So, you’ve been blogging for awhile now, and it’s going really well. You’re getting some followers and interactions. Your traffic is trending up, and you’re finding your blogging voice. With this improvement you allow yourself to ask the big question, “could I actually make money blogging?”
We’re here to tell you that the answer is, “yes, but you need to be smart about it.”
A recent poll revealed that 17% of bloggers make a good living from their own blog. But 81% never make significant earnings. The other 2%? They are the rockstar bloggers who put in the hard work and now rake in big bucks for minimal effort.
In this article, we’re going to show you what steps you can take to grow your blog and in doing so, open up avenues for income. While the advice is for everyone, the helpful tools mentioned below are only for Mac users.
Even if you’re not interested in cashing in, the tips in this guide will still help you to take your blog to the next level.
Sound good? Let’s begin!
Content ideas to make a successful blog
As a blogger, there is nothing more important to your success than your content. It is everything. Produce great content, and "they will come". Being passionate and knowledgeable about your subject helps, but you also need to be smart by thinking about what will add the most value to your readership.
Don’t think that because you've had some success that there isn’t more that you can do. There’s always more ways to improve the effectiveness of your content.
Here are some proven suggestions:
- Plan better – Instead of thinking up a blog topic on the day, why not plan out your content strategy in advance. This will prevent you from rushing to write sub-par blog posts and help you spread them out more efficiently. An app like iThoughtsX will assist you in mind-mapping your best ideas into a cohesive release strategy.
- Get organized – Time is precious so get the most out of it. A macOS app like Timing will automatically show you how you’re spending your time, making it easier to write posts and stick to a release calendar. Use it with Be Focused, a task tracker app, and you'll be able to do more than you thought possible.
- Get help – There are so many innovative plugins and apps to help you to create better content. A service like Setapp is a great example. For a monthly subscription, it gives you access to a library of the best blogging apps and Mac software to help make your blog a success.
- Use better visuals – Instead of just grabbing boring stock photos, why not focus on creating your unique visuals that are more relevant to your content. You could take your own photos and use an app like CameraBag Pro to make them look professional. Or create animated gifs with Gifox to bring some life and movement to your blog. Or fire up Capto to easily record your screen and create visual tutorials and guides to share your knowledge with the world.
- Think mobile - Traffic from mobile devices is now over 50% of total website traffic. Have you ever tried navigating a site that wasn’t mobile ready on your phone? After 20 seconds of pinch zooming and clicking on the wrong link you’re ready to leave. Make sure your blog theme is just as user-friendly on mobile devices.
- Get featured – Have you noticed the featured snippet at the top of a Google search results page? Getting featured is a great boost for traffic. To give your blog post every chance to be featured, follow these steps:
- As a key part of your blog post, ask a common question about your niche.
- Provide the answer in steps, as clearly and directly as possible.
- Add extra content that expands on the topic.
Grow your audience
If you think the job's finished once you’ve hit publish, think again. The other side of blogging is not content creation but proactively working to get your excellent blog posts seen by new people. Search engines will do some of that work but don’t rely on organic traffic.
There are lots of ways to find new readers. Here are a few of the best tips:
- Get social – If you’re not using social media platforms to spread the word and build up a following, you’re missing a trick. Social media is still the best way to get your posts shared. If your blog is a good fit for Instagram, set up an account and use IM+ for Mac to easily publish and interact with your Instagram community.
- Be visible – Find out where your target audience is and then create a presence for yourself on there. Guest blogging and becoming an active member of a forum are great ways to get known and subtly drive traffic to your blog.
- Be responsive - If it’s taking you a day or two to reply to a comment you’re not going to drive interactions the way you’d like. MarsEdit is not just the best editor for publishing your blog, it also allows you to easily moderate and respond to comments.
Engage your audience
No, you don’t have to get down on one knee. We’re talking about a different kind of engagement. The kind that gets your audience fired-up through content, interaction, and discussion. If you can create a healthy debate about your blog, this could be a significant boost to traffic. Your readers will have more reasons to keep checking back, even when there’s no new content.
Google will also notice when your engagement improves and your ranking should improve along with it.
Here are a few other tips to help engagement:
- Speed-up load time – When blogs load slowly, people leave. Use Squash and PDF Squeezer to compress your documents and images so that your blog is fast enough to keep up with your readers.
- Be memorable – To stand out and connect you need to develop a voice (not literally, unless podcasting and video blogging are in your future) that people want to hear. A note-taking app like Ulysses or a diary like Diarly will help you to write down thoughts. Later on you can use them as witty or insightful replies to reader comments.
- Post regularly – If you can post on a regular schedule, your followers will start to look for you on certain days and times. With MarsEdit you can even write posts in advance and have them automatically publish to your schedule. Removing the randomness of posting will lead to more active followers. Followers who are on your schedule and primed to read and share your latest work.
How to make money blogging
If traffic and engagement are up and you feel confident that you now have a loyal base of followers, then you should consider monetizing your blog. Be careful though, if you are too obvious about it, you may turn-off a lot of your audience.
There are many ways to make money online, from affiliate marketing through to coaching and webinars. A lot of people think adverts will pull in the big bucks. Truth is they’re not just the most uncreative option, they’re also often one of the worst performing.
The most effective cash making tool in the blogger’s armory is their email list. So this next tip is less of a tip and more of a decree issued by the blogging Gods:
Turn your traffic into email subscribers!
And how do you do that? You offer them value in return for their email. You’ve surely seen plenty of examples of - “Sign-up and get this awesome ebook for free!” That tempting freebie is there for one reason - to build a list of email subscribers.
Once you have a list, you can create a marketing and sales strategy to send directly to everyone on the list. Start by building your trust through offering your subscribers value in emails. Then you can start thinking about sales. You could sell products or a service, or if you don’t have either of those, it could be someone else’s product.
Research what others in your blog niche are offering. You could either follow their lead or fire up an app like MindNode to help you brainstorm offerings that are even better for your audience.
When deciding what to sell, remember to always consider your visitors. Only push items that offer real value, otherwise you won’t make as much and you may lose some of your followers.
To summarize how to make cash from your blog:
- Use Setapp’s blogging tools to create great content
- Use social media and engagement to build up your audience
- Convert your followers to email subscribers
- Introduce email marketing that offers value to subscribers
- Sell products and services direct to your subscribers
Success is wealth
There are so many ways to make money online. Some will be more effective than others, based on the specific factors, but the fundamental to blogging for money is to build up that following. If you have a successful blog with a big audience, a world of opportunities will be open to you. Build a good reputation as a blogger, and you may even get opportunities to make money blogging for someone else.
Just remember to respect your readership and always look to exchange value for their hard earned cash. That way, everyone's a winner.
It may also be a good idea to hold off on flicking the “make it rain cash” switch for awhile. I know it’s tempting but the number one priority is building your base of followers. Every decision should be made to serve that goal.
Facebook was onto something when they chose to stay in pre-revenue for years. They knew that advertising would be seen as uncool so they waited until people couldn’t live without Facebook before cashing in.
So, don’t get too ahead of yourself and instead focus on your content and growth. As a final tip, all of the tools we talked about in this article are free with a single subscription to Setapp for Mac. Setapp’s collection of premium Mac apps is free for the first week so you can try out the full versions of all the apps we mentioned, plus tons more.
Now you’re well on your way to building a successful blog.
And where there is success, fortune is never far behind.
These might also interest you:
- How to Start a Blog
- Top 10 Apps for Freelancers to Double Your Free Time
- How to post Instagram photos from Mac
- How to Edit Photos on a Mac