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How To Make Money Blogging

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how to make money bloggingI’ve been blogging for over two years now and have been fortunate to have turned my blog, ProjectLifeMastery.com, into an asset that generates me a six figure yearly income.  While it isn’t easy to make money blogging, it definitely is possible.  In fact, I believe anyone can make a full-time living blogging if they are patient and committed enough to it.  

In this video blog, I’m going to share with you how you can start to make money blogging.  While I won’t be going too much into the specifics of how to set up a blog (that will be my next blog post), I will rather be sharing the most effective strategy to building a profitable blog.  This strategy is what has allowed me to build my blog to getting over 2,000 unique visitors per day, making me a six figure annual income, while having the freedom to travel the world doing what I love.

(Click here to watch on YouTube)

PLM 039 : HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING (9:01)

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YOU NEED TO GET TRAFFIC AND BUILD A FOLLOWING

get blog trafficOne of the biggest mistakes that I see people make when starting a blog is expecting to make money so quickly from it.  Blogging is NOT a “get rich quick” type strategy.  Not even close.  It’s a long, time-consuming journey that requires a lot of hard work and patience.

Attempting to monetize your blog by placing advertisements on it in the early stages is a waste of time.  Even tweaking the design and trying to make everything look pretty.  Listen – nobody is visiting your blog at the beginning (except maybe your friends and family), which means that NOBODY is going to click on your advertisements or care about your design.  This simply isn’t the best use of your time at the beginning stages of blogging.

Before you even consider attempting to make money from your blog, you first need traffic and an audience.  You need a consistent stream of visitors that are visiting your blog on a daily basis, as well as a loyal following or audience that likes your blog so much that they keep coming back.  This is the most challenging part of blogging, as it takes time to build up a loyal following.

The most important thing on a blog is content.  But not just any type of content, you need QUALITY content.  You need content that really stands out and adds value to people, so that they will want to come back for more.  It has to be the type of content that people will SHARE with others – via Facebook, Twitter, or tell their friends about.  High quality content is the fastest way to getting traffic to your blog and building an audience.

If your blog has crappy content, then it doesn’t matter how much you try to market or promote it, nobody will come back to your blog.  On the other hand, if you have high quality content, then you don’t really even need to do much marketing or promotions of it.  It will market and promote itself.  As the saying goes, “A good product sells itself.”  It’s the same thing with quality content on a blog.

Corbett Barr, from the Fizzle and creator of the Start A Blog That Matters course has a killer blog post titled “Writing Epic Shit”.  In it, he says:

Building a raving audience online all starts with writing epic shit. Period. Hands down. End of story.

(If you aren’t building a blog, substitute the word “create” for “write.” Create epic shit. Either way, the formula is the same.)

Write things that make people think. Inspire people. Change lives. Create value. Blow people away with your usefulness.

Only after you create epic shit should you worry about sharing your content with other people. All the promotion in the world won’t make your site popular if your content sucks.

And I didn’t say “write mediocre shit.” Mediocre content is all over the web. Don’t waste your time or other people’s time by writing the same inane crap that 10,000 other sites have already published.

This advice is gold and it’s what I try to focus on with every blog post that I publish.  This is the key to getting traffic, building an audience and making money blogging.

HOW TO GET TRAFFIC TO YOUR BLOG

There’s many ways to get traffic and visitors to your blog.  I won’t be able to go into them all,  as there’s simply too many, but below I’ll share the biggest strategies to getting traffic.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The search engines are the most common sources of traffic for most blogs on the internet today.  Being able to take advantage of Google, the top search engine in the world, can provide you with thousands of free visitors on a daily basis.  People use the search engines to find QUALITY CONTENT.  They are looking for information – to get their questions answered, or to learn how to do things.  If you can successfully rank your content in the search engines so people can easily find your content, then you’re tapping into a goldmine of visitors.

Below, you’ll see a screenshot of my Google Analytics account for ProjectLifeMastery.com (PLM).  These are the top 10 sources of traffic to my blog for most of January 2014 (the month isn’t finished yet, so it’s not a full month).

how to make money blogging

As you can see, the #1 source of traffic to PLM is… you guessed it, Google.  Google has got me a whopping 23,082 visitors so far this month, which is significantly greater than anything else on this list.  Bing and Yahoo are hovering at #8 and #9, which are also search engines that provide traffic every month.  YouTube is also a search engine, but I’ll go into that later.

The key to successfully ranking your blog in Google is to have high quality content on your blog.  The more content you have, then the more likely you are to get those pages ranked in Google for certain keyword phrases that people are searching for.

If you’re curious what high quality content looks like, then take a look around on this blog.  Many of my blog posts are thousands of words and take me hours to write.  Google loves this!  The search engines want content that is useful and informative.  They want content that will provide a positive experience for their users.

There are many factors that can play a role in search engine optimization, which I’m unable to go into during this blog post, but just understand that the most important thing is consistently publishing high quality content.

YouTube

YouTube is another powerful source of traffic to a blog, and it’s the #2 source of traffic for PLM currently.  You can take advantage of YouTube traffic by publishing videos on YouTube and ranking them in their search engine.  Sometimes you have videos that get very popular and YouTube recommends them to others, making them viral.  In my case, my morning ritual video has nearly 400,000 views now and provides a lot of traffic to my blog.

blog youtube traffic

In all of my YouTube videos, I have links in the description that link back to my blog and posts.  So if people enjoy my videos, they will come visit my blog afterwards to want to find out more about what I have to offer.  The key to being successful on YouTube is… you guessed it, high quality content!  If what you have to say is good, people will want to check out your blog and become a fan.

SIDE NOTE: One thing you’ll notice by looking at the earlier screenshot above of my sources of traffic is that the bounce rate of my YouTube traffic (47.92%) is lower than my Google traffic (74.37%).  Your bounce rate represents the number of visitors that enter your website and then leave it, rather than visiting other pages on the site.  What this means is that the quality of traffic that I get from YouTube is better than Google, as people are sticking around longer.  This is because on YouTube, people are watching a video of me and develop more of a “connection” with me than they would on Google.  Just something worth pointing out!

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc…)

Social media is an extremely powerful medium for people to share your quality content.  People use FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedIn, and a variety of other social media platforms to share things that they like and that they’re interested in.  If your content is good, then the more likely people are to share it, which can make it viral on the internet.

As you can see, Facebook is the #4 and #6 sources of traffic to PLM.  In #6, it represents the mobile visitors that my blog gets from Facebook.  I make sure to share all of the content that I produce on my Facebook page and my Twitter account regularly, which helps people come back to my blog, and makes it easier for people to share it with others.

Guest Posting

By writing guest posts on other popular blogs that are established and have a large audience, it can drive a ton of traffic back to your blog.  I recently did a guest post on a popular blog called DumbLittleMan.  The guest post was called The 5 Minute Morning Success Ritual.  As you can see from the screen shot below, it is at #16 and sent 58 visitors to my blog.  While this number isn’t a lot (I only recently had it posted on there), the cool thing is that the average time on my site was 4 minutes and 27 seconds, which means people enjoyed my content a lot once they came to my blog.

make money blogging

If you reach out to other blogs and ask if they’d be willing to accept a guest post, in exchange for a link back to your blog, it can be another effective way to get traffic.

Message Boards, Blog Commenting, Etc…

You can also get visitors by posting in message boards regularly and having a link back to your blog in your signature.  I do this in the WarriorForum and I get a fair amount of traffic back to my blog as a result of this.  If there’s certain blogs out there that you follow or are related to your blog, then you can also leave a comment on their content, with a link back to your blog.

Make sure that when you do this, you aren’t adversely promoting yourself.  If you are commenting just to link back to your blog without adding any value, then your comment or forum post will be rejected.  It’s best to just have a link back to your blog in your username when commenting, or in your signature on a forum.

There’s so many strategies out there for driving traffic and visitors to your blog.  These are some of the biggest and most common that I’d stick with for now.

HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING

Once your blog is getting a steady flow of visitors and traffic, it’s now time you can look at making money from your blog.  I’ve always aimed for about 100 visitors a day before seeing a decent profit, which can sometimes take a few months to reach, depending on how hard you work.  Below I’ll list some of the strategies that you can use to make money blogging.

Build An E-Mail List

This has to be the most important thing that you should do.  When people visit your blog, you need a way to get their contact information (their e-mail address), so that you can further communicate with them and build a relationship.  Typically when someone visits a blog or website, when they leave, they likely are never coming back.  That’s why the biggest priority should be to get them to subscribe to your e-mail list in some way.

aweber bannerOnce their on your e-mail list, you’re able to build a connection with them. You can e-mail them regularly, using an auto responder like Aweber, and build that relationship.  If you have new content on your blog, you can easily send out a broadcast e-mail to them and inform them about it, driving visitors back to your blog.

Once you build a relationship with your followers, they are more likely to buy stuff from you.  They will trust your recommendations, because you now have a friendship with them.  They will buy any products or services that you release in the future, as they enjoy your content and receive value from you.  This is a critical component of making money blogging.

If you want to see an example of this, then you can subscribe to my e-mail list here.  I give away something free, which I call my “Life Mastery Toolkit”, which provides some awesome content for people to get them to subscribe to my e-mail list.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing means that you can partner up with certain products or services and receive a commission for referring customers to them.  An example of this in my Vitamix Review video blog, where I do an in-depth review of my new Vitamix blender.  On that page, I have an affiliate link to the Vitamix website.  If someone clicks on that link and purchases a Vitamix blender from that website, then I get paid a commission for referring them.  Pretty cool, right?  Vitamix is basically rewarding me for sending them customers.

When you’ve built an e-mail list, then one of the ways that you can make money from it is to recommend certain products or services to them as an affiliate.  Another example of this is the 100 Day Challenge which I shared with my subscribers.  This is a program that I’m passionate about because it changed my life in so many ways and I wanted to share it with my followers.  By referring customers to this program, I also was able to make money for each customer.  This allows me to make money while sharing with others something that I’m passionate about that will make a difference.

There are many affiliate programs out there that you can join that give you access to products or services you can promote.  You want to make sure that when you promote something to your followers that you always have their interest in mind.  It is never about you, it’s about helping them and genuinely caring for them.  You want to find out what they want and the ways that you can help them.  If there is a product or service out there that can meet their needs and help them, then that can be an opportunity for you to make money from it at the same time.

Here’s some affiliate programs that you can join:

Advertisements

google adwordsThis is probably the most common way people attempt to monetize their blog.  You can place banners on your blog (which could be for affiliate programs), or you can join an ad network like Google Adwords and place their advertisements on your blog.  Sometimes you can also get private advertisers that will approach you to place advertisements on your blog and pay you a monthly fee, if you have enough traffic.

With using ad networks like Google Adwords (or Bing Ads), you get paid every time someone clicks on that advertisement on your blog.  The advertisement could be in the form of a link or a banner.  The amount you get paid per click depends on how much the advertisers are willing to bid or pay for each click, which depends on the category.

While placing advertisements on a blog can make you money, you need to be careful about not over-doing it, as it can begin to annoy your followers and you’ll lose your relationship with them.  The same goes with too much promoting or selling to them in any way.

Selling Your Own Product Or Service

Once you’ve built up your e-mail list and following, you can then survey your audience and find out what they want.  You can learn a lot about them, including if there’s an opportunity for you to help them through creating a product or service of your own.

In my case, once I started building a following, the number one request I had for people was for coaching.  People wanted to work with me 1-on-1 and hire me to help them with some of their goals.  This is what made me create a coaching service on my blog, which is something that I enjoy doing that makes me money.

After awhile, people found out that I was making money online and saw that I was traveling the world, living a cool lifestyle.  They wanted to know how I did it and asked that I teach them.  After coaching several people 1-on-1 to making money online, I decided to create my own product to help people further.  This is what led me to create my very own Kindle publishing course, called Kindle Money Mastery.

When I launched Kindle Money Mastery to my followers, it did extremely well, simply because I had spent a lot of time beforehand building a large following.  Also, I was giving my audience what they wanted and what they were asking for.  I didn’t have to guess what they wanted – they TOLD ME what they wanted from me and I delivered it!  I also didn’t have to go out there and try to “get customers”, as I had already built a consistent flow of visitors to my blog.

Write A Kindle Book

life mastery book 3d coverSpeaking of Kindle publishing, another great way that you can make money from your blog is by writing and selling a Kindle book.  By having your own Kindle book, you not only will have more credibility and authority in the eyes of your visitors, but many of your visitors will buy your book because they already enjoy your writing.  They already receive great value from you, so they would gladly buy a book from you if you wrote one.

These days, writing and publishing your own Kindle book is super easy.  It’s also not that time consuming, either.  I view writing a book just like writing a blog post – a very long blog post, that is.  As of right now, the blog post I’m writing you is 3000 words.  If I wrote 5 blog post, just like this, then that could be my own Kindle book at 15,000 words.  That’s a 60-80 page book right there that you could easily sell to your followers.  If you want to learn more about how to do it, check out my Kindle publishing course here.

BLOGGING RESOURCES

Here’s some blogging resources that I personally use and have helped make money blogging.

BlueHost – This is what I now use for hosting all of my blogs and websites.  They are the most reliable hosting service available (in my opinion, much better than HostGator) and have amazing support.  Very inexpensive, starting at $4.95 per month.  They also give you a free domain name and you can also install WordPress in a click of a button with them.

GoDaddy – This is where I buy my web domain names. They are the top domain registrar on the internet.  You can buy .com’s for as low as $9.99.

WordPress – The #1 blogging platform in the world, and the current content management system that I use for   this blog. It’s 100% free and easy to set up.

Thesis Theme – This is the WordPress theme that I currently use for my blog.  It’s very customizable, there’s a lot of cool features, and it’s easy to use.

WooThemes – WooThemes is a leading WordPress theme and plugin provider with tons of free and commercial products available to jumpstart your website.

99Designs – This is where I got the Project Life Mastery logo designed. You can create a contest and have people from around the world compete to design the best graphic for you.

Aweber – The most popular email opt-in service and e-mail broadcasting service.  I use Aweber for all my newsletters and mailing lists.

Google Analytics – This is what I use to track all of the statistics for my websites, including visitors, traffic sources, etc…

OptinSkin – The WordPress plugin that I use to embed opt-in forms at the bottom of my blog posts.

LeadPlayer – This is the WordPress plugin that I use to embed opt-in forms at the end of my YouTube videos.

Blogging With John Chow – A really amazing blogging course by John Chow, who is someone that I personally follow and look up to.  John makes over a 7 figure income every year from his blog, so he’s an awesome guy to learn from!

Chris Farrell Membership – This is an internet marketing program that I’m apart of that is fantastic for beginners looking to start making money online.  It has helped me not only build my blog and get traffic to it, but also taught me how to monetize it further with these strategies.

For a list of resources that I recommend, click here.

CONCLUSION

I hope this blog post really outlined for you how to make money blogging.  Building a successful blog is a long-term commitment – one that requires hard work and a lot of patience.  If you want to get into blogging just to make money from it, then don’t bother getting started – there are much easier and faster ways to make money.  You have to really enjoy the PROCESS of blogging, more than anything else.  

I personally love blogging.  I didn’t create my blog to make money from it.  I created PLM simply as a passionate side-project that I thought would be fun.  I wanted to share things that I was learning and hold myself accountable by publicly sharing my goals and aspirations somewhere.  For some reason, people randomly found my blog and enjoyed what I was posting, and things took off from there.

It took me MONTHS before I saw a profit from my blog.  But it didn’t matter.  I enjoyed putting out content and I still do.  I enjoy sharing stuff for free (even though it takes a lot of my time), because it brings me a lot of joy and fulfillment to be able to help others.  I can literally write blog posts and record videos at 10 PM at night, as it doesn’t feel like work for me (it’s actually 9:55 PM as I write this).  If I was blogging just to make money, I would have quit a long time ago as I would have been frustrated after 3 months in and not seeing any return for the amount of time I was investing in it.

If you stick with the process then a blog can change your life in many ways.  Blogging has allowed me to now make a six-figure annual income from PLM.  It has given me the opportunity to travel the world and still make money as long as I have my laptop.  It’s allowed me to make money blogging from home.  More than anything, it has allowed me to fulfill my mission in life which is to grow and to give.

I sincerely hope this blog post really helps you to make money blogging.  Please leave a comment below if there’s any questions.  Good luck!

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Thank you so much for your support, and if you have yet to leave a rating or review, please leave me an honest one on iTunes, YouTube or below on the blog.  I appreciate it!

How To Make Money Blogging
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  • Mary

    Thanks Stefan,
    This was pretty profound for me. I have 3 blogs on topics that I enjoy.
    I don’t have lists yet because I thought It was meaningless if they weren’t monetized yet.
    I really like your this idea on this.
    Just start the lists, open comments and see what happens.
    I am also working with your kindle program right now and have just finished an outline to get it written. I am pretty excited about it.
    You are right, when we are witling blogs or books we have to learn more and that is so enriching.
    It also brings up every FEAR I the book (at least for me)
    I know you don’t want to be a guru, but your down to earth personality and active interaction with us, is really helping me believe in myself.
    That is truly appreciated.

    • Awesome Mary! Yeah, build the list and you can focus on monetizing it later. Great job with your blogs, glad you enjoyed the video 🙂

  • Herb

    “If you want to get into blogging just to make money from it, then don’t bother getting started – there are much easier and faster ways to make money.” — Very honest and absolutely true!

    I believe your Kindle Money Mastery program is one of the easier ways. =)

    • Definitely, but a blog can supplement your Kindle books quite well and help promote you. And vice versa, if you have a blog, you should also create Kindle books to sell on it!

      • Herb

        Great idea! Now you just told me not only to rely on Amazon traffic but to use google traffic to sell my kindle books. Awesome! You never tire of giving value!

  • Excellent post Stefan. You have certainly captured the fundamentals of successful blogging, and your authenticity and transparency shine through in this post. You’re setting a great example for other marketers & bloggers, and your content is solid. Keep it up!

    • Thanks Tyler! I just share what has worked for me, but I still have a lot more to learn about blogging and planning on taking PLM to bigger and greater things this year.

  • Gina Crawford

    I love this post Stefan :o) It’s always great to hear that you were
    once one of us, just starting out in the world of blogging, Kindle etc. I
    always appreciate your “humanness” and honesty. I am just in the
    process of setting up my first personal development blog and I love what
    you said about how helping others helps you gain clarity in your own
    journey. Absolutely! I’ve always felt the same way! Thank you SO much for all your encouragement and help! :o)

    • Thanks Gina. I’m still one of you, no different in any way – except I’ve just been doing this longer. If you do anything long enough, you will get good at it and have success! Good luck.

      • Gina Crawford

        Good point :o)

  • Thank you Stefan for listing out the step by step process. It has given me so much clarity. I’ve put in place the optin form on my website with a free giveaway!
    P.S: I just realised that I got to know about PLM thru your Morning Ritual video on Youtube. Your videos are very real and motivating.

    • Thanks Jyotsna! Great job with the opt-in giving away the freebie. Let’s see how many more leads you start getting now.

  • Gina Crawford

    Stefan, At some point, would you consider sharing which platform you think is best for blogging ex. WordPress, SBI etc. …as well as which is the most user friendly. And also whether you recommend building it yourself from scratch or getting someone to create the framework for you, then taking over after the framework is built.Thanks :o)

    • Hey Gina, I recommend WordPress and doing it yourself. I’m publishing a video blog today on how to set up a blog and everything – stay tuned for it!

      • Gina Crawford

        Great! I’m going to watch the video now! Thanks so much. – Gina :o)

  • should I spend time on building web 2.0 backlinks?

  • marty perron

    Brother, I’ve got to tell ya, rare are those who will take the time to help another but even rarer are those passionate enough to take the time to teach another how to help themselves. This is an absolute gift that you are giving out; Knowledge and for that there is no price. I thank you greatly for all of this. I’ve been searching my entire life for someone, like yourself, who was ready to offer this type of information to others for there own self betterment and to help them excel to their full potential. I am definitely in for the long run, like yourself, I want to help others as well move forward with their lives and achieve the impossible…their dreams… So, thank you again, my friend, and I look forward to reading more of your emails.

    • Thank you Marty! I appreciate your beautiful words. I will continue to do my best and to serve!

  • Ben Lam

    Hi Stefan, That is a great post on blogging! I started a blog last year, worked on it for one month, and didn’t make a pennyy. So I shut down the blog, and went to make money on kindle, then I bought your KMM course–which is great, because now every month I am able to pull in more and more money. Blogging is definitely something I will go back and restart doing once I become totally financially free with kindle.
    I highly agree with 2 points from the above that I find most important.
    1) Write high quality content.
    2) Blog with patience, don’t look at blog as a way to make some quick cash.

    Finally, I have a question for you. In KMM, you teach us to work smart, and outsource the content. Isn’t it better to do same thing with blogging? Hire people from fiverr.com to write some creative contents, hire another person to proofread grammar, then publish. Isn’t that working smarter? Please share your opinion.
    Thank you!

    • Hey Ben, yes blogging requires much patience! Don’t do it to make money – blog because you love it and want to help people, then the money will follow.

      Glad KMM has been going awesome for you! As for blogging, it’s much more challenging to outsource content, because people want to connect with YOU and not someone else that is writing it. By you writing and blogging, you want to infuse your personality and who you are into the content, so people get to know you and want to follow you.

  • Joy

    How about Public blog i.e Blog which allow public posting/blogging. Example Ackyshine Community Website?

  • CoreyTat

    This post was really useful. I’m just starting out online and have been inspired by your journey. I started a blog being inspired by your success. Thanks again for taking the time to post this.