You can’t make money blogging can you? Yes you can. Let me tell ya. So I’ve been blogging for about nine years now. My blog goodfinancialcents.com personal finance blog. When I started this blog in 2008 I didn’t know anything about blogging. And the story that I share a lot is that I thought that blogging meant that you were on MySpace. Remember that thing called MySpace?
– You guys have MySpace or?
– But the truth is I didn’t know anything about blogging, but yet I was determined to start my blog. Now, I’m a financial advisor so initially the blog was started so that I could attract new clients to my financial planning practice. So I wrote content.
I published blog posts, all trying to market myself and to get more visibility that people would see me and want to hire me. But then something funny happened. (laughs) And I started to connect with other personal finance bloggers. And as I connected with them they shared with me that they were making money from their blogs. At the time that blew me away because I didn’t know you could make money from blogging. How do you make money from blogging?
That just sounds weird. But then one of these bloggers confided in me and shared how much he was making. And he told me he was making between $30,000 to $40,000 from his blog. Now for most of you, making $30 to $40,000 from a website, that’s pretty awesome.
I mean that’s almost an annual salary for many people. But here’s what blew me away. He wasn’t making $30 to $40,000 a year from his blog, he was making $30 to $40,000 a month from his blog. How much did you say? Yes you heard that right. $30 to $40,000 a month from a website.
Now, that got my attention. So I started to learn some of the basics of how to monetize my blog. So I learned how ads work. I learned how affiliates work and eventually I learned how to create digital products. Different ways that I can monetize my site and actually get paid for writing. And I’m not even that good of a writer. But here’s some of the top things I learned from monetizing my blog and making my first $1,000.
So the first thing that I learned is that search engine optimization matters.
And if you don’t know what SEO means or search engine optimization, it basically just means when you go to Google and type in some phrase like red hot dogs. I don’t know why you’d be Googling red hot dogs but whatever. Whatever shows up in the top of the rankings that is what SEO or search engine optimization stands for. Now when I first started my blog, I wanted to rank for Jeff Rose because that’s my name.
Don’t wear it out. And before I started my blog if you Googled Jeff Rose you didn’t find me, you found Jeff Rose the Oregon Superintendent, Jeff Rose the golf polo shirt maker and Jeff Rose the actor. And no it’s not me. But I think I’m a pretty good actor. How dare you talk to my mom that way? (orchestral music) So I figured if somebody wanted to hire me as their financial advisor and they went to Google and put in Jeff Rose and they didn’t see me that wouldn’t be a good thing. So I wanted to be found.
But then it hit me, if somebody doesn’t know who Jeff Rose is and they want to hire a financial advisor, they’re not gonna Google Jeff Rose. So I started to think what would potential customers or clients type into Google to find me, or to find a financial advisor? So the first key word that I targeted was financial planner Illinois. I wanted to be the top in Google for that term. Now you can pay Google through Google AdWords Advertising to be that top position.
But I didn’t want to pay $25 or $35 every time somebody clicked a link and came to my website. ‘Cause I didn’t know if they were gonna call me. Pick up the phone and shoot me an email, or want to schedule an appointment. So I wanted to be found the free way because free is so much better. So I learned the tactics and strategies that I needed to be found for financial planner Illinois.
And sure enough within I think two or three months, when you went to Google and typed in financial planner Illinois, ♪ Ah! ♪ There I was. I was at the top of the search result, a position that I’ve held to this day. So once I figured out how that worked I started to think about other ways that I could be found for different search results. So I started to think about what are other terms that people would type in to Google if they’re trying to find a financial advisor? And I started down this path of writing articles about 41Ks and Roth IRAs and how to invest and how much life insurance do I need?
Now some of these worked and I was found and other ones didn’t work because there was other sites that outranked me. But none the less I was showing to Google that I had a quality website and they were putting me at the top of the rankings.
Now remember, I was doing all this before I realized that I could monetize my site.
So I was trying to rank for a lot of search terms, that were relevant for people trying to hire a financial advisor, but were also relevant if I wanted to insert some sort of advertising and get paid. So as my search engine traffic increased, I added what is called Google AdSense, or Googles Ads to the website. And if you’ve been to any website I guarantee you’ve seen Google ads some way some how.
Or if you went to Google and typed in some search you’ve seen a Google ad. How this works is that you sign up for a free Google AdSense account, and then you get Google’s code, you copy that, paste that into your website, and then Google will match which companies are willing to advertise for different search terms that are found on your site.
And one example I can give you is that if somebody wanted to buy life insurance and you put that Google AdSense on your code, if there’s a big insurance company like Metlife, John Hancock, and if they’re willing to advertise for a certain key word they would then start an account with Google and by you pasting that code on your site, you’re gonna get matched with whatever advertiser is willing to pay the top dollar.
It’s by far one of the easiest ways that you can monetize your site. All you got to do is write the content, copy and paste the code from Google AdSense, paste it on your site and then poof. You’re done. Now there is trick. You have to rank for these search terms and that’s something we can talk about at another time. Now by copy and pasting this Google AdSense code in my website I didn’t start getting a check for $1,000 immediately.
I don’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure like the first month I might’ve made like 10 or 15 bucks. Maybe $20. The next month it went up to 30 or 40. Eventually I got my first $100 payout. And if you get a $100 check from Google, it’s sweet because it’s like, it’s money in the mail.
Thanks Google. I got $100. But as I started to wrote more content and started to rank for other search terms, and my traffic increased, then I also saw my revenue increase. And within six or seven short months I was making $500 a month. And within about a year I was making over $1,000 a month all from Google AdSense.
Now mind you, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was still trying to figure it out. But, by networking with other bloggers, understanding some of the basics of search engine optimization, I was able to start making some extra money. And at the time making $1,000 extra a month was pretty sweet. Another method that was able to take that AdSense revenue to the next level is something that I would call the crystal ball method.
Now this is hard so if you are not really involved in a industry where you’re plugged into what’s going on and have a decent understanding of what’s going to happen in the future this might be hard to do but here’s how it worked for me. So, back in 2009 there was this thing called the Roth IRA conversion. And I knew that in 2010 the IRS was going to change the code and how this worked. Now I wasn’t the only one that knew this, every single financial advisor in the country knew this. Every single investment brokerage or investment firm knew this too.
But I got lucky or I had the foresight, however you want to look at it. I wrote this blog post about this Roth IRA conversion in March of 2009 well before anybody else wrote about it. So as 2010 approached, all of a sudden I was getting tons and tons of traffic from everybody that was searching this term. And I was able to take advantage of that traffic for the entire 2010 year. So back in 2010 if you Googled Roth IRA conversion, you didn’t find Fidelity, you didn’t find Van Guard, what you found was my blog, Good Financial Cents at the number one result for that search term. And that’s when I saw my AdSense revenue go from $1,000 a month on up to $3,000 and then $4,000 a month.
Almost making $5,000 in one month. Now the crystal ball method is probably something that you can’t do every single month. And you might not be able to do it even every single year. But other opportunities I’ve been able to find this with is the Facebook IPO, the Twitter IPO, Snapchat IPO.
These are all occurrences that we knew were happening, and a lot of people were talking about it. So whether it was writing a blog post or recording a video talking about these, I was able to capitalize on that. So whatever topic that you decide to blog about, in that industry what is something that is potentially going to change that no one else has wrote about yet?
That you can be the first one to write about. And you don’t even have to be the first person to write about it. You can be the second or third person but if you publish a good piece of content that’s better than anything else out there, then you can potentially outrank them, and also get more social shares out of it.
So for the longest time, Google AdSense was the only way that I was making money from my blog. And when I was making over $1,000, $2,000 a month, I really didn’t see any other reason to change it. But, when I started to once again talk to these other bloggers and how they were monetizing their site, I realized that I was missing out on even more money. So that’s when I started incorporate affiliates on the to the side.
With affiliate marketing you’re representing a company that offers a product or service that you believe in, preferably one that you’ve tried out yourself. And if you write about them and mention them on your blog, if one of your readers clicks that link, and then opens an account with that affiliate or buys a product through that link from that affiliate then you get paid a small commission. Now in the investment world that was so easy for me, because there’s so many different online investment options.
One of the first affiliates that I signed up for was Scottrade. Now Scottrade does not exist anymore. They merged with another investment company. But they’re based out of St Louis which was close to me at the time. Now at the time, I didn’t have a Scottrade account so I didn’t really feel comfortable talking about them, or recommending them so what I did was I opened an account with Scottrade.
I went online, opened an account, put some money in so that I could actually experience what it felt like to be a Scottrade customer. And let me tell you, I was impressed with the whole experience.
The next day I got a phone call from a branch manager that was 45 minutes from me, offering to meet with me to help me make my first investment. Now I told him I was a financial advisor and I was just kinda doing my own research on their platform, but they were still gracious enough to answer any questions I had, and help me with anything that I needed. So after being a customer for awhile, I was able to understand how their platform worked. And then I could share with others what my experience was.
I recorded a video on how to open a Scottrade account, a behind the scenes tutorial. I wrote blog posts about it. I answered reader questions on opening an account with Scottrade and how it compared to other online investment platforms out there. So because I was a customer of Scottrade, and wrote a lot of content on them and published videos about them, they ended up becoming a very good affiliate.
And if all I had was AdSense on my blog and I didn’t have that affiliate relationship, I still would’ve made money, but I can roughly estimate that I made five times, maybe ten times as much because of that affiliate relationship. So what I’ve learned about affiliate marketing is that you don’t want to be scummy. You don’t want to be a douche bag. Make sure you’re representing affiliates that you believe in, that you trust. If you’re just signing up to be an affiliate for some company just to earn a quick buck, your readers are gonna know.
They’re gonna figure it out. And you don’t have to be professional to recommend an affiliate company. Yes I’m a financial planner so me opening an account with Scottarde, it maybe had some credit to it, but I know a lot of personal finance bloggers that are not financial advisors that have a day job that have opened accounts with places like Scottrade, other online investment platforms. And just by showing their readers what they did and how they did it, they are now perceived as being the expert because they’ve done it. And that’s all you have to do. Become an expert with that affiliate by opening an account, by giving it a try so that you can share that experience with your readers.
So between Google AdSense and representing different affiliate companies, I was able to take a blog that had zero readers that was making no money, and go from making nothing to $1,000 a month, $5,000 a month up to $15 to $20,000 a month. Now it’s grown a lot since then and we’ve added a lot of different monetization channels. But, AdSense or some sort of banner ads and affiliates, just by getting started with those two different methods, you can easily make an extra $1,000 a month.
In fact I want to show you how to do it. I’ve created a free email challenge called the Make 1K Challenge. And I want to show you how to start your blog and make your first $1,000. I’m gonna show you the exact blueprint that I used that I talked about today to go from making nothing to making my first $1,000 payout. So if you want to make $1,000 from your blog, you can go to make1kchallenge.com.
Sign up for the free email challenge, because free is awesome. I don’t like to pay for stuff. It’s free. Sign up. And you’ll be immediately enrolled in this challenge ’cause I want to help you make that first $1,000. I want to change your life. I want you to start something new that excited you and also inspires others. So check out make1kchallenge.com and let’s get started. Take care. But then one of these bal… And then you get Google’s code. I don’t if that’s funny but whatever. Cut that part out real quick. Now it’s grown a lot. My goodness.