BLOGGER ALERT: How to Start a Blog and Make Money Blogging

Nov 11, 2011 • Entrepreneurship
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Go Viral without becoming a Virus

benny lewis make money blogging

In this article you’ll discover how to start a blog that makes money. There are four types of blogs; written blogs, video blogs, photo blogs and a combination of these. We’ll primarily be discussing written blogs. There are two different components to make money blogging.  One is traffic and the other is a monetization strategy.  I suppose the hidden third and most important component is patience.  This article will focus on the second component, monetization strategy.  For how to market your blog in order to get site visitors I suggest checking out the Marketing Show and if you can attend the next Pub Con it is one the best conferences to learn about getting web traffic.

How to make money with a written blog.  One of the hardest things about being a blogger is drawing that line between being a business owner and writing for passion. The marketer in you says sell sell sell and the passionate blogger says I just wanna create content my followers will love. Most bloggers wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to make a full time income from writing their blog. (Click here for a list of bloggers making over $5,000 a month). It would be a dream come true to wake up whenever you want, take your lazy time to enjoy breakfast, work in your PJs and not shower until the afternoon.  But how much are you willing to compromise the integrity of your blog to rake in the green.

The first question is, how can you make money from your blog.  Second question is, where to draw that fine line between making money and building a loyal community starting with your first 1000 true fans.  What’s the safe way to get rich and build a fan base at the same time…does it even exist? Let’s discuss.

The newest fad to bring in the bucks are pop up boxes.  This is a pop up box.

email marketing

Pop up boxes bring in higher “conversion rates”. This means more people sign up for your email list when you have the pop up box than when you don’t.  An email list is exactly how it sounds, a collection of people’s emails who have visited your site.  They give you their email to either get some piece of exclusive information or to simply stay connected to the content on your site. So a pop up sounds like a no brainer right? Not really.  Blog World speaker Benny Lewis says these are more like invasion boxes that don’t build brand loyalty. In his seminar Benny talked about “How to Go Viral Without Being a Virus” and shared if you are looking for a quick cash infusion then have that pop up box slap a site visitor in their eyeballs right when they arrive to your site to collect their email and sell them something. But it’s not a great method for a long term relationship building strategy.

Imagine every time you come to your favorite site a super soaker water gun shoots you in the face.  That’s the sensation people have when they continuously see the email capture image. He says your community will diminish as they continuously feel as though they are being sold.

Let’s be clear, this is all up for debate because capturing emails from your web traffic is VITAL.  I mean how many times do you go to a site that could be great, but just never go back because it’s off your radar once you leave.  It’s normal.  Doesn’t mean the content of the blog you visited wasn’t awesome. You’re just busy working in our information overwhelm world and it’s not possible to stay up to date with everything.  So, as a blogger, you definitely want to make sure your site visitor is reminded about you, that you have direct access to them and that they have a core reason to come back.

How can we do this…

Step One

Define your audience.  Who are you writing to…What are their fears, their dreams, their lifestyles? Create a fictitious person to represent your audience. Literally. Create some imaginary dude named Bob, 52, who has 3 kids, 4, 12, 17, a pit bull and lives in Orange County.  His favorite food is Chinese take out.  He hates his job.  Wishes he could work from home. Married his high school sweet heart. His favorite movie is Iron Man. Don’t worry about alienating people who don’t exactly match your fictitious character.  But in order to resonate with that first core 1000 fans you want to speak directly to them so that you can build that trust and rapport. I use a free mind mapping tool called MindMeister to help me chart out the common identity of my audience.

Step Two

Create your blog.  The easiest way to create a blog hands down if you know nothing about tech is Posterous and if you do know your way around the backend of a website or have someone who can help most definitely create a self hosted WordPress via But you already know that if you understand tech don’t you ;-)

So getting back to my non-techie friends, when you set up your Posterous go ahead and create a “custom domain name”. That means instead of your site being called it will be called They make it easy to purchase a domain from their site. Here’s my hobby photo blog I built using Posterous Sneaks Attack. Literally all I use is my Android phone to post, dead simple.

Step Three

Keyword research. Now it’s time to explore what topics you should write about for your target audience.  Brainstorm 10 words that relate to the subject you want to write about. Write those down and then head over to Google Keyword Tool. Copy and paste your list of 10 into the white box at the top of this example below. Check “exact” as you will see to the left. And to the right you can see the amount of people who search Google for your search terms.  Pretty cool huh :)

market research

Step Four

Write your content. Now that you have your keywords use these to write your content.  Now remember you are not trying to trick Google to get traffic to your site, rather you are making it easy for people seeking out your solution/information to find you. So make your blog post natural, from the heart, sincere, engaging and full of robust quality information. You can use your keyword research to help devise a strong blog post headline and / or use it solely as market research to know what to write about.

Step Five

Have an email capture. This is not a pop up necessarily. It can be just a box to the in the sidebar of your blog.  If you use WordPress then I like AWeber to manage the emails I collect from my blog, but MailChimp is great too and free for under 500 emails. You can use either of these email systems to create a web form to add to your blog side bar. Now if you use Posterous you’re in luck because they make an email capture for you.

Final Step

Chaching.  One easy method for monetizing is creating a digital product so that is what I’ll cover in this article. Once you’ve captured emails you now have an audience connected to what you have to say.  So what do you sell?  Ask yourself, ‘What do I know that others would love to learn?’  What’s some specific

create a membership site

information you have bought yourself in the past that you have since become an expert in?  Would you be willing to share that knowledge with your


community?  Benny, the blogger mentioned above, teaches how to become fluent in a foreign language in 3 months.  The best way to teach your expertise is to create an online course exclusively for members. And the easiest way to create a membership site and a training course whether you’re technically savvy or not


is to use a site called Kajabi. They even have what they call “Kajabi Flight Academy” a free video based training program on how to build a digital product that will sell. For instance Fuzzy Yellow Balls, all about playing tennis, made $450,000 using Kajabi in the past year. You can hear their story in the Kajabi case studies. Once you’ve built your course you can share it with your audience via a blog post or in your emails to them.

WARNING: Remember, it’s about creating something that you would be stoked to buy yourself. It’s about creating posts you’d be stoked to read yourself. Don’t add more junk to the internets.  Please.  It’s just a waste of everyone’s time.

It’s time to decide, do you have a long term vision and looking to grow a loyal community or do you want a quick buck?

Here’s the play by play story of how blogger Michael Dunlop makes his full time living via his blogging.

Hope this helps! Good luck in achieving your dream lifestyle.

Espree Devora

*the Girl who Gets it Done* Espree created WeAreLATech which unites LA Tech founders, investors, engineers and creatives via incredible offline activities, the 1st LA Tech podcast "WeAreLATech" featuring LA Startups fueling this city to become a top destination for tech and innovation and a calendar of all the Los Angeles tech events (updated weekly) which can be found both via WeAreLATech mobile app. Additionally she produces and hosts the #womenintech Podcast and "Hello Customer" podcast. In addition to being a contributing journalist and panel moderator for TechZulu she has provided seminars in entrepreneurship and technology to many corporations and universities including CBS, SXSW, Disney and USC Executive MBA. On her blog,, she enjoys curating and reviewing the best Productivity Tools for Startups

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