I had no writing experience, no marketing experience, and I had absolutely no idea how to build a webpage… BUT, at that point in time I WAS successfully digging my way out of debt and I wanted to teach everyone that they could kick their debt to the curb as well. I never dreamed that this little side venture would be profitable. After all, blogging is just what people did when they’re bored and had no life, RIGHT? Well, $75,000 later, I can attest that it certainly is NOT just a little side hobby. Blogging can provide an income for stay-at-home moms, dads, and can even earn enough to support both!
In this post, I want to teach you that blogging is not only a means for an income, but with the proper discipline, it can also make you extremely wealthy.
How to Start a Blog
So how did I go from being absolutely clueless about webpages and blogs to building this beautiful site with headers, sidebars, and fabulously formatted content? No, I didn’t take a class, and I definitely didn’t pay anyone to do it for me (at that time I was broke and couldn’t afford that option, and today I’m just too cheap ;)), I did just what you’re doing right now. I searched the web and started reading different websites that clued me in on what I needed to do next. Here are the basic steps in starting a blog. Truthfully, it’s actually pretty simple.
1) Decide on a Domain Name
So you want to start a blog, but what are you going to call it? This is fairly important and requires a little bit of thought. Here are the suggestions I always make when my friends start talking about starting up a new blog.
Make sure the domain is:
- easy to remember
- easy to spell
- representative of your blog content
- has a .com ending
- is available!
My site name, LifeAndMyFinances.com took me about a week to come up with. It was simple, people could remember it, it sums up all the content, it is a .com domain, and it was actually available for me to reserve! To come up with your name, get an understanding of what you’re going to write about, then write down a bunch of words that relate to your topic. Panabee is incredibly helpful for exploring a domain name. It takes two main words and shows you all the available possibilities AND will suggest other words to use if you aren’t content with the first round of results.
- DIY blogs
- Mommy blogs
- Personal finance blogs
- Nutrition blogs
- Exercise and fitness blogs
2) Sign Up With a Webhost
If you want to earn money with a blog, you’ll want to avoid signing up with a free blog service (like Blogger) for two main reasons:
- advertisers won’t take your blog seriously
- some free blog services restrict you from running ads and earning a revenue
To earn money with a blog, it’s best to self-host, which simply means paying for a service that can’t restrict what you post and how to earn revenue from it. The best (and most cost effective) hosts I’ve come across are:
- iPage – This is the host I started with in 2010, and I still use their services today! Through iPage, you can typically start your own website for less than $1.99 a month! ($1.99 Coupon Code: LOWESTPRICE)
- Bluehost – Many of my friends use Bluehost. It’s a little more expensive, but very speedy and reliable.
- HostGater – This service is quite reliable and also quite cost effective at times. PLUS, here’s a 25% off discount code if you want to get started today: LAMF25OFFCOUPON
3) Build a Basic Blog in WordPress
If you want to earn money with a blog, don’t build your site with some crummy drag-and-drop software. Use the tried and true service of WordPress. It’s free, there is tons of help online for how to build it, and for the most part, it’s pretty intuitive.
Many people ask me how I earn money with a blog. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized that many advertisers actually reach out to me, and if I hadn’t registered my site with Google or Yahoo!, then they never would have found me!
First, you’ll need to download the SiteMap plugin (just search Simple Google Sitemap XML in your plug-in searchbar in WordPress). Then, simply go to the Google search console and enter your domain name! Once they accept it, PRESTO!, you’re on Google. 🙂 The process is the same for all other search providers as well. If you can submit your site to Google, then you are certainly web savvy enough to submit your site to the other main search engines.
5) Load It Up With Content!
Alright, now that you have a domain and have set your site up to be found through searches, it’s time to fill up your blog with content! After all, without content, you’ll have no visitors, and without visitors, it’s pretty tough to earn money with a blog. As a rule of thumb, the more visitors your blog attracts, the more money you can potentially earn.
When I first started my website, I wrote content every single day for the first three months. Ever since then, I have written at least 3 fresh new articles every single week. And, the visitors just keep on coming!
It used to be that if you wanted to earn money with a blog, you could just start a site, load it up with about 20 articles, and then just sit back and watch the money roll in. I hate to burst your bubble if this was your plan…because this just doesn’t work anymore.
If you want to earn money with a blog, you’ll first have to choose a topic that attracts visitors AND advertisers. Then, you’ll have to be interesting enough to retain and attract new visitors all the time. Once you build up a following of 10,000 visitors or more each month, only then will you really start to earn a decent income.
While it’s not quite as easy to earn money with a blog these days, there are many different avenues that are effective for making a decent income here and there. Based on my experiences, I have found 8 different ways to earn money with a blog.
1) Direct Links/Articles
This used to be the easiest way to make money with a blog back in the day. Basically, advertisers offer you a pre-written post or a banner image with a link back to their client’s site. It not only directs traffic to the company that pays for the link, but it also makes their site more reputable (since they now have all these sites directing links to theirs). Unfortunately, search engines are actually penalizing sites for accepting paid links since the links aren’t “natural”. It makes sense, but it makes it tougher for a blogger to earn money with a blog early on.
2) Affiliate Links
What are affiliate links, you may ask? This is when you put an advertisement up on your site, but you don’t get paid unless someone clicks on that link and orders something. Some of my most popular affiliate links are:
Some of these links pay me $100 per order, while others pay just $2 or $3. All added up though, they can really produce a ton of money each month with tens of thousands of visitors! Choose links that fit your site and benefit your readers and you could be on your way to earning thousands of dollars with your blog!
This method to earn money with a blog is often called a Pay-Per-Click method. On the upper left of my site, I have a Google Adsense ad. On the lower left, I have a Media.net add. Both of these ads effectively do the same thing – they are pay-per-click ads. If someone clicks on one of these ads, but buys nothing when they’re redirected to another site, I still get paid because of the click. These can be big money-makers if you have a ton of traffic and your content topic is valuable. For me, I can count on roughly $50 a month in pay-per-click ads. It’s not huge, but it pays a portion of my operating costs. And let’s face it, every bit helps.
4) Your Own Material
I’ve flirted with this a few times, but it certainly isn’t easy. Almost anyone can self-publish an eBook these days, which means that the market is pretty well flooded with almost any topic you can think of. Realistically, you first need to make a name for yourself through your blog, and THEN you can earn some big bucks with a book. I’m just not there yet, but believe me, I will be (and you could be too!).
5) With Social Media
Are you capable of manufacturing 200,000 followers on Twitter or 100,000 friends on Facebook? If you are a social media expert, then you could probably earn money with a blog through your social media efforts. By having loyal followers, companies are likely to offer you between $5-$70 for a simple tweet that includes their name or link. On top of this, you could tweet out affiliate links that pay you if someone buys the product that you’re tweeting about. Between these two methods, some Twitter giants are earning $40k or more just through their social media platform!
If you want to earn money with a blog, consider the fact that it might lead to speaking engagements or 1-on-1 meetings. Most of the time, I offer to speak and meet with others for free because I like to help, but in the future this could definitely be another avenue of earning more dollars! And, if you love to speak already, then starting a blog could be your ticket to making yourself reputable enough to get hired!
Probably 25% of my income in the past 5 years has been through writing (for other blogs). I can think quickly, type fast, and earn quite a lot of money just by writing one article at a time. On average, I have earned probably $20 per article (which takes me less than 30 minutes to write) and written hundreds, if not thousands of articles.
When you earn money with a blog, you may become a bit of a local celebrity as well, which may means some phone calls and interviews with news stations and radio broadcasts. Get yourself a part-time marketing person and you could easily win yourself some time with a journalist that could bust your blogging career wide open. To be completely honest, I really suck at marketing…so I really need to take my own advice on this one. Does anyone out there need a part-time marketing job…? 😉
8) Re-Invest Your Earnings
Within the first four months, I began to earn money with a blog. It was somewhat unexpected and it began to pour in pretty fast. Since I never really planned on earning much money from this venture, I decided that I wouldn’t spend hardly any of it. Instead, I tucked it away as an investment for a later date. I didn’t really know what my investment was going to be at that point, but today, I know that I want to invest in real estate.
Take a look how my blog income will explode just by reinvesting the earnings:
- Save money from the blog
- Invest in real estate with cash
- Earn $1,000 a month from rent on top of my usual $1,000 from my blog
- Buy another rental property with cash after 3 years
- Continue to save and reinvest again and again
Instead of spending your dollars immediately when you earn money with a blog, I would recommend that you either put your earnings back into your blog to grow it bigger, or use the money to invest in an outside source (like I’m doing with real estate).
Get Started Now
So what are you waiting for? The initial investment is less than $40 for your first year (Bonus savings tip: when signing up for a webhost, try to exit the page mid-way through your sign-up – they’ll likely offer you an even better rate on your 1st year), and I just told you everything that you need to know. Heck, if you only earn $100 in your entire first year, then you’ll still be ahead by $60, AND you’ll probably have a blast writing about your passion!