Like many others, I started blogging as a hobby. Something to fill in my spare time. But as more and more time goes by, and I’m still totally in love with blogging, I started wondering if I could make money doing what I love. So after much (and I do mean much) research, I’ve put together a list of steps to prepare your blog for monetisation –7 Steps To Start Making Money Blogging.
If you’ve ever thought “I want to make money blogging but my blog’s just not ready yet”, then 7 Steps To Start Making Money Blogging is for you. This post isn’t about how I’m making money blogging, but about the steps I have taken to prepare my blog to make money. Make sense?
I have spent weeks trawling the internet, completing courses and making little adjustments all to prepare my blog for monetisation. Luckily though, you can save a bunch of time because I’ve got the steps listed here, just for you. Who wouldn’t want to earn money from their blog – hobby or otherwise? The Big J for one would be completely ecstatic if my hobby bought home some bacon… In the words of Homer J Simpson “Mmmmm, Bacon…”.
7 Steps To Start Making Money Blogging
1. Review & Update Your Blog
Are you happy with the way your blog works? How about the way it looks? If you’re not happy with your blog in it’s current state, then why should anyone invest their time or product in it? Over the 6 months since I first started this here blog (wowser has it been 6 months already???), What Dan Did Next has undertaken a number of changes. I’ve updated my theme twice (the 1st theme was not responsive for smart phones and tablets & the 2nd theme wasn’t WooCommerce compatible), changed my header image (about 6 times – each new theme didn’t quite fit the image then deciding on one that I liked took some trial), swapped fonts about a million trillion times (no, that’s definitely not an exaggeration) and have gone back to improve the SEO on some of my most popular posts (like this Bandana Bib Tutorial).
My point is, your blog is a product that you want to sell, so make sure that you are happy with it first.
2. Add a Shop
After uni (that’s my Bachelor of Visual Arts, or what The Big J calls the most useless uni degree available even though Yahoo Finance suggests otherwise – winning!) I was super keen to start making and selling handmade items. But for one reason or another, I just never quite got there. Over the years my passion for arts (and my hard earnt abilities) may have dropped off but my creative crafting spirit has carried on. I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a shop to What Dan Did Next for sometime, and after a few roadblocks, I’ve finally done it.
I went with WooCommerce for WordPress and although it’s relatively new to my site, I’m loving it’s ease of use. Although I wasted a fair bit of time initially before I realised that my theme was not WooCommerce compatible, I have changed themes and found it really easy to use. Feel free to check out my shop 🙂
Speaking of creative crafting spirits, I just learnt that the Spider is probably my spirit animal. Of all the freakin’ animals, insects and micro-organisms available it had to be the stupid spider. Why couldn’t it have been something cute and less scares the shite out of me like a Blobfish???
3. Understand Your Stats
I thought I had a basic grasp on my SEO and stats, that was until I enrolled in a webinar with Dana from Talk About Creative. It turned out I didn’t even have Google Analytics installed and was completely oblivious to the fact. The Talk About Creative webinar was really informative and gave me lots of knowledge to better (um, start) understand Google Analytics, particularly in reference to information advertisers will be looking for in my media kit.
And if you’ve ever wondered how much to charge for advertising, then understanding your site’s stats is going to help you work out your CPM (cost per thousand impressions).
Another great thing I learnt was that you don’t need HUGE numbers to start advertising. You just need to understand your stats and know who your readers are, then find brands to suit. And all of that information was available to me in Google Analytics the whole time, I just didn’t know it..
4. Determine How You Want to Work With Brands
There are so many different ways that you can work with brands, but are they all suited to you and your blog? Consider the following options and how you could integrate them:
- Guest Posts (by brands or bloggers)
- Product Reviews
- Sponsored Posts
- Banner Advertising
- In Post Advertising
- Being a Brand Ambassador
There are an endless number of other options out there, that aren’t listed here. But you really need to think about integrity and what you want from your blog, as well as the reader experience.
I found this post by My Blogging Journey to be a great resource when considering advertising options.
5. Include an Advertising Page
There’s absolutely no point in being open to Advertisers if you don’t have an Advertise page with details of what’s on offer. But how to create one? What to put in your Advertise page?
These are all questions that I went round and round with for some time. As a small blog still in it’s infancy, I didn’t want to include my unique visitors/month right there on the Advertise page. I found a great article by John Saddington – 10 Tips to Create the Best Advertising and Sponsorship Page Ever which really helped me work out what I wanted.
If you’re still stuck, don’t be afraid to look at other bloggers for inspiration on what to include. When creating the What Dan Did Next Advertise Page I found some inspiration from local bloggers Glamour Coastal Living and Rebel Without A Pause.
6. Place an ‘Advertise Here’ Ad
If you’re selling advertising in your sidebar (or anywhere else) put an ad up. Advertisers want to see where their ad can/will go, so make sure you show them. Also, ensure your Advertise Here ad is clickable, and links back to your Advertise Page.
Remember, “A picture is worth a thousand words”… The Marketing Bit wrote a great article on the use of imagery in marketing.
7. Include Ads for Family/Friends
So you’ve added a widget and link to your sidebar (or wherever you chose) showing Advertise Here, but why not take it to the next level by including actual ads. Yep, you heard me – ads.
You may not have any paying advertisers seeking out your services just yet, but chances are you’ve got friends and family with businesses that would be more than happy to help you out with an ad. No need to charge them for the ad (but hey, if they offer don’t say no), because at this point it’s more about creating a visual representation of what you can offer. I happen to have a family member who is a Marriage Celebrant and she was only too happy to help me out with an ad in my sidebar.
While your at it, feel free to knock one up (an ad that is) for your online shop. Be sure not to go overboard though – you don’t want potential paying advertisers to come along and think you already have too many advertisers competing for space.
Once you’ve completed 7 Steps To Start Making Money Blogging and your blog is money ready, it’s time to actively pursue a blogging income. During my research for this post I came across countless articles with the theme How To Make Money Blogging. My next step is to trawl through the information out there (again!) and nut out the most practical information available.