Starting a blog as a hobby is great, but if you’re reading this then you probably want to learn how to start a blog and make passive income. If you blog for fun, then why not take it seriously and actually make some money?
To make passive income with a blog, you have to remember one thing: it will take time before you make your first dollar. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Step 1: Decide on your blog topic
What do you want your blog to be about?
It’s important that you blog about things you know and enjoy, but it’s equally important that it’s a topic that has a sizeable audience. It’s no use to be putting out content that only you and few people find interesting.
Your blog should catch the attention of a lot of people for it to become popular. You want a popular topic that has the right amount of people who will buy from you and for you to eventually make passive income with a blog.
Use Google Trends to check how many people search for your topic on a monthly basis.
For example, I want to start a niche affiliate marketing blog about vegan recipes. I go to Google Trends and type “vegan recipes.”
The graph shows a steady number of user search per month and is on an upward trend. This is a good sign that many people are looking up vegan recipes.
In addition to being popular, your topic should also have related products or services that you can promote and get commissions for.
In the example above, I might look for affiliate programs for the health food industry. Note that not all blog topics might have affiliate programs, which is another reason why you should stick to topics that a lot of people are interested in.
Some great topics to make passive income with a blog belong in these industries:
- Health & Fitness
- Entrepreneurship / Make Money Online
- Niche Hobbies (woodworking, fishing, knitting)
You don’t necessarily have to be within these categories, but these topics are known to have made tons of commissions for most successful affiliate marketers.
Step 2: Build your website
If you have decided on a blog topic, then it’s time to deal with the technical aspect of starting a blog.
To build a website, you need to buy a domain name. This will be the web address or URL of your site. For example, this website’s domain is rightpassiveincome.com.
You can go to a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap to register your domain. Most domain registrars charge under $10/year for one domain.
When that’s done, you need to find a web host. A web host is a service to give your new domain a home in the digital world. It’s where your website files and programs will be stored.
I recommend Bluehost because it’s just a few dollars a month and it’s reliable and has a responsive customer service staff.
How to set up a blog with Bluehost
If you decide to get Bluehost as your blog’s web host, you get a free domain name for a year. This means you don’t have to purchase it from a separate provider like GoDaddy or Namecheap. Simply sign up for Bluehost and you’ll get a free domain with hosting.
Step 1: Go to bluehost.com and click Get Started.
Step 2: Select a hosting plan on the next page and click Select. If you only plan to make one website, the Basic plan is all you need. You can always upgrade later.
Step 3: Enter your new domain name if you don’t have one already under Create a new domain. If you have an existing domain name, enter it under Use a domain you own. Hit Next.
Bluehost will tell you if the domain you have typed is available or not. If yes, you can move on to the next step. If the domain is not available, you can try other domain names until you find one that’s available.
In the example above, I created a new domain for a blog about email marketing.
Step 4: Enter your account information and payment details.
Under Package Information, you can choose to get hosting for a year, 2 years, or 3 years. The longer the duration, the lower the cost.
The next few steps would be adding your credit card information and agreeing to Bluehost’s Terms & Conditions. Click the Submit button on the bottom of the page to confirm your order.
Step 5: Install WordPress
Once you sign up for hosting, the next step would be to install a Content Management Software (CMS) so you can run and publish content on the back end of your website.
For this, most bloggers use WordPress. Installing WordPress on a Bluehost account is easy and takes about five minutes.
Here’s Bluehost’s guide on installing WordPress for your website.
Step 3: Select your affiliate product/s
Now that you have a website, you need to add content into it. But before you publish your first blog post, you need to be intentional with the kind of topics that you write about.
Your goal is to make passive income with a blog so you need to find products or services you can promote is relevant and can help your blog readers with a problem they might have.
Following the example earlier, if I was to start a blog about vegan recipes, I would now look for physical and/or online stores that sell vegan products and find out if they have an affiliate program.
If you don’t know a specific product or service but you know what your category is, then you can sign up for an affiliate marketplace. Affiliate marketplaces like Clickbank or Shareasale allow you to sign up and get access to hundreds of products and services. You can find dozens of products to promote from internet services to gym memberships.
It can be overwhelming to find products and services to promote. I recommend picking one or two products if you are just starting out.
Now that you have chosen your affiliate products, you can then get your links (this will show up somewhere in your affiliate program’s dashboard) and incorporate it into your blog posts.
You can install a link cloaking plugin like ThirstyAffiliates to make your affiliates look neat.
Instead of an affiliate link for Shareasale that might look like this: https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=xxxxxxx&u=xxxxx&m=46483&urllink, a link cloaking plugin will make it look like this: https://rightpassiveincome/shareasale.
Step 4: Drive traffic to your blog
There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your website. However, there are two types of traffic: paid and free (organic).
Free traffic methods
Free traffic means that you do not pay for clicks your website. This happens “organically” when your website appears in search results from Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
SEO and keyword research
You can optimize your content for SEO to get free traffic. This means using keywords that people use to search for your topic.
SEO is not rocket science but it does take time to learn and master. If you can’t afford to pay for traffic, then learning SEO is worth your time and can be beneficial for you in the long run. If you don’t have money to make passive income with a blog, then learn this trick.
Another way to get free traffic is to use social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. These platforms can bring you tons of traffic if you engage and attract the right people.
If you’re going to use this strategy, make sure you have a regular posting schedule in your chosen platform.
To save time, you can get a service like Social Pilot which lets you schedule your posts across all your social media accounts days in advance.
Don’t like to blog but love filming video reviews and tutorials? Then a YouTube channel is the platform for you to get free traffic to your blog.
It will take more work and producing quality videos cost money but it is a solid investment that has the potential to bring huge returns.
YouTube is the world’s second-biggest search engine — second only to Google. People go to YouTube to learn, get more information, and educate themselves about a particular topic. It is a great place to promote affiliate products and services that will help people solve a problem or meet a goal.
Paid traffic method
If you have money and not a lot of time, then you can drive paid traffic to your blog. There are several ways you can get paid traffic, but here are a few of the most popular methods:
These days, paid traffic is usually Facebook ads. If you already have a Facebook account then you can start creating ads and get targeted traffic to your blog.
However, be informed that Facebook does not allow affiliate links on advertisements. You can not create an ad that links directly to affiliate product or offers. This will get your ad disapproved and if you keep doing it, your ad account might get banned.
That’s why it’s a better strategy to share blog posts containing affiliate links and promote them using paid ads.
Facebook ads are great because you can target the people who you want your ads to reach from age, country, gender, and interests. If you know your audience well and target them with ads, then you are sure to get lots of interested people to click on your blog post and possibly buy the affiliate product that you promoted.
Google ads are a bit different from Facebook ads. With Google ads, you only pay when a user clicks on the ad.
To create a Google ad, you have to sign up for a Google Ads account. You can then create a campaign and specify which phrases and keywords should people use to see your ad.
Ads in Google show up as text, images, or a combination of both on the top section of a search results page.
Google ads are more likely to get clicks because people are already searching for the content or topic that you are advertising. What’s even better is that you only have to pay when someone clicks on your ad.
Making passive income with a blog is not hard – it just takes time. The most common mistakes people make is that they give up because they did not have the patience or determination to keep doing the work.
You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do actual work before you see any results. There are tons of strategies and directions you can go, but it is up to you to pick a path and walk on it.
Most importantly, don’t forget to create content that helps people out and makes their life a little bit better. Yes, you want to make money but it’s better if you provide value first. Do that and the money follows.