In online business, everything starts with a blog. It drives traffic to your website, introduce you to the customers, position you as an authority, builds your email list and get you money for your time and efforts.
No matter if you are ‘only’ a blogger or you’re having a web shop or selling your product, you need a traffic to your website.
When I say traffic, I mean visitors that matter, those who’re interested in your field. As you might expect, writing blog posts alone, is not enough to get you, visitors.
You need promotion (short term) and rankings in search engine’s (long term). Both is doable and very much related. Basically monetizing a blog is a 3-step process:
The goal is to get your visitor to convert and become your customers. The content you’re sharing is that directly affects the conversions.
A lot of parts can be improved, so that conversion get higher, but the valuable content is what makes you trustful partner. The path is clear but it’s a long run.
The good news is that everyone can and should do it. Even if you don’t enjoy writing, you can hire someone to do it for you.
Still, you’ll be the one giving directions to your blogger, including the topics, keywords and more. In this article, I’ll walk you through all the steps from defining the audience, generating content ideas, promoting, using right keywords and finally getting paid for your work.
Before you start writing a blog, ask yourself: Who is going to read your blog? Is your final objective selling products or services for other businesses or individual customers?
Creating content, including blogs, for other businesses (business-to-business - B2B), is not exactly the same as for broad audience (business-to-customer - B2C).
Other businesses have some issues and want something to make their life easier. Be the one who analyzes their problems, write about it and provide the solutions.
That's how you make valuable content for them and position yourself as an authority.
Once they picture you like that, your visitors will leave your their emails so that you can notify them about the new great stuff you've just published.
You see where I'm getting at with this? When your email list is big enough, you're good to start email campaigns and start to get rewards for your efforts.
I've been writing about B2B email marketing, so I'll just extract the major points here:
Writing for customer requires a bit different approach. You'll still bring visitors interested in your product or service, but the actual conversions are much lower.
Comparing to B2B's, this type of content don't necessarily need to be actionable, but more promotional. You are speaking to your customers directly, so be aware of their emotions.
Right emotional words can make a difference because they grab the attention of your customers. Now this is important, for the individual customer will make a final decision by himself.
The main difference is objective. In B2B you want to get leads, while in B2C it's more about brand awareness.
Also intent is not the same. B2B marketer is focused on business issues, and B2C marketer is trying to understand its customers on more personal level including behavior and emotion.
Here are some more differences between B2B and B2C marketers:
Now that you have directions what to write and how, depending on your audience, it’s time to think about actual topics.
This is something where bloggers often stuck, but they really shouldn’t have to. There are tools to generate content marketing ideas and they are very helpful.
Let’s see how to use Quora for this purpose.
The most popular Q&A website in the world is Quora. Knowing that ~419.610 questions are being asked every month, gives you hint what people want to know.
Your job is to find questions from your industry and your niche. In the search box, type any phrase you like and slick on the suggested Topic. In my case, I’d like to see results for content marketing.
As you type your words, Quora instantly gives you suggestions related to your search. Right on your screen, you can see how many questions, followers and edits your topic has.
On Content marketing there 3.4k Questions and I’m allowed to see all of them.
Click on Topic FAQ and you’ll see the most asked questions related to your topic.
See that second question has 58 answers, which I can use to expand my knowledge and maybe decide to use it as a source for my blog post.
You’ll notice that Topic FAQ questions tend to be more general and that is not a good idea to chose it as a title.
In Inbound marketing industry such questions are already answered in amazing ways from high domain authority sites. Let’s check it to be sure.
Obviously no room there. Even Quora wasn’t in the top 5 organic results. But what we can notice is that, apart from high DA, the top ranks are related to the intent.
Therefore, I could go for something like:
Managing a blog requires various activities such as generating ideas, writing, creating, distribution, organizing and more.
That’s why we’ve created the biggest list of content marketing tools that will help you to be efficient and save your time.
I’ve already mentioned Quora as a tool for generating content marketing ideas. Let’s see how to use some others.
In writing process, you want to catch some rhythm and correcting spelling mistakes is exactly what breaks it.
With Google Docs you don’t have to worry about it because you’ll have incorrectly typed words underlined. When you take a break from typing, spot the underlined word use the right click fix it.
Remember the time when you constantly use CTRL+S to have your work saved? That time is over now because Google Docs automatically saves everything you do.
Plus you can share your docs with others.
All the time we’re talking about quality content that brings value.
Besides actionable post, statistics, comparisons and stuff like that are something that customers like and share and something that bring backlinks.
The best way to show such things to your audience is creating infographics.
Here is a good example from Skyrocketgroup:
Many tools can help you to create stunning infographics. My recommendation is Piktochart.
So you’ve published an amazing blog post. Time for your audience to see it. How? You can get the visitors:
All channels are important. I’ve already written a guide how to advertise on Facebook and email marketing so here I’ll stick to search engines.
According to web media, search engine optimization (SEO) is a methodology of strategies, techniques, and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) - including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
When we say search engines we all mean Google Search Engine, so I’ll stick to it.
Getting traffic from Google can is nothing else than bringing visitors who looked for something by typing keywords on Google Search.
They will come to your site if they see you on the results of their searches. There are two ways to get there:
For example, take a look at the results for digital marketing:
Google ads are in the red box while green box contains organic results.
Simple conclusion would be that advertised sites made the highest bid for the keyword digital marketing, right? Possibly but not necessarily.
Google works as an auction, but not in a way that you can just bid with the ridiculous amount of money for some popular keyword and expect to get displayed all the time to everyone.
They want to show relevant results to their users. That’s why they assign you a Quality Score. A snippet from this infographic explains it:
Here is what Google says about Quality score:
Quality Score is intended to give you a general sense of the quality of your ads. The 1-10 Quality Score reported for each keyword in your account is an estimate of the quality of your ads and landing pages triggered by them. Three factors determine your Quality Score:
So, having a high Quality Score means that our systems think your ad and landing page are relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad.
- Expected clickthrough rate
- Ad relevance
- Landing page experience
High-quality score directly affects your CPC (cost per click).
You can see it from the formula:
Competitor AdRank / Your Quality Score + .01 = Actual CPC
The truth is that only Google knows all the factors that determine the Quality Score, but the point is that if you bid for relevant keywords and provide great user experience, you’ll have high rankings and low costs.
Paid ads are a powerful way to get visits fast. But they cost money and generally they last as long as you are paying for it.
Therefore you need to a long-term strategy and that’s why you need to think about rankings in organic results.
First of all, let’s see potential of Google searches in 2016:
These numbers are scary and they will continue to increase. Whatever industry and niche you are, your customers must be here.
Let’s find them.
When I talked about Google Ads I explained that it’s an auction where you bid for specific keywords. For head terms, the competition is toughest because they have the biggest search volume.
In other words, forget about head terms, and focus on long-tail keywords - searches with at least 4 words.
What’s more, long-tail keywords have higher conversions than short terms with big search volume.
The best thing about long-tail keywords is that it’s much easier to rank for them than for short terms.
This way you can get more traffic from good rankings for long-tail keywords. It’s better to have 30% from 1000 search volume (long-tail-keywords) than 1% from 10.000 search volume (head terms).
Wait, is the difference in CTR’s really that high? Yes. With long-tail search people usually express their intent and know exactly what they are looking for the while, head terms are mostly general searches.
Imagine that you’re writing about the attractive destination you have visited. If you try to optimize your blog for terms like “attractive destinations” or “cities to visit” you’ll probably fail reach high rankings and make enough visits.
However, if you include proper long-tail keywords like: “top 11 places to visit in Croatia during summer” your chances will be much better.
How to find good long-tail keywords?
First and foremost, include only relevant keywords because Google is getting smarter every day, literally. It understands users intent and constantly improve in delivering most relevant results.
Now, I’ll show you several ways to find long tail keywords. I’ll stick to previous assumption that you are a tourist blogger.
You start with Google suggestions. Start typing a general term and Google will suggest you more specific search.
For the phrase most interesting european destinations Google suggested me to add for chinese tourists in my query, which means it’s a good long-tail keyword.
To find some more keywords related to this one, simply scroll down the page and you’ll find related searches.
To generate ideas with insights about search volume use Keyword Planner.
You’ll need to create Google account to access. Click on Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.
Then, type several relevant phrases related to your blog and get ideas:
Order Keyword ideas by Average monthly searches and find some long-tail keywords with low competition and high search volume.
These underlined keywords could be interesting titles for your new blog post. In this example, I’ve only looked for ideas related to three phrases and I could have tried for a lot more.
But instead of thinking about them and writing them one by one, you can do it much efficiently using keywordtool.io.
It’s an alternative to Google Keyword Planner, but I would suggest combining these tools to find the best long tail keywords.
Here is how: Type the phrase relevant to your blog and hit Enter.
You’ll get a bunch of long-tail keyword ideas. However, to see insights about search volume, CPC, and competition, you need to try Keyword Tool Pro.
Nevertheless, you can select interesting keywords and copy to clipboard.
Then simply paste it to Keyword Planner and get the results like I previously explained.
There are more ways and more tools (remember Quora from the beginning) where you can find long-tail keywords, but these three will do the job for now.
After you increase the traffic on your blog, it’s time to benefit from it.
There are various ways to monetize your blog and depending on what you do and what you write about, some ways can bring you more money than others.
Can I monetize a fun blog?
The fact that you don’t sell any products or services doesn’t mean you have to miss an opportunity to earn money from your blogging.
On the contrary, if your blog becomes popular and brings enough visitors you should take your chance to live from it.
First of all, if you have managed to increase your traffic many would want to know how you did it.
You can offer paid online courses. Your blog readers are your best customers because they are already interested in your writing.
Now let’s see how to convert visitors to become your customers. Have CTA (click to action) buttons visible all the time. Take a look at how Neil Patel do it.
On his blog, you’re always one click away from registering to his webinars.
The math is simple. If you have 100.000 visitors monthly and 1% register for the online course, you’ll get 1.000 customers. Also, you can offer consulting services.
When you keep producing a great content, over the time, you'll become an authority.
Your bits of advice will be valuable, and people won't hesitate to pay for them because they will have a proven successful blogger focused on solving their problems.
I’ve already said that you don’t have to sell your products to earn money from a blog.
However, others can point visitors to buy from others which is called affiliate marketing. It’s defined as is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.
Here are two important rules to remember for affiliate marketing: recommend products that you’re familiar with make recommendations from the context you’re writing Kitchen Faucet Reviews is a great example of successful Amazon Affiliate website.
It follows two fundamental rules - recommend trustful products related to their website.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
After you choose the products to affiliate with, you’ll get unique affiliate code, that you should copy and paste to your site, which is used to refer traffic to the target site.
When visitors click on the links they get redirected to the product site. Both you and sellers can access to sales to apps like WP Affiliate Platform.
Also, affiliate marketing is not only selling products, There are programs that pay per click or per lead.
Whatever your blog is about, try to avoid blog ads. Ultimate goal of blogging is keeping your visitors attention and having sidebar ads is like pointing them to leave your site.
The ads are designed to distract you which usually makes your blog look ugly.
That has a negative effect on user experience and anything with that characteristic should be eliminated because user experience has a huge impact on your rankings.
The thing is, if you want to gain some money from ads you need to have enormous traffic.
For example, with an average click-through rate (CTR) of 1%, you would need 1000 visitors per day to earn $0.50. So, for $50,00 daily you need 10.000 visitors per day.
But having such a big traffic opens up many other and much better chances to monetize your blog.
One more thing, maybe you’ve noticed that I didn’t mention that you can always make money from being a freelance blogger but this guide is about monetizing your own blog.
At the beginning, I said that everything starts with a blog. Now you understand why I said it - a blog can give you traffic and in a process of monetizing a blog getting the traffic is a half job done.
You can do a lot to increase the traffic and you’ve seen it how. The most important thing is creating a valuable content because that way you’re becoming an authority.
You can generate content ideas using tools like Quora, BuzzSumo, and others. You can promote your content directly through sending emails or through paid ads on search engines and social networks.
In a long term, you'll get more traffic organically. Including long-tail keywords will make the difference, but make sure that they relevant and related to your content.
When you’re selling products to monetize a blog means to convert your visitors to customers. But even if you don’t have your own products you can make money from your blog.
Offering online courses and consulting services are very efficient ways to do it. Also, affiliate marketing is very popular among bloggers. If you decide to try it offer trusted products related to the topics you’re writing about.