This post contains affiliate links.
Posts like… ‘How to Start a Successful Blog NOW!’ don’t actually tell you how to start a successful blog and get traffic do they? Sure they get you signed up but after that? Want to make money? Gooood luck!
I took a deep dive into what makes bloggers successful and what gives a blog earning power. It comes down to traffic and the relationships you create with your reader. You need a solid base of the basics up and running on your blog to have that potential. Use my arsenal of tips to get you on the road to financial freedom.
First You Need Traffic. Who Will Help You Get It?
The more eyes on your page the better chance of conversion. That conversion can be subscribing to the blog, opting into a freebie, or purchasing a product. You want to create an interactive environment for your reader so they are eager to click around.
Adding your post’s link to StumbleUpon will gain you views immediately. StumbleUpon is a predictive internet search that finds websites, articles, and pictures based on your selected likes. Anytime someone ‘stumbles’ an interest that’s on your blog, your site could pop up in their browser. To add your post: Login, select “Add a Page” and link to your blog post. It’s that simple.
Start connecting with your blogging community. Pinterest is a great place to start liking and commenting on posts. Get out of your shell and start interacting with other bloggers. Every follower is a potential share for any of your pins. Use a Pinterest Business account to take advantage of analytics and stats. Don’t worry you can convert your normal account to a business one easily.
Joining Pinterest Group Boards is something you need to start doing. If a group board has 100,000 followers, your pin will be seen by 100,000 people instead of your normal follower count. To find group boards check out your most popular friends’ profiles and explore their boards. Chances are they have some group boards you can connect with. Be on the lookout for boards with more than 10,000 pins to indicate a group board. Generally, group boards hide at the bottom of someone’s profile/ board page. Once you find a group board you will have to ask for access via board instructions. Here’s an easy one! Brand New board: The Rising Damsel Group Board.
You need to be creating multiple images and multiple pins for each post that you create. You never know which image will go viral. Typically larger pins with text and warm colors do better on Pinterest. Optimal Pinterest Size: 700by1100px for creating larger pins. If you choose not to use your own images, search for free stock photos to enhance your pins. My favorite stock photo sites are pixaby.com and pexels.com. Since tons of sites with free photos are available, don’t get caught stealing someone’s work.
Every day is exciting with Pinterest. I love knowing my pins are beneficial to others and seeing my follower count increase is a great bonus!
Did you know that you need to be pinning around 40 times a day to keep a steady increase in traffic flow? I used to avoid Pinterest. The only thing it did was give me plenty of delicious food cravings, impossible crafts and exercise routines I didn’t need. However, Pinterest exposure definitely gave my old blog a huge boost in views.
Enter Tailwind. Tailwind helped me take my marketing to a new level with optimal pinning times to increase viewership. When you auto pre-schedule pins to pin, it really feels less burdensome. I started looking at my pins from a business angle. Now I analyze the usefulness of my pins to my readers, with a personal added benefit… it helps keep my food cravings away lol.
Freebie alert! Tailwind is offering a free trial via The Rising Damsel. You are credited with the ability to schedule 100 auto pins. I recommend scheduling 20 pins a day for 5 days. This will give you a good idea of what scheduled pinning can really do for your follower count. Continue normal use of Pinterest but add your additional free auto scheduled pins via Tailwind. Your influx of added followers will amaze you.
Another bonus of Tailwind is completely FREE ‘tribes’. Tribes are similar to Pinterest group boards. Tribes will give you immediate visibility to an endless number of people! I can help connect you with tribes. Meanwhile feel free to join my brand new Promote Your Blog-The Rising Damsel tribe. I’m an avid user of Tailwind. I know my Pinterest success comes from my Tailwind.
Is very similar to StumbleUpon except that Flipboard allows you to ‘flip’ through your interests with more of a ‘magazine’ feel. Originally, it was a phone application that boosted 50 million users back in 2013, and it has grown to an amazing 300 million plus users. You’ll be able to search words, phrases or hashtags. Once you create a ‘magazine’, make sure to choose a picture to entice your reader and get subscribers. Flipboard is a program that I’m still getting used to. The general consensus from my research is that FlipBoard can provide just as many eyes as Pinterest does. The claim is that your ‘magazines’ have a longer shelf life than a pin.
If you haven’t had the chance to sign up for BlogLovin’, you’re missing out on a huge audience. Bloglovin’ is a community of blogs with a scrolling news feed. This enables 1 stop accessibility to all the blogs people follow. With BlogLovin’ your blog subscribers will get a notification (based on their preferences) of your new content. This works like a built-in subscription list.
Ready to Monetize?
When you’re ready to take your financial future into your own hands, starting a blog is the best way to grab that freedom. Run your own advertisements, sign up for affiliate networks and start pulling in money doing what you love. Sign up using my link to get a free domain with your 12 month plan. Don’t overpay to be self hosted, with Bluehost it’s only $3.95 / month. I created a helpful guide to get you set up Start Your Own Blog with Bluehost in less than 15 minutes. Working for myself with my blog is part of that happiness. Already self-hosted? Read on.
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement between you and a merchant. You’re essentially giving credibility to the merchant or product by recommending it to your readers. Some merchants are set up to pay you commissions, some are “pay per click” for directing traffic to their site. Once you are an approved member your unique member id will be included in your links. This will allow the merchant to track purchases that originated from your site. You can add affiliate links to posts, or your sidebar. Many people also opt for a popup (caution too many popups will slow your reader’s browser speed). You can also opt for email campaigning or ecommerce, the options are endless when you own your domain.
Make sure that you are keeping your blog legal. When you monetize it’s important that your readers know that. A simple disclaimer on your main blog page, and above or below the post is perfect. Example: “This post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a commission if a consumer makes a purchase.”
If you aren’t familiar Adsense will set up and add advertisements from Google. Select where you want them to appear on your blog, and optimize placement at anytime. All advertisements are based on AdWords and are optimized to your blog’s content. You earn money by getting views, or earning a commission when a product is purchased. You will get a variety of advertisement types as well as analytical insight. Add or ban ads as you wish, but Adsense does a great job of selecting relevant ads.
Receive a commission on any for sale product on amazon.com. Amazon Affiliates is unique due to the shear number of products that are offered. If you read an inspiring book why not write a post about it? Better yet, why not add an affiliated link in that post, so your reader can easily buy it from amazon? Get instant credibility because you are dealing with a reputable company, and it’s a service to your reader.
I love my Shareasale merchants. Once you’re an approved affiliate you will be part of the merchant’s commission structure. You’ll have access to premade widgets for your sidebar and in-text links. I spent hours checking out all the available merchants. My favorites include ModCloth, PicMonkey, and StudioPress by Copyblogger. Another great company to check out is Commission Junction. Cj.com functions very similarly to shareasale. Brands that are available on CJ include: Stitch Fix, and Forever21.
More bloggers need to talk about Viglink. It’s by far the most convenient affiliate program out there. Once you sign up, all you have to do is activate their Plugin. The program will potentially monetize every link on your blog/site based on preset preferences. Even if an application got rejected by a vendor or marketing campaign, you can still monetize with Viglink! Viglink can also monetize a random word such as “jewelry” or whatever keyword might be in your post. All affiliate links go through to a verified website with a preferred commission structure. You can let Viglink do all the work for you, or do your own mix once you start getting approved for different programs. Personally I prefer the mix of both, viglink can be a great safety net.
For $3.95 a month you can own your site and everything on it through Bluehost. Run your own advertisements, sign up for affiliate networks and start pulling in money for views you are already getting.
Promote Your Host
An easy quick way to monetize is by becoming an affiliate of your host provider! Your reader will appreciate your first-hand experience. You can write several different posts that will motivate and inspire your reader to start their own blog. I only promote products I use. It’s even sweeter with companies like Bluehost that facilitate promoting them with pre-made widgets and help guides. Host providers also have some of the best commissions available.
Widgets and Plugins For Success
There are some really amazing features that come along with adding widgets or plugins. I continue to be absolutely blown away by the free features available to bloggers through WordPress. If you’re ever struggling with a solution to a blogging problem, check if there is a plugin or widget before you pull all your hair out or your computer ends up in pieces.
Yoast (SEO) Plugin
SEO is one of the most important parts of your website. Optimizing your blog’s performance from day one is easy with Yoast. SEO(search engine optimization) translates to: The ability of search engines to find your site. You’re also learning to use SEO effectively. Optimize your post title, meta description, slug, keywords, and readability which are all located conveniently below your post. Increasing your SEO stats later will be very time consuming and literally involve editing every post. Using best practices from the start, you will always attract search engines.
JetPack by WordPress.com Plugin
This plugin gets you access to all your stats, related posts, search engine optimization, social sharing, backup, as well as email list management. JetPack also makes it super easy to alter your menus with a ton of widgets. JetPack should be a standard plugin.
Social Media Icons JetPack
Make sure your readers know of your participation with social media communities. Some of the best sharing platforms are Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. WordPress dashboard enables you to change the size of icons.
Blog Subscriptions JetPack
Successful bloggers will always tell you that the money is in the subscription list. Let WordPress do the initial work for you by installing their Subscription JetPack for free. A notice will be sent out to subscribers when you post something new.
Top Posts and Pages JetPack
Make sure and highlight what interests your readers so new subscribers can be guided to your popular posts first. You will want to create your own images to link to your popular posts, but until you can do that a simple link is a great way to show off your work.
Supreme Google Webfont
Life-saving plugin. WordPress.org will have you doing some coding to change your font settings. Yes, you are reading that correctly, the easiest way to change your font is with a plugin. This plugin gives you access to all of the google web fonts. You can also change the size of your font with this plugin, handy.
Ultimate Social Media PLUS Plugin
Add social media ‘sharing buttons’ below your posts with this plugin. You can also float icons on the side for maximum viewability. This makes it foolproof for your readers to connect with you in every way possible. Once this plugin is installed, you will be able to select icons that match your website’s vibe.
Yuzo Related Post Plugin
This is a great tool that allows you to link recent posts below your blog entry. Yuzo will highlight the post and include a picture if desired. Entice your reader to keep exploring your blog.
Simple Author Box Plugin
News articles always have a photo and bio of the author, make sure you add yours also! With Simple Author Box, you will look professional and your blog will look tailor-made. It’s necessary to update your user profile bio to enable this plugin to work, as well as have a working Gravatar profile. Customize the author box’s appearance to match your blog colors and look like a professional from day one.
Pinterest “Pin It” Button Lite Plugin
Let’s be real, Pinterest is going to drive MAJOR traffic. Your reach grows exponentially with every new follower. With the Pin It button on every image, readers can easily pin to their respective boards. It would surprise you to know how many people skip pinning because of a missing “pin it button”… out of sight out of mind every time.
BlogLovin’ Button Plugin
This plugin makes it easy for your readers to connect with you on BlogLovin’. Bloglovin’ is another avenue that your readers can utilize to follow your blogs newsfeed.
One Last Recommendation
Open Link in a New Tab
For the love of all blogging set up your external links so that they open in a NEW browser window!!!! You’re definitely going to link. You’re using affiliates, that’s the point. Just make sure that you select ‘Open in a New Tab’ when adding links. In this way, your reader can easily navigate back to your site after they’ve clicked a link. Don’t send your readers away without a way to get back home. Always leave them a bread trail with an open browser window that has your site.
This is my growing list that I plan to update often. When you carry out my tips, you will see an increase in your traffic and an increase in your conversion rate.
Interested in more blogging tips?
- Start a WordPress blog with Bluehost will walk you through an easy setup.
- Make Your Blog Post Go Viral!
- 100 New Blog Post Ideas For When You’re Feeling Stumped
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What changes have you made to your blog for monetization success? I would love to hear what’s working for you.
Questions and comments are always welcome. I really hope this post inspired you to monetize all the hard work you’re doing. Let’s Connect on Pinterest. If you are looking for a free Tailwind Tribe try The Rising Damsel’s brand new one: Promote Your Blog – A Rising Damsel Tribe.