“How to Blog for Money | How to Blog” written by Mike Marko.
Are you looking to make money online?
Maybe you want to make some extra cash?
Or maybe you want to know how to blog for money so you can leave your present job?
I understand where you are coming from. Blogging is a great the way to make money online. Bren and I make over 90% of our online income through our blog.
Since it may seem overwhelming at first on how to blog for money, I wanted to take the time to clear it up for you. That’s why I created this guide on how to blog for money.
So let’s get started.
How to Blog for Money
As I previously mentioned, Bren and I make over 90% of our online income using our blog. Now before we dive into the details on how to blog for money, I think it’s a probably a good idea for you know who I am.
Who Am I To Talk About Blogging?
Over 2 years ago I didn’t know what a blog was, let alone that I would be teaching others how to make money blogging… Seriously! No clue!
Bren and I started with a blog that had an affiliate program. At the time I took a blind faith purchase and got started. Well… it wasn’t like I had to take a serious investment because it was only $25/month. But still it was intimidating starting something I knew nothing about.
During the past 2 years, Bren and I learned a LOT! I took a lot of courses on blogging, and how to promote blogs to get traffic. I was eager to learn as much as I could. And of course I’m still learning… and I expect it to be a lifelong learning process as we strive to keep getting better and serve our readers better.
But that’s what we really enjoy doing… Providing value to you.
While learning to master blogging over the past couple years, we were able to get on the leaderboards for several affiliate programs. Our results are attributed to our blog. And our income keeps climbing.
Enough about me… I’m sure you’re anxious to learn about how to blog for money. Let’s get started.
VIDEO: How to Blog for Money
In the following video we talk about how to blog for money and build an online business.
[jwplayer player=”1″ mediaid=”9520″]
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The following three tips elaborate on what we discussed in the video.
Tip #1: Determine Your Blogging Platform
The first step is to pick a blogging platform. There are a lot of different platforms to choose from.
The first choice you have is free vs paid. Personally, if you plan on having a serious business I would completely avoid free. You have no control over your blog, and your provider can shut you down without notice. I know of several people that had their free blogs shut down with no recourse, resulting in hours of hours of work… gone!
Paid blogs have the additional advantage of you being able to have more control over the ad space, which is extremely important. You want to be the one monetizing the traffic you worked hard to get.
The following blog post talks about Why Start a Blog and What Blog Platform to Choose and this one talks about the Kalatu blog, How Do You Start a Blog with Kalatu Premium – With Almost No Effort.
Tip #2: Pick Your Niche (and Target Audience)
If you try to target everyone with your blog, it will actually shrink your audience. For example, if you want to read a blog about parenting you won’t want to have to wade through blog posts about car repair. If you wanted to know about car repair you would go to a car repair blog.
Here are several articles on how to pick your target audience and your niche.
How to Determine a Target Audience for Your Blog Content or Online Content
How to Determine Your Target Audience Profile for Your Blog
How to Choose the Right Niche For Your Blog
How to Pick a Blog Topic – When You Think “All of the Good Blog Niches Are Already Taken”
How to Blog – How to Choose a Blog Niche [5 Tips for Picking a Profitable Blog Topic]
Tip #3: Pick Your Products
Finally pick the products you want to promote. Like we discussed in the video, you should pick products that would be of benefit to your target audience. And I suggest you Google products that fit your niche. That could be actual products or services.
For example, if you have a dog grooming blog then google “dog affiliate” and I am sure you will find affiliate products that would suite your dog grooming blog. Don’t pick products that are not somehow congruent to your blog niche. Promoting boating equipment to dog groomers will not result in very effective use of your website ad space, plus you are doing your visitors a disservice.
You should have a range of different types of products that follow the structure of Lesson #5 below.
Additional Lessons on How to Blog for Money
The following are some additional lessons on how to blog for money.
Lesson #1: Serve Your Audience First
The money will follow after.
If you focus only on the money first, then it will be a lot more difficult to be successful. Product value to your audience and you will develop a devote following. Your blog is the “freebie” that you’ll use to attract customers or clients.
Lesson #2: Own Your Ad Space
You need to control the ad space on your blog because this is where most of the money is to be made.
When you use free blogs, most likely the ad space is limited or used by the provider. Free sites are geared towards making money for the provider.
Even when you own your own blog you shouldn’t sell the ad space. Of course selling ad space is attractive because it is passive income, but you can often make three to ten times more (or more) using the same ad space to sell affiliate products, or your own products or services.
Lesson #3: Don’t Go for the Sale Right Away
What I mean is instead of trying to get your visitors to buy your products upfront, you delay asking for the sale until later.
This is similar to what I talked about in Lesson #1 where you want to provide lots of value. When someone joins your email list, give them value. Give a free gift like an audio, ebook, or a series of videos. On our blog we give away our free bootcamp so our visitor can register for our training series on how to make money online. After a couple of videos into the series, we start recommending affiliate products that they can purchase to achieve the same results we talk about.
Give value first, then much later ask for the sale.
I want to clarify this: some interpret this to be never ask for the sale. I know I made that mistake at first. You always want to inevitably ask for the sale. Just don’t ask for the sale right away.
Lesson #4: The Main Purpose of a Blog Is to Collect Visitor Emails
In my opinion, the main purpose of a blog is to collect emails. Sure you have quality content to attract your visitors, but your ultimate goal is to ask for their email by having them opt into your newsletter or free gift (i.e. lead magnet).
If you don’t get their email during their first visit, there is a very small chance that they will ever return again. They will leave and never come back.
Once you have their email, you can keep asking them back to your blog so they can consume even more of your quality content. By doing that you earn their trust.
Lesson #5: Have a Mix of Products with Different Price Points
There are four different types of products you should have to successfully make good money with your blog: lead magnet, funded proposal, reoccurring income, and big ticket items.
Lead Magnet: This is the free gift you give to have your visitor register on your email list (discussed in Lessons 3 & 4).
Funded Proposal: This takes the form of relatively inexpensive products or services you sell to a broader audience to help pay for advertising and other overhead for the blog and online business. These products typically sell from $7 to $50. Not only does the funded proposal help fund your overhead, but it also builds trust as the buyer (your visitor now becomes a buyer lead) gets used to making purchases from you. It is a psychology thing: that small purchase starts to build trust. Plus it helps get their credit card out in case you have an upsell ready to go.
Reoccuring Income: These products work much like your cable or internet bill: the customer pays a monthly fee to keep the service. In this case you offer your customer a chance to buy a service or product that requires them to pay a monthly fee. This fee may range from $25 to $150 per month. There is a lot of power in developing a large reoccurring income stream because you can be making money even when you don’t get any new customers.
Big Ticket Items: This is my favorite type of product. Big ticket items typically range from $500 to $5000 or more! I love big ticket items because it is actually much less work to sell one $1000 product than it is to sell 100 products worth $10. Plus there is a lot less effort required to serve the 1 customer who bought the bigger ticket item instead of 100 customers who paid you next to nothing.
In the end it is best to have a range of all four types of products offered through your blog. It will give you the ability to service a much larger audience.
Lesson #6: Blog Consistently
I am advocate of publishing content daily. But even if you can’t blog daily at least publish consistently to help serve your visitors. Even if you only publish a blog monthly (and that is the least amount I suggest you post a blog) make sure it is at the same time every month so your visitors know when to expect it.
The advantage of blogging daily, or almost daily, is that Google will tend to favor. You will show Google that your blog content is fresh is relevant. That will help you rank higher in search results. Also by blogging daily you create a LOT more content hitting a lot more keywords to help attract even more traffic to your content.
Lesson #7: Longer Blog Posts Perform Better
Do you know what works best for getting traffic to your blog? Creating longer content.
I wrote a blog post about how many words you should target to have in your blog post. In that blog post, I recommended for your blog post should be at least 600 words if you want to get found by Google.
SEO expert Niel Patel recommended in one of his blog posts that your blog post should be at least 1500 words, or ideally 2000 or more words. My Google ranking results also show that longer blog posts of 1500 words or more do have a better chance of ranking in the search engines.
The data DOES support that longer blog posts tend to get better rankings by search engines.
[For reference, this blog post is over 3,400 words]
Lesson #8: Promote At Least As Much Time As You Spend Writing
You should spend at LEAST as much time promoting a blog post as you do writing it. If you spend 5 hours a week writing blog posts, then you should spend at least 5 hours a week promoting them.
If you can’t spend that much time promoting your blog posts, then scale back on your writing. Scale back enough so that you can spend at least the same amount time promoting as you write otherwise you’re not effectively using your time.
For tips on how to promote a blog post check out “3 Things to Do Right AFTER You’re Done Writing a Blog Post.”
Lesson #9: Use Your Time Wisely
Make sure you spend your time working on higher value activities.
What that that means to you depends on your goal: If your goal is to increase traffic then measure the number of visitors you get for each hour of effort.
That means if you spend 3 hours writing and promoting a blog post that brings you 50 visitors, and you invest another 5 hours writing and promoting another blog post that brings you 250 visitors, you need to determine which effort best serves you. If you do the math for this example, you’ll see that the first blog post brings roughly 17 visitors per hour of effort while the second blog post brings you 50 visitors per hour of effort.
Know your numbers. Make sure you are recording your time spent and analyzing your Google analytics.
You may find that guest posting, especially early on, may be better use of your time rather than publishing fresh content on your own blog. In that case you may try to publish 25% of your early content effort as a guest blogger. You still have to build up your blog, but now you can more efficiently build up traffic to your own new blog.
Now don’t get me wrong… you still must create content for your new blog. You have to build it in order for it to be a more efficient use of your time. You want your own organic traffic.
But when you start, your new blog carries little weight.
Lesson #10: You Are Your Blog’s Worse Bottleneck
The biggest contributor slowing the progress of your blog is that you are doing everything. You have to deal with technical issues (unless you use a blog system like this), read books and articles about your field, answer questions from readers, syndicate/market your blog posts… and the list goes on.
The more you think about it, the more you must realize that you can’t do everything.
That’s where I take my queue from lean manufacturing processes. If a single machine is slowing down the work of others in the factory, then it can cost tons of money. A smart manufacturing manager will be willing to spend money to eliminate the bottlenecks. In most cases, eliminating the bottleneck is much cheaper than the cost of the actual bottleneck to production.
And this is true of almost any process, including blogging. While we typically don’t buy a new machine to help (though I did buy a new computer because my laptop was way too slow and out of date), we might purchase software, increase our internet speed, or hire a virtual assistant or programmer. Sure it may seem expensive at first glance, but the cost of the bottleneck is often much greater than what you have to spend to eliminate it.
Initially we did all the work on our blog ourselves. But as we started to produce a small amount of income we reinvested in tools and software to speed things up. We eventually hired virtual assistants to help with some of the mundane and routine tasks that weren’t worth our time to perform; tasks that still had to be done.
Lesson #11: Start to Selling From Day 1
How many subscribers should you have before you start selling? 1,000? 5,000? More?
Ok, I know… I already gave you the answer in the title of this lesson: you should be selling from day one.
And the reason is because you need the money.
Remember when I said in Lesson #10 that you want to be able to automate as much as possible? Since you are effectively the bottle neck in your business you need to get as many tools (and a virtual assistant) as quickly as possible. When you start making money, you can start to invest in these resources to further grow your business.
Now be careful not to make your blog into a huge commercial. You’ll push away your potential customers because nobody likes to be sold. Instead make the option to buy available, and remind them occasionally that you do have things available for purchase.
Lesson #12: Forget Your Google Search Results
Don’t look at your Google search results… don’t care about them….
Now don’t get me wrong: I am a firm advocate of SEO and getting found on Google. But when your blog is new, for the first 6 to 12 months you should not spend a lot of time on SEO optimizing your blog.
Your blog is new. Google won’t really pay your blog much attention for the first three to six months.
Do some very basic SEO and keyword research, but don’t spend a lot on time on it. Spend your time by marketing your blog using other methods. Eventually people will start finding your blog even without SEO optimized blog posts.
Just get to writing quality content.
You can always revisit old blog posts a year later and freshen them up, and SEO optimize them.
Lesson #13: Don’t Waste Your Time Creating Your Own Products
When you first start off, you will have NO CLUE what your customers want. They often don’t know what they want, so how would you know?
So spending time and money developing products is a waste of your time.
Instead there are plenty of affiliate products ready for you to promote to make money online.
Only once you have a firmly established blog and are making substantial money should you even think about making your own products. For the time being there is better uses for your time.
Lesson #14: Learn, Do, Teach
You best serve your audience be always striving to learn new things. Keep expanding your mind and strive to be the best in your niche. Then share what you learn with your audience.
Practice what you learn, measure the results, and then teach them in your blog. Be sure to be open about your journey because your audience will appreciate your openness. Talk about your success AND your failures.
By continually learning new things you will never run out of great content to create for your blog and your audience.
Final Words About How to Blog for Money
I just shared key tips and lessons on how to blog for money. No matter if you are a beginning blogger, or if you been blogging for a while, I am sure that you will find several lessons that you can start to implement today that will show you how to blog for money more effectively.
Let me know what you think about my lessons in the comments below. If you think I missed a key lesson, please also share it below.
And if you found value in this blog post I would greatly appreciate that you share it in social media.
Thank you, and happy blogging!
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