One of the easiest ways to make money online is through blogging. People understand what blogs are, they have certain expectations of them and, because of that, if you want to make money as a blogger, you have to understand what an audience that reads blogs expects of you. Now the question pops up:
“Are you qualified to make money blogging?”
Blogs are frequently updated. If you’re not willing to update your blog frequently, you’re not going to make any money from it. It’s as simple as that. If you’re looking for a way to make money without doing any work, blogging isn’t for you.
Blogging is also about social interaction, though that aspect of it is a bit different from what most people consider social networking to be these days. The social functions on blogs can oftentimes be integrated with social media sites, however, something that will be discussed in greater detail later on.
For the moment, suffice it to say, blogging is about publishing good information on a regular basis. It’s also something that you can make money at, provided you understand how to go about it.
Making money with blogs is a popular way to make money online because the investment required to get one started is very small. It’s very similar to building an authority site. Particularly compared to the investment required to start most other types of businesses, blogging is very affordable.
There are resources you can utilize to expand your blog a great deal, to get information and perform other tasks that come at a price but, when you’re just getting started, you won’t have to worry about that right away. The costs of starting a blog are mostly those required to get a domain name and to get a web hosting account. These are very small investments; probably less than you pay for your Internet subscription every month.
1. Find A Specific Topic To Write About
Finding a niche is one of the most basic elements of most successful Internet marketing. Remember that you’re marketing your blog, so your niche is going to be a group of people who enjoy consuming a certain type of information. That information will likely be relative to an activity that they engage in or an aspect of their lifestyle that further defines them as being a member of that niche. For example, mothers of elementary school children who attend private schools are a marketing niche.
Identifying a niche can be hard. One of the things you have to take into account is how much competition there is for that particular group of people. You may not want to try to compete for the niche of people who enjoy golfing in Florida, for example, simply because that is such a huge niche to go after, which means that a lot of other sites will be competing for that demographic. Scale it down a bit. Consider, for example, people who enjoy golfing in Florida but who are allergic to regular mosquito repellent. That’s a very specific— and likely very small—group of people to whom you could direct blog content. Obviously, this is only an example, but you’ll need to choose a niche that you can realistically reach better than your competition and that you can speak to with at least some authority.
Read the news, pay attention to trends and it won’t be long before you will be able to identify many different niches. If you have somebody you work with in your business, or just a good friend with whom you like tossing around ideas, try brainstorming.
2. Get A Domain Name & A Web Host
A domain name is what you type in your browser when you want to go to a website. For example, Google’s domain name is “www.google.com”. Technically, because you are putting up a site that is intended to make money, you should choose a .com domain name. If it suits your target demographic, however, you may want to consider getting a different top level domain. Top level domain (TLD) is the technical term for the letters that follow the “.” in your domain name. Some other domains – such as biz and .us – might make good choices, as well. It’s not a bad idea to consider purchasing the .net and .org variations of your domain name for future campaigns.
Now, a web hosting account is what provides you with the server where your website lives on the Internet. It is where the files of your website or blog are stored. Hosting plans are extremely affordable these days. You may have to accommodate site growth at some point but, generally speaking, the best hosts out there offer you unlimited bandwidth, even at their lowest levels of service, so you should be able to stay with a simple web hosting plan for quite a while, even if you’re getting a lot of traffic and a lot of money out of your blog.
You can get a domain name and a web host at HostGator. Their web hosting packages come at very low prices. Starting out, you should be able to get by with the most basic hosting plan, which is usually available for around $9 per month. The basic HostGator plan comes with unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth for less than $9 per month, making it one of the better deals available.
When you go to HostGator, click the “View Web Hosting Plans” button:
Choose your web hosting plan. I recommend getting the Baby plan so you have the option to add more domain names in the future.
After choosing your plan, select a domain name. Enter the coupon code “carlocabdotcom” and get 25% OFF on any hosting package. If you prefer to get $9.94 OFF, use the coupon code “carlocabdotcom2” making your first month on the Hatchling or Baby plan free!
After you sign up for HostGator, you will have a domain name and a web host. This means you have all of the basic tools you need to start a blog, assuming you have a computer, of course. The next step will provide you with the single most important tool you have for running your blog but won’t cost you a dime.
3. Install WordPress
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world. It’s also a powerful content management system: a backend control panel and series of menus that allow for the very efficient administration of websites. With WordPress, you don’t have to worry about programming. You can post articles, change templates and do almost anything you can think of to manage your blog without touching any code.
If you’re new to installing content management systems, installing WordPress can be confusing but on your HostGator account, WordPress is included as an option on your hosting package. All you have to do is log into your administration panel and click on the option to install blogging software. WordPress will be one of the options. From there, it’s only a matter of filling in options – the title of your blog and so forth – and clicking through to the next step.
4. Make Money With Your Blog
Monetizing or making money with your website means adding advertisements, for the most part. Adding affiliate links and tools that allow you to capture e-mails are other parts of monetizing a blog. Monetizing a blog can be a bit complex. Some of the results won’t come right away, or even easily, for that matter. You’ll want to make certain you give each of your programs time to work, but you also need to know when to back out of a program if it isn’t working for you.
Here are some of the most common ways that people monetize blogs:
AdSense is a program run by Google and it’s the most popular pay per click advertising service in the world. The way it works is simple. People bid to have their advertisements published on websites that are within the AdSense network. They only pay the amount that they bid for the advertisement if somebody actually clicks on the advertisement. This is called pay per click advertising.
You can customize the advertisements that show up on your site and you’re given plenty of options as far as tools to track the success or failure of your campaigns. The advertisements displayed are chosen based on how appropriate they are for your site. You can filter out certain types of ads, if you wish.
There is no set up fee involved with this program, it’s extremely easy to set up and Google takes care of everything for you. This is absolutely the first thing you should do to monetize your blog. It’s too easy to pass up.
ClickBank provides affiliate links that you can use to monetize your blog, as well. This is a very large affiliate network that processes over 30,000 transactions per day. If you sign up for an account with ClickBank, you can get affiliate links to sell items on their site. This is one of the easiest ways to make money off your blog.
Generally, the strategy with ClickBank links is to get links that relate very closely to the type of content you publish on your blog. This gives you a legitimate reason to promote the link as something that might be useful to your visitors. If you just fill your blog up with affiliate links, nobody’s going to visit it and nobody’s going to take it seriously. Using ClickBank links strategically, however, can bring revenue into your blog. ClickBank is very well established and very trustworthy, making them one of the best choices for affiliate marketing programs for new bloggers. The ClickBank product line includes over 45,000 different products: which should certainly be enough to provide for your blog.
Private Advertising Banner Sales
Selling private banners on your website is generally considered one of the most profitable ways to make money off your web real estate. It’s also one of the most difficult ways to make money off your web real estate, at least at first. If your site is well established and you have good traffic numbers, you can start asking for a decent sum of money to run a banner on your websit. You can then upsell a sponsored review. Until that time, however, people are probably not going to be willing to pay you much to run a banner on a website that doesn’t get any traffic.
As your website becomes very popular, you have to start incorporating technologies that allow you to rotate banners so that you can sell the same space to different clients. Banner advertisements, if you are very successful blogger, will likely start to constitute a rather large chunk of the money you make off your website. It might take you a while to get there, however.
Keep in mind, you’re most likely going to need a PayPal account for this. If you’re having doubts about it, read our post about PayPal’s advantages & disadvantages.
Email marketing is probably the best way to monetize your blog because it is not a one time thing – you capture your visitors. When you’ve captured your visitors, when you have their email. You can send them right back to your website or you can email them ClickBank products that you recommend.
Although e-mail marketing is oftentimes instantly associated with spam in people’s minds, there’s actually a lot of legitimate and very effective e-mail marketing that goes on. If you think about it, popular shopping sites, information sites, news sites and other venues do very well getting people to sign up to receive information in their e-mail boxes. You need to do this right if you’re going to do it at all, because you can get yourself in trouble for sending spam if you don’t provide certain options to your e-mail address list members.
AWeber is a very well known e-mail marketing software that you can use to manage your mailing lists. There are over 100,000 businesses that currently use the software for e-mail marketing campaigns. It allows you to take care of things like creating sophisticated HTML e-mails for marketing, to set up an autoresponder so people never send you an e-mail that doesn’t get at least some sort of a reply, to set up your RSS feeds so that they can be e-mailed automatically and many other functions. It also allows you to manage subscribers. One of the functions it provides is the ability for subscribers to get off your e-mail list. This is something you have to provide for them if you want to do e-mail marketing the right way.
You will also get e-mail analytics that help you to analyze how well your campaigns do, which will be an important tool if you start using e-mail lists heavily. People actually do sign up for interesting blog websites with their real e-mail addresses. E-mail marketing can be done legitimately and in a way that really serves customers well, so don’t discount it as something that sounds too much like spam. AWeber will give you all the tools you need to get people to sign up for an opt in e-mail distribution list that is totally above the board, completely honest and, if you use it right, something that your readers will appreciate.
5. Post Articles To Your Blog
Blog posting is very easy on WordPress. Aside from the technical aspects, however, there are some definite tips and tricks that you should be aware of.
First, make certain that your blog posts are always on topic. Remember that a blog that’s trying to make a profit isn’t a personal blog. Don’t get overly personal and make sure that everything you write about will be interesting to your niche.
Second, make certain that you include keywords that you’re interested in being indexed for by the search engines. Don’t stuff them but, for example, if you were going after the golfers in Florida with the allergy problem, you would want to include keywords and keyword phrases such as “golfing in Florida”, “mosquito repellent allergy”, “mosquito’s golfing”, and so forth.
When you post a blog, you have an option to allow commenting. On a monetized blog, it’s never a good idea to allow people to post comments before they are approved. Comments are a good thing because they engage your audience. Unfiltered, non-moderated comments are bad things because people can use them to spam your blog or to say inappropriate things.
6. Drive Traffic To Your Blog
Your blog isn’t going to make any money if nobody’s reading it. This is why you need to get visitors or drive traffic to your blog. Here are some basics on how you go about getting people to find your website and to read your content:
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of optimizing your site to get higher rankings on search engines. There are two aspects in SEO, on-page and off-page optimization. On-page optimization is what you do to your website and the content you publish. Off-page optimization is all about the other websites that link back to you.
The most important things to remember about doing this are that you need to post regularly, your content needs to be of a high quality, your keywords need to be included in the content and your content needs to be original and not recycled. You can also engage in article marketing campaigns and other activities for search engine optimization or, when you have your site ready to go, you could get a professional to handle this for you.
Social Media Marketing
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be tightly integrated with your WordPress site. Look for widgets that allow you to integrate your Twitter feed into your site. You can also find buttons that allow people to “Like” your site on Facebook and to share it with other social media sites. Sharing buttons are usually sold in packages—look for the term “social media icons”—and are easy to install. There is a huge variety of widgets available that you can choose from to add more social media elements to your WordPress site.
You should have a social media account at all of the major sites and you should have a link to your blog on all of them. Make certain that search engines are allowed to index your profile on your privacy settings on your social media account.
Guest posting is one of the most underrated technique on driving traffic to a blog. The idea is simple, you write an article with a short bio about you and your blog at the end. You then submit that article as a guest poster to a top blog in your niche. When they decide to post it, you get traffic. The reason why they would accept your article is because these top bloggers are often times busy so when they don’t have the time to post on their blog, they accept articles from guest posters.
Go ahead and comment on other blogs that fit within the same niche. Some blogs allow you to have a text link to your own website on your signature line on your posts. Make sure you fill this out, if it’s available.
The key thing that you need to keep in mind when you’re commenting on other people’s blogs is to make sure you’re not spamming their blog. Only comment when you have something to offer and only offer a link to your blog when it really will do the reader some good. If it adds to the conversation, it’s legitimate. If you’re shoehorning something irrelevant into the conversation just to advertise your own blog, the owner of the blog you’re commenting on is probably just going to delete your comment and maybe your account, too.
7. Take Action Today
Blogging is a great way to start making money online. If you prove to be very good at it, you may end up making your living at it. Remember that having more than one blog going is entirely feasible once you have the basic procedures for monetizing a blog down to a system. Some people manage several different blogs covering many different niches and subject matters and do quite well for themselves.