Blogging can be a great hobby but you can also get paid to blog. Check out my March blogging income and how to make money blogging
I started talking about how much I make blogging and how to get paid to blog in January with my first income report. February’s disappointing blog income made me think I may have been a bit premature in starting to share but I just had my best month yet in March!
This blogging income report includes income from my seven books on Amazon but not the money I make freelancing. I consider publishing a part of my blogging income because it’s such a natural fit for bloggers. On the other hand, I worked as a freelancer years before starting my blogs and really don’t use my blogs to get freelance clients. In fact, I’m hoping that someday I’ll be making enough money blogging that I won’t have to freelance anymore.
I also post my monthly publishing income separately because it can be a great stand-alone way to make money and will begin posting my freelancing income next week.
Interested in how to make money freelancing, check out these nine websites to get started.
Don’t miss my guide on how to publish a book on Amazon
Besides sharing how I get paid to blog this money, I’ll also talk about a super easy way to do keyword research for your blog to get lots of Google love.
Getting Paid to Blog and Lovin’ It
I hesitated starting my blogs for a long time because I was doing so well freelancing. I finally stopped putting it off in November 2014 with my first two sites, PeerFinance101 and Crowd101. It didn’t take long to realize that blogging is a great work from home idea with huge upside and a lot of fun as a side-business.
So it won’t surprise you that I started three new blogs last month.
Two of the new blogs, My Work from Home Money and My Stock Market Basics, are two of my favorite topics on which to talk. The third site, Peer Loans Online, was actually an old domain I had but hadn’t been using it. Besides just building a bigger internet empire, I started the new sites to focus the information on each. We’ll get into that and how it can help your search rankings in another post.
The new sites just went up mid-month so they didn’t contribute much to traffic or blogging income. I had a total of 22,626 page views through the month which was my best so far. That number actually doesn’t include the spam visitors that I remove to track my income.
I made $2,279 blogging in March with blogging advertising accounting for about 40% of the total.
Blogging income from affiliate advertising rebounded to $917 which was a huge sigh of relief after last month’s disappointment. You really can’t stress too much about the month-to-month ups and downs in your blogging income. Concentrate on providing great information for readers and you’ll get paid to blog, simple ‘nuff.
My biggest affiliate of the month was Lending Club from a couple of small business loans and a few new investing accounts. Peer lending is becoming the Main Street way for small business funding and investing and is only getting bigger. I’ve borrowed and loaned money on the site and think it will be as natural as going to your local community bank in a few years.
I also saw more traction for my Motif Investing affiliate, one that should continue to do well with my new investing site. Motif has become my favorite investing site on the ability to customize my own stock funds and buy up to 30 stocks for one trading fee.
A new blogger I met at a digital nomad group asked how I decide which affiliate ads to put on the site and how to work them into content. The best affiliates are those that you use yourself and fit naturally with the blog theme. After signing up with an affiliate network like CJ Affiliate, you can search for advertisers within different categories.
If there is an affiliate who has a product which you haven’t used yet but are interested, contact the company to get a free demo. Affiliates are always looking to reach a larger audience and will offer all kinds of freebies to bloggers. Getting paid to blog doesn’t just mean money but can mean free trips, products and services as well.
I made just over $25 from Google Adsense in March after removing most of the ads in January. I’m expecting this to increase a little as the new sites grow but am focusing more on other blogging income sources.
Besides breaking my blogging income record, I also had my best month with self-publishing. I sold 557 copies of seven books with about an equal third from audio, paperback and Kindle. I made $1,337 in sales and didn’t have to do anything to promote the books.
Where Does My Blogging Income go from Here?
I’m excited about the potential for my new investing and work from home sites. I enjoy writing about both topics and it was time to focus a little more beyond just general personal finance. Having a narrower focus for your blog also helps to rank on Google because it sees your content as more niche and authoritative.
My crowdfunding site has really been growing but I still haven’t monetized it very well. Monthly page views are over 10,000 now but I only made about $425 in March and that’s including sales of my Step-by-Step Crowdfunding book on Amazon.
I’m hoping a video course on Udemy will help to monetize the site a little better. It doesn’t take more than a few hours to manage the site each week so it’s still not a bad income for a small blog.
I’m still aiming for $4,000 per month from the blogs by the end of the year. I’m doing some link-building research now that could translate to really strong growth later in the year so I’ll keep you updated on how it turns out. Making money blogging isn’t just about writing down what’s on your mind. You can get paid to blog but you have to approach it like a business.
Keyword Research to Make Money Blogging
This month’s topic to help you make money blogging is keyword research. Keywords or a string of words is how your blog gets found by Google or other search engines. Each article you write should focus on a particular keyword phrase so the search engines see it as important when someone is looking for the information.
I know a lot of bloggers that spend a ton of time and sift through loads of data to pick their keywords but it really doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Your keyword should come naturally in your article and I’ll usually just write up a post before even thinking about it. Once you’re done writing, you can look back through the post to see what keyword phrase is most appropriate and then optimize the post for it.
Here’s an easy way to pick keywords for your blog articles.
Your blog should focus on one topic or niche. Having a smaller focus will help get Google love because all the content will center around an idea and common keywords. When you’ve narrowed your topic, go to Google Adwords Keyword Planner and to ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.’
Entering your product or service topic and click Get Ideas will give you all the related keywords to that topic or product. It’s easier to download the data and work with it in an Excel spreadsheet.
When you download the data, you’ll have all the related keyword phrases along with the number of monthly Google searches, a competition score and the suggested price for AdWords placement.
Sort the list by monthly searches to find keywords with lots of traffic. As a new blog, you’re probably not going to rank for highly competitive keywords like these but there is a trick here.
Use the top 20 or so keywords in articles over a few months, linking to each other, and you’ll start to rank in Google for the general topic and a bunch of keywords around these. Google sees these keywords as related so using them in articles will tell Google that you are closely focused on the overall topic.
You don’t have to spend hours researching long-tail keywords for your articles, they will come naturally when you write articles around the main keywords.
After you’ve chosen a keyword for your article, don’t forget to optimize your post using the strategy we talked about in our guide to starting a blog.
Getting paid to blog is one of my favorite ways to make money from home and can really build to a great monthly income. Treat your blog like a business, spending just as much time for promotion and research as you spend on writing. Give it a year and you’ll be making more money blogging than you thought possible.
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.