more! If you haven’t started using keyword tools and services, this is the best tool out there! They have great videos and tutorials on their site to help you get started and I’ve had great customer support from them!
SOCIAL MEDIA SEO
Another area of SEO you’ll want to consider as a blogger is social media SEO. That’s right, most social media outlets operate on search algorithms and you’ll want to utilize the tips and tricks that will help attract interest to your social media posts and get you clicks!
Personally, I’m a huge fan of Pinterest and have seen how effective you can be when you incorporate some Pinterest SEO principles into your pins and blog posts. I’ve written an article called “10 Easy Pinterest SEO Tips To Increase Your Traffic” which you can read here. By optimizing your Pinterest account with keywords and hashtags, you can increase your effectiveness by 10X and skyrocket your site traffic, which will help you make money from blogging.
TIP #5 – Learn to promote
You can have the best blog, products, or courses in the world, but if no one knows about them, you won’t make a dime. Learning the art of promotion is one skill a blogger can’t do without. Promotion isn’t just running around yelling “Read my blog! Buy my stuff! Do it now!” That’s annoying. I’m talking about mastering skills like:
- Crafting blog titles and headlines that generate interest and get clicks
- Learning who your audience is and what they want, how they want it
- Leading the reader through a journey to a destination
- Relating to readers on an emotional level
- Finding your groove on social media
- Developing some graphic design skills that enhance your blog and SM posts
- And so much more!
The “experts” suggest that you spend 20% of your work time developing content and 80% of your time promoting that content. By dedicating at least a part of your work week to promoting your blog and products, you can ensure that you get some eyes on all your hard work. 🙂
I love this book for helping you become a proficient promotional ninja!
USE THE RIGHT TOOLS
Having awesome tools to help you promote on social media is a must! If you can’t afford them right away, invest as soon as you are able. They increase your efficiency so much! My favorite promo tool is Tailwind, a Pinterest scheduling tool that allows me to schedule my Pinterest posts for days, weeks, or months in advance.
Plus Tailwind offers Tailwind Tribes, groups of like-minded bloggers you can team up with to promote one another’s pins. By joining some Tribes, you will expand your reach and grow your audience. If you haven’t tried Tailwind, you can get a free trial. The trial includes scheduling up to 100 pins and trying out 5 tribes. If you decide to sign up for the service you can also get a $15 off coupon with this link.
TIP # 6 – Build a mailing list
If you want to succeed in blogging long term, you need to develop an ongoing relationship with your audience, and the best way to do that is through email.
According to B2C “The probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer. If satisfied by the customer experience, 73% of consumers will recommend a brand to others, and 46% say they will trust that brand’s products and services above all others.”The probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer. https://www.business2community.com/strategy/6-times-expensive-win-new-customer-retain-existing-one-01483871 Click To Tweet
If you didn’t catch that, you have to work 14X harder for a sale to a new customer than you would if you sold something new to an existing customer. Serving an existing customer base is easier, more effective, less time consuming, and cheaper than going out and finding new customers every time you create a new product.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for new prospects. On the contrary. You should always be funneling people into your email list. However, once you’ve built a list of people who are interested in your topic, you can market relevant items to them.
When you start your blog, I recommend beginning with one primary opt-in or freebie that will encourage people to sign up for your list. Then set up a welcome email series of three to five emails that will take them through a journey from new subscriber to buyer. If you don’t know how to do that, Meera Kothand is a master at email marketing for bloggers. I highly recommend her book “300 Email Marketing Tips” if you are looking for solid info at a reasonable price.
EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDERS
As for the technicalities behind email marketing, I use Mailerlite to coordinate my email list service. I like the look of their emails and signup forms. The dashboard is much easier to use than some of the other services I’ve tried in the past. They’re inexpensive but have all the features of many of the larger and more expensive services. Plus they have great customer support!
Mailerlite is definitely worth checking out as you start your blog.
TIP #7 – Analyze and Adjust
Having some statistics and feedback on your site and knowing how well various aspects are performing is invaluable information to a budding entrepreneur. Sign up for Google analytics (free)! It will help you keep tabs on:
- how well your site is attracting traffic
- which pages are performing well
- where your customers are referred from
- and all those other wonderful metrics that matter so much!
By keeping good accounting records, you can see where your income is coming from at a glance. I use Quickbooks accounting program to track my income and expenses. By setting up income categories in my accounting program, such as ebook income, affiliate income, digital products income, and course income and assigning my proceeds to those categories, I’m able to run a report and see at a glance where I get my income each month. I can also compare how it measures up to my goals.
If one area is not bringing in much income, I can address my promotion and marketing in that area in the hopes my profits will increase. Or I can choose to place my focus on one area that is bringing in more income and double down on my efforts there in the hopes of making that stream even more profitable.
Social Media Analytics
You’ll also want to sign up for business accounts when you set up your social media for your blog. Most platforms offer some analytics to business accounts that allow you to see:
- how many visitors and clicks you get
- what months, days, and times get the most clicks
- the age, gender, nationality, and other pertinent info about your audience
- what devices your audience uses to view your content ie. computer or mobile or tablet
- other interests your audience has
The important thing is that you know what’s going on in your business. You don’t want to spin your wheels for years on something that’s not working! By taking time once a month to analyze your data and look over what’s working and what’s not, you can adjust your business plan and change your focus to hone in on the areas and tasks that are going to make you the most money!
Even though this is a simplified list of tips, I know it can seem overwhelming to take all these things into account on your new blog. Just tackle one thing at a time. Put your focus on that and master it, then move on to the next. Before you know it, you’ll be one of those awe-inspiring people who works from home full time because you learned how to make money off of blogging!