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How to Make Money Blogging: A 3-Step Plan for Beginners to Earn $10K+/Month

I’ve been blogging since 2005. One thing I’ve learned is that in order to make money blogging, you must have some concrete steps to follow to get from Point A to Point B. And that’s what this post does — it lays out the exact steps you need to take to get on the road to earning five figures ($10,000) per month blogging.

FYI, to get more in-depth content like this post, subscribe here if you haven’t already. It’s my “make money online” site. Posts that relate to freelance writing are not sent to these subscribers; only content about blogging and affiliate marketing.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Here’s the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

How I Make Money Blogging: What I Did to Earn $900 in One Day

A long-time goal I’ve had is to earn at least $10,000 per month as an affiliate marketer. I first got into affiliate marketing in 2008. I’d say I’ve been mildly successful at it because I’ve had plenty of $100 to $300 per day days, and even some $400 and $500 days. The most I’ve ever earned is $900 in one day.

It was a bit of hard work and luck creating the perfect storm to make it happen. How it happened is one of my sisters wrote a book about how to start a foreclosure cleanup business. She had started a foreclosure cleaning company in Atlanta, and was getting calls left, right, front and center from people wanting to know how to start the biz.

She was still working a full-time job at the time, so I agreed to answer her phone for her during the day (I was working from home as a freelance writer, so it was no big deal for me). I was astounded at the number of calls she was getting, so I told her she should write a book about it.

For months, she refused – she was working full-time, was a mom, and she had this side business that kept her very busy. So one day kind of in jest, I said to her, “If you don’t write it, I will.

Just to back up a minute – I’d self-published probably about a dozen books or so by this time, so I knew how lucrative self-publishing could be, especially if you hit up on a hot topic – which foreclosures were at the time. Remember … the housing crisis started in 2007/2008 and foreclosures were all over the news almost on a daily basis.How to Make Money Blogging: A 3-Step Plan for Beginners to Earning $10,000 Per Month (or More)

Also, popular shows like Oprah and 60 Minutes were doing stories on the foreclosure crisis. Anyway, finally, I wore my sister down and she wrote the book. It took off and I was her only affiliate.

I tried to get her to put the book on affiliate marketing outlets like Clickbank and/or start an in-house affiliate sales program for it, but she just wasn’t interested.

So as her only affiliate, it positioned me nicely to make a lot of sales – which I did. I promoted the ebook via article marketing, which was a really popular and effective way to promote affiliate products then.

Articles like this dominated the search engines for years for that niche.

It was after a segment about foreclosures aired on 60 Minutes that I earned that $900. I think it was sometime in late 2008.

$50,000 to $75,000 in Affiliate Marketing Income

As an aside, my sister has earned over $300,000 from that ebook line (she added other ebooks and products to that line; one I co-authored with her).

I’ve easily earned $50,000 to $75,000 (if not more) from that product line – which still sells to this day, by the way.  I just got an order a few days ago, and I haven’t consistently promoted that line in four years.

See how lucrative a “hot” affiliate product can be? You can make a s**tload of money – fast!

I hadn’t meant to go into that much detail, but I wanted you to see how when affiliate marketing opportunity knocks and you’re in a great place to take advantage, it can really pay off big.

Make Money Blogging: The 3-Step Plan to Earn $10,000+/Month

This brings me to the title of this post, which is, just how do you make $10,000 per month blogging? After having inconsistent success with affiliate marketing for years, I finally figured out the formula. And, it’s so simple that you’re going to shake your head and wonder why you’ve been struggling so long. I know I did.

Blog Niche + Traffic + Proper Monetization = $$

It truly is that simple. If you have a blog, get good traffic and have monetized your blog properly to capitalize off that traffic, you have the formula for how to make money blogging.

Why So Many Affiliate Marketers Fail to Make Money Blogging

Where most of us get hung up is on screwing up one of these steps (I know I did). So let’s unpack each step, dig a little deeper and clarify so that we don’t trip ourselves up.

1. Blog Niche

Before you even think about web hosting, site design or anything like that, the first thing you need to do is choose a profitable blogging niche. Some niches will never make any money, or will require herculean efforts to do so. Why put yourself through that? Choose a niche that tends to be easier to monetize right from the start.

Selecting a Profitable Blogging Niche

In December of 2016, I took the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing ecourse. After taking that course, one of the things I did was set up a private Facebook group for those who subscribed to my affiliate marketing squeeze page, Get a Mobile Career. It was to this group that I recently posted about how to find profitable blogging niches. I wrote:

“… one of the trends I’ve noticed … is how lucrative personal finance blogs can be. One blogger shared … that he earned $21,000 last month — and he hasn’t even been blogging that long. I’ve seen tons of stories like this from bloggers in this niche who’ve been blogging for a year or two — and are earning 5 figures per month. Many bloggers take years to get to this level; most NEVER do.”

I’ve been in easy and hard-to-monetize niches, and let me tell ya, blogging is hard enough without choosing a niche that’s difficult to monetize.

A Hard Niche to Monetize

As an example, I’m a freelance writer. I’ve been in this niche for years. I’ve used Google AdSense on my site for years.

The payout is pennies for most of the clicks on this blog because while it is in a popular niche, the ad revenue that come from it don’t pay that much.

They payout for clicks is never going to be what a blog in say, real estate or tech will pay. I know, because I have a blog in a real estate niche too. It’s ForeclosureBusinessNews.com, a blog about foreclosures.

When I compare earnings, I get much less traffic on that blog, but earn more in clicks because it’s in a high-paying niche (real estate, foreclosures, mortgages). This is a sub-niche of finance.

So choosing a niche that’s easy to monetize is very important in how much you’ll earn as a blogger. It could literally mean the difference between having a full-time career as a blogger, or not.

The niche you choose can make or break your blogging career. Click To Tweet

5 High-Paying Blog Niches & Subniches

Speaking of sub-niches, following are five examples of huge niches, along with three examples of sub-niches under them that you can target.

Diet and Exercise

Home Décor / Remodeling

Love/Romance

Personal Finance

Tech

What do all of these niches have in common? They’re evergreen, and they also have tons of sub-niches. This makes it easy to find products/services you can promote. Proof? If you clicked on the links in each niche, you’ll see that they all go out to Clickbank. I did this on purpose.

Clickbank is the web’s largest affiliate marketplace for digital products, and browsing it is a great way to do some preliminary research on just how big or small a niche is. For example, if you go there and see a lot of products in a certain niche, then you can safely assume that it’s a broad niche. But if you find few/no products, then you can assume that the niche is smaller.

It doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in it, but it just might be harder. Again, this is just preliminary research. Always dig deeper to find more concrete data before proceeding. Following are some tips on how to do that.

How to Find a Profitable Blogging Niche: 5 Tips

  • Conduct keyword research: See how many people are searching for info in/on/about the niche you’re thinking of targeting;
  • Use Q&A sites: Visit sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers to see if there are a lot of questions swirling around a niche you’re thinking of entering.
  • Check Google Trends: It’s always good to know what’s trending to help you gain insight about how hot/cold a subject matter is.
  • Check large affiliate marketplaces: We’ve already discussed Clickbank. Some others are Shareasale, Commission Junction and JVZoo.
  • Scour Amazon: It is, after all, “the world’s shopping place.” If there are a lot of products and services in a particular niche, then there’s a good chance that people are making money in that niche; hence, it’s a good one to target.

Now that you know the importance of choosing an easy-to-monetize niche and how to go about it, let’s move on to Step 2.

2. Get Traffic

The number of ways to get traffic to a new blog is as varied as the blog owner. Following are 11 free, effective ways to go about it.

11 Free Ways to Start Getting Traffic to a Brand New Blog

(i) Google

Most of my traffic comes via organic search from Google. I have to say though, this is one of the slowest ways to get traffic. It takes time to do all the things that’s necessary to get traffic from Google, eg, doing keyword research, writing properly SEO’d content and promoting that content.

Oh it does work, and you should start doing this from day one. Just know, it’s gonna take some time.

(ii) Social Media

Outside of organic traffic from Google, Pinterest is the second source that sends the most traffic to my blog. I just started really diving into it in February of 2017. It works amazingly well if you’re consistent with it, as discussed in detail here.

Tip: To supercharge your Pinterest growth, use Tailwind and Boardbooster. If you’re not consistent with Pinterest, traffic drops pretty quickly. These two tools help you automate your Pinterest marketing, so you stay consistent with it.

(iii) Q&A Sites

These are almost tailor made for getting traffic to a new blog. Why? Because the content comes from “real” web surfers who ask questions. By scouring these sites, you can create content that answers these very specific. And if you properly SEO it, and you can start getting more traffic to your new blog pretty easily.

Tip: Create an account on these sites and become a contributor.  Answer questions every day, or at least a few times per week. This can skyrocket your traffic, as this Quora user’s success proves.

(iv) Guest Posting

What do most blog owners want and need? Good content. When do they want it? Now. And it’s even better if they don’t have to pay for it.

This is why guest posting remains such an effective way to get more traffic to a new blog. The only thing it costs you is time. Target 5, 10, 15 or 20 high-traffic blogs in your niche. Look for their guest posting guidelines and submit a post. Be sure to follow the guidelines exactly. If you can’t find their submission guidelines, reach out to them and ask if they accept posts.

The key with guest posting is to target high-traffic and/or influential bloggers in your niche. It does you little good to spend time writing a post for a blog that gets little to no traffic. And, don’t be afraid to approach the biggies. Most of them are very willing to accept high-quality, relevant, free content – which is what your guest post will be, right?

FYI, here is this this site’s guest posting guidelines. I’m open to any topic that is well-written, researched and relevant to my niche, eg, how to make money writing, blogging, affiliate marketing, self-publishing and ecourse development. There are a ton of sub-niches in all of these niches, so you should have no problem coming up with ideas.

(v) Free Ecourses & Webinars

“Free” works – for practically everything. Getting traffic to a brand new blog is no different. Proof that it works?

In April (2017), I migrated all of my ecourses over to the Teachable platform. I was averaging a few sign-ups every couple of days. In August (2017), I released a free SEO writing ecourse that I use as a pre-sell for the paid courses.

Within the first month, 100 students signed up to that free ecourse. So I went from averaging a few sign-ups every couple of days to averaging three every day. All of them are immediately cycled into a pre-made email sales funnel, which drives traffic (and sales) on autopilot.

Email Marketing: Learn how to Write Emails That Convert in Less than 10 Mins/Day

(vi) Content Upgrades

Content upgrades are just another take on free ecourses and webinars. When used correctly though, they can drive a steady stream of traffic to a new blog – and continue doing so for years to come.

(vii) Contests/Giveaways

Contests can create buzz. Buzz creates interest, which sends traffic. There are even sites devoted just to promoting contests and giveaways, making it much easier to market them.

And the giveaway doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be relevant and something that’s highly valuable to the group you’re targeting.

(viii) Use the Skyscraper Technique of Content Marketing

The reason Google will send you traffic (#1 here) is because your content is good. Writing can be a pain in the patootie. That’s why many bloggers don’t like to do it, and they turn out mediocre content filled with affiliate links just to make money. But, it doesn’t work like that.

Creating in-depth, helpful, well-researched content takes time. Properly SEOing it takes time. Creating graphics for it takes time. Promoting it takes time. But when you marry all these elements, you can create Google magic!

Proof? Uber-successful blogger Brian Dean of the mega-popular blog Backlinko, has written something like less than 40 posts in the last three or four years. But, he gets tens of thousands of pageviews per month because his posts are in-depth, properly SEO’d, well promoted and provide real value  — all part of the skyscraper technique.  This is a lot of work, but it is a simple, straightforward way to drive more traffic to a brand new blog for free.

Tip: Getting more site traffic to a new blog is less about how often you blog, than the quality of the content and how you promote it. So if you only do one post a week – -don’t think that it’s too little. Create long-form, detailed content – then promote the hell out of it! Use the formula Brian lays out in the linked-to post here.

You have a good shot at outranking those who may blog more frequently if you do this consistently.

(ix): Uplift/Motivate

This may sound a little hippy-ish and cheesy, but things like motivational and confidence-boosting quotes are extremely popular online. I remember Princess Diana saying in an interview one time that the biggest disease in the world is a lack of love. I thought this was very powerful, and it gives us a window into why uplifting, motivating and reassuring quotes are so popular.

One way to use this to get more traffic to your blog is to ask people to sign up to a newsletter where you send out an inspiring quote every day. Or, simply post a new quote to your blog and social media accounts every day. People will come to expect them and share them; sending organic traffic to your new blog almost on autopilot.

(x) Round-up Posts

This is a twist on guest posting. A round-up post is one like this. In this post, over 20 bloggers reveal how long it took them to get their first affiliate sale and how much it was.

By featuring many bloggers, you have many people weighing in on a topic, which makes it much more effective. Also, you can get more traffic to your blog because when you publish the post, not only will you promote it, but ostensibly all of those featured in the post will be happy to do so too – reblogging it on their sites, posting it to their social media accounts, and maybe even sending it to their subscriber lists. A win-win for all.

(xi) Form JV Partnerships

This last tip brings up another way to get traffic for free — partnering with another blogger in your niche. To promote my ecourses, I bundled one of my most popular ones with another freelance writer’s course, which complemented mine. Now, we routinely “work” together, increasing our reach beyond what we can do alone.

In the blogging world, this is known as forming a JV (joint venture) partnership. In the beginning, it may be hard to do because usually people aren’t looking to partner with newbies with little/no traffic. But as you grow, definitely look for ways to do this. Having someone else work to promote your products is the foundation of what affiliate marketing is all about.

These are just 11 ways to get more traffic to your new blog – for free. There are many others. The key is to choose a few methods (no more than two or three IMO), and stick with them religiously.

What you need most – especially when you first start to working on getting more traffic to your blog – is focus and consistency. If you try to implement all of these ideas, chances are you’ll feel too scattered, which increases your chance of losing focus and quitting altogether. So keep your marketing plan simple. You can do more as you start to grow.

'Free' works for practically everything. Getting traffic to a blog is no different. Click To Tweet

3. Monetize

If you have a blog that gets good traffic, but you haven’t monetized it properly, you won’t make very much (any) money.

How Many Page Views Do You Need to Make Money Blogging?

This is a common question by new bloggers. And the answer is the always frustrating, “It depends.” That’s because it does depend – on numerous factors, eg:

  • Niche (as discussed above)
  • Blogging/Posting Frequency
  • Writing Style / Marketing Ability/Style of Blog Owner
  • Monetization Methods

These are some of the main factors that determine how many page views you need per month to make money blogging that come to mind. There are many other factors, of course, but this may be the wrong question to be asking. As uber-successful blogger Rosemarie from the Busy Budgeter points out:

… you could have hundreds of thousands of page views a month and be making just a few hundred dollars a month. On the opposite spectrum, if you’re very experienced and know exactly what you’re doing… You could have 50,000 pageviews a month and be making $10,000/month from blogging easily. The truth is, it’s not the pageviews that matter, it’s how you use them. (emphasis mine)

FYI, Rosemarie grew her blog income to over $20,000/month income in just 19 months. Also, you know I’m always harping on how great Pinterest is for driving traffic to your blog, which I learned about in the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (MSOAM) ecourse I took.

Well, Rosemarie is the creator of that course, which you get for free when you take the MSOAM. Bottom line — she knows of what she speaks. And this is precisely why properly monetizing your blog is so important.

It’s not the number of pageviews that matter, it’s how you use them. Click To Tweet

6 Time-Tested Ways to Monetize a Blog

FYI, following are six proven ways to monetize a blog.

(i) Create your own product: It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to start making money blogging, for all the reasons discussed above.

(ii) Join ad networks: You’ll have to get your blog’s traffic gets to a certain level first though. That’s why in the beginning, you should work on getting up to at least 25,000 page views per month as quickly as you can.

FYI, here are some ad networks you can apply to (with and without traffic minimums).

(iii) Select niche-specific products from affiliate marketplaces: Eg, Clickbank, ShareaSale, Commission Junction, etc.

(iv) Write sponsored posts: Many companies will start contacting you once your traffic gets to a certain level asking you to do sponsored posts, especially if you’re in a popular niche like food, fashion, finance, parenting, etc.

Learn more about what to charge for sponsored posts. Tip: Think long range. Don’t “pimp out” your blog for cheap.

(v) Write and promote tutorials: There are some things every blogger needs, no matter their niche, eg, web hosting, domain name registration, email list management services, etc. Write up in-depth tutorials like this one, and promote them heavily.

This will be particularly lucrative once your email list starts growing because subscribers will trust your recommendations. And, since you’ve shown them exactly what to do in an in-depth tutorial, it’ll make it easy for them to buy what you recommend.

BTW, this is why you should only promote products and services you believe in. You’re putting your reputation on the line. If you recommend crap, the online world is a very small place — you’ll get a not-so-good reputation and may have to start all over again to gain reader trust. So do it right from jump. Don’t sacrifice your reputation for a few dollars. It’s never worth it.

(vi) Monetize every post: And I mean every one. Once you decide to make money blogging, think of every piece of content as a salesperson working for you. Why? Because when a piece of content is created, it will ostensibly be on your blog forever — or at the very least for years. So when you monetize it, it can make you money for years. Don’t ever forget this.

As you gain more experience, you’ll learn more ways to make money blogging. These are some of the most proven ways to go about it; perfect for beginners.

2 Things You Need to Make Money Blogging

To make money blogging really isn’t that hard. Let me repeat that so it sinks in. To make money blogging isn’t that hard.  What IS hard is:

(i) Discovering the “secret” formula, which is not such a secret at all. It’s all outlined in this post; and

(ii) Sticking with a plan. This is where many bloggers fail. They get discouraged and frustrated and convince themselves that it’s never going to work. And then, off they go looking for the next opportunity in “shiny object syndrome” land. Don’t.

You too can be a successful blogger, if you follow the plan outlined here.

Should You Create Your Own Product(s) to Make Money Blogging?

It’s worked well for me. In fact, sales of my ecourses and ebooks allow me to earn a full-time living writing and blogging. Many affiliate marketers report that they didn’t start earning big bucks until they created their own product/service.

Make Money Blogging by Creating & Selling Your Own Digital Products

After you create your own product or service, one way to sell it/them — over and beyond your own promotional efforts — is to bring on affiliates.

The Pros & Cons of Having an In-House Affiliate Marketing Program

For three years, I had an in-house affiliate marketing program that I ran through e-Junkie. I scrapped it in 2014 because the time I spent managing it wasn’t justified in the earnings. For example, I had to tally up how much each vendor was owed every month, process the payments, and send 1099s at the end of the year.

Even if someone only had $3.48 in earnings, for example, it took the same amount of time to process it as someone who earned $350. And I had a lot more of the $3.48 earners than the $350 earners. So even though I was making money every month, I knew that my time could be better spent elsewhere. And I was right.

Nowadays, I outsource my affiliate programs. I have one ebook on Clickbank that’s sold consistently well since 2013, and an affiliate program for my courses that are hosted on Teachable.

Clickbank and Teachable handle all of the back-end paperwork, like returns/refunds, processing payments and sending out 1099s. This frees me to do what I do best – which is create and promote more ebooks and e-classes.

Why You Can Make More Money Blogging by Creating Your Own Products

I’ve always earned more promoting my own products. I think this is true mainly for the following reasons:

  • I know my products and services better;
  • I’m more passionate about them;
  • I know my audience’s pain points better; hence, it’s easier to create content that coverts well;
  • I have a dedicated audience who already know and trust me and my products; and
  • I already have promotional systems and processes in place to promote my products.

If you’re thinking, “But I don’t know enough to create a product or service of my own,” don’t worry, give it time. If you’re passionate enough about a topic to start a blog around it, if you don’t already know enough, you will at some point.

I’d been freelancing for almost 10 years before I wrote my first ebook. Since then, I’ve written almost 100 more and developed about half a dozen ecourses. So there’s no rush, and there’s plenty of stuff you can promote in the meantime.

Some affiliate marketers never make money blogging by creating their own products. But as bloggers like this freelancer (who grossed over $20,000 in one month) and this one (who routinely grosses over $100,000 per month) prove, a good chunk of their earnings come from their own products (eg, ecourses).

Creating your own product can dramatically increase your blogging income. Click To Tweet

The #1 Thing You Need to Know to Make Money Blogging

Consistency breeds success. The simple, three-step process I’ve outlined here to make money blogging will work for every affiliate marketer in every niche. That’s a guarantee.

Now that you know the steps, are you ready to put them to use?

Questions/Feedback about How to Make Money Blogging?

What in this post resonated with you? Have some tips you can share? Have questions about anything here? Let me know in the comments section below.

P.S.: Here’s an Easy Way to Start a Money-Making Blog Today

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    Comments

    1. Ralph Nyadzi says:

      Thank you for one more insightful post. You always make me believe I can make blogging and freelancing a fulfilling career. Just want you to know that you have one big fan in me. Thanks again.

    2. This is an excellent, well-organized, and comprehensive article Yuwanda. What posting frequency works well for you when it comes to driving traffic via your blog posts?

      • Thanks Morgan. Glad you found it helpful.

        In answer to your question, it’s less about posting frequency IMO, and more about quality of content and “consistency” of posting. With that being said, I update my site 2-3 times a week — especially during my busy seasons. During the summer, when it’s slower, I may post once a week or every 10 days or so. I have hundreds of posts on my site though, so it’s easier for me to maintain traffic levels by promoting old content (as opposed to always posting new stuff). Hope this additional insight helps.

        Oh, and if you haven’t already, I’d appreciate it if you’d share this post on your SM outlets since you found it helpful.

    3. Awesome overview, Yuwanda! Thanks for sharing. I’m gonna follow your lead and (finally) get going with Pinterest. Seems like a great traffic source right now.
      Paul recently posted…JAH 23: Launch A Freelance Writing Business In 90 DaysMy Profile

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