6 Things I Did to Start Earning Money With My Blog

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I started this blog on a whim back in August of 2010. After just 8 months of part-time work on the site, I was earning $500 a month. Then, to my complete surprise, my income started jumping – up to $3,800 a month in early 2012!

I definitely made a few mistakes with my site over the years, but I’ve also done a ton of things right. Today, I’m going to teach you about all the good stuff that propelled me to where I am today:

  • with 30,000+ visitors a month
  • 1,850 subscribers
  • 6,000+ social media followers
  • Over $100,000 earned via this website

Want to start earning money with your blog? Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way.

How to Start Earning Money With Your Blog

This post contains affiliate links.

At this point, I assume you’ve already got your blog up and running (if not, check out my “Start Your Own Blog” page – I make the process super simple with tons of help). Good for you! Taking the first step is definitely the hardest, and I commend you for taking the giant leap of faith into blog ownership!

Sure, there are a few tactical things you could do to better set yourself up for success, but if you’re interested in making some money, it doesn’t hurt to jump right into these money-making activities.

So let’s dive right in, and let’s start earning money with your blog!


Web Hosting from iPage

1) Get Reputable Links to Your Site

Okay, so you bought a domain name and signed up with a web host (I power this site with iPage – it’s only $1.99 a month)… Now what? Your site’s obviously too new to rank highly on Google and it’s safe to say that no one is talking about you. How can you make your page more reputable to all those search bots out there?

As usual, the best way is the slow and simple way:

  • Write free, killer content for other top sites

This sounds great and all, but as you’ll quickly find out on your own, it’s tough to even get a response from sites like Yahoo Finance or CNBC, let alone have them allow you to submit your own writing….

So where can you best get started?

Based on my research and personal experience, here’s a solid list of sites that are made to accept your guest posts:

  • HubSpot
  • Penny Hoarder’
  • Outbrain
  • CopyBlogger
  • Smashing Magazine
  • YourStory

…and according to Shout Me Loud, there are plenty more..

By increasing the links that are pointing to your site, search engines will begin find you more readily, which means your posts (from your own site) will rise up the ranks and more eyeballs will start seeing your stuff.

The final question you’re begging me to answer…“How many free guest posts should I write?”

The answer…it depends…(of course ;)). But based on my history, I would shoot for 200 solid guest posts – all to different sites. Once you get the ball rolling, this will become easier and easier, so don’t worry about the magic number of guest posts for now, just get started.

2) Divert Large Traffic in Your Direction

I was the king of this back in the day…. Actually, I was pesky, spammy, and would often get emails from blog owners telling me to stop commenting on their site. BUT, to this day I’m convinced that commenting on related articles is one of the top reasons my site is ranked so highly today. And it’s still one of the most effective ways for new bloggers to get traffic flowing their way.

The action is simple. You own a blog that relates to a certain topic – personal finance, leadership, DIY, fitness – it doesn’t matter. But whatever your general topic is, simply go out and find the top sites on the exact same topic….and then comment on their stuff like crazy.

  • Offer helpful advice with your comment
  • Agree with them or disagree – just speak your mind
  • Think like a reader – if you were reading your comment, would you click on their link to check out their blog?

At the end of each article, there’s typically a comment box like the one below:

start earning money with your blog

Enter:

  • Your kick-butt comment
  • Your name (I put “Derek@LifeAndMyFinances” so people know I’m not just a person, but a site too)
  • Email (in case the blog owner wants to yell at you for all your comments!…lol!)
  • Your website (this is what makes your name a clickable hyperlink – so don’t mess it up!)
    make money with your blog

How often should you comment? In the beginning, shoot for 10 a day. Then once you see the traffic starting to pick up, DON’T STOP! You can dial it back a bit if you want, but when traffic starts appearing on your site, it’s time to step your foot on the gas, not to coast into complacency!

Want to start earning money with your blog? Then never forget the first two action steps: guest posts and commenting.

 

3) Start With Google Adsense

You started a site because:

  • You’re passionate about your topic, and
  • You wanted to make some moolah!

The gurus out there will tell you not to monetize your site for at least six months…and I tend to agree with them. BUT, just like with paying off debt, it’s pretty hard to stay motivated unless you can actually see some results!

For this reason, I don’t mind people putting up one Google Ad after 2-3 months of hard work.

I remember my excitement when I put up my first ad. I was on pins and needles, almost grinning from ear to ear, just waiting for the money to pour in!

In that first month, I generated 3 clicks and earned $5.10….

And you know what? I was elated!! Sure the amount was small, but this proved that I could actually make money with a website! If I could just get more readers and generate more clicks, then I knew my income would go up accordingly.

Want to add Google Adsense to your site? Here’s a fantastic resource: How to Properly Add Google Adsense to Your WordPress Site

start earning money with your blog

4) Affiliate Marketing

First of all, what is affiliate marketing? And second, why should you care?

Affiliate marketing is simply when you sell someone else’s product and they pay you a kick-back for every sale. I have a few affiliate products on this site:

  • iPage is a web host. For every sign up, I get paid $105
  • Wealthsimple is an investment firm that makes investing super simple. Anyone can do it.
  • Personal Capital is a mix of a budgeting app and investment advising. I get paid $100 for each high net worth sign up.

If you’re passionate about a product that has changed your life dramatically (like the above products did for me), it can be incredibly easy to sell others on your excitement. AND, if you find out that your beloved product offers an affiliate kick-back, then you could be raking in the dough by simply doing what you love!

Want to start earning money with your blog? This is hands-down the best way to do it if you’re sold on a particular product. Simply tell others about your experience, offer a link so they can do the same, and watch your bank account grow.

5) Sell Your Own Products

There are three methods of selling your own products:

  1. Buying products at a low cost and simply reselling them
  2. Creating your own physical product and selling it on your website
  3. Developing an online course because of your profound expertise on a particular topic

Buying and selling products

This is actually pretty easy. Either you found a source that can provide you with a severely discounted product (via an overseas retailer or through a return and refurb center for instance), or you found a way to buy something, modify it, and sell it for far more than it was worth before (like refurbishing furniture).

And to be completely honest with you, unless you have an incredibly large following, you probably don’t even need your own website for this. Ebay and Etsy are still the top sites for making money this way.

Creating and Selling a Physical Product

I could attempt to cover this in detail myself, but to be completely honest, I’ve never done it and I’d only be lying to you if I pretended to know what I was talking about.

If you’re interested in the world of product development, fulfillment, and outsourcing, then this might just be your sweet spot. And you know what? I found an amazing source to help you out: http://www.littlemight.com/how-to-create-a-physical-product/ .

Developing an Online Course

If you’ve ever wanted to make money while you’re sleeping, then look no further. Online courses are passive income at its finest.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Build yourself up as an expert in your field
  • Create some kick-butt content
  • Offer a sneak preview for free, and then offer 2-3 times the value of your course in other materials to sell the full course (ie. Offer $300 worth of product for just $99…this is called marketing ;))

This then begs the question….how do you set up an online course on your site? It’s definitely not a cake-walk, but thankfully there are tons of WordPress options that can help. If you feel like hosting the online course on your own site is too complex after reviewing the material, you can always utilize other platforms like Udemy or Open Learning.

Related: 3 of My Favorite Online Income Sources

6) Sell Private Ads

If you want to make a couple hundred bucks a month, then private ads a pretty easy way to do it. Basically, you just need to start a website that looks decent and develops a little bit of traffic, put a “Contact Me” page on your website, and you’ll probably get agents reaching out to you within a few months, asking you to post a paid article that contains a link or two.

…is this the best way to create a sustainable income?? Absolutely not!

Related: How to Create an Unlimited Income With Your Blog

If, instead of earning a few hundred bucks with your site, you have your sights set on a few thousand dollars or more, then I would advise keeping these private ads to a minimum (like two or fewer a month). They can appear spammy, disingenuous, and they can really turn off your existing readers.

It’s Time to Make Money With Your Website!

For people that have never owned their website before, earning money can seem like a complete mystery. I can’t tell you how many times I tell people that I make a nice side income via blogging and they pause, smile, shake their head, and then ask (all in that order), “Wait, how do you make money writing on a blog?”

Now you’ve got all the tools. You never everything I do about earning an income through your blog.

All you have to do is:

  • Guest post for other reputable blogs and link back to your site within the article
  • Comment on a bazillion sites that are closely related to your blog
  • Put up Google Adsense for some much-needed motivation
  • Sell an affiliate product
  • Market and sell your own products
  • Place a few direct ads on your website

It most certainly isn’t easy, but it’s not rocket science, people. All you’ve got to do is follow the steps above, stay consistent, write some amazing content, and you’ll be well on your way to earning a healthy income with your new website!

Have fun kicking butt!! Get Started Here!!

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Make Money Money Start Your Own Blog

Derek

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

11 Comments

  1. Blogging is certainly a great way to earn recognition and money! Yes, a blogger has to be passionate about his blog and keep it fed regularly. The posts have to be relevant and your target audience feels good when you include a few attractive images. Make sure your blog relates to current issues be it in finance or fashion. It helps you connect!

    • Yup, good tips SB! Thanks for stopping by!

    • For sure! Glad it helped! I know I would have loved this info when I was a new blogger!

  2. Derek,

    Once again, you’ve tossed out some great info. Thanks for sharing!

    I’m working on a few of the things you mentioned, and I hope that things will kick off. 🙂

    • Saweet! I love that the info is helpful. It’s time for all my readers to make some moolah! 😉

  3. Great post Derek! I’m finally starting to monetize my site and love helpful articles like this one. Are you developing a course right now? I’m always buying them to learn about other topics and think they’re super helpful. I’m hoping to have one live by August.

    • I’m in the very early stages of figuring out the online course. Basically, I’m still tearing out the market. It’s about time to get moving on this though, huh?!

      • Definitely, I love online courses and think there is a big opportunity to help people. I am going to go with Teachable since it seems very easy to design. I also purchased Ramit Sethi’s “Zero to Launch” to learn more. Good luck man keep me posted!

  4. Great article, Derek! How do you balance/prioritize time with reading and commenting on other blogs and writing for your own in the beginning? 50/50? 80/20?

    • First, make sure you have rock solid content on your site. THEN, start working it 50/50 – reading/commenting vs. writing new fresh content. And then start spending a little time thinking about marketing! What products should you offer to your readers that will help them AND earn you a little bit of money?


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