How To Start Blogging for Money – Lessons Learned

blogging for moneyYou may be wondering how to start blogging for money, especially with everyone creating blogs and generating income with them.

Let me be honest though, just because you create a blog doesn’t mean you’ll be making any money.

It’s certainly possible to start blogging for money,  but before you jump in with both feet, these are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way, not only from my own experience, but from watching others and some of the mistakes they’ve made.

Business or Hobby?  

If you’re planning to start blogging for money it’s going to be a business.  That means you need to treat it like a business and not a hobby.  Believe it or not, that can be the difference between failure and success.

Don’t Make Money Your Main Focus

Huh?  Isn’t that what you do in order to make money?

Of course, but one mistake many bloggers make is that they focus so much on only making money, they become blinded to what it takes to build a successful business.

Before you can ever make money you have to realize that it’s a process and there are steps you have to go through first.  This is true when creating any business.  You’ll first need to:

  • Have a focused Niche
  • Have enthusiasm for what you do
  • Know who your visitors are and what they want
  • Project a professional appearance
  • Write great content
  • Develop daily Personal interaction
  • Offer quality products and services
  • Keep the benefit of your customers and visitors ahead of your own personal gain

Start with a Focused Niche (A good example of a bad example)


My first blog was on the topic of skincare.  I blogged about every skin care topic you could think of.  I had 8 skincare topics.  Acne, Rosacea, anti-aging, skin cancer, moles and skin tags, and a few others.

But the blog, even with all its great content, made very little money. Why?  Because it was too broad. The blog attracted a wide variety of interests but I had no loyal following.  For instance, the acne sufferer didn’t care about aging skin advice or vice-versa.

Each one of those topics could be broken down into a blog of its own and would have done much better.

So just how focused should a niche be?

If your topic can be broken down into subtopics that have a wide range of topics under them, then it could be more focused.

The more niche focused you are, the more loyal and consistent your readers will be because you’ll be offering readers precisely the products, services and information that target and remedy their exact problems, which also helps with effectively monetizing your blog.

Be Enthusiastic About Your blog’s Topic

Part of your blog’s success will come from your enthusiasm for your niche.

After honest personal examination. This wasn’t the case with my skin care blog, and it showed. I was more interested in blasting my site with general information and ads than I was with really connecting with readers.

This also gets back to focusing too heavily on the making money part of blogging.  My skin care blog was a great example of a money only focus.  I liked skin care but only in terms of making money.  I knew skin care was profitable so I wanted to profit, period.

So take a lesson, if you’re simply creating your blog for the sole purpose of making money, you could find yourself simply filling your posts with dull information that overstates the obvious, and doesn’t deliver the personal experiences and ideas that influences readers and gets them to take action.

Know Your Visitor

Do you know who your audience will be?

With my skincare blog, I had no idea, nor did I care.  I had such a broad range of visitors it was impossible for me to know what all of their wants, fears, or emotions were.

The best thing you can do for your readers is to take the time to really understand them.  Once you know who these people are, what they feel, what excites them or what turns them off, they’ll learn to trust you and regard you as someone that really understands them and has their best interest at heart.

Invest in Your Business Blog

Your blog will be your business, so take a professional approach. That means the tools I use for my business blogging platform should reflect quality and professionalism, and that’s hard to achieve if you don’t invest in your business with quality tools and services.

For example, your blogging platform should be a quality one. It doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact you can literally get set up with a WordPress Self-hosted blog for as little as $25 or less, whereas a totally free blogging site will have limitations.  This is important because you don’t want to have to go through setting up a blog more than once, there are too many headaches with doing that.

Here’s a handy step-by-step PDF guide I’ created on how to set up your own WordPress self-hosted blog.

Write Great Content that Reflects a Writing Style People Will Read

From writing over a thousand blog posts, I’ve learned that great content contains three things, it’s

  • Useful being information people can use.
  • Interesting in that your readers enjoy reading it and find it informative
  • Unique because it contains your own personal thoughts, experiences and ideas.

Adding opinions, personal insight or rants and raves goes a long way for adding interest and getting people involved.  No one else will express their feelings and knowledge the way you can, so really capitalize on that.

Here are a few more writing tips that have served me well:

  • Write short paragraphs and get to the point quickly
  • Use bullets and images
  • Use interesting quotes and where appropriate
  • Use capitals, italics and underlining to emphasize points

Here’s more on how to develop a blog writing style that is more suitable for web writing.

http://www.homenotion.com/blog/why-your-blog-writing-style-may-be-turning-off-your-readers/

Connect With A Community

Don’t expect to create your blog, add some content and forget it.  You may have been able to do that a few years ago and still get traffic to your blog. Today things are very different.  It’s not as easy to get top ranking, but today you don’t need to. Social media has changed all that making it easier for each of us to get eyes on our blogs and blog posts simply by connecting with a social community.

 

The take away here is to post regularly to your blog and promote each and every post you write.  If you have a WordPress blog use these plugins to help you connect with your community.

1 click Retweet Share and Like

In Summary..

What blogging for money really boils down to is putting your audience first and doing it in a way that helps you stand out as unique, informative and a compelling individual.

There are thousands of blogs created every day so if you can stand out in the crowd you’ll be successful long after the others have given up.

What lessons have you learned through blogging and how have they impacted your ability to make money with your blog?

Blessings,

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Comments

  1. Oliver Tausend says:

    Hi Liz,

    thanks for sharing your insights about the subject of blogging for money. I would say it all depends on the “WHY”. You have to treat blogging like a business, of course. That doesn’t mean that I have to treat it like a job. What’s the difference between blogging for money at home and working for money on a job ?

    Take care

    Oliver

  2. Robert Samuel says:

    Great article Ms. Liz. I’ve already taken some of these steps, but you can never get too far away from the basics. :-)

  3. Hey Liz,

    Great post – loads of interesting thoughts on making a commercial blog work.

    Have to agree with you, content must be the central core, and a focused niche will be a more workable, especially if you’re a sole operator or in the early stages of building your business.

    Also super important is your point about feeling some passion – since a blog is so much about revealing your thoughts and perspective, have more than the motivation of financial gain is essential if you’re to really connect with people and build a following.

    I’d also like to add that I love the simple tips you’ve laid out… You could even have spread the value in this post across more than one post!

    Thanks and all the best,

    Jym

  4. Josh Garcia says:

    Hey Liz,

    Folks who treat this like a business will get a business out of it. If you go at this like a hobby…well guess what happens? :)

    Once you understand how to use a blog as a vehicle to attract what you are looking for. The possibilities are awesome!

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  5. Heather C Stephens says:

    HI Liz,

    I loved your tip on the word that sell book. I’ll be picking it up. Thanks! And I’ve gone through Nicole Dean’s Blog World Tour and loved it. She’s a great resource as well.

    Thanks for sharing all your tips. This is one I’ll be back to reference in the future!

    Heather

  6. Susanna Hess says:

    Wow Liz,

    I know exactly what you’re talking about! I also had another blog and it was MUCH too broad to gain any real traction. I would have needed a whole team to get that thing really going. 😉

    Even the blog I now have took me awhile to really figure out what I wanted to focus most on. Since realizing that I’m not only having more success with it, but I’m also having a lot more fun with it too!

    I’m glad you covered this topic, it’s really important. At first it’s sometimes tough to know exactly how to narrow it down. Part of me felt like I was going to be missing out on people who wanted to know about other topics. But how can I write powerful posts, or make content rich videos, if I’m not passionate on the topic? I can’t.

    Thanks Liz!
    Susanna

    • Hey Susanna, you’re right about being hard to narrow your niche down, you do feel like you’ll be missing out on visitors but it’s really not about attracting more visitors, you want targeted visitors, they’re the ones that will actually buy, the others are just looky loos. It wasn’t until I created a focused niche blog and made more sales that I really got that concept.

  7. Marcus Baker says:

    Hi Liz,

    Very valuable tips here. I guess it does all depend on what one’s reason is for having a blog but like you say for heaps of bloggers, their blog is their business not just and ‘add on’.

    I think a lot has to to do with knowing and deciding what one wants to achieve. Together with all your valuable tips, everybody will have a much better idea of how to blog for money now. Thank you.

    ~Marcus

  8. Karen Newman says:

    Liz,

    Awesome points! Especially the part about narrowing the focus within your niche. Many people overlook this important step. As well, treating your business like a business may seem obvious, but again, many treat it as a hobby instead. Thanks for your very comprehensive list!

    Cheers,
    Karen

  9. I started two previous websites in different niches that I thought would make money. One was skin care (ha-ha). But I did not have enough interest to keep me going. I have been working my present site for almost two years (started January 2 2009) . I am very interested in it and that is what keeps me going. Although I do want to make money, it is not the money that keeps me motivated. I really want to help people find the business idea for them.

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