Anyone can start a blog but not everyone can start a profitable blog. Honestly, anyone can purchase a domain name, hosting, and get WordPress start up – all you need is a credit card. In fact, I’d be curious to know the statistics on the numbers of blogs that are started but never go anywhere.
I think people like the idea of starting a blog, and working for themselves, but after getting a glimpse into the work involved the mystique wears off. Unfortunately, setting up your blog is the easiest part – after that it takes a lot of work to create it into a profitable business. I’m not trying to discourage you – not at all. I’m just saying there’s a difference between someone who’s serious about starting a profitable blog and someone who just likes the idea of it.
If someone came to me and said “Tammy, I ready! I’m totally serious about doing what it takes to start a profitable blog” these are the tips I’d give.
#1. Be in it for the long haul.
First and foremost blogging is not a “get rich quick” job. If you’re looking to start a blog and bring in 1000s of dollars within a couple months then you’re going to be disappointed. I can’t tell you the number of new bloggers I see frustrated because they’re not getting any traffic or making money in the first week. You shouldn’t expect to make money that soon. Honestly, it could be months before any money trickles in.
Yes, I make over 6-figures a year now but it wasn’t always like this. I didn’t start making any real money until my blog hit 3 years old – before that, it was peanuts. I’m not saying it’s going to take 3 years to make money. Given the information and opportunities for bloggers now I do think you can start making money a lot sooner. However, there’s still a learning curve and it takes time to write content, build traffic, and create a loyal trusting community. None of these things happen overnight – or in the first week – nor should they.
In order to become a successful blogger you must be in it for the long haul. The income potential for blogging is great and if you have persistence and patience then it will pay off.
#2. Find your blogging voice and build relationships
Organize Yourself Skinny is a healthy lifestyle blog that offers tips on fitting the healthy life into the busy life. I talk about meal prep recipes, tracking calories and portions, exercise, and other weight loss habits. Guess what? There are probably 1000s of other blogs talking about the same exact thing. Why am I telling you this? Because I want to show you that there’s always room for other blogs.
What makes my blog successful compared to others talking about the same thing? Readers relate to me. I know the struggles my readers go through because I’ve been there. I share my experiences in a way readers can relate to. They see themselves in me. They feel inspired because if I can change my life they certainly can. Basically, readers come back to my blog because of the way I TALK ABOUT THE TOPIC. My blogging voice. They feel part of a community and leave my blog with valuable information to change their lives. They feel like they know me – and quite honestly, I feel like I know them.
I make a full-time income from my blog, but it’s more about the money. I care about my readers and I want them to succeed. I feel confident that my success is in large part to the trust and relationships I’ve built with them.
People come to your blog for the content you create but come back because of you. They like what you have to say and trust you. If you’re serious about professional blogging then I recommend you care about and nurture those relationships.
#3. Create an email list.
If you’ve done any blogging research then I’m positive you’ve heard the statement “the money is in the list”. Here’s my advice – take this seriously!
Like many professional bloggers, I didn’t build my email list until much later on – that was a mistake. Social media networks are constantly changing their algorithm – meaning they change how others find your content. This makes connecting with readers through social media unpredictable and frustration. For example, my Facebook page has over 400k “fans”. Obviously, this is a lot of people and one would think Facebook is a huge traffic source for my blog. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. My point is, you don’t have control over social media but you do have control over your email list.
Email subscribers are invested in your blog – they want to hear from you. Think about when you give your email address to someone, you’re expecting an email from them and look forward to reading it. In my experience, email is a great way to connect and build relationships with your readers. It lets them get a deeper glimpse into your personality and what you offer.
This past year I focused a lot on my email list, not just growing it but nurturing it. I send weekly email newsletters and challenges to keep readers involved in the topics I talk about. Also, I use email to get a little more personal with my readers. I share stories, struggles, victories, and lessons learned. I write emails as if I’m offering advice to a friend and I always get a response back from someone expressing their appreciation. This validates the information I share is making a difference. Since focusing on email I feel my readers and I know each other on a more personal level. Honestly, this has made a huge difference in my business.
Focusing on my email list has also been profitable. Since I spend so much time building relationships and provide so much free information they trust me. They know what to expect from me. Therefore, when I offered my ecourse to my email list there was a huge positive response. 99% of my ecourse income came from my email list. More than all my social media accounts combined.
Keep in mind building a solid email list of readers, that trust and believe in what you have to say, takes time. I provide a lot of free information to my readers and spend time talking with them. I don’t use my list to push affiliate products or send constand sales messages. I open enrollment for my ecourse 4 times a year and that’s the only time I send any type of sales email.
My advice, if you’re serious about starting a money-making blog, is to create an email list immediately…and focus on it. Trust me, it will pay off.
#4. Diversify your income
There are 5 main ways to make money blogging – advertising networks, paid advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate programs, and creating your own products. Honestly, I can write hundreds of blog posts on each of these income streams – and most likely will. For now, I’ll just say this – don’t put all your eggs in one income basket. Income streams can go up or down depending on the season and your blog niche. Also, blogging income depends on blog traffic which can also fluctuate.
My advice is to focus on content and building relationships first. After a month or so then start putting together a blog income plan.
Just to give you an idea, my main source of blog income for Organize Yourself Skinny is advertising. I make between 8k – 10k a month in advertising revenue. Keep in mind I’ve been blogging for almost 7 years and have a high traffic site of between 500k – 1 million pageviews a month. I use Adthrive to manage my advertising. Adthrive is an elite advertising network and requires 100k pageviews a month to join. I HIGHLY recommend applying to Adthrive as soon as your blog hits 100k pageviews a month. Until then I recommend using Google Adsense or Sovrn media to start off with advertising. Again, don’t get discouraged by low advertising dollars, you won’t see a anything substantial until your blog hits around 50k pageviews a month. So focus on building traffic and relationships.
My second main source of income is the Organize Yourself Skinny ecourse. After that I make money through affiliates and sponsored posts. Currently I don’t make any money from paid advertising and don’t plan to pursue that income stream. Also, I plan to stop sponsored posts this year and focus my efforts on affiliates and creating courses. I’ll talk more about this in a future post.
Keep in mind those are the income streams that work from my blog. I’ll talk more about the different income streams later on. My advice right now is to diversify your income.
#5. Check your analytics
One of the most powerful tools you can use to grow your blog is Google Analytics. If you don’t have this installed on your blog I recommend doing that right now. Google Analytics will show you how many people are coming to your blog, the posts that are doing the best, where your readers are coming from, and other super helpful statistics. This information will help you create content that readers want to read which in turn will grow your blog.
#6. Take SEO seriously.
SEO is something I wish I took much more seriously in the beginning. SEO means search engine optimization and it basically means writing a blog post to show up (or rank) on the 1st page of Google. SEO is actually more detailed than that but that’s my simplified version.
Anyway, if your blog ranks high in Google searches that means more traffic and most likely more money. Next to an email list, focusing on your SEO strategy, is one of the most important things you can do to grow your blog.
This past year I took time to learn about SEO. I wrote a few posts using the tips I learned and saw huge returns. The posts I wrote all had affiliate links and each of them show up on the first page of google and bring in around $100 – $200 a day! I was sold! This was enough evidence to convince me that SEO is a critical component to a successful profitable blog.
My advice is to learn and implement SEO strategies right from the start, especially if you’re serious about earning an income.
There are many more blogging tips but, in my experience and opinion, these 6 are the most important for anyone serious about making money from a blog.
Starting a blog takes time, effort, and self-discipline. There are times it will be very frustrating and you’ll want to throw in the towel. However, if taken seriously, you could certainly build a thriving money-making blog. Imagine, being able to quit your job and work on your own terms. Trust me, it’s even more awesome than you think.
Blogging has completely changed my life. I make more money now than I did working for someone else. More importantly, I have so much freedom and flexibility. I can work whenever and wherever I want. I’m available to take care of my family whenever they need me. No longer am I held down working 40+ hours a week at a thankless job, making less money. Becoming a professional blogger was the best decision of my life.
Do you have any blogging questions? What’s holding you back from pursuing professional blogging? Do you have any tips to share?
Creating a blog was the best decision of my life! If you’re interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you step by step start a blog of your own. Take that first step and get your blog started.
Where do I go to learn about SEO? I know I can google it, but is there a good source you trust and can recommend, or an ecourse I can take?
Hi Elaine! Thanks for reading! I took Sticky Seo ecourse this year and found it to be very very helpful https://stickyblogging.com/grow-seo#levels
She really explains SEO perfectly and gives step by step instructions. I’ve taken other ecourses on general blogging and such but that is the only one I took on SEO. I’m glad I did because I found it to be helpful.