To this date, who hasn’t heard about the oldest but truest way to make money online from blogging? It is hard for us to think about anyone since it isn’t only in everyone’s mouths over a decade ago but also all over the Internet and any page every time you search for ways to make money.
Blogging seems, for many, to be a very outdated way to make money since it has been around for a long time, and with podcasts, dropshipping and other alternatives, it isn’t the first idea that comes to mind.
However, what if we tell you that it continues to be the best?
Starting a blog requires a lot of work, and you might not see its profitability during the first months or even years, but it pays off as long as you are smart with it and know how to optimize it.
Therefore, if you were considering it, we encourage you to do it. But before that, take the time to understand blogging a bit better and know how you can get started.
Where can you find the information required? Right below!
What Is Blogging?
A blog is actually an abbreviation of “weblog.” Early internet users used these weblogs to log their daily activities in diary-style entries.
As blogs allow readers to leave comments, they have become more popular over the years in order to connect with a community and how simple they are when looking for information.
Of course, they have changed in terms of what people find and post to share with others.
Right now, in 2021, blogging can be done while writing, through photography, and any other media that can be self-published online.
Although blogging started as a way for people to keep a journal, it’s now incorporated into many websites, and you will find almost anyone with one today.
Blogs are known for their frequent updates, informal language, and the opportunity to have a conversation with readers.
Many entrepreneurs recognized the marketing potential of blogs, as did many other internet-based innovations, and started to integrate them to bring more leads and potential clients their way through organic traffic instead of having to pay for ads or spend thousands trying to develop other strategies.
How Does It Work?
It is easy to start a blog by creating a website and then publishing original content.
Tech-savvy bloggers can purchase a domain name and create a website by themselves. Sites like WordPress, Wix, and many others, make it easy to create one.
Blogs are often simple websites. While older pieces might be archived in different sections, or there may be a page with contact information or a bio on the site, the blog is typically a single page that you can scroll through, much as the news feeds on social media sites such as Instagram or Facebook, in order to display the most recent content at the top and users can continue to navigate through it.
Interlinking is another unique feature of blogging.
Interlinking is when a blogger links directly to another user’s blog in their blog post.
If a blogger is a music teacher and writes a post on how to form chords, they may link to a musician’s blog to see an example of chords in action.
A political blogger might link to another blog about politics and then discuss their disagreements with the post. Blogs are unique because of the way interlinking and comment sections foster community, which we already mentioned in our previous explanation.
Difference Between Blogs & Websites
Blogs require frequent updates, so if you want it to be successful, you can’t just post some content and then let it be for months or even a few days.
A blog that shares recipes and information about the company is a good example of frequent updates and how it should be handled for it to actually be considered one.
Instead, in comparison, websites are made up of static pages, and there is no need for any types of updates unless they want to add more services, CTAs, and features to encourage visitors to buy or contact the company.
The best example is static online stores, although they have sections like a landing page, contact information, and more. They don’t change, and instead, the owner makes sure they continue to look great and only adds more products or updates the availability, but there are post shares or any sort.
A publishing date, author reference, and categories are key elements to identify a blog article from a static web page. Tags within a byline are also important.
Although blog posts may not contain all these elements, static websites pages don’t have any.
Visitors will see the same static website content each visit, while a blog owner may decide to publish something every day, week, or even month.
Pros & Cons of Having a Blog as a Business
- You don’t have to leave your home or place: The key benefit will always be to do it from any place in the world. You could be drinking some cocktails and writing your next blog post without issues.
- You have more than one alternative to make money: Blogging isn’t about earning money by posting content in specific but rather bringing visitors and users. You will then monetize those people and do your best to have a steady stream for you to opt for different methods, like sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and more alternatives.
- There aren’t too many: This can sound weird considering that over 50% of the sites on the Internet are blogs, but we are trying to say that no one will say “there are enough.” You can have your own space with a blog without worrying about competitors because it is a matter of optimizing it and working towards its growth.
- You don’t need much investment: It isn’t only the oldest but also the cheapest way to make money. You barely need to spend anything in creating one, and when it comes to equipment, your computer and Internet will be more than enough.
- No one establishes the topic: Although some topics are more popular than others, you are free to choose one based on your market research and preferences. No one will tell you what to do or what to write about.
- It is time-consuming: Blogging is great as long as you make people return to your site, and for this, new content is always needed. Bloggers must create content at least once per week to engage readers, increase SEO, and avoid people forgetting about your blog.
- Fresh ideas are required constantly: If your ideas aren’t new and interesting, you won’t benefit from posting several times per week. It can be exhausting to create and implement new content. Coming up with new ideas that don’t feel repetitive is often the biggest problem.
- Payoffs are delayed: Blogging is time-consuming and can be frustrating. There’s little to no payoff at the beginning since it takes time to build a readership.
- Blogs by themselves won’t generate any income: In the past, simply posting an article could generate traffic and income. Right now, you have to work with social media, know proper marketing and know-how to make yourself known out there. In other words, it isn’t only about writing or posting.
Requirements to start a blog
If you like the idea and are here just to get started, you can follow those steps either if you are planning to create it as your main income or want to add it to your website and business:
- Think about what you want to write or share.
What is it going to be about? You must have a blog post topic in mind before blogging.
More than being the specific topic for one article, it is about a niche and area you will continuously write or share about.
For example, do you like photography? What type of photography do you like and will share? You will have to stick to a similar presentation to guarantee that your blog is consistent in its topics and content.
- Decide if you want to use your own name or pseudonym.
Deciding what username/pseudonym will be used is important and should not be taken lightly.
You need to decide this as soon as possible because it can affect the way readers identify with you, which can impact your blogging business.
You can use a name if you are comfortable with it or type in an alias that is not difficult to remember and will be part of the branding for your blog.
- Choose Your Platform.
Although there are many free blogging options, such as Blogger and Wix, you should consider starting strong with platforms like WordPress to have the benefits of plugins and the platform’s reliability.
It isn’t a secret for anyone that WordPress is the epitome of blogging and creating websites, and we actually recommend it above any other option. You should also consider purchasing a domain and hosting service.
You can install a WordPress content management system in order to have some assistance in creating the blog and not starting from scratch with all the coding and shortcodes.
- Add Content.
You must keep your blog active once it is established.
Develop a set schedule for writing and posting blog articles, and for it, creating a content calendar will come in handy so you always know what you’re going to post next and don’t lose yourself in the process of knowing what to do next.
Marketing and reaching your target market is key to your business success, just like all other business ideas.
Social media, email lists, and reaching out to other bloggers, podcasters and media outlets are great ways to reach your target market.
Repurpose your blog content to promote your business across platforms.
Some ideas are using quotes on your Twitter or Instagram profiles or creating a video of your article to share on YouTube.
- Income Streams.
While your blog can complement an existing business, it can also be a great option for additional income.
You can promote other companies products and services in affiliate marketing. You can advertise or feed ad networks, such as AdSense, onto your blog.
If you have a service business you’re promoting with your blog, you can create your own information products to complement it. You can also offer a service if your product is already available.
Don’t worry; we will focus on this in a bit, so you have the right ideas about making money for your business or just having it as your main income stream.
How to Monetize Your Blog
Advertising is often the first thing you think of when you’re considering making money blogging. However, is it the only one?
We gave you a spoiler just before this section, but we’re confident that you don’t have a clear idea of the options you have available, so we will cover the most common yet best ways to have a steady income:
- Affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing involves recommending a product or service via particular special links to your audience. Depending on the program you joined, you will receive a referral commission each time they buy after clicking your link.
An example of affiliate marketing is when you visit a blog and suppose you’re reading about how to make money online. Some of the blog sections, usually those recommending a specific platform, service, or product, will be highlighted in blue or a different color, meaning there’s a link that provides a commission to the blogger.
Affiliate programs are available for many services and products online or offline and from different niches that can adjust to your blog without issues.
You can begin affiliate marketing by looking at products that you have used and which you think your readers might be interested in.
You can then check if the company has an affiliate program you can join and is worth your time and effort.
Once you have selected the products to promote, you can use a WordPress plugin like PrettyLinks to manage your affiliate links. If you decided to rely on another platform like Wix, you would need to track them manually.
You can insert links into posts, create branded hyperlinks, auto-replace keywords in links, and even add images where people can click.
Because you can promote many products, affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to make money.
The most affiliate programs you can choose from are stores like Amazon, BestBuy, and Walmart.
- Advertising needs our attention.
Although we said there are more, that doesn’t mean we will ignore this very important explanation so you can make money with it as well.
Google AdSense is an easy way to make money from your blog. You can add a Google script to your website to start displaying ads, and although you won’t earn that much, it is all about making your blog grow.
For every click on an ad, you will be paid since they are CPC ads.
What is CPC? CPC stands for “Cost per Click.”
You can display CPC ads using Google AdSense and receive a set fee each time a visitor clicks an ad.
Advertisers set the cost per click. This is in contrast with CPM ads, where you are paid for clicks and not ad views. CPM stands for “cost per thousand impressions,” and M is the roman numeral representing 1,000.
Google Adsense is usually the first that comes to mind because it can be a great way to make money online when you’re just starting out.
- If you’re using WordPress, consider this.
Google AdSense is easy to set up, but the amount of money you can earn is limited, and earnings will always vary depending on the ad being displayed.
It can be more profitable and easier to sell space directly on your website so people or companies can include banners.
You just need to negotiate the terms and price of your banner ad space on your website instead of relying on a third party that will reduce your stream income.
We have already discussed the differences between CPC ads and CPM ads. CPC ads are where you get paid per click or per thousand impressions.
Why would we mention them again? Because you can use these models to sell banner ads, but most bloggers charge flat rates that are higher and more profitable.
However, keep in mind that selling ads directly requires more effort and time than using Google AdSense.
You need to negotiate the entire deal and handle everything “manually.”
However, using a WordPress ad management plugin can make the process easier.
AdSanity, for example, allows you to manage your own ads and keep track of everything without having to do everything manually.
- Sponsored Blog Posts.
Not all bloggers are interested in showing ads to their readers since it can reduce other types of income. Therefore, they are probably are curious about how to monetize blogs without ads.
But why would you avoid ads? Because you lose some control over the content displayed on your website when using ads.
Also, ads can be irritating or offensive to some readers, and since Ad-blocking software is becoming more popular, your earning potential can be affected.
Therefore, you could consider sponsorship that is more natural and profitable long-term (or just use it along with ads).
Sponsorship works in the same way as it does on TV, sports, and other industries. Basically, a company pays you to promote their product using your channels.
It’s a good idea for you to create a media kit of one page that includes information about your traffic stats and social media followers, audience demographics, as well as any other data that can make your site more attractive to advertisers, so you can then approach companies to discuss a sponsorship deal.
It is important to be aware of the laws in your region regarding disclosure when publishing sponsored posts.
A sponsored post published by a blogger in the United States must conform to the FTC Endorsement Guides. This includes disclosing whether a post has been sponsored.
- Get paid for writing reviews.
You can make money writing paid reviews on the site, just like sponsored posts.
Although it looks similar, it is slightly different from what we’ve mentioned before.
Instead, you can get products in your niche free of charge and even earn money for reviewing them.
To inquire about paid reviews, you can approach the companies directly. There are also websites like PayPerPost that can help to connect you with businesses that may be interested.
- Restricted members-only content.
These are your most loyal readers. You might think we are crazy, but they may be fans of your work and willing to pay more, and you should take some “advantage” of this by creating premium content they can access by paying a membership or specific price.
Because you have to create premium content for your members, membership sites can be time-consuming but very profitable.
You can easily create a membership site using a WordPress membership plugin or adding it from another platform and using your WordPress or another site for hosting to include it in a section.
- Choose to sell ebooks.
For creating digital products, ebooks are a great choice. These books are easy to create and maintain, and they can be constantly sold, bringing you passive income.
You can also collect your blog posts from a long time and make them into chapters for a book.
Once your book is written, you can design a cover using a tool like Canva and create a PDF of your ebook.
Plugins will always be your best friends when working in blogging, and with this monetizing method, it isn’t the exception.
- Online courses for sale.
Another great way to make online money is by selling an online course.
Courses are usually more expensive, but that’s because specific knowledge is more welcomed by users and readers, and courses often take more time to complete.
You will need to create lessons for your course and any supporting materials such as slides, checklists, or templates.
It is also up to you to decide if personalized support will be offered for your course. There are two levels to each course on some sites: a basic version that doesn’t offer support and a premium version that offers email support.
Best Blog Sites to Start Yours
Finally, we know we recommended a few sites for you to open your blog. However, mentioning them isn’t enough to choose one, and although you will need some research, we will include some additional information for you to consider them.
It is a website builder for free that you can manage from the front-end. This platform has a drag-and-drop interface, which means you don’t need to deal with anything in the backend.
It is easy to use and intuitive so that both novices and experts can use it.
Wix has free hosting. You just need to organize the layouts and choose a template that you can customize by adding or removing some elements. There are many templates and themes available for free or premium, and you can even use them for more than just blogs.
To launch a Wix blog, just sign up and make a choice: you can either let the Wix AI create a site for you based on a questionnaire or build your blog yourself – which includes selecting a template and arranging the layouts.
The second option is the best. You can choose a template and then customize everything in the front-end.
Multiple elements can be added to pages. These include multimedia widgets, backgrounds, menus, and typography. Once you are satisfied with the site, click on “Publish” to start blogging.
You can edit the content blocks at any time after publishing.
WordPress.org is the king among free blogging websites. Although it is free, you will need to create the site largely by yourself and pay in the future.
You must host the software. Although you can get WordPress hosting for free, spending a small amount on a reliable WordPress host is better.
Options like Bluehost or HostGator are among the most popular and comfortable ones.
One of the beauties of WordPress is that you have complete control over your website’s appearance and functionality, as well as how it makes money. The downside is that you have to be more involved in the setup process.
On the opposite side, there’s WordPress.com, which is the other face of WordPress – a platform used mostly for personal blogs because it’s easy to set up and free (if you’re okay not having a custom domain name). The customization options are limited.
The free WordPress.com version is especially useful if you plan to monetize your blog.
This one probably wasn’t on your radar. LinkedIn is not the first choice for most people regarding free blogging sites, but it is worth the mention.
This is due to two main reasons: the tools are easy to use, and the audience already exists.
What’s great about LinkedIn? It’s highly focused on users who are professionals and business owners.
According to reports, LinkedIn is used by more than 30,000,000 businesses. They’re not there just for the sake. According to other data, 93% of B2B marketers rely on the platform for their primary leads, and employees or just the general public are using it as well to connect with others.
LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to get exposure. This makes it one of the most popular free blogging sites.
Publishing on LinkedIn is very simple in technical terms. Simply go to your LinkedIn account and click on the “Start an article” widget at the top of the page. Click on “Write a LinkedIn article” to convert your status to a full post.
Here you will find all of the editing tools you are familiar with – text formatting, image addition, and many other things.
The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Business
All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?
The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).
Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:
The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.
Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”
You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.
The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.
The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.
Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.
To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.
By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.
An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor
You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.
HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.
They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.
If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.
HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.
Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services. They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).
Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?
They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.
However, you need to remember two facts:
- Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
- They don’t generate “natural” leads.
Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.
Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.
What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.
When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.
What Is Local SEO?
Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.
What does this mean?
Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.
To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.
If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.
Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.
“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.
Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.
Can My Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.
Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.
Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.
How Powerful Are Organic Leads from Google?
For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.
This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.
I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.
However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.
On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.
You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.
What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?
Here it goes: you can work from home.
The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.
We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high. Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.
You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.
Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.
So, let’s summarize this:
- You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
- You can bet on passive income.
- There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
- You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.
How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?
Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.
Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?
You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.
You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.