This post may contain affiliate links.
Wondering how to learn to blog for money? Then you’re in the right place. I’ve created a full-time income from my blog in less than a year and I’m going to share with you exactly how I did it. Read on to find out more.
Way back when I had my first ever website on Tumblr, I had no idea that you could make money from blogging. At the time, I was living in France on student exchange, traveling Europe, and using my blog as a way to keep my family updated on my adventures.
I deleted that blog when I returned from France and dabbled in some freelance writing online. Then, when I gave birth to my son and became a stay-at-home mom, I discovered online income reports written by many successful bloggers. I had always loved writing and I was looking for a way to make money from home. Blogging sounded like the perfect business to me.
So one night I made the decision that I would figure out how to learn to blog for money.
Fast forward to just over a year and my blog has become a nice income earner – in fact, I make more money blogging than I ever have working for someone else. And I have the freedom to work whenever, and from wherever, I like. As I’m writing this, I’m on a few months long vacation in Australia and my son is taking his afternoon nap.
Blogging really is the perfect job, in my opinion. Especially if you’re a mom of little kids, someone who wants to travel the world while earning money, or someone who wants to escape the rat race.
You’re probably reading this because you’ve googled something like “how to learn to blog for money.” If so, welcome! Let’s kick some making-money-online-by-blogging-butt together, mmmk!
I’m going to show exactly the tools, courses, eBooks, etc., that I have utilized in my blogging journey. These are the resources that I credit for my blogging success and I truly believe that they are beneficial for virtually any blogger (or aspiring blogger) who is trying to figure out how to learn to blog for money.
Let me start by saying that the fact that you want to learn puts you at a distinct advantage. It means you’re treating this blogging caper like a business, and that’s exactly what you need to do to succeed in the blogging world (and make money.) If you want to just blog for fun (like I did with my travel blog) then that’s awesome. But you’re very unlikely to make any money from your blog if you don’t treat it like a business.
Having said that, let’s dig into the nitty gritty – the exact tools I used and continue to use to run my blog.
How to Learn to Blog For Money
1) Get a Self-Hosted Blog
The very first thing you need if you want to blog for money is a self-hosted blog. This means buying your own domain name and hosting package. Basically, instead of your blog name being http://www.myawesomeblog.wordpress.com it’ll be http://www.myawesomeblog.com.
Not only does this looking infinitely more professional, it’s also almost impossible to monetize a blog that you don’t actually own (and if you have a blog that ends in wordpress.com or blogspot.com then you don’t own it – wordpress or blogspot do.)
Thankfully, it’s pretty cheap and easy to buy and set up your own domain name and hosting. I’ve written a full step-by-step tutorial you can find here. This tutorial will guide you through exactly what you need to do.
2) Now Get a Professional Looking Theme
Once you’ve set up your domain name and hosting, you’ll want to make your blog all spiffy and profesh’ looking. Blogging has become so popular these days – there are millions and millions of blogs out there.
If you truly want to compete, then you need an easy to navigate, customized, stylish, SEO friendly blog. Studiopress offers all of those things. Head on over the Studiopress website here and browse their selection.
You’ll need to purchase the Genesis framework and then a Child theme that you like. (Don’t worry, Studiopress provides full set-up instructions for all of their themes.)
Another great, budget-friendly option for purchasing premade themes is Beautiful Dawn Designs. The beautiful themes are user-friendly and created specifically for beginner to intermediate bloggers.
3) Learn How To Write For The Internet
One of the first mistakes I made when I started blogging was writing blog posts the same way I wrote college essays. i.e. Long paragraphs, correct grammar, etc.
Contrary to what a lot of people may think, writing for the internet is very different to writing for print. A lot of the grammatical rules that you’ve had drilled into you just don’t apply to blogging. In fact, you should do just the opposite in many cases.
Things like starting a sentence with the word “and,” one word sentences, one sentence paragraphs, bullet points, lists, etc., are all encouraged in blogging.
Once I learned that I had it all wrong, I bought the Yahoo! Style Guide and got to learning. As the name suggests, the Yahoo! Style Guide teaches you exactly how to write, edit, and create content for the internet. It’s a must-have for serious bloggers. (Or those who are serious about blogging 😉 – because if you know me in real life, I’m probably the least serious person around.)
4) Write About Things People Are Searching For
Ok, so this one is a biggie, and it’s probably one of the least-talked about but most important (in my opinion) aspects of blogging.
You might write the best, most well-researched, entertaining blog post on “How to make a lampshade out of old socks” but if no-one is googling “How to make a lampshade out of old socks” then no-one is going to read your post.
So how do you find out what types of things people are actually searching for? You use a keyword research tool, that’s how.
I’ve dabbled with a number of keyword research tools but my favorite is called Jaaxy. I love Jaaxy because it’s very simple to use and it targets long-tail keywords. If you’re unfamiliar with what long-tail keywords are, let me explain:
Long-tail keywords are phrases like “DIY tutorial on how to make a lampshade” as opposed to “DIY Lampshade.” It’s highly unlikely that, as a new blogger, you’re going to rank on the first page of Google for a term like “DIY Lampshade.” There’s just way too much competition from the BIG guys (corporations, bloggers who’ve been at it for a decade or more, etc.)
But if you target long-tail keywords, you’re much more likely to please the Google gods and potentially land on the first page of google.
Jaaxy will show you extremely important information like how many people are searching for a particular term, how many pageviews you can expect if you rank on the first page of Google, how many other websites are competing for the same term, etc. They’ll also give you a ranking of how likely it is for you to reach the front page.
I’ll say it again because it’s so important – you need to write about things people are searching for.
You can try Jaaxy for free below, just type in the keyword you want to rank for.
5) Master Pinterest
I’m sure you’ve heard of Pinterest. You probably use it pretty often to find recipes, craft tutorials, birthday party ideas, etc.
But what you might not know is that Pinterest has the potential to drive massive traffic to your blog. If you know that already but you don’t know exactly how to use Pinterest to it’s full advantage, then I recommend checking out the Pinteresting Strategies eBook by Carly from Mommy on Purpose.
I’ve taken a number of courses on Pinterest and Carly’s eBook is one of my favorites because she doesn’t just say “oh, buy a scheduler, set up all of your pins in watch the traffic roll in…” like you might’ve read a ton of times.
She actually goes into depth about various strategies she uses to drive massive traffic to her blog, without the use of a scheduler. I highly recommend Pinteresting Strategies if you want to take advantage of the awesome traffic-driver that is Pinterest.
6) Transform Your Traffic
Ever heard the saying “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”? This is also true for blogging.
That’s why I don’t focus solely on Pinterest traffic – I use Jaaxy for organic search traffic and I try to implement all of the techniques that Lena from What Mommy Does teaches in her Traffic Transformation Guide.
Lena has built a successful blog that covers a number of different topics (proof that you don’t always have to “niche down” – myself and Carly are proof of that, too, btw.)
There are a few tips in particular in the Traffic Transformation Guide that I implemented and saw a HUGE increase in traffic from. And I’m working through the guide again right now, because Lena just updated it to include even more awesomeness.
I’m not going to spill on the details of my favorite tips because that wouldn’t be right to Lena. But you can buy the guide here and start implementing everything on your own blog right away.
7) Learn How Affiliate Marketing Works
One of the best ways to make money blogging is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing has been around for years, but essentially, what it means is that you link to a product or service you love and recommend.
If someone signs up for the service or buys the product through your special affiliate link, you get a small commission on the sale. It doesn’t cost the buyer anything extra, but it’s basically the product owners way of saying “Thanks for recommending my product/service.”
Affiliate marketing sounds easy, and in a way, it is. At the same time, there is a lot more to affiliate marketing than merely slapping a link or banner up on your sidebar and watching the money roll in <<<if only it were that easy!
Michelle from Making Sense of Cents made over a million dollars from her blog last year, with the majority of that coming from affiliate marketing. She’s written an excellent guide called “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing” in which she teaches bloggers all of her affiliate marketing techniques.
My friend Latoya from Life and a Budget recommend the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course and I took it mid last year. Within a month I’d made my money back and now, the majority of my income comes from affiliate marketing. In short, the course is excellent.
There’s also Facebook group that you’ll have access to when you purchase the course. I went through a phase of joining a million Facebook groups. I’ve been slowly removing myself from most of them but I’m 100% staying in Michelle’s group due to the wealth of knowledge contained there.
8) Deep Dive Into Amazon (The Easiest Way to Make Money Affiliate Marketing)
While Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing will give you a great overview of how to get started and succeed in affiliate marketing, I believe the number 1 best way to monetize your site through affiliate marketing is by using Amazon.
Amazon is by far my biggest affiliate income earner. Everyone shops at Amazon and Amazon has hundreds of millions of products for sale. In other words, you’re going to be able to find plenty of items to link to, regardless of your niche.
And just wait for the holiday season – it’s an Amazon affiliate’s dream! (If you know how to use it properly.) If you don’t – click here to find out more about my eBook – Cracking the Code on the Amazon Associate’s Program.
9) Start Building an Email List
Building an email list is something that I should have started doing from the beginning of my blogging journey. But I didn’t. >.< You live and learn.
Then, when I decided to start building a list, I just put a little signup box at the bottom of my posts that said “Join the mailing list” or something like that. I got maybe 100 people to signup and I never emailed them… Another facepalm.
Now, I will say that building an email list isn’t the right choice for everyone, and you can absolutely make money blogging without building a list.
But for most bloggers, you really should start building your email list right now. Your email list are the people who love what you write and the people who want to hear from you. And unlike social media traffic which can go away with an algorithm change, no-one can take your email list away from you.
If you’re struggling with what to say to your email list, then check out Sarah from Early Bird Mom’s course, Inbox Invitation.
Inbox Invitation is excellent for teaching you what to actually say to your email list. However, if you need tips on how to actually build your email list, then Sarah can teach you that too. Just scroll down to the FAQ at the bottom of the Inbox Invitation sales page and you’ll see a link to her Lead Magnet Action Plan that’ll help you build your list.
10) Create Your Own Products
Finally, if you really want to make money blogging, then you’ll want to consider making your own product to sell. This can be an actual physical product if you want, but most bloggers tend to prefer creating a digital product that readers can download.
This means you’re not having to deal with inventory, postage, etc., and once you’ve created your product and launched it, you can basically set the whole delivery process up on auto-pilot.
I use a program called Sendowl to sell my eBook, and I love it. It costs around $15/month and Sendowl handles everything for me, from collecting payment to automatically delivering the product, to keeping track of all of my affiliate payouts that I have to make each month.
Rather than trying to mess with taking payments yourself, emailing out digital products, etc., I highly suggest letting Sendowl handle the process for you. *I’m sure there are other similar programs out there, but Sendowl is the only one I’ve used and I love it, so I can’t speak to anything else.
Wrapping Things Up
Whew… I just realized how long this post was. And guess what – my son’s still napping – hashtag WIN.
I hope this post has provided you with some guidance on learning to make money blogging. It can definitely be done, but like any business, you’re not going to become an instant millionaire.
Having said that, I don’t know many other businesses where you can start with a relatively minimal amount of money and be turning a substantial profit within a year.
So go forth and blog! And let me know how you’re going on your blogging journey – I love supporting fellow blogpreneurs 😉