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Can you make money blogging?

I am often asked about whether or not you can make money from blogging. In short the answer is yes, but it is not as simple as many bloggers will have you believe and that’s why I’ve decided to write this post.

What’s the catch?

Blogging won’t make you a millionaire overnight, it’s a slow burner, which involves a lot of effort, and it can take a while to recoup your initial costs, which is another reason I don’t actively promote it. I also have reached the conclusion that blogging has turned into a bit of a dodgy pyramid scheme/refer a friend/affiliate marketing black hole. Let me explain, if a blogger is saying they are making hundreds or thousands of pounds a month and says you can do it too, they will no doubt refer you to products or services. Examples of these are website hosting and courses. If you buy these products through their affiliate links, then they get a commission. This can sometimes be a set fee, and sometimes it is a percentage of your spend. A lot of legit bloggers will only refer you to products and services that they fully believe in, however there are some unscrupulous bloggers who have seen this trend, and will therefore recommend every book, service, course, product or anything else that will mean they can make a quick buck from you, no matter whether they actually like the product, or have even used it!

There is also no guarantee that what these bloggers are telling you about their income is true. They might tell you that they are making thousands of pounds, but there is no guarantee that it is true. They also might make that amount, but are they telling you how much they spend to make that amount? Are they leading you to believe that their income is actually their profit? They also might be making up the numbers entirely. Do your due diligence, research thoroughly, and trust your gut.

More and more people are starting their blogging journey with the understanding that if they do x, y and z they can make money quickly. Like anything in life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Pick a topic, whack out some content, bam make money. That is 100% not how it works.

What you need to know

Picking a topic

One of the top things I would point out that is to make money blogging about anything, whether you want to be a food blogger, a sports blogger, a fashion blogger, travel blogger, or any other type of blogger, it really does help if it is a subject or area that you are passionate about, or at least have a passing interest in. If you are making a website and content about something you aren’t interested in, it is going to feel like a job, it is also going to be hard to promote products in a niche you know nothing about. I do believe that blogging for the sake of blogging is not going to make you money long term.

WordPress and tech

A lot of people encouraging people to start their blogging journeys will tell you that you don’t need to have much technical or computing experience. Whilst I find WordPress (the biggest blogging platform, and a lot of major international websites also use this platform) quite intuitive, I have however been using it for several years now. I have helped many bloggers who love writing, but really struggle with the tech side. Ultimately, outsourcing any aspect of your blog (tech support, writing, SEO etc) is an option, but it will incur extra costs, and certainly in the early days this may not be an option. You are going to have a steep learning curve if you have never used anything like it before, and there are going to be some basics you are going to have to navigate in order to get your site live.

SEO and traffic

A lot of people have the illusion that once you press publish on a blog post, loads of people will automatically find it. The process of SEO (search engine optimisation) is not that straight forward. In order for people to find your content, your content needs to outrank other posts which Google can find. You need to submit your sitemap to Google, and also make sure your content is better than the other competing content out there. I am over simplifying this, but in short, getting traffic to your site is a hard slog. Keyword research, learning to write with SEO in mind, and understanding what Google is looking for will be the best way to get traffic to your site and gain traffic momentum.

One of the things I struggle with in this area is that every now and again Google has an algorithm update so all of a sudden your traffic might plummet and you have done nothing wrong or different. It is completely out of your control. I always loved maths at school, 2+2 is always 4. English however I struggled with, you might write something and one person thinks it’s amazing, and someone else thinks it’s terrible. SEO is like this. You can do everything that the latest advice says you should do, and yet the Google algorithms might still rank your content much lower than you think it deserves. It is heartbreaking and frustrating, as it is when a post you write before you understood SEO ranks really well and you just can’t understand or replicate it. It’s not me saying it’s not possible, it’s just an important aspect of blogging which I have struggled with.

So should I not start a blog?

If you want to be a blogger, do not let me put you off. Do your research, make considered choices, and have a think and try and write down 3-5 things that you are passionate about. Start by looking online to see what kind of blogs are out there which cover these things. Remember the content will never be 100% unique, but you are 100% individual and that’s what you can focus on!

Other bloggers who have great information all about blogging, and their journeys to making money from it on their sites are:

Ruth Makes Money
My Money Cottage

Got any questions about blogging or anything relating to it – feel free to get in touch and I’ll do my best to answer any questions and help you where I can!

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