So you have a blog but it is more of a hobby than a business right? Or maybe you have a business blog but you treat it like a hobby? (Raising hand) I know exactly what you are talking about. In the summer of 2017, I started a blog and my goal was to just have it ready to launch in the fall.
On September 1, 2017, I reached my goal and launched my blog. I was so excited! I finally reached one of my long-time goals to have a blog. Well then, the holidays came in like a whirlwind and the next thing I knew it was the end of December!
Between all the holidays and all of our family’s birthdays that fall in October, November, and December, it just flew by! So, here I was with my new blog that was now four months old and hadn’t changed much in those four months.
Over the summer I had poured my heart into it but I let it go over the fall. I jumped back in at the beginning of the year in January 2018. I added a new opt-in and implemented Tailwind and Pinterest. The traffic came ROLLING in! I couldn’t believe it! It almost felt too easy! I later learned I was right. It was too easy. I couldn’t replicate it again… because I wasn’t treating my blog like a business.
I was offered a job at the Church Preschool and they badly needed help so I decided to take it and I worked from February to May as a Lead Teacher. It was a wonderful time, but I bet you can guess what happened to my blog.
Yep, it was pushed off and the traffic went with it.
I told myself “Okay, I am going to work on it all summer and get it back up and going”. Well, being home with my daughter over the summer was great but trying to entertain an 8-year-old who doesn’t play pretend by herself anymore was a struggle.
It was either let her sit in front of a device all day or let friends come over and then it was loud and crazy. We would go to the pool, go out on the boat, do all kinds of summer fun things, but once more my blog got pushed back.
I felt like I had to focus on her and since I was home I tried hard to keep all the housework taken care of so my husband who works long hard hours didn’t have to worry about anything when he got home. At the end of the summer, my husband and I decided that I would stay home once she started school back up and I could work full time on my blog. (I know isn’t he the best!)
I do help out some of the neighborhood parents and get their kids on and off the bus to make a little extra money. I also watch one little girl twice a week. Plus, I have all my house chores. Which since my husband is being so sweet to let me chase my dreams, I do make those a priority, so he doesn’t have to stress about a messy house after a stressful day at work.
BUT I now have technically all the time I need to work on my blog! So how can I turn my clear hobby blog into a business? And how can you? With these 4 Super Simple Steps!
Make it more of a priority. Make time for your blog.
If you want to turn your hobby blog into a business, then you need to treat it like a business. Like it is your job (because it is).
You may not need to work on it 8 hours a day like a real job and thank goodness for that! But you do need to make progress on it daily!
This post walks you through how to not waste time on your blog but actually make progress on your blog (aka writing blog posts not just post on social media).
I love to learn so I could spend all day every day watching videos on how to blog but then when it comes down to actually putting those steps into action I seem to always struggle to finish.
I have shiny objective syndrome or bunny hole syndrome. Maybe it’s a fear of rejection. “What if someone doesn’t like it? I know! I just won’t put it out there and then no one can hate it!” But that’s obviously a bad idea.
So, whether you want to or not, whether you feel like it or not. Make it a priority that you work on it every day. If it is only 30 minutes a day then that’s fine! At least you are working on it!
The more you put into it the more you will get out!
Maybe you aren’t like me and you don’t struggle with that part. Maybe you have a successful blog, but it just doesn’t make any money yet.
So, you want to turn your successful hobby blog into a successful business blog. Well, I can still help!
See I am knowledgeable about this all (remember I love to learn and take courses on all this) so I can help walk you through what you need to do to monetize your blog.
I think that’s the frustrating part for me. I know all this stuff I just need to do it! (me kicking myself)
That is why I am drawing a line in the sand and I am saying no more. From now on I am going to treat it like a business!
I am going to work on writing blog posts and helping my readers reach their goals!
Get out of your comfort zone
I think that’s a major part of this too. We are still in our comfort zones and we like it that way.
But staying in our comfort zones isn’t going to get us very far though is it?
We need to push ourselves and get out of our comfort zones!
For me, I don’t like making videos.
It is easy for me to think all these things to say but the second I push record my mind goes blank!
I know videos are an important part of blogging, so it is something I have to push past!
I have seen other very successful bloggers do not so great videos and it just shows that they are human just like all of us but for some reason, it is a major hurdle for me.
What are your weaknesses?
Do you struggle with…
Promoting your posts?
Find your weakness and do that one first. Focus solely on your weakness and work on it. Or maybe you have the funds and are able to outsource your weakness.
If you struggle with balancing housework and your blog, then hire someone to help you clean your house.
I am not to that point yet, but I want to be!
2. SOLVE A PROBLEM
To turn your hobby blog into a business you need to be helpful for your readers. They are looking for an answer to their problem.
Help them find a solution to their problem.
Whether that be a course you created to solve it, an affiliate product that will solve it, or maybe you just provide the answer and that traffic to your blog brings in ad revenue.
Solving their problem will also create trust between you and your readers. They will come back for more. Knowing you helped them last time they will trust you can help them again.
Also, they are more likely to share your blog with their friends that have the same problem you solved.
There are several ways you can monetize your blog. If your blog is a hobby blog and you aren’t monetizing your blog yet, but you have consistent traffic then all you have to do is add the following to capitalize off of your traffic:
Ads or advertisements can be placed on your blog and the advertiser will pay you for it. You get paid based off of the amount of traffic that sees the ad and by how many people click on that ad.
She has successfully grown her blog about life on her homestead to making over $8,000 a month!
She has updated her income several times so I have noticed that it says a different number depending on where you look on her blog but the last email she sent me she told me $8,000 and that was months ago! So it is most likely more now.
A large portion of her income comes from ads! She goes into detail in her ebook.
Adding affiliate links are links that take your reader to a product by someone else and if they purchase that product you receive compensation for that sale.
So, for example, the eBook above that I mentioned is an affiliate link. I read that book and really found it helpful, so I signed up for Victoria’s affiliate program.
Now if anyone clicks on that link and purchases her eBook through my link, she will pay me for that sale.
I have heard of other affiliate programs that pay out differently and not only on purchases but that is definitely the main way to earn an affiliate commission.
Amazon is a great affiliate example. They were able to grow so big off of affiliate sales. Bloggers put links on their blogs to products off of Amazon and when a reader clicks on that link and makes a purchase then that blogger gets a cut of that sale.
Here is a great resource to learn some awesome tips for making money with Amazon! I had the pleasure of being a test reader for Dale for this ebook and I am so glad I had that opportunity! It seriously is packed with awesome tips and tricks to making the most of Amazon’s affiliate program.
She has some amazing insight and it is definitely worth the small investment for all of the time you will save and shortcuts she gives you to get right into making money with affiliate marketing.
A sponsored blog post is when you receive payment for posting a blog post on your blog. Either you or the sponsor can write the post that you will then put on your blog. I personally haven’t dabbled much in the sponsored posts area so I suggest checking out McKinzie’s post on How to Make Money Blogging with Sponsored Posts.
Adding your own products to your blog is another way to earn money off of your blog.
If your blog is all about baking cakes, then you could create a course or write an eBook that combines all your knowledge into one convenient place. People will pay to get the quickest answer.
Just like the affiliate ebooks I previously mentioned. I would rather pay $20-$50 bucks and get the answers right now that I know will work than search through all of their blog posts trying to piece it together myself.
Your readers could read all of your blog posts and try and put the pieces of the puzzles together on their own but if you offered an easy and convenient course or eBook that will walk them directly through it, most people would just pay the $10-$100 to get the answer now.
It depends on how in-depth you make your course or eBook as to the price you want to sell it for.
I have seen courses go for hundreds of dollars. If it is your first one, then I would suggest to not make it too big and not have it cost too much.
Just to test out your audience and see how they respond. You could even ask them what they think about some different course ideas and also how much they would be willing to pay for it.
Get some feedback and maybe offer them a discount or a free copy for their feedback!
Once you have gotten your feet wet with adding one or all of those options then you can focus on using your email list to your advantage and selling to them.
You can make sales sequences for them to go through to warm them up before trying to sell to them.
You can also create a sales funnel for them to go to. Those are all things you can focus on later once you have gotten the first step done.
Focus on adding ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts and/or products to your blog and start treating it like a job and before you know it, it will be a business bringing in an income for you!
Here is what will set your blog apart from Hobby Blog to Business Blog. Just like I have said before you have to make it a priority. Part of that is staying consistent.
It is important to not only stay consistent to show Google that you are a serious blogger but it is good for you to stay in a routine with your blog.
If you take a long break in between working on your blog you will come back to it and be completely lost where you left off. You will end up spending all of your time catching back up on where you left off.
Then if you go another long break again you are once more in the same boat of trying to remember what you were going to do next.
Stay consistent. Make a schedule and stick to it! This will improve your productivity and efficiency.
Those are the 4 super simple ways to turn your hobby blog into a business blog!
How to make money blogging? That’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to. Some people start blogging for fun or for adult interaction. Others, like myself, start blogging to make money.
I knew that there were people making really good money blogging and I wanted to know how! I have always dreamed about being a stay at home mom to my daughter, but that job doesn’t pay very well, and our family needs two incomes.
My husband has worked so hard to be able to provide for us on his own. He even started a small lawn care company on the side plus his full-time job. We were very thankful he did that too because I found out in the spring of 2017 that my place of employment was closing. This gave me the opportunity to stay home and help him run the lawn care company.
Also, now that I am home, I am working very hard to make money with my blog, so he doesn’t have to mow yards on the side anymore!
I did so much research on blogs before I ever had the guts to start one. I had gone down the blogging road years before, but it just didn’t work out. My desire never went away though. But this time it all just worked out perfectly for me to start when I did.
How To Make Money Blogging
During all of my research, I learned that there are several ways to make money blogging.
From what I read it really depends on the blog as to which way works best. Some blogs make the most money from placings ads on their blogs and some say affiliate marketing makes them the most money.
You have to decide what works best for you.
The 5 main ways to make money with your blog are:
Affiliate Marketing – This essentially is getting compensated for promoting another product or company.
Ads on your blog – You can place ads on to your blog.
Services – You can offer different services.
Create and sell products – This could be an ebook, a course, or even a physical product.
Sponsored posts – Get paid to write posts for other blogs or companies.
1. Affiliate Marketing
If you are new to blogging, I am sure this is the one way to make money that you have heard the most about. It is a very simple concept yet when I explain it to anyone outside of the blogging world, they look at me like I’m crazy.
Affiliate marketing is essentially getting paid to advertise or sell for others. I recently found out that companies will even pay you for leads you send to them not just purchases made.
Here is how you can use affiliate marketing on your blog to make money.
Let’s say that your blog is about puppy training. You love to write about how to care and train your puppy.
While writing a blog post about the best products to use for puppy training you will most likely be suggesting the products you use and trust. Now let’s say that your readers want to purchase that product because they trust your opinion.
If you were an affiliate for that product, your reader could click on a link that would take them to that product for them to purchase it.
This is a win-win for everyone involved.
Your reader was able to solve their problem and get the product that you recommended to help them train their puppy
If they used your affiliate link to click through and purchase that product it will tell the company, you sent that customer and the company (depending on their affiliate program) will compensate you for sending them a paying customer.
Then, of course, the company wins by receiving a new customer with little effort on their part.
How does it work?
When you sign up to be an affiliate for a company, they will give you a special link that attaches a cookie to the reader that clicks through the link. It depends on the affiliate program how long that cookie will last.
For example, I believe Amazon’s cookie only last 24 hours. However, I am apart of affiliate programs where the cookie lasts 365 days!
This cookie tells the company who sent that customer and it is a way to track where the customers are coming from and who to compensate for referring them.
Each program pays out differently, so you have to check those details when you sign up.
All of the affiliate programs I am a part of will pay me even if the customer that linked on my link purchases a different product.
For example, if I have an Amazon link on my blog to a book and a reader clicks through but doesn’t purchase that book but instead purchases something else in the correct time frame then I will receive compensation for that purchase.
Here is an example of what an Amazon affiliate link may look like.
There are three different options to add affiliate links to your blog from Amazon. The one above is the text and image option.
Or you can just have it be the image itself with no text like this one below.
Either way that ring light is awesome and I love mine!
Another example of how you can get paid even if the reader doesn’t purchase the product you first recommended is if a reader clicks on one of my links to one of the courses that I recommend such as Michelle course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and that cookie lasts 365 days so any other purchases they make during that time I get compensated for as well.
There are some stipulations such as they would have to be on the same device they used to click the original link but that is still pretty cool! If that reader that clicked through decided later to purchase another product from Michelle, I get compensated!
How do you sign up?
There are literally thousands if not millions of affiliate programs out there. The most popular one is probably Amazon.
It covers such a wide range of products that you can pretty much find any product you want on there to add to your blog.
Amazon doesn’t pay out a large amount per sale and as I said the cookie doesn’t last long either. They also have strict rules on disclosure and making sure you aren’t hiding or concealing anything from your readers.
Make sure to read through all of the terms and conditions before signing up.
Amazon, like other affiliate programs, only gives you a certain amount of time to make a sale before the kick you out of the program. Don’t worry though you are able to try again to rejoin and make a sale.
How do I find affiliate programs?
If there is a certain company that you know you want to work with then you can go to their website and scroll to the very bottom and look for a link that says Affiliate or Affiliate Program.
If they don’t have a link, then you can try to contact them and ask if they offer an affiliate program. Some of the bigger companies use affiliate networks.
These networks host affiliate programs for multiple companies. This just saves that company from having to deal with it themselves. They just have that affiliate network take care of it for them. Some of these networks include Commission Junction, ShareASale, and Rakuten(Link Share).
You can go to those websites and join the network and have access to join hundreds of name brand companies.
If you don’t know a company but you just are interested in a product, then you can google that product + affiliate and it will list all the companies that have that product and offer an affiliate program.
If affiliate marketing sounds like the way for you then the best course to take to learn all the in’s and out’s is Making Sense with Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Gardner. She makes over $50,000 a month with affiliate marketing!
I personally don’t use ads on my blog as a major source of income. I did add Google Adsense to my blog to test it out. However, to make money with ads on your blog you need to have a good amount of traffic coming to your blog each month.
It isn’t the fastest way to make money with your blog, but it can be done.
There are two main ways you can get paid for ad placement on your blog. The first is RPM/CPM and the second is CPC.
RPM/CPM stands for Revenue Per Mille/Cost Per Mille and what that means is basically per 1,000.
This is the rate that you are paid per 1,000 impressions. So for example, if you have 20,000 page views per month and your RPM is $5.00, then you would earn $100 a month from ads on your blog.
CPC stands for Cost Per Click and that means that you get paid per click not just by how many people see the ad.
There are pros and cons to using ads on your blog.
Extra money on the side
Not much effort
Easy to maintain
They can make your blog look spammy
Ads can turn readers away
They can distract readers
Ads can slow down your blog
They can take a while to see any money made with them
A great resource to learn more about ads is Victoria Pruett’s ebook Make Money Blogging at Any Level. She breaks down ads and how she uses them to help her earn over $8,000 a month blogging about Homestead life!
There are so many different services you could offer to make money on your blog!
Social Media Manager
Those are just a few of the main ones but if there is a need then you can charge for it!
A great way to advertise your services is by having a blog.
This is where you can show your experience and knowledge in that particular area.
So many major companies have a blog to draw in new customers. Let’s say you provide a service of grooming dogs (I must have dogs on my brain today) then you can blog about dogs and grooming dogs to draw the attention of new customers.
Blogging itself is a great way to bring in an extra income on the side of providing that service as well. But if your main goal is to showcase your abilities of the service you provide then blogging about it shows your expertise on the subject.
By starting a blog about the service, you provide it is the perfect way to advertise yourself. If you are a Graphic Designer, then you can use your blog to show your potential customers why you are the right person for their need.
They can go to your blog and see your work, your work ethic, your commitment, and your experience. It is just a great way to sell your service!
You can make pennies with ads and you can make dollars with affiliate marketing but selling your own products puts you in charge of how much you make.
With affiliate marketing, you don’t have to create any products but the highest you will probably make per sale is 40%. Maybe 50% if you are lucky!
However, selling your own products you are able to make 100% of the profit! All you have to do is pay for the hosting of your products but that’s it! And there are probably ways to host it yourself for free with a WordPress plugin or something.
I have products I offer, and they are hosted on Teachable and I have to pay Teachable monthly and per sale, but it is a small amount. I get almost all of the profit per sale. But this way I know that my products are handled with a trusted company that is going to be secure for my readers and myself.
You can sell a physical product such as a t-shirt, an ornament, wall décor, etc. or a digital product such as an eBook, a course, a PDF, a file, a worksheet, a chart, a guide, a booklet, and so on! The possibilities are endless!
Then you get to set the amount you want to sell it for!
Maybe you feel your knowledge is worth $100 per sale on your course, then you can put that as your price! Maybe you think that it’s worth $10 and you hope more people buy it at the lower price. That’s your choice as well!
If you choose to sell a digital product and you go through Teachable, they have an option to offer a discount on your products.
This makes it easy for you to run sales for your products. You can offer a discount as a promotion, a prize, or a holiday special! Plus, you are able to offer your own affiliate program and have other bloggers sign up to promote your products!
Teachable also integrates with most email marketing providers so you can keep everything tracking altogether. This way not only can you make more money selling your own product you can make sales from your affiliates too!
5. Sponsored Posts
A sponsored post is when you get paid to write a post by a company or brand.
A company may ask you to write a review on a product they offer or write a post about their company in general or a service they provide. It really just depends. It also is up to you on how much you want to charge for you to write a sponsored post. Or how much you charge for the post they wrote to go on your blog.
You have to keep in mind a few things when it comes to sponsored posts.
The time and effort it is going to take you to write the post and promote it.
If you actually believe in this company and want to share it with your readers.
If they write it, make sure you proofread it first.
Make sure they understand it will be a nofollow link.
Set up standard rules to follow such as how long the post will be, how many links are allowed in the post, what quality pictures will be used, and so on.
The amount of traffic that will see this post. If you don’t have that much traffic coming in, then you can’t expect to charge them too much.
The best suggestion I have for you if you are serious about doing sponsored posts is to really do your research.
Reach out to other bloggers that have dealt with them before and get their expertise. I love going on to the blogging Facebook Groups and asking all those amazing bloggers for their advice.
They are more than willing to help you out and give you their opinion and steer you in the right direction!
You also want to do your research on the company that you are working with too. I have had many emails come through asking to work together and after a little research, I can tell it is not a good idea.
There are too many scams out there so please be careful!
On the other hand, there are actual legit companies and bloggers out there wanting to work together!
I love to feature mom bloggers on my blog and help them connect and grow! I offer this service for free, but I also offer paid feature spots that come with more benefits!
This gives bloggers the opportunity to get their blogs in front of other like-minded driven mom bloggers! This gets their blogs not only more exposure but it is a perfect way to showcase many mom blogs at once so you can find the perfect match to work with! Learn more here!
As you can see there are many options to make money with your blog. These are just the main ones but if you can dream it and there is a need for it you can make it happen!
I would say the first two I would start with as a new blogger is to add affiliate links to your blog posts and sign up for Google Adsense to get some ad revenue coming in. It won’t be much at first but over time it could really pay off!
Do you make money with your blog using a different method? I would love to here!