make money blogging
Digital Nomads

How to make money blogging

In a time where everyone wants to make a quick buck, I see a lot of new bloggers popping up to write about travel in a bid to earn money blogging. I’ve been blogging for years now, and it’s only recently that my site has started making a monthly income and, even then, we’re not talking huge amounts! I often tell people that it’s very possible to get paid to blog, however, the amount of time you dedicate to this will ultimately affect your success. In this post I’ll cover some of the main ways to make money from blogging, though I warn you now, this will never be a quick process and anyone telling you otherwise is at it!

Become a content creator that people respect

Before you start mucking about with brands, advertising and collaborations, create an online presence for yourself that people want to engage with. Google’s crawlers will prioritise sites that are updating regularly with good content, meaning that your organic ranking on their searches should (in theory) be higher.

I once read an article about content creating that stated, “Always give your audience more than they expected”. It’s possibly the best blogging tip I ever read – over delivering will always bring more return traffic than under delivering.

content creator

How do bloggers make money?

Make money with Google ads

When it came to figuring out how to monetise a blog, Google ads was definitely the most viable option for me. You need to apply to be approved by Google to do this and it can often take a couple of weeks. Google will check for things like:

  • High-quality content
  • A blog that is at least 6 months old
  • You are at least 18 years old
  • The functionality and readability of your site

Once approved, you can start making money! For a quick start, you can set-up auto ads and Google will begin placing ads on your site where it feels it’s appropriate.

It’ll start paying you for based on a CPC basis (cost per click) and a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions). Obviously, the more traffic to your site, the higher the views = higher earning. And, this is where it pays to be creating great content and driving traffic (see next section).

Make Money with Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when a business rewards an affiliate for each visitor or customer brought to them. Some of the easier, big players for newbie affiliate bloggers are as follows:

Get paid to blog with Sponsored Blog posts and brands

If your content runs across multiple platforms, chances are that brands will start to trickle into your inbox. However, you can actively pitch for this too. If you’re going to do so, I recommend putting together a media kit that includes your traffic info, social media following, audience demographics, and any other stats that will make your site more appealing to advertisers. Canva has some great templates to get you started on this.

NOTE: If you’re going to get paid to blog, make sure you know about the laws about disclosure.

Make money with Woocommerce

Got your own brand and looking to sell products online? Woocommerce is any easy plugin that allows you to sell both physical and digital products and take secure payments. If you have a WordPress website, the set-up is a piece of cake.

Monetise your blog by charging for features or links

Every now and again I get an e-mail from a brand or team who are looking to place an ad in my website’s content that fits with their product/destination. I have strict rules about this and often turn it down. They need to be relevant to my reader and true to my animal welfare brand. However, there have been times where I have negotiated an agreement. I’ll be covering this in more detail in a later post.

Freelance and online writing jobs

Treat your site like a CV. I found that my website became a useful portfolio of my work and I use it as a reference when discussing freelance projects. It’s also a great way to demonstrate your knowledge of online content creating and software.

Blogging for other people is an option that a lot of those looking to live the digital nomad lifestyle adopt. To get started, you could also consider searching online job websites, though I find that a lot of them are not paying a decent going rate; Europeans and Americans are often undercut my countries with a lower living wage. However, some of the sites with these kind of job listings include:

drive traffic to your website

How to drive traffic to your website to earn money

I spend so much time working on other people’s content, that I often find myself too exhausted to put the same amount of time into my own. Don;t fall into this trap! You need to treat your site the way you would a job if you want to earn serious coin! Here are the main things to consider:

Google Analytics – Do you know how many people visit your site monthly? What platform your traffic is coming from? Are they using a mobile or desktop device? If you don’t know the answers to this, you should! Google Analytics will help you with the answers to all of this, as well as showing you which of your posts are the most successful. Take a look at this video tutorial to learn the basics.

Once you know what your audience is responding to, where they’re coming from and what keeps them on your website, it’ll be easier for you to create content that will keep them coming back for more!

PinterestPinterest is the dark horse of the blogging world. Nobody is talking about it, but people are making a packet from it. Fun Fact: Pinterest drives an average of 35% of my traffic! (only topped by organic search traffic!).
For each blog post I write, I aim to create 3 pins with separate keyword testing to promote it. A lot of people make money from blogging by plugging their pins across multiple pin sharing groups. This method has become so lucrative that some virtual assistants do nothing but create pins for blogger clients!

Instagram – I currently have a love/hate relationship with Instagram – but don’t write it off entirely! Although all my big brand collaborations have come directly through my blog e-mail, brands get in touch with me regarding my Instagram account for promotions and collabs.
The main thing to remember engagement is key! Micro-influencers are really having a moment right now. I urge you to pride yourself on organic interactions and relationships on this platform – it is your main tool when it comes to negotiating with brands.

In times gone by, I’ve had a good number of brands contact me to say that if I can get my following number up to ‘X’, then they’ll consider working with me. The marketing team of any good brand should know that these vanity metrics mean little these days. In a world where everyone can buy followers and likes, it’s tough to see who is transforming into buying customers at first glance.

A good rule of thumb: Look at what % of your follower number is liking and commenting on your posts. Anything about 5% is deemed good, whilst 10% is really good. 10k followers may look impressive, but a 1% engagement means that there’s possibly something off with where these followers are coming from.

Twitter – As with Instagram, engagement is key. The way to steal a Twitter audience’s heart is with daily interaction and networking. Get sharing other people’s content, join Twitter chats and create sharp, punchy posts.

Best blogging platform to make money

I’m going to cut straight to the chase here. My answer (and preference) is WordPress.org – not to be confused with WordPress.com. WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform that allows you to customise your site however you want. Some of the main benefits:

  • Thousands of customisable themes (templates) with their own option panels.
  • WordPress is written to be super SEO friendly with standard compliance high-quality code. This means WordPress sites tend to rank higher with searches engines like Google.
  • WordPress has loads of speed plugins that make sure you don’t have to worry about slow load times. Page speed is something Google will factor into ranking.

AND THAT’S JUST A FEW EXAMPLES!

The freedom of the platform means that you can add videos, sales platforms, ads and affiliate links without having to hike up your subscription fee.

That being said, WordPress.com is a great place to start out and get used to the platform (and try it out for free). I actually began with a .com site myself, switching to self-hosting once I felt confident managing my own back of house. If you really don’t have a head/interest for tech, WordPress.com does have a top account setting that will allow you full freedom to editing (alongside constant web chat support from their team).

learn about seo

Earn money blogging by learning about SEO

Remember the good old days when your website came up on Google search just because you wrote about something well/first? I’m afraid those days are long gone. Nowadays, you’ll be lucky to rank in Google’s first page without thinking about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). With so much competition from big brands and long-established writers, it’s important to learn how to show Google just how valuable your content is!

To get started with SEO, head to the ‘Free Resources‘ section of ‘Make Traffic Happen‘. This is a website created by fellow Scottish bloggers, Gemma & Laura, that provides loads of traffic building info based around SEO.

What Next?

Already have a blog? Get stuck in!

Just starting off? Work on your content and learn the basics before you start messing around with the ad ons. When you eventually DO start applying money making strategies, your readers will value the effort.

Over the next couple of months I’ll be sharing and adding extra tips to this post, including what to charge for blog posts, more detailed WordPress start guides and SEO tips and tricks. Make sure you subscribe to my new post alerts for updates!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. I’ve recommended these items because I was happy with them myself. If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay more than usual, but I do get a little commission that’ll go towards me paying my site costs and SEO tools.

Travel writer, marketing adviser and blogger based in Edinburgh, with a focus on budget and vegan travel. 39 countries to date, with extensive knowledge of travel within Asia, particularly within Thailand.

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