When I started this blog in April 2018 (this is my second blog), I knew I wanted to make money blogging. It was the very intention of my Blog.
I tried a lot of strategies – some failed but each failure just brought me closer and closer to finding the right ones.
16 recipes down. Only 249,984 more to go, to nail this chocolate cookie!
I had the experience of starting a blog prior to this but I never really knew that I could monetize it. And I made so many mistakes with my first blog.
I always thought a blog was a hobby.
Boy, was I wrong!
Once I started interacting with other Online Business Owners, I realized that I was wasting a golden opportunity.
I focused on affiliate marketing for the first few months and it brought in a few hundred dollars. It was a lot of fun documenting my growth.
In my 6th month, I had made substantial income growth by mainly doing client work and the best part was that I did zero marketing. The Illustrations on my Blog helped me bag clients!
I’m still an Illustrator and Comic Artist first, but I’m slowly making the shift to passive income this year because I want to draw for my Blog and Business. I wanted to create lots of fun products and sell them in my shop. So I sat down and wrote a nice Business Plan.
Table of Contents
Why start a blog?
I hate commuting to work and I love the fact that I can work from home.
It allows me to spend more time with my two beautiful dogs.
Besides, it really flexes my creative muscles. Being a born Creator, I have the burning need to create something every single day.
Apart from the joy blogging and drawing gives my readers and me, it makes me a full-time income.
What makes this post different from the others out there?
Now, there are tons of posts online that describe how to make money blogging. But here’s what makes this post different. I have implemented a lot of income streams over the past few years.
- sold my services as a web and graphic designer
- sold my services as an online marketer
- created illustrations for clients and companies
- created comics and make money via a membership platform
- sold physical merchandise on my Website
- sold digital products like clipart and wallpapers on Etsy
- implemented affiliate marketing
- sold eBooks and eCourses on my Website
I have started from rock bottom and I have learned how to make a full-time income with this Blog in less than a year!
I’m currently only working 20-30ish hours a week and I’m able to support my pups and put over 40-60% of my blog income into my savings for the future.
And today, I’m going to share with you the exact process of how I got my Blog to this stage!
Now if you don’t have a blog or are thinking of starting one, I have an extremely detailed step-by-step guide here on starting a money-making blog that will help! Or you can take my free 7 day course on starting a blog that makes money on autopilot!
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to feed my poor, hungry dogs.
How long does it take to make money blogging?
I’m going to be honest with you.
Blogging isn’t a fairy tale, where you open your computer and type in a blog post and watch the money roll in.
Sorry Elaine, no matter how hard you type, gold isn’t going to fall out of the computer.
That’s one of the harsh truths about blogging.
It takes at least 3-6 months to start building a loyal audience.
By the end of 6 months, the average Blogger starts making a few hundred dollars. It takes about 12-18 months to start making $1K and above. Read this post here to understand how long it will take to make money blogging.
And it takes about 18-24 months to make a consistent, full-time income for most Bloggers.
No, this is not Monopoly money.
Again, this depends on how often the Blogger posts and how fast they recover from their mistakes. You can expect to make money more quickly if you’re a fast learner and blog consistently.
If you already have a blog but want to grow quickly and start making monetizing it, keep reading.
The Definitive Blueprint to Making Money Blogging
1. Choose a profitable blog niche
Why do you require a niche?
You require a niche in order to make money fast.
That is the truth.
The world is filled with so many people doing so many different things, it can become difficult for people to remember you if you blog about everything.
People come to my comic page because it’s only about hair.
When people think of hair comedy, they see Stray Curls Comics.
I have no idea why that’s relevant at the moment…
So, stick to one niche.
You will be able to grow fast and make more money quickly.
How to choose a profitable niche?
Do not blog about what you’re passionate about.
I was passionate about creativity.
So, I had a blog on creativity (which taught people how to be creative) and it was a flop.
No one wanted to read about being creative. Creative people already possess creativity. They want to do something with it. So, they usually hop on DIY blogs to learn how to make something.
Which rendered mine useless.
Your Blog needs to solve a problem that is widespread and has people searching for answers.
I wasted too much time blogging about too many things that no one cared about. So, if you avoid this mistake and start on the correct path, you can grow your Blog really quickly!
Likewise, you can be extremely interested in knitting dog socks, but it’s going to be very difficult to actually make money from it.
Bottom line: Stick to 1 niche that is proven to be successful and has a high demand. For more info, you can read my meaty guide on choosing a profitable niche here.
2. Create mind-blowing content consistently
This sounds so darn simple but it’s something most bloggers fail at.
A lot of bloggers start writing posts faster than the speed of light and then quickly lose interest when the comments and fame don’t start rolling in.
There are loads of reasons why their blog posts don’t work:
- Their posts are too short and vague.
- They wrote about something no one really cared about.
- It wasn’t structured properly.
And lots more. My point being: Focus on writing quality posts consistently.
How to write stellar blog posts?
Each blog post you write must bring abundant value to your reader. They should read it and go “Wow! This is so thorough and helpful! I’ve never seen anything like it.”
You should aim for your readers to become die-hard fans after reading 1 post from your Blog.
Eh… maybe not that much of a die-hard fan…
That’s how friggin’ high you should aim.
The easiest way to do that is to:
1. Find out what content is already popular and trending.
An easy way to do that is to hop on Pinterest and look up topics in your niche. Look at blog posts that are currently trending. You just have to note the repin count. The higher the repin count, the more popular that piece of content is.
On Pinterest, I’ve noted that people are currently loving
- Tips on Productivity and Goal Setting
- Blog Posts that share personal experiences of overcoming hurdles (financial, parenthood, mental health)
- How to Posts, detailed tutorials, and step-by-step guides
- DIY posts with lots of images
2. Take what’s already there and make it better.
Now if you find that a post on 12 tips to having good skin is ranking number 1 in Google Search Results, you create a post on 24 tips to having good skin.
The trick is to go above and beyond to create a post that beats the competition.
This will result in your post outranking everyone else’s.
How often do you need to write blog posts?
Now, apart from producing long-form and incredibly valuable content, you need to do it consistently.
By consistently, I mean at least 2-3 times a month.
It’s hard. This particular blog post is over 5000 words and is the 3rd blog post I’m writing this month.
Doing these 2 things concurrently will result in 3 things:
- You will generate a huge surge in traffic very quickly.
- You will build a loyal audience that keeps coming back to read more of your content.
- Making money will become super easy.
Once you know how to write content that gets people to come back for more, you need to
3. Create a blog content plan
Creating a Blog Content Plan helps you understand where you want your Blog to go.
Let’s face it.
We’ve all wasted countless hours scratching our heads coming up with blog post ideas.
Creating a content plan 3-6 months in advance will also save you a lot of time as a Blogger and help you focus on more important things like creating and promoting your content.
Doing this one step, helped me grow my blog traffic exponentially and make a lot of product sales.
It’s really easy to do.
You just need to identify your target audience. Once you know who your ideal reader is, you have to come up with content ideas – which is super easy!
Separate these ideas by objective.
For instance, say I want to increase my affiliate marketing earnings for the next quarter.
So, I plan my blog content around this for the next 3 months by writing more product reviews, more tutorials about the product and case studies of people who have used the product and benefited from them.
This will increase affiliate marketing earnings substantially.
An example of a Quarterly Blog Content Plan
Let me take it two steps further.
Say, I am a Fitness Coach and want to create a paid membership for people looking to lose weight. But I don’t have an email list or an audience to market to.
So, what do I do?
Plan 2 quarters.
In the first quarter, I focus on blog posts that talk about the importance of being fit, different diets and exercises to implement for quick weight loss and so on. My main goal is to get email sign-ups and collect a large audience that I can market to.
For the following quarter, I create a free email course with intermediate and advanced tips that delves more into Health and Fitness which finally leads to the paid membership offer. I promote the email course on list-based and tutorial posts to get more signups.
This is called planning your blog content in advance.
And doing this will change your blogging game completely.
Additionally, I highly suggest that you download my 12-page blog planner to help you get more organized!
4. Focus on gaining high-converting blog traffic.
We Bloggers have a love-hate relationship with blog traffic because it can be so confusing and hard sometimes.
And it’s never guaranteed.
Tomorrow a Search Engine’s or Social Media’s algorithm might change and you will have to be ready to hit that curve-ball!
But the key to gaining good, solid traffic that converts is to pay attention to organic traffic. This means you need to up your SEO game.
Doing this will result in high rankings on Google and other Search Engines which means you will get thousands of pageviews for free!
Now, I’m not going to delve into blog traffic because it’s a vast topic, but you can take my free 5 day email course that will teach you how to get high-converting traffic.
Additionally, here are a few posts to help you nail your SEO and gain tons of traffic:
- 13 Proven Strategies to Decrease your Bounce Rate
- 11 Huge SEO Mistakes that are Hurting your Ranking
- 27 Easy Ways to Double your Blog Traffic
- 13 Free Ways to Market your Blog and Business
- How I used Pinterest to gain 18,000 views in my 3rd month Blogging!
- 17 Killer Ways to get Tons of Blog Comments
5. Understand your conversion rates and following up accordingly.
This is one tactic that helped me understand how to set mini income goals and actually achieve them.
For instance, say I draw single portraits of people for $28. If I get 5 clients a month who want single portraits, I make $140 a month. It’s about 6-7 hours of work.
But say I’ve spent about 6-7 hours creating an online course that teaches people to make illustrations which costs $45.
If I make 3 sales a month, I make close to $140. If I make 10 sales a month, I get $450.
Which income stream brings in more money easily?
The online course that I created only once but sells again and again to make a profit? Or the continuous services I’m offering to make the same amount?
The online course of course!
You see, running an Online Business is all about balance.
You may think $1000 a month is a lot to aim for, but if you try breaking this goal into more achievable mini-goals, it’s far more conceivable.
- Affiliate Marketing Sales: $400
- Services: $200
- Online Course Sales: $400
When you break things down, it doesn’t look very hard to achieve, right?
If your Online Course costs $40, you now know that you have to make 10 online course sales each month in order to make $400.
If roughly 1-2% of your readers will become paying customers, you have to aim for at least 1000 readers to hit your goal.
Likewise, you need to set goals for each income stream you implement.
At any point in time, try and not to focus on more than 2-3 income streams because it can become confusing for your readers.
Additionally, if your traffic is not converting into sales or clients, then you need to work on your content so that it converts at a higher rate.
How do you increase your conversion rate?
The best way to do this?
Set up more sales funnels on the pages on your Website that get the most traffic!
What is a sales funnel?
It is the customer journey from the time a reader chances upon your website to the point where they purchase a product and become a customer.
To do this, simply hop on to your Google Analytics page and look at your top pages/posts. You’ll get something like this:
Increase the number of opt-ins on these pages. And include several internal links to other helpful posts and pages in your top posts.
Implementing these 2 small tips will help you increase your blog traffic and your conversions!
Overall, in order to continuously make money blogging, you require to analyze your website each month (preferably) and make the necessary tweaks.
Doing this will speed up your growth as a blogger and business owner!
It’s sort of like removing the weeds to help your crops grow faster and better.
Require a helping hand? Here’s a free email course to help you understand what it takes to create a successful blog!
Now that you understand the fundamentals of setting up a blog, choosing a profitable niche, writing posts that go viral, and understanding your conversion rates, we can move over to the most anticipated topic.
7 Different Income Streams to Help you Make Money Blogging
1. Blog Advertisements
This is by far the easiest and popular monetization technique.
Most Bloggers put ads on their blogs from day 1. Don’t do this, for the love of everything that’s good in this world.
Remember, when you’re just starting to blog; you’re trying to gain an audience and build a readership. This means that you need to make your website more user-friendly and readable.
And pasting ads everywhere is definitely not the way to go about it.
You’re going to drive away people who are just getting to know you.
It’s sorta like making a friend.
You don’t show your weird and quirky side till you both are really good friends.
Aside from this, when you’re first starting out, ads will bring in a very menial amount of income.
The Right way to use Ads
Wait for at least 6 months before you put ads for your blog. And when you do, aim for the big fish.
Are you implying I’m fat?
Do not go for Adsense, because it pays poorly and slows down your website heavily. Instead, when you’re at 30K visitors, apply to Newor Media. If you’re already on AdSense, then shift now and you’ll notice a 25-50% boost in ad revenue.
Once you reach 50K sessions, apply to Mediavine.
If you cross 100K pageviews, you can directly apply to AdThrive.
Overall, if you get 100K pageviews, you can make around $1K a month just via ads. It’s not much money considering how much you can earn via your own products with that kind of traffic.
I highly suggest that you don’t choose Google Ads because you don’t have control of what they choose to put in their ads.
Most Bloggers use Google Ads when they’re just starting a blog. In my opinion, it isn’t worth it. They aren’t very customizable and are PPC (Pay Per Click).
Moreover, you’re sacrificing the look of your website for chunk change.
I remember going to a Beauty Blog and seeing ads everywhere related to air travel. It was off-putting to say the least.
Understand your target audience before you place ads. Irrelevant ads are completely worthless to your Business.
It’s like me trying to sell carrots to a person who loves junk food.
Serves me right.
However, if you’re looking for alternative income streams where you don’t need to compromise on your website design or direct traffic to other Companies, then keep reading.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of my favorite blog monetization methods.
Because this is a passive income and it’s more like set it and leave it. And as long as you drive targeted traffic to those posts, it will continue to earn you an income.
For instance, I wrote a post on my favourite Pinterest Course and documented the results and it does pretty well.
Affiliate marketing is an income in itself if you’re gutsy enough.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
All you have to do is find your favourite Brands and Companies. Make sure that they’re in your niche and start applying to their Affiliate Programs.
It’s as simple as that.
Additionally, you can become an Affiliate for my eBooks and printables here.
Once you’re in and you have your unique links, all you have to do is write posts talking about your affiliate products. And with every sale you make with your link, you get a commission!
This is basically how it works:
A few important points to remember about affiliate marketing:
- Only choose Brands that are in your niche. It would be pretty useless to talk about drawing software if you’re in the Fitness Niche.
- Choose products that you have used and/or love. Remember, people will associate you with the products and services you refer them to. And if you link to Companies that are shady or don’t provide good customer service, you could lose your reputation and miss out on potential customers/clients. I never recommend any product in my Resources that I haven’t used already.
- Don’t join a million affiliate programs. It is really easy to get carried away and join every single affiliate program in your niche. But don’t do this. It will become really complicated and you’ll invariably end up earning less. Focus on a few that you love and use frequently.
- Create lots of pins on a monthly basis. In order to have a steady flow of traffic to your affiliate posts, keep creating new pins that lead to affiliate products or your reviews. This one strategy helped skyrocket my affiliate earnings through the roof! You can read my complete Pinterest Strategy here.
3. Selling eBooks
Overall, this is by far one of my favorite ways to make money blogging.
You don’t need to go through the hassle of finding a Publisher or keep an inventory and there’s no mention of shipping!
Moreover, it’s extremely easy and you can write and sell an eBook from the comfort of your own home.
I love writing and drawing, and eBooks are my favorite creations because they’re like mini-projects I can work on for 2 months before sharing it with the whole world.
And let’s not forget that they help bring in a lot of moolah.
eBooks are the best product to sell when you’re just getting started because the time investment is much less compared to what you need for an eCourse.
Additionally, it is also a great way to validate your niche and product idea. If your product is a success, then you know for sure that you are definitely headed down the right path.
You can download my free 25 page eBook creation guide to help you write and launch your own eBook!
I use SendOwl to sell all my eBooks in my Shop because they allow you to set up your own Affiliate Program! People who sign up to my Affiliate Program can sell my eBooks for me and get a commission. This helps both them and me earn an additional income!
If I ever update my eBooks, an email is automatically sent to all the people who have purchased it to download the updated version.
Moreover, there are other features I really love, like creating special coupons for products, adding up-sells to each product and so on. And best of all, the checkout process is really fast and easy.
This is how a customer moves through the buying process.
So, try it for yourself!
A few pointers on creating your first eBook:
- Validate your idea first. Check out the most commonly faced problems in your niche. A good way to do this is to scrounge Facebook Groups and read discussions. Look up trending eBooks on Amazon. This will help you understand what eBooks are most popular in the market.
- Give it all away. Don’t hold back when you’re writing your eBooks. It can seem daunting to write everything you know about the subject, but trust me; this is how you build trust. My latest eBook with its Bonuses crosses 300 pages easily. It took me over 2 months to plan and write it but it’s definitely worth the relationship I have built with my readers.
- Make the checkout process easy. The longer the customer has to wait after they’ve clicked the “Buy” button, the higher your chance of losing the customer. In order to avoid this, use a software that makes the checkout process fast and easy like SendOwl.
4. Selling eCourses
This is one of the best ways to make money blogging.
At least 90% of 6 figure bloggers sell courses. Mostly because courses are priced really high and bring in a continuous income if evergreen sales funnels are implemented.
If you have a skill that you want to teach your audience, creating an online course might just be perfect for you!
Undoubtedly, it can be really hectic and yes, it requires a lot of planning. But the results are worth it and more.
You have to record a few instructional videos and put them all up on a platform. Additionally, you can upload word documents, PDFs and any other material your students might find helpful.
I highly suggest Teachable because I’ve been with them for years and never had a single issue.
On top of the smooth service and user-friendly platform, their affiliate program is to die for. They handle all the payments themselves, so you don’t need to worry about paying your Affiliates.
5. Selling your own Services
It seems complicated, but it’s not.
We live in a world where we can make money doing absolutely anything.
Selling your services will make you a lot of money (similar to online courses), but it’s definitely not passive income. It requires a lot of time and energy.
Whatever service you choose to sell online, it’s best to use your Blog to gain you clients.
By writing and publishing posts that show off your expertise, you are continuously marketing your skills as a Freelancer.
Now, if you love to write, you can offer your writing services to Blogs/Companies that require high-quality articles. They pay per word. So, you can make anywhere between $50-$100 per article.
You can also work as a Virtual Assistant. Virtual Assistant responsibilities include scheduling social media for Bloggers, creating and curating content for them, replying to emails, generating invoices, etc.
It’s very easy and doesn’t require high-level training.
The best part? You can do this from home and get paid per hour. Amy Lynn has a great post on becoming a Virtual Assistant.
Apart from selling writing and VA services, you can also offer your services as a
- Website and Brand Builder
- Graphic Designer
- Artist and Illustrator
- Online Coach
- Any Skill you can sell online
Now, if you’re looking to improve a certain skill before you sell it as a service, there are some great courses on Domestika that you can take for cheap!
It’s no secret that I love taking Online Classes to help improve my skills. I’m using this lockdown to hone my illustration skills. Here are a few beautiful illustration classes I recently started taking and I love them so much!
For instance, this class is by one of my favorite Spanish Illustrators – Natália Dias. All the classes have sub-titles, so they’re very easy to follow.
All the classes are organized extremely well and take you step by step so you can practice along with the class.
Additionally, I was able to improve my skills as an Illustrator only because of Online classes. I don’t have a degree in Art. It’s only through watching videos and practicing endlessly, did I learn to become an Illustrator.
A few Pointers to remember when working as a Freelancer:
- Do not work for free. A lot of companies will try to get you to work for free promising “exposure.” Always say no.
- Do not undervalue your work. It is human nature to undervalue what we’re good at. But remember that you are good at what you do because you possess skills and have practiced for a long time. So, take some time to figure out your prices.
- Always define rules before starting work. Never ever work without a Contract in place. There are clients who will try to change the rules, get you to make more edits and/or try to get out of the final payment. A contract can prevent all of this from happening.
- Watermark your images when posting them on Social Media. If you’re a Designer or Artist, do not post high-res images without watermarks on Social Media. There are people who will rip off your designs and sell them on physical merchandise. (This happened to me)
6. Creating a membership platform
This is a good way to make money blogging but it requires a lot of effort.
A paid membership is where you offer exclusive content to subscribers for a monthly or yearly fee.
However, this requires continuous maintenance (in the form of constant content creation and interaction with members) but on the bright side, it brings you a recurring income.
In order to make money via a paid membership, you need to discover a widespread problem that people are ready to pay for on a monthly basis.
Additionally, you’re going to have to narrow down your niche extensively. You have to make a single promise to your members and over-deliver.
For instance, if you’re running a fitness program, you can promise your readers that if they join your paid membership platform, they will lose 15 pounds in 2 months. No questions asked.
Once that’s done, figure out how you’re going to implement your membership.
Will it be in a drip format where users can access certain courses at certain times, or will they get access to everything at once, once the payment clears?
Additionally, you can offer 2 payment models. A monthly one and a reduced yearly subscription.
After you’ve sorted out the plan and payment model, it’s time for you to decide on the format of your content. You can offer:
- Audio Recordings
- Video modules
- Live training
- Offers to Premium Courses
Overall, creating a paid membership platform requires you to be on your feet at all times. You cannot slack off. But it is definitely worth the effort if you like corresponding with people on a regular basis.
Once you have a large email list, you can consider starting a paid membership platform for your readers.
7. Sponsored Blog Content
Similar to affiliate marketing and ads, you basically write a Post for a Company/Brand talking about a product/service of theirs and in return, they pay you for it.
It’s a win-win situation, where both you and the Company you’re writing for earns a tidy profit.
However, try and be very picky with whom you choose to partner with.
Your trust with your audience should never be compromised. Once you start building a brand and see substantial traffic, you will automatically start getting loads of collaboration inquiries via email.
But, if there is a certain Brand you want to work with and they’ve not approached you yet, take the first step!
This is what I did with DevaCurl. I hopped on over to their Contact Page and directly emailed their PR.
I introduced myself, talked about my Curly Hair comics, told them about my audience and their interests and then asked if they would like to partner with me. And it worked!
Small Tip: Dig a little deeper and personalize the email so you come off as a real human being behind your Company. This really helps seal the deal.
Most Brands are super happy to receive such emails because you’re showing initiative and interest in their products and they’re getting someone passionate about their Company to promote their stuff.
Now, you have a good idea of different monetization techniques to implement in your Blog. Whatever route you take, consider all the pros and cons of each technique before straight-up jumping into it.
Take your time, do your research. Email Bloggers who are a little experienced. It never hurts to be friendly and ask.
The best way to grow? Watch what others are doing.
Learn from their mistakes.
And most importantly, do not be afraid to make your own.
It’s easy to think that everyone else is successful, but most bloggers seldom share their failures. We all trip, we all fall and we all make mistakes that slow us down a bit. These mistakes are necessary in order for us to grow.
I’ve had plenty of failed launches and business ideas that were total flops. I’d feel put down at that moment, but I’d start working on another idea bright and early the next day.
If you love teaching or talking, or writing, this is the best field for you.
So, is it really possible to make money blogging? Or make a full-time income blogging?
But only if you see it as your business from day 1.
Therefore, focus on building an audience first. Remember, you cannot even think of making money blogging unless you have people to buy your products.
Aim to provide value. Incessant value.
And don’t get stuck in the planning stage. If you overthink everything, you’ll never really get anything done.
So, take a deep breath, and start your blog today so you can make money blogging! Or take my free email course that will help you build a successful blog that makes money from scratch!
And here are a few posts that will help you get started if you’re looking to strengthen your blogging fundamentals:
- An Easy Guide on choosing a profitable blog niche
- to write a viral post within 2 hours
- How to Plan your Blog Content for a whole year and crush it
- 10 New Blogger Tips that I should have paid attention to
- 17 Easy Ways to Get more Clients
- What to do when you feel like Quitting
- 7 Mistakes I Made with my First eBook + How I fixed it!
- Is affiliate marketing worth it? All your questions answered!
So, don’t worry about being the Number 1 Blogger in your niche from day 1.
Blogging is a journey and becoming the best takes a lot of trial and error. Be patient and blog consistently and you will see results.