I know what it’s like, you want to make something back from all your hard work but you don’t want to sacrifice the integrity of your blog in the process. This is how to make blogging profitable without selling your soul.
When I started my digital marketing journey back in 1998, the Internet looked like a very different place. There were fewer opportunities and ways to make money blogging.
Thankfully blogging has become a reliable way to produce revenue online. However, it doesn’t happen overnight.
To truly become a successful blogger, you’re going to need patience and determination.
Can you really make money blogging?
Yes. I’ve been making a living from blogging since 2004 – a full six years after I started learning about digital marketing.
But you won’t have to go through the same years of struggle I went through.
Bloggers, just like you, are making good money from their blog, but how? There are lot of ways to monetize your blog or make blogging profitable.
In this article, I’ll show you the best way to make blogging profitable for any niche.
Find a profitable niche
Before anything else, you need to be passionate about your blogging niche. You have to love it because if you don’t, you won’t enjoy writing about it, and your enthusiasm will show in your content.
How do you find a profitable niche?
There are many ways to find a profitable niche.
You can start by brainstorming ideas of what topics you know about or would like to learn more about. For example, if you have always been an animal lover and enjoy learning more about animals, you can write an animal-related blog.
As you brainstorm ideas, keep in mind what makes a good blog post. Blog posts can be written about almost anything, but they need to be interesting and educational.
For example, you might be interested in dogs, so we’d have to make sure that’s something that people will want to read and learn more about. More about that later.
Let’s continue generating potential niche ideas.
You can write posts about dogs, but that is probably too general – or competitive.
You need to niche-down to the sub-niche level.
For example, you could focus on one breed in particular and write about how to take care of them, their breed history, etc.
You could share ideas about what that dog breed needs in terms of grooming and training. What is important to know when choosing a dog for your family? Make sure you include all the facts and details so people will read the whole blog post and receive enormous value from you.
If you get stuck with the research side of things, you can hire someone on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.
But just because you have a list of topics you’re interested in doesn’t mean there’s money to be made.
For this, you need to validate your niche ideas.
Validate your blog idea: Keyword research
Once you have a list of potential blog niches, you need to validate them to make sure they are profitable.
Here’s a list of ways to validate your niche ideas:
You can start by doing keyword research.
Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner or SEMrush. I find the best results using SEMrush to check both volume and Cost Per Click (CPC).
It’s free if you want to sign up for a trial, but it will cost $99 per month once the trial is over.
I also use Ahrefs to conduct keyword research because it gives me more details about each page ranking for each keyword, including links and backlinks information and much more.
Search volume is a controversial topic.
Ideally, you want to stay away from keywords and niches that are too competitive.
For example, if I was searching with SEMrush for keywords that have over 1,000 search volume.
You will notice the two terms ‘Pet Dog’ and ‘Puppy Care’ are very competitive as they have high CPC.
Whereas terms like “Dog training tips” or “Training your dog at home” are worth testing because they have lower competition and the potential to rank in the top ten pages of Google for each keyword.
Validate your blog idea: Adverts
The second way to validate your blog niche ideas is to check for adverts.
If people are buying adverts, they probably see a decent return on their investment, which means the niche is profitable.
Take a look at the Google search results for adverts on the front page. Also, check sponsored Facebook posts or promoted tweets within Twitter.
Validate your blog idea: Amazon
Finally, we need to validate your blog niche ideas by checking for relevant product sales on Amazon.
In particular, we need to see information-based products being sold.
Check for books, kindle books, or magazines in your niche.
If you find lots of products being sold and they are ranking well on Amazon, then that’s a good sign this niche is profitable.
Make sure you check out how many reviews each product has, along with their rating. The more reviews, the more sales those products are making.
Know your audience
Now you have a profitable blog niche; it’s time to get to know your audience.
When writing for your target audience, write down why people will want to read your blog posts. What will they learn from you? How will your audeince benefit from reading your blog posts?
What are your audience’s pain points? What problems does your audience have that your blog can solve?
You can do market research and find out what your audience wants to read about.
Know who you are writing for, and know that they will be happy with your content.
Know your purpose
Once you’ve decided on your niche, you need to decide on your ‘why.’
Your purpose is what will set you apart from everyone else. Your blogging purpose will be different than others, so know why you are doing it.
Obviously, your purpose might be to make money from blogging, but it should also have a higher value that resonates with your audience.
So far, you know your niche, you know who you will serve, but you need to find your ‘why.’
Think about the ultimate end goal of your audience. What will their lives look like as a result of your help?
How will you impact people and improve their situations?
Why does that matter to them?
These are questions you need to think about in order to discover your ‘why.’
Communicating the ‘why’ will help you connect with your audience, build trust, and eventually make more money.
Set your goals
We’ve touched upon figuring out your audience’s goals.
But what about your goals?
You need to have at least some goals to help keep you on the right track. Think of your goals as a very loose map that helps guide you, making sure you’re moving in the right direction.
Goals shouldn’t be too big and unrealistic, or else you will lose interest in blogging.
It’s a good idea to set yourself small, achievable goals for your first couple of posts, so you can get into the habit of blogging once it becomes a part-time job.
Once you’ve accomplished your first few goals, then set bigger and better ones.
Choosing your domain name
Once you know your audience, their goals, values, and you know your purpose, it’s time to get creative and choose a domain name.
There is an art to choosing the right domain name. It doesn’t have to be difficult, but there are a few things you need to consider.
You want to keep your URL short and memorable for quick sharing links on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook etc. When choosing a domain name, make sure it is something people can remember easily.
Your domain name should sound natural in conversation as well as look good when shared on Twitter etc. Also, consider how easy it will be for people to share or remember your URL because that’s very important in driving traffic.
You can try using words that you know will work well on social media platforms.
If you can’t think of something good and memorable, don’t worry, there are millions of domain names available in the world, and they haven’t all been discovered yet.
There are also domain name generators online which will help you come up with catchy ideas for your domain name.
Once you’ve got a shortlist of good domain names to choose from, check out their availability.
You should also check that social media profile names are available, which is essential for branding.
Which web hosting is right?
There are a few types of web hosting you can choose from, and not all of them will be the right option for you.
You can use free services when starting out, but they can be unreliable and not the best option for website stability.
I recommend starting with a shared hosting plan. They usually start at a price of $3 a month.
If your blog begins to take off and you start receiving a lot of traffic, investing in something more reliable is worth investing in.
There are lots of different plans available to suit all budgets.
You will need to determine how much traffic your site receives on a daily basis because, depending on this number, you will have to choose either shared hosting or a VPS (Virtual Private Server).
Suppose you’re receiving a significant level of traffic, and you are willing to pay for hosting every month. In that case, it might be better to invest in a VPS server that provides more control and security against downtime.
Eventually, if your site is starting to get a lot of traffic, then it’s a good idea to invest in your own server.
This will come at more expensive but will allow you more flexibility and control over the technical side of the site.
No matter which option you choose, you’re going to need an SSL certificate.
It is essential to have an SSL certificate from day one because it encrypts data sent via your website. Your visitors will trust you more, which means they’ll be more likely to share your content with their friends on social media sites like Facebook etc.
Most web hosts provide SSL for free and will install one for you.
Choose a blogging platform
Once you’ve got your domain name and you’ve decided on a web host, it’s time to set up your blog on the right blogging platform.
There are dozens of options out there for content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Blogger, etc. You can choose whichever one best suits your needs and offers good support and an easy interface to operate with.
There are many blogging platforms available, but WordPress is by far the most popular one used today.
This is the blog platform I use.
Most web hosts make it very easy to install a CMS; it can be done with a couple of clicks.
Choosing a good theme
Pick a premium theme, so your blog design looks good right from the start, and make sure you use an SEO-optimized theme, so search engines like Google will easily crawl your site and index your pages.
ThemeForest offers lots of great WordPress themes.
However, you can get by with free ones if you’re willing to customize them yourself.
WP Astra, GeneratePress, and OceanWP are all free to use.
They’re also very fast themes, which is great for your user experience – and SEO.
I recommend you start with one of these free themes and then either upgrade to a premium version when you need more features.
On most of my blogs, I use; GeneratePress and WP Astra.
How to monetize a blog with AdSense
Adsense is by far my least way to monetize a free blog.
However, Google ads are displayed on most websites globally, and they’re really easy to set up.
Adsense works like this: You copy and paste a small script code into your blog theme, and then it displays ads based on the content of each post.
There are lots of different ad formats available, but I recommend you start with either Text Ads or Image Ads.
Each time someone clicks on one of the ads, you’ll receive a small commission from Google for displaying the ad on your site.
It’s important to have multiple income streams so that your blog won’t rely solely on Adsense for your earnings.
You may also get additional affiliate income by signing up with Amazon Associates or similar programs that will pay you a commission when someone buys something after clicking on one of your links.
I’m not a fan of Amazon Associates, but it’s an option for you.
Why do I dislike Amazon Associates? Because over the years, they’ve repeatedly treated their affiliates badly. Amazon has reduced commission rates consistently.
I’ve seen bloggers lose thousands of dollars worth of affiliate revenue due to their changes in policy over the years.
The bottom line is: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
Sell Ad Space Directly
Now you’re starting to gain control of your blog.
You can set your own ad prices, and you can place ads on your site wherever you wish.
You don’t have to rely on someone else’s business.
Also, because you’re in control, you’ll be able to advertise products related to your posts’ content. This is how to get advertisers for your blog.
I’ve been making money from one of my blogs by simply selling advertising space directly, and I also profit monthly from sales generated by those advertisements thanks to affiliate marketing. More about that later.
Don’t forget about using sponsored posts to get even more income.
What are sponsored posts? They’re published articles or blog posts that you write on behalf of someone else in exchange for money.
You already know how to write, which is a good way to make extra cash from your writing talent.
Sometimes the advertiser will have the article written, and all you have to do is publish it.
Other times the advertiser will provide you with information to write about, but it’s your job to make it into a great post.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to monetize your blog and make passive income.
All you have to do is find products that your readers will be interested in and then link to those products to earn a commission on each sale you generate.
The advertiser pays you a commission when someone clicks on one of your affiliate links and buys their product.
You don’t need experience with affiliate marketing; however, it’s important that you only choose products that are relevant to your blog content.
For example, if you write about weight loss, make sure the diet pills or weight loss program you promote makes sense for people trying to lose weight.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, I suggest starting with a Commission Junction or ShareASale program.
They’ll handle all the tracking for you and provide an easy way to find affiliate programs that are relevant to your blog.
Read this to learn how to choose affiliate products for your blog.
Sell Rebranded PLR Ebooks
PLR stands for Private Label Rights.
It’s a product that other people have created, and you can purchase the right to use it and resell it as your own product.
For example, a PLR ebook “How to Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days” could be rebranded as “Diet Tips for Women” or something along those lines. Rebranding simply means that you change the name of the actual product so that it appears to be your very own creation.
You do this by purchasing the PLR license, changing the title, description, and insert your affiliate links throughout the document.
Write and sell your own ebook
Let’s take the next step beyond PLR.
Writing and selling your own ebook might seem like a daunting task, but it’s really quite easy.
The great thing about writing an ebook is, you don’t need to write hundreds of pages. It’s all about the value you deliver; the quicker you can do that, the better.
You can sell that ebook directly from their blog or create an online course based on the information in that ebook.
The tools you’ll need to write an ebook are:
Google Docs or similar, and Canva to make the cover. You’ll also need a way to accept payment, such as Paypal, and a way to deliver the purchase.
This can be done via email or a membership plugin (more about that in a minute).
Selling your own original products will bring you much more income than selling PLRs will.
Sell Your Own Courses
It’s possible to make money selling audio courses and video courses.
But there’s a lot of competition out there, so don’t expect this to be easy money.
You’ll need a course outline, and you’ll have to do the research required to create the course content.
The tools you’ll need:
PowerPoint or similar, and screen recording software like Camtasia or ScreenFlow. You’ll also need a payment processer and a membership plugin like MemberPress or Paid Memberships Pro.
Creating your own courses can be a lot of fun if you enjoy teaching.
Start a membership site
A membership site is one of the best ways to make money from your blog.
Depending on what type of content you’re producing, a membership site can be a great way to get paid for the information you’re already sharing with your readers.
You can offer things like exclusive access to private bonus content, discounts on products and upcoming events, special reports, or even live calls or webinars.
The tools you’ll need:
A membership plugin like MemberPress, and payment processor.
Provide freelance services
It’s possible to make more income by providing relevant services.
If you’re good at something, offer it as a service on your blog.
For example, if you’re an artist or photographer, offer your services for a fee.
You can also provide copywriting services, programming help, SEO services, writing coaching, graphic design work, or whatever else you might be good at doing.
Offer coaching services
If your blog is in a results-based niche, such as fitness, self-improvement, entrepreneurship, or business, you might be able to make a living by offering coaching services.
You can offer things like weekly group calls via Skype, one-on-one online coaching, or even in-person meetings.
Start public speaking
If you’re an expert because of your life experience and you have the credentials to back it up, then you might be able to get paid for speaking engagements at events around your local area.
You can also do paid talks at colleges, universities, or even at organizations like churches.
If you can’t get public speaking gigs locally, then you could start your own events and charge a small fee to attend those events.
Start an Affiliate Program
It’s possible to recruit affiliates to promote your products and services.
You pay a commission for each sale they generate for you.
The great thing about starting an affiliate program is that once somebody becomes a customer, you’ll have them on your list forever and sell to them repeatedly.
This is why some affiliate programs offer 100% commission on front-end sales; they know the value of a customer email list.
Write Blog Posts for Other People
Another great way to make money from blogging is to write blog posts for other people. This is usually done on a freelance basis, and you’ll be paid per post once the post has been published.
Sometimes this is referred to as guest posting or ghost blogging.
Driving traffic to your website
The harsh truth is, without traffic, you won’t generate revenue.
Thankfully, there are many strategies for driving traffic to your website.
The biggest traffic source for most bloggers is Google.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website rank higher in search engine results. This requires a lot of work, including on-page and off-page optimization, which can be difficult to do consistently.
There are other ways you can drive traffic to your site too.
Social media is a powerhouse of traffic when used in the right way. Here are 21 ways to improve your social media marketing strategy.
You could pay for Facebook ads or Google Adwords, but you need to have a firm grip on your conversion rate and profit margins before you attempt this.
Promote your blog with a podcast
Promoting your blog with a podcast is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website.
Here’s an easy way to start a podcast:
Download audio recording software like Audacity, and record yourself reading your blog posts.
Save them as an MP3 file and upload them to a podcast service like Libsyn.
Promote your podcast on social media, and submit it to iTunes for an even bigger audience.
Turn blog posts into videos
Videos are great for social media promotion and traffic generation.
Just like we can turn blog posts into podcasts, we can turn them into videos too.
Simply read out your blog post on camera, save it as an MP4 and upload it to Youtube.
However, keyword selection is very important on Youtube.
You can also create infographics and then ask other blogs to post them on their websites.
The infographic acts as an advertisement for your website, driving traffic back to it whenever someone clicks on the graphic pointer within the embedded image.
Write Guest Posts on Popular Blogs
A popular way of driving traffic from other bloggers is by writing guest posts on their websites.
I’m sure you’ve seen these posts – they usually appear in the sidebar or near the bottom of the post where the author mentions some other blogs they found interesting at around the same time while reading this article; if not, then just look at this example.
Or, if you’re willing to spend money advertising online, then it might be possible to drive traffic to your website from other sites.
When it comes to making income, being disciplined is more important than anything else. Having a plan for marketing your blog will definitely help make money from blogging less daunting and overwhelming.
Start small, focus on one strategy at a time, then scale up as things progress.
Overall, you can use countless methods to earn revenue from blogging; no matter which strategy you decide to follow, the important thing is that you do publish on a regular basis, so your traffic increases over time.
This is how to build a profitable blog.