WordPress is probably the number one free blogging platform in today's society. Thus thousands of bloggers around the world use WordPress to power their blogs (including me). But how can WordPress, a FREE blogging platform, earn you some significant income? Here is a step-by-step guide showing how to make money with WordPress.
- Select a Niche
The absolute MOST IMPORTANT element of a website/blog is the niche. Choose a specific and unique niche you feel comfortable writing about. For example, if you're really good at web design, write about a specific part of web design such as coding. Make sure that your niche isn't vague, because then search engines like Google and Yahoo! will NEVER find your website/blog.
Once you've chosen your niche, brainstorm some articles you can write. This will help in the long run; trust me, you don't want to start a blog and half a year down the road you have a sever brain fart and can't write any more articles. Make sure your niche is specific but broad enough so you can write at least 2,000 articles on it!
Create Your WordPress Blog
You need to create a WordPress blog. WordPress is a free blogging platform, but you will need a website first, and the website needs to be hosted one of two ways: Free Hosting or Paid Hosting.
If you're looking for a free hosting service to host WordPress, the best solution for you would probably be WordPress.com hosting. I recommend this option because it is 100% free and from WordPress itself! The WordPress platform automatically comes with the free web hosting service from WordPress.com (as the name suggests) and you won't have to worry about all the complications of web hosting (name servers, updates, mysql databases, etc.)! Plus, setup is a breeze and you get to choose your own domain (has to be a subdomain of WordPress.com though). Trust me, free WordPress hosting doesn't getting any better than WordPress.com!
Another option would be finding free web hosting services and installing WordPress manually. This is not recommended because it takes a lot of hassle finding a 100% free web hosting service with a good up-time and support for WordPress. I would definitely recommend WordPress.com hosting over free web hosting.
Paid Hosting allows you to have complete control over your WordPress blog (you can write whatever you want; with WordPress.com hosting you have to abide by their terms of service). Bloggers often use this to their advantage, as creating beautiful-looking templates and site design is a breeze with paid hosting. First, you'll need to find a good web hosting service. I recommend HostGator because (in my humble opinion) they are cheap yet offer the best support and compatibility for WordPress. With HostGator, simply sign up (you get a free domain with any plan) and in your control panel you can 1-click install WordPress! Once you've installed WordPress, you'll be good to go!
- Get a Theme, Configure WordPress Widgets, and Start Writing Stuff!
Once you've set up WordPress, I recommend selecting a theme. WordPress has a large variety of themes, and you can decide on which one suits your blog the best. The second step after installing WordPress is installing widgets. Widgets are special components of your WordPress blog that each have a specific function.
In my opinion, SEO, Backup, Cache, and anti-Spam are the widgets you absolutely need. Other fancy widgets are up to your discretion. After installing the widgets (you can decide which ones you need and which ones you don't), get ready to write! Remember step one? Hopefully you can already spit out a couple of blog posts from your brainstorming!
- Receive Traffic
As a webmaster, I really can't emphasize the importance of traffic. You may have the BEST article on the planet, but if your blog's only loyal visitor is your mom, the world won't be able to see your beautiful writing. That's why traffic is essential to your blog's survival.
To start out, I immediately recommend you submit your site only to the top search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing). As a little precaution, I urge you to not focus on submitting your site to too many search engines, because most of the time search engines should find your website automatically.
Generating some beginning traffic is pretty easy, given that you have friends and family. Use FaceBook, Twitter, and whatever other methods to let everyone know about your website. Assuming that you know more than 50 people in the world, this should be pretty easy and you should begin to have some steady traffic. Not much, but steady.
Now it's time to go public. One of the most effective ways to get traffic is to submit your website to the top directories such as DMoz (Google). However, since you're just starting out, I don't recommend this because DMoz literally accepts less than 1% of all submissions, and your site will probably be the 99% that gets denied. Submit your website to lesser known but trusted directories that guarantee indexing.
Once you've submitted your website to at least 10 directories, let's move on to some more ways to earn traffic. Traffic-exchange sites are good as longs as they are MANUAL. NEVER join an auto-surf exchange site, as the traffic has no value since everything is automated.
Yet another free and effective method to get traffic is through free classified ads. Just Google "free classifieds" and you'll find a load of websites that allow you to post advertisements for free. This is effective as it is not time-consuming, and thousands of top-ranked sites will be displaying your ads for absolutely no fee!
- Monetize Your WordPress Blog
So far, you should have a blog that:
- has a unique niche
- has at least 10+ articles/posts
- is hosted by a trusted web hosting service
- has the WordPress blogging platform (duh!)
- has decent traffic (500+ visitors a day)
- can be found on search engines such as Google
Now it's time to reap your rewards for your painstakingly hard work! It's time to make some money $$$!
The most effective and easiest way to earn a steady income is through advertising. There are many paths you can take. The most famous advertising service is probably Google AdSense. However, they pay ONLY by check, and that may be inconvenient if you wish to be paid by other means such as PayPal. That's why there are loads of AdSense alternatives!
Clicksor is probably the main competition to AdSense. You can be paid in a variety of different ways, which makes Clicksor much more convenient than AdSense. Clicksor offers pretty much every type of advertising you'll ever need for your blog; it's an all-in-one solution for monetizing your blog.
One major problem with Clicksor and other all-in-one advertising solutions is that the advertising is HORRIBLE for blogs. In fact, some blogs lose traffic due to advertisements filling up more than 60% of your blog and annoying the hell out of the visitors. You can either take the risk of losing some traffic and making your website ugly, OR you can use an alternative monetizing method: In-Text advertising.
InfoLinks is hands-down THE BEST in-text advertising. In-text advertising is effective because of its limited disturbance in your blog; it chooses random key words in your blog and highlights them, allowing visitors to click them, in turn generating income for the webmaster (in this case YOU). How can in-text advertising services afford to offer this type of advertising? Advertisers pay sites like InfoLinks to promote their products/services. InfoLinks hands that responsibility to webmasters like you and me, and we get paid in return for helping InfoLinks earn money. I hope I haven't confused you. In the simplest terms, you get paid for showing links on your blog!
Now, how do we integrate such a great service into our blog? InfoLinks has generously created a WordPress widget that you can simply install into your site.
Follow the simple 1-minute integration guide and you should have in-text advertisements integrated into your blog in no time!
InfoLinks has a relatively high payout per click (PPC); on average, each click is $0.10. Let's say you have 500 visitors per day, and 10% (50 people) each click one in-text advertisement per day. That gives you $5.00 a day, which translates to over $1,500 a year doing absolutely nothing! And that is only a mere 10% of your daily visitors! You could be earning some serious income with InfoLinks.
Regarding payment methods, InfoLinks pays by either PayPal or Check. Pretty convenient for me.
Other Monetizing Methods
There are hundreds of ways to monetize your blog, and InfoLinks is just one of them. Another 100% free method is affiliate marketing. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing works like this: major companies such as Microsoft pay you when you help them make a sale. Every time you refer a friend to Microsoft's website and they make a purchase (i.e. Windows 7), you earn a certain percentage of the total sales (usually this is around 10-15%) from Microsoft. Considering the amount of traffic you already have, this can be a huge money maker. Try this method out, as it is 100% free too!
Many money-making solutions now offer WordPress widgets too, and you can monetize your blog to whatever extent you please. Just keep in mind that you don't want more than 20% of your blog to be advertisements =P
Have Fun Earning Some Free Money with your WordPress Blog!
Once you have accomplished all or most of the above, you have succeeded in creating a monetized WordPress blog earning you around $2000-3000 a year. Remember that more writing = more visitors = more traffic = more ad-clicking machines = more $$$$$$$$!
A very important note is that a monetized blog should not be your main source of income. However, making $2000+ a year is extremely good considering the fact that your visitors do all the work!
I hope that you've enjoyed this article and can apply some of my methods to start earning some significant money online with your WordPress blog!