Want to know how to build a money making blog? Great news – building your blog is the easiest bit. And I’m including a step-by-step guide so you can build your website yourself.
I have two affiliate sites of my own, and I’ve helped other companies make money online. Online marketing is definitely do-able. But it takes a lot of work, and some know-how, too.
So before we jump into building your money making website, we’ve got lots to cover first.
How To Build A Money Making Blog
How Much Free Time Do You Really Have?
This is the most important question you have to ask yourself: do you actually have the time and money to start and manage an online company? We all dream about that side hustle, but that side hustle takes work.
If you want to make money online, you’re going to have to write a lot of content, and you’re going to have to take the time to learn how to build and manage a website.
Now, building a website from scratch (click for a step by step guide) is probably a lot easier than you think, but it’s still time consuming, and there is a learning curve (don’t worry – I’ll get more into how to actually build your site below).
The truth, though, is that in order to make any splash or get any traffic, you’re going to need to write lots of good posts to get noticed.
AND, after you do all your work, it can still take a long time to get traction.
Are you willing to put in anywhere from 40-100 hours to get a website up and running … and then still wait months for it to start making money?
I don’t say this to scare you off. Even if it takes 100 hours to get your blog set up … well, even if you can just manage 1 hour a day, then you can still have a good website up and running in a few months.
You just have to be honest with yourself whether you have that kind of ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ to keep going.
All of which is to say – you’re going to have to put in a lot of work before you get paid. Are you ok with that?
(And yes, it goes without saying – being able to make money for yourself, without a boss, is definitely a nice pot of gold at the end of the rainbow).
What Will Your Money Making Blog Actually Be About?
The next question you have to ask yourself is: what can you actually write about?
For some people, the answer is pretty obvious. They have a hobby like baking or photography. Or their job as say, a plumber, gives them tons of expertise that people would like to read about.
Quite likely you stumbled on this article because you have a great idea for your money making blog, right?
Or maybe you know you have the time and energy to start an online business, but you’re stuck on an idea. And if that’s the case, don’t worry! I bet we can come up with something …
So is there a hobby you would like to have? Is there a field you would like to be an expert in? Well there you go – that’s your niche. It’s ok if your blog is about your journey, not your expertise. And in fact, sometimes, people prefer to hear from an honest newbie like themselves, than from the experts.
And don’t just think about hobbies. It’s likely you’ll end up trying to sell products, so what kind of a product junkie are you? Tech, makeup, greenhouse supplies … if you’re always heading to the hardware store, maybe you could write product reviews, no?
Another idea? Can you write about the city you live in? About daily life there and your favourite hot stops? Thinking about what’s around you can be a gold mine.
Once you have a few ideas for a blog you could build, then the next step is to see how many ideas you’ve actually got around that topic. Can you come up with a list of 30 or more blog posts about it? (Or, can you come up with at least 10 topics now, with some faith that others will come as you dig deeper?).
This is key – to make a money-making blog, you’ve actually got to be able to, you know, blog about your topic! Starting with a content guide is a good way to suss out the feasibility of your endeavour.
Finally, these guys are technically my competitors, so if I were a cut-throat blogger only concerned about making money for myself, I wouldn’t share this info. But check out these niche site ideas – they offer some interesting ideas to get you started (just be sure to read the rest of my guide first! 🙂 ).
Can You Monetize Your Idea?
There are three basic ways that people make money off their websites online: running ads, selling affiliate products, or selling your own products.
Running Google ads isn’t too scary. I run them one on my affiliate sites and I was surprised to see how easy they were to set up initially. This guide to Google ads is a good place to get started.
Selling affiliate products means you market a product for another company. If someone clicks on a link from your site and goes on to make a purchase, then you get a commission. You’re only responsible for the marketing of the product, not the actual sale or business of that product itself.
The most popular way to make affiliate sales is to use use Amazon Associates, which lets you sell anything on Amazon and get a small cut of it. For most types of products, that means that (at the time of writing this article) you’ll get between 8-15% of the selling price – see the complete list of product fees here.
Obviously, this means it works best if you can sell more expensive products.
There are other affiliate networks out there – you might be surprised. Check out this list for starters, and you’ll see what I mean. So get creative, and don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to Amazon.
You want to find an affiliate program that matches your chosen expertise/hobby. For example, I’m a web designer and online marketer by trade. So it makes sense for me to be an affiliate marketer for Elegant Themes, my preferred WordPress theme, and GreenGeeks, the green host I use to run this website.
(And if you do decide to build a website, please consider keeping it green, because web hosts are way more polluting than you probably realize. GreenGeeks is a great place to start …. and see how I slipped my affiliate link in there naturally? You’ll need to get good at content marketing like this yourself!)
I can’t help it – I’m an eternal goodie-goodie. I think it’s important to only sell products that you actually use and actually recommend. Try to stick to this guiding principal, and your followers will know they can trust you.
And lastly, you can monetize your website by selling your own products. And I don’t just mean tee-shirts and hats (but knock yourself out if you’d like to become a clothing marketer). You can also make digital products – things like courses, ebooks, and online training. Or you can use your blog to pitch yourself to new paying clients.
I also should point out that you don’t have to choose between these money making strategies. Obviously the most profitable websites will use a combination of all three!
Finally, there is a big caveat when it comes to making money online. Nothing will work if your website doesn’t get traffic – hopefully a lot of it, ASAP.
That means you need to understand and use ‘seo,’ or search engine optimization. Probably the best place to learn more about seo is straight from the horse’s mouth: here’s Google’s guide.
You might want to also consider using social media to get your website your website going – Pinterest and YouTube are usually good places to start. But if that sounds daunting, just focus on writing your high quality, seo content for now.
Heck, you can even run your own Google ads to get some traffic to start if you’re pretty sure your site is a winner. Just be reeeeallly careful about sinking money into something before you have some proof that your site converts (ie, that it actually can make money).
Write Some Content
OK, so you’re sure you want to commit to this project. You have your chosen topic, and you know how you plan to monetize it.
Before you invest your time and energy into building your site, I highly recommend you start by writing some posts first.
The most important skill for making money online is being able to write high quality, converting content. You wanna make money, you gotta write, and you gotta write well. And perhaps even more importantly, you gotta love writing!
So make sure you’re going to like the writing bit before you get into building the bones of your money making blog.
Ultimately, you’re going to need at least 20 or 30 articles (and counting) for your site to start getting traction. You don’t have to write all your posts before you get started on the web design bit if you’re eager to get started on that, too.
But make sure you’re confident that that online writer is in you before you commit to the heavier work of web design.
Step 5: Build Your Site
OK, as promised, let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to actually build your money making blog.
Building a website without experience may sound scary, but trust me. I built my first website without any experience, and it went so well and easily that I turned it into my main business. In 2019, there are tons of online services out there that make the process really easy, no matter what kind of experience you have.
First, if you’re planning to run ads and use affiliate programs, then you’re going to want to use your own domain and hosting. And since you’re going to be doing a lot of blogging, I recommend you use WordPress over the other website builders available to you. (Learn more about why we web designers love WordPress, and why you probably will too, here).
I use GreenGeeks for my domain and hosting. They have great service at great prices.
I also love that GreenGeeks is among the most environmentally friendly hosting providers out there (and websites are waaay dirtier than you might think, so green hosting is a great idea).
And bonus time: I’m happy to report if you go to this link , you can also use these coupon codes to get some discounts on your hosting (tip: you might want to bookmark this page if you think you might these codes later!)
20% ANNUAL SHARED HOSTING ACCOUNTS
20% MONTHLY, QUARTERLY AND ANNUAL RESELLER HOSTING ACCOUNTS
20% MONTHLY VPS HOSTING ACCOUNTS
Now if this all sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry. Head over here, where I have a complete guide to using WordPress to build a self hosted website from scratch.
Again, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but I take you through step-by-step. And if you follow my free guide, you can have a website up and running in a few hours. Promise. (And email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!).
Now, in my free guide, I suggest that you use the WordPress theme Divi to build your site, because that’s what I recommend for most small businesses. And you can certainly use Divi for your website, and I’m sure you’d be happy with it.
But for money making blogs, I recommend Extra from Elegant Themes. It’s what I used to build this site, and I love it because it’s what they call a ‘magazine style’ WordPress theme.
That means it’s really great at categorizing and displaying a whole bunch of posts in elegant, user-friendly ways. And they’ve got some extra features that are designed to make your life easy as a blogger.
So Extra is the best at displaying a lot of content, and you’re going to need that (because you’re going to be writing so many seo posts, right?). It’s also reasonably priced, and, the kicker, it has amazing, live chat support
In fact, Elegant Themes support is about the best out there (which I think is their most important feature), and I love that for newbies, because let’s be honest. You’re probably going to have some questions. And being able to talk to the theme makers in real time? That’s pretty darn extraordinary and definitely worth the price.
And don’t worry if you don’t have any design experience … ‘cause your big sister is here to help! These articles can help you figure out how to brand your website all by yourself, without any previous experience.
(Not sure if you should pay for a custom WordPress theme? You might not need one, but in terms of support and the quality of the end product, for me, it’s a no-brainer – here’s why).
Also, if you plan to run an affiliate website, make sure you use this install this plugin, so you can play by Google’s rules (and when it comes to seo, you always want to play by Google’s rules!)
Step 6: Get Busy (and Promote)
Once your site is live, it’s time to start adding in your content! This is the fun part – it’s when you get to start putting your content out there, and hopefully connect with readers.
Everyone’s a bit different, but you want to come up with a posting strategy that works for you. But don’t feel like you have to have all your posts written perfectly, and then wait to publish them all at the same time. It’s actually good for search engines to see that you’re putting out content on a regular basis.
Now, promoting your website on social media is a whole other can of worms that’s a bit outside the scope of this article. But once your site is up, you’re probably going to want to incorporate some sort of social media.
Pinterest is my favourite platform for blogs, because your pins can keep performing long after you put them out there. YouTube can also give you some good results from an seo perspective. And lots of bloggers have success connecting with users on Facebook groups.
My advice? Get your content and website mastered first. Then, pick one social platform to master. And only move on to others when you’ve mastered that first one. Don’t make things more complicated than they have to be.
Step 7: The Most Important Step – Stay With It!
Don’t get too bogged down in the promotion. If you’ve done your keyword research and optimized your posts, then hopefully, you’ll start seeing traffic.
BUT, no matter what you do or how good your seo is or how awesome you are social media … you should be prepared. It might take a long time to get traction. The most important thing you can do for your blog is to stay with it.
Take me as an example – a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ example. When I started my first affiliate website, I did my work, wrote my articles, and then expected to see traffic streaming in right away. It didn’t.
This is embarrassing to admit, but I only gave the project a few month. I stopped it dead in it’s tracks. And just a few months after I quit, a few of my articles started to take off. Take a look for yourself at all the time I wasted, because I gave up too easily:
My dead website was getting traffic without me! And because it was dead, it didn’t have the growth it could and should have had. Talk about kicking yourself.
Lesson learned: the only way to build a money making website is to stick with it for the long haul. Do the work and trust yourself and give your website time. Good luck!
Psssst …. like the Pinterest graphic in this post? I built it super easily and FOR FREE using Canva.
And all these great images are from Unsplash, and they were FREE too!
They’re two of my favourite online resources available to digital marketers …
find them all with links here!