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Monetizing your blog

Today’s post isn’t for everyone. It’s for those of you who want to blog and eventually make it an income source for you and your family. If this isn’t you, skip this post and swing by tomorrow. :)

If it is you, grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat.

I am 80 percent done writing  an ebook about blogging. I’ve had SO many people email me, text me, Facebook message me etc… for details on how I’ve made blogging into a part of my career. And while I don’t mind meeting with people, my time is precious right now. I have two little boys and an amazing husband. When I’m not working, I want to spend my time with them.

So, for a while I started jotting down notes and putting together my blogging journey to share with people via email when they asked. My journey has been very different from those of others and although a lot of the information I’ll share is probably out there somewhere, my story isn’t out there.

I met with one of my very close blogging friends (Ashley of Mama Brooks) who is also a real-life friend, a year or so ago and realized that while it was probably somewhat helpful for her to have me there explaining things, the information was what she really needed. I wanted to find a way to help my friends and others who want in on this space with the knowledge I have while also sharing my story.

I was late to monetizing my blog for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that I knew NOTHING about it. I didn’t know about these blogger groups that help each other out. I didn’t know how to do advertising or get sponsored posts. I had NO idea. But that didn’t stop me. And it doesn’t have to stop you.

Monetizing your blog

You can Google and find a lot of information but it’s overwhelming and hard to sift through. I’ve found things that specifically work for me and things I think could work for my friends on the spot to start getting their blogs monetized. It might be a series of baby steps, but I know that some of these thing can work for you if you’re willing to put in the effort it takes to run a successful blog. I wanted to make it easy for my friends and include step by step instructions they could take action on right away (with a large audience or a small one) and I wanted to lay out exactly how much money I made in my first year, second year, third year and current for them so they might have realistic expectations about what can happen.

I’m happy to share these things because I truly believe we can all succeed doing this. Bloggers have influence, like it or not. Bloggers sell. And even though blogging has changed, I think it’s here to stay in one form or another. Plus blogging is super fun! I love it for so many reasons.

The line that a project is “Pinterest-worthy” or a “Pinterest project” is pretty mainstream and is something that I hear regularly from friends. What some may not know is that nearly EVERYTHING you find on Pinterest came from a blogger or business. Bloggers pin their projects and share them with you. Blogs sell. They sell projects, products, fashion, beauty, home ideas, inspiration, goals, nutrition and more.

While things have changed in the blogging space, according to my blogger friends who have been doing it longer, I still think it’s a space that will continue to grow and I’m happy to welcome new people into the space. There is enough room for all of us. Now with this information, I will say that blogging for myself/my own blog, makes up 50-60 percent of my income. I do other things as well to make up my 32-hour/week career. I’ll share all of that in my upcoming ebook.

The ebook is slated to come out this summer after Ashley from The Blog Salon designs it. It’s going to have some pretty sweet bonus products as well. The price will be pretty low so that anyone can grab a copy and get started.

Are you ready? What questions do you have about blogging? I’m happy to include them in the book to make it as helpful as possible for everyone. I’m not a “blogging expert” by any means, but I think my story holds some weight and might help others.

For today, I’m sharing three things you need to get started monetizing a blog that you have to pay for and three FREE tools that can help you up your game.

Buy these

1. A self-hosted WordPress.org blog. Hosting via BlueHost is highly recommended and you can buy your unique domain name there as well. You can get other types of blogs, but I really like WordPress, highly recommend it and think hosting through BlueHost is easy. You cannot monetize while using WordPress.com’s free sites. They don’t allow it.

2. A camera. You need good original photos. Buy a camera. You won’t regret it. I have this one and love it, but I think that you can get a much less expensive option and be just fine. Just be sure to buy one that you can add lenses to.

3. One great lens. This lens is my absolute favorite lens but this budget friendly lens works well too. Photos are everything. My top source of blog traffic on a daily basis is from Pinterest. Pinterest is completely visual. You MUST have good photos and even if you’re not amazing at photography YET, you will get there and there are ways to get images that work. Read this post for a few tips on photography.

Use these (free tools)

1. Picmonkey. I use Lightroom to edit but until your site generates revenue, I’d stick with Picmonkey. It’s free. It’s great!

2. Polyvore. Polyvore is a great option that you can use in place of Photoshop to create collages of images, fashion looks, home design mock-ups and more. I actually use Polyvore and then edit and add text in Picmonkey even though I have Lightroom. It works really well!

3. Social media. OK, not exactly a tool, but you should get your accounts all set up now even if you have zero followers. Facebook has become sort of a lost cause for bloggers since less than 10 percent of followers see our posts. Instagram has been great. Pinterest is pretty fabulous still and almost every network that offers sponsored posts will want to see that you have all of these accounts. So, while you’re at it, grab a google plus account, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and more if you’re up for it.

Bonus: Sign up for Google Analytics and Google Adsense just so you’re ready.

OK, what do you want to know? How can I help you succeed? Leave a comment or shoot me an email. I’ll be sure to include your questions and answers in the ebook.

Affiliate links included.