Blogging for money was an idea I heard about many years ago and I just didn’t think it was “for me.” Yet, at the same time I continued on feeling like writing was going to play a huge part in my life. To me this meant I probably was supposed to write a book. So, I tried writing books. I tried writing a lot of them and wound up deleting them all. Nothing ever felt right. Then somehow, BAM, I just knew I had to start a blog. After we downsized our house I gave up my photography business, Tom’s job got crazy inconsistent and I knew I had to make something work where I could still homeschool our kids while also making money and setting my own hours. That’s not asking too much, right? Now, after 10 months of seriously hard work, I finally figured out how to do it, I figured our how to turn a blog into an extra income.
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.
First of all, let me say, while I read a ton of blog posts on how to make money blogging, I made sure that the bloggers I was learning from where actually making money on their blog and not just making money by blogging about blogging with no experience to back it up.
Personally, I wanted to start blogging about blogging because I love it so much, I really wanted to share my strategies with those who needed more guidance. I held off. I told myself I would never blog about blogging until I was actually making consistent money from it; now I’m there. While I’m not making millions (not yet anyway haha) I am making more than I did with any part time job I had previously had. I’m doing what I love, still able to homeschool our kids and have a sense of independence. If you feel like blogging might be your calling, let me tell you just how to get started on monetizing and turn a blog into an extra income for you or your family.
Every blogger will be quick to tell you that if you’re serious about this, don’t expect to make money over night. Yet, I almost feel like I did. I started my blog 10 months ago, but 5 months ago I decided to totally change the direction of my blog and the way I had been doing things. After that my traffic shot up and I started making money almost instantly. So, while it took some time to work out the kinks, once I was on a roll, there was not stopping me!
There are a lot of free blogging platforms, and that’s a great start, but I knew I wanted the absolute best when I started mine. That’y why I got set up with BlueHost for my hosting site (see my full tutorial on how to get started) and also created a WordPress.org blog.
Not only have I been blogging for 10 months, I also completely rebranded my blog from Heart Soul and Whole Food to The Fun Sized Life. BlueHost and WordPress were extremely helpful when going through that major transition, even after I tried to destroy every possible thing I could! (Not on purpose of course.)
Getting Google Adsense allows a space to display Google ads and gives bloggers a percentage from using them on their site. Here is a great tutorial that will guide you through from start to finish. Another thing that was super important to me when using ads on my site was to avoid it looking spammy. Keeping my blog clean and fresh looking is super important to me which is why, even though it may have made me more money, I chose to limit the amount of ads on my page
Affiliate links are another way to start bringing in income to your blog. What affiliate links basically are is recommending some of your favorite brands, products or courses to your readers and then making a percentage for recommending them. There are a number of ways to find affiliates. When you are first starting, I recommend trying out Share A Sale. They make it very easy to browse multiple different companies that have affiliate programs. Just be sure to go with programs that you know and have tried.
It’s also super important to limit the amount of affiliate links you start out with. Joining too many affiliate programs can make it hard to keep focus and direction when it comes to your posts.
When using affiliate links, it’s also very important to alway remember to disclose that information in your posts, emails or social media shares. You have to let people know that you are sharing affiliate links and that you may make a commission. Also to ensure them that you wouldn’t ever recommend anything you don’t believe in yourself.
Once you have established a solid blog, and a good following via blog or social media, you can start to look into working with brands. Depending on how large your following, you can start doing this early on. In fact working with brands can be a good way to help grow your following by doing a giveaway. Most bloggers choose to do their giveaways on Instagram in order to grow their Instagram following.
These companies basically work as the middle man between you and brands. Brands reach out to them and then they reach out to you. Depending on the brand, this can wind up being a great income source. As you continue on and are comfortable working with brands you can start reaching out to them on your own and completely eliminate the middle man.
Like any business that hopes to succeed, there’s a little investing that must take place first. Investing in quality hosting is super important as well as making sure you know exactly what you’re doing! That might mean signing up for some high quality, reliable, courses.
The first course I knew I wanted to try was by wildly successful blogger, Abby Lawson of Just a Girl and Her Blog. Her course, Building a Framework taught me everything I needed to know about building a thriving, successful blog. Without that course, it would have taken me much longer to get where I’m at today. I know that for a fact!
There is another program done by the couple behind Pinch of Yum called Food Blogger Pro. This is especially designed and laid out for food blogger’s success. To go along with this, they also have a great set of plugins especially built for food bloggers, WP Tasty.
There are also plenty of courses online that you can take for free! Like my FREE 5 Day Blogging Blooper course where I walk you through everything I did wrong when starting my blog, in hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes!
The perfect theme
Photos and Graphics
The absolute first thing to do when creating a blog is to just get started. You will learn lessons and make mistakes along the way. All you can do is grow from them like I did! Click here to get my free 5 day Blogging Bloopers course.
Blue Host – Blue Host is my personal hosting site that I have used since the beginning of my blog. Check out my easy step by step guide to get yourself all set up: How to Start a Blog. The best part is, you can get started for as little as $3.95 a month!
Building a Framework – Building a Framework is the best course for getting a new blog up and running. I purchased Building a Framework early on in my blogging career and it completely changed the way I blogged. Abby teaches everything from how to start to how to start making a profit.
Food Blogger Pro – Food Blogger Pro is a terrific online course you can take that was created by the creators of Pinch of Yum. They have seen tremendous growth from their food blog and share all their knowledge with you to help you succeed as well.
JetPack – Jetpack offers so many features to keep your site safe and secure. With backups, site monitoring and spam protection.
Linqia – Linqia is a great way to start working with brands. You fill out your profile and the brands come to you!
MailMunch – MailMunch helps you to create visually appealing e-mail opt in forms to help get people signed up for your e-mail list!
Optin Monster – Optin Monster is the perfect way to help get subscribers to your e-mail list. You can easily creat friendly pop ins that encourage readers to sign up for more!
Pitch Perfect Live – Pitch Perfect is a course I took hosted by successful blogger, Jenny Melrose. She will walk you step by step through how to pitch to brands and what to do once you’ve got them.
Share a Sale– Share a Sale is a great place to find a ton of affiliate programs that fit your niche.
Tailwind – Tailwind is a great scheduling tool to help with your Pinterest posting and Instagram sharing. It takes a lot of time and guesswork out of building your social media so you can spend your time doing other things.
WooComerce – The best way to sell your products for an online shopping experience!
WordPress – I have used WordPress from the second I created my blog and have not been let down once. They have a huge variety of themes that are easy to use so that you can be unique without being over-the-top!