So you’re thinking about starting a blog as a side hustle. Good for you! Blogging as a side hustle can be a great way to make some extra cash, but you should know that most bloggers don’t make a significant amount of money from their site. In fact, if you’re not careful, your blog could end up costing you money.
It is 100% possible to make money (good money) from a blog, but before I tell you how I make money blogging as a side hustle, I’m going to try and talk you out of starting a blog in the first place (assuming your goal is to make money).
BLOGGING AS A SIDE HUSTLE IS HARD WORK
You’re here because you’re interested in blogging as a side hustle. I’ll tell you how I make money blogging, but before I do I’m going to be brutally honest with you: blogging as a side hustle is hard work.
I won’t beleaguer this point, but before you get started you should know that:
- Writing a blog post isn’t the end of your work – that’s when the work really begins
- The behind the scenes running of blog is challenging, time consuming, un-glamorous, and often very frustrating
- Getting readers takes time; be prepared to write for weeks (or months) before anyone shows up
- When readers do show up in numbers, prepare to be criticized (I don’t care what anyone says, getting criticized hurts so you’ll need to get some thick skin)
- If you’re in it to make money, it will take months (probably years) before you make a significant amount of cash
- A blog is like a baby – it needs constant attention to grow. Neglect it and all of your hard work goes down the drain
Most importantly, if you’re in this to make money blogging, you need to know that it takes time before the money starts to trickle in. And even longer before it flows in. But most likely, the money will never come in at all.
The key to earning money from a blog is getting a large readership. Most bloggers get frustrated with the slow progress and give up long before that ever happens.
SUCCESS CAN TAKE YEARS
Most bloggers that make HUGE money from their sites are NOT blogging as a side hustle.
Blogging has become their full-time job. It can be an amazing full-time job with fantastic perks but make no mistake about it, these are full-time bloggers. It’s important for you to keep this in mind as you decide if blogging as a side hustle is right for you.
If you’re looking for a quick way to make some extra money, blogging is NOT the answer. A part-time job will be far more lucrative for you. And very often, your full time job is the best path to making extra money.
But if you’re interested in building something that can benefit you down the road, then maybe blogging as a side hustle is exactly what you’re looking for. Maybe you’ve got what it takes to build something great!
SETTING UP A BLOG IS EASY
Blogging is hard. Hopefully I’ve made that clear. If, after reading this far, you’re still interested in giving blogging a try, let me give you a bit of good news: setting up a blog is easy.
I’ve outlined the steps below, but if you know what you’re doing, you could have a blog up and running in less than 10 minutes.
RUNNING A BLOG IS HARD
Don’t confuse “creating a blog” with “running a blog.” These two are very different things.
Creating a blog is a one-time event that takes a few minutes to a few hours, whereas running a blog is a daily chore. Some (not even close to all) of the work that goes into running a blog includes:
- Writing new content
- Formatting and editing your content
- Finding images that work for your article
- Optimizing your post for search engines
- Sharing your post on social media
- Responding to comments on your post
- Engaging with readers on social media
- Addressing site errors
- Updating WordPress plugins and themes
- Refreshing your site when it gets old and needs an update
- Talking to your host when your site goes down
- Troubleshooting issues you find on your blog
- Promoting, promoting, and promoting your content
Still Want To Try Blogging As A Side Hustle?
Good news. If you’re still interested in building your own blog, the the first step is neither complicated or time consuming. In fact, if you follow these five steps you can create a WordPress blog in less than an hour. Here’s how you do it:
HOW TO CREATE A WORD PRESS BLOG IN 5 STEPS
- Pick a host & register an account with them (10-20 minutes)
- Choose and purchase a domain name (10-20 minutes)
- Install WordPress through your host (10-20 minutes)
- Start blogging
- Give it time
Follow these five steps and you’ll have your blog up and running in 30 to 60 minutes. Here’s a bit more information on each step in the process.
1. WHAT IS A HOST?
In order for your blog to be live and accessible by others on the Internet, it needs to be ‘hosted.’ The good news is that hosting isn’t expensive and there is no shortage of hosting providers available to you, but there is a shortage of good ones.
Picking a host is your very first baby step into the world of blogging, and you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot by picking a bad host to partner with, so be careful.
I use SiteGround (this is my referral link) to host this site because they load fast, they protect my sites from cyber attacks, and on the rare occasions when I need customer support, they never fail to exceed my expectations (ever!).
I recommend SiteGround without hesitation for you as well. Specifically, I recommend you select SiteGround’s StartUp hosting package for $3.95 per month. This is the perfect plan for someone that is just launching a blog.
$3.95 is a promotion price with a HUGE 60% discount, so I also recommend that you prepay for three years up front (that’s the longest time period that you can buy in advance). Prepaying will lock in the promo price and 60% discount for the maximum amount of time.
2. WHAT IS A DOMAIN NAME?
A domain name is what you type into your browser in order to reach a website, e.g. www.campfirefinance.com. One of the benefits of getting your hosting from SiteGround is that you’ll be able to register a domain name at no additional cost. Normally domain names are about $15 per year if you buy it from a company like GoDaddy.
Pointing your domain name servers at your blog host is a required step that takes some technical configuration, but (thankfully) when when you register your domain name directly through the SiteGround, the technical steps are taken care of of you. This means that your blog is displayed whenever anyone types your domain name into a browser. Here’s how to do this through SiteGround:
Picking a Domain Name
When choosing your domain name, keep a few things in mind:
- Keep it short and memorable (nobody wants to type out a loooong URL)
- It should be easy to spell (have you ever visited chrysanthemum.com? Didn’t think so)
- It should be related to the topic that you’re blogging about
3. HOW TO INSTALL WORD PRESS
After you’ve signed up with SiteGround (or another host) and secured your domain name, it’s now time to install WordPress to your site – and it’s free!
WordPress is the tool you’ll use to create blog posts, add images to your website, etc. Without a tool like WordPress, you’d need to write all of your own code by hand. Uhhh, no thanks.
Installation is quick and easy.
SiteGround offers a ‘one click installation’ process. Here’s how it looks:
- Login to your SiteGround account
- Click on the ‘My Accounts’ tab
- Click on ‘Go to cPanel’ button under the My Accounts tab
- Click on the WordPress icon under the ‘AutoInstallers’ section
- Click ‘Install’
- Follow the installation process (this is where you’ll create a username and password for WordPress. If you registered your domain name through SiteGround, all of the technical configuration will be taken care of automatically)
4. HOW TO START BLOGGING
Once you’ve got your host, registered a domain name, and installed WordPress to your site, all that’s left to do is start blogging! There’s no magic formula for creating a successful blog, but allow me to offer up some advice:
- Make sure that you like to write. Blogging = writing. If you don’t like to write, you won’t like to blog
- If you’re not a good writer, don’t worry about it. Like any skill, you’ll get better with with practice
- Pick a topic that you’re passionate about and write about that. If you HATE personal finance and budgets, then don’t write about personal finance and budgets!
- Write consistently. Pick a schedule, and post something new on those days. For example, many personal finance bloggers post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
- Give it time! It’s going to take a bit of time to build up your audience – don’t quit before you’ve given your blog a good chance to build some momentum
- Pace yourself. So many new bloggers hit the ground sprinting, then burn out a few months later. Don’t do that! It takes to time get into your groove, to build your audience. This is a marathon, not a sprint
5. GIVE YOUR BLOG TIME
Eventually your blog could become a money making machine, but only if you’re willing to take the time to start one today.
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
Blogging is fun. It’s frustrating, time consuming, gratifying, it’s a great experience!
Set a goal to start a blog today. Visit SiteGround and create an account, choose a domain name, install WordPress, then start blogging!
How To Make Money Blogging As A Side Hustle
If your goal is to earn money from your blog then you’ll first need to generate traffic to your website. Traffic generation is where many bloggers get frustrated and throw in the towel. It’s not uncommon for bloggers to write for MONTHS before they’ll get that first blog comment.
That can be disheartening, but don’t give up! If you write consistently eventually new readers will show up. And when the traffic finally does show up, you’ll be able to monetize it. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, let’s focus on growing your readership.
How To Get Blog Traffic
There are only so many ways to get readers to find your blog:
- You can pay for it
- You can earn it
- It can find you
Paying For Blog Traffic
Paying for traffic is exactly what it sounds like. It’s advertising. If you’re serious about building your blog into a revenue generating website, then advertising is something that you’ll want to consider.
Some things you can do to advertise your blog and buy traffic (by the way, I’ve done every single one of these things to advertise Camp FIRE Finance):
- Promote a Tweet on Twitter
- Boost a post on Facebook or run a Facebook ad
- Bid for key words in Google so that your site shows up in someone’s search
- Pay for advertising space on other blogs
- Run a giveaway
Advertising doesn’t need to be expensive. You can run a Facebook ad for just a few dollars. Same with promoting a Tweet. The cost of bidding on key words depends on the popularity of the words, and the cost of buying advertising space on other websites depends on how much traffic that website gets. I gave away $200 worth of cyrptocurrency during the first week of this site’s existence.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you.
Earning Blog Traffic
Earning blog traffic can take a long time before you start to see results, but it won’t cost you a cent. The way you “earn” traffic is by engaging.
- Leave thoughtful comments on other blogs
- Create a Twitter account and engage in conversations
- Join Facebook groups and be an active member
- Guest post on blogs that are bigger than yours
Being an engaged member of the community you’re trying to blog in will go a long to not only helping new people discover your blog, but it’s also a great way to network and make new friends (if your goal is to become a personal finance blogger you’ll be amazed at how welcoming the community is of new members).
One other tip: many bloggers are anonymous, but using your real name opens up new opportunities. Telling your family, friends and co-workers about your site is a great way to get early readers. And those that know you best will become some of your most active supporters and will eagerly share your content on their social media channels.
Organic Blog Traffic
The last way to get traffic is organically. When someone types a search into Google and your site shows up, that’s organic traffic. This is done through search engine optimization, or SEO.
SEO is a complex subject that changes regularly, but it’s also the holy grail of internet traffic because a good ranking for popular keywords has the potential to drive MASSIVE amounts of readers your way.
When you set your blog up with WordPress, one thing you’ll discover are Plugins. Think of a plugin as an accessory to your website. One plugin that you’ll want to install is called Yoast; this will help you create SEO optimized blog posts and pages.
This site has a free blog directory that you can add your site to. It’s a good way to get your personal finance site in front of my readers. When you create a directory listing for your blog, I’ll also add you to our daily FIRE feed.
Connect With Your Readers
However people find your blog, make sure you’re giving them multiple ways to stay connected with you. Make it easy for your readers to like your social media pages and to join your email list.
Think of your blog as the center of a wagon wheel. All of your marketing and advertising should lead people back to your blog. When you’ve connected with your readers in channels other than your site, you’ll have a way to letting them know whenever you’ve published new content, have launched a new product, or are running your next giveaway.
Taking time to build and cultivate these channels will make it easier for your readers to learn about new content whenever you hit publish.
Content is King
Of course none of this matters one bit if your content isn’t very good. Take time to make sure your writing provides value to someone. It doesn’t need to be written perfectly. Readers will overlook less than perfect writing if what they’re reading makes sense and provides value.
Your writing skills will improve with each post that you publish, but make sure that your message is clear. If it is, people will share you blog, they’ll come back for more, and after a while, you’ll start to make money.
How to Make Money From Your Blog
Speaking of which … finally – it’s time to talk money! There are multiple ways for you to make money from your website. I’ll briefly explain the top five ways, from easiest to most difficult.
- Selling your services
- Selling your product
Running Blog Ads
Running ads is the easiest way to make money on your blog, but it also pays the least. This is done by creating a Google AdWords account so that Google can display ads throughout your blog. If and when a reader clicks on an ad you will make anywhere from a few pennies for a few dollars.
- I run ads on Camp FIRE Finance.
Sometimes a company will pay you to write an article about them or their product. For example, a company that’s launching a new budget app for your smartphone might reach out to me and ask if they can do a “sponsored post.” If I accept, the company will pay me to write the post. The amount you’ll earn depends on how big your readership is.
- In four years of blogging I’ve never accepted a sponsored post (nothing against them, I just don’t go down this path).
Affiliate programs pay you a commission whenever one of your readers buys a product or service that’s linked on your site. For example, this link from SiteGround (my hosting company) is an affiliate link. SiteGround will pay me $50 if you click on that link and sign up to use their services. I love affiliate programs because I can get paid to recommend products that I use and find value in.
- I make 90% of my blog revenue from affiliate programs
- NOTE: I don’t use affiliate links for products and services that I don’t use or don’t believe in
Selling Your Services
This is where the money can start to get very good for bloggers. Many bloggers will use their site as a résumé of sorts to attract freelance writing gigs. If you’re a freelance writer (or designer, developer, artist, or something else) then you should consider creating a “hire me” or “work with me” page for your site. Not only can you make good money this way, but it can also be regular income that you’ll be able to count on.
- I don’t freelance and haven’t made money this way
Selling Your Products
If selling your services is where the money gets good for bloggers, then selling your own product is where you can take your income to the next level. Most of the bloggers that blog full time are also selling a product of some sort. Most end up selling books they’ve written or courses they’ve developed. If you’ve got a product to sell, then your blog can be a launching pad to the type of money that’s life changing (there are bloggers making several hundred thousands of dollars, even over a million) per year.
Phew! This turned into mega page. If you made it all the way through my warning about starting a blog, how to start a blog, how to get traffic to your blog, and finally how to make money blogging then I’m deeply honored! Thank you for your time. I hope I’ve given you some information that you find useful. If you still have questions, let me know in the comment section below.
Thank you for reading and happy blogging!