Let’s talk about the dreaded M-word, the one that makes most aspiring bloggers feel at least a bit sleazy.
Earning an income from your blog.
Selling products, services, serving ads, and sharing affiliate links.
Throughout this tutorial, we'll discuss the various monetization tactics that you can deploy in order to earn an income from your blog.
Back in 2012, when I launched my first blog, I had no idea that one could actually make money blogging, let alone earn a sizable income blogging.
Flash forward to today, it’s even more shocking (still) that I’ve gone from learning how to make money blogging to now earning in excess of $10,000/mo from my blogs.
In 2019, my blog made $42,234. During the first 3 months of 2020, I earned well over $30,000.
So when my readers ask if it’s really possible to learn how to make money blogging in a relatively short period of time, my answer is a resounding yes.
Before we discuss the various options of monetizing your blog, let's get the basics out of the way:
1. Be clear about your niche
Have you figured out the niche topic area you're going to blog about yet? Recent blogging statistics show that needs to come first (and is a necessary step before you actually make money blogging).
Ultimately, your niche isn't only the topic or set of related themes that you'll be creating blog content around, it runs so much deeper than that—and having that cohesive theme is essential to eventually make money blogging because it gives your readers a reason to regularly return for more.
Your niche explains the type of person that your content speaks most clearly to. It’s a zoomed-in view of your expertise and experience. Ultimately, your niche is what will help you discover and grow your audience, market your content the right way, and monetize your blog successfully.
When you fully understand your niche and positioning within that niche, you’ll begin to develop a very specific (and engaged) audience, which makes it easier to get sponsorships, partners, advertisers, and deploy all of the other major ways to make money blogging.
At the same time, and this is extremely important, you get a sense of what types of monetization options work best.
For instance, a niche that isn't particularly lucrative – meaning that it doesn't teach people skills they can later monetize – can only be monetized through ads, sponsorships, and affiliate links.
2. If you want to make money blogging... you have to be consistent
What if your favorite TV show suddenly started misbehaving like this: they release one episode today, another one tomorrow, then nothing for three weeks, then they release another episode, one week off, then another episode, then another one the next day… And they wouldn’t tell anyone when the next episode will be released, or on what Channel. They won’t even stick to the same hour…
No matter how good the TV show is, you’re going to quit watching.
If I were to give you a piece of advice on blogging, writing, life, love, money, getting in top physical shape, or anything else, it would be this: it is more important to be consistent, and by definition, persistent, than it is to be anything else.
But, just in case you’re curious, here’s why.
Blogging, just like any other endeavor, is not so much dependent on the how ( this is what most people like to think it’s important) but rather on the why. How relates to the tools and resources that you need (time, money, talent, readers, etc.) but your why is the reason you do what you do. It’s simply the thing that propels you forward. If you have a strong enough why you are capable of overcoming any obstacle. If not, you could have all the resources, but still not do it.
It is the why not the how that determines how consistent you are. If you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it, which means that you won’t be reasonable and you’ll do things that most people think cannot be sustained.
That being said, I do believe that the vast majority of people are not going to become so obsessed with blogging from the very start that this will propel them until it becomes a habit.
This takes me to my main point: you need to create a schedule in order for blogging to become a habit. The act of writing your posts, doing the necessary research, interacting with your audience, and all that.
If all you can do is an article a month, that’s okay.
If all you can do is an article a day, that’s okay. Or two articles a day. Or whatever.
I am a big fan of simply putting a great volume of work out there, which increases the chances of you getting noticed, but also improves your skill significantly, and it’s a great tool for those of us who have been born with patience deficiency. At the same time, I am well aware that it’s more important to develop a rhythm that can be sustained over long periods of time.
So you have to think about how often you are able to release new content without going crazy. Or neglecting your family or job or both. You need to think real hard about it, because it is so damn important.
Being consistent means being predictable. It means that your audience knows when to expect new content. It makes such a big difference. Predictable is not boring in this case, it’s good.
Because you see, the neat psychological gimmick is that as you develop the habit of blogging according to a certain schedule, so do your readers develop the habit of visiting your blog according to this schedule to check out the new content.
There you have it, that’s why it’s important to be consistent.
My success as a blogger is due largely to consistently publishing content for my readers. That's how I've grown my blogs to more than 180,000+ subscribers.
3. Find (and build) your tribe.
Your tribe is the community of engaged readers you manage to build around your blog.
The most important thing, especially when you're just getting started, is to focus your efforts not just on bringing in new readers, but on establishing real, tangible relationships with as many of them as possible.
Having an online community—whether it's a forum on your blog, a Facebook group, email list, Twitter community, or otherwise can do absolute wonders for your blog. And ultimately, they're going to be the ones that help you learn how to make money blogging in a way that's a mutual win-win for both them and you.
Develop real relationships with your readers. Learn about their likes and dislikes, why they read your blog, how they discovered you, and why they keep coming back for more. Connect with them as humans, not anonymous readers on a screen.
When you have a community, you not only have a deep-rooted support system, you also have some very important relationships.
It may turn out that one of your readers is an advertiser that wants to promote their products on your blog. They may be a podcaster who wants to feature you on their next episode with 2,000 listeners with a spot for your blog pitch.
When you get a feel for your audience, and get to know them intimately, you can start asking them for support. You'd be surprised what you can get from a strong community of like-minded readers.
These are the basics when it comes to making money from your blog.
4. Stop thinking that selling is somehow sleazy.
This common myth is so prevalent because people don’t like feeling like they’re forcing others to buy their products.
But here’s the stone-cold truth: value can only be exchanged between those who believe they’re getting what they want.
Sales is not something to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it is to be embraced as the only way you can offer your value to a specific marketplace.
In other words, there’s no such thing as free, even when we offer something for free. We still ask that our customers pay with their time and attention.
Selling for cash is no different.
At the same time, I believe there's a critical mindset shift that takes place once a blogger decides to monetize, especially once they start selling their own products.
They begin to feel sleazy. They feel as if the magic of blogging has somehow vanished.
You must understand that if the largest publications on earth are placing content behind a paywall, selling courses, building marketplaces and job boards, you too must discard idealistic perspectives in favor of a more capitalistic approach to blogging.
In the words of Gordon Gecko, "Idealism kills every deal."