Blogging for money does not have to be hard. Actually, it can be quite simple if you follow the right steps and try not to stray too far from tried and true methods.
When it comes to my blog, Miss Millennia Magazine, I strayed away too far before I got to a path of making consistent income. I wanted to try all the new things I heard about before actually finishing the projects I was already working on.
I followed one blogging guru after another without asking myself if my blog was at a level to implement the strategies they were teaching, leading to me learning things that did not help my blog's problems. And honestly, I just got plain old distracted. Bouncing from one topic to the next, I forgot that I should be writing blog posts consistently, and I was NOT doing that.
It took me a long time to get my blog to a point where I was making between $3,000-$7,000 a month regularly. And after I looked through the steps I took to get my blog to this point, I didn't have to! All I had to do was have a plan and follow it, and I failed at that.
I am so grateful I found courses like Elite Blog Academy to show me the way. And now, I want to show you some basic steps you need to take to start blogging for money in 2020.
In this article, I am going to show you what those steps include so you can get started with making money with your blog sooner rather than later. Well, let's dive in!
Set a Money Goal
Before we get too far in the weeds, I want you to take a minute to set a money goal. We all say we want to make money with our blogs, but how much do we want to make? And by when do we want to make it?
Having a specific goal will help guide you on your blogging path. Is your goal to make $500 a month with your blog by June of this year? Okay, now we know how much runway we have to stick this landing.
But one of the most important reasons to have a goal is so when it gets hard (and believe me, it will), you need that reminder for why you are doing this in the first place. I've been blogging for almost nine years now, and I cannot tell you how many blogging friends I've seen come and go because they just did not have the stamina to do it.
I think if they had set blogging goals, put them somewhere they could see those numbers and visualize them daily, some of them would still be blogging.
At some point, you will have a bad day at work, or your kids will destroy the house, and then you will still have to work on your blog. At this point you may say, “F it! It's too much work!” However, having that goal, whether it's on a vision board, a whiteboard in your office, or just a sticky note, will be the reminder you need to see to keep going.
Need help coming up with your blog goal? Use my blog goal sheet to help you brainstorm! You get it free when you join my blogging email list.
Optimize Your Blog
Now that you have your blog goal, it is time to start optimizing your blog. I know it can seem like a huge task to take your blog as it is now and do a complete overhaul of it. Lucky for you, I am not asking you to do that.
I am going to ask you, however, to look at some elements of your blog that may need to be optimized. For example, do you have social media share buttons on your site? If not, you may be missing out on valuable traffic to your blog. If people can't share the posts they like, they may just go elsewhere.
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Another thing that I find to be very important when it comes to blogging for money is having a media kit. A media kit is your way to show brands what your blog is all about and why they should work with you. If you do not have this vital tool, you can't let brands know that you are ready to start working with them.
I suggest you get a media kit set up ASAP if you don't have one already. If you are not sure where to get started, Canva has many free media kit templates to choose from. Just go to their link here, then search for “Media Kit Templates” and be amazed! You can customize them by adding your logo, graphics, font, and colors. The best part is Canva is free to use, so make sure to create a free account.
Have a Blogging Plan
Remember how I mentioned earlier that I did not have a blogging plan, and it led to me not seeing consistent income with my blog? Yeah, that was me in 2016. I reached a point where I was working on my blog full-time because I figured that is what I need to get my blog into some consistent income.
It turns out it was not. What I needed was a direction, and I was so happy when I found that with the Elite Blog Academy. Watch my video below to get an idea of how the Elite Blog Academy changed my whole blogging trajectory. I went from making a few hundred dollars here and there to a consistent $3,000 a month (at least).
I know I spoke so highly in this video about Elite Blog Academy, but I seriously meant every word!
This is a monster of a course with modules that allow you to go deep with your blog and build a solid foundation. Ruth Soukup, the creator of Elite Blog Academy, has multiple lessons on building traffic, monetizing, building your business by hiring a team, and keeping it all steady. Did I mention that Ruth is a seven-figure blogger? As I said in the video, before learning about her, I didn't realize that that level of success was even an option when it comes to blogging.
Not only did I learn a ton (and am still learning), but I also made friends and mentors too. I love that I can continue learning through Ruth's Live Q&As in the Facebook Group and the new resources added to the course.
I got one-on-one mentorship with Rosemarie Groner, the creator of The Busy Budgeter, at EBA Activate, the conference Ruth put on for EBA members. And I got to meet my blogging besties Kamika and Melissa, whom I've been in a mastermind group with ever since.
I'll admit, the Elite Blog Academy may not be for everyone, and it only goes on sale once a year. If it is something you think you may be interested in, take the EBA® Entreperenueiral Assessment. This assessment gives you an idea of if a program like the Elite Blog Academy is a good fit for you or not.
If you take the assessment and realize that Elite Blog Academy may not be for you, never fear! Other FREE resources will help you with making a blogging plan.
Here are a few free resources I enjoy when developing your overall blogging plan:
Try Different Monetization Strategies
There are so many ways to monetize your blog. And because of this, I am going to give you all the various income streams you can have with your blog then lead you towards your first steps of getting there. Successful bloggers use more than one of these methods below, so keep this in mind when considering your options.
Advertising was the first monetization method I incorporated on my blog. All you have to do is sign up with an ad network like Google Adsense, AdThrive, or Monumetric. Which one accepts your application depends on your traffic. Speaking of traffic, you should be getting a lot of it to your blog if you ever want a payout from advertising programs.
I signed up for Google Adsense when I first started blogging and did not get my first payment from them for two years. Yeah, I was terrible at gaining traffic to my blog.
I think it makes sense to sign up for one of these accounts and just start blogging. The ad money will eventually come. Just mind your expectations about them.
Affiliate marketing is a nice passive way to make money with your blog. You find an affiliate program for a brand you like, sign up, and write about the product on your site. If one of your readers buys this product after they click on your affiliate link, you get a commission.
Say, for example, the product is $100, and the commission is 30% of the sale. That means if someone buys using your link, you get paid $30.
Easy enough, right?
The best part is if you do an excellent job on the blog post you write, you can expect to see continuous passive income from this strategy. You work once by writing the blog post with the affiliate links in it and continue to be paid long after that.
There is a science to this, and you have to be a pretty persuasive writer to get people to click and buy. But it's a great way to make money even if you do not get a bunch of traffic to your blog. But you have to know what steps to take here to be successful because there are a lot of ways to do affiliate marketing wrong.
I took Michelle Schroeder-Gardner's course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing to up my affiliate game. The class teaches you how she went from a blogging novice to a six-figure blogger through affiliate marketing. Check it out here.
Work Directly With Brands
Okay, this is one of my favorite ways to make money blogging. The way it works is a brand asks you to mention them on your blog in exchange for a negotiated fee. This fee can range anywhere from $50-$10,000. (And for some bloggers, even more than that!)
And unlike affiliate marketing, you are paid a certain amount no matter if your readers buy from your blog post or not.
See why I love working with brands so much?
But there is a catch to this method of blogging for money. A lot of work goes into each brand partnership, both before the brand partnership is made and after.
The first hurdle involves finding brands that want to work with bloggers. They can be found on a variety of influencer networks with exact details of what they are looking for in a blog partnership and how much they are willing to pay.
But there are hundreds of these sites. If you want to know what websites you should sign up for, you should sign up for my free list of 150 Influencer Networks with Paid Sponsorships. They are all free to join!
The next hurdle comes after you've signed up for all these channels. Now you have to log in to all of them to find the best opps to apply for! When I was at the top of my Sponsored post game, I was spending between two and four hours a day logging in and applying to sponsored post opportunities.
Now don't get me wrong; it all worked out. I got to a point where I had to start turning brands down because I had too many than I had time to write. But I also knew that spending 2-4 hours a day looking for opps was not a good plan for the long term. So I created a product to solve this problem. And its called the Blogging Money Update.
The Blogging Money Update is an email subscription that sends 10-15 sponsored opps to you that range between $65-$5,000 each. This way, you do not have to waste time logging in to multiple blogging channels unless you know there is a sponsored opp waiting for you on the other side for sure. Want to learn more? Check it out below.
Create a new product
Okay, this is another something I learned from Ruth Soukup in the Elite Blog Academy. Successful bloggers—the ones who are making the most money—have products of their very own. Now, if you just started your blog last month, you may not even want to consider this as a monetization strategy just yet until you get to know your audience a bit more. But creating a product of your very own is where it is at.
Let's go back to the scenario we touched on in the affiliate marketing section. The brand had a product for $100, and you got a 30% commission if someone bought it through your site. But if the product is yours, you get a 100% commission. Sounds a lot better, right?
And depending on the type of product you create—like a digital product, an online course, or a workbook—you can make passive income, just like you do with affiliate marketing. It's honestly one of the best ways to start blogging for money in 2020.
But there is a lot of work that goes into creating a product or service that sells. And it all starts with having an engaged email list. Even if you are a new blogger, one of the most important things you can do for your blog is starting to collect emails.
Email marketing is hands down the best way to get people to buy from you, visit your blog posts, and take any other action you'd like them to on your blog. So starting to build your email list right away is so important.
The EBA blog has a ton of useful resources in the “Monetize Your Platform” section. They address all of these monetization strategies I discussed here. But she has a good blog post on why product launches fall flat that you should definitely check out.
I know consistency is not as sexy as my last section that gives you all the nitty-gritty on monetization strategies, but this probably has to be THE MOST IMPORTANT lesson you can take home when it comes to blogging for money.
Pick a day of the week when you will publish a new blog post and stick to it. The same goes for writing a weekly newsletter.
You may not see a lot of traction initially, but this consistency will improve every element of your business. It will improve your traffic, engagement, and your skill level.
You'll get better at these things from doing them so often. And since you'll get better, you'll also get faster at them. And the next thing you know, those items will be on a pattern that almost feels like they are on autopilot.
And it all starts with creating a blog schedule and sticking to it. Check out this guide on 7 Genius Time Hacks for Bloggers to help you plan your blog schedule. Take time putting it together because once you set those times, you should stick to it.