How to Turn Your Blog into a Money Making Business in 2021

If you’re wondering how to turn your blog into a money making business this year, you are in the right place! In this article, we are digging into the top 10 things you need to do in order to grow and monetize your blog in 2021.

Whether you’re a brand-new blogger or a seasoned pro that wants to increase your income and impact, these tips will help you take your blog to the next level… and do it without losing your mind in the process!

HOW TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A MONEY MAKING BUSINESS

This article has been updated with current blogging and marketing practices that are working right now. Be sure to pin this post for later!

{{ Our blog posts contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here. }}

Here are 10 important things you need to do in order to turn your blog into a money making business in the next 12 months.

ONE: DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

The most important step in the whole process? Figuring out who you are writing for and how you are helping them.

Skipping this crucial step is one of the biggest mistakes I see new bloggers making. And I get it…

You started blogging because you want to write. You want to write about what you want. And that’s fine for a hobby blogger.

But when you’re trying to turn your blog into a money making business, you have to think like a business owner. And what does the business owner focus on?

Their customer.

What does the customer want? What did the customer come here for?

We have to focus on them, because the customer is the one keeping the lights on.

Figure out what your target audience wants and how you can best serve them through your blog content.

This is going to help you drive the right people back to your blog. The people that want and need what you are offering. 

And the people that want and need what you’re offering are the ones that will be contributing to the success of your business. 

We’re going to dig into exactly HOW these targeted blog readers contribute to your blog income and success shortly, so hang in there with me!

For now, let’s talk about how to define your target audience. I promise, this part doesn’t need to be complicated.

Start by thinking about who you want to reach with your words. What experience, knowledge, or passion do you have that can benefit someone else out there? When people land on your site, what helpful content do you want them to find?

We can’t be all things to all people, but we can be helpful to a targeted segment of people that are searching for things online.

Actionable Tip: Get specific! Who is your dream reader? Their age, job, income, gender, hobbies, etc… Write it all down!

The closer you can get to one specific type of person or reader, the easier it will be to write for that person and provide value for them.

The goal of every money-making blog: to serve your target audience and create content that is helpful and relevant to them.

TWO: LEARN ABOUT SEO

Fact: if you want to have a successful blog, you have to learn about SEO and implement SEO strategies.

SEO stands for search engine optimization.

This is essentially the process of optimizing your website and all of it’s content so that search engines can find it and put it in front of people when they are searching for it.

In other words, if I’m searching for the best ‘fried chicken recipe’ on Google, everything that pops up on page one is the most relevant, useful, and optimized content online at this time.

After figuring out who your target audience is, learning SEO becomes the very next step. You should start learning about SEO as soon as you start your blog (or even before).

The sooner you start learning and implementing proper SEO strategies, the faster your blog can grow.

But don’t worry, if you’ve been blogging your heart out with no regard for SEO, it’s okay to start right now!

SEO TIPS

  1. Make sure your blog loads lightning fast. Slow loading times are bad for SEO. You can also get a site speed fix right here.
  2. Learn how to do keyword research. You should be writing about things that people actually search for. Keysearch is a great tool for this.
  3. Learn on-page and off-page SEO so that search engines and your readers can find you when they need you.

If you want to turn your blog into a money maker this year, focus your efforts and investments on SEO as much as possible. This includes publishing great, highly-optimized content on a regular basis.

Actionable Tip: Take this FREE Masterclass that will teach you everything you need to know about getting blog traffic from Google!

THREE: SET YOUR BLOG UP RIGHT

One question that I hear often: is it okay to use Wix or Blogger to set up my blog?

The truth is, you’re the boss and you can do whatever you want to do.

But with that said, some platforms have major limitations when it comes to growth and monetization. Wix and Blogger are two platforms that are not ideal for building a money-making blog.

Those platforms have limitations when it comes to customization, optimization, and monetization.

When you are starting a business, you want to set things up so that you actually OWN that business and have the ability to do whatever you want with it. 

Move the business, customize the business, grow the business, brand the business, have full control of the business etc.

It’s the same with your blog.

The absolute best way to turn your blog into a money-making business is to set up on a self-hosted platform using WordPress .org. This is the only way to own your site and have full control over it.

In fact, the majority of professional bloggers and content creators use self-hosted WordPress… the list includes companies like Forbes, ScaryMommy, The New York Times, Dollar Sprout, The Washington Post, TechCrunch…and just about 26 million others!

Here are the step-by-step instructions for setting up your self-hosted blog (and it’s actually cheaper than you might think)!

Quick recap. The first three things you need to do when turning your blog into a money making business: choose a target audience, learn all you can about SEO, and set your blog up the right way!

FOUR: WRITE HYPER-FOCUSED CONTENT

If you’re serious about making money blogging this year, then don’t skip over this section.

Because the fact is, hyper-focused content is going to get you there so much faster!

Hyper-focused content is simply blog content that stays concentrated on one specific area and doesn’t wander off on other topics.

If your blog is about postpartum, focus on postpartum. If your blog is about gardening, focus on gardening. Don’t wander off on other topics about travel or faith or your favorite movies if they aren’t part of your focused niche.

You need to be creating plenty of niche-specific, highly optimized blog content if you want to grow your blog and income this year. That focused content will help you to grow your authority in the eyes of search engines and readers.

How much great content do you need? A lot of it!

The more hyper-focused, optimized content you can publish, the faster you’ll be able to grow your authority and traffic.

Aim to publish at least 1-2 high-quality blog posts per week!

How can you figure out what to write about?

Think about WHY people come to websites in the first place.

People are typically coming to your blog for one of these three things:

  1. Information/education
  2. Inspiration/motivation
  3. Entertainment/relaxation

If you can inform, inspire, or entertain your audience, then you’re on the right track!

Remember, it all comes down to creating great content that your target audience is actually searching for.

FIVE: CHOOSE YOUR REVENUE STREAMS

Now… how the heck do bloggers actually make money?

Bloggers make money just like any other business: by selling stuff.

You’re either creating and selling your own stuff, or you’re promoting and selling other people’s stuff.

That’s it!

Seems easy enough, right?

Most bloggers don’t have their own stuff to sell in the beginning, so they start by selling other people’s stuff, and that’s okay!

There are three main ways to promote and sell other people’s stuff: affiliate marketing, sponsored work, and ads.

AFFILIATE MARKETING

This is simply the act of promoting other people’s products or services in exchange for a commission. When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get paid.

Learn more about affiliate marketing right here.

SPONSORED WORK

Sponsored work involves promoting products or services on behalf of a sponsor, in exchange for payment. The sponsor pays you to raise awareness and share their products with your own audience.

You can learn more about sponsored work right here.

AD REVENUE

Although you aren’t technically selling someone else’s product directly, you are allowing an ad network to promote products on your site in exchange for ad revenue.

For most bloggers, it’s best to wait until you have a bit more traffic so that you can apply to a premium ad network, like Monumetric or Mediavine.

And when you’re ready to start selling your own products or services, you have several options for that too.

You can sell physical products, like t-shirts and planners. You can sell digital products, like software, courses, printables, or music tracks. Or you can sell your own services, like coaching services or virtual assistant services.

It’s a good idea to diversify your income as soon as possible, so that you aren’t stuck with just one revenue stream. If ad revenue drops at certain times throughout the year, you want to have another source of income to fall back on.

If you’re a new blogger, I highly recommend getting started with affiliate marketing.

SIX: IMPROVE VISIBILITY

Content creators have a lot of competition in the online space, but thankfully there are a few things you can do to increase your visibility and get a leg up on the competition.

The best way to increase visibility?

Go where your target audience is and learn how to master marketing on that platform. 

The platform and accompanying strategy will be a little different for each blogger, so it’s important to learn who your target audience is and where they’re spending time online.

If your target audience is on Pinterest, learn how to master Pinterest.

If your target audience is on TikTok, learn how to master TikTok.

And if your target audience steers clear of social media, then focus on SEO!

Go where your audience is searching for you and put your content in front of them.

Pro Tip: Get comfortable with VIDEO. Video content is performing better than ever, so it massively increases your chances of visibility.

SEVEN: LEARN TO MASTER AFFILIATE MARKETING

Since we’re talking about turning your blog into a money-making business, we need to give a little extra attention to affiliate marketing.

It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to start making money from your blog.

Why?

You’re doing what everyone does all the time anyway: recommending helpful products and services that people can benefit from.

If you are focused on providing value and helping your reader to benefit in some way, your recommendations will be well received.

There are so many affiliate programs in every common and not-so-common blogging niche. Below are a few worth looking into.

An important thing to keep in mind: most affiliate programs have a payment delay, so you don’t get paid for 30+ days after your sale. 

This is because they can’t pay their affiliates until after their own refund period has ended.

This is standard, but it’s important to keep in mind.

EIGHT: JOIN ULTIMATE BUNDLES

Although this one isn’t an absolute essential for blogging success, it’s a good example of one easy way to boost your blogging income quickly. And I think it’s a good idea for EVERY blogger to join Ultimate Bundles ASAP.

Providing a “value stack” that makes it impossible to say NO is one of the main ways that bloggers can earn quick and easy money.

The Ultimate Bundles affiliate program is the KING of creating an insane amount of value that is impossible to object to.

They offer massive bundles of valuable digital goods as massive discounts (up to 99% off). 

Their affiliates make 40% of every sale made through their affiliate link, which is one of the highest payouts in the industry.

They have product bundles for all of the major niche markets, including self-care, money management, blogging, homeschooling, meal planning, productivity, and more…

And they provide a ton of free training and support to help you make sales, which is one of the main reasons their affiliates are so successful.

Join Ultimate Bundles for FREE right here >>>

NINE: MAKE A FEW SMALL INVESTMENTS

Time for some REAL TALK.

Successful business owners invest in their business.

They invest from day one, because that is the only way to truly make money from your business. 

Thankfully, blogging is one of the few business structures that require very minimal initial investments (things like hosting and a domain name).

But to level up your blog, there are a few other essential investments that you will need to make. Things like:

One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make: saying that they can’t spend any money on their blog because they haven’t made any money yet.

I understand the feeling, especially when you’re on a tight budget! 

But if you’re trying to build a profitable business, there are certain things that are non-negotiable, and finding a way to make a few small investments in your blog is essential.

If you owned a grocery store, you wouldn’t start stocking the shelves AFTER customers came in and started handing you money, right? You’ve got the shelves stocked with your investment, and then the return comes after your customers come in to shop.

Don’t be afraid to invest a little bit of money in your blogging business. You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars, but every business requires some investment in order to thrive.

Important investments for your first year blogging:

Investments will vary based on your needs, of course.

Start where you are and use what you have, but don’t be afraid to set some investment goals and work hard to reach them! It will help you grow your blog faster and easier.

TEN: START AN EMAIL LIST

You’re doing your SEO, you’re investing in your blog, you’re creating a ton of great content.

Now what?

Starting an email list (for email marketing purposes) is an important part of nearly every blogger strategy. For a few reasons:

1. The ROI for email marketing is higher than most other forms of marketing.

In other words: it’s good use of your time!

If you do your email marketing right, you’ll make more money for every dollar spent than pretty much every other marketing tool/strategy you use.

Most metrics calculate the ROI to be about 4000%… That’s an ROI worth considering.

2. It connects you with your audience through their personal communication channel.

No more chasing potential buyers around in Facebook groups or Instagram DMs… focusing on email opens up a line of communication that is better than most others.

3. Your email subscribers are more likely to buy from you when you present valuable recommendations. 

You’ve already built up a rapport of trust through their private communication line, so when you recommend relevant and useful tools or services to them, they will know that you are truly focused on helping them.

4. And lastly, your email list belongs to you. 

Instagram crashes, Pinterest accounts get marked as spam, Facebook algorithms keep your posts from reaching your ideal client.

Your email list belongs to you and no one can take it away!

Based on these points, I think it’s safe to say that building up an email list is good use of your time.

Spend some time on starting and growing your email list. Here is an email marketing guide that can help you get started!

Actionable Tip: Create a valuable freebie that you can offer to your readers in exchange for joining your email subscriber community!

You can set up a mailing list for free right here with MailerLite.

THE MOST IMPORTANT BLOG TIP YET

Now that we worked through the actionable tips for making money from your blog this year, I’m gonna throw you a little piece of bonus advice.

Have FUN with your blog!

Remember why you started your blog. Remember why you wanted to do this for a living.

You’ll spend a lot of time nurturing your blog, and growth won’t always happen as quickly as you’d like it to. 

During the hard times, keep our actionable tips in mind, along with this reminder to enjoy your business and embrace the good times and the bad.

QUICK RECAP

Our top 10 tips for turning your blog into a money making business this year:

  1. Refine your target audience.
  2. Learn SEO.
  3. Set up your blog properly.
  4. Create hyper-focused content.
  5. Choose your revenue streams.
  6. Increase visibility.
  7. Master affiliate marketing.
  8. Join Ultimate Bundles.
  9. Make essential investments.
  10. Start and nurture your email list.

Focus on these 10 strategic blogging areas. Stay consistent. The income and the positive impact will follow.

29 thoughts on “How to Turn Your Blog into a Money Making Business in 2021”

  1. Hey Cate,
    Thanks for sharing these valuable tips. I’m taking #6 by the horn because that’s what I’m adding to my list this year. I’ve been pushing things forward but the procrastination is ending with this year. I believe getting more traffic from pinning will up the game.
    Happy weekend

  2. Great post, Cate!! I really want to focus on mastering affiliate marketing and growing my email list in the upcoming year- these are some great tips!

  3. Loved this post! I still cannot get a handle on an email list, which I think is really limiting me! And affiliate marketing can be so daunting. I can’t wait to look into more of your suggestions!

  4. I’m so glad it was helpful, I have plenty of email marketing and affiliate marketing tips on the blog too, I hope they are helpful as well!

  5. Thank you so much Cate, I found your post very inspiring. This was all I wanted to do and I want to take it a notch higher.

    Could you mentor me please? I
    Thank you in advance!

  6. Hi Cate, this is a great post. it captured evertything perfectly. #9 is an important one. A lot of us want to make money but do not want to invest and that can hold us back. Thanks for this. :))

  7. Thanks for the tips. Hopefully, something will work. I’ve been blogging for years but have notoriously low monthly traffic in spite my best efforts so far… including a few attempts of paid advertising. I suspect I need to get better at Pinterest but just don’t have the time for that. *sigh*

  8. Great resources and tips to making your blog a money making machine! Pinterest is still tricky for me and I always find myself continuing to do more research about it and optimizing my posts with SEO keywords. One of the many tips I will be following that you provided is building an email list. I agree that it is a great method to connect with your audience. Thank you for such a great post!

  9. Keep plugging along! We all have ups and downs, but Pinterest and SEO are a must for boosting blog traffic, so give that priority 🙂

  10. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing. I started my blog a little over a year ago. I got overwhelmed and unfortunately neglected for a while. I started it back up and have been trying to focus on my niche. Still haven’t found it yet but I feel the more I write, the more my niche will come to light.

  11. Hi, I am Angie 🙂 glad to meet you . This article is very good, thanks for your sharing.
    To be a blogger, it is not easy from the beginning and I am learning with it too:) your tips inspired me to build blog.

  12. I actually update this post every year and just updated it for 2020 – the information is definitely relevant right now. Thanks so much for reading!

  13. WOW!How lovely your blog is. I am going to fix my income stream this month. And yes you are right we can’t put all the eggs on one basket. Thanks for this blog. its very informative and well explained. beginners must read.

  14. I just would like to say BIG THANK YOU for such an amazing post. Everything what I needed and more I was able to find here. Once again Bless your heart for your great work. I will be checking your other posts for sure.

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