Hi! Have you started your blog yet? Are you in the middle of building it up, or are you just learning before you take off? First of all, you need to know something: you can do it! Starting a blog is easy with the right tools. If you love writing, have something you’re passionate about and enough determination for 10 people then you’ve already got the right recipe to make money on your blog.
However. Going from the launch to the paycheck is a different story.
Like you, I started with this passionate idea and started researching blogging. While I was more focused on reaching people and encouraging them, I wanted my work to be profitable, too. I read hundreds of posts, planned out my work and jumped in with both feet.
And I landed on my face. More than once.
To spare you the frustration, I’ve compiled an easy list of things for you to follow to get you started on your blog, or to help renew your passion and drive on your existing blog.
Making money is possible, but you have to be realistic about what you’re doing, and you need to follow some key instructions. Ready to make money on your blog?
Let’s do this.
This article contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure.
It’s Time to Make Money On Your Blog
You might have a million dollar idea. You might be an incredible writer or an amazing photographer with beautiful pages. None of that guarantees a paycheck whatsoever.
I’m going to share with you the secrets I discovered to making money on my blog in just a matter of months. I’m keeping it real, though, and I’m not going to sell you a platter of false hopes.
These are the down-to-earth basics and honest facts about what to expect when you start your blog.
1: Develop A GOOD Plan
If you’re serious about blogging, develop a plan! If you’re thinking about starting a blog, you probably already know what you want it to be about. This is called a niche–basically your category and type of blog.
You’re not the only one out there with a blog in your niche. Keep this in mind. Develop a plan that will set you apart and offer readers something they can’t easily find just anywhere.
Do you love what you’re blog is about enough to talk about it all day long? Can you think of a million and one things to write about in your niche? Does your blog niche cause you to perk up, get excited and want to share?
Are you so inspired and in love with your niche that the idea of writing on the same topic five years from now is exciting?
You have to love it that much.
You need a blog outline. What are you going to write about? Can you think of 10-20 blog posts to write to get started? Write down every single idea. Seriously.
Even if you go back and review and don’t like every idea, you can use it to form new ideas and plans. You need to have an outline of what you’re going to write.
Your blog is your business. Take it that seriously. Don’t play games with your goals and passions. Make it happen. Then get that plan on paper.
2: Start Your Blog Correctly
Read about How To Get Your Blog Off the Ground
If you’re testing the waters and just want to see what you can do, it’s really tempting to start on a free blogging platform. That’s what I did.
I lacked the confidence and self-belief that I could actually do it. I didn’t have a massive following on social media. I’m a normal person, and I felt silly. So I let my lack of confidence hold me back and I paid for it.
If you don’t believe in yourself and your blog, don’t expect others too, either.
Take the steps as you get started that show you mean business. In order to get wind in your blog’s sails (and eventually make money on your blog) you’re going to have to invest a little bit of money from the start.
It’s not an exorbitant amount and it shouldn’t be. You need to go into this with your eyes open. Starting up a good blog isn’t free. Sorry.
I know there are posts out there that say you can do it, but if you want to make money on your blog in a shorter amount of time, get ready to spend a little bit of money.
The key is knowing where to put your money.
The most important places to spend right out of the gate are on these 3 things.
- Domain name
- Blogging platform
- Hosting platform
Without those crucial tools, you’re not going to have any support and it’s impossible to make money on your blog.
Your domain name, which looks like this: yourblognamehere.com, is your site’s identity. Think long and hard about what you’re going to name your blog.
Your identity, branding, and growth potential is completely dependent on what you name your blog. Once you have a good one, buy it and keep it forever.
It’s now you, online.
The most popular blogging platform is WordPress. It’s compatible with basically everything you’re going to do with your blog and marketing.
Whichever platform you choose, make sure to do your research. This is crucial in understanding how your blog runs and how to operate it.
Want to make money on your blog? You need a hosting platform. You can’t make money on your blog without it. Period. It costs money up front–not a lot, but it does cost.
And it’s absolutely essential. If you’re not ready to put out a little bit of money for your hosting platform, you need to wait on your blog and save up. Seriously, it’s that important.
Without a hosting platform, no magic happens.
Note: I did not do this during my startup and ended up having to transfer my blog. It was a nightmare and I actually broke my site and lost some of my work. Establish your host from the beginning.
2020 Update: I used to recommend Bluehost like practically everybody else. Because Mama Fearless has strong ethical policies about only recommending products we personally use and believe it, I now recommend SiteGround for optimum hosting, speed and performance.
3: Market Like You Mean It
By this time, you should have your blog set up properly (yes I’m going to say it again) with a hosting platform and you should have some pretty posts up (I recommend at least 10-20, if not more) to give your readers something to do.
You don’t want people finding your page and then leaving after 20 seconds. Give them stuff to read!
Once your blog is up and looks pretty (because it needs to look pretty or at least appealing), you need to market.
This is where everything gets funky
Your marketing strategy depends on your niche and how you’re running your blog. Because the topic of marketing is huge, I’m only going to touch on the very basics here.
Top blog traffic drivers are:
- Google (organic searches)
Each one of these platforms runs uniquely and will require research to get your material seen. This is the hardest part.
Pinterest is the top platform for blog traffic and you don’t have to have a huge following to make it happen. It’s all about pretty pins and SEO (Search Engine Optimization, which is all about key words and phrasing to make your posts rank higher in searches).
Instagram is great for building a brand, getting exposure and interacting on the daily. You need a strong following for this. While Pinterest can yield fast results when properly used, Instagram is a slower building process with seriously lucrative potential for your blog.
Organic searches are a go-to. In order to for people to find you online, you need to make sure your posts, descriptions and basically anything you type is SEO friendly.
I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin to help you with the basics. It’s user-friendly and doesn’t require you to have super-human knowledge.
Take my 1-hour writing course to boost your content writing skills and increase your blog’s overall success (that means income!)
4. Make Money On Your Blog
Okay, so you’re blogging consistently, you’ve got a blogging and hosting platform, you’re working on your SEO. Now it’s time to get set up to make money on your blog.
First, you need to know how your type of readers interact. Readers of different blog niches do different things.
Someone looking for a recipe on a food blog is going to interact completely different than someone researching camera equipment on an electronics blog. This is going to help you navigate how you make your money.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to focus on lifestyle blogs. A lifestyle blog has a particular focus of, well, lifestyle, and dedicates their posts to that.
When readers land on the blog, they’re searching for specific information. They’re focused. They have a problem they need solved, and their looking for good information on a solution.
When it comes to earning an income, affiliate links are one of the best ways to quickly start making money on a lifestyle blog. I recommend the Amazon Affiliate program to get started.
I know there are others out there that say not to go this route, but for me the Amazon Associates program made me the most money on my blog in the first year.
There are a ton of affiliate programs out there. Research companies and programs related to your niche and work to become an associate. Affiliate programs operate by your readers clicking links on your blog, and you make a commission off of their purchases.
The most lucrative types of links are text links in the actual body of your post. That doesn’t mean you should discount other types of affiliate links– I recommend using them all in the right places.
You can set your blog up to show ads (like Google ads). You earn money per click, so as readers come to your blog, they click on those ads and you earn per click.
While you can make money this way, I personally do not recommend it. I found when using those ads, they appeared in the body of my post and some of the types of ads were strange and looked spammy.
They also took away from the overall appearance of my blog and interrupted the flow of the articles.
Plus, you literally make cents, like $.01-$.02 per click. I just didn’t feel like the benefits outweighed the risk of frustrating my readers.
A better alternative is Amazon Native Ads, which are much more controlled by you. You can place these ads strategically on your page to keep it appealing.
You can also control the categories and types of ads that appear. This is nice because the displayed ads are related to what your readers are searching which makes more sense to them and to the appearance of the blog.
5. Don’t Quit
Okay here’s where it gets real.
You can make money on your blog and you can pretty quickly. However, spare yourself some crazy frustration and keep your expectations realistic.
There are millions of blogs in the world. You’re building something from nothing (which is amazing) but you need to remember you’re starting from nothing.
Don’t expect to make 100K in 6 months. I don’t care what those super inspiring YouTube vloggers say. I appreciate their enthusiasm and they keep me pumped, but it takes time.
You have to keep at it, and you have to be consistent. Post 2-3 times a week in the beginning until you’ve got a substantial amount of material on your blog.
Then keep posting at least once a week to keep things fresh and updated. Google pays attention to your activity, and the more you post, the better for your rankings.
If you don’t see income in the first, second or even third month, don’t stop. By persevering through those months of grinding away, you’re passing those that grew frustrated and gave up and threw in the towel. Just keep plugging away. It takes time, but you can see results.
Think of starting a business.
You don’t see huge amounts of profit right away. In fact, you pour blood, sweat and tears into your business just to break even at first–sometimes. Then as you grow, your profits increase and things get better in time.
Blogging is much the same way. You’ve simply got to stick it out. When you do, and you keep learning, you’ll make money on your blog.