The information is out there. Start googling “passive income ideas” and there’s a million bloggers throwing out what seems to be one great idea after another. At the top of the lists for things that are inexpensive to do/create are writing an ebook and monetizing a blog.
I went with the blog idea. I’ve created blogs before, for free, usually as a joke, and it was quite simple. So I hit the streets for information, and by hit the streets, I mean I sat on my butt and used the internet.
If you want to monetize (make money off of) a blog, you can’t use the free versions of a blogging website. Why? Because that’s how THEY make money. They put their ads on your free blog and they get paid from ad clicks, etc… Self hosting a site means ad free unless you as the owner put the ads up yourself.
The first thing you need to do is find yourself a host. I went with bluehost because they’re super legit and recommended by pretty much every single person who uses them. The reason they are so highly recommended is that they run a great affiliate program. Not hating on bluehost or their affiliates, because bluehost is good, just saying that is why you’re going to see them around on a lot of blogs. Their service is not free. I got a discount for being referred to them from a blogging website and I opted for the super duper package which gave me a free domain (for the first year) and then roughly $5 a month for 3 years and it came with some other knick knacks and doo-dads that I’ll likely never use.
Here’s the kicker.
What seemed like a great deal kinda wasn’t. Bluehost charges you the entirety of your contract when you sign up. Yeah. Almost $200 got zapped out of my account right then and there. However, there is an upside to this. I can have unlimited domains with bluehost. Meaning, if I get ideas for other websites, I just have to drop $10 to $15 on a domain and then I’m good to go. I feel it’s important to mention that. What exactly does that mean? I can have unlimited websites at no additional cost other than the annual domain fee.
So now I’m starting off this blog $200 in the hole.
That’s not that big of a deal is it? I mean, all I gotta do is throw up some google adsense and people will click on it and then all I need to focus on is quality content. Right?
Your website has to be approved by google adsense. It’s not AI that checks this out. It’s a real live person who visits your website and decides whether or not you’re fit to post ads from google on your site. I was rejected. Why? Because there wasn’t enough content. Which is fine. It’s a new blog and they’re right, there is not much content at this moment. (Clearly things have changed ;))It was just frustrating because I didn’t know. And I didn’t know because I didn’t look. There are times when I’m not the brightest bulb in the room. So before you dive head first in this kind of investment, make sure you research every angle that you can think of.
So now I’m $200 in the hole and I’m not generating any passive income at all. Sure, it’s only been a short while since this blog went live, so I’ve got all the time in the world to create amazing content that will meet the expectations of google and my readers.
I did some research on blogs and found out some disheartening information. Twenty five percent of all blogs make less than $10 a month off of ads. Granted, there could be a million reasons for this. But still, it makes you think, is this even worth it?
To me, I think so. I’m enjoying this blog. Not the headaches of setting it up and dealing with the adsense people, but the content creating part I enjoy.
So how do bloggers make such ridiculous amounts of money doing what they do? There’s a few ways.
1. Time – The older the blog, the higher the chance they’re making more money. Why? They have a loyal following, which has likely been viewing their content for years, on top of random folks googling the things they write about. Also, the longer you’ve been around and the more views your site has, the higher your organic ranking in google is going to be.
More traffic means more ad clicks means more cash to the bank. How does that work? It’s called seo. I’m not going to get in too deep because I’m no expert, but a talented blogger can write a post that he/she knows search engines are going to look for. There are certain places keywords should go and a certain amount of times they should be used. It’s a science and unfortunately I’m not a scientist.
2. Goods and services – Get yourself a loyal following and you can sell them all kinds of stuff. Consulting, ebooks, web seminars and classes. If you have a crafting blog, you’ve likely got an etsy store. These things are all just individual strands to the web of money making. Also, most of them are selling what they’re already doing. Real estate agents blogging about real estate, for example. That blog is expanding their network, bringing in new clients, and if they’re good bringing in a lot more business.
3. Influencers – This can be anyone. Even I try to do this. If there’s a product I like and believe in and think my readers will feel the same, I’ll link to it. Why? Because of affiliate programs. If I link to something, I get a small commission on any sales. This is great and not so great. I’m horribly honest, but there’s plenty of folks out there that just want to make money and they’ll push anything to get their commission. It’s all part of the hustle, I guess. As a consumer, it’s your job to see through the bullshit and decide if a product or service is as legit as these influencers say that it is. Chances are, if it’s coming from a legit source with a loyal following, then the product or service is likely legit. But not all the time.
My advice to someone who wants to monetize a blog: Go free. Get some content rolling in. Get some traffic frequenting your site. And then when the stars begin to align, roll over to a self hosting site and go from there. That’s (probably) how I would do it if I had to do it all over again.
Or I would just become friends with someone who already had a host and was willing to hook me up for free for a cut of future profits….