More and more people are looking for side hussles and extra income sources in today’s world to make ends meet.
Current events have created an unfortunate situation where our wallets are being squeezed with less money left spare at the end of each month, and less savings to play with. How can we fight back against this and bring in some extra money in our own lives?
Affiliate marketing blogs are a fantastic way to bring in some extra income and can even turn into a full time income for those who really commit to the process of creating passive income websites.
Blogging about your interests and passions requires work and effort but is a very viable way of bringing in extra income every month once your sites are established.
If you know enough about a niche topic or specific hobby where you could write at least 20-30 articles of at least 1000 words each, answering search queries people are typing into Google, then it is well worth investing the time into creating a blog on the subject. The best ones can bring in $1000 per month or more when done properly and given time.
If you can write even more on your hobby then all the better, for content is king in internet marketing. If your interest or hobby is very niche or unusual, but still popular, then that is usually even better, for not many people will have created content on this, leaving all the more opportunity for you to fill a gap in the market online.
Blogging as a Great Opportunity
Despite being around for years now, blogging is still a fantastic opportunity to make passive income online, since such a low percentage of the general population really get into it as a viable living.
This is not because it isn’t possible, but simply because so few people take action and follow up on promises to explore new options like this.
As a result the online world of information is still very, very uncompetitive and open, with plenty of gaps in the market of information and search engines online waiting to be filled in by people with the right knowledge of certain topics.
If one pays attention to their own Google searches, they will sooner or later notice just how many gaps in the market for information there are, with certain search terms returning less than ideal results or completely irrelevant ones.
There are millions of search terms online that have not yet been properly answered and this is the job of bloggers within their own niche.
Creating content answering questions people are asking on Google that have not yet been answered or have only been very poorly answered is a great opportunity to make money online.
If you can create a resources that get eyeballs on it from Google or social media, then you can make money off it over time and we will explore the different ways you can do this below.
Setting up niche sites and blogs is also a passive way of earning income. This means you can do the work once – build the website and upload good content – and then let it sit there.
If the content is well written, solves a problem and remains relevant over time, then you can cash checks from that site for years once you have done the work of laying down the content.
A lot of people are waking up to this huge benefit of passive income versus more traditional ways of making money, where you sell your time for a fixed amount of money.
With passive income you do the work once, and as long as you do the work well, you can collect recurring income on it for years into the future.
The number one rule of internet marketing is if you can get traffic to your site, you can make off it money one way or another
Finding a Good Topic For Your Blog
It is important to pick a good topic to blog about; one where there is enough space still for someone new to enter and fill in “gaps” in the information available for certain searches.
An ideal blog niche is the intersection between these 3 things:
- Something you are interested in and/or learning about.
- Something that isn’t too competitive/saturated in terms of the sites already in the space.
- Something that actually has enough general interest and search volume that you can make money off it.
If you already have a very clear idea of a good niche for your blog, then see our article on niche selection and keyword analysis to progress with finding topics to write about.
If you really want to try blogging, but are struggling to find a good niche to start with, then see our more ground-up brainstorming guide to finding a niche you can write about if you’re struggling to decide.
Niches to avoid (too saturated):
- News (very difficult to break in)
- Outdoors (good commission rates)
- Fashion (same)
- Any niche with low competition (not many sites in it) and poor quality search results for many searches within the niche.
- A niche which is not too competitive and also has affiliate programs outside the Amazon Affiliates program – perhaps on affiliate networks like CJ, Awin or Shareasale – which pay much better commissions and have longer cookie duration so you have more chance of capturing sales.
Most topics can be broken into online if approached correctly. There’s only really a few like fitness and finance that are no-go’s
Outline of the Process of Creating a Blog
Obviously the entire process of creating a niche blog is too much to go into here, but we will outline the main things you need to get started here.
- Check competition of your niche. If there is a topic you know a lot about and the queries about it are not being answered on Google, or they are being answered, but you think you can do a better job, then go ahead and make a blog on the topic.
- Set up a simple no nonsense website. You will need a domain name, hosting and a good free or paid WordPress theme. The links will take you through each of these processes.
- WordPress is the Content Management System or platform on which you can build websites without needing to mess around with any underlying code. It can be installed for free as standard on all decent hosting packages.
- Once the site is set up, start adding content, writing articles answering queries being typed into Google using this formula. Aim for at least 30 articles and the more the better.
- Write in a way that is compact, well formatted and helpful to the reader. Use short blocks of text, and make your content very complete and thorough. See our guide on this.
- When relevant add recommendations to products from Amazon (or other retailers) that you can link to. Sign up for the Amazon Affiliate/Associates programs in each country and you will be able to gain commissions for any referrals you make to their site which lead to purchases.
- See this page for some useful plugins that can help out people just starting out in blogging. Try not to use too many though as they can crash or slow down sites.
- Later on, once the blog has built traffic up, you can employ the two other main methods of monetization – turning on ads and selling eBooks/eGuide on the site.
See the video below for an fantastic, easy to follow demonstration of how to start a WordPress blog site, from hosting, to themes, to content. Perfect for people new to the field.
WordPress Blog Setup Process With HostGator
Keyword Research is Crucial to Success in Blogging
This is something a lot of bloggers get wrong when starting out. I certainly did. Remember that to make money online, you need to drive traffic to your site. And to do this, you need to be ranking articles on the first page of Google, preferably in the top three results.
It can be tempting to go right away after the big, obvious keywords on your blog, in the anticipation that these will bring in the most traffic and make the most money.
This is a big mistake on a brand new blog. The Income School guys constantly emphasize this, and many SEO gurus don’t.
Google will not rank content on competitive keywords on a brand new site, even if it’s really good, because it hasn’t yet built up the required authority and trust. You need to pick keywords you can actually rank for.
Therefore, you have to build up slowly, first ranking for much more specific, lower competition and lower volume search phrases, and slowly building up to more competitive and profitable keywords as your site gains more authority with Google.
This is something I learned off the Income School guys; it’s called the Content Mix.
Here is the general strategy for a new site:
1. First Batch of Content – Shorter articles answering very specific, low competition keyword searches with poor quality results, especially forums.
- Publish 10-20 of these types of posts.
- Aim for 1000-1500 words.
- Quickly answer a very specific query.
- Publish these before anything else on your site.
2. Second Batch of Content – Longer articles, covering more general, in depth topics in your niche that already have some decent results.
- Publish at least 10 of these posts
- Aim for 2000-2500 words.
- Go into more detail on a topic.
- Use tables, images, videos and bulleted lists when appropriate.
3. Third Batch of Content – Very long, in depth articles, covering big topics and keywords in your niche that already have very good results from big sites in that space.
- Publish at least 10 of these posts.
- Aim for 3000 words+
- Really create a definitive resource for that topic/search term.
- Try to anticipate all the different reasons someone may search for that term (searcher intent). Provide information that satisfies as broad an audience as possible searching for that term.
- Having original research helps with these types of posts.
- Some of these keywords may need to be left alone in the most competitive of niches. Go after ones where you stand some chance of ranking in the top half of the first page.
It’s a good idea to draw up a list of good articles you can write about before you set your blog up
But how do you actually find the keywords in each of these categories?
See the video below from Income School for a visual demo of how they do this manual process on Google search to actually find the lower competition keywords to start with.
Manual Keyword Research
Top Tip – Do NOT use keyword research tools for the process of finding keywords, because they do not give accurate search volume. This is discussed in the video above.
Instead, just do the actual searches on Google, and if the search auto-completes, and the results are not very good quality and you can write a better article, then you’ve found a keyword topic you can write about.
Another quick tip is to only write on topics actually being searched on Google, and not just things you want to say, but are not actually being searched online, because these articles won’t bring in any traffic.
How Much Money Can you Really Make Blogging?
This is another question people considering blogging want to know. If they’re going to go to all this effort and expense, it’s got to be worth it and make some good money, right?
Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed in life, but blogging can definitely be a good way to make money, provided it is approached in a certain way.
How much money you make from blogging depends on different factors; here are the main ones:
- Picking a good niche that isn’t so competitive that you can’t break in, and isn’t so niche and specific that there isn’t enough interest to make money off it.
- Choosing the right keyword topics to write about in that niche, and writing your content in the correct order (Content Mix) that you have a chance of getting traffic
- Writing high quality content, this is very complete and thorough, and is created with the reader in mind.
- Turning out a good amount of content (50+ articles at least to start) and ideally continuing to publish over a long time.
- In general, hard work and patience is required to succeed in blogging.
- See the section below for more on this.
In general though, blogs can make anything from a few hundred dollars a month to several thousand dollars a month for people who really commit and stick to the process for a period of several years.
It all depends on the niche, the traffic, and quality of the content and how well that content is monetized.
For a blog to completely fail and make nothing or next to nothing even after a lot of work, then the owner has either picked a very bad niche that either has no traffic or is too saturated, or picked the wrong keywords to write about, or they haven’t written good enough content to drive traffic.
See our article on how much you can make blogging, which also covers some common pitfalls for blogs which haven’t succeeded online.
See also this video where over 70 different blogs are analyzed in a quick fire approach, with the niche, amount of content and earnings all listed. Great for brainstorming your own ideas; you’ll also see how variable earnings can be from blogs as well. It depends on so many factors.
Blogging Requires Realistic Expectations & Patience
Having said all this, we should be realistic about what to expect from blogging, since it is not a get rich quick scheme and requires money, effort and most importantly time and patience to succeed at it.
It is also important to carefully analyze the competition in the niche you are planning to start in to make sure it is not too competitive.
If you are trying to enter a field dominated by big websites which have been around a long time and have a lot of authority on Google, then you will struggle to get the traffic required.
It is better to go more for niche topics that have not been so well covered on Google yet. Once you have created the content, it is case of being patient and waiting for Google to find and rank the content. This can take 6-9 months so you have to be prepared to wait.
Once the articles start ranking you will see traffic grow and you can start to earn some good money. Overall, you need to prepared to wait for up to a year to see some significant results, but once you do, niche sites can continue to bring in money for years. You just need to have some patience at the beginning.
How much money you make depends on the quality of the content you create but also the niche. Some sites can earn thousands once developed but others may grow to pull in a extra few hundred a month to pay for expenses, which is still worth the effort in our opinion.
Turning Off All Distractions
To give yourself the best chance of success at blogging, we also recommend you get rid of as many distractions in your life as you can which could get in the way of you persisting with building your blog.
This means turning off TVs and social media, cancelling Netflix, packing away or selling games consoles and clearing space in your schedule each day to do some work on your blog. This will give you the best chance of success and will hopefully avoid the scenario of someone getting halfway there but giving up and sitting back in front of the TV.
We think it is a good idea to sell something like a TV or games console which represents a distraction or a “time soaker” and use this money to pay for the hosting, domains etc required to get started.
Putting some skin in the game can be a huge motivator to keep you going through the tough early days when results are slow to come.
See also our article on removing distractions and time drains to succeed in internet marketing.
Income school’s Project 24 program is designed to help you transition from your current job to earn a full time income from niche sites and blogs within 24 months. Their approach is down to earth and straightforward and their formula has delivered success to them and many other members of the program.
We are not affiliated with Income School but recommend their program because of the down to earth, sensible, structured approach they have to building niche sites. Check out their site for more details.
Summary – Getting Started With Blogging
We get that it can be “information overload” when you first dive into this topic. I can feel overwhelming; it certainly did for me. But don’t let this frighten you.
Here are the basic steps to monetize your hobbies with a blog:
- Decide your niche and do some keyword research.
- Get a good domain name (usually a .com)
- Get some good shared hosting (Hostgator or BlueHost are good).
- Connect your domain and hosting together (see longer video above)
- Install WordPress and put a nice theme on.
- Set up your static pages and menus as you want them.
- Follow some best practice initial steps to make life easier down the line.
- Then start producing great content (posts) that helps people out
- See our full blog setup guide for each step in detail, especially the domains/hosting/install steps if this what you are unsure of.
After that, it’s a good idea to find experts that you are comfortable with and whose style you like, and simply follow them to keep up to date with what’s going on.
I’ve always like the approach of Income School – binge watching their YouTube videos is a great way to get started with blogging. But there are others as well. Pick someone who cuts out all of the technical nonsense and gets down to what actually matters.