How to Make Money Blogging (We Make Over $100,000 Per Month)
There are several different ways that you can make money blogging but they have varying levels of returns and time frames on when you can expect those terms. These are the strategies that helped us earn six-figures in our first year of blogging.
These lessons are the culmination of the knowledge Lauren and I have gained going from making $0 to over $100,000 per month from our combined blogs in less than two years! Check out our income reports for more info on that.
Before we dive deeper into our journey and show you the step-by-step process we took to getting there, there are some initial questions you probably have that I’d like to answer. If you’re not a new blogger, you can skip over this introductory section.
What does a blogger do?
Other than the obvious writing of blog posts like this, there all sorts of random things bloggers do. On a day-to-day basis, it can be editing a WordPress post, creating new products for your audience, taking photos of new outfits, doing outreach to other bloggers and websites, going to blogging conferences (still struggle with this one), etc.
Most days though are pretty casual and involve a lot of working at home on my computer in my comfy workout clothes, occasionally spending too much time on YouTube.
Blogging allows time freedom like you wouldn’t believe which can be both a good and bad thing.
How much do bloggers make? (besides you)
Some make a lot, some make very little, and some make none at all. We do have some examples of successful blogs you can check out and some of the niches people find success in are BIZZARE (hint – garden weeds).
But I will say that some do very very well for themselves. We actually have a great article on the topic: How Much Do Bloggers Make… Like, Really?
How long does it take to make money blogging?
This is all going to depend on you – more specifically your skills and your work ethic. Like anything good worth having, it takes work and time to achieve something worthwhile.
Here’s our story:
Just a couple of years ago, on January 5, 2016, we quit our jobs and went full time with a health and fitness blog.
We had a small following, a few blog posts, and one big problem.
We were making virtually no money.
Actually, we ended the month of January at -$207.33.
Despite all rational thoughts, security, and family objections, we were determined to make this “online thing” happen and quit our jobs before we were ready.
We wanted extra income. We wanted to work on something we were passionate about. But more than anything in the world, we craved some goddamned freedom.
Freedom to travel the world. Freedom to live life on our terms and not bound to crap jobs in dimly lit cubicles.
Fast forward to today, and things are a little different… We don’t show you these things to brag or feel cool. We show you them to inspire you and give you a vision of what’s possible.
Anyone can make serious money blogging with the right tools and plan of action in place.
The following is the step-by-step process Lauren and I took to build our blog from -207.33 to making well over 100k per month!
For all of you preferred video learners out there, here is a video on How to Make Money Blogging from our Youtube Channel below.
.For more free blogging tips and tricks from us, make sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel!
Here is a brief overview of the steps to make money blogging:
- STEP 1. START YOUR OWN BLOG
- STEP 2. CREATE BLOG CONTENT PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR
- STEP 3. CHOOSE A TRAFFIC SOURCE
- STEP 4. RECOMMEND RELEVANT PRODUCTS IN YOUR CONTENT
- STEP 5. FORGET ABOUT GOOGLE ADSENSE – FOR NOW.
- STEP 6. START BUILDING AN EMAIL LIST.
- STEP 7. USE AFFILIATE MARKETING.
- STEP 8. CREATE YOUR OWN PRODUCTS.
- STEP 9. SCALE AND MAXIMIZE CONVERSIONS
Step 1. Start your own blog.
Before you learn how to monetize a blog, you must have a blog!
Don’t worry… We won’t waste your time on this. We just wanted to direct you to how to get started if you haven’t already.
Make sure to choose a profitable niche. I’m sure there is a niche group of people interested in the fine art of tossing potato sacks; however, it’s probably not a very profitable topic.
The key is to align your passion (or interests) with what people want and need. How can you use your knowledge to help others?
Lauren and I personally love health and fitness, so we created a blog around a couple of sub-niches (yoga and weight loss) that people actually will pay money for.
If you have not read it yet, see our complete guide on how to make a profitable blog here: How to Create a Successful Blog Step-by-Step.
You can also sign up for our FREE 7-Day Email Course of how to start a successful blog from scratch!This is the foundation to getting started where we walk you through the entire process for free.
Step 2. Create blog content people are searching for.
People often wonder: “What should I wite about? “
Well, it’s rather easy. If you want to make money blogging and don’t want to spend a fortune on ads, there’s only one type of content you need to focus on.
Post about the things that people are LOOKING for.
This process of creating content people are looking for is also called SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
And this is why we love Pinterest.
Using Pinterest’s search engine is a quick and easy way to find topics people are seeking out.
By typing in content like “Yoga Poses” into Pinterest, you’ll see some of the most popular pins at the top as well as other top other searches people use related to the topic:
People search for “Yoga Poses for Beginners” the most often, and the second most commonly searched is “Yoga Poses for Flexibility.”
That is how Lauren and I decide what content to create. It’s no coincidence that on our 20k per month blog, these are some of the highest trafficked articles.
They have over 50k repins and are generating thousands of monthly views. Do some research about what people are seeking out and what pins get the most repins!
Another resource we use often is Google AdWords to see how often a term is “googled.”
You can look up anything that is searched with their Keyword Research Tool, and the results look like this…
While this does not ALWAYS reflect the searches on Pinterest, there is some serious correlation there.
The reason that we make sure that the content we write is searched for often is because we want people to want to come to us, not us having to go out to them (aka spending money on ads).
Remember that every post should have a PURPOSE.
By purpose I mean:
- Make a sale.
- Get an email address.
- Get new people to a community group (link to ours).
- Sometimes all three.
Don’t just post about randomness or what you ate for breakfast that day because you’re a “blogger.”
Our motto around here is Create Awesomeness, not Create Random Bullshit.
If you focus on creating the things people want to see and truly get value from, you will find it hard NOT to make money online.
Step 3. Decide on a traffic source to start driving traffic to your blog.
There are a lot of different ways to drive traffic to a blog…
- Google SEO
- Guest Blogging
- Email Drops
Pinterest for us seems to win out every time. Remember that when strategizing to drive traffic to a website, focus on one thing and one thing only.
Don’t try to do everything in the beginning. A jack of all trades is a master of none!
An easy way to think about it is to think about where your target audience hangs out. Bloggers and mommy millennials hang out on Pinterest; therefore, Avocadu, our health and fitness blog, is on Pinterest.
Pinterest really is a great place to start for most niches.
If you are still struggling to get people to visit your website, make sure to check out our free eCourse Pinterest Marketing for Beginners:
It will show you exactly how to get people to your blog or business using Pinterest. It’s how we generate over 500,000 views per month to our health and fitness blog, Avocadu.com.
Step 4. Recommend relevant products in your blog posts and content.
One of the biggest initial mistakes Lauren and I made when we first tried to start making money with our blog was always trying to force our products down people’s throats.
We’d be writing a blog post like the “23 Healthiest Foods, ” and in the middle of talking about the avocados, we would write a sentence with a subliminal message that went something like this:
HEYYYYYYY!!! WANT TO LOSE ALL THE WEIGHT, LOOK SEXY SEXY, AND HAVE PEOPLE SAY DAMNNNNNN GIRL WHAT HPPND TO U!!! BUY OUR NEW PRODUCT!!! CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE NOW!! CLICKITY CLICK CLICK!!!
Okay… It wasn’t that bad, but at times it felt that bad.
Basically, we were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
The sales process and more importantly, your sanity as a creator, will be much smoother if you don’t force it.
Amazon and affiliate marketing are some of the best ways to learn how to monetize a blog and find out what your users are interested in.
Just find natural places to recommend products and books you enjoy reading, link it with Amazon products, and send traffic. Simple as that.
You can read more about making money with the Amazon Associates program in our article below:
Also, keep in mind that this works best for low-cost products that are almost mindless purchases. Products more around the $5-$20 range will work better.
Step 5. Forget about trying to make money through ads – for now.
When we started our six-figure health and wellness blog, we initially tried putting Google Adsense ads all over the website. We figured it would be a good way to monetize the blog as we grew.
Then our first week of earnings came in…
I couldn’t believe it. At that rate, Lauren and I would be able to buy one chipotle a burrito a month with our blogging income.
My first thought was, “Why in the world would anyone use ads?”
Because Lauren and I knew our end goal (making GREAT money blogging), we immediately took them off our website and moved onto bigger things.
Most ads look tacky and unprofessional, so we didn’t think it was worth sacrificing the look of our blog for less than 50 cents/day.
**NOTE** We did introduce ads back onto our website once we were making six figures, but only as a source of side income and after we were generating enough traffic to work with a premium ad network like AdThrive.
Ads are fine to earn a little bit of passive income, but they should not be used as a primary source of revenue.
You’re going to need MILLIONS of visitors a month to make six figures blogging through ads alone and a constant stream of never-ending content.
These types of blogs are some of the few that can get away with it:
- Top-ranked recipe blogs on Google
- Publishers (Wall Street Journal, NY Times)
Scaling is going to be a pain in the butt, and it’s not the right move to make money blogging or to become a future six-figure blogger (in the beginning).
6. Start building an email list… NOW.
Growing an email list is important for these reasons:
- You have full control over it.
- It’s an asset, and the more it grows, the easier it will be to make money from it.
- A list allows you to build stronger relationships with your customers.
Let’s say we send an email our about a new $47 product to an email list of 40,000 people.
→ 20% of those people open the email (8,000 people).
→ 5% click the link to our product page (400 people).
→ 3% convert (12 people buy the product).
So, if we sent that one, single email, we would have made $564!!!
$564 per day is around $16,920 per MONTH.
It adds up FAST.
The truth is, most people don’t buy products without knowing a little bit about you first.
Especially if that product is a digital eBook or some sort of information product. Building that trust through a list is the smart way to do things.
Plus, the first few emails you send could and SHOULD be an automated indoctrination series with insider information about you as the creators.
There are a lot of different platforms to collect emails (LeadPages is our favorite) and sell products (Clickfunnels for eBooks and Teachable for courses are our favorites). Just make sure that whatever you choose is easy to use and very customizable!
Step 7. Use affiliate marketing (preferably high-priced products).
Please, please, please don’t miss this step. Lauren and I started out with a different health and fitness aimed at helping young men and women stay fit and healthy. It turned out to be a massive failure.
We spent almost three weekends and weeknights busting our asses to create a weight loss and muscle-building product. Then we spent another week making an overly complex funnel and sales page. Finally, after four weeks, we launched it.
Nobody bought, and we were absolutely distraught.
All that time and creativity was wasted making something nobody wanted.
Worst. Feeling. Ever.
Part of creating awesomeness is creating products people actually WANT and NEED.
This usually means that you will need to promote someone else’s creation before making your own to confirm that the idea works.
Keep in mind that in order to make a significant income with affiliate marketing, you’ll generally need to be promoting higher-priced products. It’s just a numbers game.
It’s all about how to make your first $1,000/month blogging through affiliate marketing, beginning to drive traffic to your blog, and other awesomesauce strategies!
This course is ideal for new bloggers or anyone else who hasn’t made any income with their blog yet or is struggling to get their first bit of traffic!
The first course is about making your first $1,000/month blogging while also learning how to sell. The second course is about scaling that income by creating your own digital products and services!
Step 8. Create your own products.
Lauren and I finally got smart and started promoting a relevant yoga product to our market, and made about $5 per sale.
The problem was that we knew $5 sales wouldn’t break the bank anytime soon. We just needed to confirm that we could actually sell a yoga product to our audience.
So we made a list, set up an autoresponder, and crossed our fingers. Two days later, we had made our first sale! We were ECSTATIC.
Not only did they buy the product, but they loved it!
Once we got good at creating sales pages that promoted someone else’s product, we THEN we created our own yoga product.
When you create your own product, you control the sales page, marketing, and profit margins, which allow you to take your business to levels you never dreamed of!
Learn how to market products BEFORE creating your own!
Check out our article on creating your own digital products and services for more info on how to get started!
This is the final stage and how 90% of websites make a significant income online. There is a good chance you will need to sell your own product to become a six-figure blogger.
Step 9. Scale and maximize conversions.
So, now you have built your blog, started getting traffic to your blog, created your products and sales pages, and everything is set and ready… What now?
It’s time to scale!
More specifically, you need to find new and creative ways to drive more traffic and generate more revenue. Some examples of ways to do this include:
- Outreach to other bloggers
- Start an additional traffic source
- Add additional products
- Optimize your opt-ins and landing pages to increase your conversions
This is the really fun part of blogging and the place we are finally at with BOTH of our blogs.
It takes a while to get to this point, but once you are there, it is awesome!
If you have reached the end of this article I want to answer a few additional questions and provide you with a few more answers you make be looking for…
What is the best blogging platform to make money?
There a quite a few platforms people use for blogging these days. WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc. I feel like a new one pops us every day. Without a second hesitation, I will tell you that WordPress is the best place to start.
For a variety of reasons including site speed, plugin capabilities, and more, it’s the only platform that makes sense for bloggers. It’s also what we recommend in our post on how to start a successful blog. We love pairing WordPress with Bluehost for newbies.
What are the most common blogging mistakes people make when trying to make money?
First of all, there are a LOT, but the number 1 mistake bloggers make is coming off shady and asking for the sale too soon. It’s a common mistake and will make your readers resent you for asking them to pull out their credit card too soon.
If you want to see the full list, you can check out our article on 8 Biggest Blogging Mistakes and How to Fix Them Fast.
If you are looking for additional tips and instruction on blog monetization, make sure to sign up for our FREE 4-Day eCourse on How to Monetize a New Blog.
Co-Founder, Create and Go
P.S. What are the biggest struggles you’re having with your current blog right now? Share them with us in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to help!