How to make money blogging [Interview with a $20k/mo blogger]
I recently met a blogger in my home town, who had an amazing story to tell. The issue is he didn’t want to put his name on it, so I asked him to write me an article, an interview response if you like, so I could share his knowledge with the masses. Here is that interview.
Did you always plan to make money blogging? How did it happen?
No, not at all. Actually, when I started blogging, I didn’t know you can make money from blogging. Then one of these bloggers confided in me and shared how much she was making and she told me that she was making between $30,000 to $40,000 from her blog.
Most of you are thinking that making thirty to forty thousand dollars from a website that’s pretty awesome, I mean that’s almost an annual salary for many people. Here’s what blew me away. Are you ready? She wasn’t making thirty to forty thousand dollars a year from her blog… she was making thirty to forty thousand dollars a MONTH from her blog.
How much? Yes, you heard that right – thirty to forty thousand dollars a month from a website. Now, that got my attention. So I started to learn some of the basics of how to monetize my blog. I learned how ads work, I learned how affiliate programs worked and eventually I learned how to create digital products.
Ok, so how did you start making money?
These are all different ways that I could use to monetize my site, and actually get paid for writing and I’m not even that good of a writer. Let’s go through what I learned from monetizing my blog and making my first $1,000.
The first thing that I learned is that search engine optimization matters and if you don’t know what SEO means or search engine optimization, it basically just means when you go to Google and type in some phrase like vegan hamburgers – I don’t know why you’d be googling vegan hamburgers, but whatever – whatever shows up in the top of the rankings that is what SEO or search engine optimization stands for.
Now, when I first started my blog, I decided to try and rank for my own name, but then I realised people who knew my name would just find my blog anyway. So, I started to think about what would any potential customers or clients type into Google to find me or to find a website designer.
The first key word that I targeted was website designer Alabama. I wanted to be the top in Google for that term. Now you can pay Google through Google AdWords advertising to be at that top position, but I didn’t want to pay $25 or $35 every time somebody clicked a link and came to my website. I didn’t know if they were gonna call me, or send me an email or want to schedule an appointment.
Therefore, I wanted to be found the free way – because free is so much better. So I studied and learned the tactics and strategy that I needed to be found for website designer Alabama and sure enough within I think 2 or 3 months when you went to Google and typed in website designer Alabama, oh there I was – I was at the top of the search results.
I then started to think about other ways that I could be found for different search results, so I started to think about what are other terms that people would type into Google if they’re trying to find a website designer.
I started down this path of writing articles about websites and web designers and how to design a website, how much does a website cost, what is cloud backup services, etc. I know some of these articles worked well for me, and I was found, and other ones didn’t work because there are other sites that outranked me, however I was showing to Google that I had a quality website and they were putting me at the top of the rankings.
Now remember, I was doing all of this before I realized that I could monetize my site. So I was trying to rank for a lot of search terms that were relevant for people trying to hire a website designer. As my search engine traffic increased, I added what is called Google Adsense or Google ads to the website. If you’ve been to any website, I guarantee you’ve seen Google ads someway somehow or if you went to Google and typed in some search you’ve seen a Google ad.
How this works is that you sign up for a free Google Adsense account and then you get Google’s code. You copy and paste that code into your website and then Google will match which companies are willing to advertise for different search terms that are found on your website.
For example, say somebody wanted to buy life insurance and you put that Google Adsense code on your blog about insurance. If there’s a big insurance company and if they’re going to advertise for a certain keyword, they would then start an account with Google and by you placing that code on your website, you’re going to get matched with whatever advertiser is willing to pay the top dollar.
It’s by far one of the easiest ways that you can monetize your site. All you have to do is write the content, copy and paste the code from Google Adsense, paste it on your site and then you’re done. Now, if there is a trick you have to rank for these search terms.
Joining Google Adsense doesn’t mean I started getting checks for $1,000 immediately. I don’t remember exactly, however I believe those first few months I made $10-20 a month. Then, it went up to $30-40, eventually I got my first 100 dollar payout. If you get a hundred dollar check from Google, it’s sweet because it’s like it’s money in the mail – thanks Google.
As I started to write more content, and started to rank for other search terms, my traffic increased and I saw my revenue increase, and within six or seven months I was making $500 a month, then within about a year, I was making over a thousand dollars a month all from Google Adsense.
You told me a little trick to how you choose topics. Care to share?
Whatever topic that you decide to blog about, what is something that is going to change in your area, that no one else has written about yet? What can you write to be the first one to write about, and if you publish a good piece of content that’s better than anything else out there, then you can potentially outrank them and also get more social shares out of it?
Say you have a human resources blog – what new HR systems are out there, or new products like pulse survey software, or interview video tools, etc. Write about a segment before it becomes really popular, get what I mean?
Ok, sure. So let’s talk about affiliate marketing.
Yep, great. So affiliate marketing is where you’re representing a company that offers a product or service that you believe in – preferably one that you’ve tried out yourself – and if you write about them on your blog, if a reader clicks that link and then opens an account with that affiliate or buys a product through that link, then you get paid a small commission.
I can roughly estimate that I made five times maybe 10 times as much money from affiliate marketing, because what I’ve learned about affiliate marketing is that you don’t want to be scumbag or a moron, you want to make sure you’re representing affiliates that you believe in and that you trust.
If you’re just signing up to be an affiliate for some companies just to earn a quick buck your readers are gonna know, and they’re going to figure it out, and you don’t have to be professional to recommend an affiliate company.
All you have to do, to become an expert with that affiliate by using their product or service, by giving it a try, so that you can share that experience with your readers. Between Google Adsense and representing different affiliate companies, I was able to take a blog that had zero readers that was making no money and go from making nothing to $1,000 a month, then $10,000 a month, and now I am doing $15,000-20,000 a month.