How to Make Money Blogging (When You Don’t Blog About Blogging)
As a full-time blogger, I hear this one all the time: the only people that can make money blogging are the people who blog about making money blogging. In other words, some people think that you can’t make any money in this field unless you blog about blogging. This opinion is especially common among newer bloggers that are trying to monetize.
But is that true? Can you make money if you write about something else, like shoes? Or dogs? Or food?
Let’s dig a little deeper into this thought process and talk about the various ways that people make money blogging. And then we’ll interview (9) successful bloggers that don’t write about how to make money blogging.
WHY IS EVERYONE BLOGGING ABOUT BLOGGING?
Let’s just throw this out there: blogging for a living is not an easy feat, regardless of what you write about. It involves researching, writing, editing, publishing, pitching, creating graphics, promoting content, networking, marketing, growing your social media, following a strategic business plan, having an insane amount of discipline, and so much more.
In other words, it isn’t for everyone.
And when you write about making money blogging, it’s even harder to grow your business and credibility. If you “blog about blogging,” you are competing in a heavily saturated field, and you need to have very impressive numbers to convince your readers that you actually know what the heck you’re talking about…
If someone is trying to teach me how to make money blogging, but they don’t have any followers or page views, I’m probably not going to listen to them or buy what they’re selling.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to build up a successful blog that can inspire other bloggers. It’s not an easy task and it’s not something that just anyone can do.
So, why do some people think that only bloggers who blog about blogging can make money?
Here’s why: when you are searching the internet for tips on making money from your blog, search engine algorithms will give you exactly what you’re searching for. And if you’re saving blogging tips on Pinterest, those are the pins that will be showing up in your feed. Before you know it, everywhere you turn online will be an advertisement for helping you make money blogging.
But that doesn’t mean that this is the ONLY WAY to be a successful blogger…it just means that targeted advertising works! You wanted to learn how to make money blogging, and that is the kind of content that is being pushed in front of you. It appears that everyone out there is blogging about blogging, but really, it’s just Google doing his job…
The good news is that you can absolutely make a living from your blog, even if you don’t blog about blogging! And to prove it, I have interviewed several successful bloggers from various niches, and I’m sharing their experiences with you today.
WHO CAN MAKE MONEY BLOGGING?
Here’s the easy answer: ANYONE
And we’re going to prove my theory right here, right now. I have recruited and interviewed nine successful, money-making bloggers in a variety of niches that are here today to tell you all about how they built a successful blogging business…without blogging about blogging.
Whitney Scheibel – Local Lifestyle Blogger at Fabulous in Fayette
Whitney is a lifestyle blogger in Lexington, Kentucky. Her blog is all about celebrating the fabulous city of Lexington, the great state of Kentucky, and Southern living. She highlights local restaurants, businesses, and must-attend events. And since 95% of the world’s bourbon is made in her hometown, she creates a lot of content that is bourbon-focused…
My kind of blogger!
Her primary income comes from sponsored posts on her blog and on Instagram. Whitney has been blogging for 9 years, but she launched Fabulous in Fayette in May of 2016. She landed her first sponsored gig a few months later, and her blogging business exploded a year later, in June of 2017. Now, she attends private events regularly and features many local businesses on her blog every month.
She says it’s best to start a blog “because you want to share something, be creative, help someone, or have an outlet”…not just for the money. And she’s definitely right.
Anne Walkup – Food Blogger at The Southern Lady Cooks
Anne and her sister had a hobby blog for 11 years before they decided to monetize. It took these two sisters about six months of strategic work to start making money from their food blog, which is focused on delicious Southern cooking and bringing family together. Here’s why they chose a food blog: “Food is a way to connect with the past, the present and the future. A recipe can spark a memory that we thought we had forgotten. A meal can bring us together when times are hard or happy. Food and family is the foundation of our business.”
Their two main revenue streams are ad income and product income from the sale of their cookbooks. These amazing ladies don’t blog about blogging, they blog about FOOD…and they rock at it!
Caitlin Patoka – Motherhood blogger at Real Mom Recs
Her focus is on pregnancy, parenting, and family travel. She makes her money from ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts.
For the first nine months of blogging, Caitlin made around $100/month from her blog. When her traffic grew enough to join an exclusive ad network (Mediavine), her income increased dramatically. After one year of blogging, she made over $2,000 from ads alone, and she credits a lot of her success to the online courses she purchased. Her advice to new bloggers is this: “sometimes it takes money to make money. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.”
Want to learn more about landing sponsored posts? Check out this post.
Liesel Teen – A Pregnancy/Labor Blogger at Labor Teen
Her blog covers all things motherhood, but her focus is on pregnancy and childbirth. Liesel is a labor and delivery nurse, which makes her pretty awesome in my book.
Her primary revenue stream comes from ads on her blog and she uses Pinterest to gain blog traffic. Her blogging advice to anyone in the motherhood/pregnany niche: “focus on Pinterest. Moms love Pinterest.” She started making money her very first month of blogging and had steady income by month five.
Mallaury Agyei – Motherhood Blogger at Life of a Babe
Mallaury blogs about pregnancy, natural childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting, fashion, and beauty. She started monetizing her blog from day one, and the Amazon affiliate program has been her primary source of income. She has been blogging for three months and has made about $300.
Can I just take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of these amazingly honest and humble bloggers who are shedding some light on their blogging truth and their very personal circumstances?! We appreciate you guys so much!
Lindsay Satmary – Lifestyle/Parenting Blogger at Paperclips and Pacis
Lindsay’s blog is all about mom life and entrepreneurship. It covers things like parenting, subscription boxes, travel, home, and wellness. Her primary revenue stream is sponsored posts. She started monetizing her blog during her second month and says that she went into this thing treating it like a business, not just a hobby. That is what has contributed to her success.
Her sponsored blog posts are designed to create value for brands and her readers, and she carefully selects products that she truly loves and uses for her own family…which goes to show that most bloggers are hard-working people with good intentions and work ethic.
7. Laura Jean – Fashion Blogger at Little Blue Jeans
Laura’s blog is focused on fashion, finding great deals, and occasional travel. Her primary revenue stream is affiliate marketing through programs like Amazon and ShopStyle (both great programs). She started monetizing her Facebook group first, and then added the blog in March of 2018. She started monetizing her blog from day one, treating it like a business instead of a hobby. Her Facebook group has over 12k followers and she makes a full-time income from just social media and her blog.
Chrissy – Fitness Blogger at Snacking in Sneakers
If the name itself doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will. Chrissy’s blog is focused on food and fitness for active women, especially those interested in running a triathlon. Her website is the perfect place for “a woman training for her first (or fortieth) road race, that wants to find training tips and healthy recipes – but still loves a darn good homemade chocolate chip cookie from time to time.”
Her primary income stream is from sponsored work, followed by ad revenue and freelance writing. Affiliate income and product income also make up a small part of revenue. Chrissy started making money “around 6 months in, but it was very small sponsored content opportunities at that point. It didn’t become sustainable until about 3.5 years in.”
Sadie Ashley – Motherhood Blogger at Sadie Bean
Sadie blogs about pregnancy, postpartum, mom life, toddlers, and breastfeeding. Her blogging income comes from sponsored posts, and her background in photography enables her to offer professional images for her blog articles and the social media posts that go along with them.
It took Sadie two months to make her first affiliate sale, four months to land her first sponsored post, and about a year of hard work to replace her full-time income. But she admits, “it wasn’t just a side business for me with a few hours here and a few hours there. I put in 40+ hours a week for a year getting it to where it is now. LOTS of late nights and early mornings.”
…and for good measure, I’ll share my story too!
Cate Rosales – Simple Living/Business Blogger at Sweet and Simple Life
My blog is all about simplifying your life + biz so that you can enjoy the sweeter things in life. Like the beach, snuggling your babies, and sipping boozy drinks!
Okay, okay. I do have a lot of content geared toward earning an income from your blog, but I also make a good amount of money from my sponsored posts and my product promotions. Here is an example of a sponsored post I did recently that has nothing to do with blogging about blogging.
My primary income streams are selling my online course, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts. I’ve been making between $1K – $5K a month since I hit that six-month mark of blogging.
Moral of the story: you CAN make money blogging, even if you don’t blog about blogging. You can make money in any niche, if you have a strategy, a proper setup, and something helpful to offer your audience.
WHAT DO ALL MONEY-MAKING BLOGGERS HAVE IN COMMON?
If you gathered one thing from the interviews above, let it be this: everyone who actually makes money from their blog, treats their blog like a REAL BUSINESS.
You’ll notice that all of the bloggers above spend a lot of time and effort on their blogs. They treat their blog like a real business and they reap the benefits of a real business.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING
So, now we know that you CAN make money blogging outside of the blog coaching niche. You don’t have to blog about blogging to be successful. In fact, it is actually easier to make money in other popular niches.
Most bloggers make money from one (or both) of these two things:
Create and sell your own stuff.
Promote and sell other people’s stuff.
In a few of our examples above, the bloggers primary source of income was from ads they placed on their blog. This falls into the category of promoting other people’s stuff.
You can also create and sell your own stuff, like digital products, courses, and virtual services.
The sky is the limit.
If you want to learn about the top 10 ways that bloggers make their money, and jump start your own blogging business, check out my course here.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
I think it’s safe to say that you can make money blogging about shoes, dogs, babies, money, food…or anything else you want.
You just need the discipline, the strategy, the setup, and something helpful to offer your readers. If you know HOW to make money, the rest is cake.