New bloggers start here! How to start your own blog and make money blogging. Follow these easy steps to start your own work-from-home blog today.
I’m so excited to share with you how I make real (and pretty substantial in my opinon) money blogging!
This blog started as a side hustle in January of 2019. I was a full time working mama who was looking for a way to add some extra income while doing that I loved and was on my own time. Writing about motherhood and hopefully helping others along the way sounded like an awesome way to accomplish this goal!
I dreamed that one day I could stay home with my baby (now babies) and blog full time. This post is to share with you how I make money blogging and went from just dollars per month to more than $3000 per month after a few years blogging! (PS – I did also meet that goal and became a full time stay-at-home mom)
I struggled for months before finally figuring out how to actually make money blogging and I want to share that with you today.
You might also like these related posts:
- Self-Care Gift Guide for Moms
- Finding Joy in the Mundaneness of Motherhood
- 30 Ways to Save Money with Kids
Step 1: Choose a Niche
The first thing to think about when setting up a blog is choosing a niche.
What is a niche?
- a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment. [Google Dictionary]
- denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population. [Google Dictionary]
This means where your blog fits in the blogging community and the topic and group of people you cater to in your writing.
There is some wiggle room when choosing a niche.
Your niche can also evolve a little bit as time goes on. As an example, when I started this blog I had a 5 month old baby. I now have two toddlers and am preparing for a newborn again. So my blog posts are still centered around motherhood, they are now mostly related to baby and toddler meal ideas, and my experience as a mom of toddlers.
Step 2: Bluehost Web Hosting
The main reason you want to choose a niche first, is because you will want to use a web hosting service and choose your domain name (url or web address) . Your domain name can’t be changed. But, of course in the worst case scenario you could sign up for another domain name if you niche changed too much.
For web hosting I highly recommend Bluehost Web Hosting.
Signing up with a web hosting service mean you will have Self Hosted blog. Meaning you own the url and will basically have your own website with .com at the end.
I highly recommend using a web hosting service even those there is a small startup fee – instead of starting a free blog. This will allow you to place ads on your site and really make money! You can’t do that as easily if you aren’t self-hosted.
Step 3: Social Media
Once you have a few blog posts written, I recommend setting up social media accounts for your blog to start building an audience. The social networks that you pick will be depending on your niche, but for motherhood and lifestyle blogs I like Pinterest and Instagram (Facebook could be another good option).
Try to be active on social media and genuinely engage with others who you relate too or who you think might like to read your blog.
Step 4: Canva
Canva is a graphic design tool that can be used for anything from building menus and brochures, to creating beautiful pin and instagram images. Before I started using Canva, I was using Microsoft Powerpoint to make my pins and instagram post images. Since switching to Canva I have seen a huge jump in my click traffic and am more proud of the images I now create.
Canva has hundreds of templates that you can use to start creating your images or you can build them from scratch. They have stock photos that you can use for free (and if you pay for their premium feature you unlock all of their photos!).
Step 5: Tailwind
Pinterest is a great marketing tool, especially for motherhood and lifestyle bloggers. As most people know, you can easily create pin images and post them manually on Pinterest. However, manual pinning takes a lot of time and effort. Especially to reach a lot of readers.
That’s where my FAVORITE new tool comes in —> Tailwind
Tailwind is a pin scheduling site that allows you to do two things to help grow your blog.
- Scheduling. Schedule your pins days and weeks in advance. They have analytic tools that help you determine the best times to schedule pins. You can even batch schedule them meaning you can schedule a single pin to multiple boards.
- Tailwind Communities. Communities are similar to group boards on Pinterest, but only for Tailwind users. Community members post their pins to related groups where you can share them, and in return have your own pins shared by other tailwind users. Most communities have rules where you need to share more pins than you post to the board yourself, so it’s almost guaranteed your pins will be shared by others.
Tailwind has been instrumental in growing my blog traffic! If you haven’t signed up yet, RUN!! There really is nothing to lose as Tailwind offers a free trial for 100 pins. I knew after like 20 pins this was something I needed for my blog and I have not been disappointed!
I especially believe this is essential for beginning bloggers to help grow their traffic on Pinterest. I started a second blog recently and didn’t see much growth until I signed this blog up for Tailwinds. If you want to check out that blog to see what my blogs look like in the begging see: toddlermealideas.com
Step 6: Affiliate Marketing
Now its time to monetize your blog! There are two main ways that I make money blogging; advertisements and affiliate marketing.
How does affiliate marketing work? With affiliate marketing you recommend products you use and love and in turn, if someone buys a product through your like you receive a commission (at no additional cost to the purchaser).
The commission rate can vary from company to company and item to item. Some affiliate marketing companies also allow cookies so that you receive a commission if your readers buy ANYTHING from the site after clicking on your like and for an extended amount of time after clicking your link.
Amazon Associates is affiliate marketing for everyone’s favorite site – Amazon.com! The income I currently receive from Amazon’s affiliate program is only a minor part of my blogging income right now, but there is a lot of room for growth!
One benefit of Amazon Associates is that the products you can recommend and receive a commission for are almost endless (almost anything from Amazon.com). This means that its a great affiliate program for almost any blogging niche!
ShareASale is an affiliate marketing network that is the home for over 15,000 merchants. When you sign up for ShareASale you are able to search and apply to any of these merchants that fit your niche. Rates tend to be higher for ShareASale, but in my experience its harder to generate sales.
Step 7: Google AdSense
The alternate method that most bloggers use to make money other than Affiliate marketing is through advertisements.
How do advertisements work? Essentially advertisers pay to have ads placed on your site. You will be payed based on your RPM (Rate Per Thousand views) which means more page views equals more money.
Google AdSense is an advertisement network that is great for beginner bloggers. The rates are relatively low, however its a good starting point to familiarize yourself with what its like to work with an ad network.
Step 8: Mediavine
Another awesome ad network to work with is Mediavine.
After you have spent time building your blog traffic and have reached 50,000 sessions per month (This is where Tailwind really comes in handy since it helps drive traffic to your blog.), you are able to qualify to work with Mediavine.
How do you know how many sessions per month you are getting? Use Google Analytics!
Once you qualify for and apply to become a Mediavine publisher, the Mediavine team will review your application and if approved, will walk you through the process to get ads set up. This is where Mediavine is a step above the rest! Their customer service is absolutely amazing and is there to guide you every step of the way and help you with any and all questions you may have.
I have been with Mediavine for more than 2 years and it is still one of the best experiences I have ever had with a company (in the blogging world, corporate work world, ect).
Mediavine is the bulk of my blog income and I simply cannot recommend them enough! Previous to this I had used Google Adsense. Which is great for new bloggers, but the earnings are not quite the same.
>>>>>>>> Click Here to Sign Up For Mediavine
My Strategy to Make Money Blogging
My goal has been to write one blog post per week or about 4 per month. Often times I get really motivated and write two or three posts back-to-back and then take a week or two off.
But, if i’m not writing new posts i’m often times editing old posts or creating new pin images for old posts and sharing them on Pinterest. I never take more than a few days off unless we are going on a family vacation or its just a hard season of life (like having a newborn).
The majority of my traffic currently comes from Pinterest (about 50%). Pinterest has been great for driving traffic to my blog, however I am trying hard to diversify.
Other sources of traffic for your blog may be search engines (you will need awesome SEO), email lists, or other social media like facebook or instagram.
My Current Pinterest Strategy (to get 2-3 Million Impressions per month):
- For every new blog post I create 2-3 pins. I pin them directly to Pinterest to my main blog board, spacing them out to about 1 per week.
- For every new pin, I use Tailwind to share to 5-10 Tailwind Communities & 3-5 relavant boards
- Create new pins for old content regularly (at least a few per week), pin them to my main board first and then share using Tailwind as mentioned above
- Use Tailwind to schedule 5 pins per day as a mix of my own and other’s content
- Join as many relavant group boards as possible (I am currently in about 50) and pin to these using Tailwind
- Do little to no manual pinning, all pins are scheduled through Tailwind to pin at optimal times
Summary of How to Make Money Blogging
As a quick review, here are the steps to take to start making money as a blogger:
- Choose a niche (I chose to start a Mom Blog and have narrowed in on feeding tips, meal ideas, and product reviews)
- Sign up for Bluehost Web Hosting to host your website.
- Create social media accounts for your blog (I recommend Pinterest, Instagram, and maybe Facebook for motherhood and lifestyle bloggers)
- Sign up for Canva and create social media images for your blog posts.
- Sign up for Tailwind to easily and optimally schedule your pins to Pinterest.
- Use affiliate marketing companies like Amazon Associates & ShareASale to make money sharing relavant products you use and love.
- Sign up for Google AdSense to start making money with advertisements.
- Work hard to build your audience and once you reach 50,000 sessions per month, apply for Mediavine ad network.
Drop me any questions in the comments below! I would love to rave about all these awesome programs and sites that have helped me make money blogging.