How to Turn Your Blog into a Money Making Business in 2019

Can you even believe that 2019 is already upon us? Staying busy with my family and my business has made this year fly by, and I’m so excited to see what’s in store for the new year!

That’s why I’m coming at you with my top 10 tips for turning your blog into your career in 2019. Whether you’re a brand-new blogger or a seasoned blogger that wants to make more money, I want YOU to be excited about what’s in store for the New Year too!

In no particular order, these tips are for you!

10 Actionable Steps to help you make money from your blog This post probably contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you purchase through those links, at no extra cost to you.

TIP ONE: DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE


Simply put, this means you need to find out WHO you’re writing for and HOW you’re going to help them. This crucial step is going to draw in your ideal reader, follower, or client. It’s also going to help you grow faster and start making money.

How?

When you’re helping specific people fill specific needs, they remember you, they come back to you, and they recommend you to their friends! This is how businesses grow.

Whether you’re just thinking of starting your blog or you’ve been blogging for years, make sure you have a good understanding of who your audience is.

This part doesn’t need to be complicated.

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Think about WHO you want to reach with your words. Maybe you want to reach the city locals, or entrepreneurs, or Christian moms, or teachers, or college kids. When you write each post, who are you hoping will read it and love it?

How old is that person? Where is that person at in their life? What does that person want and need that you can help with?

The closer you can get to narrowing down one specific type of person or reader, the easier it will be to write for that person, reach that person, and give them something valuable. And remember, giving them something valuable will lead to blog traffic, recommendations, and eventual income (which we’ll get to in a minute).

And you can still write about multiple topics, tell personal stories, and share things that you enjoy. You can and should do this! But you want the majority of your content to be enjoyable and beneficial to a specific group.

Prime example: my friend over at Fabulous in Fayette blogs about her city and state, the best places to visit, food to eat, and bourbon to drink, since most of the world’s bourbon is made right there in Kentucky!

She writes for a specific group of people.

Not necessarily “females between the age of 20 and 30”, but anyone who visits her city or state and wants to find the best spots to eat, drink, and play! She knows her audience and she writes for them… she is also a very successful full-time blogger.

This will be an important part of growing your blog into a money-maker this year, so keep it in mind.
 

TIP TWO: REFINE YOUR MESSAGE AND YOUR MISSION


New bloggers often find that they want to write about ALLLL THE THINGS, and they can’t find their focus.

Again, your content doesn’t have to be NARROW, it just has to be FOCUSED…Focused on solving problems, filling needs, and reaching a certain group of people.

So, ask yourself: when my readers come to my blog, do they know what I’m all about and what kind of content I share here, within their first 30 seconds on my site? Do my readers know about my values and philosophies, and can they relate to a lot of them?

On top of that, your message and your mission should be clear and consistent throughout all of the content on your blog. This makes it easy for your readers to recognize your writing style and personality no matter where they come across your content (via email, social media, video, etc).

Your message and mission should consistently focus on how you can help your target audience and how you want to influence people through your business, goals, and philosophies.

As an example: my focus is on helping aspiring bloggers start, grow, and monetize their blogs. But my message and my mission go a little deeper than that. I try to help bloggers simplify the business of blogging and take charge of their life and their income. And I hope to convey that in all of the content that I create.

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Check your “about” page and make sure that it clearly reflects your message and your mission. It’s not all about you, it’s more about how you and your blog can benefit your reader. That “benefit” can be something as simple as a delicious recipe or a funny story. Or it can be something as complex as building a website or starting a business. So, don’t overthink it.

This will also help you to draw in the right kind of readers and show them the value you bring to the table!

 

TIP THREE: SET YOUR BLOG UP THE RIGHT WAY


If you want to turn your blog into a money-making business in 2019, you need to set your blog up the right way.

Don’t set it up the cheapest way, the easiest way, or the way that someone told you to on Facebook.

No, no, CEO.

Set your blog up the way a real business owner would…because that’s how you turn this thing into a real business.

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, 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. In fact, the vast majority of online businesses use self-hosted WordPress… the list includes Forbes, eBay, The New York Times, The Washington Post, UPS, TechCrunch…and just about 26 million others!

Here are the simple, step-by-step instructions for doing that (and it’s just a few bucks a month).

 

TIP FOUR: CHOOSE YOUR REVENUE STREAMS


It’s usually a good idea to select more than one revenue stream as a blogger…

You don’t really want to “put all your eggs in one basket” when you’re running a blogging business. It’s best to diversify and make sure you have money flowing in from a few different places.

This is important because blogging income fluctuates a lot and you can’t guarantee a paycheck every Friday, or even on the first of the month…especially in the early days.

Typically, you’ll be making money from one of these two things:

Promoting and selling your own products and services …
OR
Promoting and selling other people’s products and services …

Your revenue streams might change as you grow and learn the ropes of blogging, and that’s okay too! But you want to, at the very least, have some idea of what systems you’d like to use to earn money.

If you want an extensive look at the top 10 blogging revenue streams, how to earn money from them, and the pros and cons of each option, check out this comprehensive training course.

Personally, I make my money from selling my own courses, doing affiliate marketing, and doing sponsored work.

 

TIP FIVE: WRITE GREAT CONTENT

 

People typically come to blogs for a few reasons:

1. Education or Information
2. Inspiration or motivation
3. Entertainment … or some variation of the three

Let’s break them down:


Education or information >>> the person wants to learn something or needs help solving a problem. The problem can be something as simple as finding a recipe or something as complicated as designing a website. Think of websites like Khan Academy, WP Beginner, Pinch of Yum, and Dollar Sprout. Each of these websites contain educational or informational blog posts!

Inspiration and motivation >>> the person is looking for a story they can relate to, for something to inspire them, or something to motivate them to take action. Think of fitness blogs like Diary of a Fit Mommy or motivational blogs like Tiny Buddha.

Entertainment >>> some bloggers are just plain funny, they tell great stories and bring great comedic relief that we need. It might be an informational blog with a humorous edge. It might be a blog like Scary Mommy, that’s all about entertaining and educating moms. But either way, most readers want and need a little entertainment in their lives!

Keep these things in mind when you’re writing your content. Great content is the stuff that inspires, educates, encourages, and entertains!

 

TIP SIX: GET A HANDLE ON PINTEREST


The one thing I wish I had done sooner in my blogging career was to figure out how to use Pinterest for my business!

You don’t need a lot of money to learn the ropes of Pinterest either, there are so many free and super affordable options for Pinterest training.

Ultimately, the most important thing to know about Pinterest is this: it’s a search engine where your target audience is spending time to find and save things they want to read, buy, and try.

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

 

TIP SEVEN: LEARN HOW TO MASTER AFFILIATE MARKETING


Affiliate marketing is a big part of my business strategy, and diving into this revenue stream has allowed me to make more money from my blog than I ever made at my sucky day job. If you want to turn your blog into a money making business in 2019, you might want to learn a thing or two about it… because it’s pretty awesome, and it’s a great way to earn money!

Affiliate marketing is essentially promoting products and services for other companies. You recommend their stuff using a trackable link. When someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

A word of caution though: most affiliate programs take a little while to actually pay you the money you earned. Sometimes it can take 30-60 days, or even a little more.

With this in mind, affiliate marketing is not the revenue stream that you want to focus on if you have rent to pay next week. It can be a great source of income, but it takes a little while to get the ball rolling.

 

TIP EIGHT: JOIN ULTIMATE BUNDLES


One of the best decisions I ever made as a blogger was joining the Ultimate Bundles affiliate program. This is a company that sells bundles of niche-specific products through “heavily discounted, limited time only” sales a couple times a year.

Their affiliates get 40% of every sale, which is awesome. During my highest paying sale, I made $2,000 in a single weekend… Although this won’t happen every single time, it’s a good indicator of how well their system works!

They have a product bundle for all of the major niche markets, some of them being health and fitness, motherhood, blogging, productivity, and meal planning…

And they provide a ton of free training and support to help you make sales, which is why I think it’s been such a successful program for me.

If you’re interested in promoting products that will be genuinely useful to your audience at a super affordable price, this is the brand you want to work with. And if you take advantage of their marketing and training materials, you can definitely make some money from their program in 2019!

 

TIP NINE: MAKE A FEW SMALL INVESTMENTS


Blogging is one of the few legit businesses that you can invest very little in, and still make money within a short period of time.

With that said, there are a few small investments that a new blogger needs to make if they truly want to up-level their biz in 2019!

Things like website hosting, a domain name, a computer or laptop, a phone or camera, some basic business education etc.

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

But my friend, that is like saying you can’t stock the shelves in your grocery store until you have paying customers in the store…. That’s not the way business works. You stock the shelves first, and then the customers come in and buy their groceries.

So, don’t be afraid to invest a little bit of money in your blogging business in 2019. You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars, but every business requires some investment.

When I first got started, I already had a laptop, a phone for taking pictures, and the Microsoft Office suite. So, during my first year, I really only invested in my website hosting, a domain name, (3) basic training courses, and an automation tool called Tailwind.

 

My top investment recommendations for your first year:

 

A laptop or computer (if you don’t already have one).
Website hosting and a domain name (about $50-100 for your first year).
A website theme (about $0 – $50 depending on your needs).
A beginner’s blogging course (around $100-200).
Microsoft Office Suite (around $10/month).
Tailwind, the Pinterest automation tool (get your free month FREE with this link)

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 so much faster.

 

TIP TEN: START AN EMAIL LIST


Most people open and read emails every single day. We look forward to the stuff that we love and benefit from (like coupons and pictures of our relatives’ new baby)!

I recommend starting an email list for a few reasons:

 

1. Email is a great way to connect with your audience on a personal level. When someone signs up for your mailing list, it’s because they actually want to hear from you. They trust that you have something valuable to share with them, which inevitably leads to a loyal, connected blog reader.

2. Your email subscribers are more likely to buy from you. They are part of your dedicated audience. If you protect their information, give them valuable stuff, and help them find solutions to their problems, many of them will become future buyers (remember those affiliate products and services we talked about? Yeah, these are the people that need to hear about them)!

3. Your email list belongs to you. It’s so important to spend time growing the parts of your business that belong to you. It’s equally important to be able to chat with your audience whenever you have something valuable to share with them!

Example: I have a huge Facebook group with over 10,500 members…but if Facebook closed me down or the group somehow got deleted, I would lose my connection with virtually all of those people. And that sucks.

Spend a little this this year focusing on starting and growing your mailing list. Here and here are two articles that will help you!

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Think about something valuable that you can create for your ideal reader. A checklist, a workbook, a PDF guide. Create it using free software like Canva, and then offer it to your readers as a freebie in exchange for subscribing to your mailing list!

You can set up a mailing list for free using MailerLite.

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP YET


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

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 blogging baby, 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.

I hope this article was helpful! Please save this article on Pinterest and come back to it for reminders throughout the year!

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2 Comments

  1. Enstine Muki

    December 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    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. Sasha

    December 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

    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!

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