I’m going to take some guesses here: You love blogging, love the community, love taking photos, writing, and being a part of something awesome. But you also want to amp up your blogging game, you’re finding it hard to stay organized, balance your work and blog life (I know, it’s tough), you want to gain followers, work with brands, get free stuff, and make money.
Well, listen. I’ve been blogging for a little over 6 years and only in the last few months (February-May) have I started really taking it seriously. I switched domains, applied what I know about marketing and SEO to my blog, searched high and low for the best affiliate programs and influencer management companies – and I’m really proud to be able to say that I paid my student loan bills last month just from money I earned from my blog and socials!
How did I do it? Well, I did it by following all the tips I’ll list here. (I will also be creating an Ultimate Social Media Resource, so keep an eye out for that too!) 😊
1. Set yourself up with the right blog hosting
Like many new bloggers, when I created my first blog I used a .wordpress.com address. It wasn’t professional, it didn’t look pretty, wasn’t fun to say, etc. But I was a broke college student and I was only doing it for fun, so it worked for me.
The most important thing you can do is get yourself set up with the right blog platform and hosting. You’ve probably heard tons and tons of different things, and if you’re anything like me, it’s all super confusing and overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be.
Right now, I’m using a WordPress Business plan. If you are using WordPress and aren’t ready for a fully self-hosted site, I highly recommend the Business plan because it allows you to do things you can’t do on the other plans. Some things that compelled me to upgrade were:
- SEO Tools
- Google Analytics integration (super important to be found online!)
- Plugins, plugins, plugins
- Ability to remove WordPress branding
- Unlimited storage space
While WordPress Business is not self-hosted, it’s been doing the job. However, I’m reaching the point where I want to be fully self-hosted. It’s more professional, convenient and offers many more opportunities from a business standpoint. All that to say, I am in the process of transitioning to a self-hosted site by using WP Engine!
I discovered WP Engine from another blogger, and after checking them out and comparing them to other hosting sites, I decided to go with them! Of course, I had my concerns and I’m one of the most indecisive people on the planet, so I spent upwards of a month digging into their site to make sure I was making the right choice. Here are some concerns I had, and how WP Engine solves them all.
I didn’t want to deal with site migration.
Guess what – with WP Engine, I didn’t have to deal with migrating my site, because they have a plugin that literally does everything for you. (I know, I didn’t believe it either)
I didn’t have the TIME to spend on my site
I’ve transferred over from WordPress to Squarespace and back to WordPress, and I know it takes hours and days of planning and executing. I did not want to go through that again. When I saw that they promise a simple, 30-minute site migration, I was sold!
I didn’t want to pay an outrageous amount of $$$
When I heard: “Self-hosted” it triggered something in my brain that meant: “An arm and a leg.” But that also isn’t true! Right now, I am paying $25/month for the WordPress Business plan, and once I make the full switch over to WP Engine, I’ll be paying $28/month.
2. Grow an email list
I’ve been working in marketing for over almost 7 years now (don’t do the math on my age please…), and one thing that I’ve learned that really works to attract and keep a steady traffic source is email.
I even know bloggers who ONLY use email as their main marketing tactic, because it’s that effective. For my clients, I have always used InfusionSoft and ConvertKit.
If you are strictly a business, I would recommend InfusionSoft. However, if you are a blogger, small business owner, have never used email marketing platforms, or are just starting out, I would highly recommend ConvertKit. Here’s why:
- It was crafted with creators in mind, making it easy to understand and everything you need is at your fingertips
- The dashboard helps you use your email list to GROW your business with beautiful forms, trackable data, and simple but powerful automations
- You don’t need a firm grasp of email marketing or marketing automation to be successful with ConvertKit – they make it so, so easy
3. Get organized with the right planner
It doesn’t matter if I have the best online tools, 10 Google calendars, 5 Trello boards – Nothing keeps me organized better than a good, old-fashioned planner. (However, Trello is totally awesome and you should check it out)
I currently have 3 planners: One for my personal life (Lol, what life?), work, and this here blog!
I’ve used tons of different planners, and none stack up against my Day Designer. We’re in a very committed relationship.
What makes the Day Designer planner stand out? Well for me:
- They have a hard cover and strong wire spiral, so they’ll never ever break (at least, I’ve never ruined one and I take it everywhere!)
- Each planner includes helpful planning pages like: reality checks, core values, goals and intentions
- Each day includes space for you to focus on your top 3 tasks for the day, an hourly breakdown of your day, daily gratitude, and even meal planning!
I just can’t say enough good things about this company, go check them out for yourselves!
4. Write content that drives traffic
An important part of being a content creator is creating content, but do you know what happens when you create content that drives traffic?
- Grow your audience
- Increase affiliate/ad sales
- Attract your dream brands/collaborations
5. Monetize your content with these affiliate networks
When I was getting serious about monetizing my blog, the first thing I sought out was affiliate networks and different ad networks that other bloggers were a part of. They seemed to be making money, so why couldn’t I? Here are the networks I am a part of (and LOVE!)
- ShareASale – This is one of the largest merchants, they have tons of brands, products, campaigns!
- MediaNet – Forbes, Yahoo, Reuters. This is one of the world’s largest ad networks.
- Amazon Affiliates – I spend most of my time on Amazon, anyway… why not make money from it? Plus, Amazon makes it so easy
6. How to work with brands
When I was just getting started, finding brand deals was hard work! It almost seemed impossible for me, while other bloggers seemed to have sponsorships coming out of their ears. That’s when I discovered influencer management groups! Here are the ones I’m a part of (ranked):
- Blog Meets Brand
- Find Your Influence
- BONUS: Influenster
Was this helpful? What are some of your best tips? And, I would love to see your blogs! Leave your links below. ❤
*This post contains affiliate links, because like I showed you in this post, they work! Now, go get signed up and start making affiliate sales of your own. You can do it 😊