A Simple System to Turn Your Blog into a Cash Machine

By Mary Jaksch

earn money bloggingCan you make money blogging?

The answer is: Yes!

But when you first start blogging, earning from a blog seems impossible.

But the good news is that you – yes, you who are reading this article – can make money blogging!

And I’m not talking a few dollars. I’m talking about earning a substantial income from your blog.

Read on to find out how to go about it.

Some people think it’s simply about using different blog monetization methods, but if you really want to earn big from your blog, you need to change the strategy underlying your methods.

Obviously, I won’t be able to cover the whole shebang in this post, but I’ll give you some important pointers about a strategy that actually works.

But first, let me tell you about about my journey of blogging.

Here’s what happened…

When I first began blogging, I was like a blind person trying to find my way through an unfamiliar town.

I started with GoodlifeZEN.com and then added a blog for writers, WritetoDone.com. A few months in, the whole blogging thing looked like a disaster! Goodlife ZEN only had about 50 subscribers. WritetoDone was doing a bit better because Leo Babauta had originally started it. But I wasn’t earning a dime.

If you had asked me at that time whether it was possible to create a six-figure income from blogging, I would have laughed!

But I kept going.

I struggled, and studied, and worked hard.

Now I make a fix-figure income from blogging. And I’ve taught others to do the same. Like Carol Tice right here at Make a Living Writing, or Scott Dinsmore, or Jules Clancy, or Steve Aitchison (all of whom went through my training at A-List Blogging).

Let’s take a look at what works – and what doesn’t.

Which earning strategies really work?

1. The Field of Dreams Strategy

Remember the film Field of Dreams? The key idea behind the film was, “Build it, and they will come!”

Many new bloggers start a blog with the same strategy. They create it and then wait for readers to arrive. And then… nothing much happens.

The upside of the Field of Dreams strategy is that there is total creative freedom. But this strategy won’t make you any money.

The Field of Dreams strategy doesn’t work if you want to make money because the focus is on the blogger, not on the potential customer.

2. The Funnel Strategy

The following strategy guarantees results.  I call it the Funnel Strategy. It turns the Field of Dreams strategy on its head.

With the Funnel Strategy, you focus on the end result, that is, on earning money with your blog. You may worry that this will limit your creativity. But this strategy simply means focusing your creative powers in a new way.
Sales Funnel 300x
The funnel is set up so that each new or returning visitor to your blog takes a planned pathway, finally ending in a sale.

If you already have a blog, don’t worry – you can tweak your blog so that you end up with a funnel that works for growth and income.

If you’re planning to start a blog, setting it up correctly from the get go is crucial.

When you use the Funnel Strategy, you need to start by asking five questions:

1. What is my best niche?

2. What are the markets in my niche?

3. Which product would be a good fit?

4. How can my blog setup support the funnel?

5. What content will draw readers into the funnel?

As you can imagine, there is a lot to say about the Funnel Strategy.

Right now, though, let’s take a look at those first three questions.

What’s your best niche?

A niche is a group of people with common interests, needs, desires or problems. Your niche has to be wide enough to be able to create ongoing content, but it needs to be narrow enough so that readers are bound together by a common interest.

As you can see in the image below, there are three aspects you need to consider when defining your niche.

best niche

1. Your niche needs to benefit readers.

Your blog will only flourish if what you write about is also of benefit to others.

“Bloggers fail because they don’t connect with an audience. Many bloggers don’t understand that the blog should be about their reader instead of themselves. Then they’re baffled why their blog doesn’t take off.” – Carol Tice, MakeaLivingWriting.com

This doesn’t mean that you can’t write about your own experiences, but there needs to be something that benefits your readers.

2. You need to have expertise.

Each one of us has expertise. Each of us has much more knowledge and experience than we give ourselves credit for. In fact, the kind of knowledge and experience that we think ‘everyone knows about’ is often our hidden treasure, the special expertise people want to know about.

3. You need to be passionate about your niche.

It’s very hard to continue a blog if you’re not deeply interested in the topic. After all, you have to come up with topics to blog about, week after week!

Passion is contagious. If you are passionate, your readers will be inspired.

What are the markets in your niche?

Monetizing your blog means selling something on your blog. And to sell anything, you need a market.

A market is a group of people with certain interests, needs, desires or problems, that can be offered information or solutions, have the ability to pay, and are willing to give money in exchange for solutions.

A useful way to think about possible markets is to consider urgency.

Why urgency is critical

People are more willing to buy a product or a service if urgency is high, that is, if they need an immediate solution to a problem.

Imagine for a moment that your blog is about parenting. Here are some needs and wants of parents, divided into three categories: urgent need, strong desire, and interest.

Urgent need new pixHow to communicate with difficult teenagers

How to get babies to sleep through the night

 

Strong desire pixHow to wean your baby

How to deal with truancy

 

interest square pixHow to massage your baby

How to teach your kid to read

 

Each of the topics above, from How to Communicate with Difficult Teenagers to How to Massage Your Baby, is a market within the niche of parenting.

What this means for blog monetizing

If you can identify markets within your niche that fall into one or more of the categories of urgency – urgent need,  strong desire, or interest – you’ll have no difficulty monetizing your blog.

What products could you sell?

Every niche and sub-niche includes markets with urgent need or strong desire.

Let me give you an example.

Tracy, a young blogger, recently decided to start a health blog. Nothing much happened; her blog didn’t flourish.

Her blog niche — health — was simply too wide. After all, readers look for specific information that touches on whatever health problem they are seeking to overcome.

Finally, Tracy realized she had some knowledge and experience that could benefit others. She had struggled for years with acne, and found a way to rid herself of it.

At last she had found a niche with a market of people with urgent needs!

Her blog took off. She produced a series of e-books on topics related to acne, like using nutrition to clear skin, or how to become more confident. Tracy now earns a good living from her blog.

But how to create a product?

Actually, you don’t need to create a product to monetize your blog! Creating a product, launching it, and marketing it is a lot of work.

It’s much easier to work with affiliate products, especially when you’re starting to monetize your blog. Many affiliate products give you 50% commission.

A good product will already have all the tools you need to sell it, like a sales page that converts, and banners.

Your job is to find a product that fits your blog niche and, if possible, fills an urgent need, a strong desire, or at least satisfies an interest.

It’s easy to find affiliate products. You can find them on ClickBank and other affiliate networks.

Finally…

I’m sure you’re getting a sense of how and why the Funnel Strategy works for monetizing a blog.

Do you have questions or thoughts about monetizing a blog? Please share in the comments below.

Mary Jaksch is the driving force behind A-List Blogging Masterclass (a program Carol recommends and yes, affiliate sells.) Mary is also the Editor-in-Chief of Write to Done  and Goodlife ZEN.

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19 comments on “A Simple System to Turn Your Blog into a Cash Machine
  1. Darlene Strand says:

    I have yet to explore my talent and potential of what I can do free lance writing as a beginner blogger. Being a hyper personality and mild tempered. In the back of my mind I could be a female ‘superwoman’, and attempt to jump higher with a lot of caution. Be as swift in development of content as my mortal mind will allow me! Its just a form of attitude! The world teaches you ‘what if and beyond’ I believe a product well thought over in development can cover as much or as less ground, the writer, has in mind to do to reach certain goals accepted and prove successful!

  2. Andrea Cole says:

    Do not forget that “content is king” and that really holds true along with finding your voice. Your blog posts shouldn’t read like your 8th grade book report.
    Andrea Cole recently posted…Homemade Hand SanitizerMy Profile

  3. Loved the webinar but have three questions: my passion is historic homes – think there is a market for affiliate earning there? Also, how much vetting do you do of the items you affiliate with? Finally, the Kickstarter program is a book and video. Could we get feedback answers to questions on the Den?
    I’ve got a blog ColumbiaHistoricHomes.com and love writing about Columbia (Missouri) historic buildings, but during the event thought – wow, I could use it to blog to make money, too. But I’d probably have to expand my focus right, to all historic homes?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Dianna, you may know that my affiliate policy is that I only recommend and affiliate sell products I have personally used, or have reviewed, and know the creator WELL. Most are my own personal mentors.

      I’ve found that works great for me — I usually get lots of thank-you notes from people who’ve bought things I affiliate sell! And that’s my yardstick that I’m doing it right. 😉

      The equivalent might be sticking with proven experts in the historic home niche. Be sure to ask to review their courseware or book first.

      We will not be supporting KickStart Your Blog in the Den, Dianna – it’s an A-List program. I believe they have their own forums? But you could ask Mary at maryjaksch@gmail.com.

      The question of how to niche your blog is a great one — exactly what that KickStart program is designed to help you parse out. Why don’t you start doing some research into the competition in historic homes blogs, and use the Google trick Mary taught you on the call?

      For anyone reading this who doesn’t know what we’re talking about, here’s a link to a replay of my event with Mary: http://alistblogging.net/welcome-carol-tices-readers/

  4. Raspal Seni says:

    Hi Mary/Carol,

    Would have loved to attend this webinar but not a good time for me at 2.30 AM. Would there be a replay at another time, or a recording available later?

  5. Terri says:

    Thanks, Mary. When I first started my blog, it was to get more views to my website and to help keep it updated for SEO purposes. However, I’m now looking into monetizing it more, getting more comments, and making the blog work for me.
    Terri recently posted…The Real Reason Why You Hate Yourself Right NowMy Profile

  6. Angie says:

    While my blog is meant more as a companion to my writing business and not a moneymaker on its own, it would be cool to have that extra source of income. Count me in for the webinar tomorrow. 😉
    Angie recently posted…Always Look On the Bright Side: Changing Thought PatternsMy Profile

  7. A good reminder for tomorrow’s event, Mary. I knew something was right with you and Carol when I left a comment on a blog and noticed you two had done the same. It felt like I was headed the right direction at the moment, which is what I’m expecting to feel like tomorrow.

    And I know I will.

    Thanks.
    David Gillaspie recently posted…ANNUAL BODY CLEANSING AND AGE MANAGEMENTMy Profile

  8. Karine Edwards says:

    Hi, Thanks so much for this! I will be attending the webinar tomorrow (from England, so it will be close to bedtime for me!).
    I haven’t set up my blog yet, but I have a niche that I believe will be of interest to many readers. I am by no means an expert on the topic though, it’s just something that interests me a lot and, with appropriate research, could provide answers to many people with social behaviour issues (or to parents of difficult children).
    My content would be written around referencing other useful resources on the subject.
    So I guess that my strategy should be to sell affiliate products, but I’m not sure how to do this in practice. I am looking forward to learning how I can best set this up and generate an income from my blog.

  9. My tip for bloggers is: Always encourage visitors to subscribe to your blog.

    I have found that a good 20% of my blog traffic comes from blogs subscribers.
    Katherine James recently posted…Get Paid To Write Articles by Checking These 5 Job Boards DailyMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      It’s more with mine, Katherine – think it’s more like 30-40% of traffic from subscribers. As your list grows, that proportion will rise.