Share8 Tweet4 Pin8 Share11Shares 31Google the term “make money blogging”, and you’re going to get an insane amount of information thrown your way. The majority will be from uber-successful bloggers who are making six a figures a month. Or bloggers who have been working on their craft for 12 years. Or bloggers who are so successful that Google uses their content directly on the first page of their search results. I’ve read all 3 of those posts. It’s all great stuff. But there is one message all of these bloggers want to make very clear from the beginning. It is very hard to make money blogging. One of these bloggers said he didn’t even make his first dime until five years into blogging. Another created three blogs that failed before finally making money on his fourth. So, if you want to get into this line of work, you’re going to need a lot of patience and determination. That said, it all come down to your goals. I don’t make anywhere near what these people make on their blogs. Like, not even remotely close. And I’m OK with that. I set out building RapidWebLaunch with the goal of creating a modest, passive income. An income that would allow me to live a simple life that gave me more control of my time. I’m happy to say that it’s working splendidly. I may not make six figures a month (or even a year, for that matter) on this blog, but I did start making money from it in just six months. It didn’t take me five years. And I don’t say that to brag. A big reason I was able to accomplish this is because I had these trailblazing bloggers to learn from. (thanks guys/gals!) Allow me to break down how I was able to do this. Find the gap I know, you’re jelly of my Photoshop skills. I can feel it. As a web designer that uses multiple CMS platforms, I have a deep knowledge of Weebly. This means I also have a good understanding of what Weebly’s biggest faults are. And one of Weebly’s shortcomings is their poor choice of high-quality themes. It was often the most frustrating part of using Weebly. This is what we would call a “customer pain point”. If I was annoyed with the poor choice of themes, there was a good chance others were as well. While researching potential solutions to this problem, I discovered there were a few third party developers that create beautiful Weebly themes. You can buy them and then import them into Weebly’s platform. I ended up incorporating these themes into many of my clients’ websites. It worked great. But, during my research, I also noticed that there wasn’t much content written about this topic. There were no reviews, instructions, or tips on where to find or how to use these themes. And of the little content that was available, it was poor quality. There was a need that was not currently being filled. I had found my opportunity. Create valuable content to fill that gap Now that I discovered a gap in the customer experience, it was time to fill it. And that always starts with seeing things from your customer’s perspective. By putting myself in their shoes, I could better understand their needs. Fortunately, I already knew what that was like because I used to be one of those customers. What my customer needed was a be-all, end-all post that clearly articulated the benefits and drawbacks of the different Weebly themes developers on the market. So, I wrote this post: Top 4 Places to Find Amazing Weebly Themes Some fundamentals you should keep in mind while creating content for your blog: Make sure it is truly valuable. If it’s just the regurgitated thoughts of others, it won’t fly. People will peace out real quick. Use simple wording. Don’t get fancy, just make it easy to read. Make good use of visuals. Make it pretty. Images, graphics, videos and GIFs. Be creative about it. Avoid unnecessary distractions. For this post in particular, I removed my sidebar completely. The only thing to read on the page was the content of the post itself. Get personal. People never tire of stories. Tell yours. Pick your keywords. Think about what your customers will be searching for, and incorporate those keywords into your content. But make it natural! Because my post focused on these fundamentals, provided a great user experience, and was in a niche with very low competitive keywords, it started to rank on the first page of Google for many useful search terms. And the traffic started to come in. Show me the money So, how do you turn blog traffic into cash? There are many ways to do this, but the strategy I used for this post was affiliate marketing. It made the most sense for the type of content I was creating. Affiliate marketing essentially comes down to this. Pick a product you personally use and love. Create valuable content around that product. Embed links in your content that send visitors to that product’s website. They click the link and buy the product, and you get a piece of the pie. Simple, right? Throughout my post, I embedded links to the makers of those Weebly themes. Every time a visitor clicked those links and bought the developer’s theme, I would get a cut of the sale. There are a few important things to note here. Only write content about products that you personally use and enjoy. Otherwise, your content will simply be a thinly-veiled ad, and visitors will see right through it. Build trust with your readers. If you lose that, you have nothing. There were definite negatives to some of these developer’s products, and I was very honest about them with my readers, even if it upset the developers themselves. Don’t give in. When you start to gain attention, companies will start asking you to review their products, but really what they want is a glowing review. Be objective, and only write a review after using (and loving) the product yourself. Once the post started to take off, I found myself pulling in abut $300/month in affiliate commissions just from this one post. And the best part? It was all entirely passive income. I put in many hours of work into creating the post and marketing it but, now that it was done, it was completely self -sustaining. People search, find my post, click-through, buy things, and I get a commission. I just had to check on it every now and then. Follow up with more great stuff I now had a small, but dedicated audience. My new task was to create more valuable content that this audience would appreciate. I followed up this post with more Weebly-related content: 8 Beautiful Websites You Won’t Believe Were Made With Weebly (a little click-baity, but it’s true!) Full reviews of individual theme developers: Baamboo Studio Webfire Themes Luminous Themes How to Make a Website for Free After creating this follow-up content, I was able to boost my monthly blog income to $500/month. Yah, it’s not six figures, but I’m pretty proud of it nonetheless. It’s a great feeling seeing your planning and hard work come to fruition. Follow these simple fundamentals, and you’ll probably be making more than me in even less time.