There’s a lot of content out there teaching bloggers how to make money online that is just plain wrong. Sorry to say it, but many so-called gurus are leading people down the wrong path. Unfortunately, I see it time and time again.
So in this blog post, I wanted to lay out the truth about how actually to make money blogging. These aren’t just theories; these are facts I have proven time and time again.
Let’s start the list of blogging secrets pro bloggers don’t want you to know.
Following your passion will get you nowhere
Many bloggers who teach about blogging tell you to follow your passion – and the money will come.
Nothing is further from the truth.
There is no real money in blogging, per se. You don’t just write about whatever you want, and the money comes pouring in.
Nope, not gonna happen.
If you want to make money with a blog, you need to choose a profitable niche.
Think about what you or others generally spend money on online. It’s either online shopping (hello Amazon) or digital products to help you improve your life.
- Help with making money.
- Help with getting out of debt.
- Help with passing a test (nursing, SAT, CPA exam, real estate, law, etc.)
- Help losing weight.
- Help gaining muscle.
- Help with a hobby (knitting, photography, drones, pets, etc.)
- Help with your personal life (parenting, relationships, health, etc.)
Notice what they all have in common? These are all topics that help people improve their lives. This is where the money is at.
So, want to start a blog about your mental health or your beanie babies collection? Fine, but unless you have a digital product idea, you’re not going to make any money from it.
Yes, you can make money blogging about blogging
Let’s get this one out of the way. Yes, you read that right. You can make money blogging about blogging.
Does this mean you should start a blog about blogging? Not necessarily. If this is your first blog, it’s better to stick to a different niche and prove you can make money blogging first.
That’s exactly what I did. This isn’t my first blog. I put in the work in the trenches for years before ever starting this blog. After actually using and perfecting the methods I teach, I start teaching others how to do it.
But just because you don’t have a “blog about blogging” doesn’t mean you can’t make money in this niche!
No matter what type of blog you create, you can always supplement your income by helping others start a blog of their own.
Here’s how to get started:
- Sign up with a hosting affiliate program
- Write a “how to start a blog” post
Write a “how to start a blog” article like mine.
- Give this page extra exposure
Add a link to this post in your menu and the sidebar, so it shows up on every page.
You can also add a “hosted by” link in the footer linking directly to the affiliate link for your host.
You don’t need to be an expert to make money blogging
Many people hesitate to start a blog because they feel they’re not experts. But the truth of the matter is that you don’t need to be an expert to start a blog on a certain topic.
In fact, not being an expert might actually work in your favor.
When you’re an expert on a topic, you’re going to have a hard time relating to the “beginners” in your audience. This is because your language and the lingo you use will be different from that of a beginner.
For example, imagine you are a pro trainer with years of experience. You’re going to be talking about anaerobic exercising, and calorie tracking while glossing over important things like stretching and drinking fluids.
To a beginner who wants to start their fitness journey – you are just not relatable enough.
Instead, imagine you’re learning about fitness and want to teach others the exact steps you’ve taken to move from point A to point B. Sure, you’re not an expert, but you’ve taken one big step in the right direction.
This person is far more relatable and is the ideal person to help others with the next step in their journey.
You don’t need “new” content
You might think that to be successful and get lots of traffic, you have to be unique. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to write something on a new topic and get any kind of traffic.
Instead, let’s focus on what is popular.
If all the traffic is going to “home decor,” why not create content about “home decor ideas”, “home decor on a budget” or “modern home decor,” etc.
This works much better than trying to find a topic nobody has covered yet. If it hasn’t been done yet, it’s probably because nobody cares about that topic.
While there’s lots of competition with popular content, there’s also lots of traffic.
Don’t be afraid of competition; embrace it. They will show you what works and what doesn’t. It’s your competition who will show you what content to create, what products to sell and how to better improve your blog.
Step 1 in writing content always starts with doing keyword research. This means going to UberSuggest and typing the idea for your next article. If it has good volume – it’s worth writing about.
You can also do keyword research right from the Google and Pinterest search bars. Just type a word and see what other words populate to form a popular keyword phrase, word by word.
Listicle + Awesome headline for the win
You might hate them, but they work. List-style posts are extremely popular and get a lot of traffic. This is precisely why you see them all the time.
Readers want list-style posts because they are easy to consume. People don’t want to sit there and read an entire article. They want to quickly skim through the content first and then stay and read if the content is good.
Headlines matter too, big time.
It’s all about the click. If you can’t entice someone to click your link, you’re not going to get any traffic.
I wrote a guide on how to write better headlines here if you’re interested.
After you read that article, you’ll be writing catchy headlines like these:
Good: 14 Easy Dog Tricks You Can Teach Your Dog Today
Bad: How To Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Good: 7 Proven Hacks To Improve Your Memory Fast
Bad: How To Improve Your Memory
Good: 8 Blogging Secrets From A Six-Figure Blogger (They Don’t Want You to Know About)
Bad: Blogging Tips To Help You Make Money
You don’t need to write every week
Many people teach bloggers that you need to write a lot of content to be successful. This just isn’t true. You don’t need to be a content factory to make money online.
I would rather create a blog with 10 awesome blog posts rather than a daily updated blog.
Quality wins over quantity every time.
Think about it; Google will only show the very best answers in their search results. So if your blog post doesn’t do an amazing job of answering a specific question your ideal reader is having, it will not get any Google traffic.
My blog here does pretty well, and I write on average one blog post per month. I try and write about popular topics that my ideal reader would need help with. I then try and answer their question and solve their problem to the best of my ability.
If I had to create content on a schedule, I would have to sacrifice some quality to meet my quota.
When I start a new blog, I first choose a profitable niche. Then I choose my main 3-5 categories.
Then I map out 3-6 article ideas in each category. On average, I have about 10-50 blog posts per blog.
I can create an entire plan for a blog in about 1 hour. After that, it’s a matter of writing and promoting the content.
There’s big money in digital products
When people want to start a blog, they always say they don’t have anything to sell. That’s perfectly fine; nobody has anything to sell when you’re new.
To start, it’s a good idea to place ads on your blog so you can get a taste of how to make money with your blog. After that, you can try affiliate marketing (selling someone else’s products). I also recommend offering services on your blog to get a jumpstart on monetization.
But the holy grail of blog monetization is creating and selling your own digital products.
The reason why digital products are the best way to make money online is that:
- You create a product once and make money from it forever.
- You keep all of the money – no middlemen here.
- You have full control. You set the prices, you create the sales page.
- You keep the customer. This means you can sell them another product later.
As far as digital products go, the most popular one is a simple eBook. This is just a Word document that you can save as a PDF file to send to buyers.
Another digital product that works great is to create and sell an eCourse. This is what I do (see my courses here).
To create and sell your own courses, you can use Thrive Apprentice (it’s what I use and recommend). You can see what the software looks like on my courses page.
Email marketing works really well
Many people think email marketing is dead. Heck, many people think blogging is dead. Well, I can tell you both are alive and well, still making money today and beyond.
Okay, I will admit it, email marketing is a bit annoying, but it works.
The reason why email marketing works is that it allows you to establish a relationship with the reader. This relationship is vital because with a relationship established, the reader will trust you enough to buy your products (or buy what you recommend).
It is incredibly difficult to make money directly from a blog post.
A blog post is typically the entry point of someone visiting your blog. They don’t know you yet. The reader is just there to get the answer to their question.
But when you can capture their email address, you give yourself the chance to communicate with that person again and again.
By providing them value via email, you can establish yourself as the one person they need to help solve their problem.
After a few emails (once trust has been established), you can pitch your paid product to them. This strategy works a million times better than trying to sell things directly on your blog.
Thanks for reading until the end!
Until next time,