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 .