Have you ever dreamed of making money from your passion? Do you want to share your interests, hobbies, and perspectives with the rest of the world? Well, it’s now 2019 and thanks to the internet, you can make a full-time living from blogging! Here’s how to become a full time blogger (and get paid) by someone who has been full-time blogging for over a year!
How do you make a successful blog?
I’d like to preface this post by answering the question: how do you make a successful blog? Well, firstly the definition of success means completely different things to different people! While for some, it does indeed mean becoming a professional blogger, meaning that you make a full-time living from blogging, for others, ‘a successful blog’ means having a fulfilling hobby. Both are perfectly fine!
Again, other people define a successful blog as resonating with/ helping an audience/ readership out, and for most people, having a ‘successful blog’ can mean a mix of all of the above! For example, if someone had told me just a few years ago that I’d be starting 2019 as my own boss and blogging for a living, I would never have believed them! However, I’ve now been blogging full-time for well over a year and couldn’t be enjoying it more (or feel luckier).
Whenever I tell someone that blogging is my full-time job, I often receive several different responses. While some people ask me straight away how much money I make, others ask me when I’ll find ‘a real job’. Well, thanks to the internet, it’s perfectly possible to make blogging your full-time job, not to mention that blogging is now a viable career path.
How do I start a career in blogging?
First things first: getting started. I’d say that one of the hardest things when it comes to starting your own blog is putting yourself out there. Not everyone is going to like your blog, nor is everyone going to agree with what you say. Make peace with the fact and create a plan for starting your blogging career.
When starting out, you’ll need to consider aspects such as: how much money do you need to make before you can quit your current job? What are your goals for creating a blogging business (making money/ sharing your passions/ teaching people/ all of the above)?
Choose your niche/ topic that you write about and start your blog. Although many people would recommend that you choose something that makes money, you’ll need an interest in the subject in order to continue writing when no one is reading your blog. Blog topics can be quite literally anything; fashion, home, books, travel, culture, finance- literally anything!
How to start your blog
If you’re just starting out, then the first decision you’ll have to make will be how to ‘host’ your blog on the internet. What this means is that there will need to be a location (URL) from where your site can be accessed and indexed on the web. From the get-go, I’d go with a paid domain as this means that you’ll own all of the content, as opposed to a free platform that could be shut down at any moment!
You’ll need to choose a domain name (here’s how to pick a good blog name) and register the available social media handles (I recommend starting with Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook). I personally recommend starting out on a self-hosted site with Siteground.
Furthermore, be sure to go with WordPress Installation. After all, there’s a reason that the WordPress platform is one of the most popular website builders on the internet! Once your blog has grown, you might want to invest in a managed hosting where your blog host will update plugins and perform site fixes for you. I personally host my blog with Performance Foundry and couldn’t recommend them more!
How do I make my blog a full time job?
So now that you’ve created your blog, you likely want to advance to the next step. Well, although many people would like to start making money straight away, the truth of the matter is that, for the most part, you should be focusing on other things before you start making any money! For example, you should consider your audience first, and the money second!
With this being said, even when you start earning money, it’s important to remember that without your audience, you wouldn’t have a business at all. And that brings me onto my second point: treat your blog like a business! Of course, it’s fine if you want your blog to bring in a part-time income, or you simply want to blog as a hobby.
However, if you truly want to make your blog your full-time job, you need to focus on several different aspects. You’ll need to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis. You’ll also need to write, write, and write some more. (Check out my post on how to improve your writing, as told by a travel writer).
Build your blog to a point where it earns a full-time income
If you truly want to live off of your blog, then you’ll need to build this to a point where it consistently brings you money. Whether this is in terms of traffic (page views), regular clients, or customers who are going to buy your products is entirely up to you. The point is, most full-time bloggers have multiple income streams, meaning that if one month one of them fails, there are still back-up income streams!
For me personally, building my blog has by and large been all about networking (for many opportunities you’ll often be recommended by other bloggers) and growing my audience base to hundreds of thousands of page views a month. I’d say that the hardest part is reaching those first thousand monthly readers.
Although the sheer volume of information on how to build your audience and increase your page views could easily be its own blog post (check out my guide on how to increase your blog traffic exponentially here), there are several important steps and platforms you need to keep in mind.
Firstly, SEO is your friend. When starting out, many bloggers (myself included) shy away from Search Engine Optimization, believing it to be too difficult. However, this would be your first mistake! Instead, invest in tools to do keyword research and focus on creating quality content that resonates with your ideal audience on an ongoing basis. I now offer SEO blog audits (contact me firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!)
I also recommend putting a lot of effort into Pinterest. Create pins for every post, optimise your ALT image tags in a user-friendly way, and focus on pinning on a regular basis. Pinterest is one of my top traffic referrers and it’s important to bear in mind that, much like SEO, Pinterest traffic can take months to build up.
How much does a full time blogger make?
Finally, the question you’ve probably been waiting for: how much money does a full time blogger make? Well, this is a hard question to answer because everyone makes money in such different ways! I’ve written a whole post here about how to make money travel blogging, but if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, I’ll give a little overview.
Although everyone chooses to make money in different ways, I personally prefer making money via passive income. What this means is that when you set things up the first time around, they continue making money for months or years to come. For example, with banner ads (I personally use Mediavine), I’ll make a little bit of money per every visitor that comes on the site.
When it comes to affiliate income, you add your own personalised link to your website when you recommend a product and then get a small commission each time someone clicks on or buys something through your link. For affiliate marketing, you’ll want to use platforms like Booking.com, Amazon, ShareASale and GetYourGuide.
Other ways to make money include sponsored posts (though I recommend never ever selling a do-follow link as this goes against Google guidelines and can lead to your site being de-indexed!), sponsored travel (i.e. you get paid to create deliverables during a press trip), and selling products/ licensing photos.
When it comes to how much money a full-time blogger makes, this can vary wildly from person to person, and even then, from month to month. Several bloggers I know of have created income reports and can make anything from $1000 a month to $100,000! So, as you can see, there really is no minimum or maximum!
Tips for becoming a full-time blogger
In order to grow your blog, build your audience, and create multiple income streams, the biggest factor is time and patience. Success doesn’t come overnight (otherwise you’d see many more full-time bloggers!). Don’t EVER give up and keep working at it. Try different tactics and experiment with your content and social media channels.
As time goes by, you’ll gain plenty of blogging skills, that are transferrable into other careers. For example, I often license my photos now and occasionally create freelance writing pieces for other people. The biggest mistake new bloggers make is that they give up too quickly.
Consider creating a content calendar where you map out what content you’ll post and set achievable goals, being sure to celebrate them when you hit even the smallest milestone. It’s often said that comparison is the thief of joy and so be sure not to compare your day 1 with another person’s day 1000.
And so, if I were to give just one tip on how to become a full time blogger, it would be this: be patient. These things take time. And most importantly of all: never give up!