I was going to save this post for when I felt like I’ve accumulated all of the best resources I could possibly find. But I’d rather write this now and then update later, because the sooner you begin earning a passive income online, the sooner you can begin cutting back on the hours you spend at work, until eventually you don’t need to be employed at all. I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve read about people who have done this and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and are now out living their dreams.
It can be scary to quit your job to live your dream, but here is a method to make it easy, with no risks at all. You can earn a passive income through blogging while you are still employed, and build up your blog, or preferably blogs, until you feel comfortable leaving your job. Here are the steps to take you from disgruntled employee to Jack of all Travel.
1) Pick a topic
There are a few ways to go about this. First, you could write about something you are very familiar with. Lets say you work in a nut-exporting business and your job is to find the cheapest and most delicious nuts from around the world. You could create a blog about nuts. If you are an avid collector of goldfish and have a little aquarium in your home, write about goldfish.
2) Research keywords
In order to make money, you need traffic- many people need to visit your site to click on ads and do other things that will earn you an income. In order to get high traffic, you’ll want to target keywords that people search in google- these keywords should have a huge amount of monthly searchers and a low amount of competition from other websites. “Long-tailed keywords” are excellent if they meet these criteria- for example, if you find that 2 million people each month are searching “how do I recycle bottle tops into art?” and no sites are providing an answer, that would be a great keyword to target.
In order to search keywords, go to Google Keyword Tool. All you need to do is type in a few keywords and Google will give you data about the keyword and some alternative keywords for you to consider.
Alternatively, if you know of a website and you want to learn what keywords it uses in order to build your keyword list, you can go to SpyFu and type in the website. SpyFu will not only give you their keywords, but also their advertising budget and their ads, which may be helpful in the future if you become more serious about marketing your new blog.
3) Start coming up with ideas for blog posts
I keep a list on Microsoft word that contains all of my blog post ideas for this site. I think of plenty ideas throughout the day, and I either write them in my phone or on paper. At the end of the day, I transfer them all to Word. It is extremely important that you write down your ideas immediately; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten something that I thought would be really great to write about.
There are two other huge benefits to writing your ideas. The first is that you can add to them and let them sit in Word until they evolve enough to be written up as a blog post. For example, I am constantly coming up with “list of the top (insert number here) ways to (X)”. When I think of the idea initially, I may only have one thing to put on that list, but each time I come up with a new thing to add to the list, it goes right into Word. That way, when I have a list of 10 items, I can post it.
The second benefit to writing your ideas is that there will inevitably be days where you can’t for the life of you think of what to write about. No worries, you have 10 pages of ideas on your list.
Need inspiration? My favorite sites to go to when I need to be inspired are Ted (arguably the greatest website on the face of the earth) and Stumble Upon. You need to sign up for an account to use Stumble Upon, but it is free and gets better with use as it “learns” what you like.
4) Get a domain name and hosting
What I use is WordPress. It has a very simple user interface and costs next to nothing. The downside is that it limits what you can do in terms of design, getting visitor statistics, and making an income. If you want to be really cautious, you can leave it like this for a while while you grow your traffic, and then once you see that you are actually reaching people, you can sign up for external hosting with Blue Host.
Blue Host allows you to install your wordpress blog at the click of a button, so its easy for non- techies, like me. Then you will be free to start raking in the cash, by signing up for Google Ad Sense, Amazon Affiliates, and other programs. You can monitor your traffic more throughly by signing up for free with Google Analytics.
5) Draw traffic to your site
We’ve come to the meat of the deal. There is no way around it, you have to write good, quality content if you want continuous traffic. There is so much information out there about how to draw traffic to your site, but one very simple place you can start is by going to blogs similar to yours and posting relevant comments. At the end of your comment, if it makes sense to do, you can put a link to one of your blog posts. To do that, you need a small amount of html code- but I’ll just give that to you and all you need to do is replace my link and text with yours. Here is an example of how I might use this code in a comment:
Thanks for all of the information, I found the step by step instructions about how to get a volunteer job very useful. Here is a post I wrote on a similar topic, <a href=”http://escapenormal.com/2011/02/23/top-6-resources-for-cheap-or-free-travel/”>the top 6 resources for free travel.</a>
Notice how your URL goes in between the quotes and the text that will link to that URL goes between the > and < signs.
But, this is only one of the smallest and simplest ways to draw traffic. Once you become comfortable, here are a few of my favorite resources on the topic. I recommend you skim through the sites to find ideas most relevant to you:
6) Make money
The fun part. As I’ve said, Google Ad Sense and Amazon Affiliates are the most popular ways to go. With ad sense, you get money each time someone clicks an ad on your site. If you have a lot of traffic, this can accumulate quickly. With affiliates, you get money each time someone orders an item through a link that you have posted on your blog. My final suggestion is writing and selling E-books.
Here are the best tips I have come across for each of these money making methods.
Ad Sense: 1) Make the ads blend with your site. People will tune them out or be turned off if you choose a neon color scheme when your entire blog is black and white. 2) Experiment by putting the ads in different locations. Sometimes putting the ads at the bottom of your blog posts works best; sometimes they should be near the top on the left hand side.
Affiliates: 1) Make your links relate to your blog. If you went with the “nut” idea, make a post “The top 10 dessert nuts” and give a little description of each, with a link to amazon for the people who want to buy the nut. So if you are describing “Chocolate covered almonds,” provide a link to amazon where people can buy chocolate covered almonds.
E-Books: I am still learning about these myself, but I will give you my favorite tips. 1) Make an e-book after you have a lot of traffic to your site. This way, you can specifically ask your readers what they would like to know about and what they wish to learn from an e-book, and you can even get a list of people willing to buy it before you even write the book. Then, when it is finished, you can email all of the people on your list and boom, instant sales. 2) You can start your own affiliate program so that people who link customers to your ebook get a commission when a sale is made, thereby outsourcing the selling process and making your job even easier.
Final tip: don’t pay for advertising. This may be my own personal opinion, but I think it is completely unnecessary, and that the quality of the site will speak for itself.
That about wraps it up for the intro to making a passive income through blogging. I’m sure I’ll provide more resources in the future for an intermediate level blogger, which you can soon become! Something you might want to do in the future if you are successful with your first blog is to outsource the writing- you can focus more on keywords and SEO, and let other people write a few quality articles. There are many companies out there that provide this service.
Now, there is nothing stopping you from giving this a try. All you need to do is write a few really good posts per week and do a few hours of marketing, even if this just means commenting and leaving your link on other blogs. In the best case scenario, you quit your job and take your family to travel the world full-time. In the worst case scenario, you spend the amount of money that would have bought your family 2 dinners at a chain restaurant, have a blog with a few loyal readers, and you have a cool new hobby.
So go now, make it a two-month challenge, and see how much traffic you can draw!