Today I figured that I would take some time to go through my blogging journey and retrace my steps of growing my first blog from virtually no readers (except my family!) to an income generating machine with solid readership size. Let me start by saying it is possible to make $100,000 blogging but it takes time and effort. You have to build a site, promote it, and stock it with lots of great content.
I Started Out Blogging!!
I had a solid background in finance considering that my undergraduate degree was in Finance. I always had a passion for finance and wanted to help people advance economically. I always felt that there was a dearth of information helping people truly build wealth. My first step was to start my blog I started my first blog in November of 2008. I created the site as a way to share my thoughts on personal finance and to answer any questions that people may have had. I never really saw blogging as a big money maker. I knew nothing of Google Page Rank, Alexa ranking, Search Engine Optimization, or any other rating services. I just thought of blogging as a way to express my thoughts on any finance related topic.
Contacted Sites About Guest Posting
I contacted a few sites about writing a guest post for their site and often never heard back. It is difficult to get guest posting opportunities when you do not have any content out there. It’s like applying for a job fresh out of college. Companies would always say you don’t have any experience and I would always wonder how am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me? Getting a guest posting job on a respected site is not easy. The blog owner has to trust you and believe that your content is something that will benefit their readers. I did not have much online content when I started blogging so that was quite difficult.
My Blogging Career Is Over?
I started off writing consistently day after day believing that my readership would grow rather quickly. Well after blogging for a few months in anonymity, I grew tired of waiting and slacked off. I would write a post once a week and then once every two weeks. I even had one month where I only wrote one post. These were not long posts either! They were only 200 to 300 words.
Burnout is common in blogging. Lots of bloggers burn out after a few months because they get discouraged. You feel like you are writing content that no one will ever read. You start to feel like you are wasting time and that your site will never be recognized by mainstream publications. This was the point where I almost gave up but fortunately I did not.
Blogging Take 2!
I recommitted myself to blogging and determined to stick with it for the long haul. I started writing 3 to 4 posts every week regardless of how I felt. I devoted myself to writing qualitative articles on topics that would be of interest to people. My posts became longer with the minimum content being 500 words. I wrote content consistently despite my low readership. I knew that eventually more people would read my blog so I stuck with it. I stopped paying attention to website traffic and just focused on writing. This is the most important step of all. A great blog needs unique substantive content. It is better to have one great blog post than to churn out 100 mediocre ones.
Finding My Voice
One of the toughest things about writing starting off for me was finding my voice. I didn’t want to duplicate the writing style of other bloggers. That’s copycatting and I am sure they would not have appreciated that. I didn’t want to steal other people’s ideas. I wanted to have my own unique take and write about whatever I was thinking about that week. Scary, huh? No need to worry. I do keep the topics to only finance. Sometimes I will throw in the occasional sports reference but 99 percent of my posts were finance related.
Applied For Freelance Writing Jobs
After I had one year’s worth of content on my site, I started looking for financial writing jobs. I visited a bunch of different job boards looking for writing jobs. I was willing to take any financial writing job as long as it increased my exposure. Some of the jobs were very low paying but I saw it as an investment in building my name and the website brand. Writing for other sites also enabled me to get backlinks to my content which led people to my site.
Sold My First Ad
You read that correctly. I made my first ever ad sale. A site contacted me about buying an ad for $10/month. I was so excited that I leaped at the offer. It was the first ad that I had ever sold. I realize now that I sold myself way too short but I was happy for any income. When you aren’t making any income blogging, you appreciate every dollar.
Networked With Other Bloggers
I started visiting other financial sites. I must have visited thousands and thousands of financial websites from the very good to the not so good. I almost always learned something from visiting a site. I begin to email bloggers whose sites that I enjoyed reading. I didn’t ask them to link to my site or promote my site. I just wanted to let them know that I enjoyed reading their sites and out of this I built some pretty solid blogging friendships.
I learned a lot from other bloggers and from taking the time to read sites about building a blog. I began learning about the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I learned about promoting my best content on social media, gaining backlinks for my blog, and building a brand.
I Got Hired!
I ended up getting hired by a couple of financial sites and started building my portfolio as a financial writer. Over the next 10 months, I wrote hundreds of articles for different financial sites. I wrote articles on everything from investing to shopping to taxes. If it was in the financial arena, I wrote it. At its peak, I was writing 20 articles every week. I was making an average of $150- $200 for each article that I wrote.
Gained More Exposure
My rate of pay for articles increased and a few of my articles were picked up by national publications and I was on my way to becoming a professional writer. I had a few articles that were run by Forbes, New York Times, Investopedia. the Wall Street Journal and a couple of other large sites.
Emails, Emails, Emails
I am not sure what changed but after about 18 months of blogging I started to get bombarded with offers. I started getting a bunch of advertisers contacting me about buying ad space. I received requests for lots of weird products including electronic cigarettes, tennis shoes, and electronics. I turned most of them down as I only promote products I believe in. I was receiving bout 25 book review offers a week, tons of article submissions, guest post requests, and speaking opportunities.
Taught Other Bloggers
My blog became so popular that I was hired by eHow to do a webinar teaching their writers how to write great content. It was a great opportunity to share my story about how I became a financial writer and grew my site from no readership.
Developed More Income Sources
I began generating $500 a month and more from Google Adsense alone. Some months I would generate $2,000 or more from Adsense alone. I sold relevant links on my site for $100-$200 a month. I increased my rate for writing financial content to $375- $500 per guest post. I enrolled in affiliate advertising programs that paid for reviews and new promotions. I even hired two freelance writers to write content to stock my blog. This allowed me to keep a consistent posting schedule. At its peak my blog was generating an average of $9,000 a month in income. Some months I was making over $15,000 a month blogging. That was a pretty good amount for a part time job. My blog became incredibly successful.
Since that time I have written a book and I am currently working on a second one. I recently restarted blogging on my new site called Multiply My Money. I exclusively write for it. I also recently started a YouTube Channel and Facebook Page teaching how to build wealth. My goal this time is to help as many people as possible lead financially successful lives. I want to help people increase their net worth by investing in assets and decreasing debt levels. Wise stewardship of financial resources can help anyone build wealth.