Ok, put your hands up if you want to learn how to start a money making blog? You do? GREAT! You’re in the right place.
You can make money online in a multitude of ways, in fact it’s almost scary how many there are. But one simple way you can start is by blogging.
While a standard, run of the mill blog won’t bring in much, if any money, when done the right way you can make a good living.
Blogging is a great way to get exposure into the online world. It’s a method you can use to gain credibility and build a following.
In a relatively short period of time you can start sharing your message with the world on a platform that you can control. When done strategically you can guide your visitors down a path that results in cash for you.
In this complete guide I’m going to show you step-by-step how you can start your own money making blog.
We’re going to cover everything from how to start, all the technical setup (don’t worry, it’s not too technical), writing your posts, and monetizing your blog.
I’ve broken everything down into easy sections. You can jump to the part you need, but if you’re starting out I highly recommend starting from the beginning and going through all the steps.
Table Of Contents
- Step 1: Choose Your Niche
- Step 2: Get A Website
- Step 3: Install WordPress On Your Site
- Step 4: Choose A WordPress Theme
- Step 5: Optimize for Search Engine Traffic (SEO)
- Step 6: Pages, Posts, and Basic Settings
- Step 7: Your Homepage, About & Contact Pages
- Step 8: Writing Content For Your Blog
- Step 9: Improve Your Rankings
- Step 10: Monetize Your Blog
- Step 11: Some Recommended Plugins
There’s a lot to cover so let’s get started.
Step 1: Choose Your Niche
This is the first and most important thing you need to decide upon when making a blog: What niche will you cover?
Your blog should be something you have some kind of passion for. Maybe it’s some kind of hobby, or the experience you’ve gained over the years at your job, or some kind of life changing event you went through.
This can be almost anything from golfing, to raising your family off-grid, to tips on the stock market.
Whatever you choose it should be something you will enjoy writing about and will be able to come up with new content to keep your readers interested.
And don’t be put off by the fact that there are already a million other blogs about your topic. Everyone has their own unique voice and experience that will attract your ideal reader.
Ten different people can blog about the exact same topic and all ten will be different because no two people are alike. You will attract people who connect with your writing style, thoughts and ideals.
The internet a big enough pie that everyone can have a piece. Just try to keep these two things in mind:
Stay on topic. If you make a blog about good old fashion Cajun cooking don’t try to throw in architecture critique and the benefits of underwater basket weaving.
People want to know your recipes, learn special tips, and hear anecdotes about your family dinners. If you throw unrelated ideas a them they won’t know what to think and will leave.
You want people to come back for more so give them what they came for.
Find the sub-niche with in your niche. In fact, the more focused your niche the better. Instead of just the broad topic of Health & Fitness, narrow your focus down to something like Men Getting Fit Over 40, or Pregnant Women With Diabetes.
When you write about a specific topic you will be speaking to your ideal reader and potential customer.
You might be curious about whether there are other people interested in your topic. Well that’s where our good friend Google comes in.
Just do a quick search and you’ll see how many people have a similar interest.
Now that you’ve chosen a topic for your blog it’s time to get a bit technical and actually create it!
Step 2: Get A Website
To start a blog you need two things: A Domain Name and Web Hosting.
A Domain Name is the name or address of your blog on the internet.
Think of www.myblog.com. This will cost you about $10 a year. Naming your blog is important. This is how people will find and remember you.
You might want to try using your name if you want to build a personal brand, or choose something related to your topic.
Here’s some tips:
- Try to keep it to no more than three words long.
- Don’t use numbers or hyphens “-“.
- Try to choose something memorable.
- And if you can, try to get a .com extension. You may be tempted by a cheap .info, .club, .online, or some other odd extension, but don’t fall for it. No one will remember it. People know .com and will automatically type .com trying to find you. Stick with that.
I’d recommend getting a domain name from Namecheap.
The next thing you need is web hosting. This will be where your blog lives on the internet. Web hosting is fairly cheap starting at $3.95 per month. There are two options I’d recommend: Bluehost and SiteGround.
Both of them provide an excellent web hosting experience, and both offer a free SSL security certificate (that’s the HTTPS:// you see in your browser address bar).
SSL is important because it shows your readers and Google that your site is secure and trustworthy.
Bluehost will give you a free domain name when you register, but SiteGround is a faster host. Meaning visitors to your blog won’t have to wait as long for things to load. This is a very important factor as people who have to wait too long for a website to load will usually leave.
One thing to consider is you may want to upgrade to a Plus plan for Bluehost or GrowBig plan for SiteGround if you’d like to have more than one website. For just an extra buck or two a month you can have as many sites as you want!
If you get a domain name separate from your hosting provider you will have to link the two together. The process is fairly simple and step-by-step instructions are provided by both the domain registrar and hosting company. If you get stuck, YouTube is your best friend.
Step 3: Install WordPress On Your Site
Now that you’ve signed up for a web host you need to install WordPress. WordPress is the blogging platform we will use. It’s used by over 32% of the internet including TED, CNN, Fortune.com, TIME.com, Spotify, TechCrunch, NBC, and many, many more.
It’s super customizable, and best of all, IT’S FREE!
No matter who is hosting your site pretty much everyone will have a 1-Click WordPress Installer. Once you log into your hosting you just click that installer, follow a few instructions and within a minute you’re up and running.
Once installed you can view your site at www.yoursite.com or log into the WordPress admin panel at www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/
Done! Next step…
Step 4: Choose A WordPress Theme
Now it’s time to make your site look the way you want. Visit your new site to see how it looks right now. It’s pretty basic isn’t it.
WordPress lets you change the way your site looks with the help of a Theme. On the left-hand panel click on Appearance >> Themes. There will be a few themes already there, with only one being active. Click the Add New button on top to see some of the free themes that are available.
There are thousands of free themes to choose from right from within WordPress. You can preview what they look like before choosing one you like. Personally I’m a fan of the Astra theme. Choose a theme you like and click Install then Activate.
If you don’t see a free theme that fits your needs you can also purchase a theme from places like Themeforest, ElegantThemes, and StudioPress.
When you’re starting out, free is always good. And you can easily change themes later if you like. Don’t worry, changing themes only affects the look of your site. Your content will be safe.
Once you’ve activated your theme you can click the Customize button to start making it look the way you want. Choose the fonts, colors, the layout of menus and sidebars, headers and footers, and so forth. Some themes offer more options than others.
Once you’re done click on the Publish button, then the X to get back to the dashboard.
Step 5: Optimize for Search Engine Traffic (SEO)
Maybe you’ve heard the acronym SEO before. It stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell this means you want to write your blog posts in a way that will get them ranked in search engines like Google.
If done right, when you write your article on the “5 Best Foods For Lowering Blood Pressure” your blog will show up on the first page of the Google search results for anyone searching for “best foods for lowering blood pressure”, and therefore you will get lots of visitors to your site.
If you’re new to SEO this may seem daunting, but there’s a very sneaky way to trick the search engines into ranking your content. Pay close attention now. They key is to…
Write for human beings!
Phew! I’ve been keeping that secret bottled up for too long. It feels good to get that off my chest.
Seriously though, many people want to try to “game the system” and try sneaky ways to beat Google’s algorithms.
Honestly you just have to write like you are having a conversation with a good friend. Provide good content that people will enjoy reading and Google will reward you.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some guidelines you might want to follow. Thankfully WordPress makes writing your SEO friendly content easier with the help of a plugin.
Plugins are addons that give your WordPress site added functionality. With the right plugins you can make your site look and behave exactly you’d like. Let’s start with with SEO.
In the Dashboard, click Plugins on the left-hand sidebar. Now click the Add New button on top. Now type “yoast” in the search bar and install the Yoast SEO plugin. Once installed you will need to Activate it.
You can access the plugin’s settings from the new SEO menu in the sidebar or by clicking the icon at the top. You need to configure a few things first before you can use it.
On the plugins dashboard, click on the “Your Info” tab and fill that out. Then, go to the “Webmaster Tools” tab and click “Google Search Console.” Google Search Console is a webmaster tool that allows you to submit your site to their search index and optimize visibility.
You will have to sign in with your Gmail or Google Drive account. When you’ve logged in, click the “Alternate methods” tab and select “HTML tag.”
A drop-down will appear with your search console meta code. Copy the alphanumeric string after “content=” without the quotation marks.
Next, paste your code into the Google Search Console text box in the Yoast settings and click “Save Changes.”
Now it’s time to click the “Verify” button on the Search Console page.
You’re not done yet. Click on the General tab on Yoast and click “Open the installation wizard”. You’ll be guided through a series of 10 short steps to optimize your blog.
Though I can’t speak to your exact needs, here’s a rundown of what settings you will probably need to choose:
- Just click Next
- Production (this is a live site with real traffic)
- Person and your name
- Add any social media profiles you have associated with your blog, if any.
- Default settings are fine here. In case you accidentally click something you shouldn’t have choose:
- Posts – Visible
- Pages – Visible
- Media – Hidden
- Multiple authors? Yes or No, it’s up to you if you have a team or are you running this blog solo.
- Click the button to get your Google Authorization Code, enter it, and click Authenticate.
- Here you confirm your website name and choose a separator. This is how your post titles will show up in the search results. Choose the separator you like the most. Ex. “How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs – My Awesome Blog”
- Congratulations! You’ve completed the wizard.
One last setting to worry about and then you’ll be ready to blog! An XML sitemap is a file that lists the URLs for your website. This helps search engines crawl your site for new posts and pages. Once you set this up Yoast will do everything for you.
In the “Features” tab, set the “Advanced settings pages” to “Enabled” and save the changes.
A new group of menus will appear in the sidebar, under “SEO.” Select the “XML Sitemaps” menu.
Select the “User Sitemap” tab and toggle “Author / user sitemap” to enabled and save your changes.
Now that your site is SEO optimized, it’s time to create the content that will let it rank.
Step 6: Pages, Posts, and Basic Settings
You can’t have a website without content. That is where Pages and Posts come in.
On the left sidebar of the admin dashboard you will see links to Posts and Pages. You can click Add New to create a new one. Working with either one is the same.
Think of pages as the main pages of your site that don’t change much like Home, About, or Contact pages. Posts are the articles you publish on your site. Chances are you will mostly be creating posts, but let’s get a few standard pages out of the way first.
Click on Pages. You’ll see a list of the current pages (if any). Depending on your hosting provider there may be a sample page in there already. Just hover your mouse beside the name of it and click Trash.
Now click New Page. Name it Home then click publish. Hover your mouse over Pages again and click Add New and call this one Blog. Repeat the process again two more times for About and Contact.
Now you’ve got some essential pages almost any website needs. Yes I know, they’re blank right now. We will go back and fill them in soon.
For now click on Settings in the sidebar. In the General tab you want to fill in your site name and tagline. Then click save.
Now click on the Reading tab and change “Your homepage displays” to A Static Page. Choose Home for the Homepage, and Blog for Posts Page, then click save.
Next click on the Permalinks tab and under Common Settings choose “Post name”. This makes it much easier for people, and Google to discover and understand your posts. Click save again.
Now let’s put content in those blank pages we just created.
Step 7: Your Homepage, About & Contact Pages
Now let me explain some of the logic behind the setup we’ve made. Contrary to what you may believe you do NOT want the homepage of your blog to just be a list of your latest blog posts.
As the title of this article says, we want to make a blog that makes you money. At least 90% of the blogs out there make nothing. That is because they are just straight up blog with no way to monetize it.
Here I will discuss some of the essential elements you need to have in place to make sure you stand out from the pack and start generating an income.
Unique Selling Proposition
You want to position your blog as an authoritative resource of information in your space so you have to treat it like so. You need to think of a unique selling proposition.
This is going to be a statement that tells the reader what your blog is and what they can expect.
Let’s say you have a cajun cooking blog. Instead of a simple tagline that reads:
“Jenny’s Cajun Cooking Tips”
Make it something like:
“The Only Blog You Need For Recipes, Tips and Resources To Make Authentic Cajun Cooking At Home”
Don’t be afraid to put yourself in a position of authority. You have to start somewhere, and it’s best to start from the beginning.
Call To Action
Did you know that 98% of your visitors will never come back to your site after the first visit? That’s not too encouraging is it?
We want to have repeat visitors that will keep you at the top of their minds. So how do we do that? You need to have a call to action (CTA) front and center.
What does this mean? Well you want them to join your email list!
An email list is probably the single most important aspect for anyone who markets anything online.
I’ve got a complete FREE mini-course called Email Jumpstart which can help you get going in no time, but I’ll run through the basics of it here.
Email marketing lets you build a list of subscribers who you can connect with when you choose.
You create a small enticing offer called a lead magnet and offer it in exchange for the persons email address. When the person subscribes that email address gets added to your list and the user gets the lead magnet.
Lead magnets are usually something simple like a small PDF of quick tips, a list of resources, a short guide, video how-to, or audio. It should be something that offers immediate value to the reader so they don’t mind giving you their email address.
You now have permission to email them when you want to keep them informed of tips, new blog posts, events, and product recommendations.
It gives you a chance to build a relationship with your subscribers. You want them to know, like and trust you. Once they do, you can recommend a product and a certain number of them will take action and buy it, and you will get a commission.
These commissions are usually in the form of affiliate sales. I’ll get into more detail later on, but essentially affiliate marketing is this:
- You find a product or service you like.
- You sign up as an affiliate and get a special link.
- You recommend this product to your audience they buy it through your special link.
- For each purchase you get a commission for referring the sale.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online because you don’t have to create a product, you don’t worry about shipping, refunds, or any other hassles.
You just promote the product and if someone buys through your link you get a commision! The customer pays the same price they normally would, you just get a cut of the sale.
To get started with email marketing need an email marketing platform. There are tons to choose from but I’m currently in love with MailerLite. It’ clean, simple and has a great set of tools.
Plus it’s free for your first 1000 subscribers, and pricing is dirt cheap after that.
Once you’ve created an account you create a list for new subscribers to be added to, then create a new form. You can embed that form on your website.
Now you create a series of emails that get sent out at predetermined intervals to the subscriber once they sign up.
I go into much more detail in the Email Jumpstart course and teach you about all the opportunities that are possible so check it out
I rambled on a bit here, but the key point is you need to create a call to action to get people onto your email list.
There are three places I’d recommend having a call to action on your home page (yes 3!)
- The Menu Bar: Your top menu is a great place to have a call to action. It will be visible on every page and hard to miss.
- Hero Image: Under your menu should be what’s called the Hero Image. This is a featured image that establishes the essence of your blog. Include a call to action under the headline here so your visitors can’t miss it!
- Bottom Of The Homepage: When people scroll all the way down to the bottom they are usually more engaged and interested in what you’re all about, so give them one more chance to sign up!
There is one last call to action you might want to consider. When a user moves there mouse to close the browser tab you can blanket the screen with your offer.
This is called an Exit Intent popup. With this you can say “WAIT! Sign up now to get your free guide and stay up to date!”
I’ll cover CTA’s again when we get to creating blog posts. But this should do it for now.
Selection Of Your Best Blog Posts
Yes I know you haven’t actually written any blog posts yet, but once you have you will want to feature the best of them on your homepage.
A lot of people make the mistake and just feature their latest posts. The problem with this is there could be some that aren’t quite up to par.
The whole point of this project is to help establish a level of authority. When you feature your best, most popular posts you will get more engagement and hopefully more affiliate sales.
This best of selection can even be broken down into categories. Maybe Best Tips, Best Guides, Best Reviews, Best Resources. Whatever you like. Feature two or three posts for each.
An about section should just be a box at the bottom that features a picture of you gives a little blurb about who you are and what you’re about.
It gives the reader more of a connection, and also helps establish more authority. You can also link this up to your About page that we setup earlier.
Trust And Authority
This might come later on, but if you can provide proof that you can deliver on your expertise then your homepage is a great place to have it.
Things like certificates, “featured on” spots, and testimonials will go a long way towards establishing your authority.
If you don’t have anything to feature right now, keep it in mind add to it later on.
Now Let’s talk about your About & Contact pages.
You’re About page is going to be one of the most frequently viewed pages on your site. People will want to know more about you.
Your About page should be an expansion of your About section on your home page. Go into more details about who you are, your story, and any other related tidbits.
This is also a fantastic place to put another call to action for your lead magnet!
This is how you will allow people to reach you. You don’t want to just put your personal email address on your site. That is just asking for spam.
Instead setup a dedicated Contact page. On this page you will setup a form for people to fill out and submit which will get forwarded to your email.
For this you will need a plugin called Contact Form 7.
Click on Plugins >> Add New then search for Contact Form 7. Install and activate it.
Once you fill in some settings you can create as many forms as you want and embed them wherever you like with a Shortcode.
A Shortcode is how WordPress allows you to put specific elements on a page wherever you like.
Now that you’ve got your pages setup it’s time to start writing posts!
Step 8: Writing Content For Your Blog
Now let’s start filling your blog with content! Click on Posts >> Add New and start creating articles for your blog. If you’ve used WordPress in the past you’ll notice that things have changed recently.
For over a decade the WordPress editor looked and acted like a regular word processor. It gave you a blank writing area with toolbar up top with buttons for fonts, styles, colors, images. etc. That is now a thing of the past.
With version 5 of WordPress they introduced the Gutenberg Editor. This is a “block” style editor. Everything is sectioned off into blocks. There are several different types of blocks for text, image, columns, and more.
This block style setup is similar to the way various 3rd party editors work. Essentially it gives you much more control over how your posts look.
Previously creating things like columns or an image gallery was impossible with the standard editor and required a 3rd party plugin.
Now the functionality is built right in to WordPress.
What it boils down to is you have a much greater degree of control over the way your page looks.
When you start a new page or post you’re given two blocks to start: A title block and a paragraph block to start typing your content. As you type and press enter a new paragraph block gets added.
Some of the settings for that block will show up on the right-hand column. You can also see the overall post settings on this column. Some of which will vary depending on the theme you’ve chosen.
In the Document tab of that right-hand column you will see options for categories, tags, permalinks, setting a featured image, etc.
You can press the “+” plus sign at the bottom of the block or on the top bar by the Undo/Redo buttons to add a new block of your choosing.
Hover your mouse over the left of a block and you can move it up or down to a different spot.
At the bottom of the editor you will see the settings for Yoast SEO. It lets you edit the snippet for how your article looks in the search results, set a keyword, gives your post a readability score, and more.
Yoast SEO will give you tips on how to structure your posts to rank them in Google.
Here’s some tips that will really help:
Choose A Keyword Phrase
What’s a keyword you ask? Well simply put it’s a phrase that people type into search engines like Google when they’re looking for information. Yoast SEO will help you out with this.
It helps if you aim for what’s called a longtail keyword. Think of a short tail keyword as being 1-3 words, and longtail keyword as 4-8+ words.
Here’s a couple examples.
Shortail: Lose Weight Fast
Longtail: How To Lose Weight Fast Without Dieting
You want to try to have your keyword appear in your title as well as natural variations of it sprinkled throughout your post.
When you write your content based on a specific keyword phrase it helps search engines crawl your site and determine whether the content is relevant or not.
Yoast SEO will let you choose the URL title structure, or permalink, of your post.
Interestingly, research by Backlinko shows that using a short URL’s tend to rank better than long URL’s.
What this means is have your article title and article focus on long tail keywords, while the URL permalink of the post is based on a short tail keyword. For instance:
Post Title: 10 Mouth Watering Keto Dessert Recipes You Have To Try
Try to keep the URL tag to no more than 5 words.\
Structure Your Posts
Do your research. Plan out your articles and structure your post so it is easy to read and makes sense.
Make sure your paragraphs are not too long, no more than three sentences each.
Lay things out in a logical order. Don’t just throw things out in a big mess. You want it to be readable by everyone who comes by your blog.
And be sure to use heading tags appropriately. This helps to show proper structure of a post to search engines when you use Heading tags throughout your posts.
Choose An Engaging Headline
You need to have a good headline. You can have the most amazing article that can change peoples lives, but if you don’t have an enticing headline no one will click to read it.
It’s all about engagement. Try to spark curiosity in the reader. When they see your headline you want them to say “I HAVE TO READ THAT!”
You can try to think of a good headline yourself, or if you’re at a loss, go to www.buzzsumo.com and type in your keyword and you’ll see a list of the most popular headlines from other sites ranked by social shares.
Model (DON’T COPY) your headlines after one that’s already high performing and you’ll have a greater chance of people clicking on your post.
Write For People
I mentioned this earlier and I’m saying it again. WRITE FOR PEOPLE! Follow the guidelines about keywords and structure, but have fun!
Write like you’re having a great conversation with a friend. That’s what keeps people engaged. People enjoy content when they feel like you’re talking TO them not AT them.
Types Of Posts
If you want your blog to rank, you want to write content that people will want to read. So why not give them what they want. Here are some post types that do really well in search results.
Educational posts: People love it if you can teach them how to do something (kind of like this post). Step-by-step instructions guiding them from beginning to end goes a long way towards building goodwill with the reader.
Top X posts: People love reading about the best of something. Like: “Top 5 Natural Herbs for Healing” or “Best Over The Ear Headphones for 2019”. Adding the current year to the title helps to keep it relevant.
Comparative posts: X vs Y posts do really well. Speak about the benefits of one thing vs another like “Clickfunnels vs LeadPages: Which Landing Page Software Is Right For You”. These really help people to make a decision when they’re trying to choose something.
Review posts: People spend more time researching products now than ever before. Money is precious and they want to make informed decisions. You can help them make that decision, and profit with your affiliate link 🙂
Personal experience posts: “How I lost 34 Pounds in 2 Months” or “How I Travel The World On $500 A Month”. Chances are you do or have done something that others want to know about. So share your story with the world. You’ll build a strong connection with the reader to help build that ever important trust factor.
These are just a few ideas. Sit down and think of what kind of posts you can and should write about for your blog.
Include A Variety Of Media
Text is a wonderful form of communication, but if a visitor is stuck reading a huge post of nothing but words you might lose them.
Add in pictures and videos throughout the post. It helps to break up the monotony of the wall of text and keeps people engaged.
If you’re not shy on camera record a video about your article. Heck, if you’re better on video than typing, a great option is to record yourself then transcribe the audio from the video into the text that will become your blog post!
If you don’t have money to spend, Youtube will even transcribe your video for free for closed captioning, though it might not be terribly accurate.
If you do add video, make sure to link back to your article in the Youtube description!
Quality vs Quantity
Write long quality articles instead of several mediocre ones. People and Google really like long form content. They see it as more authoritative than a bunch of short articles. Aim for over 2000 words. The more words the better.
Do your research and make your posts the best they can be. Write from your own experience, thoughts, and opinions, and back it up with quotes and references from other people if you can. Don’t forget to link back to any sites you may get your information from. That helps too.
Rank For Multiple Keywords
Do you have some articles that are doing well? Why not make them do even better.
You can use Google Search Console to see which articles are getting you the most traffic and which keywords they’re ranking for. Then use a tool such as Ubersuggest to find similar keywords that you can add to those articles.
But don’t just throw in random keywords. It has to seem natural. Expand your article to include the new keywords in a relevant way and you should see a boost in traffic over the next few months.
Expand On Old Content
Don’t be afraid to go back and add to old posts to make them longer. Seriously, if you can expand your current articles to over 5000 words that is something to be proud of.
Remember, longer articles are more authoritative than shorter ones. If you come up with new ideas to add and update older articles that looks very good in Google’s eyes.
Epic content equals epic traffic!
Follow these tips and you will have a good chance of having your article rank highly in the search results.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content Is King” and it’s true. When you regularly produce quality content this helps to bolster your sites rankings.
You don’t have to come out with new articles every day. Maybe even just one to three articles a week of good, informative posts. This shows Google that you are active and will help to keep you ranking high.
It can help to come up with a editorial calendar to help you plan out your content. This way you won’t be grasping at straws as to what article you should write next.
Write With The Reader In Mind
As I mentioned before you can monetize your blog via affiliate links to products and services you recommend. But don’t just write articles specifically to make money.
You want to make sure you are helping people and provide value!
Sure you can write about the equipment you recommend for hiking and include your links to those products, but remember we are here to help the reader make informed decisions.
Explain why you think these hiking shoes are the best. Recount your experience with how they grip the rock, how comfortable they are. Whatever extra features they have that you found helpful.
When you provide value it helps to build the trust factor between you and the reader that will get people to click and buy through your link.
Step 9: Improve Your Rankings
Writing quality articles consistently will get you ranked in Google, but it can be a long process. Sometimes taking months before you see your articles in the top search results pages. SEO is a long term game.
There are several things you can do to speed up the process. I’ll cover some of them here.
Backlinks are links from other sites back to yours. This is the most important factor in improving your ranks.
When you get links back to your articles from other relevant sources you will get many more views. The more authoritative the site linking to your article the more clicks you will get and the higher it will push you up the ladder!
Here are several strategies that can use courtesy of Neil Patel.
Find other sites that have similar content to yours. If they reference articles outside of their own you can email the blog owner and say “Hey, I see you linked to this article by X about Y. I’ve written a similar article which features A, B, & C that the other article doesn’t cover. I’d really appreciate it if you’d mention my article too. Here’s the link…”
In fact, this strategy works great when you reference that site in your article. Say something like “Hey Joe, I love your work and referenced your article XYZ in my latest post. [LINK]. Feel free to check it out. P.S. If you could share this post it wouldn’t just make my day, it would make my year. Thanks!
This will take some time and effort. You will need to contact quite a few blog owners, but eventually some will take you up on the offer.
This is similar to to the Outreach method, except instead of just asking for a link to your articles, offer to write an article for them.
It can even be a paired down version of your article, but it MUST be quality. Many blogs will let you link back to your own article. At the very least you should be able to have your website link in your bio for that article.
Write An Article on Medium.com
Medium.com is a great way to get exposure. Similar to guest posting, you can write an article on Medium and have it seen by millions of people.
Social Media has exploded in recent years. One of the best ways to spread the word about your blog is to mention it on your social media channels. With any luck it will get lots of likes and shares.
Good articles can go viral in a short period of time. There’s nothing better for boosting your ranking quickly.
Respond To Comments
If you allow comments on your blog you should try to respond to comments. Even if it’s just to say “thanks” to someone giving praise. This helps boost engagement, and we all know Google loves engagement.
Who knows, maybe some of the comments will give you ideas for new articles, or how to improve/expand on the current post.
Email Your List
Remember before when I said you should be collecting email addresses to build your list? Well this is one of those times. When you put out a new blog post you can email your list and tell them about it.
You will get a flood of visitors returning to your site to check out your new article. This will help increase engagement and show Google that your article is getting traffic.
Check out my free Email Jumpstart course to learn the ins and outs of email marketing!
A good article is worth its weight in gold. It can be used for much more than just a blog post. Not everyone prefers to read a lengthy article, so here’s a few examples of how you can re-purpose it it in other forms:
- Make a companion video to go with your article. Post it on YouTube & Facebook and link back to the post. Cut up those longer videos into shorter clips for Instagram
- Strip out the audio from the video or record yourself reading your posts as a podcast! Add an intro and outro, host it on Libsyn and syndicate it amongst all the popular podcast directories such as iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, Spreaker, etc. Include good show notes and also link back to your article.
- If you have a good detailed post, or multiple articles on a topic you can turn them into a PDF guide. This would make a great lead magnet!
- Take quotes from your article and tweet them on Twitter
- Create picture quote and post them on Instagram
- Turn highlights of your article into an infographic
- Break up long posts into a series of shorter posts
- Have a bunch of similar articles? Create a roundup post linking back to each of them
- Use your articles as part of your email autoresponder series
- Turn your article into a slide presentation and host it on SlideShare
- Turn your content into a course you can sell!
- Turn your content into a live webinar
Step 10: Monetize Your Blog
We’ve talked bit about this already but now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty.
How to actually make money with your blog!
There are several ways we can do this and I’m going to cover some of them now.
One of the best ways to make money on the internet is through Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing is promoting someone else’s product or service through a special link. If someone buys through your link you get a commission!
The customer doesn’t pay any extra, in fact many products will give you special discounts to promote.
You don’t have to create a product. You don’t have to worry about shipping & handling. You don’t have to worry about customer support. You don’t have to worry about returns.
Basically it’s hassle free!
You can promote almost anything as an affiliate. Go to any product website and you can probably find an affiliate program for it. Even just try Googling product name + affiliate program and see what comes up.
Payouts can be as low as 1%-2% or all the way up to 50%-75% or even 100% of the purchase price!
You can promote both physical products as well as digital products/services. Just note that physical products won’t pay as much as digital. That is because there are manufacturing fees, packaging fees, marketing fees, shipping fees, etc. built into the price of the physical product which doesn’t leave much profit left for splitting.
Digital products will give you much higher commissions because once a product is made there is little to no overhead to worry about, so they can afford to pay higher commissions.
I will recommend two different affiliates networks to get started with.
Physical Products: Amazon Associates
Amazon is the largest ecommerce website in the world. They sell pretty much everything under the sun.
If amazon sells a product, you can promote it as an affiliate. Commissions on Amazon will vary anywhere from 1%-10% depending on the product.
It doesn’t matter which country you are from, if you go to your local version of Amazon scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a link for “Become an Affiliate”
Click that link and you can then sign up to join the Amazon Associates program.
Once you’re signed up you can search for products to promote through the Associates Dashboard, or just from browsing Amazon you’ll see the Amazon SiteStripe at the top of the screen.
Choose the type of link you want (usually text) and you’ll be given the option of the full link or a shortened link. You’re choice.
Now when you share that link on your blog and someone clicks and makes a purchase you will get a commision!
Now the great thing about Amazon’s affiliate programs is that you the person doesn’t even have to purchase the product you’re promoting for you to get a commission.
If someone clicks your link, they get tracked by a special browser cookie that expires after 24 hours.
Now let’s say instead of the stroller you’re promoting, they end up purchasing some vitamins, a book and a pair of headphones. You will get a commission on all of that stuff!
Payouts aren’t the greatest, but the fact that your affiliate link is good for anything purchased from Amazon within that 24 hour time frame, the money can quickly add up!
Digital Products and Services: Clickbank
If you want to make higher commissions then digital products and services are the best. Instead of 5% of a $200 sale, you could make up to 75% of a $200 sale!
That’s a BIG difference.
The best marketplace to get started with digital products is a site called Clickbank.
Clickbank commissions range from 50% to 75%! You can browse the marketplace even without signing up.
They have tons of categories for almost any niche. They will mention how much a payout they offer. When you see a product that interests you check out the sales page.
Many products will even have an affiliate or JV page where they will provide you with extra promotional material to use such as images, email swipe files, downloadable ebooks, etc.
After you’ve signed up with Clickbank and you’ve decide on a product you like, click the “PROMOTE” button. Then click the “Generate Hoplinks” button.
This will be your specific affiliate link for this product for you to promote.
These are just two examples of places you can become an affiliate with. As I said before you can try Googling a product or service to see if there is an affiliate program for it.
Sell Your Own Product of Service
If you have your own product or service why not sell it on your blog! Assuming it’s related of course.
It could be a special guide, or a course, or coaching. Whatever it is you can set your own price and promote it on your blog. The best part is if it’s your own product you get 100% commissions! You don’t have to share with anyone else.
I won’t go into the details of creating a product here, that is far beyond the scope of this article.
Just know that your blog can be the best place to promote your own products and establish yourself as an authority.
I cannot stress this enough, you NEED to build a list!
You may have heard the phrase “The money is in the list”. That is referring to a list of emails leads.
Email marketing is responsible for the vast majority of sales on the internet. With an ROI of 4400% there is very little that can touch numbers like that!
The general industry average value for email marketing is one email subscriber is worth about $1 per month.
That means if you have 100 people on your list, you can make about $100/month.
1000 subscribers equals about $1000/month.
10,000 subscribers equals about $10,000/month!
And so on, and so on…
That $1 isn’t set it stone either. You could make as little as $0.50 or even as high as $20 per subscriber!
It depends on several factors including your niche, the products/services you promote, and most importantly the relationship you have with your list.
I mentioned earlier that 98% of your visitors will never come back to your site after the first visit. So you need to do your best to get those visitors to sign up to your email list.
You do that by creating a Lead Magnet, something small like a PDF guide, cheatsheet, a video or an interview, etc. Something that your visitors will find valuable in exchange for their email address.
You need to get sign up to an email marketing service. My current favorite is MailerLite. They allow you to have up to 1,000 people on your list for free! Once you go over 1000 the prices are dirt cheap.
Once signed up you create a list for it to add subscribers to. Then you create opt-in forms that you can embed on your site to capture those emails.
Once you have people signed up to your list you can email them to keep them engaged.
Tell them about your latest blog post, or recommend your own or affiliate products and services and make commissions when they buy!
If you want to learn more about email marketing check out my free Email Jumpstart course. I go into much more detail there.
These are just a few of the ways to make money with your blog, and generally the most profitable.
Step 11: Some Recommended Plugins
Plugins are a great way to add extra functionality to your site. There are plugins for almost anything.
Just like Themes there are both free and paid plugins. For the most part the free ones will do everything you need, but there might be a couple paid plugins you’ll want to consider.
All of these can be found within the WordPress Plugin gallery by searching their name except where noted. Here I’ll quickly cover a few of the more useful ones.
AddToAny Share Buttons
We are a very social society and we love to share content that we like with our friends and family. You want to make it easy for people to share your posts so you need a social sharing plugin.
AddToAny Share Buttons makes it very easy to add nice looking buttons to just about every platform available. While not as customizable as some social sharing plugins it has one very important feature: It’s free!
Contact Form 7
It’s usually a good idea to have the ability for someone to be able to send you an email. But you probably don’t want to have your personal email address plastered somewhere on your site.
Contact Form 7 allows you to create a contact form with the fields you wish and have it forward that message to your email.
Use it on your Contact page and you’re good to go.
The Gutenberg Editor has made HUGE strides in giving you more control over how your site looks but it’s still fairly limited.
If you want much greater control over your pages and posts and to add tons more features then you want a use a page builder. Elementor is one of the best!
The free version gives you about 30 different elements to play with, as well as pre-made sections, or even entire sites! If you need extra functionality you can upgrade to the Pro version and take things to the next level.
This is one of my favorites. Pretty Links allows you to create custom links. Whether you want to hide an affiliate link, or just make a long link smaller, this is the plugin you need.
One of the best uses for this plugin is the links are always editable. For instance, let’s say you want to have link for your #1 recommended baby stroller. Pretty Links will let you make a link that looks like this:
You might use that link several times throughout your site. But what if that stroller gets discontinued, of you change your recommendation to a different brand.
Just change the link destination in Pretty Links and all your links will update! Very handy indeed.
Using lots of images in your pages and posts keeps readers engaged, but if they’re too big it can really slow down your site. You want to make sure your pictures look good but have a small file size.
You can either optimize your images before you put them on your site (I like to use TinyPNG), or after. For the latter Smush will do a great job of that.
You can set it to shrink you images on upload automatically, or have it scan your images and shrink them in bulk.
It has tons of templates for creating landing pages, sales pages, webinar registration pages and a WHOLE lot more. The interface is very intuitive and you can create, or re-create almost any page on the internet with this builder.
This is one plugin that is not free, but it is very reasonably priced considering all it can do. You can get it either on it’s own for a one time fee, or get it as part of the full Thrive Themes monthly membership which gives you all of the other amazing Thrive plugins.
Thrive Architect is not found in the WordPress plugin directory, you have to get it from their site, then upload it to your site.
You check out my extensive Thrive Architect review here.
I’ve talked about this quite a bit in this article, but in case you just jumped to this section before reading anything else, Yoast SEO is probably the most important plugin you can get and should be essential for EVERY WordPress site.
Yoast SEO will help your site get indexed by the search engines like Google. It does this through its initial setup as well as offering great tips to optimize your articles as you type.
Try to get everything in the green and your posts will have a fantastic chance of ranking well in the search engines.
Phew! Well, that’s a wrap! After reading this guide you should have a great base for starting your own money making blog.
We’ve chosen a niche, bought a domain name and hosting, installed WordPress, chosen a theme, installed a bunch of plugin`s, set everything up to make it look the way we want, and learned how to produce content that can get your blog noticed!
Plus we talked about the importance of email marketing and capturing the email addresses of your visitors so you can stay connected with them.
There’s an endless amount more we could cover, but honestly this guide should be everything you need to get started.
So what are you waiting for? Go start your own money making blog now!