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Income Stream 1 – Money Making Blog

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Start Making Money with Your Blog

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From the dawn of blogging it has become a game changer for the self-employed. When people realized they can make money blogging it opened many doors and brought opportunities to make exponential money online. Writing informative, educational, and entertaining blog posts has not only opened up multiple streams of income but has allowed bloggers time freedom:

  • Set your own hours.
  • Work from anywhere.
  • Make money even when your not working.
  • Learn how to create and grow a business.
  • Earn a six-figure income as a full-time blogger.
  • Help others improve their lives.

How Much Do Bloggers Make?

This totally depends on what you're doing. If you're blogging aimlessly about random things, you won't ever make money. If instead you treat your blog like a business, you can start making money fast. How much money you make blogging depends entirely on a few different factors:

  • Your niche. Some niches are highly profitable than others.
  • Your work ethic. There is no shortcut to success. Treat your blog like a business from the start. 
  • Your knowledge. Your willingness to learn new things and and eagerness to apply your knowledge.

There is BIG money in blogging. There are bloggers earning over $100,000 per month, but many end up earning six-figures per year, SWEET!

What I love about blogging is that hard work is rewarded. Your earning potential entirely depends on how committed you are to making it work.

Year 1. Expect to be making $500 per month by the end of the year with display ads and affiliate marketing.

Year 2. Expect to be earning $1,500 per month with ads, sponsored posts, and higher-priced affiliate products.

Year 3. By this stage, you can earn $3,000+ per month selling your own digital products.

Bloggers are part-writers and part-marketers. A bloggers day centres on creating content and then marketing work to drive traffic to their blog. The split is more like 20% creating and 80% marketing.

Blogging Isn't Dead

Many people believe blogging is dead. What with YouTube, podcasts, and social media all the rage. Blogging is far from dead and the time to start is right now. Become an authority and your blog will prosper as people begin to trust you. 

Awesome content (and products) that help people solve a specific problem will always be in demand.

Build a loyal following of people that trust you and they will consume your awesome content and eventually buy from you. Despite what people say it is easier to make money when you have your own home on the web, rather than just a social media profile.

As a web designer and marketer I am big on owning your own content on your own website. Not anti-social media but know that ownership matters and when you house all your information on a platform controlled by others and are subject to their rule changes on a whim it's best to have full ownership and decision making over your intellectual property. I always ask clients:

If Facebook were to shut down tomorrow what would you do?

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start a money making blog

Start Blogging

Your blog can act as your central hub where you direct people who see you on YouTube, listen to you on iTunes or follow you on Instagram.

1. Treat Your Blog as a Business

Stop treating your blog like a hobby and start treating it as a business. Use your blog for what it is: a content marketing tool of your business.

When you do this, every blog post you write will have a clear purpose:  to attract visitors to get them into your sales funnel.

Write blog posts that lure and attract an audience to your website.

When you blog with this mindset, you are treating your blog as just a (valuable) tool in your business.

2. Invest in Your Business

Here is what you need to invest in:

When you make investments in the best blogging tools, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to be successful.

But, still the best investment you can ever make isn't the stock market or real estate. It's in yourself. When you invest in your blogging education, you are going to earn more interest than you could ever dream of.

3. Choose a Niche

While you can make money blogging about just about anything, it helps if you choose a profitable niche right from there start. See my guide on finding a profitable niche here.

4. Choose a Domain

Find a catchy dot com domain for your new blog. Don't stress out if you can't find a domain you like. You can always change it later. See my tips on how to choose the perfect domain name here.

5. Choose Hosting

I recommend using Bluehost for beginners. It costs less than $5 per month and you get a free domain name. Bluehost comes with the WordPress blog platform pre-installed so you can get started building your blog right away. 

6. Choose the Right Theme

You can design your own blog without needing to hire a web designer. You just need the right mindset (and the right tools).

A blog is a tool you use to convey useful and helpful information. When people come to your website they want a  simple to use tool. Keep this in mind when choosing a theme and design your website and it will help you design a functional and pleasing blog that works.

I like to have full control of my website. That means I want my own domainhosting, and I also want my own blog theme. You can start with a free theme, but...

The problem with free blog themes is that you're limited by the design of the theme author. With many free themes you can't change the width of your blog, the logo size and more. It can be very restrictive and won't match your brand.

 You need is more control over how your blog looks so you can build your website the right way.

Here are the WordPress blog themes I recommend:

  • Divi by Elegant Themes - Let's you edit your entire blog visually. This theme has a newbie-friendly drag-and-drop editor which means that, unlike other blog themes, Divi is fully-customizable.
  • Thrive Theme Builder - You have full control of blog design with their drag and drop editor. Released in 2020.

7. Design Your Blog Right

Many new bloggers spend weeks on their blog design, adding fancy images and pretty colors everywhere. Your blog is more than a pretty home and your blog design doesn't need to be awesome, it just needs to be functional. First It needs to be easy for the reader to find exactly what they are looking for. 2nd is has to be sales ready. A lesser blog objective is brand recognition.

Here are some tips to create a functional blog design:

  • Design a logo - Even if you are not that creative, you can make your own logo. Go to Canva and use this logo maker. Designing your own logo is as simple as changing the text and colors and saving the file.
  • Build your main pages first - Before you start publishing blog posts, you need to build your website first. This means creating a homepage, a blog page and an about me page. These 3 pages will be the most important pages of your website. Your homepage is the roadmap of what your website has, the blog page is the content library, and the about page is where you can build trust with your audience.
  • Use an easy to read font - This one is Montserrat. A great choice is Open Sans. You can find fonts to use on your blog at Google Fonts.
  • Use a large font size and enough spacing - This font size is 20px on desktop, 18px on mobile with a line height of 1.6em and the default letter spacing for Montserrat.
  • Avoid big blocks of text - Break up your large paragraphs into smaller ones. Add headings, bullet points and images.
  • Get a page builder - If you are going to use a free theme, you should at least use a page builder. While WordPress has implemented the Gutenberg page builder, it doesn't compare other page builders like Elementor or Thrive Architect. With a page builder you can add cool elements such as this quote box below.

---thrive theme builder---

8. Choose the Right Topics

Your blog is not a content farm where you write about whatever you want. Writing a lot of content won't get you anywhere.

You need to write content your ideal audience is already searching for.

Then present them with an irresistible freebie so they join your email list.

To find out what to write about, use a keyword research tool like UberSuggest to help you find the best topic.

Just enter a keyword such as "blogging mistakes" and see if there is volume. If there isn't any, it's not popular enough to write about.

You can also look at your past content to help you write your next blog post. By looking at your Google Analytics data you can see which articles get the most traffic, have the highest average time on page and lowest bounce rates.

These articles are winners. Write more like these.

9. Write Well

Your blog is the answer to someone's problem. It is a valuable resource that helps people every day. And yet, many bloggers lack the confidence to write like a boss.

You don't need to be a professional writer to have a profitable blog. You only need to be able to communicate clearly and with confidence.

When your writing is clear, your readers will understand it. And when you write with confidence, they will believe it.

I use Grammarly to help me write. The free version works to catch grammar and spelling mistakes, while the pro version will help you become a better writer.

Write epic content:

  • Start with keyword research - Every blog post you publish should target a specific keyword phrase. I use UberSuggest to help me find popular topics to write about. You can also Keywordtool.io. This tool uses autocomplete in Google to find keywords people are actually searching for. You need to ensure you only write content that's in demand. If you write content no one is searching for, you will not get any traffic.
  • Write an outline - It's much easier to map out your blog post this way. For example, when I started writing this blog post I wrote the 10 steps first, then the key points within each step, then filled in the bulk of the content last.
  • Write in a conversational tone - Your blog is not a technical paper. Write as if you're having a friendly conversation with someone. Your blog willbe easy to read, friendly and more relatable. I use Grammarly to help me write in a friendly conversational way.
  • Create content with an objective - Did you write this blog post to get traffic? Get an email subscriber? Establish yourself as an authority? Sell a product? Every blog post you publish should have a clear goal in mind.
  • Create content that solves a problem. - How can you help your target audience? Content that provides a solution, a takeaway, truly resonates with your readers. If you can master the art of solving problems you will make money blogging.

10. Start an Email List Right Away

It is difficult to make money directly from a blog post especially when you are just starting. The reader is just there to get their question answered - not to give you money. How many people purchase something from a blog post they just landed on? Rarely. If you want to make money with your blog, you need to grow an audience. There's no better way to keep in touch with your audience than with an email list.

Continue the conversion via email. This is where you can establish a relationship with the reader and start making money.

By gaining access to their inbox, you can begin to turn that blog visitor into a paying customer.

If you still don't have an email list, you can sign up with ConvertKit here.

--convertkit--

When you start an email list, you are creating the most valuable asset your business will have. And you will own 100% of it.

  • Get a custom email address. - Log in to your hosting provider and get a personalized email like yourname@yourdomain.com. You will need one to send emails.
  • Sign up with an email marketing provider. - To send emails you need to use an email marketing service like ConvertKit. Use my link to sign up for free and you'll be able to send emails to up to 1,000 subscribers for free.
  • Create an opt-in form. - Now that our list is set up, we need to create an opt-in form so people can sign up. ConvertKit has a few pre-made layouts to add to your blog.
  • Write a welcome email. - Once someone signs up to your list, send them a welcome email introducing yourself and letting them know what type of content they can expect going forward.

Use Multiple Streams of Income on Your Blog

There's nothing wrong with monetizing your blog with ads. In fact, I recommend it.

The problem is when you ignore the many other ways to make money with your blog. While you monetize with ads, you can also:

  • Display ads. Bloggers can make money by placing ads on their blog and getting paid either by click or impression.
  • Offer services - Offer services on a dedicated services page, which is linked to in your main menu.
  • Affiliate marketing - Bloggers can make money by earning a commission if someone buys a product they're promoting. You can promote affiliate products in your niche, including products on Amazon.
  • Sponsored posts. Bloggers also make money by writing about their experience with a product or service.
  • Create and sell your own product - Bloggers earn the most amount of money when they create a product of their own. When you sell your own product, you control the sales process, the price and you keep all the profits. Digital products like courses or ebooks work best.

Income and Expense Tracker

Track My Multiple Streams of Income

What to Do Next?

New bloggers are often overwhelmed with just how much work needs to be done to start their blog. A new blogger will take on too much and end up doing nothing right.

To be successful blogging, you need to laser focus on one task at a time.

Here is a better progression for a new blogger to follow:

  1. Focus on your website first - Set up a functional website. This includes the logo, design, homepage, about page, etc.
  2. Master the art of writing epic content - Do keyword research first and create amazing blog posts to rank in Google.
  3. Learn how to get traffic from one source - Focus on one traffic source at a time. The easiest traffic source right now is Pinterest, whereas the hardest is Google.

Get Pinterest Traffic

Many new bloggers start by creating accounts on all the social media networks out there, from Facebook to Instagram to even Snapchat. They try to market on all channels and are surprised with zero traffic. 

Social media sites aren't designed to send you traffic. They are designed to keep you on the platform.

Pinterest is designed to send free traffic to your blog. 

Pinterest traffic should be your focus as a new blogger:

  • Free organic traffic. - Pinterest isn't a social media site like Instagram is. It's a visual search and discovery engine. Think of it like Google with pictures.
    There's a few ways to be found on Pinterest, but the main ways are the homepage (aka the smart feed), the search results page and via related pins.
    You don't need to invest a dime into paid ads to show up on Pinterest.
  • Targeted traffic. - Pinterest only shows your content to people who have engaged with similar content in the past - which is exactly what you want - people who are genuinely interested in your content
  • Viral potential. - Pinterest can make you viral. If a new pin takes off and starts getting saved by many users, it sends signals to Pinterest that there's great content behind that pin. The algorithm then rewards that pin by showing it to a wider audience.
  • Long-term traffic. - While viral traffic is nice, nothing is nicer than free traffic... for life? On Pinterest your pins don't disappear. They stay there forever waiting to be found via search. Pins have lifetime value and users can continue to share and re-share your content, giving you continuous exposure for years to come. Just compare that to the average shelf-life of an Instagram or Twitter update.
  • Much faster to get than Google traffic. - Hands down the best traffic you can get is Google traffic. But it can take up to 1 year to start seeing search traffic. And that's only if you've done SEO right. With Pinterest a new blog can start seeing traffic on day 1.

Get Google Search Traffic

Even though it might take a new blogger up to a year to start getting a steady flow of traffic from Google. Never discount the power of SEO if done right. It's still important to lay the groundwork for SEO for later.

Here are some strategies for having a blog that's optimized for Google search.

  • Keyword research - Before you write anything, you need to do some research first. If you write an article trying to rank for "weight loss" you're never going to get any traffic. Instead, focus on a keyword phrase that has less competition - but still has good traffic. I use UberSuggest to find the best keywords to try and rank for.
  • Use the keyword phrase in the title - The best place to put your keyword is in the title of the article. Preferably, at the beginning.
  • Keyword in the URL - The "slug" of your URL is the last part of the URL. For this article it's "money-making-blog". By default, WordPress writes your entire title out. But you want to keep it short to make it clear to Google what your content is about.
  • Keywords in your content - In addition to keywords in your title and url, you need it in your content as well. While Google is really good at figuring out what your content is about, you still should mention your exact keyword phrase in the first few lines of the article and at least once more later on.
  • Yoast SEO plugin - This plugin is a must-have to write a Google-optimized blog post. Add your keyword phrase and you get an instant SEO analysis of your blog post. See more must-have plugins for new bloggers here
  • High quality backlinks - The best way to get more backlinks is by writing epic content that gets shared by other bloggers in your space and guest blogging. Other ways of getting backlinks includes being a guest on podcasts and doing outreach asking for placements.

Grow Your Email List

Once your email list is set up, the next step is to grow your email list. Your number one job as a blogger will ultimately be getting people to join your email list - the entry point into your sales funnel.

  • Create a lead magnet. - Nobody will join your email list if you have a simple "Subscribe for updates" form. Nobody really wants to receive more emails, so people need an incentive to subscribe. A lead magnet is a freebie you offer in exchange for their email address.
  • Design a high converting opt-in form. - I use Thrive Leads to create my opt-in forms. There's lots of templates to choose from and editing them is extremely simple. The best Thrive Leads feature is the ability to conduct A/B split testing, which helps you design forms built to convert
  • Opt-in form locations. - It's not just the forms that matter, but how they are placed on your blog. You can have highly intrusive (yet highly effective) forms that take over the entire screen or just forms within your content.
    With Thrive Leads, you can choose where and how your forms are displayed
  • Create an email sequence - To really make the most of email marketing, you need to create a series of automated emails that are sent after a user signs up for your list. The goal is to nurture your list to build trust and credibility to eventually recommend products/services.

Monetize Your Blog

Now we are finally here on how to actually create a money making blog. If you have not realized it yet you must first build an audience and drive consistent traffic to your blog. 

There are many ways to monetize your blog and here are a few:

Apply to a display ad network

If you are in a high-traffic niche that's difficult to monetize, your best bet to making money with your blog is going to be display ads.

With display ads, you are paid regardless of whether the user makes a purchase. Sounds sweet, right? You don't have to sell anything.

You just place an ad on your money making blog and you get paid. Simple. The more traffic you have, the more you get paid.

The most popular ad network is Google Adsense. It's incredibly simple to sign up and place their ads on your blog. The downside here is that their payouts are pretty low. 

For higher payouts try the Mediavine network once your blog reaches 25,000 sessions per month.

Sponsored posts

If you have a lot of traffic,  your blog metrics are going to look real good. This is exactly what advertisers want when looking for a blog to partner with. Create a contact form and mention you accept brand partnerships.

To get your blog seen by more advertisers, join influencer networks like LinqiaIZEATap Influence and Markerly.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you get paid a commission when you sell something. The best example of affiliate program is Amazon Associates. It's easier to make a sale using Amazon links since the trust factor is already there.

With Amazon it's even better because you get paid a percentage of everything that's in their cart - not just the product you were promoting.

Other affiliate networks to join include ShareASale, FlexOffers, Awin, Rakuten Marketing, and Clickbank.

Here's why affiliate marketing is great for new bloggers looking to start a money making blog:

  • Don't have to create a product- Save time and money not creating a product. No risk, no shipping, and no customer service.
  • Learn how to sell - Shift your mindset - most new bloggers don't want to sell anything, they don't want to be the sleazy salesman. But promoting affiliates you learn that you are helping by recommending a product. When you learn how to sell, you learn not to focus on the features of the product, but rather the end result of using it.
  • Learn what sells - Start small and work your way up and learning what sells and what doesn't. Once you figure out what sells you will be ready to put in the time and energy on your own products.
  • Content ideas - The best way to promote affiliate products is to write multiple posts for each product. How to post, review post, comparison post etc. 

Sell Digital Products

To  really want to start a money making blog - you need to create your own products. It's important that you take this step at the right time. Far too often people start with creating a product before knowing what to sell and how to sell it.

Here are some products you can create, regardless of your niche:

Ebook - This is by far the most popular (and the cheapest) digital product to create. It is not difficult to write an ebook.

Just open up Word or Pages and start writing. You can even use content from your past blog posts in your ebook. Convert your doc to pdf and you're done!

For an ebook cover you can design it with Canva and then create a book mockup with MockupShots.

Course - You're already a teacher with your own blog. Your readers are all potential students. Create a video series and offer it as a course.

You can create your course using Thrive Apprentice. It's what I use for my blogging courses.

Coaching - You can offer a more personalized service like one-on-one coaching or group  coaching.

Remember the email sequence from earlier? At the end of your funnel is where you will promote your product. Don't be afraid of the direct sales approach, by now you have fans that trust you.

Blogging Success Tips

Don't be Afraid of Failure

The worst thing in business is not failure, but inaction.

Failure is a part of any successful business. In fact, failure is practically a requirement.

In business you need to continually try new things, fail, course correct, then do it all over again. Many new bloggers get stuck in to the point of inaction - paralysis -  where they delay launching their blog or product because they're afraid it won't work.

Big Tip: it probably won't. Your second, third and fourth try won't either. Get over it. Learn from your failures and evolve.

The faster you start failing the faster you'll make it to the other side.  Blogging is a process and as you go  you learn by trial and error, try and fail. Get better and as you grow as a blogger, you grow as a business.

So please, fail, and fail a lot. Just fail fast.

Dream Big

So many bloggers limit themselves by thinking small. New bloggers especially. Don't be afraid to set Humongous Goals.

Set goals for how much you want to make and mini goals for how to get there.

  • 6-figure blogger in a year
  • 10k visitors a month

Start Now

Don't wait start blogging today.


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