Don’t scroll down. Don’t skim this post. It has the potential to improve the way you blog, your bottom line and eventually your life.
I know, you want the Secret to how to make money blogging now.
So I’m going to give you the secret now.
We’ll be covering
- The Secret to how to make money blogging
- The why of it
- Monetization options
Buckle up, this is going to be a long ride.
Hell, bookmark this page while you’re at it, because you’re going to want to refer to it again.
And don’t ask why I didn’t just write an eBook since it’s so bloody long.
Truth is I wanted to make it easily available.
The Secret to how to make money blogging is two-fold.
1. know who your audience is.
2. provide value to your audience.
No matter how you choose to monetize your blog, without having these two in place, you’ll barely make lunch money weekly.
You may be thinking, “my audience is everyone who needs xyz” and “I write great posts”.
If you find that combo isn’t working for you, continue reading.
Why you need to know who your audience is to make money blogging.
If you don’t know who I am:
- how can I trust you to know what I need?
- how can I trust that this “thing” you’re recommending is meant for me?
For example, a product built to help busy mom entrepreneurs manage their time will appeal to me more than a product to help someone manage their time.
Yes they both do the same thing, but the fact that it’s for me will sway my buying decision.
You’ll notice here on the blog, though my posts can help anyone who wants to better their blog traffic, I specifically write to other mom entrepreneurs, because I can speak your language – I know what your needs are for your blog, I know what your time constraints are like because I also have a family. I know YOU girlfriend.
Now do I have readers that are not moms? Yes.
Do I have readers that are not female? Yes.
Does that mean I can’t give them advice on seo or design them a kick-ass website? No.
Do I refuse to work with non-moms? Hell no.
But my preferred audience is moms who are building their financial empires online – be it bloggers or entrepreneurs – and because of this I can write posts that my audience can benefit from. In doing so, I know what obstacles my audience can face and I can relate to their wants, needs and struggles.
I write posts, review services and offer services especially for mom entrepreneurs who have the goal of generating an income online.
Of building their Online Empire. Of Being Independent.
Now, just to clarify, knowing your audience does not mean getting to know each and every person who reads your blog. Knowing your audience means choosing an audience to focus on that you can passionately help.
There are two methods [of many] of choosing an audience that I feel are the best.
Method#1: Have an existing blog? Review those post categories that really appeal to your audience. [Think Most Popular Posts.]
- Who’s benefiting from the posts in this category/about this topic.
- What do they like about this topic.
- What goals can this topic be helping your audience with.
- Are you passionate enough about this post topic to keep writing on the topic?
- What other topics exist that
- relate to this “popular” topic
- that your audience can find appealing
- that your audience can benefit from
- and do you have the passion and interest to write about these topics.
Here’s an example:
On my old blog, AfterBedtimeBlog, I wrote about everything and anything for a year before I focused my writing. I looked at what posts were getting the most traction and found that the audience for that post type were mom bloggers interested in improving their blog traffic.
So I wrote mostly about blogging, WordPress and SEO. I lost some readers but gained a lot more.
I launched my WordPress design services and seo training program from that blog, based on who my audience was and what their needs were.
Method#2: Choosing an audience based on your expertise and passion.
- What do I know a lot about and have been seeing personal results with?
- Who can benefit from this?
- Do I feel passionate about the topic and about helping this type of audience?
- Can I relate to this type of audience?
- Why do I want to help this type of audience.
Here’s an example:
Shortly after starting my legal career, I decided to start my own practice instead of climbing the law firm ladder. Its not the typical trajectory for a business attorney, but I was passionate about serving individual entrepreneurs and small businesses instead of large corporate clients. – Rachel Rodgers
Rachel also offers a modern-day legal reference library for bloggers and entrepreneurs, Small Business Bodyguard. It was specifically created for entrepreneurs and bloggers making an income online. I signed up for her free email clinic and I was blown away by all the stuff, that I as a person who generates an income online, should have bloody known. Rachel’s email clinic series made revamping my disclaimer in the sidebar super easy in an easy-to-understand-enjoyable-way and it covers my behind.
UPDATE: 12/2/2013 10:10pm: I apologize but the free email clinic seems to not be available at this time. I have several emails from other visitors that the sign up was not available when they visited earlier today.
Knowing who your audience is, no matter how small that audience is at the time, will grow your audience and your income.
Why you need to provide value to your audience.
When I launched The Strategic Mama, my mission was to help other mom bloggers make money from home. This help can be provided in the form of tutorials in video and post format and from my services.
I only write reviews of products/services that I know can help my audience or connect us.
The ads in the sidebar are specifically for my audience. My services are specifically built to help my audience achieve their goals of building an online business.
But my blog’s goals are not to sell services or affiliate products.
In all honesty, as soon as you make “making money” your blog’s goal, you’re screwed.
Whatever you share on your blog needs to be shared with a passion, a goal to connect with your audience and to help them.
You need to give your audience something to walk away with that makes their day better and reminds them of you. Provide them with “that thing” that you know they need and at the same time position yourself as an authority.
Become an indispensable resource, build your authority, show your audience how well you know them and how much you care about their needs.
WordPress Comment Spam has become a real issue lately. After configuring a few existing client’s sites to fight off the spam and receiving crazy emails thanking me, I decided to help my audience fight off spam too.
Now, I’m a Commentluv Affiliate. Did I write a post saying Commentluv Premium will fix your spam, here are the thank you emails I’ve received [as proof] so buy it with my link? No.
I wrote a page on how to stop wordpress comment spam and went over these points:
- Why people spam your WordPress blog (and how they make the time).
- How spam comments affect your bounce rate.
- How to tell the difference between real comments and fake comments.
- How spam comments can tear down your blog.
- How you can stop WordPress comment spam.
Every point listed is important to my average reader. I’m offering value while selling something at the same time.
Point number 5 has info on two plugins that can help with wordpress comment spam. A free one and its advantages and Commentluv Premium and its advantages. I also included downloadable PDFs so readers can see what’s involved with configuring Commentluv Premium for both fighting spam and increasing social shares.
Even if the reader does not use my affiliate link, they’ll remember me for providing them with info they didn’t know and sharing a free way to fix the issue.
You do not need to be the best in the world on a certain topic to write about it. If you know the topic well enough to teach me things I don’t know, you’re providing value. As you learn more, you’ll teach me more and that’s how we’ll both benefit.
Those who have implemented my how-to and advice have seen success and have either bought the “thing” I recommend, hired me, recommended me or all three.
If you’re a fashion blog, it makes sense to have posts about fashion, review labels, have sponsored ads for Vera Wang in your sidebar.
If you’re the best woodworking blog ever, it makes sense for you to have Home Depot ads in your sidebar.
For Multi-topic bloggers, choosing what ads and sponsored posts provide value to your audience can be difficult. It’s truly about experimenting, socializing and getting to know your audience and learning what appeals to them.
On AfterBedtimeBlog I realized that some of my audience can truly relate to my weight-loss posts, so my affiliate link for Retrofit (<- free trial link) did well there even though my blog was not a weight-loss blog.
Best performing methods of monetizing your blog without creating your own service/products is:
- Banner Ads
- Sponsored Ads + Sponsored Posts
- Affiliate Marketing.
Banner ads are usually served by an advertising system, for example, Adsense, Kontera and Chikita. These sites will analyze your content and offer relevant ads based on your content.
Most advertisers pay on a CPC basis so you get paid a certain amount for each click.
There’s also CPM, cost per thousand views. Blogs with a few thousand views a day do really well with these.
And then we have CPA, cost per action. You get paid per sale/sign up/lead generation. These are better for niche blogs. Being a niche blog, you’re an authority on a topic, so all your content will be on that topic and the ads will be specifically for your audience. You don’t need a lot of traffic, you need to be an authority on a subject.
Sponsored Ad and Sponsored Post opportunities come from working directly with an advertiser and can pay really well.
Now, even established bloggers can become nervous when they receive an email from an advertiser who wants to work with them. I know because clients and bloggy friends have forwarded me the emails and asked my thoughts on it.
Sometimes I say go for it, try out their product and if you like it, charge them for a review. Sometimes I say you can haggle for more money.
There are two methods I use to determine how much money.
But it needs to be address in a post all of it’s own.
So Wednesday, December 4, 2013, I’ll have a post for you only about Sponsored Advertising Opportunities and we’ll go over, how to determine what to charge for them and how to get them.
Affiliate Marketing is similar to sponsored opportunities, with a different payment structure. You’re paid on a commission basis.
You’re basically selling the product.
But you won’t make a dime in sales if you’re not truly intimate with the product and if it’s not something that your audience can use.
Multi-topic blogs and niche blogs can both make an income from affiliate programs.
Don’t let selling scare you.
Promote a product/service – that you have used and truly believe in – by sharing how it solved your problem or how you benefited from it. By writing a full review, you have increased your chances of generating an income from the service.
If you’re adding a banner ad to your sidebar, be sure to add a link under the ad that says read my full review or create an image that links to your review and place that in your sidebar. (Notice my How To Stop WordPress Spam banner in the sidebar?)
My How To Stop WordPress Comment Spam post was published November 29, 2013. Today is December 2, 2013. My post ranks in Google top 20 for the term WordPress Comment Spam. On Friday, December 6th, 2013, I’ll have a beginner’s primer for you on how to structure your affiliate posts to provide value to your audience and bring you google search engine traffic.
Speaking of search engine traffic, I have a free seo audit tool available for a limited time only. Plug in the url to your review post and it will give you tips on making the post rank.
The Take Away
The secret to how to make money blogging is knowing your audience and providing them with value.
That’s all there is.
If you’ve found this post to provide value, I’d appreciate a share on you favorite social media network.
If you’d like to be notified when the upcoming posts on Sponsored advertising and Affiliate Marketing are published, please sign up as a subscriber below. You’ll receive a free seo training video too!
Questions and feedback in the comment area are always welcomed.