I’ve always been curious, what drove you towards starting a blog?
- Was it making money online?
- Or, was it making money online?
You see where it’s going.
Even when you say, you want to change the world by sharing your work with the world, somewhere in the back of your head you know, if an opportunity comes — to make money — you won’t deny it.
In fact, most start a blog (or a website) with the ambition of making money online.
And, hey, don’t get me wrong.
I started the blog with the same thing in mind.
But, after blogging for 15 months or so, driving nice traffic, building social media following of 7000+ and making money in the form of affiliate sales, I know the struggle.
I know how difficult it is to get traction online. I know how difficult it is to get traffic. I know how difficult it is to make your first sale.
And today, I’ll be putting forth all the:
Ugly truths about Making Money Blogging.
Later in the post, I’ll show how exactly you can make your first sale in any niche.
You can directly jump to the last part if you want, but I’d recommend reading the entire post.
So, let’s get started.
Note: There are affiliate links on this page to know more read our disclaimer
Haven’t started YOUR blog, yet? Here’s our supermassive guide to starting a blog in the easiest and quickest possible way.
Truth #1 — Your Content has to be Fucking Exceptional
Let me put it bluntly:
No one gives damn what you’ve to say if whatever you publish isn’t good enough.
This means your content has to be unique and exceptionally well.
“2.8 million blog posts are published every day”.
So, if you’re like me and you publish 1 post/week, that means your post is one amongst approx 20 million others.
This wasn’t the case for those who started out a couple years ago, the competition was NOT so fierce as of today.
But, if you’ve just started out (or plan to), blogging is a completely different monster.
Okay, you might not be able to write exceptional stuff right away, but, before you commit to a niche make sure you:
- Love the topic and know it in and out
- Have something to offer that will add value to the existing content and not replicate it
- Won’t get bored after publishing 100 articles (because that’s where the real fun part begins)
Can you do it?
I believe YOU CAN.
I’m certain everyone can. It’s just about choosing the right topic, getting started and practicing your ass off.
So, how do you become exceptional at the art of creating awesome content?
Come, I’ll show you:
Before we go any deeper, be clear on this: Content does not just mean blog posts, it could be videos, it could be a SlideShare presentation, it could be an infographic, whatever.
- Choose a topic wisely:90% of the times choosing the wrong topic can kill you. How do you know if your topic is right? It has to be something your audience want to know about. If you’re writing something that you want to, not taking into consideration about your audience, you’ve already lost the battle.
- Research in depth:Before you even write a single word, you have to have data regarding what already is present out there. Is it complete? If yes, can you repurpose it? If no, can you create something better and beat it?
- Share it with the right people:Creating content is not done. The main battle begins after. If you write the best piece EVER on your topic but don’t take it in front of the right eyes, you’re lost. Don’t do that. Here are some of the places you can share it with:
- Your email List — Your most loyal readers. They signed up for your blog because they’re interested in what you’ve to offer.
- Social Media — The media networks can differ for every niche, but generally every niche has active users on Facebook and Twitter and these are great places to share, once you build a loyal following.
- Influencers — Seriously, if you can get influencers (movers and shakers in your industry) to share your stuff, there’s NOTHING bigger than that. Though, building friendships with influencers takes a long time.
Truth #2 — Have Patience, Persistence or Forget about making money online
Once you get started, forget the fact that you’ll make money EVER.
(At least for the first year)
You have to put your 100% efforts in creating content that’s better than existing and moreover helping others.
The main success factor will be:
Can you be patient enough and continue working, even when you’re not generating any income?
If you can do so, you’re bound to get success.
Most of the bloggers (90% — an estimate) abandon their blogs within 3 months and hence they deny the chance of being successful.
Even I was tested a lot at the start, at times there was NO traffic at all and no traffic meant NO INCOME.
I wanted to QUIT.
But, I just kept going.
Working hard, KNOWING things will change; and they did!
Truth #3 — Without Practicing Your Ass Off, Your blog doesn’t grow
Here Mahatma Gandhi said it:
In fact, Buffer has put an entire article on Why Practice Actually makes man perfect.
If you want to be good at something, you have to follow two rules.
And they’re dead simple:
- Start Practicing
- Show up every day
This logic goes for every (like EVERY) thing.
Want to get better at writing? Write 500 words every day.
Want to get better at creating YouTube videos? Create 1 short (even 2 min is good, including all the editing) video every day.
Want to become a better footballer? Practice every day.
You get the gist.
You see the custom graphics on this blog? We create it ourselves. And I suck at graphic design.
So how do I do it? Practice.
I don’t EVER share my first blog post (maybe someday I will).
But you see the writing now, right? It’s miles better than it was when we started out.
Truth #4 — Make Sacrifices (Tough Calls are always worth it)
There will come a time in your career when you’ll have to make a tough call.
You’ll have to choose 1 between two things you truly LOVE.
And one of them will be blogging.
It’ll be a very difficult choice.
You’ll have to make it anyway.
So, when you come across such situations, and you NEED to choose one, make sure you’re making the right choice.
As one wrong choice could ruin your chances of monetizing your blog.
Ultimately remember this:
Truth #5 — Invest More time
Ultimately, you need to sort your priorities.
The more you work on something and practice it well, the better you get.
So, if you want to turn your dream of turning your blog into a permanent stream of passive income YOU MUST give it more time.
One best way is setting up a tight schedule with all your tasks prioritized into three categories: A, B, and C.
With A being the most important and C being the least.
I’ve discussed in my Productivity Post, how you can make more in less time.
Once you’ve sorted out the stuff in the order of higher to lower priority, you can set aside hours for your highest priority tasks.
For example, you’re a blogger and you want to publish an article 2 days later. You’re running out of time and finishing that blog post is your highest priority.
You can prepare a schedule in your Google Calendar accordingly and set reminder notifications:
If you’re a student (like me) or work somewhere, perhaps you don’t have as much time as other full-time bloggers.
In that case, you NEED to create small pockets of time wherever you can.
Like, during your commute.
I commute almost four hours every day. Now, imagine, how much time I’ll be wasting if I don’t do anything at all in these four hours.
But, I don’t.
I utilize these four hours in tasks that don’t require rigorous thinking. Like replying to emails and comments, reading blog posts and checking out Twitter.
All of this can be done from YOUR phone.
Sometimes, I even write a quick draft for my next blog post.
Here’s a screenshot from a few of my recent drafts:
So, if you CANNOT invest more time, find time in-between other tasks and utilize it well.
Truth #6 — No Investment (capital), No success
Unfortunate, but, true.
You CANNOT survive without investing MONEY in your blog.
We learned this the hard way.
Before we even made our first sale, we had to make the following investments:
When we started out, we didn’t have much money and we were very reluctant to spend whatever little we had.
And, hence, we started with a free WordPress hosted website.
Soon enough, I knew, it wasn’t going to work.
We needed a self-hosted site and Bluehost was our first investment.
Later, I realized, our site was too slow, too disorganized, the design was in shambles and that’s when we felt the urge to invest in a Premium Theme and we bought SPI theme from StudioPress. Though this decision took long we did it eventually.
Every now and then, we make small investments like Facebook Ads, Good Books, Udemy Courses, etc.
All I want to imply is:
No matter what, you NEED to invest because without investment it’s really really difficult to succeed.
Now, I’ll show how you can make your first sale
When we made our first sale, here, on growingmetrics — it was under the most unexpected circumstances.
I’d been blogging for almost six months now, and I had NO HOPE of making any money at all, EVER.
We had a posting schedule, with a couple of ideas scheduled for the upcoming weeks.
And one fine day, I open my inbox and see this:
BOOM, I was thrown away.
$65 commission from BlueHost.
It was our first dollar online.
Great feeling, indeed.
Now, there are dozens of ways (maybe even more) of making money Online. Every niche has a different source of monetization that works well in that specific industry.
Before getting into what would be the best way of monetizing your blog, you’ll have to research a bit.
STEP #1 Find other blogs and online platforms in your niche
Say, you’re in the food niche; you can just Google something “food blogs”:
And you’ll get many relevant results.
Next, you can try on Twitter:
(These are some of the pages, you can find more under “People” and “Groups” sections.
Collect as many as possible.
STEP #2 Figure out their monetization strategies
Next, go through all the blogs you’ve found, read them and try to understand their monetization strategies.
You can also Google “income report + food blog” or “food blog income report”, without the quotes to find out income reports of many food bloggers.
This will work for most niches. For example:
“travel blog income report”:
Or, you can simply Google “How to monetize a tech blog” (consider you operate in the tech niche) and you’ll get results.
Pinterest is another great place where I see thousands of people sharing their income reports.
STEP #3 Create YOUR monetization strategy
Now that you know, what will work the best for you, you have to create a monetization strategy.
Suppose, you work in the food niche, one way could be creating videos of the procedure of creating food dishes, uploading them on YouTube and monetizing them.
Next, maybe you have a restaurant and one of your dishes is very popular, you can write a book (or an ebook) and sell it on Amazon. You’d make hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the price of the book and the way you promote it.
My point is you MUST HAVE a monetization strategy and start working on it.
- Jot down all the ways you can monetize your blog throughFor example, I am in the Blogging and Internet Marketing And here’s what my list could look like:
- Next, list all the resources you need to monetize your blog:
- Apply for the affiliates, ad networks, etc
- Create a separate spreadsheet and feed all the data into it, you don’t wanna mess up links and passwords
BONUS: Here, I’ve compiled a list of top monetization strategies across a variety of different niches.
- Advertisements: Ads is a great way to getting started with monetizing your blog. A general requirement for Ads is that you have a lot of traffic so as to get more clicks and generate MORE income. Generally, this strategy of monetization applies for all kind of niches.
- Google AdSense is the most popular advertising network; here’s a quick guide to Google AdSense Account Approval Process 2017 by Harsh Agarwal.In case your Google AdSense account approval does not go through or for some other reasons you want alternatives to Google AdSense, check out 15 alternatives to Google AdSense by Istiak Rayhan.Though advertisements are great to get started, it’s very slow and generally takes a lot of time to make any significant money, which brings us to our next alternatives:
- Books: If you run a successful blog, you can compile all of your experience in the form of a book (ebook), self-publish it using Amazon KDP or sell it directly on your Blog like Sharon Gourlay did, on DigitalNomadWannabe:
- Affiliate Marketing: The most popular way of making money online. Almost every blogger at some point in time does this. The concept’s simple, you recommend some product you use and when someone buys that product via your recommendation (your link) you get a small cut off the original price.The best place to get started with is the products you’re already using, like:
- Your website Hosting service (Bluehost): Every website hosting service has their affiliate program. Like for us, it is Bluehost. Just Google “Your Hosting Service name + affiliate” and you’ll get it. For example:
- Your email marketing service: I hope you’ve started building your list already (if not get started with Mailerlite right away! Again Google it, to find out the affiliate program.
- Other Products you might be using: Like SocialQuant for Twitter.
- Amazon Associates is another great program if you recommend physical products on your website.
- Digital Products: You could solve a real world problem by selling digital products like any software you use.
For example, You have a great idea that can be used to gain more targeted Facebook likes. Use that idea to build a software product that’ll help people automate the process of getting more likes on Facebook. That’s the exact concept SocialQuant use to build more targeted Twitter followers.
- Physical Products: You could sell something like travel gear if you’re in the travel niche.Or maybe some specialized pan on which a specific foodstuff can be made (say you’re in the food niche).You get the idea.
- Coaching: Personalized 1 to 1 coaching could be very lucrative in terms of generating money if you’re one the best in your industry.Some people charge up to $200 for just 1 hour of their time.Obviously, it takes a LOT of hard work to reach that level.For example, You are in the health and fitness niche, you can schedule 2, 1 hour meets per day with clients to sort out their fitness issues like maintaining a diet.
- Online Courses: The Online Course market is estimated to hit $244 billion by 2022.With this big a market you MUST NOT let the opportunity to sell a course go away.Everyone has some talent or other, use what your blog is about as a topic and set-up a quick course that you can sell.Udemy is a great place to get started with your course.Here’s a quick snap on courses related to becoming more productive (productivity niche):
- Services: If you’re good at something, say SEO. You can create a “hire me” section on your website to let people know about the services you provide.Take a look at how Sara does it on her website:
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money from your blogging website. The question is how and when?
If you tackle an idea with the aggressive approach of only making money, you might see short term results. But, in the long run, you’re bound to fail.
So, it’s generally better to accept the truths of making money online. Knowing what to do, what not and more importantly what will place you in a strategically better position to succeed as a blogger.
What do you think? Is there anything else you’d like to add? How did you make your first dollar online?