How To Start a Money-Making Blog
As I’ve been growing my own blog and seeing the stats steadily increase, I started thinking about how to make money (even just a little bit) from all the traffic. But, let’s start at the beginning. Also, please note that there are a few affiliate links here, which mean that I get to offer my readers a discount, like the one for SiteGround (I think it’s 60% off right now), and I get a little payment from the company.
Everyone blogs for a different reason, some do it as a place to express themselves, some to share their opinion, and others to start a conversation. However, if you want people to read it and keep coming back, you need to give them something they don’t already have. This can be anything from an insight into your personal world, something educational, or a take-away.
Where to Start?
The best, and most commonly used platform is WordPress – but wait. There’s WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The .com version is a great starting point. It’s super-simple to get started and to start writing. Although you may soon feel the need to customize your new blog, or to add ‘plugins’ and adverts. As soon as you do, head over to my new best friends at SiteGround.com, who held my hand through the whole process and even jumped into my WordPress blog to fix something I’d messed up!
Sharing is Caring
So you’ve written some posts, but nobody’s coming to your blog to read them. You’re going to need to share them. Create a Facebook page for your blog (here’s mine) and join in some group pages around blogging or your particular niche.
Facebook groups are everything. There are a lot to choose from, so join a few that are in your niche and some for blogging advice. A few great ones are Boost Your Blog, Blogging Newbs, and The Blogging Squad.
Pinterest is also a huge driver in blog traffic, so set yourself up with a profile, share your posts on group boards like SocialDad & Friends, How To: Social Media, and Bloggers Supporting Each Other.
In addition to these, share on StumbleUpon, Reddit, Buzzfeed, Google+, and LinkedIn (where appropriate).
Content is Key
You’ve got the words, but do you have the pictures? Make your posts stand out with beautiful photography and a killer ‘Featured Image’. I use Pexels for free stock photography, and the Word Swag iPhone app to add text.
It’s always a good idea to create a few different sizes for your photos if you’re embedding them within your blog.
- Facebook: 1200×630
- Twitter: 440×220
- Linkedin: 646×220
- Pinterest 238×500 – nice and tall, like the one below.
Adverts and Affiliates
This is where the real money is (in theory) going to start coming your way. By posting adverts on the side of your blog, or within the articles, you can show your readers content that is useful to them. If you ever worry about ‘selling out’, you’re completely in control and can choose what or whom you’re advertising.
You can also post links to Survey websites, who will pay you every time someone signs up. Once you’re all set up with a referral link, you don’t have to do anything, just keep writing amazing content and hope that people are clicking on your links.
My favourite is Inbox Dollars, as you get a $5 signup bonus and get paid to take surveys, read emails, etc. There’s Linqia, which is great for bloggers who want to work with brands. If you are a match for the brand, they’ll send you things to review and pay you for it!
As a glasses-wearer, I also am happy to have an EyeBuyDirect link on the side of my page, where I get to offer my readers a $10 discount. Once you register on there, you can also get a discount on your glasses when someone buys some. (They’re really nice glasses and start at $9!).
You can also get money back when you shop with EBates.com. From Amazon to eBay, Banana Republic to Coach, if you do it via their website, you get a cut back. Bloggers can earn $5 for each person they refer via their special link, which seems like a deal to me!
Plug-Ins and Widgets
These are the add-ons that you can play around with once you’ve moved over from WordPress.com to . org.
Start with the basics:
Askimet Anti-Spam will help shield your blog from nonsense comments and bots trying to back-link their own sites to the top.
Google Analytics by Analyticator seems to be the most straightforward way of hooking up your blog to your Google Analytics account.
Social Warfare provides social sharing buttons across your blog, along with a share-count so you can keep track of things.
Yoast SEO is the plugin that most bloggers start with. It gives you a key insight into how your blog will perform in Google searches, and give your posts a colour-coded rating for its SEO score.
Stay trustworthy by endorsing only brands, products and services that you either use or can personally vouch for.
Depending on where you live, it may be the law (or at least best practice) to tell your readers if the brand you’re mentioning have paid you for a review or gifted you a product or service in exchange for a feature on your site. I prefer to write this in the web footer (see below) so it covers the whole site. And yes, I also only endorse products or services that I personally think are awesome.
Media Kits are super-handy ways of ssending brand all the info they need in a nicely designed one-pager. I used a template from Creative Market to make mine. You can edit most of the templates in Word, Photoshop or InDesign.
Did I miss anything? Still have questions?Feel free to join me on Facebook or ask in the comments below .
NicoleMarch 8, 2017 at 11:23 pm
Awesome post!! I finally made the switch to WordPress.org this year and I love it. Now I’m working on trying to monetize. I had no idea EyeBuyDirect had an affiliate program! I buy my glasses from there, so this was really helpful. Thank you! 🙂
DeborahMarch 9, 2017 at 5:47 am
Great post! I am a new blogger, looking to monetize sometime in the future, and this was helpful info!
jamesrcsmithMarch 11, 2017 at 5:25 am
Thanks so much! Keep coming back as I’ll add more links as I find them.
LianneMarch 9, 2017 at 5:11 pm
Interesting! Going to look into that survey promoting 🙂 thanks.
GinaMarch 10, 2017 at 2:51 am
Thanks for sharing. I am at a point where I really want to start monetizing my blogs. You offer some great suggestions.
jamesrcsmithMarch 10, 2017 at 3:31 am
Thanks so much. Check out the links I provided or feel free to get in touch if I can help any further. James@socialdad.ca
EricaMarch 11, 2017 at 12:35 am
I have been blogging for several years now, and these are great tips to get started. One I would add is that, depending on your niche, figure out which social media avenue is most amenable for that niche and focus there. I have a food blog, so Pinterest is king for me. I wish I had realized this sooner instead of trying (and failing) to focus on every social outlet all the time!
Breyona sharpnackMarch 11, 2017 at 11:59 pm
What a incredible post for newbies such as myself. I am still learning and I am only a few months in. I have learned so much from being apart of various groups. I do need to purchase hosting which has been a little confusing but I will get it figured out shortly.
jamesrcsmithMarch 12, 2017 at 12:12 am
I know what you mean about confusing hosts. Just use the link for SiteGround to get my discount and then check out their live chat. They’ll walk you through the whole thing.
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Martin from Avopix.comMay 2, 2017 at 11:16 am
if you like Pexels, I think you would also like https://avopix.com with more than 120 000 free photos under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licence (for commercial use with no attribution).
All the best,
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ShayMay 3, 2017 at 6:01 am
When I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the
-Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the
exact same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service?
jamesrcsmithMay 3, 2017 at 7:21 am
Oh no! I’ll have a look into that for you.
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ElvaAugust 31, 2017 at 12:35 am
First of all I want to say fantastic blog! I had
a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas
out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips?
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KellyNovember 14, 2018 at 4:48 am
Really helpful advices and tips! It`s nice when someone who`s been there helps and teach others!
LuciaJuly 14, 2019 at 9:42 pm
First of all I want to say fantastic blog!
I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting
my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted simply just trying
to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
jamesrcsmithJuly 15, 2019 at 10:15 am
Hi Lucia, that’s a great question. I have to be in the mood for writing, which usually takes a coffee and quiet space. There are plenty of ‘Deep Focus’ playlists on Spotify which help me keep my mind on the article too. For longer pieces, I usually write down the top headings I want to expand on and then add a little context to each header. Then go into more detail for each part and before you know it, the piece is finished.