If you always wanted to blog, vlog and learn how to make money blogging, you’re at the right place.
For good or bad, the internet is swarmed with “Expert” bloggers who tend to give generic advice like you should write about your passions, stay consistent and persevere, get yourself good writing habits, and create out-of-the-box content.
Then maybe, if you religiously followed all the advice, you’ll eventually have enough website traffic to monetize your blog with GoodAdsense, affiliate programs, and other offerings like online ebooks and courses, podcasting, or selling digital products.
The truth is, it doesn’t necessarily have to take years to set up a money-making blog– most pieces of advice out there is just mediocre.
What is really going on behind the scene is that a dream is being sold of generating a respectable income and living life on your terms but in reality, through paid ebooks and pieces of advice, these “Expert” bloggers are the one generating more money.
Here’s the first thing that you need to know – Start looking at your blog as a startup which needs to be scaled like any other business.
Remember, You’re not just a “blogger”, but a business owner.
In this guide, we will talk about SEO, keyword research, content marketing, WordPress, and affiliate marketing so that you can step on the gas peddle on your way to making more money this year.
So without taking any more of your time, Let’s get started.
How to Make Money Blogging in 2020.
To start with, you will first need to learn how to start a blog. The first thing you need to do is to get web hosting and a domain name. There are many web hosts out there like BlueHost and Hoststinger.
Once that is done, let’s get down to scaling your new blog like a startup.
1) Select A Niche For Your Blog Based On Market Factors, Not Your Passions.
The general advice out there is that the reason why 95% of bloggers fail is that they aren’t “passionate enough.”
This is what I call a ‘False Notion’.
Behind the facade, the real reason why blogs fail is exactly why any other business fails: because it is not profitable.
Let’s take an example.
Suppose a blogger is passionate about a lot of things in life – guitaring, Skydiving, travelling, quantum physics, health, personal development, spaghettis etc
However, if that blogger put down an endless amount of time writing blog posts, the eventual result would be 100% burn out of time and effort without seeing any real traffic.
Also, most of the advice is made keeping in mind Google’s search engine ranking. “Experts” keep their opinions generic to bite into these rankings for traffic.
Most bloggers have their passion in place, so that weeds it out as a reason for failure. What if they failed because they couldn’t transition from Bloggers to Business owners.
A passion becomes non-lucrative when it doesn’t have enough demand to drive quality traffic required to scale.
Let’s look at the three key elements that are required to make any blog successful. They are:
- Audience Budget Potential.
To offer any kind of value to your audience, we need to fall back to the age-old advice – Identify a problem & offer a solution.
As a blogger, you have to see yourself as a solution provider who has a deep understanding of the problem or gap.
What should be your #1 priority when zeroing in on the niche for your blog?
It’s pretty straightforward – How much your audience is willing to spend.
To break it down, let’s say you’re planning to start a blog in summer recipes.
Your topics can pull in readers from different sections. The visiting audience could be stay-at-home moms, professionals who want to start eating healthy, community members who share healthy recipes etc.
To monetize this topic, you’ll bring your down from your content to the sales funnel:
- The first step is to create quality content that will set you up as an expert.
- Next, you can curate a list using which your audience can whip up their own recipes.
- Then you could use affiliate marketing to promote other health brands.
- Finally, you would have an offer for your subscribers like a free Ebook or a course.
A lot of bloggers use this approach and it usually takes them a couple of years to generate a healthy passive income.
Now, ask yourself – are stay-at-home moms, university students, and a few professionals etc a lucrative audience?
Here’s the secret.
If you just change the keyword from “summer recipes” to “health recipes” you can drastically increase your earning potential.
It’s pretty simple to understand – target corporate brands since they have more buying potential or we can say that they have deeper pockets.
The spike in earning potential will not just be one time but recurring – that is the goal.
Once you’ve some quality traffic coming your way, the next step is to introspect about the strategic advantages that you have.
- Where do I currently stand in terms of Professional Experience?
- What meaningful connections do I already have in a specific industry?
- How can I leverage these connections for my blog?
- What are the odds of professional blogs taking me seriously if I pitch a guest post?
Building influence goes a long way in building a successful blog. We all have that part inside us that stops us from going out and ask people for help. It is time to change that. We need to get out of our comfort zone and leverage all the professional experience and connections that we have.
Along with your existing connections, you also need to reach out to established people in the domain and make new connections. This is achieved by pitching a lot of guest posts on popular blogs and portals. This brings in ROI in terms of something Google values a lot: Backlinks.
Even if you face natural self-doubt because you know, why would someone publish a relatively unknown writer? Set it aside. Every blogger was once starting fresh and got published. Persevere.
- Let Market Demand Drive Your Niche.
Before we get to writing posts, we must do some research. You need to know if people are looking for your topics.
Once you have worked out your passion and professional leverage, come up with 10 keyword phrases around your topic.
At this point, you need to figure out another simple tool: Google Keyword Planner. It will tell you the number of people searching for those keywords. What you will be looking out for are some of these variables in the planner:
- Keyword phrases with 5,000 or more monthly searches
- The keyword difficulty should be under 0.4 Anything above 0.5 means that the competition is fierce and Page 1 rankings on those keywords would be unlikely.
- There is at least one website with DA under 30 for page 1 on Google.
- A recent change in SERP position history.
2) Content needs to be Scaled, not Written.
It is important to mention here that the first 90 days of your blog will have little or nothing to do with your writing schedule, consistency, habits etc. And it will have everything to do with scaling your blog like a startup.
This process has four key elements:
- Reaching out
- Guest Post
Google love backlinks and it is absolutely essential to building domain authority.
- Reaching Out: Make New Connections
When you start reaching out to other influencers and bloggers, make sure you have the right reasons. The relationship probably wouldn’t work out if you’re persistently thinking about what you will get out of the deal.
It might be a good option to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you have expertise on a particular theme that could provide value to your target site?
- Can you identify a moderately searched topic that isn’t present in your target’s blog?
Before you start pitching through emails, it would be a good strategy to create a simple spreadsheet with 5 columns: Website, Name, Email Address, Status or Remark.
Next, to start populating your spreadsheet, start by checking the domain authority or DA of the target website. The idea is to target websites with a DA of 80+. The higher the DA, the better the quality of the backlink.
- Build Rapport and Pitch Guest Posts, Together.
A relationship that has value in the blogging world consists of content and links. Once you’ve curated a list of 50-100 contacts on Linkedin, it is time to scale your blog with an email strategy.
You can create an Email template that tells who you are and what value can you provide to your target blog. You can mention that you’re looking for link building and can contribute informative guest posts to their blog.
Make sure to research the topics you mention for high ranking keywords with the keyword planner and that the topics aren’t already present in their blog.
The moment you receive a reply from your contact, it is time to pitch a perfect topic.
The important things to look out for when pitching a topic – the topic isn’t already present in their blog, you can write intelligently on the topic and the topic matches audience interests.
- Guest Blogging Is Important – Period.
You have to be very clear about one thing from the start – The strategy should work around having as much positive impact on the SEO metric as possible. Guest Posts do exactly that. Below is the list of items we are looking to better when pitching a guest post by pitching to a Website with DA greater than 70 or 80.
- Referring domains
- New Organic Keywords
- Organic traffic
- Ahrefs Domain Authority
- Alexa Rank
The thing to remember, when we are starting as a blogger is to focus more on the relationship side of things than writing. But, you also need to make sure that the quality of the guest posts is also high. Use all the SEO markers to create content at your disposal, it makes it easier for Google to crawl the content – Be sure to use headings, paragraph text, and internal and external links to your content. Use infographics and statistics wherever needed.
- Monetize your Blog – The Right Way.
Although, there are a lot of monetizing options when it comes to making money online with blogging – selling services, consulting for clients, Courses & Ebooks, Affiliate Marketing, Sponsored Products etc. All of these streams require different levels of traffic.
It would be a wasted effort to push the wrong monetization plan at the wrong time and therefore, it is crucial that Plan The Timeline Of Your Blog.
An ideal timeline for every stage of your blog’s growth would look something like:
- 1-90 days (0-1,000 monthly site visitors): consulting services
- 90-180 days (1,000-2,500 monthly site visitors): Affiliate marketing
- 180-365 days (5,000+ monthly site visitors): Your first online course
- 365 days+ (10,000+ monthly site visitors): Course memberships
You should never discount the chances of landing a consulting gig within days of launching your blog although it may seem counter-intuitive at first.
- Design your blog’s Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is how you send your potential clients to book a premium consulting service, ideally, over $1000. As the volume of traffic on your website builds up, you could focus on lower priced resources like online courses, marketing with affiliate products, digital downloads like Ebooks etc. However, in the beginning, a premium service balances the revenue during the times of low traffic.
The Five steps to send customers down the sales funnel:
- Let the visitor read high-quality content on your site.
- Give them an opt-in option to join your email list for a “freebie”.
- Down the line add a low price “trust-building” offer.
- Narrate a story explaining what value you can bring on the table through an automated mail series and finally ask them to set up a meeting with you.
- Lastly, close sales by pitching your premium consulting offer.
Checklist for a brand new blog:
- First five blogs
- a freebie sign up offer
- an email platform and list,
- your “Consulting” or “Work with me” page.
- Ace Your Consulting Offer
The goal from day one of blogging is to make money. And how do we do that? By making sure that our basic five posts are ready along with our static pages and each one of them brings the customer down to our sales funnel.
Your “Work with me” page should have a professional picture of you as well as easy ways for the client to contact you.
Also, when those guests posts are approved, be sure to add a link to your website in your guest author bio. Let’s have a look at a sample:
“Jeane Dunn is a Freelance Writer and a content marketing consultant and blogger. Jeane lives in Milan, Italy, and writes about how to make money online at jeannedunn.it.
To conclude, let me leave you with 3 reminders:
- Yes, it is possible to make money blogging from day 1. You have to design and apply the right sales funnel for the right traffic.
- Ace your consulting offer. Make sure you drive your customer down your sales funnel as I mentioned above.
- Make Relationships. They are important. Add value to your conversations and you’ll see that it’ll pay off. Start curating your LinkedIn contact list now.