I was getting brunch with my best friend at one of my favorite spots on Union St in San Francisco, and she told me that she was thinking of quitting her job to work full time on her new blog!
If you know my friend, you would have been just as shocked as I was to hear her say that. At the time, she was working at a startup that was doing really well, and she’d been with the company from the very early days.
But the more we talked, the more I learned how unhappy she was with her job, and how she wanted change. Although she felt a sense of security in her current job, she wanted to do something that would give her more freedom – freedom to choose how to spend her time and just as importantly, freedom from any financial worries.
As someone who has been blogging for several years now, I get a lot of questions about blogging from family, friends, and people online. I’m often asked questions like: How can I start a blog? How do you make money from blogging? Can you really make a living just from a blog?
And my answer is pretty much always the same.
Building a blog isn’t hard at all. Anyone can do it, even if you know very little about computers and the internet.
But, building a profitable blog is very difficult.
So, how do you do it? How do you building a successful blog that makes money?
That’s the big question, and it would take me several blog posts to properly answer. I won’t go into the nitty gritty of building a blog in this post, but I will share a few principles I’ve learned to set yourself up for success with the right expectations and mindset.
1. Be realistic
It’s easy to believe that blogging is a great way to get rich quick – work a few hours a week, write a few blog posts, and earn thousands of dollars $$$ every month while you sleep. Sounds amazing, right?! Unfortunately, blogging doesn’t work like that.
It’s not that you can’t make thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars every month from your blog. You absolutely can!
It’s just that building and scaling a hugely profitable blog is no small task. It’s very hard. Blogging is a ton of work.
I don’t mean to scare you away, and make you rethink this whole blogging idea. Building a profitable blog is 100% doable. You just need the right resources, tools, and you need to be willing to put in the time and hard work. You can definitely do it. I guarantee.
2. Know your business plan
To build a profitable blog, you need to think of your blog as a business from the very start. Here are just a few very important questions you need to be able to answer before you get going.
Who is your target audience?
This is the most important and often the most overlooked question when developing a blog strategy.
It may seem obvious, but you need to write for the people who are actually going to buy from you. And without defining your target audience, it’s hard to know who you’re actually writing to and why they should listen.
Just like for any product you would design, your blog needs to provide a clear solution to a problem a group of people have.
Your blog is not about you. It’s about your readers. So focus on them. Focus on their problems, and how you can provide a solution or add value to their needs. This is the only way you will be able to gain traction and successfully sell to your audience.
How are you going to make money?
There are several ways to make money from blogging. Here are a few of the most popular ways bloggers make money from their blogs.
You can make money from display ads – you can earn passive income for every page view or ad clicked on your blog.
You can make money from affiliate links – you can link to other products and services and earn a commission when your reader clicks on the links and makes a purchase.
You can make money from products you create and sell to your audience. A few examples are ebooks, courses, and printables. These can bring you in a lot of earnings for your blog.
You may be thinking…all of these strategies for montezation require a lot of traffic and subscribers, what if I’m just starting? How do I make money right away?
Great question. First of all, don’t be afraid to start selling right away. Even if you have very little traffic. It’s never to early to start. And any money that you do make, no matter how small, will help keep you motivated.
However, if you’re looking to make money without waiting to build a large audience or email list, offering some type of service to your viewers is one option. Is there any service you can do that relates to the theme of your blog? Do you freelance write? Are you a designer? Could you offer a consulting service?
In the beginning, you’ll have to do a lot of outreach to get clients, but providing a service is a great way to make money while you focus on building out your subscriber list.
3. Focus on your list
You may have heard the phrase, “the money’s in the list”. With blogging, it’s absolutely true. Your email list is your best tool for making money with your blog.
Whether they’ve been blogging for months, years, or only days you need to make building your email list your number one priority.
Here are a few reasons why:
Growth: Your email list will grow traffic to your blog as well as your social media following. It gives you the opportunity to connect and learn more about your audience. And you’ll be be able to provide extra value for your readers.
Monetization: An email list is amazing for affiliate marketing, and will help sell any services or products you offer.
These are the top three things I tell anyone who ask me about starting a profitable blog. There’s obviously a lot more that goes into building and growing a blog, but if you focus on these three principles from the very beginning, you will be off to a great start.
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