Side Hustle: How To Get Paid Blogging

When I started my personal finance blog in the summer of 2017 I had absolutely no clue what I was doing…

Between my wife and I, we had done some pretty cool stuff with our money the year prior, so I thought blogging about it would be a cool “hobby.”

I also thought that overnight, I would have a blog that went viral!

Seriously, I am not kidding when I say that I thought that everyone would share my blog links to their Facebook a million times and in a matter of days, I would have millions of page views.

Not only does that seldom happen, that most certainly wasn't the case for Money Life Wax (When I look back at some of my old blog posts and cringe, I am actually glad no one shared them).

However, I quickly realized that I needed some help when it came to blogging and I needed to work harder if I was going to take my blog to the heights I envisioned.

One of my biggest questions about blogging was this:

How do I get paid blogging?

How to get paid blogging (As a side hustle!)

Believe it or not, you don't have to sell your soul to the devil to make money blogging and you can actually get paid.

Here is what is cool about blogging:

Somehow I managed to make $20 my third-month blogging and by the end of my first full year, I had made $5,300 blogging… even though I had no clue what I was doing for the first 12 months!

What started as a simple website on Wix about how my wife and I had over $300,000 in student loans (This is the 1st MLW blog post) led me to a completely new way of making money – the online entrepreneurial world.

As I ventured down this new road of making money blogging, I heard words like search engine optimization, digital marketing, automated social media, and user intent that at first, scared me.

I quickly became more immersed and that is when I realized that blogs just a form of marketing. In fact, before starting Money Life Wax I had no clue that people made money with blogs.

Maybe like you, I thought they just did it for fun (Like I said, I had a lot to learn).

One of the biggest things I had to learn was how to get paid blogging – AKA what are the best ways to make money with your blog.

How do most blogs work?

Most bloggers share a story, they market products they believe in from time to time, and they aim to do one thing – help others with their own personal situations.

The reason why I write about student loans and money is that my passion and goal with MLW is to help people with student loans pay off their debt.

My tag line, “Pay off student loans, make money and live a great life,” is why I pump out content on the regular about personal finance.

Truth be told, that is how most blogs work, they simply:

  1. Share a story
  2. Provide endless high-quality content
  3. Reach out to others in their niche
  4. Grow an audience
  5. Help their readers out with their lives
how to get paid blogging
The home screen back in 2017 for MLW!

As a blog grows, most bloggers help readers with their needs while simultaneously using their blog as a marketing platform.

Related: 5 Mistakes to Avoid Starting Your First Blog

Blogs are a form of marketing. 

When it comes to blogging there is a marketing component to running a succesful blog. Blogging is just content marketing.

There are quite a few ways to monetize (Make money) with a blog but here is how most get paid blogging:

  1. Ad placements with something like Mediavine
  2. Promoting products through affiliate marketing, such as Amazon
  3. Creating and selling custom products like “How to courses.”
  4. Paid sponsorships
  5. Offering freelance services

To date I have used #2, 4, and 5 to make money, with #5 being my go to.

So if you're looking at how to possibly create a side hustle blogging, here are a few points to keep in mind!

Use Bluehost to start blogging with.

Bluehost is a website hosting company and honestly, they are the best IMO.

The sheer fact that for about $150 you can start an online business just by creating a domain with a 3-year hosting package with Bluehost is sort of insane.

In the traditional business world, just the office chair you would need to start a business would cost more than $250. Money Life Wax is hosted through Bluehost in conjunction with WordPress. The two come together and are extremely easy to use.

You can use this exclusive link to get a hosting and domain package for just $3.95 a month.

Pick a niche

Don't think you will be an overnight success blogging. Instead, pick a niche such as;

how to get paid blogging pin
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Fitness
  • Personal Finance
  • Lifestyle
  • Shopping

Then once you have your niche, develop your “Avatar.” This is the ideal reader you will be designing articles around.

For example, maybe your avatar is a 25-year-old millennial who likes working out and having fun, but wants to grow their wealth so you write often about investing and real estate!

It can be that simple to start.

Write some high-quality content

Next, you will want to write some really high-quality content.

That being said, we all have to start somewhere so be sure to just write and not become a perfectionist!

Before going live with your blog, make sure you have 5-10 posts ready to go so you're not overwhelmed trying to write and run your new side hustle.

Keep in mind high quality is better than high quantity, my biggest early mistake!

Here are some simple blog post writing tips:

  1. Have a working title and SEO keyword focus (Just use KW Finder, a free plugin)
  2. Write your rough draft on Google Drive and have a 1,000-word goal
  3. Be sure to keep the intro under 175 words and let readers know what they will be reading
  4. Use H2 headings to break up paragraphs at least every 200 words
  5. Don't use H1 headings within your blog post
  6. Just write and then edit!
  7. Break up chunky paragraphs like this (Notice Chunky on the left):

Search Engine Optimization Note:

I would recommend taking an SEO course to find out what user intent is (What people want to read).

I wish when I started my blog I had learned about SEO early on instead of 18 months in! It would have helped tons with my early content that I am currently re-purposing. Set a small goal to take an SEO course within your first 3 months of blogging if you're serious about getting paid blogging!

Stupid Simple SEO is what I took and the course is only open a few times a year, so be sure to get on the waiting list.

Avoid ads on your blog.

The first step to monetizing your blog will most likely be affiliate partners, not ads like most people think.

The reason I would recommend NOT DOING ADS until you're approaching 25,000 views per month is that ads are annoying.

get paid to blog

Your early goal blogging is to develop a readership, not give off the impression you're spamming people. While that isn't your goal, early on if you're just starting out ads can give the wrong impression.

When looking to get paid blogging, ads really don't add up (No pun intended) until you breach the 25,000 views per month mark anyways.

Remember: Don't' sacrifice quality to make $25 with ads.

Instead, select solid affiliate partners

Want to know why one of my favorite partners is Truth in Equity?

Because if it wasn't for Bill, the owner of Truth in Equity, we would still have globs of student loan debt.

This is not a traditional product. It is not mainstream, which is probably why I like it even more. Truth in Equity is a service, but it is a service that helped my wife and I. So we decided to create an affiliate partnership.

Almost all of the affiliates I have partnerships with are affiliates I have used personally. You can get paid with your blog through affiliates without selling your soul to the devil as I alluded to earlier.

Here are the affiliates I use and stand by:

  1. Bluehost Hosting
  2. Elementor Web Design
  3. Tailwind for Bloggers
  4. Stupid Simple SEO Course
  5. Survey Junkie
  6. M1 Investing
  7. Acorns
  8. Qoins
  9. Truth in Equity
  10. Lendkey Student Loan Refinancing
  11. Penfed Student Loan Refinancing

Sponsored posts

This is something you will be able to do more of as your blog grows.

Truth be told, at least in the personal finance sector, early on you will be hit up quite often for “Sponsored Guest Posts.”

Most of these are really crappy companies that you would never want to write about or promote. They're also really easy to sniff out. But as your blog grows and as you're looking at how to get paid blogging, you will eventually land sponsored posts.

While it took me close to 15 months to land my 1st sponsored post, I was REALLY picky with who I wrote about. One thing I learned from being in blogging groups like this one on Facebook, is there are tons of ways to go about sponsored posts.

You can get paid to write in:

  1. Your style
  2. Review style
  3. Or subtly include

Just be sure to always add a privacy and disclosure page noting the post is sponsored (Feel free to copy and paste my privacy page, just take out Money Life Wax!)

Offer freelance services

Freelancing is my go to when it comes to getting paid blogging.

how to get paid blogging

When I started my blog I recognized it was a long term game. While YES, you can make money blogging early on, I knew the big money came the more you invested into your blog.

So as I learned about blogging, I realized a large number of small business owners are not internet experts. They don't have time to deal with all the digital marketing stuff.

When blogging, you quickly learn how to:

  1. Write
  2. Do web design
  3. Graphic design
  4. Use SEO
  5. Leverage Social Media (Especially Facebook)

And since most business owners know the value of an online presence… but don't have time to do it, I decided to help them! Since January 2018 I have made close to $10,000 through freelancing which includes all of the above ^.

My take on getting paid blogging:

By no means and I am rich for blogging. I would say with the time investment up to this point I am actually negative had I just got a part-time job.

However, you can get paid blogging and it really isn't “Work” in the traditional sense. In my opinion, I find blogging to be a challenge. If you're looking to start a blog you can use this, or use this step by step blogging for beginners guide.

Q: Would you ever want to start a blog? 

Note: Keep in mind there are also expenses associated with blogging – from hosting, to social media management packages, however blogging is a very cheap side hustle and small business!