Making money through blogging requires a carefully thought out topic. If you have an existing blog with a small audience, be honest when considering whether the topic has broad appeal that isn’t already covered by other established bloggers. If it does, great! Otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with starting a second blog that will be more successful in attracting an audience, marketing itself, and making money through a variety of methods described below.
STEP ONE – FINDING YOUR INSPIRATION
- Write down every topic that you are knowledgeable or passionate about.
You’ll have a much easier time making money from a blog you are interested in, rather than trying to write content you don’t like because you think it will make money. Some examples are hobbies that you enjoy, your career, or some specific and miscellaneous knowledge that you have.
- Some of the most financially successful blogs provide news on a specific topic or targeted to a particular demographic. Mashable, a blog focused primarily on social media news, was founded by a teenager in 2005 and now attracts millions of dollars in investment funding.
- Many blogs post funny videos and images around a certain topic. Fail Blog is a famous example, posting examples of mishaps, misspellings, and other “stupid” actions. It makes its money primarily through advertising, and now sells a highly successful book as well.
- Some blogs are focused on getting paid to provide links to news articles, company stores, or other third party websites. The most financially successful of these range from the Drudge, a blog composed almost entirely of conservative-leaning news links, to Smashing Magazine, a site that provides advice and product reviews to help software developers. Additional common topics covered by the most valuable blogs include business (Business Insider), sports (SBNation), celebrity gossip (Perez Hilton), and music (Pitchfork).
- Narrow down the topics by reflecting on profitability and other goals
In order to make money, you’ll need to find a niche that other people haven’t filled already, but is still popular enough to attract a significant number of visitors. Also consider other factors, such as money you’d have to spend if your blog focused on reviewing products that you in turn would have to buy.
- Choose a specific niche, not a broad topic. Write about training for marathons, not general fitness. Write about making glass jewelry, not arts and crafts.
- If you want to be famous or reach a wide audience, you will have to choose something slightly broader and work hard to make the best content for that topic. A subtopic relating to fitness, finance, or relationship advice is likely to reach the most people. Consider specific but broadly applicable topics such as managing money in college, or a marriage counseling blog.
- Search for blogs that cover similar topics
Use a search engine and the search bar on blog hosting sites to find blogs that cover your topic or related topic. Read a few blog posts from the most popular ones, that show up high on the search ranking, have the most comments, or display a readership of 20,000 or more. Get an idea for how much interest and competition there is.
- If you can’t find any popular blogs related to your topic, you probably went too niche. People interested in a topic will often visit several related blogs, and each blogger can link to the other to direct more traffic to each site.
- If you find a popular blog that exactly covers your topic, be aware that it will be difficult to compete with them. Try to tweak your topic to a slightly different but related subject, so you complement the popular blogs instead of trying to overtake them.
- Test how knowledgeable you are about the topic
If you’re not sure you have enough to write about, try writing as many article headlines as you can before you create your blog. If you can’t think of at least thirty that fit your topic, you should choose something else that you know more about. STEP TWO – DECIDING ON A BLOGGING PLATFORM 1. Consider a free blogging service Many people opt to create a free blog using popular services such as WordPress.com or Google Blogger. This is a good option for people who aren’t familiar with web design, don’t want to pay for their own hosting, or enjoy the ease and stability that comes with these services. These services do have limitations on how you can make money using them, however, so make sure your blog won’t break the terms of service.
- WordPress.com supports limited advertising, PayPal links, and limited affiliate links. The website will not host blogs that contain third party ad services, banner ads, sites primarily used for affiliate links, or any advertisements for get rich quick schemes, gambling, pornography, multi-level marketing, or “disreputable merchants”.
- Google Blogger supports advertising through Google AdSense, PayPal links, and limited affiliate links. If you use excessive affiliate links, fail to add relevant content when including affiliate links, or get paid to increase someone’s search engine ranking, Google will move your blog much lower in the search rankings, greatly decreasing your audience traffic.
- If you are not familiar with these terms, they are described under Monetizing Your Blog.
- Consider hosting your own blog
If you purchase your own domain name, you will need to pay a hosting service monthly or annual fees to keep your website available. The advantage is greater customization, greater control over how to monetize your blog, and direct access to information on blog traffic for analysis.
- If you aren’t familiar with web design, you should have a knowledgeable friend assist you. Self hosted blogs are more easily affected by hackers or by mistakes from inexperienced owners.
- Choose an easy-to-remember domain name, and use (yourname).com when possible if you are an author or other public figure.
- Confusingly, WordPress.org allows you to use WordPress software on your own, self-hosted blog. This is a good choice if you are familiar with WordPress.com, a free blog hosting service described above, but want the advantages of your own site.
STEP THREE – CREATING COMPELLING CONTENT
- Create and customize your blog
If you are using a free service, there should be a tutorial to guide you through the initial steps of setting up your blog, as well as a forum for people to ask questions. If you are hosting your own site, you will need someone with web design experience to customize your blog, or you can use software such as WordPress.org to use the same structures available at free services.
- Most of these blog hosting services come with paid upgrades that allow greater customization and other benefits.
- Write original content. Come up with your own topics for each blog post, and write the post yourself instead of tweaking or copy-pasting someone else’s work. Readers will come to your blog if they enjoy your writing style and your choice of topic, not to read rehashed content they can easily find elsewhere.
- You can gain readers by posting content that wasn’t previously available online, such as scans of obscure or pre-20th century books and artwork. You should still add your own commentary around this content, however.
- Update frequently
None of the techniques for Monetizing Your Blog will matter if you let your blog stagnate. Try to post at least once a week, on a subject you haven’t covered before that fits your blog’s main topic.
STEP FOUR – MARKETING YOUR BLOG
- Brainstorm keywords for each blog post
Keywords are the important words that relate to the topic of your blog, and specifically the new subtopic you cover each time you post. Choosing relevant keywords that people search for frequently will increase the visibility of your blog, attract more readers, and show them advertisements they are likely to click.
- You can use the Google Keyword Research tool to get an estimate on how much Google is being paid for keywords by advertisers.
- Include keywords in important places
Include them in your blog post title, the large “headers” introducing a new section, the first few sentences of your post, and in links. Change your settings so each blog post’s URL includes the title of the post, not the date it was posted. Try to make these as descriptive as possible to raise your ranking in search results and attract the right audience.
- Words displayed in images do not count as keywords.
- If your blog software has a “tagging” function to add keywords to each post, use this as frequently and as accurately as possible.
- If you are posting your blog using HTML instead of through blog software that does it for you, pay special attention to the