What is all this talk about blogging? Make money online. Start a blog and make money in your pajamas. You have seen these headline before, right?
There are thousands upon thousands of blog on the internet today, and plenty of those people are making tons of money by doing what they love. I wanted to join in on the fun, and see what I could make of the whole blogging thing.
Skeptical is one word I would use to describe myself when it came to reading about people’s blogging journeys. Were these people really making as much money as they claimed? Did they really quit their full time jobs in a matter of months and make more money blogging? I still don’t really know, and probably never will.
But I will tell you one thing I have learned, making money blogging is a real thing.
How I Made My First $100 Blogging
I started getting into the blogging scene (as a spectator) when I was pregnant with my daughter. Pinterest was literally my best friend. Everything you need at the tips of your fingers. From nursery color schemes to what to put on your baby registry.
I wasn’t really grasping the concept of who was putting all of this information out there, I was just consuming it.
Then I started to come across some blogs with information that just seemed so skewed and with flat out bad advice. So I looked more into who the people were writing the information.
Blogs are made by your cousin’s friend. Your neighbor down the street. The mailman’s sister in law.
Blogs are made by people just like you and me.
Anyone and everyone can start a blog. That is when and why I decided to make my own blog.
This article contains affiliate links, view disclosures for more information.
My goal in starting my blog was to provide researched information. It was to give advice based on what worked well for me. I wanted to start my blog because I wanted to add something positive to the world of mom blogs.
I did not set high expectations in terms of making money from my blog. Why? Because I am a realist and I also simply lack the time it takes to really make significant money blogging. If you want to make a full-time income blogging, you have to devote a full-time work schedule to it.
It has been pleasantly surprising, however, at the amount of money I have been able to derive from blogging in my free time. Let me share with you how I made my first $100 blogging, and why you could do it too.
Setting Up Your Blog
In order to make money blogging, you first need to create your blog. You can read my article here on creating your blog.
That article gives you a step by step guide to help you set up your blog. I recommend using Bluehost as your web host site and WordPress as your platform. It doesn’t make sense to you now what that means, but read my article and it will come together.
Once you have completed the actual set-up of your blog, the next step is to create articles.
Your content is your purpose.
Why are blogging? What do you want to teach people?
The most important thing about blogging with the goal to make money (even if a small amount of money) is to remember: What is in it for them?
What is in it for them?
Whenever you have a plan to write about something keep this question in the back of your mind. People come to your blog to get answers. They probably don’t care to read about your family trip to Hershey Park last June. That is, unless you are giving example itineraries for people to use on their trip. Then, maybe they do care about that…
But my point is, if you’re aspiring to monetize your blog at some point, then you need to make your content worth people’s time.
Think about the things you use Google for. You search recipes, solutions to your problems, how-to videos… right?
Your audience is doing the same thing!
To drive traffic to your website, you need to give people a reason to want to visit your blog. Say it with me, “What is in it for them?”
Market Your Blog
Once you have created a solid foundation of articles on your blog, now you have to get people to come and read it! It’s not as simple as just creating the content. You have to let people know about it.
Like I said earlier, there are thousands upon thousands of blogs on the internet today and your blog is in the giant sea of them. And the hard part is when you first start, your blog is like a tiny little pebble of sand suck at the bottom of the ocean.
Your job is not only to create awesome content, but to dive deep and bring your tiny pebble of a blog to the surface for people to see. But how?
Who doesn’t love Pinterest? Remember how I mentioned earlier why I first started to get into blogging- because I was searching Pinterest and reading other people’s blogs.
Pinterest is the ULTIMATE platform to use for blogging. I derive the majority of my blog’s traffic from Pinterest.
You need to set up a business account for your blog. It is totally free and totally necessary. It gives you free analytics of what people are clicking on and repining.
Once you have set that up, the fun starts! You start making pins.
Making Pins for Pinterest
Think of your pins as your flyers for getting people to your site. They need to make your purpose clear.
The pins need to be captivating and give your potential readers an idea of what they will find on your blog if they click on the pin.
When you scroll down your Pinterest feed what catches your eye? You have very little time (like a fraction of a second) to engage a potential reader. So make it count!
Important thing to note about using Pinterest
When using Pinterest for your blog, you won’t get much attention if you are only pinning your own content. Especially in the beginning.
You need to share the wealth.
The best way to make your blog known is to start on the bottom and work your way up. Sharing other bloggers content will start to get your Pinterest profile on the (very large) Pinterest map. Remember, your blog is a tiny pebble still.
When someone goes to Pinterest in search of say, top baby registry items, and you repined content from a bigger blogger to your board. The pin you saved could pop up on their feed, and your Pinterest name will be underneath it! This is a clickable link and an opportunity for that person to visit your profile!
See why it’s important to pin others content as well?
Coffee and Coos is a blogger with over 6k followers and 1.8M monthly Pinterest views. Having pins from bloggers with a larger audience will bring more people to your blog.
It is worth noting right now that your boards should remain relevant to your blog’s purpose.
When pinning and repining content, have a theme. Choose your theme from the get-go and stick with it. It can be confusing and impact you negatively if you blog about traveling for example, but start repining how to knit a scarf pins.
Join Group Boards
Group boards are exactly what they sound like. Boards with other bloggers who share each others content.
The benefit of joining group boards is that when other bloggers share your content to their own boards, your pins will get more exposure. The amount of followers you have in the beginning will be tiny. And when other bloggers who have an established following share your content, your reach is greater.
When more people see your pins, there is a greater chance of people clicking on the link leading to your blog. More clicks = more blog views = more revenue.
How to join group boards on Pinterest
One of the techniques I like to use is to go to some of my favorite bloggers profiles that I follow. It makes the most sense to go to those with a greater following than you have.
Check out the boards they have. Looks for group boards that are relevant to your blog theme, and check the descriptions to see if they are open to contributors.
Typically group boards will indicate whether or not they are accepting new contributors and how to request to become one.
Check out my group boards here, and perhaps you will find one relevant to your blog!
Tailwind is an awesome tool to use for your Pinterest marketing. It is an automated pin scheduler, and with a basic plan is completely free! There are upgraded plans you can choose as well with additional benefits at a low cost.
One of the best aspects of using Tailwind is the amount of time you will save from having to manually pin and re-pin content. It can be time consuming to manage a Pinterest account, but Tailwind makes is so simple!
So, where does the money come from?
Affiliate marketing is one of the most simple ways to make money. But what is affiliate marketing?
Let’s say for example, you have a favorite pair of sneakers. These sneakers are the only kind you will use for running in. And you think they are just the best brand to use, and you would recommend them to anyone.
Now you have a blog about fitness.
In an article you are talking about how someone can work their way up to running a 5k.
Throughout that article, you give lots of guidance and suggestions to get that person into running shape. One of those suggestions can be your favorite brand of sneakers. Your go-to, recommend to your best friend, favorite item.
This is affiliate marketing.
You talk about your favorite items and share them with everyone. In return, the brands and stores pay you a commission.
There are thousands of brands and stores that use affiliate marketing. A simple Google search, and you can find something that is suitable to what you want to share (I’m sure).
Amazon Affiliate Program
Signing up for the Amazon Affiliate Program was the first thing I did to make money directly.
Mind of Mom blog focuses on parenting, babies, breastfeeding and the like- so it is really easy for me to incorporate affiliate links in my blog articles.
For example, if my article talks about the best bottles to use for a breastfed baby, I will add in my affiliate links to the baby bottle I am talking about. If someone clicks on that bottle and makes a purchase through Amazon, I make a commission.
Simple as that!
It is important to note all of the rules and regulations with affiliate marketing. Amazon is extremely specific in a lot of their rules. Just make sure you educate yourself before you make a mistake that could cause your affiliate account to be closed.
You don’t need an Amazon prime account. Signing up for the Amazon Affiliate Program is completely free! If you want to start making money from your blog, check it out today and get going!
Google AdSense is a program you can sign up for FREE to get paid to run ads on your blog through Google. This was the first ad program I used that helped me on my way to making my first $100.
I will tell you upfront- the amount of money you make from AdSense is very small unless you see a ton of traffic to your website. But chances are the reason why you are reading this is because you are just starting out. That being said, it is an excellent place to start. And we all start somewhere!
Once you get your blog going and start to see more traffic, there are different ad companies you can sign up for that pay out more. But there is no shame in starting small.
*Update January 2019*
Several months back I applied for a new ad company, called Mediavine.
Mediavine is an amazing ad company, that gives you a much higher return than AdSense. It was my first big goal to get accepted into their program.
You need to have a minimum of 25K monthly views on your site before you can get accepted to Mediavine. But once you do- you will never look back!
Once I got accepted back in October, I tripled the amount I ever got from AdSense. So let that be a motivating factor for you!
Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme.
You should not start a blog thinking you are going to make thousands of dollars in the first month (like many people claim). That is not realistic.
Instead, start your blog to write about something you enjoy. Something you want to teach others or help people with.
Find others in your niche and connect with them.
One blogger I particularly like is Suzi from Start a Mom Blog. You should check out her stuff. She has successfully been blogging and helping other moms start their blogs for a few years now. I have learned a ton of stuff just by reading her articles and watching her YouTube videos.
One of her most recent How To Start A Blog articles: How to Start a Mom Blog and Make Money
How to Make Your First $100 Blogging
Start a blog about your passion and the money will come. Using these steps I discussed, I made my first $100 dollars in the first 3 months blogging. And that is a realistic goal. It may not seem like a lot, but it is a true number.
Get started today! You won’t regret it!