Want to make money from home while writing about a topic that you’re passionate about?
Blogging is a great way to be your own boss, whether through selling your own products from your website or making money from advertising and affiliate marketing.
Let’s be honest about something right up front, because I don’t think enough people are clear about this in the myriad of blog tutorials on the internet.
Starting a blog is not an easy way to make money. You don’t start a blog, write 30 pieces of content and then sit back and wait for the cash to start rolling in.
Sorry to burst that bubble, but there’s a lot more to it than that!
However if you are prepared to put in the hours, the rewards are there for the taking!
You may also like:
This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a commission for any sales made through the links but it does not cost you a penny more.
Is blogging for you?
The benefits of starting a blog are huge, of course.
You get to decide what your working hours are, meaning you can work around your family, and have complete control over a brand that you can create from scratch.
Blogs aren’t just for people who have a whole lot to share with the world in written content.
A blog can also help you to sell your products and services. It can reach people around the world who you can first hook in with your blog content, and then make them your customers.
For example, you might make amazing art prints for kids bedrooms. Your blog could be all about kids’ bedroom decor. You provide advice on the entire topic, which brings relevant customers to your website.
They are then exposed to your paid-for products and you’re able to sell those to a customer who has landed on your site because of your blog content.
For that reason, blogging can be for anyone who runs their own business.
Blogging is also for you if you would like to share information on a particular topic. Maybe you’re skilled at crochet and could share your creations and how-to guides to inspire others.
Perhaps you have your own camper van which you travel with in your spare time. You could blog about camper vans, including guides on how to buy one, what the best models are and where you can go with your camper van, including tips on finding suitable sites to stay.
When I started blogging I wrote mainly about what I thought about stuff. What did I think about being a parent or what did I think about a particular topical subject.
The trouble with that strategy is, it’s just never going to attract a large enough audience.
If you do this type of thing on social media, and you have a real talent for it, then you may grow a large enough following to secure some sponsored work or be asked to do freelance writing.
If you try to build a following online by simply writing blog posts and sharing those links on Facebook, Twitter and in your Instagram profile link, chances are you will wait a very long time to build your audience.
You need to be providing helpful content. Content that really speaks to people. Content that solves a problem.
Blogging for money is for you if you can approach it with a business head. You need to recognise that while you can pour your passion into your blog, your focus needs to be on a strategy that will help it grow and make you money.
How do bloggers make money?
So what brings in the cash for successful bloggers?
There are lots of different ways that bloggers make money through the website. These are:
- Sponsored posts. This is where a brand pays you to write a review of their product or service, or mention that product or service in a blog post. There may be additional social media activity they ask you to do in addition to writing blog content that mentions their brand. Payment for sponsored posts varies from as little as £20 per post to as much as £1,000+ for a post with social media activity. It really depends on how much traffic you receive and, most importantly these days, the number of followers you have on social media. Sponsored posts do still work for bloggers with a huge amount of traffic to their site, but brands are increasingly more interested in seeing their products advertised on platforms such as Instagram.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) links. This is where you are paid to write a blog post that features a link to another site. This helps the other site because Google favours websites that have lots of other websites pointing to them with links. The trouble with doing this is that Google looks down on sites that take money for “do follow” links to other websites. They prefer natural link building, as they feel paid-for links give large companies an unfair advantage. They want good websites to grow organically. Despite this, I have previously offered “do follow” links from my website. This is very much a personal choice that you need to make. I have chosen to offer “do follow” links from my website because it can make me a few extra hundred pounds here and there.
- Advertising. This method is very much reliant on a large volume of traffic. My parenting blog The Mummy Bubble gets around 130,000+ page views per month. The adverts on my website are provided through the agency Mediavine. In order to be a member of Mediavine you need to have a minimum of 50,000 sessions on your blog. The positives of using Mediavine instead of Google Ads is you can make way more money. While Google Ads might make you pennies, Mediavine really brings in a proper income, if your traffic is high. I make around £3600 a month through my Mediavine ads. Sometimes more. I know of people raking in £10,000+ a month just through Mediavine.
- Selling own products. You may create a range of printable planner pages, or have an ebook that compliments your blog content. I sell printable planners and an ebook on my parenting blog which brings in a nice income each month.
- Affiliate links. It’s easy to set up affiliate links on your website. The goal is to make sales through them and generate revenue. Most major brands have an affiliate scheme. How it works is you place links (generated through your account) on your website. When your readers click through that link and make a purchase, you receive a slice of the sale. Be warned, you have to sell a LOT of products to see a decent return. Some affiliate schemes offer just a few percent return, others offer as much as 35 per cent. To give you an idea of how much you can make, I might sell $2,800 of products through Amazon in a month and make just $163 in return.
Choose a niche
If you want to make money with your blog faster, then you need to pick a niche right away.
It’s no good simply starting a “lifestyle” blog and filling it with your views on everything from judgemental parents to the best environmentally-friendly lipsticks.
Sure, some people have got extremely successful websites that are a kind of magazine. They cover a range of topics that will be of interest to the audience.
But we’re talking about starting a blog that is successful fast. When I say fast, I don’t mean overnight fast, but within a year fast.
It is totally possible to start a blog right now (within a couple of hours in fact) and have it bringing in income within a few months. You could be earning proper income within a year, if you focus on reaching your audience.
When choosing a niche, it’s important to do so with a business hat on.
While you can get traffic from Pinterest (some of mine still comes from Pinterest), the consensus among bloggers is that it’s far better to get Google traffic.
Google visitors are more likely to stay on your website for longer and more likely to purchase your products, or make purchases through affiliate links.
This means you want to set your website up to be Google-friendly right from the start. When your ideal audience types a query into Google, you want your blog posts to be among the top three results, and certainly on the first page.
In order to give yourself a fighting chance of getting your blog posts onto page one of the Google results, you need to choose the right niche.
By the right niche, I mean one that does not clash with Google’s algorithm policies on EAT and YMYL.
What’s EAT? It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.
YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life.
What does this mean for your site? Google wants to serve up its users with the very best in quality information. They want to provide search results that not only answer the search query, but answer it with complete accuracy.
For this reason, if you start a blog about pregnancy and how to have a healthy pregnancy, you are going to really struggle to ever meet Google’s standards for EAT and YMYL. You may just get over this hurdle if you are a qualified midwife, and you write this very clearly in your about me page so that Google knows you speak with authority and expertise.
But in general you’re going to really struggle to compete with the likes of the NHS website and other heavy hitters in that field.
You can read lots more about these terms and what they mean for your blog’s SEO over here.
When it comes to picking a niche, there are tons of brilliant ideas over on the Income School website. Their YouTube channel also contains amazing advice about creating a website that is built to attract Google traffic.
No one knows exactly what the Google algorithm is made up of apart from Google. But you should certainly read up on it as much as possible to give your website a great chance of hitting those top spots in the search results.
If you want to read more about SEO, I thoroughly recommend this book by Debbie Gartner. It’s a brilliant introduction to SEO plus the practical ways to make SEO work for you.
Pick a blog name
Now you have your niche, it’s time to choose a blog name. Pick something short and to the point that sums up what your site is all about.
You will need to pop for your website name options through wherever you are choosing to purchase your blog domain.
There are a ton of places you can purchase your blog domain name. It doesn’t have to be with the same company that you take out your hosting with.
However if a domain is unavailable with one company, it will be unavailable with all of them.
Try to buy the .com, as this works best for an International audience. You may not be that bothered about this right now, but you may be glad you did it in the future.
Pay for hosting
Although you can start a blog for free, you can’t start a money-making blog without investing a little money from the start.
The key costs for starting a blog are your domain name, which should only cost you around £10 for a year, and hosting.
I suggest going for WordPress hosting. It’s brilliant to use with a huge range of website themes available for you to use to customise your website.
The host is where your website lives, it’s what makes it visible to the rest of the internet and it’s where all your images and content are stored.
You want a host that’s reliable and offers great tech support, especially if you’re like me and have zero clue about the technical side of keeping a website online.
I am currently with Lyrical Host and can only say great things about them as a host. There’s technical support available either on live messenger or via email.
You will get a free SSL Certificate, which all websites need in order to be taken seriously by Google! Your SSL certificate is an industry must-have, this is something you absolutely need to have to show users and search engines that your site is secure.
If you are just getting started however BlueHost is a brilliant option and costs just £2.95 a month!
Set up your website
This is where I recommend handing things over to the experts!
Some hosts will help you get your website up and running as part of the package when you take out hosting with them.
Simply ask them to set up your website and they will get it to the stage where all you need to do is log in to your WordPress dashboard.
Once you’re ready to login to your WordPress dashboard you can start to play around with customising your blog.
You’ll need to pick a theme first. There are some free options available to download from WordPress. These are fine for getting started but you’ll be able to do way more, and have a prettier looking site, if you purchase a theme.
You need to choose a theme that’s responsive in both mobile and tablet formats, as well as built for speed. There’s a great list of fast WordPress themes over on this site.
I personally love the BluChic themes. They are gorgeous, built for speed and there’s a wonderful selection to choose from, plus they are super easy to use.
Create an about me page
Once your website is up and running, it’s time to get some words on there!
Your about me page is your chance to tell your readers what you and your website are all about.
It should include something about who you are and why you started this website, plus what people can find on this site.
Your about me page is your chance to tell your audience what you offer them, explain what you are all about and why you are the best person to give them this information/service.
There are some absolutely incredible about me examples here for you to check out:
The best about me pages include links to some of your cornerstone content, and are written in an informal way.
Remember to include a picture of yourself too!
Your about me page is the perfect place to have an opt-in form for your mailing list. When you’re just starting out this might not be something that you are particularly focused on.
Getting your content off the ground is certainly priority number one, but do get your mailing list starting as soon as possible.
MailChimp provides free mailing list services up to 2,000 subscribers.
Launch your social media channels
This is nowhere near as technical as getting your website off the ground!
Simply set up profiles under your blog’s name on each of the social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Try using the same handle for each of the channels as your blog. If you can’t get it exactly, then use a close similarity.
Use the same profile picture of yourself across all of the channels too, so that your branding is consistent.
If you have designed your own logo then you can use this as a banner on Facebook and Twitter.
When it comes to designing your own pins for Pinterest, as well as your logo, I recommend Canva. There is a pro version you will have to pay for, but the free version has plenty for you to work with. I have been using the free version for more than two years and have zero complaints.
Canva enables you to design social media posts, banners, infographics and much, much more. What’s amazing is it has tons of templates so you can simply upload your brand colours and then customise the wording to put your own stamp on it.
When it comes to getting your head around Pinterest – which can be amazing for driving traffic to your blog – I recommend Carly’s Pinteresting Strategies course. I bought it three years ago and it’s helped me no end!
Write some amazing blog content
Now that your website is working, you need to put some content on there!
When writing your content you need to make sure it is relevant to your blog niche and that it’s going to be helpful to your audience.
When coming up with ideas for what to write about, you may already have an idea of what your audience would need to know. What are their pain points? Can you show them a new way of doing something?
One place to find great, free, ideas is Google. Type in a key phrase related to your blog into the Google search bar. Next hit space and you’ll see a list of auto-suggest search terms pop up.
You could find a blog topic from here, or you could click on one of those search terms and scroll down a little. There’s a section titled “people also ask” with some made-for-you keyword ideas for your next blog post!
Scroll down right to the bottom and there’s a “searches related to” section.
This is great for finding blog post inspiration, as well as keywords to target.
What are keywords you ask? Those are the searches you want to rank for in Google. You choose a keyword phrase, use it in your blog post, and your goal is for that to pop up on page 1 of Google.
Now, when you’re starting out it’s going to take you a while to start to rank on Google. It will not happen overnight. Your blog needs to have a fair few months under its belt before Google starts to notice it.
You can start building traffic on Pinterest from day one, and we will talk about that over on another blog post.
Even though you may not see results from Google straight away, the very best thing you can do to get started with your blog is set it up for Google success from day one.
For help with getting starting with making blog content that gets Google traffic I recommend Debbie Gartner’s on-page SEO ebook. It’s great value and gives you a great overview of how to set up your site to win when it comes to SEO.
Debbie has another book about how to build back links to your blog (more on that in my next section of this article). You can buy BOTH her on page SEO and back link ebooks at a discounted price which is a great deal – her books are a bargain and full of great info.
Start to build backlinks
What do I mean by backlinks? Those are links from other websites to your website.
Doing this tells Google that your website is worth paying attention to. The more links, the higher regard your site is held in Google’s eyes.
You can build backlinks by offering to guest post on other blogger’s websites and by joining Facebook groups for bloggers looking to create roundup posts.
In the UK, my fave group for this is UK and Irish Parent Bloggers’ Crowdsourcing. Here bloggers looking for input into their latest blog post will ask for a few words from you, and they will link back to you in return.
Other groups like this will ask for pictures or posts you’ve written that are relevant to a round-up post they are writing. Look around and find groups that are relevant to your niche.
These are also great groups for finding your tribe of people who will support you on this blogging journey!
There is also a brilliant list of blogs that accept guest posts right here.
Start a blog to-do list
- Choose a niche
- Purchase a domain name
- Pick and pay for hosting
- Set up your website
- Write an about me page
- Write some blog posts
- Set up your social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
- Start building your mailing list
- Build backlinks
Final thoughts: Starting a blog
This is a LOT to take in, I realise that!
Take it one step at a time, but if you’re thinking about starting a blog then just take that leap. It’s a minimal investment for what can ultimately change your life for the better.
One of the best things you can do when starting out on your journey is to find a group of fellow bloggers and learn from them.
The thing with blogging is that the learning never ever stops. There are always new techniques, new trends, new ideas that can help you to grow your blog.
The best way to keep on top of these is to join Facebook groups, such as Blogging Like We Mean It.
Not only can you ask questions about blogging in these groups, but you can see the issues being brought up by other bloggers and get inspiration. I have learned so much from groups like these!
Blogging is very much a game of trial and error.
By sharing this with you I am showing you the path I wish I had taken first with my blog. These are the things I needed to do first.
Although I did pick a niche when I launched my blog, I did not blog for Google traffic from day one. I blogged with my own thoughts and feelings, and while your friends and family might read it, it’s not the way to get a large audience and ultimately make money.
As long as you get started with the knowledge you will need to work hard, and learn all of the time, then you’ll be off to a brilliant start!
If you’re looking for more helpful advice on blogging then check out my article about the best blogging resources to help build your blog. If you have an established blog that isn’t making you much cash then check out my post on why your blog isn’t making any money.