Want to discover how to make money with a blog? Of course you do! After all, it can be a great way to earn an income from the comfort of your own home, doing something you really enjoy.
Whether you have an existing blog or are thinking about starting your own blog, you’ve come to the right place.
According to Statista, the number of bloggers in the U.S. alone is set to reach 31.7 million in 2020. However, based on thousands of survey responses, the vast majority of bloggers either make no money or very little money blogging.
The good news is that there are also many successful bloggers. And you can be one of them.
There are three main reasons why most bloggers don’t make money:
Many bloggers only see blogging as a part-time hobby for sharing their experiences or expertise on a certain subject. They actually have no intention of making money with their blog.
The old saying “knowledge is power” applies here.
Many bloggers make the mistake of blogging in a niche that’s not lucrative, or they don’t have enough people who are interested in it. Other bloggers simply lack the skills to build and monetize an attractive, search engine optimized blog with great content.
You have to see your blog as a startup and think like a business owner. If you don’t, you’ll probably never be able to make enough money from it to quit your job.
Here are 8 steps you can follow on how to make money with a blog.
These steps will put you way ahead of most other bloggers.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
– Lewis Carroll
How do you get “there” when you don’t know where “there” is?
The first step in building a profitable blog is to have clear goals. And not just any goals – you need SMART goals.
SMART goals are:
Pro Tip: To set a SMART goal, start with something you’d like to achieve in 12 months and work backwards.
For example, by month/day, I want to be making $5,000 from my blog, after expenses. By working backwards, your financial goals may look like this:
Make $5,000 after expenses by the end of the 12th month.
Make $4,500 after expenses by the end of the 11th month.
Make $4,250 after expenses by the end of the 10th month.
You get the picture.
Your goal for the first month may be to make $50, after expenses. You don’t want to have a goal of making $5,000 per month and then give up after the first month because you only made $50.
Your goals also need to include all of the required tasks you need to complete – for example, publishing 10 new articles every month. You should be able to tick off daily, weekly, and monthly goals as you proceed.
As you read through the next steps, you’ll get a better idea of what’s required to make money with a blog. Use this information to draw up your list of SMART goals.
The second and perhaps most important step is to select a profitable niche with a big audience.
If you get this step wrong, following all of the other steps won’t help you make money.
The following tips and advice will help you choose the right niche.
It’s very difficult to become a successful blogger if you’re not that familiar with your niche or are not eager to learn more about it. If you don’t understand the needs of your target audience and you can’t meet those needs, then you won’t last long as a blogger.
Even if you decide to outsource your content creation, you still need to know what to ask for. You also need to know if the work being delivered to you is the right content for your niche.
Start by making a list of topics that you’re familiar with or would be interested to learn more about. The more passionate you are about the topic, the better.
Think of things you’re good at, enjoy doing, or would like to do. Maybe you consider yourself to be a very good parent and feel you can help other parents? Maybe you love dogs and know how to train them?
What professional experience do you have? Is it something people would be prepared to pay for?
If you get stuck, here is a great list of 1,452 niche ideas you can consider. Simply click on the following link to get free access to the full list > niche list.
Many bloggers make the mistake of choosing a niche that’s too broad.
Let’s take the personal development niche as an example. It’s a massive and very popular niche. And that’s the problem.
Because it’s so broad, this is why most bloggers in this niche fail miserably.
Some would argue that personal development is not actually a niche, and they have a point. It’s actually only an umbrella covering many different niches, such as the law of attraction, productivity, motivation, setting goals, confidence, and shyness. The list is nearly endless.
People do not really search on Google for terms like “personal development.” Instead, they search for terms like “how to overcome shyness” and “effective time management strategies.”
If your niche is too broad, you will not be able to cover it thoroughly or establish yourself as an authority. Your content will more than likely be thin or mediocre, at best.
If your niche is too narrow, your audience may be too small to profit from. Additionally, you may also have problems coming up with new or fresh content. There’s only so much you can say about an incredibly specific niche.
By doing keyword research, you’ll get a good sense of how many people run searches on Google every month for keywords that are related to your niche.
Two of the best sites to use are Ahrefs and SEMrush. You can subscribe to either one of them if you have the budget for it. Ahrefs offers a 7-day trial for $7 and their monthly paid packages start at $99. SEMrush offers a 7-day free trial and their monthly paid packages start at $99.95.
For this article, we’ll be using two other great keyword research tools: Ubersuggest and Keywords Everywhere.
Ubersuggest is a popular keyword research tool. It provides an indication of how competitive a keyword is to rank for on the 1st page of Google. In addition, it shows useful information on how strong your competitors are by allocating a Domain Score to them.
You can also run a search on the domain name of a competitor to see what keywords they rank for. This shows approximately how many visitors they get from that keyword every month.
Make a note of all relevant keywords you can find that are related to your niche, and how easy they are to rank for. Focus on keywords that get at least a couple thousand searches every month.
Note that although Ubersuggest is a free tool, you can get a lot of additional keyword ideas by upgrading to their paid plan. At $10 per month, we think it’s a good deal. You also get a 7-day free trial to test it out first.
Keep in mind, keyword research tools can only give you estimates on monthly search volumes. This also applies to Ubersuggest. Their data will never be 100% accurate, so you should only use it as a guideline.
Keywords Everywhere is a freemium browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox.
When you Google a keyword, the free version will show you “Related Keywords” and “People Also Search For.” You can add these additional keywords to your list and research them in Ubersuggest.
You can also buy credits that will show you monthly search volumes and competition data.
1 credit = 1 keyword, and $10 will buy you 100,000 credits. This can last you many months if you switch off this add-on when you’re not doing keyword research.
By using Ubersuggest for your keyword research, you should already have an idea if you’ll be able to rank for certain keywords. And by “ranking,” we mean appearing on the first page of Google for that keyword.
You won’t necessarily rank on the first page right away, but it should be a realistic goal. Below are some tips and advice to consider.
If every domain on the first page of Google has a Domain Score of more than 70/100, it may be difficult to rank for that keyword. But don’t worry – this doesn’t mean the niche is too competitive. You will more than likely be able to rank for some other less competitive keywords in your niche.
Try to focus on finding long-tail keywords. They are normally easier to rank for, and more relevant.
For example, the keyword “headache” has an SEO Difficulty of 63/100. The Domain Score of pages on the first page of Google varies from 76/100 to 94/100. It will be very difficult for you to rank for this keyword. In any case, it’s not a keyword you want to focus on, as it’s far too broad.
Instead, focus on a long-tail keyword such as “headache at the back of the head,” which only has a SEO Difficulty of 24/100. Although most sites on the first page of Google have a high Domain Score, there’s one with a Domain Score of 40/100. There’s a good chance that if your page has better content and more backlinks, you can outrank this one.
Domain Score, like keyword data, is only a guideline that’s worth considering. You’ll notice there are sites with a low Domain Score that outrank sites with a higher Domain Score. The reason is that the specific web page also plays a very big role.
Content published on an authority site with a high Domain Score will rank much better if it’s on the home page of the site. Google does not automatically view all pages on that site as authority pages.
Just remember that, all else being equal, an article on a high Domain Score site will outrank a similar article on a new blog. That’s why you have to focus on delivering higher quality, better optimized content than your competitors.
Ubersuggest only mentions the Domain Score of the overall website. They don’t drill down into “page authority” of specific pages.
In order to get a better idea on the authority of a specific web page, use Ahrefs.
They use the term “Domain Rating” instead of “Domain Score,” and it’s basically the same thing, although the data is not identical. However, unlike Ubersuggest, Ahrefs also has a “URL Rating” for specific pages.
This is especially useful when you’re trying to determine if you can outrank a specific page.
For example, the website FinancialSamurai.com has a Domain Rating of 71/100, which is impressive. The web page https://financialsamurai.com/the-best-time-of-the-year-to-buy-property/ on the other hand has a URL Rating of only 10/100. Now, that’s a more realistic figure to compete against!
Backlinks and anchor text are important factors to consider in evaluating your competitors.
A backlink is a clickable link from one web page to a web page on another website.
Backlinks play a big role in Google’s ranking algorithm.
Dofollow backlinks pass “link juice” to the web page it’s linking to. This is in effect a vote of confidence in the content of the page it’s linking to. The higher the authority of one web page linking to another web page, the more “link juice” is passed on.
Many years ago, Google realized that backlinks are not always a vote of confidence from one web page to another one. For example, you may pay for an ad on a web page that will link to your own website. That does not mean that the web page recommends your content.
In order to solve this dilemma, “nofollow” links were introduced that don’t pass “link juice.”
The more dofollow backlinks you have, the more authority your site has in the eyes of Google.
Take note that Google expects links between sites to be natural. This means they expect to see some nofollow backlinks pointing to your website, as many websites only use nofollow links by default.
Anchor text is a clickable text link with a phrase like “click here,” where clicking “click here” takes you to another webpage. This is in contrast to a naked URL that only has a clickable URL, such as https://www.website.com.
The best type of link to have is a link that uses your keyword as the anchor text. However, Google expects to see anchor text with and without your keyword, as well as naked URLs. They also expect to see links pointing to various web pages, not only your home page.
In addition, it does not look natural to get a huge number of incoming links all at once, especially if your site is relatively new.
Let’s continue with our previous example by looking at the Financial Samurai web page, financialsamurai.com/the-best-time-of-the-year-to-buy-property/.
Using the backlink checker in Ahrefs, we can see this page has 0 backlinks.
With better content, high quality backlinks, and anchor text, we should be able to outrank this page. This should be possible even if our domain has less authority overall than their domain.
The fact that you have identified a sizable niche in which you can compete does not necessarily mean it’s full of hungry buyers.
Your typical visitor should be willing, able, and even eager to spend money in your niche.
It helps a lot if you’re part of an audience whose challenges you can relate to.
Put yourself in the shoes of your typical site visitor looking for a solution to a problem. Would you be prepared to spend money on the solution?
If you’re a hobby blogger that only wants to write about your stamp collection, you won’t make money. You may make a couple of bucks if you’re lucky from Google AdSense, but that’s it.
This does not mean a hobby can’t be profitable. There are many people who are prepared to spend huge amounts on a hobby they’re passionate about.
Remember to think like a business owner of a new startup. If you don’t have hungry buyers, you will not succeed.
Ads on Google’s search results are normally a good sign that your niche has hungry buyers.
Have a look at the ads and how your competitors monetize their sites. If they only rely on Google AdSense, you may want to consider a different niche.
One of the best ways to grow your business is to have a database of potential customers. These are prospects you can reach out to through email marketing – prospects who would be prepared to pay for a product or solution to their problem.
If you can’t think of paid products or solutions you can suggest to your email list, you don’t have a niche full of hungry buyers.
Pro Tip: Try to add a business component to your niche. Most businesses have more money to spend than your average consumer.
For example, a sub-niche of the personal development niche is “time management.” Many individuals may be interested in learning more about it, but won’t spend money on it. A business though may be eager to invest in a product that can help its employees to be more efficient.
In order to be successful, you need to stand out from the crowd.
As the business owner of a startup, your blog is your own personal brand.
You need to sell yourself to your blog readers and make them get to know you. Don’t hide behind your blog. Here are a few things you can do:
Many people think the opposite of love is hate but, at least as far as your blog is concerned, it’s INDIFFERENCE. The worst possible blog you can have is a generic one that nobody really cares about.
Ask yourself, why should people care about what you think? What makes your blog different from all the others?
If you can successfully differentiate your blog from others, you effectively eliminate the competition. Here some ways to do it.
Look at what your competitors are writing about. Read their blog posts. Can you publish better, more comprehensive content on those topics and others?
The more value you provide, the more your blog will stand out from the crowd.
Create a blog that other bloggers and websites would like to link to, even without you asking them to do so.
As previously mentioned, you don’t want to have a generic blog. For example, if your niche is dogs, instead try to focus on one specific breed, such as Cocker Spaniels. Become the authority on this breed.
Many dog sites may have a couple of articles on Cocker Spaniels. You want to be the go-to-blog for people looking for any information on Cocker Spaniels – you’ll easily outrank bigger sites on this specific topic.
This is not for everyone, but one of the best ways to differentiate yourself is by polarizing your market. Get people to either love you or hate you. Be controversial. Get people to talk about you.
“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
It’s one of the top strategies used by brands to get traction in an ocean full of other brands. It can work just as well for your personal brand or blog.
As a business owner of a startup, you have to outsource what you can.
Even if you’re able to produce your own videos for YouTube, or design your own logo, it still makes sense to outsource it. Rather than spend hours trying to do everything yourself, focus on managing your business.
The old saying “time is money” is very true. You only have 24 hours in a day and, like many bloggers, you probably have a full-time job. This leaves you very little time to manage your business.
The secret to being a great manager is learning to delegate.
Fortunately, there are several websites where you can post jobs that you would like to outsource. Whether you’re looking for someone to make Pins for your Pinterest boards, or create a header image for your blog, you’ll find a freelancer that can do it.
The top outsourcing sites are:
In order to pick the right freelancer for a job, make sure they understand your requirements. Be as specific as possible. Look at their feedback score, and portfolio of jobs completed for other people.
Don’t forget that you also need high quality blog posts that are SEO optimized for Google.
At BrandBuilders, we offer a premium quality writing service that will save you a lot of time.
Click here for more information on how we can become your outsourced in-house writing team.
By this stage, you have set your goals. You’ve done your research and chosen a profitable niche. You know how to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
If you have done the above steps correctly, you will build your blog on a solid foundation. The next step is to build and optimize your blog.
We recommend you register your blog’s domain name with Namecheap. This is a highly respected company that offers good customer service and value for money.
If possible, register a dot com – Many people instinctively associate a domain name with dot com. For example, if you have a dot net, you may lose traffic because some people will forget it’s a dot net and type in dot com. The last thing you want to do is send free traffic to a competitor.
Don’t use a hyphenated domain – People will often forget a domain name is hyphenated and type it without hyphens. Besides, a hyphenated domain looks unusual and not very professional.
Try to keep it short – Your domain should only have two or three words at the most, if possible. Think of what your email address will look like. I’d say that email@example.com sounds a lot better and looks more professional than firstname.lastname@example.org, wouldn’t you?
It should be memorable – Your domain name should be easy to remember. Think of a domain name that would appeal to people in your niche.
Choose a relevant domain name – A relevant domain name will often include your main keyword. For example, most hosting providers will include the keyword “hosting” in their domain name. Avoid making your domain name the same as a long-tail keyword as it looks spammy.
Note: It’s fine to choose a domain name that can be your brand name. Take Amazon, Adidas, or Nike, for example. They have no keywords in their domain names, but have become strong brands that we all know and love.
The next step is to find a reliable hosting company. You want one that offers the following:
Great up-time – You cannot afford for your blog to be down. You need a reliable hosting company.
Excellent support – Nothing is more frustrating when you urgently need help and can’t get it.
WordPress-friendly – We’ll be using WordPress as our content management platform.
Fast servers – One of Google’s ranking factors is the time it takes your site to load.
SSL certificate – Google prefers a secure site (https) over a non-secure site (http).
Content delivery network (CDN) – A network of servers in various locations to improve load times.
Daily backups – You don’t want to lose all your content if you get hacked.
There are many good hosting companies. We suggest you take a look at Siteground. They specialize in WordPress hosting, offer a free SSL certificate, and a free CDN. They also do daily backups.
Another option worth considering is WPX Hosting. They are more expensive than Siteground, but are known for their fast, efficient servers.
WordPress (WordPress.org) is the best platform to build your blog on and it’s the one we’ll be using.
According to W3Techs, WordPress is used by 63.1% of all the websites whose content management system they know. That’s 35.8% of all websites.
The main difference between the two is that with WordPress.org, you are in control. You choose your own hosting company. You also have more flexibility in designing and optimizing your blog. And, you can use a variety of great plugins that are not available to WordPress.com users.
Another factor to consider is that if you don’t abide by the terms and conditions of WordPress.com, they can cancel your account. This means you can lose all your content. It’s not a risk worth taking.
A good analogy is to see WordPress.com as a landlord. You have to abide by the rules. You can’t do your own decorating and are very limited to what you may change. You always run the risk of being kicked out. With WordPress.org, as the owner, you can pretty much do as you please.
With Siteground or WPX Hosting, you’ll have WordPress.org installed on your blog in no time at all.
WordPress has a decent default theme, but most successful bloggers don’t use the default theme.
You want to stand out from the crowd, and most great-looking themes are not free. It’s worth investing in a good theme that will do your personal brand justice.
There are also many suitable free themes that are worth considering.
If you’re not sure where to start looking, CodeinWP has compiled a list of what they consider to be the best responsive WordPress themes.
In the end, whatever theme you decide to use, you must be able to customize it according to your needs. Elementor is the world’s leading WordPress page builder. It’s a super easy drag-and-drop page builder. And best of all, it’s free to install.
At the time of this writing, WordPress had 55,771 plugins to choose from – and more plugins are being added all the time.
Using the right plugins can make a big difference to your site. Some are needed to optimize your site for search engines, while others improve the user experience of your visitors.
There are many recommendations online about what plugins you need to install. But, are they the right ones for your blog?
Only install what you really need – Too many plugins can slow down your site’s loading time. Don’t just go ahead and install a random number of recommended plugins. You need to have a clear understanding of what every plugin does, and if you really need it.
How often is a plugin updated? – WordPress makes regular updates to their platform. Make sure the plugin you want to install is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Choose plugins that are regularly updated.
Read the user reviews – The best way to know how good a plugin really is, is to read reviews from people that have used it.
Don’t just go ahead and install all of the following plugins without knowing if you really need them. Make sure you understand what they do and how they can benefit your blog.
Elementor – The leading drag-and-drop page builder plugin to customize your blog’s layout.
Yoast – The #1 WordPress SEO plugin.
Google XML Sitemaps – Creates an XML sitemap which will help Google to better index your site.
Note: Yoast also has a sitemap function. From a usability point of view, Google XML Sitemaps is the better option. Disable sitemaps on Yoast to avoid a conflict. Click here for more information.
Smush – Compress, optimize, and lazy load images for faster loading times.
Note: Use it with a cache plugin, but not one that also offers lazy load images such as the paid version of WP Fastest Cache.
WP Fastest Cache – Cache your web pages for faster loading speeds.
Note: If you use widgets or dynamic data but want to cache your web pages, consider adding the following plugin as well: No Cache AJAX Widgets
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights – The most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.
Wordfence – The most popular WordPress firewall and security scanner.
Social Media Share Buttons – The highest rated social media plugin on WordPress.
Contact Form by WPForms – Arguably the best WordPress contact form plugin.
Note: It integrates well with our recommended autoresponder ActiveCampaign.
Here are a couple of essential pages you should add to your blog.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives people from the EU more control over how their data are used. If you get traffic from the European Union, you must comply with it, no matter where you are in the world.
You should have a disclaimer page to help limit your liability, based on use of your blog and the outcome of it. This can’t rule out the possibility of legal action, but it helps protect your interests.
Below are sites that offer free disclaimer templates you can use on your blog.
WebsitePolicies – Has a generic disclaimer template you can use for your blog.
TermsFeed – An easy disclaimer generator that uses your information to personalize the disclaimer.
The FTC helps protect America’s consumers and has strict rules for affiliates. If you use affiliate marketing to monetize your blog – and you really should – then you need to mention it in your disclaimer page.
It’s recommended to put a short disclaimer on every page that contains affiliate links. For the sake of convenience, you may also decide to simply add it to the footer of your website.
Here is an example of such a disclaimer:
Disclosure: The pages on this site may contain affiliate links. It means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This helps to support the further development of my blog.
Here are two documents from the FTC you can download for more detailed information:
Your “About Us” page is one of the most important pages on your blog. It gives new visitors an opportunity to get to know you better and find out what you’re all about. Use it to establish your credibility and to build rapport with your visitors.
Feel free to include some personal information about yourself, and add some photos for a human touch. Use it to tell your story. Let people know who you are, why you started your blog, and how it can help them.
Your blog should have a contact page with a contact form that people can use to reach you. Use a plugin such as Contact Form by WPForms to add a contact form to your page. This plugin has a free and paid version. The free version should normally be more than adequate for your needs.
You may add a telephone number and postal address on your contact page. This is often expected if you’re a business, but it’s not necessary or recommended for most private bloggers. You don’t want to get a call at 3 am in the morning. You also don’t want a stranger knocking on your door wanting to talk to you about your blog.
Give your visitors an idea of how long you normally take to respond. If you get a lot of emails from your blog, you can mention that you’re not able to respond to every message. Your visitors need to know what to expect after they have sent you a message.
Your contact page is also a great place to invite people to connect with you on social media. You can use a plugin such as Social Media Share Buttons for this.
Writing your first article can be a daunting task. You have done your keyword research, so you know what keyword(s) to focus on. But chances are you need some inspiration to get started.
Have a look at BuzzSumo. It’s a paid tool that shows what content is popular in your niche. If you can afford to subscribe, it can be a great investment. They do offer a 7-day free trial with full access.
BuzzSumo can also be helpful, even if you’re not a paid subscriber. Run a search for your keyword(s) and it will show you related articles or videos, in order of their popularity on social media.
Your goal is to deliver the best quality content for your visitors, SEO optimized for Google.
In Step 2, we looked at the need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You will remember that one way of accomplishing this is to provide more value than your competitors.
Have a look at the top pages you are competing against for a certain keyword. What content do they cover? How can you improve on their content?
Assume a competitor has a 500-word article on the “5 Advantages of [Keyword].” You should write a better, more comprehensive article. Perhaps you can write a 700-word article on the “7 Advantages of [Keyword].”
You want a title that people would want to click on. It should deliver on solving a problem or a need.
Note: Capitalize My Title is a useful tool that will automatically capitalize the right words.
Here’s an example of a title for the keyword “how to meditate” based on the above tips:
How to Meditate – 20 Practical Tips for Beginners
Your introduction should be approximately 50 words long, and include your main keyword. It should reaffirm your visitors’ belief that your article will deliver on solving their problem. It should compel them to carry on reading.
Nothing is as frustrating as opening an article that promises X and delivers Y. It gives visitors a bad experience, and they will probably never return to read another article on your blog. If your title says “5 Steps,” then make sure your article lists five steps.
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and easy to read.
Write in simple to understand English. “Big words” won’t impress your readers. It will irritate them.
Link to external authority sites and sources.
Link to relevant and complementary pages on your blog.
Embed other media, such as YouTube videos, to enhance user experience, when necessary.
Use titles and subtitles to make it easier for people scanning through it to get the gist of it.
Note: Use heading tags to show Google how your content is structured. For example, use an H2 tag for “5 Step to Improve [keyword]” and then list the steps using H3 tags.
Use complementary images for illustration purposes. We are visual beings.
Use Canva to design and edit images.
Don’t overthink keyword density.
Note: Many years ago, it was common practice to repeat your main keyword a couple of times every 100 words. This is no longer the case. Google expects to see your main keyword but they also look at other, related keywords.
For example, if your main keyword is SEO, Google expects to see keywords such as backlinks, image optimization, and keyword research. Simply repeating the keyword “SEO” a couple of times every 100 words won’t cut it.
Your conclusion or summary should be about 50 words, and should include your main keyword one more time.
You also have to tell visitors what to do once they get to the end of your article. This is called a “call to action.” It can be for them to click on a link for an affiliate program you’re promoting. It can also be an invitation to join your mailing list, or a request to share your article on social media.
What you don’t want is for them to simply leave your site once they have finished reading your post. You just have to tell them what to do next.
Here are some ideas for different types of content you can publish on your blog.
This is content that normally offers a solution to a specific problem.
Publishing reviews of popular products or services can help you get established as an authority figure in your niche.
You can also review and compare several products or services in one blog post. This can include highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each, and making recommendations.
Content curation is about adding your own voice to content published by news and authority sites.
Find a recently published story in your niche. Post a short extract from it on your blog with a link to the source page. Add your thoughts about the story.
Pro Tip: Use Google Alerts to be notified of new content in your niche.
From time to time, write a story about yourself. Post some photos you took on holiday. Share some revelations you had while walking on the beach.
You’d be surprised how many of your blog readers love reading your personal stories.
With all that said, writing quality content can be tedious and a time-consuming task.
At BrandBuilders, we can provide you with well-written, high quality articles for your blog. This will save you a lot of time and free you up so you can focus on managing your business.
To discover how we can become your outsourced in-house writing team, click here.
In this section, we’ll look at some great free traffic sources you can use to drive visitors to your blog.
A well-optimized blog can receive huge amounts of free traffic from Google.
Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm. Some are more important than others. Some have been confirmed by Google, while others remain a mystery.
The main reason why Google doesn’t disclose their ranking algorithm is because they don’t want people to abuse it. They want to see great content written for real people and not search engines.
In Step 5, we looked at various plugins that can help you rank better. In Step 6, we looked at how you can write great content for your visitors that Google will love as well. If you apply both steps, you will already have a real SEO advantage over many of your competitors.
Now, let’s take your SEO a step further with these helpful tools from Google.
Mobile-Friendly Test – A simple test to make sure your site is mobile friendly.
Google Search Console – Shows site errors and how your content appears in search results.
PageSpeed Insights – Shows mobile and desktop loading times and suggestions on how to prove them.
Google Analytics – A great tool for tracking your traffic statistics.
Social media sites can drive a ton of traffic to your site, if used correctly.
The most important thing you must remember is that they are third-party sites. If you don’t abide by their rules, you can have your account cancelled. Before you post any content or links, make sure you know what you can and can’t do.
The top social media sites to use are:
Pro Tip: It’s not easy to be a social media expert in everything, but try to become an expert on at least one platform. It’s better to get a lot of traffic from one site than very little traffic from all of these sites combined.
A good example is AnastasiaBlogger.com. She’s a Pinterest marketing expert. Her blog gets over 300,000 monthly pageviews, and 90% of her traffic comes from Pinterest.
Pro Tip: SimilarWeb is a free, handy tool that gives you an estimate of how much monthly traffic a website receives. This includes a breakdown of social media sites. By using it, you may get a better idea of the traffic sources used by your competitors.
Guest posts are one of the fastest ways to get traffic and backlinks to your site.
You can compile a list of sites in your niche by searching for the following keywords in Google:
“submit guest post” + niche
“guest post” + niche
“submit article” + niche
Before you reach out to any suitable sites, use Ubersuggest to get an idea of how many visitors they get every month. Writing a high quality, comprehensive article takes time – and not surprisingly, most sites expect to see unique content. Don’t waste your time writing for a site that gets very little traffic.
At BrandBuilders, our premium quality writing service includes writing guest posts to help you get more traffic to your blog. Click here for more information on how you can outsource your guest post writing to us.
Here are some of the most common ways you can monetize your blog.
Google AdSense is an easy way to make money with your blog. Google Ads are inserted next to the content of your blog, and every time a visitor clicks on an ad, you earn some money.
Although it’s not difficult to place AdSense on your blog, the WordPress plugin Ad Inserter will make it very easy. This plugin is also good for managing other types of ads.
Mediavine is a full-service ad management company. Many bloggers prefer using them to AdSense as they are known to pay more per click than AdSense.
Before you can join their program, your blog needs to be getting at least 25,000 sessions per month. When someone visits your blog, it counts as one session. If the same person returns a couple of days later it will count as another session.
Nothing stops you from selling ad space on your blog to interested parties. You can charge them a fixed amount per month based on the size, position, and placement of their ad.
Ads should ideally only be displayed below the fold of a webpage. It does not create a positive user experience when someone lands on your page and is greeted with an ad.
Paid ads on your site should have the rel=”sponsored” or the rel=”nofollow” attribute.
Click here for more information on how to qualify your outbound links to Google.
A paid membership site is a great way to get a monthly recurring income from your blog.
If you have a lot of content that people would be prepared to pay for, starting a membership site can be a smart move.
MemberPress is a powerful WordPress membership plugin. At the time of writing, the basic plan is $149 per year.
Selling ebooks, courses, or anything that buyers can download from your blog can earn you a decent monthly income.
If you want to sell digital products from your blog, look at Easy Digital Downloads. It’s a complete ecommerce solution for selling digital products on WordPress. It has a free version that would more than likely cover all your needs.
You can also start your own affiliate program for the digital products you’re selling. AffiliateWP is a WordPress plugin that integrates with Easy Digital Downloads. Their plans start at $99 a year, but they do offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
Getting affiliates to drive traffic to your site is a great way to get more traffic and sales.
Many bloggers charge a lot for their consulting services.
Take the example of AnastasiaBlogger.com that we looked at earlier. She has established herself as a Pinterest marketing expert. Anastasia charges $447 for an audit of your Pinterest account. It includes a 1-hour one-on-one coaching call. Her Pinterest Management Plan costs $1,470 per month.
Many companies would gladly pay $1,470 per month to outsource their Pinterest marketing.
By delivering high quality content to your visitors, you too can establish yourself as an expert in your niche. You have to give first before you can receive. Very few people or even companies will pay you hundreds of dollars if they don’t know and trust you.
The best way to explain a sales funnel is to use an example of what a sales funnel may look like.
Step 1. Get targeted traffic to your site.
Step 2. Offer a free download such as an ebook for people that subscribe to your email list.
Step 3. Give your list free, high quality content. Aim to overdeliver.
Step 4. Sell a comprehensive course worth $699 to your list for $299.
Step 5a. Inform all buyers that for an additional $299, they will be invited to a 1-hour coaching call.
Step 5b. Inform all buyers that you have limited openings for one-on-one coaching calls for $999.
It’s much easier to sell your consulting services if you have a sales funnel in place.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize the high-quality content you publish on your blog. Writing comprehensive content can take many hours. If you see each article as an additional income stream, it changes the way you think about content creation.
The higher the quality of your content, the more likely it is that it will make it to the first page of Google. You want content that other sites would be thrilled to link to. You want content that will position you as an authority in your niche.
The better your content, the more traffic you will get. The more traffic you get, the higher your affiliate income will be.
Look for products or services that are relevant to your niche that you can promote as an affiliate.
There are many large affiliate networks you can join. Some of the most popular ones are:
Amazon Associates – Choose from millions of Amazon products to promote.
ShareASale – Has thousands of merchants you can work with.
ClickBank – The leading platform for digital products that pay high commission rates.
Take note that you will have to go through an approval process and that there are no guarantees you will be accepted. If it helps, think of your application as a job interview. Understand the process and make sure you know what’s required of you.
All of the top-rated affiliate networks have strict rules that affiliates should comply with. Follow the rules, and if you’re not sure about anything, contact support for assistance. Don’t make assumptions that may cause you to be suspended.
Some large merchants have their own in-house affiliate programs that are not available on large affiliate networks.
Run a search in Google for the following keywords to see what’s available:
[keyword] affiliate program
You can also have a look to see what affiliate programs your competitors are promoting. Chances are they have already gone to the learning curve of finding the best affiliate programs in your niche.
Understand how and when you will be paid. Many merchants will also provide information on how well their offers convert. This should give you an idea of how profitable they are to promote.
Be selective with the affiliate programs you choose to work with. It’s better to build a strong relationship with a couple of merchants than try to promote too many merchants.
If you follow the steps mentioned in this article, and treat your blog like a business, there’s no reason why you can’t be a successful blogger.
You now have a good understanding of how to make money with a blog.
You know how to set SMART goals, and choose a profitable niche. You understand why and how you should be different from your competitors. You know you don’t have to be an expert on everything, and that you can save a lot of time outsourcing tasks.
By applying what was covered in this article, you’ll be able to build and optimize your blog, drive traffic to it, and monetize it!
There’s only one thing that remains: You have to TAKE ACTION!
If you have questions that were not covered in this article, please reach out to us.
Interested in learning more about how Brand Builders can help make your blog dream a reality? Book a free 30-minute coaching call with us right now!