So…you are interested in starting a blog to make money, but really not sure how it all works. Today is a follow-up on a previous post, How to Start Blogging for Money – 4 Easy Steps, where I gave a bird’s-eye view on starting a blog. You can see that article HERE.
Since that article was such a broad overview on blogging for money, I wanted to dive deeper into the best way to start blogging and make money.
This can all be overwhelming for a beginner – I know it was for me – so we’re going to have a look at how you too can get started. Our emphasis will be on training, because honestly, that is where we go wrong…trying to do it on our own.
How I Found Blogging for Money – Don’t Make My Mistake
Oh, boy! What an adventure. I started looking for a way to make money from home. That’s when I found dropshipping.
If you’re not aware of dropshipping, it is where you promote products on your website (store). The customer buys the product from you, then you forward the order to the company or manufacturer that has the product and they send the product directly to the customer. So basically you’re the middle man.
There is money to be made in dropshipping and you don’t have to keep any stock, but it can be hard to break into the market(s) you’re promoting, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. And a large portion of products come from China.
My mistake? Trying to get established in a highly competitive online business where I had no clue what I was doing. And this just isn’t for dropshipping. See my article HERE on What is a Dropshipping Business? – Is It for You?.
I got frustrated and quit. I won’t even go into all the money I lost setting up that business. By the way, you pay from the start or with only 30 days to cancel. Had I known all the extra costs when I started I would not have ventured there.
This put me back in search of a way to make money online from home. That’s when I came across affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is where you share links to products through your website (blog). You receive a commission when the reader buys the products you recommend.
But I didn’t want to be in the same boat as before…clueless, frustrated, and quitting in defeat again. So this time I looked for a way to do it right…like you’re doing now. I wanted to know how to do things that had me lost and why they mattered to have success. That’s when a whole new world was opened up to me…more on that later.
What You Need to Know – There’s a Lot to It
This is where I’m going to take the 4 steps from my previous post on starting a blog and dive deeper.
- What are you going to write about? This is your niche or topic of interest. The first website I created is about skincare over 50, so the articles I write for this website are centered around skincare for older women. This website you’re on now is about making money from home. Your niche may be camping, crafting, healthy eating, or fitness…the list is endless.
- Next is coming up with your website (domain) name. This is based on your niche. My website name for my skincare niche is www.skincarepast50.com. There are many places to purchase domain names. GoDaddy and BlueHost are two popular options. My experience with GoDaddy is that they sell your address. Yes…very aggravating!
- Then you pick a theme for your website (the layout). The most popular content management system for blogs is WordPress. WordPress is fairly easy to use, but you still need some instruction on how to get the most out of it.
- You’ll set up different pages, like where your articles are listed, your privacy page, and your About Me page (see tabs at the top of this page).
- You can add plugins to perform neat little things on your website. See the email sign up list and the social media buttons? Those are all possible through plugins.
Create Content. Content is what you’re reading right now. I am simply writing about a topic in my niche, making money from home, and sharing it with you. Don’t panic though. Writing content is actually very easy to do. I am just sharing information that I think is beneficial to others. It’s like sitting at a friends kitchen table talking over a cup of coffee. So…this is what you need to know about content.
- You will want to learn about how to write in a way that is engaging and keeps readers on your website.
- You will also want to learn how to format your content so that it is readable.
Gain traffic and ranking. Build it and they will come, right? Maybe in the movie, but there’s a little more to it when it comes to writing a blog. The main objective is getting readers (traffic) to your website. This means we have to put thought into our subject, mainly the title of our content.
- You’ll want to search for keywords that will get you noticed on Google and other search engines. Think about it. You search a particular topic in Google and hit enter, then websites appear below your search. How many times have you gone past the first page? This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’ll need to learn how this works and have a proper tool to get you there. The sites on the first page are the ones that get traffic.
- You’ll also need a good word count to get noticed and ranked by search engines. The word count comes from your actual content and comments left by readers, so you’ll want to learn how to engage your audience.
- Pictures are also good for getting noticed by search engines and make your article more interesting to read.
- You’ll want to write content on a consistent schedule to earn favor with the search engines. The more content you write, the more chance you have of ranking. The higher you rank, the more traffic you’ll see.
- You can use social media to drive traffic to your website.
Earn money. This is why you’re here, right? Now that you’ve put in all this work creating content you’ll want to monetize your website. Earlier I mentioned affiliate marketing. By adding these links to your content you’ll be able to make some money. Let me state right here and now that this does not happen overnight. It does take time and effort to gain the trust of your readers and search engines before you can reap the benefits. I just want to be honest with you here.
- You’ll need to sign up to participate in company’s affiliate programs. Amazon has the biggest program with a limitless supply of products that match just about every niche ( your links will need to be relevant to your content). Just about every company that sells product online has a program. Some, however, want to see that your website is established before they will approve you.
- Once you have your affiliate programs approved, you can write reviews of products and include a link with a code that gives credit to you. When someone orders that product, you get a commission. For instance, I’ve created a post on my skincare website about the best eye creams for older women. I’ve included links to purchase the products I reviewed. I get paid when a reader clicks that link and orders that product.
- You’ll want to learn the proper balance of when and where to include these links. You want your website to be a place where readers come for information and help, not a sales pitch.
- There are also opportunities to make money through referral programs, which are affiliate links for memberships or services. The concept is the same, but you can usually earn a higher commission than selling…say…a tube of lipstick.
- There are other ways to make money, but you should have the jest by now.
Training is Key – Don’t Try Blogging Alone
We often here “Don’t try this at home”. Well…you won’t hear that on this website, because you can do this at home. But…you will hear “Don’t try blogging alone.” You don’t have to be clueless, frustrated, and unsuccessful. There are training opportunities that can help you learn to be a successful and profitable blogger and affiliate marketer.
You see how I just went through the steps above? I’m no techie…I think that’s obvious. I mention this to remind you that I had no clue about all this website “stuff” before getting into blogging and affiliate marketing.
The big difference and why I am NOT making the same mistake is because I found a platform that is teaching me how to do it the right way.
There are many hosting sites out there that would help me get my website created, but I needed detailed step-by-step training. BlueHost is the top-recommended platform for WordPress and offers great technical support, but I wasn’t impressed with their training. I felt I would still be in that same sinking boat. And their training is also geared towards learning how to use WordPress and not monetizing your website. Whatever you decide, pick one that you feel is going to give you the best support and training. And by support I also mean a community that will step in and help you figure things out.
I’m going to share with you below the training platform that has taught me all that I know to this point…I’m still learning myself.
How I Learned to Blog Properly – You Can Too
I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate. Maybe you’ve heard of it…maybe not. They have been around since 2005 and the co-founders are still active in the company. Over 2 million people have benefited from their training, support, and community.
Wealthy Affiliate offers many benefits like website hosting and technical support, but I want to stick with the training.
As I mentioned before, I knew nothing about building a website and getting traffic before I started the training at Wealthy Affiliate.
I failed with dropshipping because I was trying to do it alone…and alone I felt. I was so lost that I joined a Facebook group. All I got from them, however, was brutal comments about how I was doing it wrong and offers to “help” for a nice fee. You won’t experience that at Wealthy Affiliate.
With Wealthy Affiliate I have been able to learn and put it into practice as I go. There is no “Here’s your training material, now go do it on your own” like many training programs where you get a PDF file. I started on day one following the Online Entrepreneur Certification training. Each lesson has a video by Kyle – one of the co-founders, written instructions, and tasks. The tasks are designed to learn, then do. The practicality of the training is easy and makes so much sense….and I’m building my websites as I learn.
Do I know everything yet? No, of course not, but I am building my business as I learn. No waiting until the end. I was up and running on my first website within 2 days.
Here’s a screenshot of the tasks in Lesson 3 of Level 1, Getting Started. Lessons 1 and 2 are to get acquainted with the WA platform, so you can see that it doesn’t take long to get into building your website. You can also see what’s ahead on the right side. And at the bottom you can see that other members have contributed to this training. After each lesson you have the opportunity to ask questions and members will jump in and help you. This doesn’t feel alone to me.
Wealthy Affiliate offers multiple avenues of training:
Online Entrepreneur Certification (each level contains 10 lessons with step-by-step instructions, videos, and tasks to complete – That’s 50 lessons!)
- Getting Started
- Building Your Own Traffic Producing Website
- Making Money!
- Mastering Social Engagement
- Achieving Mazimum Success Through Content Creation
- Getting Your business Rolling
- Content, Keywords and Conversions
- Giving Your Site Social Value
- Get Visual, Get Aesthetic, Get a Brand Through Media
- Knowing Your Audiences & Catapulting Your Referrals
- Bing, Yahoo, & The Power of PPC
- How to Scale Successful PPC Campaigns
Training HQ (There are too many training categories to list, but here’s a few. Most of these are from other members who have been at this a while and contribute to the community)
- Getting Started (12 videos, 11 tutorials, and 5 courses)
- Social Engagement & Market (19 videos, 27 tutorials, 4 courses, and 8 webinars)
- WA Affiliate Program (28 videos, 12 tutorials, 5 courses, and 1 webinar)
- Website Development & Programming (28 videos, 55 tutorials, 5 courses, and 8 webinars)
- Search Engine Optimization (8 videos, 29 tutorials, 4 courses, and 15 webinars)
- The Wealthy Affiliate Platform (8 videos, 7 tutorials, and 4 courses)
- Authoring & Writing Content (12 videos, 54 tutorials, 6 courses, and 5 webinars)
- Everything WordPress (90 videos, 60 tutorials, 5 courses, and 5 webinars)
- Keyword, Niche, and Market Research (14 videos, 46 tutorials, 4 courses, and 11 webinars)
Weekly Webinars (These webinars are presented live each week, but also recorded for viewing anytime. Here’s a few of the most recent ones.)
- Art of Relevance: Affiliate Programs and Integration
- The 4 Core Traffic Strategies for Affiliate Marketing
- Success With Affiliate Marketing for 2020
- Let’s Talk Turkey – WA Black Friday Live & Uncut Q&A
- How to Scale Your Conversions
- How to track Your Conversions
- Ranking Elements of Local SEO
- Working With Your First Local Marketing Client
- Building a Local Marketing Busines
- Automation Strategies with Instagram
- Instagram Feed & Story Posting Strategies
- Amplifying the Direction of Your Instagram Brand
Ask a Question and Live Chat. Can’t find your answer in one of the trainings? No worries. You can pose your question through Ask Your Question Here or Live Chat and other members will jump in and answer. Wealthy Affiliate has members from all over the world, so members are on the platform 24 hours a day.
As you can see, Wealthy Affiliate takes training seriously. Not only will they get you started, but they will help you take your websites to the next level….success.
The training is helpful, relevant, and strategic. And as you can see by the weekly webinars, it’s for today’s blogger. The co-founders are also performing major updates to the training courses in 2020. The nature of the internet is that things change in a blink of an eye and Weathly Affiliate does a good job of staying on top of things as best as they can. That’s also why this community is so important because they help by providing up-to-date information based on what they’ve experienced.
Speaking of the community…every member has the ability to blog within Wealthy Affiliate. Members will post helpful tips and insights that are not formal training, but help solve problems and give strategy to improve your website. There are members that are making really good money that share strategies that I didn’t know existed. It really blows my mind! They also offer encouraging words that keep you going. The community celebrates everyone’s success.
So…I mentioned SEO earlier. Not only does Wealthy Affiliate explain and train on using keywords, but they also provide a research tool, Jaaxy, to help you choose the best keywords. They also host your websites. These are included in your membership…even for the free starters.
My Final Thoughts – Before You Go
Whatever you decide to do, get on a platform that will offer the training and support you need as a beginner.
I read somewhere recently that Wealthy Affiliate will hold you by the hand. I think they were saying it tongue-in-cheek, but I see that as a positive. Maybe not if you have been blogging for a while, but that is exactly what you need if you’re just starting out. I know it’s exactly what I need. But…many of the members have been there for several years, so this is not a temporary platform full of newbies.
And honestly, I can use this training for any online business I choose in the future…even dropshipping. I do believe affiliate marketing is the way to go, because it can earn you passive income, but the skies the limit with the knowledge I’m gaining with Wealthy Affiliate.
What do I mean by passive income? I write content and post it on my website and it’s there for good. If someone clicks on a link from something I posted a year ago I still get commission. I don’t have to continuously post that same link and rewrite content. Or if I promote a membership – like Wealthy Affiliate – then I continue to earn a commission every time that membership is renewed.
Yes, I do receive a commission if you sign up for the Premium Membership…but don’t worry…it doesn’t cost you anything extra. And I’m there for you as well.
I highly recommend Wealthy Affiliate because I am right in the middle of it and experiencing the benefits of being a member. Try it for yourself. You can even join for free as a starter member…no pressure…no credit card number needed. There is no time limit for a Starter Membership, so you have nothing to lose by checking it out.
Before you go…be sure to check out my review. It contains information about Wealthy Affiliate and links to access WA. At least click on a link and bookmark the page so you can return when you’re ready to sign up obligation free.
Also, I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment and/or question below. I will happily get back with you.
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Thank you for hanging out with me today. I hope you will get the training you need if you decide to start blogging for money.
Much success to you!