(Affiliate links used.)
A couple of weeks ago, I started a fun new series on my blog dedicated to showing you guys how you can effectively and (somewhat) easily start a blog that makes money. Whether it’s just a little bit of supplemental income (hello, Starbucks trips!) or a venture that replaces your full-time income, blogs really can make money with a little bit of work and a few good ideas! I’ve grown from making just a small extra amount each month to completely replacing my full-time teacher income in just a few years of dedicated effort. With a little bit of luck and elbow grease, it’s totally possible to replace that income quicker than I’ve done it. I’m here to share a little bit of insight that might help you too!
(You can see part 1 of the series here!)
So let’s say you’ve thought about starting a monetized blog. I’m sure there are a ton of questions running through your mind – namely, where do I start? I feel you…there is so, so much to think about when organizing and starting a blog. You might have a million blog post ideas and monetization tricks running through your mind. What’s the first thing to do?
If I were a new blogger and I was starting this whole party over again, I’d follow this order:
I would pick something that isn’t too complex (maybe 3-4 words, tops), can’t be misspelled easily, and centers around the blog focus that you chose in question #1. Give your readers a good hint into your content from your blog title. It’s also important to make sure there isn’t another blog/brand out there with that name already…a quick google search can go a long way with this! Nobody wants to fall into copyright infringement with their blog name, only to have to change it months/years after they’ve built the name into something big. You might also want to check to make sure the domain name of your blog isn’t taken…GoDaddy has a feature that checks that for you.
1) Hosting on Blogger is absolutely free, incredibly reliable, and much more secure. Because your blog is hosted (i.e. all of your information is stored) on Blogger’s servers, you never have to pay for it. This is going to save you money (WordPress hosting is done through a variety of outside companies that can charge anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds each month) and a lot of headache. I am constantly seeing WordPress bloggers complain about their hosting being down or unreliable. If your hosting is down, your blog isn’t working, costing you potential readers and blog hits. I think, in 7 years of using Blogger, my hosting has been down twice (for maybe an hour each time). You won’t find that kind of reliability with self-hosted WordPress hosts! In addition, Blogger’s servers are so much more secure than a lot of the outside hosting companies that run WordPress blogs. You have a much lower chance of your blog being hacked or losing precious content.
If you’re looking for no-fuss, no-cost hosting, Blogger is the way to go! It is totally possible to start a Blogger blog and not pay a dime for it. I’ll address some of the things that might cost a little extra later on, but just know that there can potentially be zero start-up cost for a Blogger blog. Not true for self-hosted WordPress.
Now, have I convinced you to start out on Blogger? If so, here are the (super easy) steps to starting your own Blogger blog:
1. Head over to blogger.com and sign in. If you already have a google account, you can use that (but I’d recommend making a new one to correspond to your blog name…for example, for this blog, I’d registry firstname.lastname@example.org).
I typically recommend that new bloggers start by using Google Adsense. They do pay a little bit lower than some of the bigger ad networks, but they are incredibly easy to use and usually accept any blog that would like to display them, no matter the popularity. To sign up for Adsense through your Blogger blog, go to the “Earnings” page from your Blogger dashboard and you’ll see a link to apply.
If you happen to be talking about a product, look into using an affiliate link for it. I have found many of the affiliate programs I use by simply googling. I typically search the product name plus “affiliate program” to see if it has a program available. From there, you can apply for the program and, if approved, get your links!By far, my most profitable affiliate program is the Amazon Associates program. It is typically pretty easy to get accepted to and, as you probably already know, Amazon sells just about every product imaginable, so it’s super easy to generate a link to a product you’re discussing. You can apply for that program here.
There’s no magic number for what kind of page views/social media following you’ll need before you can start getting sponsored posts. Of course, payments will start off small and become larger as your following/experience grows. I’ve got a post of this series coming up that’s dedicated to sponsored content…it should be live in the next few weeks!
So, what happens if you get a sponsored post opportunity early on? That’s great! Take a look at the opportunity and make sure it’s worth your time. Is the company just offering payment, or just a couple of samples of their product (or nothing at all) for you to spend your time advertising for them? I can’t answer whether this is worth it to you or not – only you can. You might consider taking a couple of these lower (or no) paying opportunities at first to get your feet wet. But, think about the time it’s going to take you to write the post and promote it on social media – are you being compensated appropriately for the amount of time you’re spending helping this company? Really think about it before you take it. I’ll address this topic a little more in my sponsored post part of this series!
I will go into much, much more detail about each of these categories in further posts in this series. This is a really basic run-down of what you can start with in the monetization world.
And you’re off! 🙂 You’ve officially opened your blog up for business and started down the road of monetization. Now, where do you go from here?
First and foremost, keep producing quality content and promoting it (using some of the methods here). You’ve really just scratched the surface of blog monetization by following the simple methods above. In the next few posts in this series, I’ll address how you can go even more in-depth in the three areas of monetization discussed above. These should be live in the next few weeks or so!
**Please note: I am not a lawyer, so nothing in this post is intended to be taken as legal advice. If you have questions regarding the legality of starting a blog I’d suggest consulting a professional! I also cannot guarantee the results I discuss in this post…it is just to be taken as an example.**
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