Back in 2015, I was a pregnant little chickadee with a boring hobby blog that no one ever read. That blog was a pleasant distraction from my sucky day job, but it was really just a hobby.
As my due date approached, I got to thinking about maternity leave, and then returning to work and leaving my baby with strangers all day…I really hated that idea. I also hated the idea of setting a bad example for my daughter: letting an ungrateful boss treat me bad and make me miserable every day.
Something had to change…
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How I Started My Blogging Biz
When I was on maternity leave, I started brainstorming how I could possibly make money doing what I love – writing. That brought me back to my boring hobby blog. Was there any possible way that I could turn this thing into a money-making blog?
I had almost a decade of experience in online business management and marketing, but I had no idea how to actually monetize a blog. You know >> this girl << loves a challenge! So, I decided to roll up my sleeves and figure out if this was a feasible option for me and my family. Spoiler alert: it was the best decision I ever made.
With some hard work, a solid strategy, and a little bit of patience, I was able to build my own successful blogging business and walk away from my sucky day job. And I’m here to tell you exactly what I did, so that you can do it too (if you want to)!
If I can give you one piece of advice that will actually help you, this is it: start your blog today. Don’t waste another minute. It’s cheap and easy to start a blog, and at this time next year, you’ll be wishing you had started today.
Before You Get Started
There are a few things that everyone should consider before they actually start a blog.
First of all, blogging is not easy work or easy money. If you hear people spreading that nonsense about working part time and making a gazillion dollars, you should run the other way.
That is NOT realistic.
The reason that most bloggers never make any money is because of the unexpected amount of work it takes to build your blog into a money-making business. And, if you want to make money blogging, then you have to treat it like a real business, because that’s what it is. You have to work hard, you have to stay focused, you have to overcome challenges, and step out of your comfort zone.
So, keep this in mind.
I’m not promising you an easy road and overnight success. Blogging is hard work, and you need to know and accept that right off the bat.
Secondly, building a successful blog takes time, patience, and strategy. You can’t expect to just start writing today and making money tomorrow. Maybe you’ll make a few bucks, but the real success will come after some time, patience, and focus. I made $4.85 my first month of monetizing my blog. For real.
With that simple truth in front of you, I will show you how to set up a blog and make money blogging. The process is actually much easier than it sounds. Again, it takes patience, focus, and strategy…but once you know HOW to make money blogging, the whole process becomes much easier.
How to Set Up Your Blog
Here are the basics for setting up your blog, the right way.
Think about who you want to write for.
Your blog must be helpful, relevant, and entertaining to your readers. And I cannot emphasize this enough: you need to be writing for a very specific, narrow audience. Before you even start your blog, you should think about what you want to write about and who you want to write for. My blog is about simplifying online business and making money working from home. Before I publish an article, I make sure that it’s useful to my readers, because blogging is all about your readers.
Purchase hosting and your domain name.
This is where your blog lives and what your website is called. My website address is SweetandSimpleLife.com. I purchased hosting through Siteground, and they are the absolute best in the business. Their site speed is ahead of their competitors and their customer service is exceptional. With Siteground, you get free SSL certificate, free business email, and you can also get a hefty discount on hosting if you use THIS LITTLE TRICK!
If you read my article on setting up a blog the right way, then you already know these steps, but I want to cover them again briefly. When you purchase your website hosting, you’ll login to your host account, and from there, you can download WordPress.org. This is the backend of your blog, the dashboard where you will write and publish all of your content. Watch and read the tutorials, and get familiar with WordPress.
Write, publish, and share GOOD content.
Once you have reviewed a few WordPress tutorials, you can start writing blog posts. It’s a super straightforward process, and you can follow the specific steps here if you need help getting started.
Remember, focus on a blogging strategy that is helpful to your readers. It’s important to write content that will apply to a specific group of people. You don’t want to write a bunch of random posts on random topics. If you write about your favorite football player today, and the health benefits of essential oils tomorrow, then your readers will be a little confused, and might not want to come back.
This is all very important to the money-making aspect of blogging. You need to have your blog set up the right way and you need to know who your audience is if you want to start making money.
How to Make Money Blogging
There are several ways to make money blogging, but your options generally fall into these two categories.
You can create and sell your own stuff (products, courses, coaching).
You can promote and sell other people’s stuff (affiliates, sponsorships).
I know that sounds pretty vague, so let’s elaborate a little bit here.
Your blog is basically the voice of your business. It is the place where people get to know you and what you do. It gives people the opportunity to see what you create, promote, and sell. So, regardless of what income streams you choose to focus on, your blog is going to be a key part of your business strategy.
Let’s talk about creating and selling your own stuff first.
You can create and sell your own physical or digital products, which gives you full creative control. Physical products, like candles, clothes, supplements, subscription boxes, or toys. Digital products, like courses, e-books, software, logos, or stock photos. There are a ton of options out there.
I personally love selling digital products, like my online course, because you put in the initial work (a lot of work), and then you make passive income with just a little maintenance. And the best part? You can create a course for free on almost any teaching platform. I started on the Teachable FREE plan, and I love the platform for hosting my online courses.
If you’re not interested in creating and selling your own stuff, you can still make great money promoting and selling other people’s stuff.
One way to do this is through affiliate marketing. You work with companies to promote their products, and if someone purchases the product, you make a commission. We’ll go into greater detail about affiliate marketing, including all of the top affiliate networks to join, in my course Becoming a Blogger.
Affiliate marketing can be rewarding, but I personally got into this business because I love to write…so sponsored posts are a big part of my job and my passion too.
Sponsored posts are the articles that you write on behalf of a sponsor to promote their brand, product, or service. They require some work, just like everything else. Some research, writing, editing, marketing etc. Some people write sponsored posts in exchange for product, others charge a fee. I personally don’t recommend working for free, but you choose what your value is, and charge that.
Other Ways to Make Money from Home
Freelance writing or editing.
I love the business of blogging. I love the writing, editing, pitching, marketing…all of it. But if you aren’t interested in setting up your own blogging business, you can always consider freelance writing or editing instead. There are a lot of companies that will pay you to write for them or edit their work. And when you’re a freelancer, you can work for as many companies as you want. You’re an independent contractor, and you run the show.
Creative Revolt is an excellent resource for freelance writing, and Proofread Anywhere is an excellent resource for proofreading and editing work. You can also find writing and editing gigs on sites like ProBlogger Fiverr, and Craigslist.
Being a virtual assistant (VA) is a great way to earn money from home. Virtual assistants help bloggers and business owners on a variety of tasks, and they work from the comfort of their own home, or anywhere that has WiFi. VAs can do writing, editing, graphic design, email marketing, tech support, customer service, and more.
Joining Virtual Assistant groups on Facebook is a great place to start.
At the end of the day, I started blogging because I love to write, I love working from home and I want to raise my own babies. It’s a worthwhile investment if you want the freedom and the flexibility of making good money and working from anywhere.
You don’t have to spend your life working for a crummy boss, making crummy pay, and working crummy hours. You can build your own business and live on your own terms if you’re willing to work hard for it. And those terms can be anything you can dream up.
I spend a lot of time working on my business, but I also spend a lot of time chillin’ on the beach with my husband and babies.
Everything in balance, I say.
If you want to use the system that I developed for turning my blog into a money-making business, then sign up for my course here. We’ll cover everything from starting your blog, growing your blog, monetizing your blog, registering your business, building your mailing list, and more.