{Have you checked out the free 7-day Start Your Blog Challenge? Sign up here. 

More than a decade ago, people starting earning full-time livings blogging. Alas, that has not stopped the world from asking every blogger who has ever admitted to blogging if you can actually earn a living with a such a “job”. Job being a word used in quotation marks as others look at you quizzically.

In 2006, I hit publish on my first post.

I was holed up in a crappy hostel in Madrid, having just run my first marathon, and on my first stop of a year-long trip around the world. Without that blog, I would never have become an early user of Twitter, or an early employee at the company. Additionally, that first successful travel blog ultimately brought with my start in the publishing industry, leading me to the now seven books I have published. When that blog ran its course, I didn’t stop blogging — or stop starting blogs, for that matter.

My second successful blog then started on me on the journey to make a full-time income blogging, figuring out the ins and outs of affiliates, ads, and all the rest.

And it was my third successful blog that taught me all about what a blog can do for a long-term career — when it comes to things like creating products, public speaking, selling services (consulting and coaching), and ultimately long-term success.

Wherever you are in your career (or in the world), a blog can help you reach your goals of learning, connecting, change-making and profit-building.

Importantly, though, the money you make depends entirely on the career you want. There are many different types of careers that a blog can help build, and the things that you need to start thinking about will vary dramatically based on what direction you want to go.

Here are some basics of what you need to know when it comes to blogs and money:

Do you want to use a blog to amplify your offline business, offline service, or publishing career?

If so, then it’s important for you to think of blogging as your platform to build your brand. Here are things you should be laser focused on:

  • Think about your brand. Make sure that you think of your growing platform as a brand you are building — your personal brand. Focus on cultivating the image you want to convey in all things you do — from blog posts to Instagram to Snapchat videos.
  • Work on increasing your influence in your given niche, and in positioning yourself as a respected source in your field of knowledge. Sign up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which is a free email service where reporters ask for quotes and interviews from experts, and start responding to journalists’ queries for quotes. Consider writing a free ebook or white paper about your speciality to not only send to others (for free, perhaps, when signing up for your email newsletter), but also as something to reference to increase your authority when you are being interviewed.
  • Set up a press page on your website to showcase your media mentions. (You can also combine this with your about page to ensure that folks reading about your media mentions have a full understanding of who you are.)
  • Query online and offline magazines with pitches to further the reach of your byline.

Do you want to use a blog to sell your own online products or online services?

  • Build your email list: The #1 way you will likely ever sell any product or service you have created or that you offer is to have a strong, responsive, engaged email list. The first step in doing this is to start writing. As discussed in an earlier lesson, you’ll need to first create your email newsletter using a service like Aweber. Then, start creating your newsletters themselves. You don’t have to create separate content for your email newsletter, and simply think about copying and pasting in your blog content, perhaps with a different opening or closing sentence. Next, make sure that you have a subscribe button set up on your website. Consider using a pop-up button. (For a good primer on why that might be a good option, read this article.) Now, regularly commit to encouraging folks to signup for your email newsletter.
  • Start creating your first product: The first step here is to do a deep-dive into what your audience wants, and what you want to create. (Both things are needed for a product to be successful.) A good simple way to start is to spend some time brainstorming a few options of what you think you are known for, and what type of product or service you would enjoy creating and delivering. Then — and only then — should you survey your audience via your email list and social media to see which of the options you have come up with might most interest your readers. Once you have a direction, then it’s about developing a delivery structure that works for your audience, a price point, and a sales plan.

Do you want to earn money from selling ads on your blog?

  • Ads: The easiest first step is to sign up for Google Adsense. Media.net is another good option. Remember that with ads you need significant traffic to start making much money, so this may not be a good first stop, or a good strategy if your plan isn’t to really ramp up your pageviews.
  • Affiliates: Your first bet should be signing up for Amazon affiliates, which will allow you to earn a commission on any product sold at Amazon. Then, start looking at other affiliate portals, like Commission Junction, Share-A-Sale, Viglink. Also consider products you love, like Aweber, who might have individual programs. (Not all programs will have these, but it’s a great idea to ask, or search their website for information.)
  • Sponsored Posts: Write posts about products you love and recommend to your readers. You can start out by directly reaching out to products or services and pitching your proposal to write about them in exchange for exposure. You can also try using aggregate services that broker this for you. Pollinate and  TapInfluence are two options.

No matter how you plan to make money, you’ll need to potentially disclose it. See the details here. 

Your challenge for today?

Take one small step in the direction of creating a new revenue source for your blog.

Tell me what it is below!

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