There are some very obvious things that need to be in place before you can start making money with your blog. Those things are:
A Great Blog
The starting point is having a great blog. Without a blog…well, you can’t make money. And here’s the thing – your blog needs to be legit. You won’t get much traffic if your blog looks bad or can’t handle the load.
So if you want to make money blogging, make sure you’re using a professional looking theme that’s built on a reputable blogging platform, like WordPress or Ghost. Your blog should have it’s own unique domain name, as opposed to the free ones that contain the platform name in them (i.e. www.yourblog.wordpress.com).
If you’re not sure about the best blog platforms for making money, check out this in-depth guide.
After you create your blog, you need to create consistently great content. Generally speaking, making money from your blog requires an audience, and you can’t get an audience if you’re not regularly producing quality content. After all, people don’t want to come to your site if they’re not getting something valuable, whether that’s a high-quality article, a laugh, or something else.
Depending on your monetization strategy, traffic volume is more or less important. If you rely solely on advertising, you need a high volume of traffic. We’ll talk more about why that’s a bad strategy in the next point.
Your overall goal is to create an audience. People who actually want to know what you have to say. These are the people who will keep coming back and who will buy what you offer.
Lots Of Focus
If you want to make money, your blog should be focused on one or two key themes. In other words, people should know what they’re getting when they come to your site. If you’re reviewing blenders one day and then talking about the latest Marvel movie the next, you won’t be able to consistently draw an audience. Plus, you won’t be able to do either very well.
Find one or two things you care about and then blog consistently about those things at a high-quality level. Don’t diversify your focus or spread yourself too thin. The more focused you are, the better you’ll connect with your audience.
Generate A Variety Of Income Streams
Before we talk about specific ways to make money blogging, we need to talk about blog income in general. Here’s the main point: if you only rely on a single source of blog income, you may find yourself struggling to generate enough revenue to reach your goals.
Because with each method you’ll have ups and downs. Some months you’ll have more web traffic, which will drive up advertising traffic, but other months it will fall. You’ll probably sell more physical products around the holidays, when people are looking to buy gifts. If you run a membership site, you’ll have times when members leave for various reasons.
You need to diversify your income sources so that you don’t experience constant feast or famine. You can start with one, but as you go, you should think of ways to continually diversify your income.
Darren Rowse talks about how relying solely on Google AdSense almost caused him to go under at one point:
Back in 2004 when I almost went under, I not only was too reliant upon traffic from the Google Search Engine – I was also very reliant upon Google’s AdSense Ad Network as the main source of income for my business. AdSense had been very good to me up until that point (and it continued to be for years after), but by focusing so much of my efforts upon it I now see that it left me exposed and in a risky position.
Relying on a single income source leaves you vulnerable and in danger of serious income drops. Do the smart thing and diversify. Think of it like stock investing. Advisors always tell you to diversify your portfolio to help you weather the ups and downs of the markets. You need to diversify your income portfolio as well.
Now let’s talk about the different sources of income.