Instead 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 the following methods here at PT Money: display advertising (Google Adsense, Media.net, etc.), affiliate sales and email list building. 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.
Display advertising is done through advertising networks and is probably the most common and easy ways to implement. Ads are displayed programmatically by the display network based on the content in the blog post.
Affiliate advertising is displayed based on a direction relationship with an affiliate advertising partner. I sign up for their affiliate program and they provide me the links and banners to display on the site.
Finally, email marketing is done primarily through email marketing platforms, such as with ConvertKit (highly recommended for bloggers). I collect email sign ups and share affiliate products I know and trust in my email newsletters.
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. BlueHost provides affordable hosting services for beginners and more advanced needs.
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:
- Write to answer questions and solve problems.
- Produce a large amount of content.
- Interact with others doing the same thing as much as possible.
- 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.