3 Ways to Make Money Blogging

I recently read something online that made me feel instantly annoyed. Someone said that the only reason people start blogs is for attention, clout, and making money.

I happen to believe this assumption is 100% false, and, if you ask other bloggers, most of them would probably agree. While blogs can be great side hustles, very few bloggers I’ve encountered blog solely for attention, clout, or money. From what I’ve heard, most bloggers wanted things like freedom from their 9 to 5, or they wanted to be able to stay home with their kids, or they were so passionate about something that all the people in their life became tired of hearing about it, so they started a blog! I started my blog for the following reasons:

  • I wanted to start blogging because it was a way for me to be creative and to build something lasting.
  • Blogging was also a way for me to organize my professional portfolio and display writing samples to future clients.
  • Blogging can be an excellent way to connect with like-minded people.
  • I love to write, and I love talking about all things modern women and modern money. A blog provides an outlet so that I can “talk” with others who are excited about the same things.
  • For my entire life, I’ve wanted to help others. To this day, the desire to help others remains one of my strongest drives. Creating a blog that contains useful information to help others achieve their goals and dreams seems like a great way I can help others.
  • My previous job took up all of my time to the point that I felt like I had no energy left to be creative and to pursue the activities that bring me joy. I wanted a way to live out my life’s purpose, serve others, and to have a flexible work schedule!
  • Blogging is also a way to build new skills in a digital age.

There are probably more reasons I could come up with as to why I started a blog, but the point is that blogging for me isn’t about money. I imagine many other bloggers would agree that blogging isn’t simply a way to create revenue. That said, we live in a world where we have to make money in order to survive. I’m not about to feel guilty for trying to make money to survive, and what better way to make money than to help others in the process?

To get started, start small. I recommend reading Ling’s introductory blog post detailing how to get started. She even offers a free 7-day course to help you get started.

For another great introduction to monetizing your blog, I highly recommend Sofia Lee’s YouTube video, “How I Make $30,000+ A Month Blogging,” explaining how she makes money blogging:

I love this video because Sofia hits on something that I’ve heard repeatedly in the world of blogging: you have to stick with it. This concept applies to most things in life. You cannot start something and expect to be amazing at it within a month. It takes time to build a career. It takes time to learn a new skill. It takes time to change habits. Blogging is no different.

There are several ways to monetize your blog. In this post, I list three simple ways to start earning income through your blog.

  1. Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs provide users with links that are website URLs. These affiliate programs basically allow you to generate leads for these businesses. For example, Amazon will provide you with a link to a product. You can then use the link in your blog to direct readers to the product. If the reader purchases the item, you receive a percentage of the sale.

I like this method because it allows you to choose the products your readers will see. This means that you have control over which products you endorse.

https://www.techradar.com/best/best-affiliate-marketing-programs

In their words: “you sign up for a program for a particular product or service, and if accepted for it, you can then use existing marketing materials and/or links with a unique URL. In the event that someone signs up for that product or service using that URL, you earn a commission.”

This article is definitely worth the read because it goes into great detail about the pros and cons of several affiliate marketing programs. I recommend starting with Amazon Associates program because it is the easiest and most straightforward to use.

To learn how to use affiliate links in much better detail, read Dana Sitar’s guide to using affiliate links in her post “How I Make Money Blogging: The Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing.”

2. Adds

According to WordPress, if you have a paid plan of any type, you can use the collect payments block. If you have a premium account, you can add the PayPal block or a Word Ads.co block.

Note: I didn’t have much luck adding ads prior to upgrading to a business plan which costs about $300 (as of 2021).

I highly recommend this video, courtesy of Dale, to get started:

This video walks you through how to sign up for and use Google AdSense. Note: WP Quads looks a little different now:

And, that’s what I typed into the search bar – “WP Quads.”

Note: Your WordPress site will look different than Dale’s if you do not have a business account. You may also encounter difficulty using ads in your site without a business account.

After I followed Dale’s steps, I chose to connect my website to Google AdSense:

I’m not going to lie – it was a little complicated setting all of this up, and like Dale says, Google AdSense takes at least an hour to integrate with your site. Also, be aware that Google AdSense may reject your website if they feel as though it’s not a good fit.

If you have trouble adding widgets to your site, check out this article: https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-add-and-use-widgets-in-wordpress/

Be patient and enjoy the learning process!

3. Leads

According to WordPress, the following three ways help increase your likelihood of making money:

  • Blogging regularly
  • Connecting with your community
  • Reading, commenting, and following other blogs

These methods increase your connectivity with readers. Without readers, you won’t have anyone coming to your blog and making purchases or viewing affiliate links.

Here is another helpful resource to help you get started if you’d like to learn more about how to generate leads to your site:

Again, the most important thing to remember: don’t give up. Stick with it, and maintain a growth mindset because learning to monetize your blog requires you to learn new skills and how to use new tools.

My Biggest Money Obstacle

(We all get stuck in different places…)

The hardest part of getting out of debt, for me, was not stopping going out to eat or treating myself with manicures and pedicures. I used to think everyone had the same problem: you spend too much money – more than you make – but everyone has a different financial journey. Along my financial journey, I learned something about myself that honestly shocked me:

I’m a saver, not a spender.

As it turns out, some of us naturally like to save our money, but “savers,” as the financial industry likes to call us, can be in debt too. Savers can make huge money mistakes too and have difficulty overcoming large financial obstacles, such as debt.

When I started my financial journey, I did have to cut my spending. I thought cutting my spending would feel like going on a cauliflower diet sprinkled with beans and rice.

(…although many a-cheerio was consumed…)

On the contrary, it felt so easy to cut my spending that my friends questioned my sanity because I no longer paid for “necessities” like internet (“Guys – the library has internet”).

But cutting my spending wasn’t enough. In fact, it was so far from enough that I racked up an additional $14,000 in debt! Yikes. This happened because my focus wasn’t staying out of debt, it was getting out of debt. The difference between the two finally dawned on me when The Budget Mom put out an Instagram post where she asked viewers:

“What is more important? Getting out of debt or staying out of debt?”

“Staying out of debt!” (paraphrased)

Finally, I decided to take the advice from the hosts of the How to Money podcast. They suggested the order of operations:

  1. If your company offers a 401k match, take advantage of it (my company offers a 4% match which is standard)
  2. Build an emergency fund of about $2,500 (my emergency fund is $5,000 because that number makes me feel comfortable)
  3. Pay off high interest debt (anything above 7%)
  4. Save 3 to 6 months’ worth of living expenses
  5. Invest in one of your big money goals, such as saving for a home

Before implementing this advice, I had devoted all of my cash towards paying off debt. This turned out to be detrimental because, inevitably, something would come up – I had to replace carpet in my apartment, my dog needed a trip to the vet, something on the car broke – you get the idea. Life happens. When life happened for me, because I didn’t have an emergency fund, I went into debt. My credit card saved the day instead of using an emergency fund for – you guessed it – emergencies …because I didn’t have an emergency fund.

Once I came to my senses and created an emergency fund of $5,000 (because $5,000 made me feel safer than the recommended $2,500), whenever something came up, such as travel expenses for my grandmother’s funeral, I simply transferred the required amount to my checking account and used the funds I already had available.

This saved me from building additional debt. It even cured me from worrying incessantly about paying interest (I pay very little interest due to refinancing debt, but interest is still a source of anxiety). I still have money concerns, and I would still like to pay off my debt, but I truly learned the lesson that Mindy from Bigger Pockets Money podcast tries relentlessly to convey to listeners:

Personal finance is personal!

(You’re allowed to be unique – even when those around you can’t relate.)

Your journey will look different from everyone else’s journey, so don’t let setbacks stop you in your tracks. Learn to realize that you, as an individual, will have money obstacles unique to you.

Don’t give up!