Blogging completely changed my life, and it's funny to think that I literally had no idea what blogs were until right before I started one in 2011.
Back then, I also never realized that you could learn how to earn money blogging. I don't think I even looked into it because that was never my goal when I first learned how to start a blog. I certainly never thought blogging would drastically change my future, but I’m so glad I gave it a shot.
I had so many questions when I started my blog, and I learned 99% of what I know that hard way – by making mistakes.
I know that many new bloggers probably have some of the same questions I had because I receive around 100 emails a day from readers wanting to know how to start a blog, how to earn money blogging, and more. So, I'm hoping today's post will help you solve your blogging questions.
I know that blogging can seem scary in the beginning, but remember that most other bloggers were in the exact same place you were when they started.
Blogging isn’t as easy as it looks from the outside, but it is something that you can do. You can earn money blogging so that you can work towards living the life you want.
Blogging has allowed my husband and me to leave our day jobs, travel full-time, see family and friends more often, meet great people, and live one heck of a great life.
Because of the great experience I’ve had, I love helping others learn how to start a blog.
I never thought it would be possible, but here I am. Plus, I know many, many other bloggers in all sorts of niches who are making a great living online.
While there is no 100% guarantee that you will be able to earn a full-time living by blogging, I know many bloggers who are full-time and are very happy with it.
Due to that, today’s post is all about answering the questions I commonly receive about about how to start a blog and how to earn money blogging.
- 12 Free Resources To Grow Your Blog Fast
- How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog
- How To Quit Your Job And Become A Full-Time Blogger
Here are my reader’s top questions about how to earn money blogging:
Is 2019 too late to start a website/blog?
No, it's not too late, and you haven't missed out.
2019 is a great time to start a blog.
Trust me, people were saying the same thing when I first started Making Sense of Cents – that people who started in 2011 were starting too late and that no one would earn money blogging if they started when I did.
However, that wasn’t the case then or now.
The online world is still so new, and each year there are new ways to monetize and grow your blog.
For example, it wasn’t until the past couple of years that companies and advertisers started realizing the value of online influencers, such as bloggers, and that means even more opportunities to earn money blogging.
Before that, it was mainly celebrities that companies advertised with, but now, it is actually shifting to bloggers and other online influencers (such as Youtubers and Instagrammers!).
The online world is a huge place and it is just going to keep growing. Every blogger earns a living in slightly different ways, and everyone has a different message and story. Plus, there are so many different ways to earn money blogging, and I expect that the options will continue to grow.
Of course, because the blogging world keeps changing, there will constantly be new things for you to learn, but that will probably always be the case for managing any kind of business.
So, if you are thinking about starting a blog, today is the day. Don't let your fears hold you back any further! You can find my free How To Start a Blog Course here.
How do I come up with a blog name and URL?
Deciding on a name for your blog is probably one of the hardest parts of blogging.
Even if you know exactly what you want your topic to be and have some articles written, deciding on your blog’s name may be stopping you from actually creating your website and launching it.
I don't remember how I came up with Making Sense of Cents, but I'm glad I did. It is still catchy, and I receive compliments on it to this day.
Coming up with a blog name shouldn’t lead to stress, so here are my tips for deciding on a blog name:
- Make it easy. My blog name isn't the easiest for people to spell, and even I sometimes jumble it when I'm spelling it. So, my top tip would be to make sure that your blog name is easy for people to type or spell out loud. I've seen blog names that are extremely long, contain words that are difficult to spell, and so on. Instead, you should make it as easy as possible for your readers to find you.
- Think about what you'll be writing about. Think about the topics you want to write about, who your target audience is, and more, and then jot down descriptive words that are related to each. Brainstorming like this is a good way to come up with a blog name!
- Use a thesaurus to find similar words. If your first or second choices are taken or if you want to see if there are some catchier sounding blog names, using a thesaurus can help you with some new ideas.
- Make it catchy. You may want to think of something funny, use alliteration, or something else to make your blog name catchy and memorable.
- Use your name. If you don't want something catchy and/or if you think you're not creative enough, then just use your name. It's super easy that way, and more and more people are starting to do this.
See, creating a name for your blog can be easy!
What topics should I write about so that I can earn money blogging?
I know a lot of people think that you have to write about blogging to earn money blogging.
But, this is not true. The reason you may think that is because the bloggers who have income reports are the ones who talk about blogging, but that’s only because it fits in with their niche of trying to help other people start a blog. It’s meant to encourage others and to show them that it’s possible to earn money blogging.
It wouldn’t make as much sense for someone who writes about fashion or DIY stuff to have income reports. And, many people don't like to openly share their income – money is a taboo subject still!
The truth is that people in all different niches make money blogging.
I know bloggers who are successful and write about health, clothing, home renovations, DIY, finance, travel, homesteading, business, self-help, relationships, food, and more. I even know plenty of people who just write about their lives and earn a full-time income from doing that!
So, how do you determine what to write about?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. I always recommend creating a blog around a topic that you are passionate about, that you are an expert in, that you like, or something else along those lines.
This can make blogging feel fun instead of like a chore.
You can blog about several topics or you can blog about one specific thing, such as personal finance. For me, I cover a ton of different topics here on Making Sense of Cents. I talk about personal finance, life, travel, RVing, sailing, self-help, and more.
Some things that you may want to think about when choosing your blog topic include:
- What are you passionate about? I always recommend that you start by thinking about what you are passionate about. Perhaps it's a sport that you really love, crafts, cooking, managing money, travel, or something else. Whatever it is, blogging about your passion is great because that will show in your writing, and your readers will enjoy that.
- What blogs do you enjoy reading? If you are thinking about starting a blog, I'm assuming it's because you probably enjoy reading blogs yourself. If that's the case, then you may want to think about which blogs you really enjoy spending your time on, and possibly blogging about something similar.
- What are you an expert in? Now, you don't need to be an expert in your blog’s topic to earn money blogging (more on that below in the next section), but if you are an expert at something, then this could be a topic that you blog about. There are many successful “How To” websites because people love to learn new things through blogs. And, there is probably something you could teach (everyone is an expert at something, even if you don’t realize that yet!). Think about the questions your friends and family are always asking you about, topics that you enjoy helping others with, and so on.
- What things do you like learning about? Like I said above, you don't need to be an expert in a topic to blog about it. People LOVE reading blogs from people who are learning or trying new things. This is because everyone has to start somewhere, and people love following the journey and seeing how something is actually done. So, if you are learning how to earn money blogging, for example, that could be where you start your blog. You can write about all of your mistakes, talk about what you've learned, show how you have tried and reviewed different options, and so on.
To earn money blogging, your blog can be about anything and/or everything. It's entirely up to you.
Here are some possible blog topic ideas. The list doesn't end here either. Choose one, all, or some. It's all up to you.
- Small business
- Outdoor activities
- Fitness and health
- Inspiration and advice
- Electronics, and more!
That's the beauty of having a blog – it can be about anything and you can still earn money from it.
But, the only thing I would avoid when starting your blog is that if it is about legal things or tax issues, then you should be an expert before giving people advice. You could get someone in a lot of trouble if you gave them the wrong information.
Should my blog be self-hosted? What does that even mean?
First, yes! Your blog should be self-hosted if you want to earn money blogging. It’s actually one of the first things you should do.
I recommend you start on self-hosted WordPress (this tutorial will help you start your blog the correct way). I cannot say this enough, but I do not recommend Blogger or WordPress.com (you want the self-hosted version, which is WordPress.org – confusing, I know). Buying that $10 domain name from Blogger or GoDaddy does not mean you own it either.
Unless you self-host your blog, advertisers, companies, and readers will still know you are on Blogger or free WordPress, and that can look unprofessional. Plus, your blog can be deleted at anytime and for no reason if you are using a free version, which actually happened to me. Even though you may save some money in the beginning, not being self-hosted can hurt your chances of earning money through your blog.
Seriously, just trust me. Go with self-hosted WordPress, and it will significantly increase your chances of monetizing your blog.
If you want further proof, take a look at my past income reports. You can tell that my blogging income didn’t take off until I switched to WordPress. That right there is a lot of proof that being self-hosted on WordPress is the way to go!
So, to recap, the positives of being self-hosted on WordPress through Bluehost include:
- Your blog will look more professional meaning you will increase your chances of making money online.
- You will have complete control over your blog.
- You own your blog, and it can’t be deleted for any reason.
How much do I have to spend before I can earn money blogging?
When I first started my blog, I spent almost NOTHING on blogging expenses. In fact, I probably went a few years when I was only spending about 1%-2% of my revenues on blogging expenses.
Now, some of my expenses include:
- My computer
- The actual blog (design, hosting, etc.)
- Courses, guides, and ebooks
- My email (newsletter) list
- Virtual assistant and editor
- Technical management
- Transaction fees
But, you do not need to spend money on all of these things to earn money blogging – I spent less than $100 total for the whole first year of Making Sense of Cents!
Learn more about my expenses at My Complete List of Monthly Expenses for a Multi Million Dollar Blog.
Do I need a lot of readers to start making money from a blog?
You do not need millions of pageviews per month to earn money blogging, but if you want to increase your income, it will be important to increase your page views.
Every blog is different, and it isn’t always the blogs with the largest number of readers that make the most money. That’s because once you understand what your readers want, understand how to effectively reach out to companies for partnerships, and know how to charge the correct rate, you can make a good income online in many cases, regardless of the amount of pageviews you receive.
But, if you want to increase your pageviews, here are my tips:
- Publish high-quality blog posts.Readers come back to blogs with high-quality and helpful posts. I recommend that your blog posts be at least 500 words, but more wouldn’t hurt either. The majority of my blog posts are around 1,500 to 3,000 words (this one is clocking in at over 8,000 words!).
- Be active on Pinterest. Pinterest is one of my top traffic sources. To increase your pageviews with Pinterest, I recommend creating great images, making sure the description and title of your images are catchy, pinning regularly, and only pinning long images. I use Picmonkey to edit all of my images and Tailwind to schedule them.
- Be active on other social media sites. Social media lets you interact with your audience more and can help you reach a larger audience. Besides Pinterest, you may want to check out Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and others.
- Post regularly. If you want to earn money blogging, you should publish something at least once a week. Going for weeks or months at a time without a blog post can lead to readers forgetting about you.
- Network with other bloggers. You should look at other bloggers as friends and colleagues, not competition. This means you may want to interact with them on social media, reach out to them via email, attend conferences, and more. Of course, be genuine and give more than you take.
- Guest post. Guest posting is a great way to reach a new audience and helps build partnerships with other bloggers.
- Make sure it’s easy to share your content. I love sharing posts on social media, but it gets frustrating when some blogs make it more difficult than it needs to be. You should always make sure it’s easy for readers to share your content. This could mean making your social media icons easy to find, having all of the info input that is needed for sharing (title, link, and your username), and so on. Also, you should make sure that when someone clicks on one of your sharing icons the title isn’t in CAPS (I’ve seen this too many times). No one wants to share a blog post when it sounds like you’re screaming at them.
- Create catchy headlines. The title of your post is a major factor influencing whether readers click over or not. I like to use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to help me with my headlines.
- Learn SEO. SEO (search engine optimization) is not something I could teach in such a small section, but I recommend doing your research and learning more about what it is and how it can help you.
- Make it easy for readers to browse. If you want more pageviews, you should make it as easy as possible for readers to read your other blog posts. Readers should be able to easily find your blog homepage, categories, tags, search bar, and so on. Also, I recommend including links for related posts in every single one of your blog posts.
How does a blogger network with other bloggers?
As you learned above, networking is so important!
Bloggers should be open to making blogging friends, attending blog conferences, sharing other blogger’s content with their readers, and more.
However, I believe that many bloggers skip this area, which can hold you back if you want to earn money blogging. Many bloggers see other bloggers as competition, and this is a bad thought for a blogger to have.
Networking can help you enjoy blogging more, learn new things about blogging, learn how to make money blogging, make great connections, and more. If you want to make money blogging like I have done, then you will want to network with others! After all, networking is how I learned how to earn money blogging!
Here are my tips to build relationships as a blogger:
- Attend blog conferences and meetups. Attending networking events in person is great because that's usually where you can build blogging connections with others. I attend Fincon every single year. Even though it’s mainly for financial bloggers, it's a great conference for bloggers in pretty much any niche because the conference topics can be applied to many different types of blogs. For example, there are experts from all types of online industries to teach you how to improve your blog in so many different ways.
- Comment on blogs. A super easy way to network with another blogger is to comment on their blog posts, talk to them on social media, reply to their newsletter emails, and so on. This is so easy to do!
- Share articles. I share other blogger's articles all the time. I do this because there's so much great content out there that I want my readers to see, and by promoting other’s posts you’re helping them as well. This can be a great way to network with other bloggers as it's something that other bloggers will notice.
- Be active in Facebook groups. There are Facebook groups for pretty much everything these days. You can join groups for bloggers, digital nomads, those who just want Pinterest tips, and so on. By joining Facebook groups, you can connect with others who are interested in the same things as you are.
As you can see, there are so many ways to network and to build relationships, but make sure you treat it like building a “normal” friendship. You can start off really simply by commenting on a person's blog and sharing their articles. Then, you eventually may want to interact with them on social media, attend blogging conferences, and so on. You can build relationships with those in your niche, somewhat related niches, or people who are blogging about things you’re interested in.
The key is to be genuine and to give more than you take, which are the two main things I always tell people when it comes to networking. I receive so many emails every day from people who clearly aren't genuine and it's very easy to see.
You shouldn't be emailing other bloggers and people in the industry demanding that they do something for you – that just isn’t how networking works. Instead, you should find ways that you can genuinely help other people.
Do you mind sharing a detailed list of what processes you have with new blog posts?
This may sound like a pretty long process for each article that I write, but it has become quite routine over time. And, other than me brainstorming and writing the actual blog post (besides guest posts, I have always written my own content myself because I enjoy it), almost everything else is now outsourced to virtual assistants.
Here is a list of what goes along with each new article that you see on Making Sense of Cents:
- Think of new article topic ideas. I have a list of over 100 possible article topics that I keep on my laptop and my phone. The topics you read about here on Making Sense of Cents come from life experiences, reader questions, research, articles that I've come across (like if I see a crazy statistic that I find interesting, I'll then turn it into a long article), and so on.
- Create a schedule. I have a schedule of topics for at least one full month, including the dates articles will be published. And, I like to make sure I cover a good variety of topics each week. For example, I don't usually like to have a week full of making money ideas. Instead, I like my posts to vary between making money, saving money, life improvement, and so on.
- Write content. I like to sit down and write an article from beginning to end without any breaks. It may take me an hour to write an article or I may be at it all day. Sometimes, content does span a few days, but for the most part, I like to finish a piece of content in one sitting. I then hand over the content to my editor to fix anything from grammar and punctuation to the general flow of the article. The only thing she doesn't edit are my monthly income reports.
- Add images and formatting. Once I get the content back from my editor, I add images (one for Pinterest and one for Facebook), format the post the way I want it to look, and add links to related content on my website.
- Publish the article and share. Once the article is published on Making Sense of Cents, I share it to Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Flipboard, and Twitter. I also schedule it to share on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for future dates as well.
- Email my subscribers. The last thing I do is send an email to my subscribers about a new blog post being published.
I also do this for all of the articles I write for other blogs too. If I'm guest posting on a blog, I usually share it a little more than I do my own content. If you guest post on a person's website, you should do the same – the more you share it, the more traffic that person will get, and the more likely they are to re-share it too.
Where does blogging income come from? Who pays bloggers?
This is a question I receive more and more often about how to earn money blogging. Many of you are interested in blogging, but you aren’t sure where the income actually comes from.
You receive blogging income from whoever is paying you.
- If it is affiliate marketing you are providing, then you get paid by the company that makes the product or service whenever someone buys or signs up for something through your link.
- If someone is paying you to place an advertisement on your website, then you get paid by the company who you are advertising for.
- If you are publishing a sponsored post, then you are paid by the company who is sponsoring that post.
- If you have display ads on your website, such as with Google Adsense, then you are paid by Google or by any number of other companies.
There are many companies and blogging networks out there that you can use to earn money blogging, and they usually pay you through PayPal or with a check in the mail.
How long does it take to earn money blogging?
There is no one answer to this question.
As you can tell from my past income reports, it took me nearly a year of blogging to start earning a few hundred dollars a month from my blog. After two years of blogging, I was earning several thousands of dollars a month, which was all on the side of my day job.
I know some bloggers who were making thousands of dollars a month after just a few months of blogging. There are bloggers out there who began a year or two after me and are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. There are also other bloggers who aren’t making any money at all.
As you can see, blogging is not a get rich quick scheme and there isn’t a timeline for when you will start to earn money blogging. However, if you are serious about it, you never know what it may turn into.
It all depends on you, the effort you put into your blog, whether you have the time to learn how to monetize your blog, and more.
In what ways can I start making money from a blog?
There are several ways to earn money blogging, including:
- Affiliate marketing
- Blog sponsorships
- Display advertising
- Product sales
- Staff writing
I will explain each of these in detail below.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a blog monetization method in which you place a link to a product or company on your website or social media platform. You earn money when a follower purchases the product through your link (this is called an affiliate link). Affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn money online because if there is a product or company that you enjoy, all you have to do is review the product and hopefully others will be interested in buying it as well.
Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to earn money blogging. I love it because it can feel quite passive. With just one blog or social media post, you can potentially earn money years down the line. Now, you will have to maintain the post and keep generating traffic to it. Also, most bloggers who do well with affiliate income will share their affiliate links in more than just one post.
Affiliate marketing allows me to relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living by promoting products that I use and enjoy.
I regularly earn around $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing. For the most part, all the work is done and the traffic that is generated to my email list and blog posts passively converts people into buyers with minimal work required from me.
If you want to learn how to make money blogging with affiliate marketing, read the tips below:
- Use the Pretty Link plugin to clean up long affiliate links. I use this for all of my affiliate links because something like “makingsenseofcents.com/bluehost” looks much better than the long links that affiliate programs usually give you.
- Provide real reviews. You should always be honest with your reviews. If there is something you don't like about a product, either don't review the product or do mention the negatives in your review. Either be honest or don’t work with companies that have products you don’t like using.
- Ask for raises. If you are doing well with a particular affiliate program, then ask for a raise. The worst thing that can happen is that your affiliate manager says no. The best is that they say yes!
- Form a good relationship with your affiliate manager. Your affiliate manager can supply your readers with valuable coupons, affiliate raises, and more. These things help you earn money blogging.
- Publish tutorials. Readers want to know how they can use a product. Showing them how to use it, how it can benefit their life, and more are all very helpful.
- Have a recommendations page. I always like checking out a blog’s recommendations page because it helps me learn about new products and services. For the blogger, your recommendations page is a great way to list affiliate links and valuable resources that readers may need or want. Here's mine as an example.
- Don't go overboard. There is no need to include an affiliate link 1,000 times in a blog post. Include them at the beginning, middle, and end, and readers will notice it.
You can learn more about affiliate marketing strategies in my course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
What are sponsored posts?
Having a company advertise on your blog is one of the first ways the average blogger begins to earn money blogging. In fact, sponsored posts are exactly how I started!
This form of blogging income is when you partner with a company and advertise their brand on your blog or social media accounts.
I earn around $15,000 to $20,000 a month with sponsored posts. And, this is all from companies finding me and approaching me directly.
Whether you are a brand new blogger or have been blogging for years, you can start with sponsored posts right now.
Yes, that means that even if you are on Day 1 of your blog, you may be able to find a successful sponsored partnership.
I personally know several people who have found high paying sponsored partnerships in the very beginning of their blog. They started with an easy pitch email and knowing how to approach the company – I teach both of these topics in my sponsored posts for bloggers course.
Many brands are moving toward working with bloggers and social media influencers due to the kind of traffic and customers a sponsored post can bring to a brand. Brands can reach their desired audience with sponsored posts, then gaining authentic customers.
This is why we are seeing ads and sponsorships moving toward bloggers and Instagrammers.
Brands have only recently started to understand the power of blogs and social media accounts, and the results have been great. Before working with bloggers and online influencers, brands would often rely on celebrities to promote their products. But in today’s world, people are more likely to be influenced by a blog, Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram account run by their favorite online influencers. This is because online influencers are real people who have been able to build a loyal following using an authentic and unique voice.
There is a ton of room for new bloggers to break into the sponsored post market, with plenty of room for growth well into the future. The fact that companies and advertisers are only starting to realize the value in online influencers, such as bloggers, means that the blogging world will keep expanding and offer more opportunities for sponsored partnerships.
And, the data supporting the continued success and growth of influencer marketing is out there. According to a study published on Social Media Today:
- 94% of marketers using influencer marketing found it to be effective.
- 48% of companies in the U.S. plan on increasing their online influencer campaign budgets in the future.
- 71% of marketers think that ongoing ambassadorships (such as with sponsored partnerships!) are the most effective form of influencer marketing.
This just proves that sponsored partnerships are here to stay, and your ability to earn money blogging with sponsored posts will definitely continue to grow in the future.
As the online world continues to expand, so will the opportunities to earn money blogging. There are many different types of bloggers out there, and we all make money in a slightly different way. With a variety of stories and niches, the sponsored partnership opportunities are endless!
If you want to learn how to increase your advertising income, I recommend taking my Making Sense of Sponsored Posts course. Learn how I made my first blogging income, and how I'm now making $10,000-$20,000 a month with sponsored partnerships!
What is display advertising?
Display advertising is another popular way of making money from a blog.
Display advertising is a passive form of blog income because all you need to do is place advertisements (usually through an advertising network) on your blog’s sidebar, below a blog post, or somewhere else. Your display advertising income will increase or decrease based on your page views, and once you place the advertisement, there’s no other direct work to be done.
If you want to learn how to make money blogging through display advertising, then some popular networks include Adsense, Media.net, MediaVine and AdThrive.
Personally, I use AdThrive for my display advertising network. I don't have many display advertisements on my blog, but I regularly earn around $1,500 to $3,000 a month from them.
Can I create my own product to sell on my blog?
To really be in control of how you earn money blogging, you'll eventually want to create a product to sell to your audience. There are many products you can create and sell on your website, such as an ebook, course, etc.
I launched my first product to sell over a year ago, which is a blogging course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I am making around $20,000 to $50,000 a month from this course, and because I have already created and finished the course, it's a nice form of somewhat passive income.
Plus, I have helped many, many people improve their affiliate marketing income as well, which is such a great feeling!
Do you have to pay taxes on blogging income?
Yes, blogging income is just like any other type of full-time or side income that you may bring in. That means you will have to pay taxes on your blogging income.
To understand taxes for bloggers, I recommend reading:
- Blogging and Taxes – What You Need to Know
- Your Top 14 Tax Questions For Bloggers and Digital Nomads Answered
In the second article I linked, which is from a blogging friend of mine who is also an attorney, you will learn about:
- Blogging and self-employment
- What self-employment tax is
- Filing taxes as a blogger
- Tax deductions for bloggers
- And, what if your blog is just a hobby?
It's a very informative read, and it will help clear up many of the common blogging and tax questions that you may have.
Where do you get your photos from?
Putting pictures in your blog posts is important. They can help explain your story, break up text to make a blog post easier to read, and you need them for social media too (such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram).
Now, you can’t just do a Google image search and use the pictures you find, and the same goes for images and pictures you find on Pinterest. Doing those things may get you in trouble with the person who owns the photos. Similar to how you wouldn't want someone to copy and paste a blog post of yours, you shouldn't take photos without permission.
Currently, I source the pictures I use from two main areas:
- My own photos. These are usually found in my travel-related content and Instagram. I use both my iPhone 6 and my super old DSLR for pictures. Photography is an area that I'm still looking to improve, so I mainly use the following option for the majority of the pictures I publish directly on Making Sense of Cents.
- Ivory Mix. I absolutely love IvoryMix. They have great stock photos that fit perfectly with the vibe of Making Sense of Cents. They add over 100 photos monthly, and you can use them on your blog, social media, and more. Plus, Ivory Mix comes with unlimited download access.
Why do I need an email list for my blog?
Not having an email list is a huge mistake when you want to earn money blogging. I didn’t start my email list until years after I started blogging, and that is probably the biggest blogging mistake I’ve made. It took me even longer to take my list seriously, which I did after switching to Convertkit in 2016.
I can’t believe I waited that long!
I didn't really use my email list until 2016 because I didn't really understand newsletters, and I also didn't realize how having an email list could help me engage with my readers and earn money blogging.
I really wish I would have spent more time on my newsletter in those early years, but I'm glad that I've learned from my mistake.
This is why I recommend that all bloggers spend time growing their email list. Actually, starting an email list is important for anyone who wants to make money online.
Here is why having an email list is important for bloggers:
- Your newsletter is all yours. Unlike Pinterest and Facebook (and other social media sites too), your newsletter and email subscribers are all yours, and you have your readers’ undivided attention. You don't have to worry about some social media algorithm not showing your content to your readers, as they are your email subscribers so you aren't fighting with anyone else to have them see your content.
- The money is in your list. I believe that an email/newsletter is the best way to promote products, from affiliate products to ones you create. Your email subscribers signed up specifically to hear what YOU have to say, so you definitely have their attention. Your email list, over any other strategy, will almost always lead to more sales.
- Your email subscribers are loyal followers. If someone is allowing you to show up in their email inbox whenever you want, then they probably trust what you have to say and enjoy hearing from you. This is a great way to grow an audience and to grow a loyal audience at that.
- Email is a great way to deliver other forms of content. With Convertkit, I am also able to create free email courses that can automatically be sent out to my subscribers. This makes life easy because all a reader has to do is sign up, and then Convertkit drips out the content daily, weekly, or in whatever other timeframe I choose.
What blogging ebooks and courses do you recommend?
It takes a lot of work to grow and build a successful blogging business!
If you want to earn money blogging, then you may want to look into buying ebooks and/or courses that will teach you about the topics that will help you become a better blogger from the very beginning. Plus, there are many blogging secrets that you just can't find by searching the internet. So, by taking a course or reading an ebook, you will learn the exact steps to take to help you succeed.
I'm almost always taking new blogging-related courses because I know that there is always something new to learn.
Here are the ebooks and courses that I recommend for bloggers:
- Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing. I started 2016 with around 6,500 Facebook followers and I now have over 95,000. I owe a lot of that to the ebook Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing. Growing my Facebook page has allowed me to reach new readers, improve my blogging income, grow my email list, and more.
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I earn over $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing, and I share my exact strategy and tips in this very informative online course. If you're a blogger, then you NEED this course. I show you exactly how to make passive income from blogging, even while you're sleeping.
- 7 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Blog Income Overnight. By signing up through this link, you'll receive a free copy of the informative ebook 7 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Blog Income Overnight. Ruth also regularly sends out many other great blogging tips. Her course, Elite Blog Academy, launches one time each year (the next launch will most likely be March of 2020), and it's probably the most popular, well-rounded blogging course out there.
- 21 Strategies I Used to Increase My Monthly Page Views from 17k to 400k+ in 10 Months. Lena Gott's guide is full of great information on how to increase your blog's page views. If you are feeling stuck or if you are a new blogger, check out this resource! Lena went from 17,000 monthly page views to 400,000 and shares all of her best tips in this guide.
- Making Sense of Sponsored Posts. I launched this course with my sister, Alexis of Fitnancials, in 2018 to help bloggers earn money through sponsored posts. Between the two of us, we earn around $20,000-$30,000 a month from sponsored posts. We teach finding sponsorship deals, maintaining partnerships, and how to always make sure that you are helping your readers.
The blogging ebooks and courses above will help you to create a successful blog. They will show you how to master Facebook, get crazy traffic from Pinterest, grow your blogging income, and more.
How can I learn how to use social media for my blog?
Social media is very important for bloggers. It can help you to engage with your readers on a closer level so that they can get to know you better, improve your traffic levels, grow your audience, and more.
There are just so many different ways that social media can help you earn money blogging. However, I also understand that it can be time-consuming to master just one social media platform, let alone trying to master them all!
Learning how to use social media for your blog gets easier once you’ve been doing it for a little while. Plus, you can automate a lot of it, including scheduling posts in advance.
Below are my favorite social media resources that have helped me earn money blogging. To stay updated, I check these resources often for new articles, I read their emails, listen to their podcast episodes, and more.
- My favorite Pinterest course is Pinterest Traffic Avalanche. This course shows you how to get free traffic from Pinterest to your blog. You'll learn about Pinterest SEO, how to set up Rich Pins, how to create viral content, how to make Pinterest images, all about group boards, and many other valuable Pinterest strategies.
- If you're looking for great free Pinterest advice, that would definitely be Simple Pin Media. This website publishes high-quality articles on the topic of Pinterest as well as highly informative podcast episodes. They also have several great Pinterest courses.
- My favorite overall business-related podcast would have to be Amy Porterfield's podcast. Some of my favorite episodes are How to Engage Your Small Facebook Group When You’re Just Starting Out, All About Instagram Ads, and How to Create a 5-Day Social Media Video Series for Rapid List Growth.
- My favorite Facebook page resource is Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing – Like I said earlier, I started with just around 6,500 Facebook followers when I first read this resource, and I currently have over 95,000. I owe a lot of that growth to the ebook Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing. Growing my Facebook page has allowed me to reach new readers, improve my blogging income, grow my email list, and more.
- If you want to learn about Facebook ads, I recommend reading How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year.
- If you want to learn about SEO, I recommend reading The exact template that helped my site earn $95,000 in affiliate income last year.
- My favorite overall guide that covers many different social media strategies is 21 Strategies I Used to Increase My Monthly Page Views from 17k to 400k+ in 10 Months – Lena Gott's guide is full of great information on how to increase your blog's page views. If you are feeling stuck or if you are a new blogger, check out this resource! Lena went from 17,000 monthly page views to 400,000 and shares all of her best tips in this resource.
- My favorite overall free resource would be Social Media Examiner. This website shares tons of great updates for nearly every social media site. If there's some rumor going around about social media, I usually check this website first to see what they have to say about it.
As you can see, there are a TON of great resources for any social media help that you may need. There are plenty of other websites I regularly read and listen to as well.
How do you think of ideas for new blog posts?
I have published around 2,000 articles on Making Sense of Cents. And, I'm not running out of ideas any time soon.
I currently have a few hundred blog posts ideas that are just waiting to be written and published. Plus, nearly every single day, I add at least one more to the list.
This makes me laugh, because if you would have told me just seven years ago that I would really, really enjoy writing and that I would write millions of words for a living in the near future, I would have called you a liar!
I just didn't enjoy writing when I was in school at all.
But, it's pretty much one of my most favorite activities today.
Two questions that I receive quite often from readers include: 1) How do you come up with ideas for new blog posts and 2) How are you constantly coming up with new blog posts after several years of blogging?
One of the most difficult parts of blogging is creating new content, and sometimes you may feel that you have hit a brick wall and can't find any inspiration.
For me, though, I have a system that has worked quite well, and due to that, I don't think I will EVER run out of ideas for content.
So, how do I still have things to write about after several years of blogging?
I find topics to write about through:
- Life experiences. Here on Making Sense of Cents, I generally only like to write about topics that I have experience with. I think this is what helps set me apart from others. I also receive the best motivation and inspiration from taking financial topics that I personally come across in day-to-day life and turning them into fun and engaging content.
- Reader questions. I receive a ton of emails and comments each day from readers, and most of them are questions, like the topic of today’s post – is it possible to earn money blogging? If I feel like I have something valuable to share, then I like to turn questions into blog posts. This way, I can share my knowledge and expertise on a subject, and I also help a reader by diving further into a subject than what I could say in a simple email. Plus, if one person has a question, I know that many other people probably do as well! Turning questions into posts is also great because the next time I receive the question, I can easily send the link over to the reader.
- Research that I've done and articles that I've read. I read a lot of articles every day simply for fun, and sometimes I come across something that I feel should be expanded upon, a topic that I think the average person doesn't understand, things that boggle my mind, and so on. For example, if I see a crazy statistic that I find interesting, I may turn it into an article.
- Brainstorming. Occasionally, I will simply sit down and have a little brainstorming session. While I do have a long list of possible content ideas, I like to keep my list fresh and update it often. Some of the things I do in my brainstorming sessions is that I may read older content of mine and see how I could possibly expand further on a subject to make it better, think of new blog posts that I could write about on a subject that is popular on my site (I may look at Google Analytics or Pinterest Analytics to determine this), and more.
- Survey readers. Sometimes I ask my readers what they want to read more about. This always leads to a ton of ideas for blog posts and can be a very quick and easy way to add to your content list.
As you can see, there are many ways to come up with new blogging content.
Also, if you're looking for even more ideas, I recommend checking out this freebie: 120 Awesome Blog Post Ideas from a blogging friend of mine, Ruth Soukup. This is a free resource that will help you come up with new blog content!
If blogging is so great, then why doesn't everyone do it?
I hear questions like that pretty often. I also get a lot of people asking me: “If it’s so easy, why don't you just start multiple blogs and make even more money?”
Blogging is not printing money.
It's not a scam and it's not a get rich quick scheme.
Learning how to earn money blogging is work, and just like with all jobs – not everyone wants what you want.
And, for every successful blog out there, there are probably hundreds of bloggers who will never earn money blogging. While you can earn money blogging, not all bloggers will.
It would be like saying that 100% of people who start a business will see success. That is just never going to happen – businesses fail, business owners have a change of heart, and others just don't find it enjoyable.
I know I am always talking about the positives of blogging, but I also like to mention how it's not the easiest.
After all, if blogging was easy, then everyone would do it and everyone would make thousands of dollars a month.
But as you know, that's not the case.
Not everyone is going to earn money blogging because it is WORK! Most new bloggers quit just a few months in. A few months is not enough time to see if your blog will be successful. It took me six months before I started to earn money blogging, and I only earned $100. Now, I make over $100,000 a month.
It's funny/weird to think about what life would be like if I would have quit back then.
I'm constantly learning something new when it comes to blogging and that is why I enjoy it so much.
Once you realize that blogging is hard, you will be ahead of 99% of everyone else in the game. Don’t assume, like most people do, that blogging is easy or a get rich quick scheme.
Starting a blog can be difficult. But, all bloggers start at the same point.
I remember being so lost when I first started my blog. I had to learn everything the hard way – it sure was difficult at times.
But, I have always really enjoyed blogging. I think that is so important when it comes to this type of business – you either need to have passion in your blog and/or passion in what your blog allows you to do in your free time (such as travel or spending more time with your family).
What other questions do you have about how to earn money blogging?
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