My Thoughts on How to Make Extra Money Blogging

How to Make Extra Money BloggingInstead of an actual interview with someone else today, I thought I’d share a bit of my own knowledge about making extra money from blogging.

How Do You Make Money from Blogging?

There are many different ways to make money from a blog.  Today I’m going to share with you what I’ve been doing and how it works for me. I warn you though, I’m not an expert on this subject.

I’m still learning and tweaking things every day. And while I’m disclaiming here, let me say that “blogging” and “social media” are ever-evolving, hard-to-define things.

So my definition of blogging and making money online is formed by looking through my own lens. Others see it differently.

At a high level, I make money with my blog by producing content that gets consistent, relevant traffic to this blog from the search engines. Then I convert that traffic to a sale.

At an even higher level, I make money by providing an answer to people’s questions. This is basically a form of content marketing.

There are many ways to convert the traffic that I get. I use 2 main methods here at PT Money: Google Adsense and affiliate sales. I also get a smaller amount of income from impression based advertising. However, I really don’t have enough traffic for this to be worth my time, I think.

The common denominator in all of those methods is quality traffic. If you can get the traffic then you can figure out how to monetize it. There are a million different ways to monetize a blog. The trouble is getting the traffic in the first place.

To build high quality, consistent, relevant traffic from the search engines you need to do two primary things: provide valuable content (e.g. solve problems, answer questions) and be seen as somewhat of an authority on the subject matter (i.e. you’ve been around a while and other people refer to you on the subject).

I could go on and on about content and authority, but I’ll save that for another blogger to explain. Or, you can email me and I’ll elaborate.

Why and How Did You Get Started Blogging?

I started blogging about personal finance after a year or so of reading other personal finance blogs and feeling like I also had something to contribute.

I wasn’t that great of a blogger initially (I’m a grammatically-challenged writer), and I definitely didn’t know how to monetize the little traffic I did have. But I think know it was my passion for personal finance that kept me going and allowed me to eventually have some success.

I started making real money after meeting other bloggers online who were doing just that. They were kind enough to share their methods with me and I’ve been optimizing different monetization techniques ever since.

As for the technical aspects, I started on Blogger, but moved to WordPress hosted on BlueHost in early 2008. Now I host it all on a dedicated server through InMotion Hosting.

How Much Do You Make from Blogging?

Right now this blog brings in anywhere from 25% to 40% of my full-time job monthly income. Enough to pay my mortgage and then some. It’s been a great side hustle. My numbers are definitely not typical when compared to all bloggers (most bloggers don’t make much money).

But if you compare me to my peers in the personal finance realms, I’ve still got a ways to go before I maximize my earning from this blog. I’m excited at the potential.

When Do You Have Time to Do This?

I don’t. I have made time. Since I’ve had a full-time job these past 3 years, I’ve primarily been writing and working on the blog from 8pm to midnight (sometimes 3am). This allows me time to spend with the family each evening, but still spend a significant amount of time each night on the blog.

This explains why I can’t tell you what happened on any TV shows last night, or meet you out at the movies. I also spend at least 8 hours on the weekends writing or tweaking the blog. It’s been tough at times to balance a job and a side-business. But I’m proof that you can do both, at least for a little while.

Can You See This Being a Full-Time Gig?

Yes. I didn’t at first. But as things have progressed, I’ve been encouraged to see that it can be done. My goal is to be a full-time blogger very soon. I’ve grown tired of trying to find time for blogging. I want it to be my main gig.

Can everyone make a full time income from blogging? Yes, I think so. It takes a lot of hard work for most people, but it can be done. Do most bloggers make full time income? No, because they are either not trying to, or, because they’re not there yet. I’m convinced that if you want it, and you put in the time, it will come.

How Do You Maximize Your Earnings from Blogging?

I consider the baseline for blogging to be writing consistently and interacting with the community. If you’re doing that, then you are going to eventually see some income, if only enough to buy you a coffee once a week. To maximize my earnings I’ve done the following:

  1. Write to answer questions and solve problems.
  2. Produce a large amount of content.
  3. Interact with others doing the same thing as much as possible.
  4. Constantly try different monetizing methods.

The thing about those first 3 items above is that they come naturally to those with a passion for the subject matter.

One specific tip I can give here is to focus heavily on converting search engine traffic. I try not to “sell” to my subscribers and daily readers. I love you guys, but you don’t pay my bills.

The folks coming from Google, Bing, and Yahoo every day are the paying customers. They are visiting my site for the first time and I’m providing an answer that is highly relevant to what they need right then and there. They are therefore the easiest to convert.

Not to say you can’t develop a nice niche following and make sales. It’s just not something I have experience with. I’m getting there though.

What Mistakes Do People Make When Trying to Make Money Blogging?

I’m sure I made a ton of mistakes along the way. Heck, I’m probably still making a few. I think overall people make a mistake when they try to blog just for money. They underestimate how much effort it takes to create income from free content.

As I stressed earlier, it takes a long time and a lot of hard work. If you’re passionate about your subject matter then it’s easier to press on when success comes slow.

If you’re an experienced blogger I’d love to hear your thoughts on maximizing your earnings, or any other blogging monetization tips you might have. Share them below…

Blogging not your thing? Check out 52 Ways to Make Extra Money.

Image by Jacob Bøtter

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Last Edited: April 29, 2013 @ 3:29 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

27 comments
SuneXtra
SuneXtra

I'm also a blogger who is trying to replace my current full-time income, with an online income. It's been a struggle, but I think as long you publish good original content, and if you are passionate about what you are writing about, you will eventually succeed.

Jim
Jim

Great candid explanation Philip, thank you for sharing!  I haven't monetized my blog yet, thinking of starting in 2014, I didn't want to be guided by making money, I would rather concentrate on building up readership at this point. Thank you for the tips!

Student Finance
Student Finance

Brilliant Article! Been struggling to get people to interact with my blog :(

Taran
Taran

Great info, I am looking for extra money.Such have shared a good post, it will be helpful for me.

Pudding
Pudding

Hello PT,

 

This is my first time in your site and I am glad I found it (not sure how...). This is great information since I am in the process of buying a domain soon. Thanks for all the tips and your honest opinion and experience.

WhatMommyDoes
WhatMommyDoes

I'm really enjoying reading your blog.  You have such an honest writing style!  It's nice to read about another blogger's progress.  I can't tell when you wrote this, but hopefully you're already problogging by now.  I hope to join you one day!  Luckily, I am already a SAHM and have a husband who can support our family while I give this a real shot.  But, like you, I have other demands on my time (3 kids and part-time work from home gigs) that force me to fit blogging into the wee hours of the morning, during naptimes, etc.  It's an adventure, for sure! :)   

Madhav Tripathi
Madhav Tripathi

I also believe blogging is a good idea to make money online. If we have a blog we can make extra money using out blog platform.

Ben - BankAim
Ben - BankAim

Hi Philip,

This is an encouraging post to read, especially looking at a website like yours' it looks perfect from an outside point of view. I know that we mess up all of the time, but its the fact that we never give up or stop blogging that eventually leads to success. The hardest part is learning this as we go. Figuring out what works and what doesn't. Even the inconsistent flow of money is hard, but since we love what we do we continue working.

Hope to see as much success in our future as you have.

Philip Taylor
Philip Taylor

Thanks for sharing, Sandy, and congrats on the success. Yes, the ups and down of blog income can be unsettling. That's why I think it's important to move beyond content marketing for someone else (adsense and affiliates) and eventually come up with your own product line.

Sandy @ yesiamcheap
Sandy @ yesiamcheap

I've reached the point where some months the blog makes more than my monthly take home pay. Some times it's 20%. But it's a decent amount of money and a good side hustle. I don't know if I could blog full-time. For now, it's all I have to post 4-5 days each week while holding a full time job.

The total cost of working for oneself goes beyond the easy comparison of take home pay. Tax implications, medical coverage and retirement accounts have to be factored in before jumping ship. For now, I'm comfortable as it.

Ken
Ken

Thanks for the info....if there is one recurring theme about success it's "quality content." Thanks for the tips and good luck.

PT
PT

Thanks, Mrs. Money. I will take you up on that guest post offer. I've got you down on my list.

Mrs. Money
Mrs. Money

YAY PT! That is fantabulous! If you ever want to guest post on my blog, I'd be all for it!

PT
PT

Thanks, Mrs. Accountability. I'm sure you'll get there.

Mrs. Accountability
Mrs. Accountability

I love hearing these success stories, I too aspire to blog full time one day. Currently I spend a lot of time on Friday and Saturday. The other days are too busy and I have to sleep. I hope you meet your goals soon!

PT
PT

@Evan - for the skyscraper adsense ad I just use a text widget in the sitewide sidebar. for the in-post adsense ad I rotate two different ad sizes depending on the user. this is done using a plugin called WhoSeesAds. I highly recommend anyone looking to optimize with adsense look into this plugin. if I ever do stick a banner up, i just use a text widget to throw it up. there is a plugin called ad manager, i think, that will help you track clicks on banners, but I don't use them enough to care. i probably should though.

@courtney e. - thanks for the encouragement and for reading for the past couple of years. :)

@Samurai - I'm assuming your "you" is general. I think it depends on a few things: can your blog income cover your expenses, has your income been consistent enough to count on, could you join the corporate world again without a hitch, will your family still be protected (insurance), etc. Bottom line: when you are making enough money and you are comfortable with the risks, it's time.

ChristianPF
ChristianPF

PT, I can remember the days of trying to squeeze in the time to write and do blogging stuff around the day job. From what I have seen, I think you understand the keys and will be joining the problogger crew soon. Shoot me an email if I can ever be of help...

Peter
Peter

PT - thanks for the link to my blogging series! Like you I've found that blogging can be a nice secondary or even full time income - although I never thought it could be when it started.

The things I've learned:

1. Focus on content.
2. Write a lot.
3. Write some more.

Ok, I guess you probably get the point.

Also - network with other bloggers to help promote your content, organize and prioritize your blogging activities, and be consistent. Good luck all!

Tiffany Willis
Tiffany Willis

Phil, thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. Great information! I was especially attentive to you mentioning that you aren't up to date on all the TV shows. I read something more than 20 years ago that helped me make the decision to put most TV out of my life (something about 4 hours a day and a person can learn a couple of foreign languages in their lifetime). Your post illustrates that beautifully!

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai

PT, thanks for your post. At what point do you decide to go full-time?

courtney e.
courtney e.

i'm so impressed with the $$ you're making on a monthly basis! that's fantastic! good luck in your goal to be FT PT! :)

Monevator
Monevator

Regarding RSS subscribers and regular readers, I'm very interested in exploring ways to, erm, pass the hat around (while delivering value!) later this year when I have a bit more time. I agree they contribute nothing to my pot at the moment, which is clearly a disconnect when they're a big part of the reason I blog!

Some bloggers seem to manage to create bespoke products for a loyal audience. I think I'll go down that route eventually.

Evan
Evan

PT,

Can you give some insight into ad placement on your site? How you set it all up? etc.

Four Pillars
Four Pillars

Good post.

I'll agree that most bloggers could make decent money at blogging but most of them just want to blog about whatever interests them at the moment and don't want to do the other 80% of the work necessary to make $$.

PT
PT

Thanks, Money Funk. I totally agree about guest posting. I'm doing a bit of that myself here lately.

Money Funk
Money Funk

I finally am 'getting it' at making money blogging. You mean writing a 'huge amount of content'. LOL. maybe not.

But as we have all heard, you need to be passionate or really love it. Ask yourself, can you see youself talking about personal finance (or your topic) for years ahead?

Keep it real. Amost anyone can spot a fake. Make your money but continue being you in your writing or the masses will fall.

Constantly try different methods. <==True. Everyone's blog brings in a different audience. There is no one magic formula for making it a win situation.

And Network! Put some guest post out, write some articles, participate in challenges. Definitely helps. I've done this recently and have rendered some really positive feedback. ;)

Great post. BTW, I use BlueHost and love it!

Philip Taylor
Philip Taylor moderator

 @WhatMommyDoes Thanks for saying so, Lena. Although I've updated this post a few times since, it was originally written in Feb 2010. Ironically, I quit my corporate gig a few days later. I've been (mostly) full time blogging since. This was written a year later: http://ptmoney.com/self-employment-a-year-later/ Now this blog, and FinCon, are all I do. I checked out your tax blog briefly. Good stuff. Good idea joining Yakezie too.

WhatMommyDoes
WhatMommyDoes

 @Philip Taylor  Thanks for the compliment on Taxes and Stuff..means a lot!!  Sometimes I can't make up my mind which site to focus on, WhatMommyDoes or TaxesandStuff.  They are so different, and I felt weird when I tried to mesh all the topics together on one site, so I know having different sites is the way I need to go for now.  I just need to get my writing mojo back so I can post consistently to both sites and see where they go.  For now, I'm just doing Yakezie for T&S, but will likely eventually add WMD to the challenge.  Both at once seemed a little much all at once.  

 

Going to go check our your Year Later update...thanks for linking to that for me.