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How to Start Making Money Blogging

Five Parts:Laying the GroundworkDesigning and Creating Your BlogStarting to BlogMarketing Your BlogMonetizing Your Blog

A “blog” is a website that usually presents information in a list-type set of entries. These entries can be anything, including commentary, descriptions of events, photographs, or videos. They’re usually interactive, so that readers can leave comments or messages on the entries.[1] A blog can focus on a wide range of subjects or a very narrow topic. The choice is up to you! Creating a blog to express yourself can be a lot of fun, but it’s also possible to make money from a blog.

Part 1
Laying the Groundwork

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    Consider popular blog genres. Blogs fall into various large categories, and considering some of these categories can help you narrow down your interests. Remember: for you to make money, people have to read your blog. Here are some popular blog genres:[2]
    • Personal blogs. Successful personal blogs almost give readers the impression that they know you. They can feel like a lunchtime chat with the blogger, or an insight into their daily life. If you are good at expressing your personality online, this could be a good genre for you.
      • For a good example, see “The Bloggess,” a blog that provides a humorous and entertaining look into the daily life of a woman with social anxiety.[3]
    • Special Interest Blogs. These blogs can offer tips and tricks about your favorite hobby. They can share knowledge about a topic you’re passionate about. These work especially well if you have a unique perspective you can bring to your topic.
      • For a good example, see “Curly Nikki,” a blog by a Black woman who is passionate about helping other women learn to love their natural hair.[4]
      • Another good example is the famous “Perez Hilton,” a phenomenally successful celebrity gossip blog focused on dishing the dirt about famous people.[5]
    • Industry Blogs. These are specialized to a particular field or industry. They’re a good choice if you’re already an expert on something and want to share that expertise. Because you have to constantly stay on top of new information and developments in that industry, you need to make sure you’re comfortable with researching and understanding your topic.
      • For a good example, see “The Copybot,” a marketing blog by copywriter Damien Farnworth. He tackles how to write the best copy for online sites with lots of concrete examples and helpful lists.[6]
    • Political Blogs. If you have an informed perspective on politics you’d like to share, or you want to communicate your political views in an interesting, entertaining way, a political blog could be a good choice for you. Political blogs often take a particular “side,” but they don’t have to.
      • For example, “” (a Pulitzer Prize-winning blog owned by the Tampa Bay Times) runs fact checks on important news stories of the day, assigning them a “truth meter” rating that helpfully breaks down inaccuracies in news reporting.[7]
      • Another example of a political blog is “Michelle Malkin,” a blog run by conservative pundit Michelle Malkin. This blog states the blogger’s personal political opinions in an engaging way.[8]
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    Choose your topic. The best blogs focus on topics that you, the blogger, are passionate about. This topic can be anything that you believe you have enough to say about to interest others. It works best if you can find a “niche” that is not being fully exploited.[9] There are several important things to keep in mind when choosing your blog topic:[10]
    • Who is your audience? There are millions and millions of blogs in the world, so it’s crucial that you know exactly who your target audience is so you can draw them in.
    • What does that audience want? For example, if you’ve decided your audience is “stay at home moms,” you’ll need to consider the possible interests and needs of that demographic. Make sure you don’t just make assumptions. Look at other blogs that cater to your audience to see what they’re delivering.
    • How qualified are you? Good blogs convey a sense of familiarity and ease with the material. Excellent blogs usually have bloggers who are personally qualified to talk about their topics. If you can’t think of at least 25 separate posts off the top of your head about your topic, you may not have enough familiarity with the topic to keep your content going.
    • How sustainable is the topic? Make sure that you choose a topic that is likely to stay relevant in the future. You also need to be able to come up with new items to blog about on a very frequent basis. For this reason, try to avoid a topic that’s too narrow -- you’ll run out of things to say.
    • How much competition do you have? Do some research to determine what already exists about your topic. “Celebrity gossip” is a hugely popular topic, but there’s also a lot of existing competition that could mean your blog gets lost.
    • What is your ”spin”? To set yourself apart from the crowd, you’ll need to do something different and interesting with your content. Will you have an interactive focus? Focus on bizarre day-to-day news events instead of celebrity dish? Whatever you choose to blog about, make sure that you have ways to approach it creatively and that you can consistently offer new, exciting content.
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    Visit some popular blogs. Your blog can be about anything, but once you have decided your general area of interest, such as “celebrities” or “parenting,” visit several popular blogs to see what they do. Pay attention to their blog design, what they blog about
    • For example, the blog “Tom + Lorenzo: Fabulous & Opinionated” began as a small blog recapping and critiquing episodes of Project Runway -- meaning that it had a built-in audience and clear purpose from the start. It’s grown into a pop culture site with millions of readers offering TV and movie reviews, fashion critiques, and celebrity news.[11]
    • An excellent example of a successful personal blog is “The Pioneer Woman,” a three-time Bloggie award winner. The blogger, Ree Drummond, now has her own show on the Food Network because of the attractive, “down-home” way she presents her recipes and lifestyle anecdotes.[12]
    • Three-time Bloggie award-winner “Camels and Chocolate” documents the travel experiences of a journalist, Kristin Luna, and her husband. Her accessible tone and beautiful photographs, coupled with her skill in telling a “story” about her trips, make it feel like the reader is on the trip with her.
    • Blogs can also take on a very particular, quirky lens. For example, “Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund” won a 2014 Bloggie award. The blog is written as though Crusoe himself is writing it, and readers related to the lovable little dog and the concept of a dachshund talking about his grand adventures.[13]
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    Choose a domain name and blog title. Your domain name and blog title are your audience’s first exposure to your “brand identity.” In addition to letting readers know what to expect from your blog, your blog title and domain name will help place your blog in web searches, which is crucial for generating web traffic (and profit!).
    • Make sure that your blog title fits with your overall blog “identity.” For example, if you’re running a dishy celebrity gossip blog, don’t choose a stodgy or corporate-sounding title. On the other hand, if you’re an authority on a business topic, you don’t want your blog name to be too informal.[14]
    • Selecting a good keyword can be helpful. Search engines function through SEO (search engine optimization), which ranks search results based on how many keywords they have related to the person’s search query. However, you don’t want to get so wrapped up in SEO that your readers feel your blog is generic. Developing strong brand identity is the best thing you can do to draw readers to your blog.
    • For example, the hypothetical “” tells readers what the blog is about, but it doesn’t offer any “angle” on what kinds of hair care advice your blog offers. The hypothetical “” is still clearly about hair care, but it gives off a fun vibe through its alliterative name and communicates your strong brand identity (funky, focused on a particular hair issue, hip).
    • Choosing an extension is also important. The extension is the “.com,” “.net,” or “.org” after a website. There are now dozens of extensions, but those three are the most familiar to English-speaking audiences and will drive the most traffic to your website. Unless you’re a non-profit or a similar type of blog, don’t go for “.org” -- a “.com” is the top choice, followed by “.net.”
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    Choose which blog software to use. There are a number of popular blogging platforms around, including Blogger and Wordpress. Most experts recommend WordPress because it makes monetizing very easy.[15]
    • is a highly popular choice because you don’t have to know any coding to design a slick blog. 1 in 5 websites use WordPress. Note: is a full-service blog hosting site, but you have to register your domain name and get set up with web hosting first. has limited features and provides you a .wordpress domain name for free, but you can’t put advertising or affiliate links on a blog.[16][17]
    • Blogger is run by Google, and is a free hosting site that requires just a Google account to start. Its designs are not as slick as those on WordPress.
    • Other options include SquareSpace and Wix, which are website design platforms that will also allow you to create a blog.
    • Make sure to investigate whether your platform supports custom domain names. The best blogging platforms will help you register your domain name and seamlessly integrate it with your blog.
    • Each blog platform will walk you through creating a custom blog.

Part 2
Designing and Creating Your Blog

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    Create a blog design that reflects your blog's image. It’s important that you create a design that reflects the content and image of your blog - from your font to your color choices, make sure each element of your blog's overall design is consistent with your blog's image.
    • For example, cartoony art and balloon fonts might be fun choices for a parenting blog, but would be seriously confusing on a professional marketing blog.
    • Consider hiring a professional designer, at least for your header and logo. You only get one chance to make a first impression.[18]
    • Most blog hosts, including Blogger and WordPress, have “themes” that you can install. These can sometimes be customized and give your blog a fun “feel.”
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    Choose elements to include in your blog. Most blogs have common elements, such as “About Me” and “Archives” that allow readers to learn more about you and read past posts. Common features include:
    • About Me
    • Categories
    • Posts
    • Portfolio
    • Contact
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    Make your blog easy to navigate. Don’t clutter your blog! Make it easy for readers to find the content they’re looking for. Offer helpful elements such as a search bar and “popular posts” sidebar.[19]
    • A “splash header” can be a good way to quickly orient new visitors. It is a large banner area at the top of the page that mentions the most important content and offers a quick introduction to the areas of the blog readers will be most interested in.[20]
    • Add a “next and previous posts” feature. One way to build your readership is to keep your visitors hanging around! Adding “next” and “previous” buttons at the bottom of each post will drive your visitors to read more content.

Part 3
Starting to Blog

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    Write blog posts people want to read. Good blogs speak honestly and openly about a subject you're passionate about. Be yourself and share your ideas with the world![21]
    • Be professional! Even if your blog is about your personal life, make it inviting for readers by making sure you don’t have any proofreading errors or ugly designs.
    • Be useful. Center your content on your reader, not yourself. This means that you consider what your audience can “get out of” each post. Look for a problem you can address, a question you can answer, or a story you can tell. Going on a five-page political rant may feel good, but it’s unlikely to create a valuable experience for most readers.[22]
    • Be personal. Writing in overblown academese won’t usually fly in blogs. Readers usually want to experience blogs as though they were having a conversation with the blogger. Develop your own sense of personal writing style and stick to it.
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    Keep your posts “scannable.” Faced with a huge wall of text, 99% of readers will just go elsewhere. Break your posts up into scannable “chunks” to invite readers to stay and read.[23]
    • For example, you can use a list format, or break your post up into short separate paragraphs. If you have a really long post, try using subheaders and block quotes to break up the text.
    • Other design elements, such bolding important points and using italics for emphasis, can draw readers to the most important stuff quickly.
    • Remember that most readers are not willing to invest a lot of time reading something online. Keep your posts easy to skim and still get the basic idea.
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    Create catchy headlines. You can have the best content in the world, but if your readers don’t recognize it instantly, it’s unlikely they’ll click through. Headlines are especially important because many readers will encounter your content through a feed reader, such as Google Reader, or content site like Digg. They may only see the headline at first, so it needs to communicate what your post will be about in an engaging, entertaining way.[24]
    • Create headlines that are useful but create a sense of urgency. You want your readers to feel like they need to discover this content.[25]
    • Play on readers’ emotions. You can do this by asking a question or challenging expectations. Sites such as UpWorthy are excellent at this type of headline, such as this real headline: “Most of These People do the Right Thing, But the Guys at the End? I Wish I Could Yell at Them.” Headlines like these tell a story and promise a surprise.[26]
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    Create a back catalog before you go public. Don’t announce your fabulous new blog only for readers to discover there are two lonely posts on it. Post 10-15 posts to start with, and queue another 10 or 15 to post on a regular basis.[27]
    • Consistency and quantity of content are crucial in developing a readership for your blog. If you don’t have a lot of content up when readers visit, they aren’t going to stick around or revisit.
    • You need to make sure that you post frequently. Prewriting posts and queuing them to post later is a good way to make sure that you have consistently updated content.
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    Make it easy for readers to subscribe to your blog. Many blog readers subscribe to blogs through RSS feeds, which provide them automatic updates when you make a new post. Post a clear link or icon on your blog to let visitors know how to subscribe.[28]
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    Be persistent and write good content . Once you have the basics down, you’ll continue developing and learning more. It can take a long time for you to develop a big readership, so stay patient and keep posting.[29]

Part 4
Marketing Your Blog

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    Post relevant comments on related blogs for exposure to those readers. Register as a member using "" as your username and post comments on related blogs This will drive traffic to your own blog.[30]
    • Build links to your blog by posting comments on other blogs that have “dofollow” links which means that search engines will see those links.
    • Don’t just hawk your blog in your comments! This can come across as selfish and spammy. Make your comments interesting and thoughtful. Remember, you’re making your first impression in the comment!
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    Write guest posts on other blogs. If you’re a great writer with something to say, a guest post on another popular blog can be a helpful way to get your name out there. Check out some popular blogs in your genre and see if they have a guest post option.[31]
    • If you don’t see any information about guest posting, don’t despair. Read through the blog to see if there have been other guest posts. If there are, contact the blogger and explain who you are and what you’d like to write. If there aren’t, you can still contact the blogger to see if it’s something s/he would be interested in.
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    Cite important figures in your blog. Mentioning prominent figures in your area or genre can accomplish several things. It shows your readers you’re “in the know” about the important people in your field. It may also encourage the prominent figure to look at your blog, or even promote it to her/his own followers.[32]
    • Don’t just name-drop. Make sure to incorporate these names in an organic, purposeful way. For example, if you were writing a post about mommy blogging, mention a blogger who has interested you, or whose blog you find amazing.
    • Link, link, link! Link out blogs that you love in your own posts. Many bloggers track where their visits come from and may even visit (and link!) your blog in return.[33]
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    Use social media. These days, if you’re not on social media, you’re missing out on major readership. Post a link to your latest article in your Twitter bio and ask for “retweets,” or link your content to your public Facebook page. Don’t just replicate the same content over and over, though. Use social media for quick, attention-grabbing posts and your blog for longer, more engaging content. The following are popular social media sites:[34]
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
    • StumbleUpon
    • Digg
    • Reddit
    • Pinterest
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    Host giveaways. Giveaways are a great way to drive traffic to your blog. Readers love getting something for free! Giving away products from companies offers the free advertising, so contact some companies that are relevant to your blog and see whether they’d be interested in sponsoring a giveaway.[35][36]
    • You can also write to another blogger who sponsors great giveaways and ask for a contact or two.
    • Make it easy to enter the giveaway. Asking readers to leave a comment on a post with their name and contact information or asking them to republish a link on social media are good ways to drive entries.
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    Drive traffic to your blog with direct marketing. The newsletter may seem old-fashioned, but it’s actually a powerful marketing tool.[37]There’s nothing like the power of directly connecting with people. Below are some other methods to consider:[38]
    • Add a link to your email signature inviting people to check out your latest post.
    • Send your blog post to people who might be interested in reading it. Don’t just spam your contacts here. Sending a link to your post to people (or other blogs) who might have a real interest in your content can get you new followers, especially if you offer to reciprocate by reading or reblogging their content.
    • Participate in blog carnivals. Search online for them or check out
    • Join a LinkedIn group. Particularly if you’re writing a more “professional” or industry-based blog, posting a blog in a targeted Linkedin group can gain you valuable exposure.
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    Optimize your site for search engines. SEO (search engine optimization) is very important, but it’s more than just repeating a bunch of keywords. Include a search-engine-friendly headline, such as “How to” or “Ways to.” Repeat significant keywords in your post, but make sure you don’t sound overly spammy.[39]
    • Google and most other search engines no longer operate strictly on SEO. They want to prioritize quality content, which means that providing clear, well-written, valuable content that links to other credible sources is your best bet.
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    Do video marketing. Creating a video for marketing is much easier than you think. The best software used for making a video is Animoto.

Part 5
Monetizing Your Blog

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    Sign up to place ads on your blog. Placing ads can be an excellent source of revenue for your blog. With “pay per click” (PPC) ads, you get paid when visitors to your blog click on ads that lead to other clients. You usually need to already have a strong readership and high visitor counts for ad buyers to be interested in your blog. Here are some examples of websites that pay you to place ads:[40][41]
    • Google’s AdSense program is the most widely used PPC program because it has the power of Google Search behind it. Google will read your article and find "ads that are relevant" to it and display them next to or within the article. It will also use your readers’ cookies to display ads that are relevant to their recently visited websites on your blog.[42]
    • You can also sign up for “cost per impressions” (CPM) ads. These function similarly to PPC, but they pay you based on units of “impressions” (views) the ad gets, even if the visitor doesn’t click on the link. Usually, the units are sets of 1,000 impressions.[43]
    • If you don’t have about 10,000 unique visitors to your site every month, you aren’t likely to make much money from ads. That’s why it’s crucial to build up your readership through marketing and quality content.[44]
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    Sign up for affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a very popular way of monetizing a blog because it capitalizes on your readers’ trust of you. If your posts always deliver quality content, then your audience is more likely to trust product or service recommendations. You can provide links or recommendations to relevant products and get a commission from any sales driven by your blog.[45][46]
    • Amazon Associates lets you place a banner on your website with products targeted at your audience, such as diapers for a parenting website or art supplies for a creative website. You earn a small commission when people buy something through your link. Amazon pays a commission ranging from 4% to 15%.
    • Amazon is the giant in the industry, but it’s also a good idea to reach out to small companies and even individuals who make products or services that are related to your blog. For example, if you have a popular cooking blog, you might contact small BBQ sauce companies to see if they’d be interested in setting up an affiliate marketing program with you. You earn a portion of the sale through your blog, and they get free marketing.[47]
    • You can also check out other affiliate programs at big “clearinghouse” sites such as Commission Junction, LinkShare, and ShareASale. These sites offer huge lists of programs, from which you can choose the ones relevant to your blog.[48]
    • An affiliate aggregator service, such as VigLink, will automatically insert monetized affiliate links into posts for you. They keep a higher percentage of the commission than other services, but the convenience may make up for it.[49]
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    Write sponsored posts. If you already have a high visitor count, you may be able to get other companies to pay you to “sponsor” a post. The advertiser may contact you directly, or you can check out online “sponsorship marketplaces” such as "themidgame".[50]
    • Be careful about sponsors who want you to place an article to increase their own page rank. This violates Google’s policy and could hurt your AdSense revenue.[51]
    • You can also check out websites such as Blogsvertise, Social Spark, and Review Me for listings of paid or sponsored posts.[52]
    • Don’t allow sponsored posts to overtake your own content. Remember: your readers visit your blog to read your content.
    • Make sure that you only post sponsored posts that still benefit your readers in some way. You don’t want your blog to seem like a corporate shill.
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    Work directly with a brand or company. Working directly with a company to help with a promotional campaign can be a good way to boost traffic and revenue for your blog. Many companies, particularly ones like publishers, are happy to pay you to participate in things like Twitter parties, blog-based “book tours,” and giveaways.[53][54][55]
    • For example, if you run a popular blog where you review romance novels, contact various romance publishers to see if they’re interested in paying you for a review or other promotional event, like an author interview.
    • Signing up with third-party connecting agencies can be helpful. Blog Friendly PR, Blog Insiders, and Brandfluential are popular networks.[56][57]
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    Generate leads for other businesses. This type of revenue comes from providing sales “leads” to other companies who partner with your blog. You don’t actually have to sell a product or service to generate these leads -- you just need your blog visitors to provide their information and opt in to being contacted by your partner.[58]
    • For example, if you run a popular DIY blog, you could partner with a home supply store. If your visitors agree to be contacted by the home supply store, you could get paid by the company for generating that “lead.”
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    Use your blog as a portfolio. You may be able to use your blog to create freelance income by using it to showcase your work. Don’t use your blog only to sell products, but having a “portfolio” section on your blog can let readers see what you’re good at.[59]
    • For example, if you run a photography blog, keep a portfolio of your very best photographs and market yourself as a freelance photographer. Readers will know exactly what they’re getting because they can see your passion and expertise.
    • Blogs can also be very helpful even if you have a full-time “day job,” such as an attorney. For example, writing blog posts that offer helpful law advice and information will demonstrate to readers that you know your field. It will also give a sense of who you are personally, which is very important to prospective clients.
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    Create paid content. Once you have a loyal following and have demonstrated your trustworthiness, you can consider adding “paid content” to your blog. For example, you could host a special podcast or write an e-book and charge visitors a small fee to access it.[60]
    • Paid courses, consulting services, and advice are other popular types of products and services you can use the reputation you’ve established to sell.[61]
    • You can also use a service such as Zazzle or CafePress to create branded items like t-shirts and tote bags for sale.[62] The Bloggess creates new items weekly, usually playing on a humorous post from the week before.
    • Consider memberships, where you charge a small monthly fee for users to gain access to exclusive content, video content, or possibly direct access to you through Q&A or live events. WordPress has many plugins to help you add membership services to your blog.
    • Consider “bonus content.” For example, if you run a podcast on your blog, you might consider having the standard episode available for free but a longer version or additional content for a small fee. Dan Savage’s extremely popular “Savage Lovecast” runs on this model, where standard episodes are free and “magnum episodes” (longer, with no ads) are available for a subscription fee.[63]
    • Many bloggers parlay their blog’s success into books. The “Cake Wrecks” blog has several popular books of disastrous cake photos,[64] and The Bloggess now has two books about her life adventures.[65] The “Tom + Lorenzo” bloggers wrote a tongue-in-cheek “how to guide” to becoming a celebrity.[66]
    • Remember: anything you can offer that’s valuable to your readers might be worth them paying for. Just don’t let your blog become so paid-content-heavy that it doesn’t seem like a good value to your audience anymore.[67]

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