So perhaps you read my last article called How to Make Money Blogging and now you want to know how to start a blog that makes money? There are some things you need to know first before you travel down this path, and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
First, in case you missed it on the last article, the 4 main ways to make money with a blog are:
- Sponsored posts
- Sell your own products or services
- Affiliate marketing (My #1 pick!)
You can certainly do a combination of the four, and many bloggers do. All of them require you to learn the most important thing – get traffic to your site! Without traffic, you won’t be able to make sales in any of those categories. So, start there! How? We’ll talk about that in a bit.
How to Start a Blog That Makes Money?
There are some basic steps you need to do in order to start a blog that makes money. I’m not going to go into depth on these because it would be like writing a book. lol. Maybe someday! Let me just go over the order of how things go for you.
1. You need a topic that you want to write about (this is called a niche). There are a couple of things to consider here. First, you want to think about a topic that you will LOVE to write about. Because you will be writing about it a lot.
When I first start blogging many years ago, I tried to pick topics that I thought would make me the most money. Guess what happened? Nothing. I couldn’t write about them because they were so BORING. I didn’t make sales with that method at all.
Of course, you want to pick a topic that you love to write about AND will make you some sales. But almost every niche has products that can be promoted. Just think about if the products are high-priced enough to make it worth your while.
2. You need a domain name. You want something that’s easy to say, easy to spell, ideally is two words and is a .com. I used my name for this website, and that’s something that you can do if you have a hard time finding another domain.
3. You need web hosting. You need a place that will host your website so that people can find it online. There are many hosting companies out there, and I think they’re all generally pretty good. I have used HostGator in the past and they were fine for me! I have heard great things about BlueHost too. I actually host my website with the platform I use for training. I’ll explain a little more in the next section
4. You need a web platform. This website is on WordPress, and the majority of bloggers out there use WordPress. It’s easy to use, has a lot of options for plugins and is considered to be professional. You could go with a free platform like Wix or Weebly, but you have to be careful with those. While they’re easy to use, they don’t have as many capabilities as WordPress.
I actually have a site at Wix right now. I love the way my site looks and it does well in the search engines, but it’s not that cheap to have them host it. Plus, you have to pay EXTRA for things like search and comments! Weird!
Now because I get great hosting at the training platform that I use, I want to move it over, which will save me a bunch of money. But it’s unfortunately not very easy. Wix is a completely different animal than WordPress. I almost have to start over. Think about using those drag-and-drop types of platforms before you completely commit.
5. You need training to learn how to put everything together and monetize. Let’s discuss in more detail in the next section.
Why Training is Important (and Will Free Training Work?)
I absolutely 100% believe in training. I mean, how can you learn what to do if you don’t have training? Have you ever gotten a new job? What did you do first? You had training, right! They don’t just stick you in a new job and say “good luck! Hope you don’t fail!” lol
Creating a blog that makes money is NO different. How will you know how to put all the pieces of the puzzle together? I’ve had a lot of training and I’m STILL putting pieces of the puzzle together. The learning never stops. (Which I think is a good thing because it keeps things exciting and new!)
There are lots and lots of free training videos on YouTube and lots of great blog posts out there about how to create a website. I think free training is a great place to start. But generally speaking, the free training leads to paid training with more in-depth instructions and strategies.
My #1 training recommendation is Wealthy Affiliate and they also offer free training. You sign up as a Free Starter Member and you can get the first 10 lessons for free. I think this is great because it gives you a chance to see if you even like blogging. It also gives you a chance to try the training out and see if it will work for you.
Are there other great trainings out there? I’m sure there are! The thing is, most of them are kind of like a one-and-done type of deal. In other words, you buy the product, go through the training and that’s it.
Here are some reasons why Wealthy Affiliate is my #1 preferred platform for training:
- We have a live weekly training session every Friday on various topics.
- Members can post training or blog posts about methods that work for them.
- Kyle and Carson (the founders of Wealthy Affiliate) often post about updates and things we need to be aware of.
So, the training is always up-to-date. It’s not a one-and-done thing. You are always learning and growing.
- You can buy domain names through Wealthy Affiliate. (When you go through the free training, you’ll get a free domain to use, but you also have the option to buy a domain.)
- You can host your website at Wealthy Affiliate. (Starter Members get 2 sites and Premium Members can have up to 25 hosted there.)
- Wealthy Affiliate has a fantastic and easy-to-use keyword tool. This is important for building traffic. Remember how important that is, right?
- You get step-by-step training to build a website start-to-finish.
- There’s 24/7 technical support.
- We have Live Chat where members can answer questions for you, any time, day or night.
- There is a community of thousands of members who can help support your journey along the way.
I wouldn’t know anything without Wealthy Affiliate. With that said, there are many other resources out there, and I still go to them too. It’s good to have different perspectives on things and learn from different people. You always want to be growing and learning!
Do You Need to Spend Money to Get Started?
This is a business and all businesses have a start-up cost. The great thing is that you don’t need to spend a lot right away. You will need to buy a domain name and hosting to start. I think it’s really important to invest in GOOD training.
As mentioned, I always recommend training at Wealthy Affiliate (hosting will be done for you there at no additional cost if you choose to join as a Premium Member), but even if it’s not Wealthy Affiliate, then find good training elsewhere. Otherwise, you’ll be spinning your wheels, getting frustrated and will likely quit before you begin to see results.
There will likely be other costs associated as you go on:
- The money is in the list! You’ll need a place where you can send out emails. I recommend ConvertKit.
- You may want to buy a premium theme eventually.
- There will be times you will want to buy additional training. (More about that in the next section.)
If you’re blogging for fun and not for money, then you don’t really need to invest in a lot of things. But I’m assuming you’re looking to make money from your blog. This is a business, and it should be treated like one. It’s freaking fun business, but a business nonetheless. So yes, you will need to spend money to help it grow. Eventually these investments will pay off and you will make far more than you’ve spent.
How to Increase Your Traffic
We’ve already discussed how traffic is everything. I really mean it and I want to hammer it into your head! I get really annoyed at the products that I review in my Not Recommended category because what I often find is that they promise you tons of money overnight and then you find out that they don’t even teach you how to get traffic to whatever it is that you’re supposed to be selling with them.
Or they teach you these really terrible traffic methods like “Post this spammy-sounding article on Facebook and it’ll go viral and the traffic will flood in!” Um, no. It won’t. That will NEVER work.
For instance, I recently just discovered that Pinterest is an awesome way of getting more traffic to a website. I wanted to learn more about it, so I invested in a training called Pinterest Traffic Avalanche and in a tool called Tailwind. When you’re investing in training or tools, you just want to ask yourself: “Will this make me more money eventually?” That was an easy yes for both of these for me.
The best source of free traffic is probably Google. How do you get traffic from Google? Again, this is where that training comes in. It’s all about keywords and SEO (search engine optimization). You have to learn how to find good keywords to target. You want to find keywords that people search for, but aren’t so competitive that your competition with squash you like a little fly. (Ewww!)
You need a good keyword tool and the understanding of what you’re looking for. (I again point to Wealthy Affiliate for the tool AND the training.)
You can also pay for traffic, and that’s something I’ve tried but not have been successful at. Some bloggers say you need to spend thousands testing what works. Yea, no thanks! I’ll stick with SEO and Pinterest, thanks!
This is A Lot to Take In. Is It Even Worth It?
I think there’s a thought out there that blogging for money is easy, even a lazy person’s work. But if that were true, everyone would hop on board. No, no. It’s not easy at all. It takes a lot of work. I’m on my computer a lot. It’s important to write consistently, so I try to get out at least 5 articles a week. I’m happier with 6. Plus, I have to create a header image for that article and a bunch of pins for Pinterest. There’s always something to do, and I’m always behind.
But I love it!
If you don’t love it, then it’s not going to be worth it for you. I love the flexibility I have. I love working in my slippers. I love NOT sitting in a gray cubicle. I love writing about stuff. I love helping people find their path.
Also, there’s the money thing.
Michelle, from MakingSenseofCents.com made over $1,000,000 in 2017. (I’m not sure that she posts her income reports anymore. So I’m sure this number is much higher now.)
The Reese family from itsalovelylife.com made over $178,000 in the month of October.
Want to see more blog income reports? I’m collecting them here on Pinterest.
So is it worth it to put in all this work? Especially since you typically won’t make any money for the first 6 months to 1 year. Well…
- You get to have flexibility
- You can have more time with your family
- You get to be creative
- You get to do work that’s fun
- You can make PLENTY of money (eventually)
- You don’t have to work in a cube (Did I mention I hate those things?)
To me, yea it’s absolutely worth it. It might not be for everyone, and that’s OK. It takes all kinds to make the world go around! If you’re as excited about it as me though, then I encourage you to make sure to start off on the right foot and get that training going!
You don’t want to be sitting there 6 months from now still spinning your wheels. Make good use of your time and learn how to do everything the proper way right away.
Start Your Money-Making Blog TODAY!
Do you have any question or comments about blogging? Do you think the effort is worth it? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me comments below.