How to Make Money Blogging -

Creating a career from your passion about a topic

Learning how to make money blogging was all the rage in 2007-2009, but with the explosion of the blogosphere that followed, the potential for quick cash faded. It is STILL very possible to make a good living blogging, but it requires some basic know-how and planning. Lucky for you, we've got instructions!

One of the great things about learning how to make money blogging is that if you master this skill, you can literally work anywhere in the world that you have internet access!


How to Make Money Blogging 101 - building traffic

Starting a blog is pretty easy - you go to wordpress.com or blogger.com, sign up and POOF! you've got a web presence. Start typing away and you've got yourself a blog. However, learning how to make money blogging isn't downloaded into your brain as part of the registration process. So, here's the crash course:

Recipe for How To Make Money Blogging:

Research what things people are looking for...
Write well-worded accessible content with good basic SEO skills that gives them what they're looking for...
Grow traffic through participation in social media and the blogging community
When you've got significant traffic and content, add monetization methods
Wash and repeat.

Now, this formula is the basic formula for making money from any website. Just because your website is using a blogging platform doesn't mean that the model doesn't still work or isn't still important.

Planning your Blog

Most people jump into blogging without doing any research as to what folks are looking for. If they develop traffic over time, it's usually because they're writing in a true niche and accidentally following this pattern. If you want to know how to make money blogging, you've got to start with good planning.

Before you get started, go out and find some keyword researching tools (Adwords makes a great one you can access here) and explore the demand for different keywords in your niche. Get together a whole list of potential keywords that have demand which you could write about on your blog. For example, does the singular or the plural version of your main keyword get the most traffic? If it's the plural and you only blog about the singular, you'll be loosing lots of potential traffic.

Next, do a quick search on Google of the keyword. See what kind of competition you'll be going up against. Too stiff? drop that keyword from your list. Easy win? push it to the top.

Wondering how to determine the level of competition? I use a couple of criteria. Who's on the first page? What are their PageRanks (use a tool like SEO Site Tools for Chrome or SEO Quake for Firefox)? Are there any non-related 'random' pages on that initial search? If so, you've got a better chance than if not.

Once you've got your plan set up, you're ready to learn how to create a blog. Read my full article on how to do that quickly and easily so you can focus on creating good content.

Writing and SEO Basics

Learning how to make money blogging is all about creating good written content that people are looking to read. It's not about finding and putting up the ideal wordpress template or ideal blog marketing, it's about creating content that lasts.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the art and skills attached to creating websites and content that rank well (on the first page) in the major search engines (Google, basically). If you really want to learn how to make money blogging, you need to go out and become a student of SEO because the practices that are standard one quarter might be just what gets you banned from Google the next time around.

There are, however, some basic things to know about when writing your blog posts that will help you get off on the right foot. Here's my basic SEO checklist for a blog post I write:
  • Is the keyword in the blog title towards the beginning?
  • Is the keyword in the permalink?
  • Is the keyword in the first 100 characters of the blog post?
  • Does the keyword appear throughout the rest of the post at natural intervals (not stuffed in there to the point of being annoying)?
  • Does the keyword appear in a link in the post?
  • If I have an image in the post, does the keyword appear in the image title and file name?
Want to take the shortcut around all this? Learn how I make money online creating websites that deliver free, natural traffic - without having to spend all my time doing SEO.

Growing Traffic and Creating a Community

The real trick, and in fact the real work, of learning how to make money blogging is learning how to create a community of blog readers who will trust you and buy the products you recommend as well as creating interest and buzz that will drive new, unique, visitors to your blog who will click your ads.

Creating a community requires you to interact with that community. Beyond simply moderating comments, you should send a personal email reply to everyone who takes the time to comment. You need to post regularly, if possible daily when you start, so folks will get in the habit of checking your blog each and every day. You need to be on Facebook and Twitter and drive traffic to your blog each and every day with 3-4 unique posts, one of which links to your latest blog article.

Participating in the community outside your blog is important as well - create a MyBlogLog profile and follow other bloggers with the same interest by reading and commenting on their blogs. Follow other twitters and retweet their interesting tweets. Comment on your Facebook Friend's posts to their walls. Participate in weekly memes by doing them on your blog/twitter and reading what other people post.

A good rule that I use when building a blog is to dedicate as much time to promoting my blog each day as I do writing that day's article. I write really fast, a 750 word article takes me about 1/2 an hour to an hour to write so I figure I spend another 30 minutes promoting that article in social media and 30 more minutes reading my RSS feed and commenting on other writer's posts.

The upside of all this is that you make friends and get to know new people around the world! It's one of the reasons many people start blogging in the first place.

Monetizing your Blog

The easiest way to learn how to make money blogging is to get a small gig blogging for someone else who has an established blog. Even if it pays horribly, think of it like a blogging internship. You'll learn how to manage a successful community, how to work with affiliate programs and links, how to promote products and how to experiment with adsense placement.

The reason I recommend this is that, while you're building your own blog's traffic you can learn on the traffic that someone else has already spent the time growing. So long as you're not a horrible or unreliable writer, you'll have a great chance to learn both ends of the skill set at the same time.

Once your blog has some traffic, start to monetize by adding Adsense ads. They won't make most people rich, but it's possible that you could make enough to keep you in coffee if you've got strong traffic. Some people get really good at this and never do much else in the way of monetization, preferring to spend more time writing. However, it'll always suit you well to have multiple monetization models.

You can then begin to promote products that relate to your niche and that you believe in. This can be done on a pay-to-post format, where you're paid a certain amount for the post you write about a product, or an affiliate link format. Affiliate links have the most potential for long-term income, but they can take time to flesh out and require you to have good skills at pre-selling your readers. If you're new, you might want to start with a couple pay-to-post articles and then move on from there.

The last big hurdle for most people learning how to make money blogging is learning how to manage advertisements. It's actually simpler than it might seem, but you need to get some statistics in place first. Make sure you have an accurate Feed Subscriber count, a good Alexa ranking and some solid traffic data. Once you've got that in place, you can create a page for companies interested in buying an advertisement spot.

Charging by the month is standard (start cheap, like $5 for a 100x100 pixel ad if you've got ~100 daily visitors and go up from there) and Paypal makes it easy to set up recurring billing. I always encourage folks to require a multiple month commitment (3 months or 6 months paid in advance isn't asking too much). When it's time for your contracts to renew, make sure you consider increasing your fee if your traffic has increased as well.

Simple enough, right?

The "how" of how to make money blogging is, yes, very simple. The actual making it happen can be a long road though. If you've got skills at writing, tenacity and a solid plan the market is still wide open. Just don't expect to create a spam blog and be raking in the dough next week.

Of course, if I'm going to be doing all that writing, I usually prefer creating a full website, but that's just me.

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