Starting A Blog For Extra Income: From Date Money To A Down Payment

My wife, Jessica, and I were like a lot of couples. We both worked full-time jobs and sometimes struggle to find the time — and the money — for date nights and special outings that keep us connected.

About three years ago, we decided to start a blog to make a little extra income. We weren’t trying to create a lavish lifestyle. We just wanted to be comfortable enough that we could indulge in a nice dinner once in awhile.

Like many bloggers, Jessica started with what she knew. For her, that happened to be cooking. She was already preparing dinner each night, so she started taking photos as she cooked. Then, she wrote blog posts to go with the photos and shared them on Pinterest.

Thanks to on-site ads and the popularity of her content, she was earning $2,000/mo in side income within just a few months —  we were onto something. No special tricks or secret sauce (except in the food), just delicious recipes and high quality photos to accompany them.

(Here is my step by step tutorial on how to setup your own blog: How To Setup Your Own Blog In 10 Minutes Or Less )

Blogging presents fantastic opportunities for supplementing or even replacing your 9-to-5 income. In my opinion, the fastest way to monetize is AdSense, Google’s advertising network, which is easy to set up even if you’re new to blogging. But don’t expect to throw up a few ads and watch the money roll in. Successful blogs rely on good content. Here is a sneak peak of our financials that first 90 days:

Screen shot adsense new site

Here are the most valuable lessons we learned in our first year of blogging.

Write content people want to read.

You’re probably thinking, Of course! That’s obvious. But the lines blur when you’re writing about something you love. When Jessica started blogging, some of the posts she thought were great turned out to be duds with her audience.

We tested different types of articles, about 10-15 a week, to see which drew the best response. We also looked at the most popular content on Pinterest and created our own version. Timing turned out to be key as well. The site drew the most traffic in the evenings, so we published and shared posts on social media during peak hours.

Successful content really depends on knowing your audience — what they like, what they share, and when they engage.

Be intimately passionate about your topic.

Don’t write about a topic just because you think it will lead to decent ad revenue. Successful blogs rely on the author’s credibility. And credibility comes from knowing — and loving — your niche.

Jessica’s blog took off because she lives her subject. She would cook every day even if her income didn’t depend on it, and her audience knows that. They share a culinary passion, and that’s where the magic happens in monetized blogging. You can’t fake passion, and readers will know if you try.

Publish consistently.

Blogging is a long-term relationship. Before you hit publish on that first post, ask yourself whether you’ll actually post at least once weekly for the next six months. Be realistic about what you can do, especially if you have other work or ongoing personal commitments.

Establish a routine.

Ah, writers. We love to procrastinate. But you won’t make a dime off your blog unless you sit down and write every day. Figure out when you do your best writing — and when your content gets the most traffic — and plan your schedule accordingly. I like to write in the morning and post in the evening. Other bloggers like to crank out posts later in the day. It doesn’t matter when you write, just that you do.

Blogging for a living is like a double rainbow — you work for yourself and you get to write about what you love. How many people get to say that? But it’s not all about you. Your content should cater to your audience, building a conversation that happens when and how they want it to take place.

Ready to get started? How To Setup Your Own Blog In 10 Minutes Or Less

 

  • Update: Since starting blogging in 2014 I’m now working from home building lots of businesses online. There are other opportunities at play in this scenario and blogging didn’t create it directly but it certainly was apart of it. If we can do it, you can do it!

Image by golyak via DepositPhotos

MarshallM

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