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Can you really make money blogging in 2021?

Blogging has been around for a while. You could say that it’s evolved. But for anyone new to blogging, the most fundamental question remains:

Can you really make money blogging in 2021? Did I just read your mind?

Well, it’s pretty much the first thing I thought about when I decided to start this blog (making money, not mind-reading).

In this post, we’ll run through the ins and outs of setting up a money-making blog in 2021, whether it’s truly worth it and what kind of money you can expect to make. 

We’ll take a look at some of the most successful bloggers out there, how blogging has evolved and why it’s now bigger than ever!

You may also be interested in:

There’s a lot of info in this guide, so if you don’t have the time to work through everything today, I recommend you pin this post for later so that you can refer back to it. You can also bookmark it. 

Short on time? Pin this post for later; otherwise, let’s dive in.

INSERT PIN

Why Blogging is Bigger than Ever in 2021

The Internet is Growing!

Blogging is huge.

Honestly, if blogging were a fish in the sea, well… it wouldn’t be a fish; it would be a whale!

Blogging is massive. Let’s take a look at some of the stats:

  • Out of 1.5 billion websites on the internet, 600 million are blogs (that’s like twice the population of America)
  • Blogging Platform, WordPress, powers over 40% of the web (not all blogs)
  • Tumblr has over 519 million blog accounts
  • Wix has over 180 million users
  • Squarespace has over 2.5 million websites

The number of bloggers in the United States alone is estimated to be around 32 million as of 2021.

So blogging isn’t going anywhere fast, the opportunities to make money blogging in 2021 are increasing and it’s for a pretty simple yet fundamentally human reason that blogging continues to grow.

Blogging Connects People

People connect to other people.

You're never alone. Image credit: Youssef Naddam
Image credit: Youssef Naddam.

That’s it. Blogs provide an environment that allows people to connect.

And when you’re looking for the answer or the solution to your search query online, you don’t want some faceless corporation or marketing department telling you what to buy.

You want an individual you trust, perhaps a blog you already follow, and an in-depth, helpful piece of content that you can relate to from someone you trust. 

Blogging is simply writing. And writing connects people.

That’s why, in one form or another, blogging will always be around. 

Social Media Growth Supports Blogs

Believe it or not, social media growth supports the growth of blogs. Things have simply evolved. 

Back in 2010, blogs were personal, and bloggers would talk about any old random thing that popped into their heads. Social media hadn’t yet morphed into the strange beast it is now because Facebook had only been around for four years. 

But as more people began to move their social lives, light entertainment, personal blogs, and funny cat videos onto new social media platforms, blogging had to evolve or die. 

And that has, in a way, professionalized the blogging industry. Now, we see a much greater number of high-quality blog posts with actual helpful information that can help provide the answer to your query. 

This means the competition for Search Engine Optimisation has sky-rocketed.

Rocket
Credit: Martin Jaros

Does that mean you can’t still rank for the Number 1 search result in Google? No, it just means you have to adopt some more sophisticated strategies to do SEO effectively.

And social media can support those strategies. 

It’s even possible to explode your blog traffic through platforms such as Medium or Pinterest. 

Pinterest primarily operates as a visual search engine which, once you’ve nailed the algorithm, can return you highly focussed traffic from blog readers who are motivated to buy. That’s because Pinterest is used by Pinners who are actively looking for resources, products, courses, and materials to help them with their search intent. 

If you’re ready to jump into Pinterest in more detail, I highly recommend the Pinteresting Strategies Course from Carly over at Blogging Like You Mean It. 

It’s a straightforward deep-dive into Pinterest and how you can use it to boost the traffic levels to your blog over a short period compared to developing SEO best practices with Google. 

Pinterest can allow you to drive hundreds of thousands of visitors to your blog. 

Plus, it’s focused. Remember, pinners are actively looking for ideas to pin, which means they are more likely to make a purchase based on something you pinned. 

Get into the detail and find out why Pinterest should become your best blogging friend with Pinteresting Strategies. It can be a great way to boost your traffic which will drive your strategy to make money blogging in 2021.

Blogging isn’t dead. It’s just different.

And a lot of people would say it’s better. 

When the blogging landscape became more competitive, things started to evolve. And, generally speaking, that has led to higher quality content. 

The problem we face now is that there’s still a lot of the old stuff hanging around, like some ancient senior judgemental relative who refuses to get with the times.

In other words, most of the blogging advice you read online is based on a 2010 perspective that could harm your blog rather than help you. 

The worlds moved on; make sure you follow the advice of people who have moved with the times. 

If you’re dreaming of setting up a passive source of income with little to zero work, then good luck with that. 

It takes hard work to start a blog, and the strategies used ten years ago to create a successful blog just won’t work anymore. 

Advice like “follow your passion” can send you down a rabbit hole that doesn’t help when it comes to making money online. 

I know because that’s how I started. When I registered the URL liveinthebeat.com, I focused on my version of a so-called ideal life, my passions, or things I wanted to be my passions, and I tried to create a blog about mindfulness and meditation.

The problem was, I didn’t know anything about either of those things. 

It turns out I can talk a lot more about personal finance, creating passive income, and escaping the office than boring old yoga and meditation!

Luckily enough, I had chosen a blog domain name (Live in the Beat) that was flexible enough, I think, for me to pivot towards personal finance and freedom. 

Pro tip: Make sure you build up a list of at least ten bloggers you admire and respect your niche to use as your reference framework. They need to be current (i.e., try to keep it to no blog posts older than three years; yes, the landscape changes that quickly) and keep their blogs saved on a bookmarked favorites list. 

That way, when you’re stuck for a bit of inspiration, motivation, or just some ideas, you’ll always have a go-to list of blogs to call on. 

How much do the most successful bloggers make, though?

The most successful bloggers make a lot. 

And if you’re asking do they make money blogging in 2021 the answer is… yes!

I always find it inspirational to read their blog income reports and see how they increased their monthly income substantially.

I haven’t yet decided to do that because my blog is still in its developmental stages, but I love to see how other, more experienced bloggers are progressing. 

I’ve given such a huge list below to show that there is a massive range of niches that can be monetized, and there is an enormous amount of hidden money on the internet just waiting for you to tap into. 

So let’s take a look at their most up to date income reports!

Blog NameNiche Income PER MONTH
Making Sense of CentsPersonal finance$120,000 
Two Wandering SolesTravel$14,000 
Sew Some StuffSewings$2,800 
Survival LifeSurvival stuff$1,000,000 
The Flooring GirlFlooring$2,000
Art of ManlinessMen’s lifestyle$33,000
Succulents and SunshineSucculents$8,000
Horkey HandbookVirtual assistance$20,000
Club Thrifty Budget living$21,566
Laura in The KitchenFood$40,000
Yaro StarakEntrepreneurship$40,000
Pro BloggerBlogging$40,000
Just A Girl and Her BlogBlogging$41,000
ryrob.com Finance$50,000
Show me The YummyFood$46,000
DooceLifestyle$50,000
Zoella Lifestyle$62,000
My Wife Quit Her JobE-commerce$80,000
Slash GearTech$80,000
Busy BudgeterBudgeting$86,000
Pinch of YumFood$90,000
Jon MorrowBlogging$100,000
Create and GoBlogging$200,000
Nerd FitnessFitness$100,000
GothamistNews and politics$110,000
Car AdviceCars$125,000
A Beautiful MessLifestyle$125,000
Good Financial CentsPersonal finance$135,000
It’s a lovely LifeLifestyle$175,000
Entrepreneur on FireEntrepreneurship$195,000
Smart Passive IncomePassive income$200,000
SarahtitusParenting$200,000
Melyssa GriffinEntrepreneurship$238,000
The Blond SaladFashion$250,000
TimothySkykes.comFinance$1,000,000
Neil PatelBlogging and SEO$381,000
DollarSproutPersonal finance$200,000
ThePennyHoarderPersonal finance$1,000,000

In just this short(ish) list, the combined monthly income of these bloggers runs into the tens of millions of pounds. 

If you’re willing to put in the hard work, effort, and determination, these examples show that there are plenty of opportunities to make money blogging in 2021 – there is plenty of money online waiting for you to access it. 

But not all blog niches are created equally. 

This table from Brandon Gaille’s massive blog income report shows the blog niches that make the most money. 

If you want to look at data, I recommend you read the full BLOG INCOME REPORT here.

It will help you to analyze and understand the potential profitability of different niches. 

For example, the number one leading monetization method for personal finance is affiliate marketing because that niche lends itself well to financial products, services and recommendations. 

That doesn’t work for food blogs because most people buy their food in their local supermarkets.

That’s why onscreen adverts are the number 1 monetization method for food blogs. 

Speaking of which, let’s check out how you might be able to monetize your blog once it’s set up. 

5 Key Ways to Make Money Blogging in 2021

Although the opportunities for making online are limitless, there are only 5 “categories” to make money blogging in 2021 and those opportunities fall into.

They are:

1. Affiliate Marketing

This is probably the best and most convenient way to monetize your blog because it can integrate seamlessly with your existing content. 

When you start affiliate marketing on your blog, you establish a connection with a company, either directly or through an affiliate platform. You promote that company’s product or services in exchange for a commission. 

When one of your readers clicks on an affiliate link placed on your blog and then makes a subsequent purchase, you, the blogger, receive your commission. 

This graphic provides a visual summary:

how affiliate marketing works

The easiest way to find affiliate programs is to google the name of the company you’re interested in promoting along with “affiliate program.”

Alternatively, you can head to the companies site directly and check the website footer at the bottom of their home page, where they will usually list their affiliate program. 

You can also sign up to Affiliate Networks to search for programs that you could promote:

Have you done a blogging course recently?

If not, head over to the courses and learning section of my Blogging Kit – there are some great courses here that will help you set up your blogging framework and sky-rocket your traffic through SEO and Pinterest.

And the best bit; these course creators all run affiliate programs, so if I recommend one of these courses(which I do) and you complete the course via a link on my site, that generates a commission to me. 

I only recommend courses that I have enjoyed and found particularly useful. 

As an industry, affiliate marketing is growing on average 10% per year, with over 81% of brands having some kind of affiliate presence online. 

The affiliate opportunities are everywhere once you know what to look out for. 

2. Advertising

Traditionally the number 1 method of making money from your blog has been to advertise on it, and this is undoubtedly still the most well-known way for bloggers to make money.

Is advertising still a good way to make money blogging in 2021?

I believe Affiliate Marketing and other forms of monetization will soon takeover from advertising as the leading way to make money.

Remember, it’s not always so straightforward. If you decide to run a food blog, advertising may still be an effective way to make money because there aren’t many affiliate products or services that you can promote through affiliate links. 

So how does advertising works?

  • You’ll sign up to an ad network that will, in agreement with you, place ads on your site. Depending on the ad network you choose, you have some flexibility. For example, Mediavine allows you to switch ads on and off on selected pages. 
  • Most of the networks use targetted ads, which means the ad changes, depending on who is visiting your site (based on the ad network’s information).
  • The ad network pays you a monthly income based on how many clicks you get. You guessed it: to make a lot of money, you need a lot of clicks.

Here are the main ad networks you can apply to. 

Take into account their minimum monthly page sessions (the number of times a page was clicked on, on your blog) for new bloggers:

  • Adsense – no monthly minimum to apply
  • Adthrive – minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews
  • Mediavine –  25,000 monthly sessions
  • Sovrn – no monthly minimum to apply

3. Sponsorship 

Sponsorship is a great way to make money blogging in 2021. It’s pretty much what it sounds like, and it’s a great way to monetise your blog.

A company or a brand will sponsor bloggers and influencers to create content around their specific product or service. 

If that product or service fits with your own particular brand, then kaboom, you’ve got a partnership made in heaven! 

Sponsored content can look like your regular content, but it still needs to be disclosed. Why? Because them’s the rules and you could get into trouble if you don’t. 

As you can imagine, companies are more likely, well, in fact only likely, to work with established bloggers and influencers who have found audiences that they can market the products. 

So although sponsorship is a great way to monetize your blog, it’s probably going to be better for you to focus on that in your overall money-making strategy once you’ve got a bit further done road with your blog. 

In other words, seek out sponsorship when you’ve got decent levels of traffic. 

What kind of content can you get sponsored for?

Any really (so long as it’s legal), but most of the time, that includes:

  • Posts
  • Guides
  • Photography and Graphic Design
  • Styling Videos
  • Video Guides
  • Live Videos and Reels
  • Social Media Posts across all networks
  • Newsletters and emails

How do you find out about these sponsorship opportunities?

Just like affiliate marketing and advertising, there’s a network for that! Some of those networks include:

Which kind of sums up the two main secrets to monetising your blog:

Secret 1: Make your blog successful

Secret 2: Link into the right monetisation networks 

Alternatively you can work with a brand directly but remember you’ll need to have am established blog with substantial levels of traffic and high quality content before approaching companies to work with them directly. 

After all, it’s got to be a beneficial arrangement for the brand in question. The company will want to be sure that people are visiting your blog and their product is a good fit for your brand and audience. 

4. Create Your Own Course, Product, or Membership

You might be surprised to learn that the wealthiest bloggers in the world make 80% of their income from selling their own online courses.

Once you’re an established blogger it is undoubtedly one of the best ways to make money blogging in 2021.

Check it out:

Online Courses

To put that into perspective, most of the bloggers in the list above are earning over 80% of their income from selling their own courses or digital products.

As you can see online courses are a HUGE money spinner. 

But there are a few things you need to bear in mind before you jump into writing your own course. 

  • These ‘elite’ bloggers have become expert in their chosen niche and they have converted significant numbers of their readership into email subscribers. 
  • They have also become master of course creation which means they can continue to sell their courses into their email list. 
  • And when they are receiving 100% of the profits, as opposed to a smaller commission, their incomes can grow exponentially. 

When a blogger creates a course they are packaging up their expertise and selling it to their audeince so that their audience can also learn. 

As a blogger creating the course, you control the price, the marketing, the product creation and the offer. 

Some of the courses I recommend (all by bloggers) as go-to resources for anyone thinking about starting their own blog include:

Blog Simple Framework

Stupid Simple SEO

Pintertresting Strategies

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

You can find all of these courses in the learning section of my Blogging Kit page. They are all affiliate links, but they come highly recommended, and, in my opinion, they are indispensable to setting up a new successful blog. 

Courses aren’t the only game in town when it comes to creating your products. 

If you’re just starting out, then jumping into your own course creation might not be the best idea because it generally helps once you’ve built up your expertise and experience in a particular niche (as well as a decent following to sell into). After all, most people want to buy from the best. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t create other types of blogger products.

Bloggers are also making a killing with:

Digital Products / Printables

This sounds fancier than it is (I think it’s the word digital) because all it means is a type of document that can be sold. 

For example: 

  • Printables: including planners, diaries, calendars, timesheets, goal recording templates
  • Invitations: for birthdays, weddings, special events, conferences, parties, meetings
  • Guides: to track and monitor progress, goals, timelines, achievements, fitness, weight loss
  • CVs, Resumes, Handbooks, Letters and….. 
  • Any other document template you can think of!

Digital products and printables can be big business.

No really! People love templates, they help to organise your life and there are several bloggers in the list above that make a fortune every month just from selling printables. 

Blogger Sarah Titus, in my list above, makes a phenomenal 200k every month just from selling printables. 

Memberships

People love to be part of a tribe, especially when that tribe is giving them exclusive content, tips and strategies. 

You can make money from your blog by creating a community of members. 

blog name ideas: build your audience

You can use a membership plugin like Memberspace to create a membership community on your blog. 

If this sounds like an avenue you’d like to explore get inspired by some of the existing successful membership sites. Famous membership blog sites include:

5. Books, Apps, and Physical Products

Heard of Joe Wicks The Body Coach

He recently made 9 million English pounds in ONE WEEK!

That’s $13 MILLION US DOLLARS IN A WEEK.

His fitness empire spans a blog, membership, physical products, tons of books, an app – pretty much everything in this list. And it all started my posting regular “Lean in 15” quick meal ideas on Instagram. 

Ok, Joe’s timing was impeccable and he rose the wave of Instagram popularity from 2016 but it really shows you want can be achieved by creating an online following of devoted readers that value your content. 

Books are a natural evolution for many bloggers as it follows on from what they already do: writing. 

A publisher contacted Joe Wicks due to the Instagram posts and that’s how his writing career took off. 

So you never know what opportunities your blog and social media profiles might open up. 

If you want to sell into your blog readership you must get to know your audience – what search intent brings them to your blog? What solution can you provide? What are their pain points, needs and interests?

Once you begin to establish yourself, you’ll create a solution to your readers’ needs that helps you monetise your blog.

Why You Should Start A Money Making Blog

The post is about whether or not it’s possible to make money in 2021, and by no,w it should be clear that there is a wide variety of ways to monetize and profit from your blog once you’ve built up some experience and credibility. 

If you’re still at the very beginning and wondering whether or not blogging is right for you; it’s worth checking out my guide (and Day 1 of my FREE how to start a blog course) below:

Key Principles to Choosing the Best Money Making Blog Niche

If you’ve gotten this far! Great!

I know this is a relatively long post, so well done for sticking with it. 

We’ve got just a few more bits to cover, and then you’re done; by the end of this guide, you should have a pretty clear idea of the best ways to make money blogging in 2021.

By this stage, you’re probably asking if it’s easier to make money with some niches than others.

And the answer is yes! There are four fundamental principles for selecting your niche that will make it easier for you to work out the quickest and easiest path to monetization. 

If you want to do a deep dive into niche selection, check out my complete guide called Niche Blog Ideas. For the key principles, I’ve summarised them below:

Key Principle 1: Money-Making Potential

You need to consider the money-making potential of your new blog.

“Well duh!”

I know, I know it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people overlook this key consideration. 

How do you work out the money making potential? It all starts with this concept of “pain points” which essentially refer to the search intent of your average blog reader.

It sounds overly dramatic to refer to pain-points but its a good way to describe the underlying emotional connection that brings people to your blog in the first place.

For example, I need to lose weight because I’m fat and unhealthy (pain point). I’ll search online and see what helpful fitness blogs I can find (solution).

This brings us to the most fundamental point that should drive your blog.

Your blog needs to provide solutions. It needs to solve pain points. Once you give a solution, your audience will be willing to spend money on products or services to solve their pain points.

As a blogger, your goal is to understand your audience to solve their pain points effortlessly. An excellent place to start is with your own experiences.

And the more universal a pain point is, the more capacity there is too much money. Sounds kind of wrong, right?!

Some niche blog ideas simply have more appeal because they solve a more familiar ‘pain point.’

According to the Blog Income Report Research Study by our friend Brandon Gaille, The niche blog ideas that make the most money are:

  1. Personal Finance – 24%
  2. Marketing – 21%
  3. Food & Recipes – 17%
  4. Lifestyle – 15%
  5. Mom Blogs – 12%
  6. Travel – 11%

Key Principle 2: Affiliate Marketing Opportunities

We’ve already discussed affiliate marketing in-depth, so I’m not going to go over it too much here. 

Besides highlighting that affiliate marketing is the most seamless way to monetize your blog, it’s worth developing your affiliate marketing strategy if you are already set up and ready to get going.

I owe a big thanks to Michelle over at Making Sense of Cents and can highly recommend her course, which taught me everything I needed to know about affiliate marketing.

Michelle’s blog makes more than $150,000 a month!! I kid you not. So she knows a thing or two about implementing the right affiliate marketing strategies. 

I recommend you complete the course. The potential revenue you could unlock from the knowledge here is well worth the purchase. 

Key Principle 3: Audience Opportunity

Your audience opportunity essentially comes down to the size of your audience. 

Many new bloggers may be put off from a particular niche because thousands of famous bloggers work in that niche. 

But a huge number of existing blogs represents a huge audience, which generally means a huge opportunity. 

Grab a spreadsheet and type down the 20 top blogs in your particular niche, including their domain URLs. Simply search through the most common keywords relating to your niche, Google them, and work through the results noting down each blog.

Make sure you read the blog to check it fits. Once you have your spreadsheet completed, it will be invaluable for your keyword research, especially if you complete the Stupid Simple SEO course by Mike Pearson.

That’s because Mike gives you all the tools, tips, and strategies to check out the competition and see what keywords they are ranking for. It’s the quickest way to get your keyword research going. 

Key Principle 4: Keyword Research

Keywords are simply the most popular, ‘key’ words that Google users type into the search bar as their search query.

But they are an essential part of your strategy when you thinking about how to make money blogging in 2021 because they reflect the most popular search queries on Google.

You can see the most popular keywords of 2021 on this list from Ahrefs.

make an extra $500 from home

But don’t target these keywords. As a new blog, it would be almost impossible to rank for the most popular keywords (but not impossible) due to the level of competition out there. 

You need to focus every single blog post you write on one specific keyword. 

And remember, it’s not worth using keywords that are so vague that no one is typing them into Google because if no one is searching for it, you won’t get any traffic.

So how do you find out what people are searching for?

You just type in your keywords to any of the following tools to find out the monthly search volume:

Google Trends is free but very basic. Ahrefs is very expensive, but it does come with a free trial and, Semrush is free but limited to a few searches a day (for the free allowance).

Ahrefs and Semrush allow you to view detailed metrics and data around monthly search volumes, keyword difficulty, and the domain ratings of websites that rank for popular keywords. 

Your goal is to find keywords that have a high search volume but are not too difficult. 

Pro Tip: Ahrefs is the most advanced keyword research tool bu,t i’s also very expensive. You can get around this by doing all of your research within the seven-day free trial period then downloading all of the spreadsheets of hundreds of perfect keywords for you to refer back to.

Keyword research is essential to make sure your blog gets traffic. 

But it’s kind of art in and of itself. Just using Ahrefs can be a little complicated!

To get the best know-how, I recommend investing in the Stupid Simple SEO course by Mike Pearson.

Mike’s course radically transformed my understanding of SEO, and it will help you:

  • Generate hundred of low-comp keywords you can rank for
  • Boost your blog profile and performance
  • Make money through your blog
  • Improve the quality and value of your writing

Not only will this course completely transform your understanding of SEO, but it will also give you all the tools, arming you with the best knowledge to help explode your blog traffic. 

Once you’ve completed the Stupid Simple SEO course, you’ll have a clear awareness of the keyword you need to aim for and how to find them.

Watch Out for these Serious Blogger Mistakes

We all mistakes; you only really learn from your mistakes (and the mistakes of others).

That’s why I’ve highlighted some of the most common mistakes below, and trust me, I’ve made most of the mistakes on this list!

  1. Following your passion only, instead of market opportunity
  2. Choosing a blog name that isn’t flexible. Read more: Choose the Perfect Blog Name
  3. Not self-hosting your blog from the beginning. Read more: How to Start a Blog
  4. Writing long walls of text that are difficult to read
  5. Using poor images and layout design
  6. Ignoring the importance of SEO. Learn More: Stupid Simple SEO course
  7. Not adding social sharing buttons to your pages and posts
  8. Launching your blog too early 
  9. Not blogging consistently 
  10. Not creating an email list from the start
  11. Expecting success from the outset

Monetization Tips and Getting Started

Now you know it’s definitely possible to make money blogging in 2021, it’s time to take action. 

If you haven’t yet started your blog, head over to my guide, How to Start a Blog, where you will learn everything you need to know about setting up hosting and creating your blog, including the 7 Easy Technical Steps you need to take. 

If your blog is already up and running that it will help you if you take the time to work through these four steps 

Get Strategic

Yup, it’s all about the strategy. But that doesn’t have to mean it’s complicated. 

All it means is setting yourself a timeline, including regular goals, so that you can hold yourself accountable and review your progress. 

When starting a successful blog, you simply need to meet the market demand for your chosen niche. 

Part of that strategy means creating content that most people are searching for. The topics vary, but the structure of the search queries is basically the same.

And the posts that readers respond best to include:

  1. Review posts
  2. “How to” posts
  3. “Best of” list and review posts
  4. Guides  

Before you start writing to your niche, it’s a good idea to create a content planner. This is simply a list of posts that you intend to write. 

It’s a good idea to begin with five cornerstones or ‘pillar posts. These are five long-form posts that epitomize the niche of your blog. 

My content planner is basically a spreadsheet with the following columns:

Keyword, Status, Keywork Volume, Keyword Difficulty, and so forth.

To make it super easy for you, I’ve created a FREE CONTENT PLANNER that you can download by signing up below. 

INSERT SIGN EMAIL TO TEMPLATE

You’ll need to aim for keywords with a search volume of over 2,000 searches per month and difficulty of less than 50.

If you want to know more about finding these keyword gems, then it’s worth taking MIke Pearson’s Stupid Simple SEO course.

Remember spending money on a blogging course is an investment in yourself. Ten years ago,o you probably didn’t need to worry about SEO too much, but the blogging landscape is so competitive now that it’s essential you arm yourself with the right strategy. 

You can also check out the following tools to do your research:

GrowthBar

Google Keyword Planner

Google Trends

SEMrush

Ahrefs

However, coming into these tools blind is like starting a rocket engineering course without a tutor. 

Mike’s Stupid Simple SEO course will help you get there faster. It was a lightbulb moment for me and completely changed my approach. 

Understand What You’re Selling and Who You’re Selling to

You probably didn’t start your blog wanting to become a salesperson.

But you probably do want to make money.

Well, unfortunately, those two things can’t co-exist side by side, which means you have to compromise if you want to make money blogging in 2021.

However, once you realize that selling to your readers helps to enrich their online experience and adds value to it, it makes the whole blogging thing a lot more attractive. 

There will be lots of people who end up on your blog looking for a solution. In other words, they are ready to buy. And you have to be prepared to sell to them.

Don’t be afraid to embrace that. 

Part of accepting that ‘agreement’ and being transparent in all of your online content and transactions with your readers is directly about what you’re selling. 

Being direct, open, and honest builds trust. And trust leads to sales. 

But you can only build trust if you truly understand what you are selling and who you are selling to. 

For example, every single product or course that I recommend on this site I have personally bought or completed, and I never recommend things that I don’t think are top quality.

That’s why I only recommend four critical courses in the learning section of my blogging toolkit. And the same goes for the tools, books, and services. All tried and tested, all used, all read. 

I recommend these products because, first and foremost, I have found them helpful and believe others will too, and secondly, but no less important, because they have attractive affiliate terms attached to them.

By understanding these products inside out and taking the time to research and identify your target readership, you will build trust and sales through your blog effectively. 

Master Your Value-Added Content

A wise old philosopher once said:

“You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”

And that philosopher was none other than…. Yoda!

Just because the master himself is fictional doesn’t mean it’s not a truth. And it’s a truth worth remembering. You will fail many times, but each time you do, you learn something new.

When you start your blog, it may seem challenging to ‘master’ your chosen niche, but you’ll keep learning over time, and you’ll be able to create content that provides the perfect solution to your readers.

Keep in mind your blog must add value and exceed the competition’s offer to get to the top spot (rank 1, page 1) in Google. 

Generating a sale from affiliate marketing can require thousands of visitors; that means you have to be ahead of the competition to provide value-added content. 

As you create the best content built around low-competition keywords, you make your audience, and you can develop your range of affiliate offers, online courses, sponsored posts, or digital downloads. 

Remember, to build an audience for your blog, and each post you create must add value and provide a solution to a search query.

You have to think from the perspective of a Google search query. Who is the person behind that search query? What are their pain points? What are they searching for? And how can your content best serve them?

All successful blogs have a laser-like focus on serving the needs of their own targeted demographic. If they didn’t meet that need, then they wouldn’t be in business. 

Prioritize Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is growing!

Source: Statista

Like a hungry baby, it just keeps getting bigger!

And that’s probably because it’s the most seamless way of integrating monetization into your blog and into the ‘transaction’ that exists between you, the blogger, and your blog reader. 

So let’s take a quick look at the reasons why you should prioritize affiliate marketing and why it’s one of the best ways to make money blogging in 2021:

  • It’s a billion-dollar industry which means the opportunities for monetizing your blog are limitless (or almost!)
  • There are no barriers to entry as affiliate marketing costs nothing to set up. It’s free to join affiliate programs or networks, and there is no ongoing cost.
  • You need an audience over experience, which means anyone can start. Affiliate marketing is about linking your audience to products and services that help them, so it’s pretty much a win-win!
  • Operating costs are low; once you’ve published a post or guide that benefits people and provides them with value and the products or services they need, then that post has the potential to make money for you years down the line, with very little work required to maintain.
  • Monetize your blog, which, let’s face it, is the aim of the game!
  • Seamlessly integrates with your content because affiliate marketing fits with the products or services you already use; it’s so easy to become an affiliate and start promoting those same products to your audience. 
  • Customer service is… not your problem so go ahead get a t-shirt that says “Not my problem” on the front. When it comes to affiliate marketing, all customer services are handled by the company you’re affiliated with.
  • Provides freedom and a flexible working schedule to work anyplace, anytime. You could develop your affiliate marketing offer working in the middle of the Sahara desert if that’s your thing. 
  • It makes you the business owner, so there’s no more answering to a boss who knows less than you do. 
  • Is performance based meaning the harder you work, the more you get paid (as long as, yup, you guessed it, your adding value)

When it comes to affiliate marketing, the sky is the limit but you probably won’t start earning money on Day, Week, Month 1. 

I mean, you might, and if you do, tell me about it, but for most bloggers, it takes determination to succeed, persistence where others have failed, and a desire to make money blogging in 2021. 

The question isn’t whether or not it’s possible to make money blogging in 2021; it’s whether or not you want to.

Ultimately it comes down to choice. Do you choose to set up your money-making blog, or do you decide to do something else?

Only you can answer that, but I hope this guide has provided some helpful info, or reassurance, that it’s definitely possible to make money blogging in 2021. 

This leaves us with one… final… question…

How Long Will it Take to Make Money Blogging in 2021?

I know you want a straightforward answer, but I have to honest with you.

It depends.

It depends on how many hours per week you can work on your blog, how good your keyword research is (buy the Stupid Simple SEO course, seriously it will massively improve your keyword research game), and how well you meet your audience need.

But, by researching all of the blogs in the list above, assessing the income reports, and cross-referencing them against the blog timelines, we can develop the average timeline for making money with your blog.

  1. New blogs will take from 8-16 months of consistent hard work to generate $500 per month.
  2. Newly established blogs will take from 12-24 months to generate $1,000 per month.
  3. Established blogs will take from 18-24 months to generate $2,000 per month
  4. Experienced blogs will take from 24-48 months to generate $5,000 per month

And finally, Niche-leading blogs who have been around for several years, and more, can make anything from $10,000 per month or more. 

BUT (and it’s a big one!): These are averages. 

Adam Enfroy over at his blog, of the same name, scaled his blog in less than a year to a mammoth $100k a month by replicating the strategies used in start-ups (yes, like those living in silicon valley) into his blog. 

He hired people to write his posts and focussed all of his energies on scaling. It’s certainly worked out well for him and something to keep in mind as your blog develops. 

To Sum Up

I never intended for this post to turn into such a humongous guide about how to make money blogging in 2021, but I really enjoyed writing it and, if you made it this far down, I hope you found something useful that made you stop and think for a moment. 

So if you’re asking yourself if it’s possible to make money blogging in 2021, then I hope this guide has answered that question with a resounding yes!

Blogging has evolved somewhat since 2010. And that’s for the better. The content that people provide online is of much quality. While this means the environment for blogging is more competitive, it also means that the ‘industry’ and the opportunities for making money are much more sophisticated than previously. 

If you’re thinking about starting a money-making blog, there’s no time like today. Head over to my FREE guide so that you can set up your blog the right way.

I’ll let you into a little secret; we all pretty much have the same ideas. The only difference is that the ones who succeed are simply determined to make their ideas a reality.

Don’t let doubt dissuade you; if your thinking about starting a money-making blog, go for it – it could change your life.  

▶︎ hey, I’m Tom

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