How to Make Money Blogging – 2014 Edition

If you’ve ever wondered how to make money blogging, you’ve come to the right place. I hope this will be a useful reference for you. My goal was to create a one-stop guide with as much relevant information as possible.

This is the beta version with updates and additions coming. (If you want to be notified of the updates, subscribe to my useletter and you’ll be the first to know!)

how to make money blogging

table of contents

Introduction
Things You Need
How It Works
The Bottom Line
Ways to Make Money Blogging

Where to Begin
Tips
Myths
Next Steps
Like it?

introduction

Can the average person make money blogging? Absolutely. Just like any business it requires hustle – a lot of hustle – but it is definitely within reach.

The internet has provided opportunities in business unlike any other time in history. There’s a very low barrier to entry, the playing field is leveled, it costs next to nothing to get started and the overhead and risk are minimal.

I know this to be true because I’ve done it myself and I’ve watched countless others do the same.

At the beginning of 2010 I was not making any significant money online. Less than two years later, my husband quit his job and my online income now supports us.

Note: I have included some of my referral links in this post. If you click through them and make a purchase, I will make a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you but it helps keep the lights on here so I can keep bringing you great tips. I really appreciate your support in this way.
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things you need

There are a few things you need before you start making money blogging.

A blog

Obviously you’ll need a blog. If you don’t have one, no worries, simply follow the steps I outlined in How to Start a Blog. It only takes about 15 minutes to get online.

Time

Once you’re set up, you’ll need to create content. This is the time-consuming part. It’ll be a while before you start seeing an income. There is no way around this. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. We all have to put in our time.

I assure you, the bloggers who are doing this for a living have been at it for years. Online business is no different than offline business in that regard. The good news is, you can do it too.
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how it works

When someone finds out blogging supports our family, inevitably I’m asked how. “How do you make money blogging?”

Before I started, I had the same question, so I understand where it comes from. The answer is not so straightforward but I think an analogy will help.

Think of a musician

It’s widely accepted that there are people in the world who make money as musicians. But how do musicians make money? There are a lot of different ways musicians make money, right?

Some go on tour and make money through ticket sales. Many sell their music in the form of CDs, MP3s and other channels. Some create their own merchandise (clothing lines, cosmetics, etc.). Others are under contract with a record label. Some are employed by a company that puts on regular shows (like a Las Vegas hotel for example). Some musicians write books and make money that way. Others are compensated when they endorse products. The list goes on and on.

Each of these “ways” to make money as a musician could be called an income stream.

Each musician cobbles together their own collection – portfolio is a good word – of income streams to make their living. The portfolio of income streams varies from musician to musician.

The same goes for bloggers. I’ll get into the specifics of each income stream in a moment, but first I need to talk about the 4-legged chair.

The 4-legged chair

To continue the comparison, think about how many musicians there are in the world. A lot right? So why aren’t all musicians professional musicians? Why don’t all of them sell tickets, CDs, merchandise, endorsements and the like?

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s because there’s something else required. Before a musician can sell tickets, CDs, merchandise, endorsements or anything else they have to have built some sort of proof of their talent, been recognized for their ability and established a following.

This is where my 4-legged chair comes in.

There are a lot of factors that determine whether or not someone becomes a professional blogger (or musician). But I think there are 4 main components on which a professional blogging (or musical) career must be built.

Think of these 4 main components like the four legs on a chair. To experience the most success, all must be present. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you are missing any of the four, you will struggle. And like most things in life, the more time and effort you put into the quality of each of these “legs” the bigger your return.

Setting up the first three legs is the part of the process that will take a lot of time. There won’t be a whole lot of return at first. But if you keep going, you’ll eventually see an uptick in income.

1. Create excellent content

Once you have a blog, you must add high-quality content. In order to make money, you have to have visitors, but in order for you to have visitors, you must have something worthwhile to visit.

To create your content, you can draw from the expertise or experience you already have. Start there. After that, never stop learning. Keep growing in your knowledge of your craft so the content you produce gets increasingly great.

The equivalent for a musician would obviously be music. They have to have music in their repertoire. And it has to be good.

2. Establish real relationships

While you grow your blog, start building sincere, no-strings-attached relationships via social media, commenting, forums, promoting others and the like.

If no one knows you exist, it’s unlikely you’ll get many visitors. People won’t naturally find you if you don’t put yourself out there. Plus, these relationships may benefit you when it comes time to promote your stuff later on.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” There’s a lot of truth in that little saying. Never underestimate the power of connections.

Don’t we hear about this all the time in music? People go out on auditions, they network, they take lessons, they attend gatherings and parties and do their best to establish relationships with people that might be able to help them along in their musical pursuits.

3. Build your platform

A lot of people don’t realize that for many bloggers most of the money they make does not come from blogging directly. For many, a blog is a platform. It’s online property. It’s where they establish an “official” digital home. It’s where people can get information about them. It’s like a modern-day business card, headshot, calling card or resume.

Bloggers us their blogs as springboards to launch other projects that bring in income, such as ebooks, books, speaking, other products, etc.

Your blog is a way to get exposure, build authority, gain trust and be helpful.

Call it your brand. Call it your platform. Build a consistent, trustworthy reputation and digital presence and it will help you rise above the noise online.

4. Choose and implement streams of income

Developing income streams is the last leg of the 4-legged chair. Many people want to focus only on this leg, but without the other three, it won’t work too well.

Income streams ebb and flow, so successful bloggers are constantly exploring new ways to make money. The key to making good money as a blogger is to have multiple streams of income. And small trickles of money coming from various places over time, can really add up.

In the next section I’ll break things down and get specific about the various income streams bloggers adopt, but first you need to know the bottom line.
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the bottom line

The bottom line is, making money as a blogger is about selling. Either you sell your own stuff or you sell someone else’s stuff (directly on your site or indirectly by referring people to them).

It shouldn’t be surprising, but for some reason this idea makes people cringe.

Ponder it for a moment. If you are making money doing what you do, you would be called a “professional.”  And therefore, a professional of any sort, be it musicians, authors, consultants, doctors, makers of widgets is in the business of selling too. They’re selling products, services, art or any number of things.

As a professional blogger, you’ll be selling too.

Think of selling as an investment

For many people, selling online conjures up visions of spam or slick, sleazy and gimmicky products of dubious quality. There’s plenty of that online, but there’s a whole lot more that’s valuable, useful and frankly, super convenient (I’m so glad I can buy a 50-pound bag of dog food on Amazon and have it delivered to my front door!).

I hope you’ve personally experienced the value of buying and selling online. If you’ve adopted the idea that any business online is sketchy (outside of the “big” online stores perhaps), erase the thought.

Selling is about investment. We are being sold to constantly. Some things we are willing to invest in and some we’re not.

The trick in making money as a blogger is selling things you can stand behind and things your readers are willing to invest in.

But I run a nonprofit

I’d still argue you’re “selling” something. It may not be goods or services, but you’re still trying to get people to buy into your cause, program, vision or movement.

It’s not selling in the most common sense of the word, but the concept behind it is the same: you spread the word about your organization and encourage people to invest in it either financially, emotionally, physically or spiritually.

But I don’t like selling!

I hear ya. I’m not good at promoting my own stuff and I feel uncomfortable “asking for the sale” over and over and over again. But I turned a corner when I realized selling can look a million different ways. It’s just a matter of doing it in a way that works for you.
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ways to make money blogging

As in our example of the musician, you’ll see there are numerous ways bloggers make money. Each blogger has a different portfolio of income streams. Knowing what types of income streams there are is helpful and can spark ideas, but if you try to dive into monetizing your blog before you’ve really built it, you run the risk of damaging the reputation (platform) you so desperately need.

At the risk of sounding cliché, the best way to start monetizing is to let it grow organically out of what you are already doing. So, start blogging about what you enjoy. As you grow, you’ll figure out what ways of monetizing would most suit you. Go with the opportunities as they make sense. Don’t try to force them.
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advertising

This group is all about generating income directly from your blog, website or your other digital assests.

Display Ads

Display ads are graphics or images similar to billboards or ads in a magazine. Typically they are positioned on your site in the sidebar, header, footer or within your content. They are also known as banner ads.

They are meant to compliment your blog’s content, making them attractive and relevant to visitors. Advertisers hope that you will then click on those images to explore and purchase the products or services they offer.

Display ads are often provided through ad networks – companies that pair advertisers with publishers (bloggers). Ad networks act as a middle man, finding advertisers and publishers and negotiating partnership details between the two. The ad network takes a cut from the blogger’s profit.

Ad networks are attractive to many bloggers because they take the hassle out of display advertising. Some ad networks, like Google Adsense, are relatively easy to get into and are easy to set up. Other ad networks, though, are selective in who they accept.

Examples of ad networks are Google Adsense, BlogadsBlogHerBeacon Ads, Federated Media, Sovrn, (formerly Lijit), Media.net, Rivit, Sway. (WAHAdventures has a lot more listed as well.)

Related: Google Adsense is probably the most popular ad network and a good place for beginning bloggers to start if they want to pursue display ads. If you want more information about Google Adsense, check out my post Can You Really Make Money with Google Adsense?

Tips:

  • If you want to get an idea of pricing and traffic for popular blogs, sites like Beacon Ads and Federated Media are places you can do that.
  • If you’re using CPC/PPC ads (cost per click/pay per click), check out Google’s recommendations for best ad placement on your site. It’s important that your content doesn’t get drowned out by ads. Google has indicated sites with too many ads above the fold may be penalized in search. If you’re not sure what is above the fold, use this tool.
  • As always, experiment. Experiment with ad placement to get the right combination on your site.

Further reading: Jason from ProBlogSchool explains ad networks in great detail in his post Ads 102: How to Make Money Using Ad Networks.

Private Ads

Private ads are similar to display ads in that they also come in the form of buttons or graphics and usually appear in the sidebars of blogs. They are unique in that there is no middle man (ad network) to negotiate the partnership. Partnerships are arranged directly between a blogger and an individual, small business or company.

Initial contact can be made by the blogger or by the advertiser. Be clear on what’s expected by both parties.

Not sure what to charge? Look around to see what others in your niche charge. You can often find this information on the advertising pages or in media kits.

Don’t just throw up an advertising page and expect advertisers to come calling. Go to them. Not sure how to do that? Find other blogs like yours that are your size or slightly larger. See who is advertising on their site. Contact those companies and ask if they’d like to advertise on your site too. Create a pitch and make it a win-win.

Check out iHeartOrganizing‘s advertising page as an example.

Tip:

  • If you have ads in your sidebar, keep them full. Instead of displaying a blank box with “Advertise here” fill it with an affiliate graphic (like my Tell Your Time ebook) in there. Crystal Paine puts it well when she says, “This screams, ‘My advertising space isn’t valuable enough for people to want to buy so I instead have this big blank box!’”

Giveaways & Reviews

If you’ve read blogs for any length of time, you’ve surely seen a review or giveaway and maybe participated yourself. A company supplies a product to a blogger to be reviewed and/or given away to readers. A word about giveaways…

I list giveaways here because some bloggers charge to run giveaways in addition to the expected free product to keep for themselves.

There are varying opinions about whether or not one should be compensated for giveaways. As I see it, it largely depends on whether the product is for marketing purposes or for advertising purposes. Companies use marketing to spread the word about their product or service. With advertising, a company makes a deal with another party to help them spread the words. Companies expect to pay for advertising.

For example, a company may market their product by handing out free t-shirts. Because you like the t-shirt, you take it and wear it. You obviously wouldn’t charge the company when you wore their t-shirt.

But I think a giveaway on a blog would often fall in the category of advertising. Yes, the company you’re working with may give you a product to use (indeed, they should!). However, they are also asking you to provide a service to them. After all, you are spending your valuable time to field their emails, communicate with them, write a post (or posts), follow up with giveaway entrants, etc. If there is nothing else you’re getting from the partnership except for the free product, this service should be compensated in my opinion.

Resource: Amy from Mom Advice wrote a post about reviews a few years back that still offers good tips.

Tips:

  • Products you receive for free need to be reported as income on your taxes so keep excellent records and make sure the products you are accepting for review are really ones you want to pay taxes on later.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. This is your blog. No need to just take what you’re offered on the first round. Make it a win-win for both.
  • If you don’t want to do a review for a company, ask the company if they’d like to buy ad space instead. Mention that they’ll still get a spot in front of your readers.

Newsletter/Podcast Sponsorships

If you have an email newsletter or podcast, you can accept advertising just as you would on your blog. You can reach out to potential advertisers, tell them how they would benefit from advertising with you and pitch your idea.

If you want to learn more about monetizing podcasts, I highly recommend Podcast Launch: A complete guide to launching your Podcast with 15 Video Tutorials! by John Lee Dumas. Dumas is just a regular guy who consistently makes 6 figures per month from his podcast. Not only does he show you how to launch a podcast, but he covers making money from your podcast as well.

Sponsored Posts

Writing a sponsored post means you work with a company and write a post about their product or service. Be upfront and disclose your relationship to your readers. Keep sponsored posts to a minimum so you don’t turn off readers.

If you read blogs, you’ve probably seen sponsored posts. They can be spotted by the disclosure stating something like, “This post was sponsored by but all opinions are mine.”

Find examples of sponsored post details and rates on Life Your Way.

Underwritten Posts or Series

Underwritten posts differ from sponsored posts in that the post topic is about whatever you want it to be (as opposed to the company’s product/service), but an advertiser pays to get a “Brought to you by” type note in the post. Anticipate the posts you think will get a lot of response and pitch companies with an underwritten spot.

An example of an underwritten series is this Christmas Gift Guide at MoneySavingMom.com.

Advertising pros

  • Many are easy to set up and maintain.
  • They can be used as a way to get readers used to ads on your site before you gain higher-earning advertisers. It eliminates “ad shock” down the road.
  • Advertising is indeed lucrative for many bloggers.

Advertising cons

  • Mobile access, popup ad blockers and streamlined browser readers often remove ads from websites, rendering them far less effective.
  • Good advertising revenue depends on very high traffic or a niche with high-paying keywords (hard to find these days).
  • Advertising rates have declined dramatically over the last few years.
  • Ads often make a site look spammy and cluttered.
  • Ads often make a user click away from your blog. For a few cents, is it worth it? You have to decide.
  • Many readers have developed ad blindness.
  • Many bloggers have been banned by Google’s Adsense program for no apparent reason. It’s unpredictable.
  • While it is possible to block certain URLs from showing up in your Adsense ads, sometimes bad ones sneak through. This can be detrimental to your brand and platform.

My advertising advice

  • Be patient. Wait for the right partnership that won’t make you compromise.
  • Make sure your advertisers are in line with your values.
  • Don’t do text links. They are often spammy and looked down upon by Google.
  • Unless you are an established blogger for whom advertising is already working, this is the income stream I would pursue last. The traffic requirement and low ad rates means your time will be better spent elsewhere.

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affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing involves promoting someone else’s product or service and earning a commission when one of your readers clicks through your unique affiliate link and makes a purchase.

I wrote about affiliate marketing at length in What is Affiliate Marketing? and My Top Affiliate Marketing Tips.
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digital products

Audio/Video

You can sell music or video that others can use as intros or outros. Audio Jungle or iStockPhoto (they sell audio too).

Apps, Plugins or Themes

If you have a knack for code-writing and can write your own themes or plugins, you can sell them at a place like Creative Market. Many plugin authors offer their plugins for free but ask for donations.

Domains

Do you have a domain collecting problem? Did you know you could sell them for profit?

Ecourses/Webinars/Online Workshops

You could do all sorts of things with this from small to gargantuan. Of course, you wouldn’t have to go big the first time around. Test the waters by holding a small, local event first. Grow bigger as you learn the ropes and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Just pick something you’re good at that other people want to know and teach it! Do it once or twice to refine your presentation and then start charging a small fee to those who want to take your class.

Ebooks

Many, many bloggers have written ebooks. I’ve made a healthy chunk selling my own ebook Tell Your Time the last few years. (Here’s why I turned down a traditional book deal in favor of self-publishing.)

I don’t think ebooks (generally) make the same kind of money they did a few years ago, but for some with very compelling topics and a decent group of supporters who help promote, it can be a good option.

One benefit of having an ebook is the ability to participate in ebook bundles which can generate quite a bit of income. Again, it’s about relationships and pooling your resources. See how Stephanie and Erin do it at Ultimate Bundles.

If you want to write your own ebook, check out my series How to Write an Ebook.

Premium Content & Membership Communities

Insider spaces, one-on-one interaction, VIP rooms. Premium content is just what it sounds like – content that others must pay for to access. This isn’t a new concept, but I do think it will become more and more common.

There is free information all over the internet so in order for this to work, you would have to offer something truly unique — some sort of “insider information,” special access to individuals whose expertise is highly sought after, products or services that go above and beyond the norm such or special treatment such as one-on-one interaction and coaching.

I’ve experimented with premium content when I created my Useletter Archives.

Another example of a premium content site is Food Blogger Pro. Bjork started this site after being asked by food bloggers how he and his wife Lindsay built their hugely popular food blog, Pinch of Yum.

Photos

Are you a photographer? Illustrator? Why not sell your photos on a site like iStockphoto? SomeGirl has an excellent series about how to become an iStockphoto seller. A significant portion of her family’s income comes from selling photos.

Selling Blogs & Websites

Many bloggers have sold their blogs or websites for 4-, 5-, 6- and even 7-figure sums. There is also something called flipping websites where you obtain a small blog or website, grow it and then sell it for profit later.

If you want to flip a site, check out Flippa. And if you want to read about those who have sold their blog, you can read this.
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physical products

Books

For many bloggers, their blogs have helped them sell books, both self and traditionally published. I’ve heard over and over again that traditional publishers will not typically consider your manuscript if you don’t have a blog first. And if you’re a self-published author or hybrid author (that is, you have both self-published and traditionally-published books), a blog is a great way to sell books.

Conferences, Classes or Special Events

I consider hosting an event like a conference a “physical” product since it involves an exchange of something tangible (in this case money for a ticket to an experience). You can also do bigger events like day-long seminars or workshops or even multi-day conferences.

Do not underestimate the work that would go into pulling off one of these events successfully. It’s a huge undertaking, but if you have a background in event planning or are extremely motivated, organized and are good at networking and making connections with companies (sponsors) etc., this might be for you.

In your niche or area of interest, it’s likely there are large, established conferences already. So, try narrowing down your conference topic in order to target a more specific group. if you’re going to put on a large-scale event, be very clear and very specific in your goals and make sure there’s a strong desire for the information you can provide. And then do it with excellence.

The way you would make money, of course, is to charge a fee to attend and/or partner with sponsors to cover your costs (and your salary).

Handmade Products

Are you crafty? Consider selling on Etsy. You can set up your own shop for free and it’s simple to get started. It’s not so simple to stand out from the crowd, so that’s likely to be your biggest challenge. Here are some tips on how to market your shop.

Manufactured Products

Sell manufactured products. Use your site/blog/newsletter to promote it.

If you create the product yourself, that’s great, but if you don’t know how to create your own product, you can sell someone else’s in your own shop.

If you have an idea for a product you’d like to sell but aren’t sure where to start, this couple tells you how they started selling wedding linens online. Their Online Store Tutorials are particularly helpful.
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services

You might think of this like freelancing. If you have a skill (who doesn’t?), why not offer your services via the internet (a.k.a. virtually)? It does not have to be computer-related. Think of ways you can use your already-gained skills in your favor and put them online.

  • Administrative Assistant
  • App Developer
  • Audio/Video Editor
  • Coach
  • Concierge/Personal Assistant
  • Consultant
  • Cook – This isn’t completely virtual as you would have to deliver food, but you could still use the internet to get exposure. Here’s an example.
  • Counselor
  • Designer – Check out Minted’s Design Challenge for a place to start.
  • Digital Freelancer – Pick a task you can do quickly that others “will get around to someday.” For example, digitizing their boxes of photos.
  • Photo Editor
  • Project Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Software Writer
  • Speaker
  • Trainer
  • Transcriptionist
  • Tutor
  • Visioneer – Have people send you pictures of their room/house/yard and offer suggestions for improvement. Post before & after photos on your blog.
  • Web Builder – If you’ve set up your own site, contact local brick & mortar businesses and see if you can set up theirs. Barter services to get your feet wet, gain experience and build a portfolio.
  • Web Developer
  • Writer - The advantage of writing for other sites is that you get to be a part of something that’s already established. Also, you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of running and maintaining your own site. Keep your ears peeled for contributor opportunities. You could start by guest posting.

I wrote a post called How to Become a Virtual Assistant with tips for anyone wanting to offer their services online.

Resource: The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More, an ebook by Lisa Morosky. Make it your first business investment. This ebook blew my mind; it’s loaded with tips, resources and step-by-step instruction.

Pros to offering a service:

  • Low startup cost. Little to no inventory required.
  • Cons to offering a service:
  • Not scaleable. You only have so much time in your day so you can provide a finite amount of service.

Tips for service providers:

  • Create a simple brochure-type site with just a few pages: Home, About, Contact, Resume, Services & Pricing, Before and After Photos (if applicable) and Testimonials once you get some.
  • Participate in forums, comments and other social media platforms and answer questions. Build a reputation as an authority and expert.

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where to begin

Feeling overwhelmed yet? You’re not alone. It is overwhelming.

You should know there are no magic bullets. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another and vice versa. There are no guaranteed, across-the-board results either. Your mileage may vary. Take the time to think through what might work for you.

What’s your personality?

Are you an introvert? Extrovert? Are you organized and like to work ahead? Are you spontaneous and fly by the seat of your pants? All these questions will help you determine the best fit for you.

For example, I started a forum many years ago, but as an introvert, I quickly realized managing and moderating all that conversation was too stressful. So, I handed it over to someone who loved the social aspect of it.

Also, I like to tackle a project and move on. I don’t like open-ended projects that are ongoing. That’s why I prefer writing and selling an ebook rather than running a membership site.

Take your personality and temperament into account and decide what will work for you.

What’s your season of life?

When I started blogging I was a mom with newborns and toddlers. There was just no way I had the time or energy to devote to an online business. But now my kids are older and it works differently.

It’s true my children are now out of the newborn and toddler stage but we have moved into the spend-your-life-in-the-car stage, chauffeuring people to activities all the live long day. Not to mention the hungry-every-5-minutes stage where they eat as fast as I cook. If it weren’t for my husband’s flexible schedule, I’d have to seriously rethink things.

Think realistically about what’s going on in your life. How much time do you really have to devote to blogging?

What are others in your niche doing?

If you’re still stumped, one of the best ways to figure out what might work for you is to look at well-established bloggers in your niche and take note of the monetization methods they use. If those methods will work with your personality and season of life, start there.
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tips header

Start small

Keep your day job and build your blog on the side, particularly if you have a family to support. Once you gain traction and can confidently replace your income, launch out on your own.

Find a hole and fill it

You’ll significantly increase your chances of success if you meet a need for others instead of blogging as an outlet for yourself.

Change with the times

Blogging for money today is quite different than it was even 2 years ago. You must stay ahead of the curve. It means you’ll constantly need to be experimenting and branching out. Read a lot. Or, if you’d prefer not to do all that reading, subscribe to my useletter and I’ll keep you posted on the latest.

Experiment and take risks

I don’t  think there is a business on earth that has as little risk or overhead as blogging (if you bootstrap it). For that reason, be bold. You’ve got very, very little to lose and so much to potentially gain.

And when you’re first starting out, risk more. You won’t have as many followers so you can work out the kinks early without the whole world watching.

Be observant

There is something to be said about putting your head down and getting to work. However, if you don’t occasionally glance up to see how you might need to adjust and grow, you’ll get left behind.

Diversify

I already mentioned the importance of finding new income streams, but the other piece of that is to keep them diverse. The internet changes constantly. That way, if one stream dries up (happens all the time in online business), you’ve still got the others.

Don’t just make an income, make a living

Consider passion, productivity and profit. Find the intersection of all three.

  • If you are passionate about something and you can produce stuff but you aren’t making money, you have a hobby.
  • If you produce stuff and you make money but you lack passion, you have a job.
  • If you are passionate and are making money but you feel like it’s taking over your life to the detriment of your other responsibilities, you have an obsession.

Hobbies, jobs and even obsessions might not be totally bad, but try to adjust so you are passionate, productive and profitable. To me, that’s making a living.

Establish a blogging routine

Carve out regular time each day to focus on a few simple tasks (mostly creating great content). Learn to tune out the noise and do your thing.

Be you

There’s nothing new under the sun, that’s true. Everything online is just a repackaging of what already was there. However, there is no one that can repackage something in the way you can. Tap into your uniqueness.

Be memorable

Before you start a blog in a huge niche with a lot of blogs, be sure you have a concrete plan for standing out. A large niche is a good sign because it means there are a lot of readers in that niche, but for those starting out, it’ll be very difficult to compete with the blogs that have already established themselves. How will you make others take a second look?

Don’t forget about taxes

I realize I can’t speak for everyone in the world, but here in the U.S., income you make blogging should be reported on your taxes. My advice here is to keep good records from the beginning. An ebook I found personally helpful was Your Blogging Business: Tax Talk & Tips from a Bookkeeper Turned Blogger.

Work hard

If you want to make money blogging, especially a full-time income, you’ll never work harder in your life. But you’ll probably never have so much fun either. Go for it!
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myths

There are a number of misconceptions about blogging for money I’ve touched on throughout this guide, but just in case you skipped down here first, I’ll restate them. Better to be aware of them upfront so you have a realistic picture of the journey.

Blogging is a good way to make money fast

A lot of people think blogging has quick monetary returns. For most of us, it absolutely does not. Most of the people I know who are making a great part-time income have been at it for at least a year. Anyone who is making a full-time income has been at it for years. If anyone tells you differently, be very skeptical.

Once it’s live on the internet, people will find your blog

There are millions and millions of blogs online. Unless you win the internet lottery, there’s no way people will find you unless you tell them. Thus the importance of actively building relationships (see above).

Making money online isn’t legitimate

This is just simply untrue. There are sketchy people in any industry, but not only is online entrepreneurialism legitimate, it’s fast becoming a preferred way to do business because there’s low overhead and low risk.

Blogging for money doesn’t work

It’s true, a lot of bloggers don’t make money even after working toward that end. However, the reason is not because it doesn’t work. From what I’ve observed, it usually results from lack of motivation, lack of creativity or originality, lack of patience or lack of hustle. It’s a hard gig!

Blogging is for business types

This is what I thought when I first started blogging in 2004. I thought it was for men who could devote themselves full time to their blogging endeavor. But then I met a lot of moms and regular people like me who were making impressive incomes.
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next steps

So, what does this mean for you?

First, I have to ask, do you have a blog?

If not, start by setting up your own site. There is no need to be intimidated by the process. I have written another guide called How to Blog.

how to blog

Next go back up the 4-legged section above and start creating excellent content and building relationships on social media. Figure out where your perfect reader hangs out online and go there. Start to follow people you find interesting. Comment on posts, pins, updates or tweets. Demonstrate genuine interest in what they’re doing. Just make friends.

I would also suggest you sign up for my useletter. In it, I try to keep you updated on what’s going on in the blogging world and cool things bloggers might find useful. You can sign up here. It’s free of course and emails arrive usually on Saturday mornings.

If you want to see what others have done, check out my popular post How Much Do Real Bloggers Make?
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