How To Start A Blog And Make Money

This post is the middle finger. Or at least the online equivalent of it. We’ve written the post so you can show it to anyone who laughs at you and your ideas about making money with a blog. Give them the finger. Show them this post and let them read about how to profit from a blog. Let your critics see that you were right all along. Now that’s how you get the last laugh.

not-impossible

If you haven’t been mocked about blogging and making money online; you’re still welcome to read this post yourself. The post can be used as a “middle finger” to the critics, but its content is 100% clean. No bad words that would offend grandma. And you’ll probably learn something too.

We begin this post with the assumption that you already have an idea of what to blog about. If that’s not the case, don’t worry. We’ve got an entire post dedicated to finding your idea. You can also get a keyword pack showing which keywords people are searching for. Using the keyword pack, you could then determine a niche to build your blog around.

Given resources like the two we mentioned, the issue is rarely what to blog about. Nor is it about the technical details of starting a blog (go to Blogger.com, set up your free blog, start writing). Instead it’s more a matter of how to make money once you do start blogging.

How do you turn the words of your blog into dollars? This goal may seem impossible, as though it were a form of electronic “alchemy”. Yet unlike alchemists in the days of yore, there’s nothing scientifically impossible about your goal. The alchemists may have failed in their efforts to turn lead into gold. But it’s completely possible to “alchemize” blog words, moving them out of cyberspace and into your bank account.

One way to do that is through advertisements on the blog. If you want to go that route, try Google’s AdSense. AdSense allows you to place ads on your blog. The idea is that Google pays you in order to help expand the Google AdWords network. Any ads that go on your site become “real estate” that Google can sell to AdWords advertisers. And like a real life realtor, Google will pay you a commission for your help in the deal.   

This commission comes whenever someone visits your site and clicks an ad. One click of the visitor’s mouse and Google pays you a commission. The exact amount you can earn from that click varies dramatically. We personally earned $26 off AdSense in September, with nearly no effort. Others who take the time to master AdSense, however, can earn $16,000 or more. (For a full look at how much you can earn from AdSense, check out this article).

If AdSense doesn’t strike your fancy, you could make money on your blog using amazon’s affiliate program. As an affiliate, you link to various products on Amazon.com. What those products are exactly, is up to you. Most likely, they will be related to topics you’ve covered in your blog.

As an example, the author of this post once had a travel blog. That blog earned a few bucks each month with Amazon affiliate links to travel products like money belts and backpacks. The links were provided in blog posts that reviewed various products. Within a review, the affiliate link would be inserted in a way that felt natural. Then, if someone clicked the link and purchased on Amazon, a commission would be made. 

Keep in mind that last part about links being “natural”. You’ll probably want to maintain a natural, unforced feel if you go down the Amazon affiliate route. After all, few (if any) website visitors like the feeling of being hard sold on a product. It’s no different than when we’re pressured in a store by a pushy salesman. The sale might happen, but it’s going to be as painful as pulling teeth.

Avoid the sense of pressure by being clear with your blog’s affiliate links. Some bloggers even openly say which of their links are Amazon affiliate links. You may or may not want to go that far. Just don’t hide links or think that you can bamboozle people into clicking and buying. Either of those approaches can alienate your blog’s audience of subscribers.

And you don’t want that.

No, you really really really don’t want that.

Your audience is the one element that makes any of this “online alchemy” possible. An audience will click your AdSense ads. Its members will also buy through your Amazon affiliate links. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. An audience can be further leveraged as an asset to use in approaching others about business opportunities. This is where things get interesting. If you’ve got an audience and a vivid imagination, there’s no limit to what opportunities you can create.   

A prime illustration are travel bloggers who leverage their platform to get resort stays. A post on travel blog, The Travelista, makes this abundantly clear. The post openly states that, “Opportunities through my blogging and travel writing have allowed me to stay at various Four Seasons around the world…”

Now that’s how you think outside the proverbial box on blogging. Use the blog as a vehicle for bartering lodging. If you elected to do that, you could feature a property in the blog and promote it to your subscribers. The blogger we mentioned here, The Travelista, has done just that in her posts on hotels like the Four Seasons Serengeti. A company like the Four Seasons is happy to offer a blogger lodging in exchange for access to an active, responsive blog audience. 

Another imaginative way to increase the profit from your blog is to leverage it for consulting gigs. This is ideal if you want actual cash rather than expensive things like a stay at the Four Seasons. A company, for example, might be seeking help on the direction of their blog. As a blogger with a demonstrated track record, you could then leverage your experiences into a paid consulting gig. Use what you’ve learned from your own successful blog to help the company have success too.

A consulting example is blogger Jodi Ettenberg, creator of Legal Nomads. Through her blog, Ettenberg has become an expert on both blogs and other audience-building tools like Twitter. She now leverages this knowledge to do consulting work for various brands. Here again, we see an example of a blogger using their imagination to create profitable opportunities.

Whether you use it to get consulting gigs, stay at the Four Seasons, or earn commissions; your blog can pay off handsomely. The trick is to be consistent and ignore the naysayers. For regardless of what they say, you can indeed make money from a blog. Hopefully this post sparks your imagination on plenty of other ways to do it.

To get started with an affiliate site, you can even view our done-for-you service here.

If you do think of other ways to make money from blogging, feel free to post them in the comments section. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this unique topic.