As a blogger, one of the biggest questions people usually have is how to make money blogging. I get it—having a blog is cool, and maybe you’re even enjoying writing as a hobby, but at the end of the day, it’s always going to be a hobby unless you start making money online.
This post focuses 100% on helping bloggers understand different ways they can make their first $500 as a blogger.
Can you make more than that? Sure! But let’s start with that goal in mind to begin so you have an attainable goal and don’t get overwhelmed.
But first, a little about me.
Before I begin, I want to say that I understand your situation because, in 2014, I was in the exact same position. I started numerous blogs, invested quite a bit of money, and was met with consistent failure.
In fact, I logged all of my revenue and expenses from those days and you can see my blog income reports here.
But, if you don’t want to read my reports, you can see below that I was barely making any income each month when I started.
When I finally did learn how to make money blogging, it was all from consulting that was a result of the hard work on my website.
Passive income seemed like a dream….until it wasn’t.
That said, I totally understand how difficult it is for beginner bloggers to make money because they don’t have a target audience and they’re just trying to grow. I’ve been there myself.
Now that I’ve figured things out, I’ve grown significantly and last year I was able to make over $200,000 with my portfolio of blogs that I own.
Not only do I understand what it’s like to be a beginning blogger, but I also understand what it takes to scale a successful blog so that it makes thousands of dollars every single month.
I’ve gone through this process multiple times and unlike some other “gurus” out there, I practice what I preach.
To be clear, I’m not telling you how much I’ve made to gloat; I’m telling you this to show you that I really know your situation, and what’s possible if you make the right decisions.
It all starts with the blog you create.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that some people get into this world of blogging and write aimless posts about different things they’re dealing with or are passionate about.
It’s great that they took a step to start their own blog, I give them credit…..
But this is where the problem starts for new bloggers…
They look at a blog as an online journal of sorts and read somewhere that “if you write it, they will come”.
Typically, these people blog for a couple of months. They won’t spend any money on any tools to help them.
They don’t want to outsource anything because they see all of this as an “expense” and not an investment.
And frankly, I don’t feel bad for these folks.
You see, to have a blog that’s successful you need to treat it like a business. Every successful blogger does this, and you should too. Think of your blog as a piece of digital real estate in a business portfolio.
Have you ever seen a small business succeed without any money to support its growth? The answer is no.
Every single blogging business out there needs some type of investment in order to grow and your blog is no different.
Whether it be courses to help you better understand blogging, tools to help you become more efficient, or outsourcing tasks to save you time, the great bloggers treat this as a business and that’s why they succeed.
But it isn’t just that…..
People who start a blog and look to make money with it spend their time to make sure that the blog they’re trying to create has some type of commercial intent.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s do a quick comparison of two different blogs to illustrate my point.
Of the two different blog niches above, which one do you think has more commercial viability?
If you answered Website B, you’re correct.
Commercial viability, in the case of a blog, refers to how much commercial entities will be interested in the content you have written on the blog.
Let’s explain further.
If you choose to make Website A, you’d have a blog focused on lyrics, poetry, the meaning of English words, and interpreting what different song lyrics mean.
While there is definitely an audience for this, and you might be able to get a decent amount of traffic, how can you make money from a blog like this?
The blog content you write has very little to do with any type of company, so there isn’t going to be a high advertiser demand. Low demand means low earnings per click, less affiliate products, and users who never intended on spending money in the first place.
Conversely, Website B is writing blog posts about pet health and pet training. The commercial viability for a niche like this is extremely high because advertisers want to sell their products to your audience. In fact, you can even create an online store and sell your own ecommerce products to your audience if you’d like.
Think about it…Pet Health has a lot of physical products like pet vitamin companies, pet food companies, veterinarians, pet toys that promote physical activity, and pet training has behavioral experts, products that can help, and medications as well.
There are plenty of pet-related affiliate programs out there that can be used as you can see by this list from Diggity Marketing. Granted, this list is just for dogs, but the point is that there is no shortage of commercial viability when it comes to the pet niche.
Do you see the difference?
Website B has significantly more commercial viability than Website A and this will make it so that you’re more likely to succeed because you’ll be able to make more revenue and passive income as you grow.
If you want to succeed with a blog, you need to make sure that you have a commercially viable niche. To find the right niche, and the right monetization strategies, you may want to check this free course I offer.
Now that you understand commercial viability, let’s get into the list of different tactics you can use and the step-by-step instructions to make money with a blog.
1) Affiliate Income
For those who don’t know, if you find a product or service that you like, you can link to it from your blog, and when people click and buy something from your link, then you’ll get a small commission for referring them.
This is a great way to make money online in the beginning because you don’t need a ton of traffic coming to your website to make money.
If you have the right content, it might only take 100 people to visit a blog post and if one person clicks and purchases one of the products that you recommend, you’ll make some money.
Where to Find Affiliate Programs
There are a few different places where you can find affiliate programs, let’s review some of the most popular options.
Share a Sale
The first is ShareASale.com. This is an affiliate network of a bunch of different companies that have joined and hosted their affiliate programs with the platform.
This is a great option if you’re just getting started because you can find a lot of different companies in different niches that’ll complement your efforts if you haven’t found the right products to promote yet.
One nice benefit of this platform is that after you join, you can apply to multiple programs and then manage it all from one interface.
Next is Commission Junction. This is another affiliate network where you can manage everything in one place. This is one of the oldest affiliate networks out there.
You can apply to Amazon Associates. Not everyone knows this, but if you link from your blog to a particular product on Amazon and a reader from your blog clicks on that link and purchases it, you’ll make a commission from that product.
The problem with the Amazon affiliate platform is that they pay very little compared (1-5% in most cases) to other programs out there, but I still make $500 – $1000 per month with this platform. The reason is that although the commission rate is low, Amazon does an unbelievable job at converting people.
If there’s a product or service that you really like and you want to recommend it to people, but you also want to make money, then check with a simple Google search. Whether you know this or not, nearly all
Just type in the company name along with “affiliate program” and most of the time, they’re already going to have an affiliate program for you to join.
How to Start
How do you get started with affiliates? It’s really pretty easy.
1. Grow your blog to 25-50 visits/day
Generally speaking, you want to have about 25-50 people visiting your blog each day. You need this because you have to have some traffic in order to get approved for an affiliate program.
Otherwise, they’re going to look at your blog and think, “Well, you don’t have traffic, so we’re not going to approve you.” Then, you won’t even have the chance to sell anything.
2. Make a list of products/software that you use
If the traffic is there, then I advise you to make a list of products you use or things that you’re a big fan of and figure out if you want to sell them. I like this approach because you’ll have personal experience, so it’s much easier to create blog content as you’ll already be an expert.
3. Sign up for affiliate programs
You can sign up for all the different affiliate programs. Just let them know a little bit about you, your website, how it’s growing, and you’ll usually get accepted to those programs.
It takes about 5-10 minutes to apply to each affiliate program and the information required is straightforward.
4. Create content
If you’re just starting out with this, I highly recommend that you focus on writing “Best”, “Vs.” or “Review” content. Keyword research is crucial to a successful blog, so take your time here or hire a keyword research service.
“Best” Content: This type of content focuses on helping people understand what the best options are for a specific product. As an example, I wrote a post on the best youtube editing software. This particular posts lists a number of possible solutions for YouTube video editing and if people click on one of the links and buy the product, I can make a commission for referring them.
“Vs.” Content: I personally haven’t done a ton of this content, but it’s definitely a good way to create solid affiliate content. What you would do here is compare two products together and see which one comes out on top. For instance, I could create a post on Wincher vs other keyword rank tracking software.
“Review” Content: This type of content is created when you want to focus on a singular product and do an in-depth review of it. I’ve done an Accuranker review, Systeme io review, and even a review of Thrive Themes.
As you can see, the Thrive Themes review is very comprehensive and anyone who goes there has the potential to click on my links and purchase the software. I check into some analytics and you can see below, with this one post, I’ve been able to make over $13,500 in commissions.
Next is consulting—and this is pretty simple if there’s a specific skill you have. For instance, I’m in the online business and internet marketing niche.
I had my digital marketing skills when I first started the website, so I opted to offer consulting services related to that. For me, it was pretty easy because my former employer wanted me to freelance for three months as they transitioned to a new employee.
The point here is that if you have a blog on a specific marketable topic/subject, you can offer yourself as a consultant for different businesses out there. Landing clients is the hardest part, but if your content on your blog is attracting the right people, it can be done.
How to Start
1. Ask your current or most recent employer
Your current or most recent employer is a great way to start. If you want to leave your job and get into blogging full-time and you have a certain skill your employer needs, you can put in your two weeks and explain that you’d love to continue as a consultant if they’ll have you.
Some employers won’t be receptive to this, but some will be. It all depends on the culture of the company and how your boss feels about the work you’ve done.
2. Choose a specialty
The key when you’re doing consulting is that you need to pick a specialty. This is usually going to be related to what you do professionally but it doesn’t always have to be.
As an example, let’s say that you’ve been an accountant for 7 years but you really have a passion for health and nutrition. Your specialty could be online personal training.
Even though you may not be as credentialed in that as you are in accounting, as long as you’ve studied the subject, you’ll know more than most people.
But frankly, the easiest way to have quick success is to choose something related to the job you have. Wherever you’re employed, there are going to be skills that you have that are sought after, so choose a blog topic that you already understand.
3. Put a form on your website for people to contact you
In order for people to contact you about consulting, you have to have a contact form (duh).
There are plenty of wordpress plugins to help with this, but I’m a fan of contact form 7 myself. It’s free, lightweight, and easy to use.
4. Market yourself
Next, you want to market yourself with social media and your blog. For social media, you can put it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, or wherever else you have a presence. For your blog, you can put your consulting service offer in the navigation, or even have it on the homepage of your blog.
Just make it clear that you offer to consult and create content that your ideal customer would want to read.
Most people neglect them as resources, but don’t be scared to look on Craigslist and Fiverr for someone who might be interested in your services. It’s a great way to land your first few clients!
5. Gather leads and choose the best fit
Once you have a blog up and have spent time creating content, you’re going to start getting people contacting you looking for services. From here, you need to gather those leads and determine who is the best fit for you as a consultant.
This isn’t easy to determine at the start, so begin by landing your first few clients to see what you like/dislike about them and the whole aspect of working with others.
6. Do your best work
Make sure that whenever you have a new client, you do your absolute best at making them happy. This should go without saying, but it’s really important because word of mouth is what will really grow your consulting opportunities. If you do a great job, they’re much more likely to refer you to other people.
3) Sell Digital Products
The next way to make money by blogging is to sell digital products. This could be a PDF, plans or instructions, apps, online courses, or even an eBook—it really doesn’t matter. The idea here is that you have your own products for sale on your website that you refer people to and if you convince them that there’s enough value, they’ll buy it.
How to Start
1. Choose a product complementary to your website visitors
Figure out who your demographic is and think about what they need. For example, my blog focuses on online business.
Therefore, it would make sense for me to have an eBook on the best practices for affiliate marketing, for example.
You have to take some time at this step to better understand your audience and figure out what it is that they want. This can be difficult because if you’re starting out, you don’t have much of an audience to speak with.
So, how can you do it? Simple.
Use analytics to understand what your most popular post(s) are on your blog and create an informational product that people who visit those posts would be willing to buy.
I’m simplifying the process, but it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. Just look at what blog topics and posts are driving traffic to your blog and figure out how to make a product that fits what your website visitors are looking for.
2. Create an outline
Next, you need to create an outline for your book, plans, instructions, PDF, or whatever you’re making. For this, you really need to think from a high level.
Create a full outline that covers all aspects of what your product needs to cover. This exercise is going to be very important for you to think through every aspect of the final product.
3. Write the info product
Next, you have to write the info product. The best way of doing this is to focus on completing one piece at a time.
Don’t try to complete it all in one day, just focus on making progress each day for a week or two, or even a month. I’ve written quite a few blog posts in my day and some of these are lengthy.
I’ve found that the best way to create these types of posts/guides is to work on them each day and not force myself to work on it all at once. If I spend too many hours in a given day on one piece of content, I start to lose my creativity and the writing suffers. Knowing this, I advise you to create a little bit each day.
4. Choose a place to sell it
Once you’ve created your info-product, you’ll need a way to sell it.
Your website is the number one place to sell your product, obviously. Usually, it’s going to be where you’re going to be able to get the most money.
Though you may have very little traffic, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell it there; it just means that you’ll have a smaller audience to market to.
Amazon Self Publishing
If you decided to create an ebook, you can also try selling on Amazon. Amazon allows you to post eBooks for sale with a platform called Amazon KDP. You do have to pay a fee when you sell each copy of the ebook, but they have a huge audience and market to expose you to, so it’s worth considering.
Because Amazon has such a big market, they can offer a huge audience to purchase your ebook. That’s good, but it will also be much more competitive to get a sale, which is something to consider.
Another place to sell an info product is called ClickBank, which is a popular platform that is full of affiliates. What you do here is you post your product to their marketplace and this platform has an army of affiliate marketers who will sell it for you.
This is great because if you have an info product that converts and people are buying it, and you offer affiliates enough money per sale they generate, they’re likely to sell it on your behalf. Though you’ll make less money per sale, you’ll increase your volume significantly and it can help you grow your brand and the product as a whole.
You could also launch it in all three places if you’d like; there’s nothing that says that you can’t do that. But ultimately, you need to figure out where you want to launch it and go with it from there.
5. Use Gumroad if you sell on your website
If you sell on your website, here’s a little hint—use Gumroad. This platform is nice because it allows you to choose a price for your product and then people can put in ONLY a credit card, then checkout and download your info product.
It’s fast, simple, and reduces friction when trying to get a sale.
The other thing that’s neat about it is that they have the “pay-what-you-want” model. I did a post about this a while ago that you can find here, but the basic premise is that if you’re not sure how much to charge for your info product, you can tell your customers to pay what they want.
If you’re wondering, this model actually works.
Every week I make a couple of hundred dollars with the pay-what-you-want model and it works beautifully.
The key to the pay what you want pricing model is to make sure to point out what the average contribution is. This gives people a baseline of how much to contribute and every single time I’ve gotten money this way, it’s been the exact amount that I said was the average.
6. Market your product
Once everything is all set up, the last step is to market your product. There is a lot of strategies to do this, but I think the easiest way to start is to find the most visited pages of your blog and link from there to offers for the info product itself.
In addition to that, you could do use social media, like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook groups, or wherever it is you’re active. It’s a great place to tell people about your info product and hopefully get some people to buy it.
4) Sell a Course
The fourth way to make money with a blog is to sell a course. This goes without saying, but if you have a blog on a particular topic where you’re getting readers and visitors to visit and they enjoy your content, they’re going to see you as an expert.
When they do that, it’s very possible to sell a course to them. The key is to give helpful information to your audience to the point where they follow you and respect your advice. Once they do that, there will be a segment of your followers who will happily buy a course that you create. I’ve done this myself and have a free course I offer that eventually leads to a paid course.
Because of the expertise I have and the authority I’ve built, I’m able to sell courses of my own every single month.
How to Start
1. Choose a topic relevant to your blog
The first thing that you want to do is choose a course topic that’s relevant to your blog. I talk about online business on this blog, so it would make sense for me to create a course on affiliate marketing or SEO because it’s all related.
2. Outline your course and think of exercises
Next, you want to outline your course and think of exercises for your students to complete along the way.
For those who don’t know, I’m a college professor on the side of this whole “online business” stuff and because I teach, I know from personal experience that having exercises along the way will make students retain the information more and it also has a higher perceived value.
You won’t hear many other folks talking about creating exercises along the way, but I assure you that it’s a great idea and will help your students greatly.
3. Film your course
Then you’ll want to film your course. It could just be PowerPoints with you talking over them, but frankly, that’s pretty boring. Don’t be scared to grab your phone and actually record yourself talking through different things, or you could use a whiteboard—just try to change it up and not use the same format every time.
4. Decide where to sell the course
Next, you need to decide where to host and sell your course. I’ve broken it down into three different platforms for you to consider.
The first platform that I recommend is a platform called Thinkific. Thinkific is nice because they’ll give you a full-fledged online learning portal for your account and it’s completely free to start with.
This is the platform I use to host my own courses and that’s why it comes with my highest recommendation. You can read my full Thinkific review here if you’d like.
It’s easy to use from a tech perspective. It takes away the stress of wondering where to put your videos, how to build modules, where to put your exercises, etc. It takes all of the headaches out of the process.
I remember when I started and created my first course I was looking for an affordable platform and you can’t beat free, and that’s what Thinkific offers. They make their money when you sell a course, but the cut they take is very reasonable.
This platform includes not only the platform to build your course but also the hosting for all of your videos in your course as well.
And, if you want to learn about other options to host your own courses, you can check my comparison between the two most popular options (Thinkific vs Teachable) or check out this post I wrote on the best online course platforms.
Use your own website
Another way to sell your course is to do so on your own website, which is hard because you’ll have a limited amount of people when you start. However, it’s nice because you’re able to push them from your blog content directly to purchasing the course right from your website seamlessly.
You have to figure out how to get the people to actually purchase the course, which is a challenger, but I’m living proof that it can be done.
The other good thing is, you’ll usually have a higher price point because when it’s on your own website, there is no middle man to take a fee.
My advice? Don’t go this route until you’ve had some success with your course and you’ve been able to generate some sales.
The next alternative to that is Udemy. Udemy is a huge marketplace for courses and I still have some courses hosted there myself.
In fact, I used to make about $500 a month there, it’s a great place because it has a huge amount of students.
There are millions of students there and they’ll even market your courses for you if they’re good. The problem with Udemy though is that the entire student population is trained to buy courses for $10 each.
Because Udemy was built out as a discount platform, most students (including myself) will just wait until the courses go on sale for $10, which is really often. That’s the biggest problem as an instructor on the Udemy platform, your courses will be sold for a fraction of what they’re worth.
I like this platform as a student, but I’m not a fan of it from an instructor’s perspective.
Set up your course
After you’ve chosen where you want to host your course (I recommend that you use Thinkific) then you can actually set up the course and go through the process of uploading videos, practice materials, exercises, and everything you need to actually create the course.
Promote your course
Once you’ve created your course, which is the hardest part, now you have to promote it. To do this, you can use your blog to tell people about the course and link to it.
But it doesn’t just stop there. You can promote your course anywhere your audience is; it doesn’t really matter. The key is to make them aware of the course and give them the ability to access it.
I personally like to create free content that’s helpful on my blog and then give potential students a way to opt-in (usually in the form of a website pop-up) and become subscribers to my email list using ActiveCampaign.
From there, I focus on email marketing and start delivering emails that deliver value, and eventually, I’ll pitch my full course. For me, this works well, so it’s what I recommend to others.
That said, many people will use a webinar platform and drive ads to a webinar they host and try to sell the course there. This can be expensive and it has a learning curve, but once you figure out a sales funnel for people to go into and they end up as a conversion as a new student, this is a great way to passive income on autopilot.
Keep in mind that once you have an established reputation and your course has positive reviews, you may want to look into contactiong influencers in your niche to offer them an affiliate commission if they get people to purchase your course from you.
5) Display Ads
Next are display ads.
I don’t love this one for beginners because you’re not going to have much traffic when you start your blog and to be really successful with display ads, you need a lot of traffic. That said, it’s one of the best ways to make truly passive income so it’s a great way to monetize.
At this point, I’ve found a lot of success with display ads (Over $300,000+) because I have a lot of traffic. You can check out my income reports to see the total numbers, but display ads are where the majority of my money comes from.
How to Start
1. Sign up with a Display ad network
I recommend that you join Ezoic as it’s the best network out there for display ads and I use it across all of my own sites as they have the best revenue optimization on the market.
Of course, you can also use Google Adsense or Media.net but my own testing shows they don’t perform as well as Ezoic. If you want to see my comparison between these two platforms, here’s a breakdown.
2. Put ads on your website
Once you’ve been approved, you need to put ads on your website. This sounds complicated, but it’s super simple.
All you have to do is copy some code that the Ezoic platform gives you, put it onto your website and they will automatically show the ads on your blog for you with every page view. That’s the beauty of it, it’s a pretty simple process.
Once you have the code, put it into the header of your blog and then the ads will trigger automatically. Alex from the WPEagle YouTube channel has a great tutorial on this.
3. Promote current content
Next, you need to promote your current content through social media and make sure people are aware that you have this content. Or, if you’re already ranking with SEO, that’s the ideal situation. If you’re not, consider using some of these SEO tools to help.
4. Create new content
In order to really make money with Ezoic, you need to create great articles so that you can get them ranked in the search engines. If someone searches something and you’re at the top of Google, that’s really where you want to be as it’ll continuously bring traffic to you without any promotion.
The best thing about these types of display ads is that these aren’t the ads where you have to go direct and talk to companies to find a way to make ad revenue. Because of these ad platforms, you just place a piece of code and the ads are served automatically without any work.
This is a great way to make money because it’s really passive. The problem is, especially in the beginning, you’re not going to have a ton of traffic. You may make some money, which is nice, but overall, you’re not going to make a ton of money with this your first time. But as your blog grows, this is a great revenue stream.
6) Become a Freelance Writer
The next way to make money as a blogger is to become a freelance writer.
Think of your blog as your resume. As a beginning blogger, you’re using a blogging platform to write and post to every day, which is great. Hopefully, you’re doing a really good job, contributing a lot, and showing your expertise. But this same blog can be used in a way to make more money as a freelance writer.
When you are looking for freelance writing gigs, you want to focus on blogs in the same, or possibly a shoulder, niche.
The same niche is tough because you don’t necessarily want to write for your competitors.
Instead, you could do a shoulder niche.
For example, let’s say that, for some reason, you’re obsessed with cats and you write all about them on your own blog. What you could do is create content for websites about other animals.
For instance, you could write for a dog blog. It’s a similar niche to what you’re already doing because it’s for pets, but the animal is different.
How to Start
1. Choose a focus
First, you need to choose a focus. Don’t be one of those writers who says, “I can write on any topic.” Nobody wants that; they want you to be a niche writer who has expertise.
For example, pets are a perfect niche because there’s a lot of work out there for that one and it’s very much in demand.
2. Find jobs
From there you need to find jobs. There are a few different places to go for this:
You could try Upwork.com, which is a huge marketplace for freelancers. This is where a lot of people, like myself, go to hire writers.
Or, you could look at Facebook Groups. There are a lot of them out there, so you can go ahead and join some of those.
You could also talk to your professional network to see if there are any opportunities.
Just tell folks you’re connected with that you’re working on becoming a freelance writer and if you’re a respected expert/writer, they’ll likely take you up on the opportunity if they need the help.
If you don’t want to reach out to your network, you can also keep an eye out for job listings on ProBlogger. They have their own job board, which is a great place to find writers for people like myself who are looking for them.
Work for an agency
You can work for an agency. There are many agencies out there where all they do is help people create content for their blog or website.
You could work for them part-time or full-time. The thing about this is, you’re not going to make as much money because you’re really working for them.
However, it’s still a good way to get your foot in the door.
Lastly, you can apply to writing jobs on Craigslist in the gigs section. This is a highly underrated resource as a lot of small local businesses like finding writers in their area.
3. Build your portfolio of clients
What you need to do from there is build a portfolio of writing clients. Start creating examples, creating content for other people, and putting a portfolio together. Then, as you become a more seasoned freelance writer, you can start charging more for your services.
Once you have all of those writing samples and happy clients, people will be willing to pay you increased rates.
Then you can either ask your old clients for a raise or you can start to drop the clients and look for new ones. Over time you can actually make a pretty good amount of money just being a freelance writer.
7) Create a Membership Community
You can also create a membership community.
Think about it, let’s say you have a small blog and a couple of hundred people are visiting each week. What you can do is offer access to a community/
What you’d do in this instance is create a membership and tell them, “Okay, it’s $XX per month,” or whatever price you choose to join the membership community, which is usually just forums on the site that people can converse with each other in.
You may not get a lot of money at first, but over time if you have 20, 30, 40 people in that community all paying a monthly fee, that can add up pretty quickly.
How to Start
1. Figure out the incentives
First, you need to figure out the incentives to your membership.
One incentive might be that you offer a group mastermind with a group of people, and you could hold office hours every week. Or, you could give them offers to access special tools. Of, you could give them access to exclusive content.
There could even be courses, a podcast, or info products you’ve created within the community. You have to offer them some value and consistently deliver that value so they want to stay part of the membership community.
2. Choose a platform
In terms of the platforms, there’s really two that I like.
First, you can use Facebook Groups. Just create a group and have them pay every month in order to maintain their membership there.
It can be a bit of a headache because you have to make sure they are paying their fees and you have to check all that manually, but it’s a simple solution.
I’m also not in love with this solution because it’s built directly on Facebook. This is fine now, but they may eventually start charging group owners to maintain the platform.
The other platform you can use is called LearnDash. This is a learning management platform that allows you to create an info product or course and then you can create a community all around that.
It’s really good for WordPress websites and is a solid option, but you’ll need to make an info product to draw people in.
3. Market the platform to your audience
After you’ve done et everything up, then you’ll want to market the platform to your audience. Let your audience know through your blog posts, your website, email list, or your navigation, that you have a community and you want them to be a part of it.
4. Sign up with recurring billing
Next, make sure that your audience sig0sn up with recurring billing. This is key because you want to keep getting money month after month from all of the different people who are joining.
5. Provide value and encourage engagement
You also need to provide value and encourage engagement. If you don’t do that, people aren’t going to stay, and if people don’t stay, you’re not going to get paid. So, you need to make sure you always provide value.
8) Offer a Packaged Service
This is like consulting, but a little bit different.
A packaged service will be something where you advertise on your blog and say, “Hey, I can do this particular thing for you every month on a retainer.”
A few examples would be;
Social media services, you could handle a company’s Instagram or Pinterest account.
You could also offer writing services such as content production or copywriting.
Or, you could offer a virtual assistant package and offer a package like;
XX hours a week/month for X amount of dollars.
The idea is to create a predetermined, packaged service that you can offer to people. If they take you up on that offer, then you’ll get a new client. Testimonials are really big here when you are starting out.
But, if you want to get a portfolio full of clients, the key to success is going to be to make your clients happy and to get referrals.
How to Start
1. Figure out a fixed cost that works for you
First, you want to figure out a fixed cost for your services that you’re happy with.
As an example, if you’re doing Pinterest management, figure out exactly what it is you’re going to do and then figure out a fixed cost related to your deliverables.
2. Define what the offer is (Set strict guidelines)
Step two to this is defining what the offer is. Make sure you set strict guidelines and tell clients exactly what they’re going to get. If you don’t tell them exactly what you’re offering, they may expect more, which is not a good situation to be in.
3. Create a page on your website navigation
Next is to create a page on your website or blog in the navigation bar to make sure your blog or website visitors are aware of it. You also need to insert calls to action throughout pieces of content you write to draw attention to the offer as well.
4. Market your offer in future blog posts and on social media
Market your service in future blog posts and on social media—get the word out there. Put it in the content you already have, but also make sure you market it in future content you’re creating.
5. Get clients for monthly retainers
Sign your clients up for a monthly retainer.
Try to get them on the hook for a specific outcome each month for a specific amount of money.
Take on as many clients as you want, but make sure that you do high-quality work. If you do that, they’re going to start referring other people over to you and you can eventually get paid more money from happy clients.
6. Increase price over time
Once people are referring clients to you, and they’re okay with your price increases, you’re in really good shape because you can start being selective of who you work with.
As you get better at what you do and become a more seasoned provider, you might be able to outsource the services and grow a whole business from it where you employ others and create your own mini agency.
9) Create a Paid Directory on Your Blog
How to Start
1. Find local businesses related to your blog that advertise in Google
The way it works is that you find local businesses that advertise in Google.
As an example, let’s say you have a fitness blog.
Go into Google and search “gyms”. Then, you would just look through the results to find different gyms that are advertising in Google.
2. Gather data about the businesses and create a directory
From there, you gather data on the businesses that would be helpful for somebody who’s looking for a gym. Then, put that all together and create a directory on your website with their info.
3. Contact them to confirm their info
After you have built the directory, you contact them and ask if they can confirm their information. They’ll let you know if all is good or if you need to change something.
4. Let them know of paid placements
Once they have confirmed the information, then you tell them, “Okay, great. And just so you know, if you want to move to the top of the page and get a paid placement, it’s $XX per month. If you want to get to the top of the page, I can help you out with that.”
If you’re able to get that particular page ranked high in Google, you can actually make a good amount of money with a page on your blog.
It’s not easy to do this, but if you’re able to make it happen, it’s easy money.
10) Coaching Others
The last way that beginning bloggers can make money on their blog is to be a coach.
Now, I will say—do not be a phony coach.
Don’t be one of those people who says, “I’m a life coach,” if you don’t even have your own life together.
Don’t say, “I’m a business coach,” if you don’t even have your own business together.
The internet is full of those people, and it drives me insane.
How to Start
1. Have some measured success first
First of all, have some level of measured success before you go down this path.
Let me say that again—make sure that you have some level of measured success so you really know what you’re talking about and can give good advice to other people.
2. Focus content strategy on people who need help
If you have some success, then what you want to do is take your blog and focus your content strategy on people who need help. You need to write blog posts that answer the questions they may have.
Focus on stressful issues they may be dealing with.
Try to think like them and figure out what they’re dealing with. Tailor your content strategy to solve their problems.
3. Offer personal help and link to your contact page
Hopefully, they’re going to come to your blog from search engines, and you can offer personal help and link to a contact page where they can then click and fill out their information to send an email over to you.
4. Receive emails and offer services
From there, you receive their emails and you offer your services to them. You could do a packaged deal, but it depends on what you want to do.
When I do consulting, I’ll have one initial call at a reasonable price and really understand the person that I’m talking to.
After that, I’ll offer them a session package.
For me, I start with the initial call and typically sell packages of three calls after that. To be honest, especially in the online business space, in order to help people achieve success, I need to speak with them multiple times anyway.
5. Don’t answer everything—point out things they will need in the future
In that first call, make sure you answer their questions, but also find out other things they need from you in the future. You need to say, “Okay, you have these things figured out, but we also need these five-ten other things.”
To get these five-ten other things, you’ll need to have more calls because frankly, you couldn’t do it all in one hour anyway; it would just overload them.
6. Book clients, treat them well, and referrals will come
Next, you need to book clients, treat them really well, and referrals will follow. Just like anything in business, if you really help them, referrals will come to you.
Make it an effort to overachieve and truly help people. If you take that approach, you’ll be able to enjoy the work and make a living while doing so.
11) Sponsored Posts
Admittedly, this is something that I’m not a big fan of. In my opinion, the risk of being penalized by Google outweighs the benefit of short-term cash.
But the premise is simple.
Once your website has a decent amount of traffic or authority, you’re going to find that people will contact you and are willing to pay you to place content they write on your blog.
While this can be lucrative by itself, with some posts fetching $500+ once you have a reputable site, the risk here is that search engines will see this activity and penalize you.
Technically speaking Google did create a new tag for sponsored content, most people who contact you don’t want that tag applied as it’s believed that it has less SEO value.
That said, if you’re willing to take the risk or have a site that isn’t making money any other way and you don’t mind risking it, here’s how you can use this strategy.
How to Start
1. Build a Website or Blog
The first step to making income from sponsored posts is to start a blog of your own if you don’t already have one. Technically speaking you could buy a blog/website on Flippa as well, but for a good site that could be a hefty investment.
2. Grow Traffic and Authority to Your Site
In order to get individuals and businesses to contact you about placing sponsored posts, you’re going to need to have some traffic or authority on your website. Generally speaking, creating a lot of good content is important here, but even more important is building backlinks. The reason for this is that sites with more backlinks rank higher in SEO tools and are looked at as more valuable than sites with fewer backlinks. Generally speaking, if you can get your site to a domain rating (an Ahrefs metric) of 40+, you’ll be a target for most businesses.
3. Setup a “Guest Post” Page
One of the most common ways to get a large amount of these inquiries is to set up a guest post page on your site. On this page, you want to make it clear that you accept guest posts and include an email for them to reach out to as well as a form to fill out. By telling folks that you’re willing to accept guest posts, it’ll increase the number of emails you get significantly. While this can get rather annoying as there will be many people trying to get very cheap placements, there are many individuals that’ll pay a fair market rate.
If you’re wondering why we don’t refer to this content as “Sponsored Posts” publicly, it’s because that might get you in trouble with Google which we want to avoid.
4. Respond to Your Emails
Once this is all set up, you’re going to notice an influx of emails coming in from individuals and businesses all over the internet that are looking to get sponsored posts or links placed for their website. Obviously, it’s in your best interest to respond to these emails, but I have to recommend that you create templates that you can simply copy and paste every time. This will save you a TON of time and it’s a good way to filter those who are serious about the sponsored post opportunity.
What should you include in this email?
- Pricing (It’s best to call the charge for a sponsored post a “publishing fee” as opposed to someone “paying to get a guest post”. Technically speaking, buying backlinks is against Google’s policies)
- Any forbidden link types (Gambling, Casino, CBD, Pornography, etc)
- A timeframe for the transaction
- Expectations on payment once posted
5. Place the Sponsored Posts
When you and a third party have agreed on your terms and they’ve submitted the content, it’s a good idea to review what they’ve written and specifically what pages they’re trying to link to. Failure to do this could lead you down the path of allowing outbound links on your site that are spammy in nature and could hurt your website’s reputation.
Keep in mind, while people will tell you that they just want to get some exposure for the brand, the real goal here for anybody posting on your site is to rank the content that they’ve already written on another site. Sometimes that’s fine and the content that they’ve written is good, but other times this can lead to a bad situation where you’re being asked to link to something that you may not otherwise link to.
Have you had success making money from your blog? Do you know of another method to make money? Comment below to let me know.