An Absolute Beginner’s Guide To Blogging For Money, Not For Fun

Beginner’s Guide Part 2 of 5.

Our blogs can become profitable if we successfully execute 5 steps.

In the last post, I outlined 5 essential factors for creating a profitable blog. I started from the very beginning to provide recommendations for absolute blogging beginners—like I was just a few short years ago.

First, create a solid, self-hosted, problem-solving blog with consistent, quality content in a profitable niche that solves your readers’ pain points.

Second, be intentional about learning how to generate income.

Treat your blog like a business. This may include purchasing courses, completing hours of research, learning the ways most successful bloggers make money, etc.

In general, you’ll be more successful in a shorter amount of time if you treat your blog like an actual business—which it is. Determine when, where, and how you’ll secure the knowledge or team members to meet your goals most efficiently and effectively.

How much time and how much money can you afford to invest?

Third, master search engine optimization (SEO), keyword research, marketing, and advertising.

Fourth, build a consistent, engaged follower base through networking, social media interaction, guest posting, regularly adding value, etc.

Fifth, convert your follower base into paid customers by consistently solving your readers’ “pain points” or most pressing issues and concerns (or by generating so many pageviews that your advertising supports you).

Here’s an excellent post about how bloggers make money.

In the last post, we talked exclusively about point number one.

Here they are again:

Here are the most essential points from that first piece:

 POINT #1 RECAP

ONE: Create a solid, self-hosted, problem-solving blog with consistent, quality content in a profitable niche that solves your readers’ pain points.

Make sure your blog is fairly well-written with few to no grammatical errors.

Create a self-hosted blog by purchasing your domain name.

Use a service provider like BlueHost, SiteGround, iPage, or HostGator. I just SiteGround for this blog and BlueHost for my other. I’ve only been using both since this August, but so far, it’s hard for me to distinguish between the two.

*If you use this link to purchase self-hosting through SiteGround, I may earn a small commission for the sale, at no extra cost to you.

No pressure.

Web Hosting
Post consistently.

Ideally, this means posting at the same time and on the same day(s) every week.

Write in one of the 7 most profitable niches…

…that professional, six-figure, full-time blogger Paul Scrivens has carefully identified: (1) how to make money, (2) personal finance, (3) health & fitness, (4) food, (5) beauty & fashion, (6) lifestyle, and (7) personal development. Go here to read his full, much more elaborated post.
Within this profitable niche, properly identify and solve your readers’ pain points.

Your post length matters.

Reference CoSchedule’s study here. They recommend writing 275 words to get more comments. Write between 600-1,500 words for more social shares. If you’d like to rank on Google, write at least 2,500 words.

Now let’s spend some time fleshing out point number two.

TWO: Be intentional about learning how to generate income.  

In order to generate income, we’ll need a strategy. Here’s where we can start.

  1. Treat your blog like a business.
  2. Decide when you’ll blog and how much time can you devote to your blog.
  3. Decide where and how you’ll secure the knowledge and team members to meet your blogging S.M.A.R.T. goals. How much money will you devote to your blog?

You should be intentional about learning how to generate income…

…(1) by treating your blog like a business.

Blogger Amy Lynn Andrews has estimated that bloggers can make around 1% of their pageviews per month. Hypothetically, if you reach 30,000 monthly pageviews, this would translate into about $300 per month.

Other bloggers estimate that 1-3% of monthly pageviews is a more accurate number.

In this vein, bloggers who successfully generate income do it in any or all of these four ways:

  1. Advertising
  2. Affiliate marketing
  3. Digital products or physical products
  4. Services

I’m planning to make Just Bridges Ventures an LLC, but I want to make it profitable first.

Because I know very little about the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship, I’ve been reading a lot of articles and posts on what aspiring business owners should know or do, first.

Borrowing that wisdom, I’ve been trying to apply that same information to the vision I have for growing my own blog.

Approach your blog like the business that it is.

In his 2017 post, The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business, writer and editor Matthew McCreary lists these 12 steps for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Let’s discuss his recommendations for business owners in the context of our blog.

Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.

Successful blogs tend to master the same critical elements: excellent content (good writing, proofreading, and editing), good graphic design, strategic marketing and advertising, and solid brand management.

Are all of these skills in your wheelhouse?

If not, how/where will you learn what you need in order to become successful?

Think of a business idea.

Consider your niche, then think bigger.

Why are you choosing to write about your specific blog’s focus? Will you also sell courses, ebooks, and t-shirts? Through your blog, what pain point are you attempting to solve for your future readers?

Also remember that for each of the 7 profitable niches we referenced earlier, you can always choose to “niche down” by narrowing your original topic a little more. There are pros and cons to this strategy, but we’ll discuss these more in the next post.

Just Bridges is about personal finance. Within that niche, I discuss debt relief, money management, investing, personal loans, relationships and money, college tips, and personal finance for children.

In time (or right now), I could choose to “niche down” and only focus on personal finance for college students, for example.

Do market research.

For your specific blogging niche (or business) know who your competitors are. Who is producing similar content in your target area– with what results?

Get feedback.

Try to build a community of blogger friends and colleagues who can provide recommendations, feedback, and guidance. Ideally, you want to develop partnerships with people at every step of the journey (novice, intermediate, and professional income-generating bloggers).

Make it official.

Think through your branding strategy & your brand, your logo, and your list of products or services.

Write your business plan.

Yikes!!! For a blog? That’s OUTRAGEOUS.

Okay, confession. I haven’t actually done this completely, BUT I have started.

I urge you to do this BEFORE you actually create your blog so you don’t fickle around for four years (like me) trying to figure out what you’re selling.

Finance your business.

This goes back to my point earlier about setting a budget for your blog. I’ve wasted more money than I care to admit not knowing where to start or failing to find the right resources.

For starters, all you need to pay for is self-hosting through the service provider you choose (BlueHost, SiteGround, HostGator, etc.)

*If I were an affiliate, here’s where I would include a link to these providers so that I could earn a commission if you purchase this host through my site. 

Nothing else is needed UNTIL you start blogging and learn more about your blogging strengths and weaknesses.

Develop your product or service.

It’s taken me a long time to figure out which blogging niche was best for me. Now that I have, I have a whole list of ideas for book series, eBooks, t-shirts, hats, etc. All of these products will be an extension of the Just Bridges Ventures brand.

Have you thought through the products/services you’ll offer?

Start building your team.

If you have more resources than I do, outsource a lot of the really technical, tedious, social media work to a virtual assistant.

I’m a team of one which means when I have a problem I can’t figure out, everything comes to a standstill until I can. When I’m sick and haven’t been able to get ahead with pre-scheduled posts, nothing gets posted.

(You can actually lose followers due to lack of consistent posting).

Find a location.

This point is irrelevant for blogging, UNLESS you plan to create video and/or podcasts as part of your marketing and advertising strategy (which you should)!

If this is the case, you may need to confirm where you’ll film your videos and, if you’re podcasting and plan to do interviews, where these will be held.

Start getting some sales and Grow your business.

Roger that.

I haven’t crossed this hurdle yet, but hope to soon. I’m working on a children’s book that I hope to self-publish before Christmas and an eBook that I hope to share by January.

In a future post, we’ll go more in depth into the four ways bloggers make money through (1) advertising, (2) affiliate marketing, (3) digital and/or physical products, and (4) services such as freelancing.

You should also be intentional about learning how to generate income…

… (2) by deciding when you’ll blog and how much time can you devote to it.

I tend to blog between 20-30 hours each week, but most of that is researching, writing, and editing.

Blogger friends recommend spending ONLY 20% of your scheduled blogging time writing, and spending 80% on learning and implementing strategies for monetizing your blog.

If I were doing it right, since I blog for about 25 hours each week, I’d spend only 5 hours a week writing, and I’d spend 20 hours each week learning how to monetize my site.

Based on these stats, it would seem more beneficial for me to blog only once per week (consistently) and spend the rest of those hours learning how to better promote each post.

Decide when you’ll blog and how much time you can devote to it.

If you’re curious what “the pros” say, read 16 experts answer: How long should it take to write a blog post.

Author John McDougall reported that, according to HubSpot’s 2016 survey of 4,000 marketers, most spent between 1-2 hours to write a single, 500 word blog post.

In a study conducted by Orbit Media Studios, Andy Crestodina found that 16% of bloggers spent more than 4 hours per post. 6% of bloggers spent more than 6 hours on a single post.

The article concludes with a list of 16 pro blogger’s perspectives on how long it takes them to write, conduct research for, and/or create blog posts.

Finally, you should also be intentional about learning how to generate income…

…(3) by deciding where and how you’ll secure the knowledge and team members to meet your blogging S.M.A.R.T. goals.

How will you learn more in-depth, comprehensive strategies for successful monetization?

How much money will you devote to your blog?

I’m always hesitant to purchase blog courses because there are so many out there, and I don’t want to waste money on something that won’t yield results. How do I know which ones are real and which ones are just after my money?

On top of that, most of the free resources I’ve tried (when I’ve tried them) were waayyyy above my knowledge level. When I’m able, I tend to re-read ones that I’ve read a short while ago so I can implement more of what I didn’t understand before.

Set a blogging budget now and stick to it. Adjust accordingly when you experience significant results.

This list overwhelms me, but have at it!

Conclusion

Successful bloggers are able to (1) solve readers’ pain points, (2) create a strategy for earning income and tracking the results of each income stream, (3) master SEO and content marketing, (4) build an engaged, consistent follower base, and (5) convert their readers into paid customers.

In this post, we discussed ways we can be intentional about creating an income-generating strategy.

Towards these ends, we should:

  1. Treat our blog like a business by learning and employing the steps new entrepreneurs use.
  2. Decide when we’ll blog and how much time we’ll devote to it.
  3. Decide where and how we’ll secure the knowledge or team members to meet our blogging S.M.A.R.T. goals. Decide how much money we’ll devote to our blog.

Next time, we’ll talk specifically about mastering SEO, keyword research, and advertising.

For this next post, I’ll rely more on the wisdom of more experienced bloggers, as this particular point as been my Achilles’ heel.

Author: Anj.

Hi! I'm Anj. Thanks for visiting my page. I'm an aspiring writer, former teacher, and Houston native. I've worked in education for more than 15 years. This blog was inspired by (1) my first year teaching experiences and (2) my lovely student loan debt. Feel free to connect if you'd like to guest post about personal finance.

2 thoughts on “An Absolute Beginner’s Guide To Blogging For Money, Not For Fun”

  1. Treating my blog like a business was the best advice I had ever gotten! I wasted years hobby blogging, but I’ve rebranded and I am ready to watch everything come to life. These are really great tips.

    Also, you’re not the only one with a half written business plan!

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