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How I Made Five Figures from Blogging in Year One

It isn’t everyday that someone makes a lot of money from blogging. It was just a little over a year ago that I got serious about making money from blogging. I started my first personal finance blog in August 2011. Since then, it has taken off. In my first year of blogging, I made five figures from blogging. While my monthly income has significantly decreased, I still look back on my first year of blogging with amazement.

How many people can say they made $1,000 in their first four months of blogging? How many people can say that they have purchased 3 other blogs purely from the profits of their blog? Okay, now that I have your attention, I can stop bragging and tell you how I did it – how I made five figures from blogging and how anyone else can do it too if they work hard enough.

Step 1 – Create a Unique Blog

I can’t tell you the number of times that people try to start blogs that sound so similar to other blogs. It is getting increasingly more difficult as time goes on, but it’s still possible. When starting a blog, make sure to have a unique name. Don’t try to piggy-back off of anyone else’s success. The indirect result will be forever living in a more-successful blog’s shadow. Who would want that? I started out doing something similar. Little did I know, there were already a couple blogs that were targeting 20 somethings or young adults. This made the next step even more difficult.

Step 2 – Marketing / Networking

After creating something that is unique or of value, the next thing that I did was to connect with other people doing a similar thing. Networking with other bloggers should be part of anyone’s marketing plan. Growing within a larger community makes everything easier. There’s more people to share your great content. There’s even more blog comments to encourage you when you first start out. The benefits are unbelievable.

This type of network isn’t built over night. While I was able to join an established community (Yakezie Network), it still took a lot of work to make myself known. I literally commented on 30+ blogs everyday for at least 2 months. This is part of my belief that commenting plays a huge role in beginner bloggers. What happened was crazy. I started getting thousands of visitors from day one. In my first full month (September 2011), I had over 10,000 pageviews and hardly any of that was search engine traffic. While I know now that I suck at growing SE traffic, there are very few people who can grow a blog to that kind of traffic in the first year. That tells you how powerful it was. Not only did my traffic increase, but also familiarity with my blog increased as well. In other words, I began to make a name for myself.

Step 3 – Monetize

Do you know of an informational medium that makes money without advertising? While I am sure there are a few donor-backed outlets, it is not very common. In order to make money, you have to sell advertising. The different types of advertising are many and what you focus on will be dependent on what your strengths are. For a time, I was able to produce a lot of content in a short period of time. This was the time that I was consistently writing for about 5 blogs all by myself. This has long changed, but the important thing when selling advertising is to play to your strengths.

Step 4 – Reinvest Profits

When most people earn money, they take the money and run. They may buy something that they have been itching to do or they may invest the money in the stock market. Both are acceptable responses, but they won’t help you grow in the same way. I decided to reinvest my profits. I did this primarily through buying other blogs. This helped me exponentially increase my income each month. It was ultimately the secret to my success with earning money online. I still consider myself an amateur when it comes to monetizing a blog, but I have been successful in a few key areas. It allowed me to generate enough income to buy a used car, fund my maximum Roth IRA 2012 contribution and a few other things. If I had taken they money from my main blogs, I would have seriously limited my success and seen only pennies of the dollars that I have come across.

While in many ways, I consider myself lucky, I also know that so many more people could be successful with blogging. My story proves that it IS possible to earn money from blogging. It doesn’t take a lot of experience – just a willingness to learn something new and to put in the effort.

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