Can you earn money from a blog during your first year? That’s a critical question for anyone who wants to set up a blog.
The short answer: Yes.
The long answer: Yes, but only if you take the right steps. Read on to find out how to make money from your blog.
Earn Money From a … what?
In case you’re not familiar with the word, a “blog” is a website that’s regularly updated with photos and stories. Many blogs are managed and written by a single author, though some are multi-author collaborations.
You can write on a blog from anywhere that has an Internet connection: Thailand, Italy, Hawaii. The world is open to those who blog.
And while many people treat blogging as a fun hobby, there are also many others who derive their primary source of income from their blog. I personally know at least a dozen people who earn a six-figure income from their blog every year. In fact, the year 2013 was the first year in which I myself broke the six-figure mark.
So how can you start earning money from your blog within the first year? Here are four things you should do:
Step 1: Learn How to Blog.
I have a print journalism background, so I thought I knew how to blog. But as it turns out, managing a blog is incredibly different than writing for a newspaper or magazine.
My first blog, which I started in 2008, was a complete flop. I treated it like a print magazine assignment: I poured all my effort into writing stellar content, and then I wondered why nobody was reading my articles.
After three years of getting nowhere, I took the step that I should have taken initially: I devoted myself to the study of blogging.
That’s when I realized that as a blogger, I’m not just a “writer.” I’m a publisher.
I learned how to register a domain, how to set up Internet hosting, and how to use a design a site so that it has a professional look and feel.
I learned how to write in a voice and tone that appeals to online readers, how to craft clickable headlines, and how to tailor my content to a specific target readership.
Most importantly, I learned how to promote my blog. (More on that below.)
Thanks to those efforts, my second blog – Afford Anything – became far more successful than my first. So my primary tip to people who want to earn money from blogging is to “learn how to blog.” Don’t just toss up a quick Blogger page and start writing, as I did. Instead, invest your time into learning how to do it right.
Step 2: Promote, Promote, Promote.
You can’t just write great content … and then kick back and wait for people to find you. I made that mistake when I started, and it cost me three years of missed opportunity.
When I began learning how to blog, I discovered how to promote my website. I cannot overstate how crucial this was to my blogging success.
I learned how to use social media tools, like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, StumbleUpon and more, in order to garner more traffic.
I figured out which “search engine keywords” I should target, in order to get more Google search traffic.
I learned how to form key relationships with other bloggers, how to write guest articles for much larger websites, and how to build an e-mail list of devoted fans.
If you want to earn money as a blogger, learn how to promote your blog … and put those lessons into action. This is the single most important step that you can take.
Step 3: Choose a Money-Making Strategy
There are dozens of ways to earn money as a blogger.
You can use your blog as a “lead generator” to fuel another business, such as selling taco seasoning or writing freelance articles.
You can create and sell your own products. Or you can link to other people’s products and collect a commission on each sale.
You can sell sponsored posts, or earn money through traditional display advertising.
After you start blogging, you’ll need to choose whichever method fits you best, and then target that method. Don’t worry if you don’t know how you want to monetize your site at the beginning. Sometimes, you’ll test a lot of methods and find the one that works best.
It’s absolutely possible to earn money in your first year as a blogger. But of course, the first step is to get started.
Don’t wait any longer. Launch your blog today … and enjoy earning an income from any spot in the world.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]