Blogging Your Way to Wealth

Check out my new guide for starting a blog to learn how to go about properly creating your own blog.

Previously I mentioned that I was open to other bloggers contributing to my weekly blogging tips series. At the time this offer didn’t generate much interest. I guess as this is mostly a personal finance blog fellow bloggers were more comfortable writing about finance topics. Still, I’d love to hear people’s stance on particular blogging strategies. I know my approach is far from the only approach one can use to succeed.

This week’s blogging tip is a guest post from my friend Steve who blogs at Money Infant. I recommend you check out his blog. He has a very interesting story of how he works online full time overseas. Sounds like a pretty sweet lifestyle to me.

If you’re new to this series, check out some of the previous blogging tips posts:

How You Can Blog Your Way to Wealth

There has been so much said over the past few years about getting rich as a blogger that the title of this post has almost become a cliché. Even so, while the blog-o-verse has become more crowded (Pingdom reports 87.8 million Tumblr blogs and 59.4 million WordPress sites in 2012), and competition is fierce, you can still blog your way to independence if not wealth.

One good example of this is Modest Money, and another is my own blogs Thailand Musings and Money Infant, which have allowed me to pick up and move halfway around the world to Thailand, where I’ve been living with my family for the past two years. I certainly haven’t blogged my way to riches yet by any means, but in conjunction with some good freelance writing gigs I have been able to replace my prior income from an employer with an income from my own efforts.

So, in the face of increasing competition in most blogging niches how does one go about creating money from blogging? While many beginning bloggers may think success in blogging is tied to writing ability, the fact is that even a marginal writer can create a large following and income from blogging. The only real writing ability needed is the ability to present your ideas in a clear and coherent fashion. It also helps if you are able to get into the minds of your readers and give them what they want (note that this may be different from what they need).

Even more important than writing ability for bloggers though is the ability to market, especially in the early days of your blog. The build it and they will come days are long gone on the internet and without a solid marketing plan no one will ever discover your blog, let alone become a regular reader.
Marketing takes several different forms, and there are a wide number of ways to market your blog. Some are more effective than others, but typically the most effective are those methods that you feel most comfortable with or are good at doing. What are some of these blog marketing techniques?

  • Commenting on related blogs. This is one of the quickest ways to generate traffic and get some followers for your own blog. Simply seek out related blogs and leave thoughtful and useful comments on those blog posts. The author of the blog is almost certain to check out your blog as will some of their readers…who may in turn become your readers as well. Plus it sets the stage for the next marketing technique.
  • Guest posting. After commenting on the same blog several times you may have developed a conversation or rapport with the blog owner. Even if you haven’t, they will at least recognize your name and blog. This is the perfect time to approach them and see if they are willing to accept guest posts from you. Guest posting has become a bit overused in some cases, but if you’ve taken the time to develop at least a minimal relationship with a blog owner they will be much more inclined to accept a guest post from you. They get good free content and you get added exposure for your site.
  • Sidebar links. These used to be effective as marketing tools, but these days I think they have diminished returns. Certainly never turn down a sidebar link, but these days it is of little use to actively seek them out. Some bloggers will add your blog to their blog roll anyway if they like your writing style. And you could always make a blog roll request after becoming a regular contributor to a blog.
  • Paid advertising. Most of us have no budget for paid advertising when starting out, so this is somewhat of an advanced technique. Unless you are in a high paying niche or have a product of your own to sell, this is not something you want to consider until you become somewhat established anyway. Plus, you should be adept at using your analytical data to track visitors and determine your ROI from paid advertising.
  • Social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media sites are great for getting your content shared, however they present something of a double edged sword. When you are just getting started you will have very few followers on your social media accounts, which means they provide very little impact. In fact, you may need to focus part of your marketing efforts on marketing your social media accounts before you see significant results from social media marketing. A bit of a Catch-22, but I never said this was going to be quick or easy.

In addition to the active marketing techniques there are a host of other things you can be doing to gain more exposure for your blog including targeting a specific type of reader, creating controversy around certain aspects of your niche, optimizing your blog for search engines, being honest and transparent, and optimizing your blog for your readers.

Whew! Seems like a lot of work huh? Well, it is and it will also require a lot of learning on your part. Technical learning about your blogging platform, marketing learning to get your blog brand in front of as many people as possible, writing learning to improve your posts and the impact they provide, and search engine optimization learning for more long term organic traffic.

Don’t let the amount of work discourage you from blogging though. When you consider that many people take four years to complete a college education only to graduate and start a career at dismal wages (if they can even find employment), blogging begins to look more attractive. While I can’t guarantee success, I would be willing to bet that a person who puts four years of consistent effort into developing and marketing a blog will be making considerably more after that time versus a new college graduate. It may not be wealth from blogging, but that level of effort can most certainly provide a living wage, and it’s fun besides!

Author Bio: This has been part of the blogging tips series and was contributed by Steve Walters from Money Steve has been blogging since 2006 and has been able to use his blogging success to create an independent lifestyle, moving with his family to live in Thailand for the past 2 years. You can connect with him on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

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