As I write this blog post, I am well aware that we are in a recession and inflation is out of control – a lot of people are looking to make more money or start a side hustle that takes off as fast as possible.
I am writing this post for those of you who are genuinely interested in changing your lives creating a niche blog or niche site that will earn you a $3,000 per month in one year’s timeframe. How quickly it takes off will be dependent on quite a few factors: your skills, your persistence, and well, Google.
Disclaimer: Affiliate Phoenix/Moon do not guarantee that you will make $3,000 per month after taking each one of these steps.
How to Make Money With Blogs Utilizing the Search Engines
With blogs and niche sites, I write content for people and search engines like Google so within a few months time, people can find my blog in the search results for relevant keyphrases.
When I build content that is optimized for the search engines, I can leverage all this free, super targeted traffic which is interested in the topic I have written about; Google will serve my search engine optimized articles in top spots to people interested in it (as long as I nail the SEO part!)
The more people that land on my blog, the more chances that some people will end up making purchases from products I refer (and can make a commission from) or clicking on display ads, making me money.
This is going to be a long, thorough read, so if you don’t have a snack in hand, grab one. I prefer brownies and The Phoenix prefers “thicc affiliate commissions” from his blogs. But hey, let’s have some fun.
Can You Create a Blog That Earns $3,000 per Month in One Year?
While I can’t guarantee you that you can achieve this in one year, plenty of people have. It all comes down to you and your persistence. There are tons of factors at play here (Google!) and I want to setup realistic expectations.
Asking if you can earn a $3,000 per month from a blog is like asking a random stranger, “can a person lose 50 lbs in one year?” You will hear plenty of “yes” and “no” answers, depending on who you ask.
The truth is: plenty of people have achieved the $3,000 per month marker with their blogs in one year and there are just as many or more who have failed!
It depends on what you’re willing to put into it.
YOU need to define your mindset, your goals, from day 1 of starting this project. If you define achievable goals every week whether you see results or not, there is no reason you can’t hit this goal.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Are you ruthless and persistent with your goals?
- Will you be working on your blog part-time or full-time?
- Will you hire a writer or write all the content yourself?
- Have you setup a blog before?
- Are you familiar with search engine optimization or are you learning as you go?
- Do you have a budget for tools?
All of these factors collectively are extremely important in achieving this goal. From your mindset, how much time you’ll be dedicating, how much money you’ll be dedicating in buying tools and hiring quality writers, to your ability to learn and grow each week and push any doubts aside, they will all determine the success of your blog.
You should give these questions some serious thoughts and determine if you:
- Can hire a writer
- Can utilize tools
- What is your monthly budget collectively for both?
Go ahead and write down the answers and determine if you have a budget and if yes, then how much can you invest every month for the next 12 months to grow your blog at a decent rate. Even if you have $0 for your budget, as long as you are willing to learn and create the content, you can still achieve this goal.
Let’s move on to what you the steps you need to take to create this goal a reality. Here we go:
Step 1: Determine Your Niche
The first major step that you need to accomplish is determining what niche your blog will be in. There are four factors here that I take into consideration:
- Niche Down
If you are not passionate about your niche, your motivation will be lacking. When you setup a new blog, like any new project, the feeling of excitement will push you the first few weeks… but what about three months down the road when you’re not seeing the progress you want? Or when the initial excitement wears off?
How will you keep showing up to write articles or posts every week? Also, when you have passion about a topic or niche, it shines through. It’s the “IT” factor (minus the clown) that you need to make your blog a success in a year’s time frame!
Google’s algorithm is getting better and better at connecting the dots regarding “Expertise”; this means that if you’re not an expert within your niche or demonstrate any experience in it, your site will not do well in Google’s search engine. Google wants to serve its search users websites and pages that have credibility and trustworthiness and a huge part of that is establishing if the main content creator of the blog or website is an expert in their niche. You will want to read all about E-A-T here and why it is now incredibly important when starting a niche site.
Obviously, your goal is to make money from your blog, so I like to consider what monetization opportunities exist in the niche I am considering launching my blog in. There are a few ways to monetize your blog but some of the main ways are: display ads, sponsorship ads, recommending affiliate products, or better yet, selling your own products (like ebooks or courses).
All you are looking for is proof that other people are monetizing their blogs in your niche. If you don’t see any monetization methods, you need to do further research and see why this is the case.
To properly “niche down” is really important for a blog that you want to generate an income from as soon as possible and from a SEO standpoint.
If you choose too broad of a category, it will take you a while to fill out multiple categories within that niche. Now, in contrast, consider choosing a sub-niche of a niche.
For example, if you love dogs and decide to start a site about dogs, you may have categories about breeds, diseases, nutrition, and more. You’re also competing against big, established sites in the pet industry. You also have to cover ALL the breeds!
Now let’s say, you’ve had Goldendoodles most of your life and you know this breed really well. You could start a site specializing in Goldendoodles. Every article you write will cover some aspect of a Goldendoodle’s training, nutrition, and more.
When Google sees you cover a topic/niche thoroughly, it rewards you for it. Instead of having a broad dog site, niche down to a specific breed. Talking about a topic thoroughly is known as topical relevance (I will cover this in more detail below). I used a very specific example for this, but if you need ideas, read my blog niche ideas article here.
Time to Complete this Task: 3-7 Days
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name and Hosting
In layman’s terms, the domain name is the name of your site. It is what people type into the browser to directly go to your site. For example, the domain name of this particular site is affiliatephoenix.com. I (Moon) purposely wanted to choose something that is a brand name. As far as domain names go, you can choose a branded domain name, a partial match domain name, or an exact match domain name.
A branded domain name is just that: a complete brand name. Nothing more, nothing less. A partial domain name has part of the keyword/topic/niche in the domain name. An exact match domain name is one that contains the keyword that you are trying to rank for in the search engines.
- A branded domain name example: facebook.com, apple.com
- A partial match domain name example: iloveseo.com, iloveblogging.com
- An exact match domain name example: seo.com, laptops.com
I like to register .com extensions along with checking if I can register the name on Twitter, Youtube, and any other social media channels even if I don’t have any plans to use them (I did this with Affiliate Phoenix). The reason is that you don’t want to compete with an existing following/brand by the same name or create confusion in the future when your blog takes off.
Hosting can be found cheap and easy. You don’t need to waste money when a blog is super new and all you need is shared hosting. Once you outgrow a shared hosting plan, you can upgrade to a better hosting plan.
I recommend getting a shared hosting plan with HostGator right here. A new plan will come with a free domain name. If you want to register your domain name elsewhere, my recommendation is NameSilo because when it comes time to renewal, I have found them to be the cheapest.
Total Cost should be $50 or less! YES! That’s how EASY and CHEAP it is to get started with one of the best online business models to exist!
Once done, go ahead and use the “one click install” to setup WordPress for your site. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that makes it super easy to setup websites and blogs. You can also use free or paid tools to enhance the functionality of your blog like themes, plugins, and so much more. Once you get familiar with it, it’s the bees knees!
If you would rather have your blog setup for you, check out my blog setup service here.
Time to Complete this Task: 3-5 Days
Step 3: Understanding Keywords, Content, and SEO as a Whole
This is the crux of what makes or breaks a blog. It is super important for you to understand on-page SEO and what tools can help you optimize your content fast while keeping up the momentum of creating and publishing content on a regular schedule.
If you don’t understand keywords or what they are, you will want to read the total beginner’s guide here. Before you write a single piece of content (blog post), you will want to put together a list of 50 keywords in an Excel sheet so you know what keywords and articles you will be targeting for the next few months. I suggest you target long-tail keyphrases starting off because you will have a higher chance of ranking them as they are less likely to be targeted by other sites and blogs.
I released the AP Zero Search Volume Keyword Strategy: Easiest Way to Get Sh!t Tons of Visitors to Your Blog for FREE to help you get started, as well as the super affordable and incredibly effective AP Keyword Research Blueprint: Targeting Winning Keywords Like Your F***ing Life Depends On It! (The first one will help you get started and is one part of my whole keyword strategy; the latter one shows you my whole keyword research blueprint!)
And if you don’t want to do it yourself, I also offer a keyword research service if you need help with this part.
There are a few things you need to understand about content. First, content needs to be published with an overall strategy in mind. Second, content needs to be matched to a keyword (known as keyword mapping) and optimized for the content properly. Third, you need to publish a fair amount of content and for a while for Google to take your blog seriously and actually reward it. Publishing one article a month won’t cut it (perhaps over years and years, depending on the niche). The more “competitive” your niche, the more you need to bring to the table.
The more you publish content around a certain topic or niche, the more topical relevance you build, which is a SEO concept that explains why Google rewards top rankings to sites that specialize in a topic or niche. Topical relevance determines how relevant a blog or its pages are to a topic and if it is deemed to have great topical relevance, the page(s) are rewarded for it with solid search engine rankings.
For the first few months of your blog, I suggest that you commit to producing two articles a week, around a 1000 words minimum or more, whatever the content requires (for instance, this blog post is over 3,000 words because it’s a labor of love). The more thorough and helpful the content, the better.
Of course, some long-tail keyphrases may require only a few hundred words of content which is fine. Depending on if you are a solid writer or not, writing content may or may not be in your skillset or perhaps you have a full-time job and are committed writing two articles a week seems overwhelming. In that case, you can opt to hire a writer.
Not only does the content need to be good and factually correct, but it needs to be optimized for the search engines. On-page SEO is a skillset that will pay you ridiculously well if you choose to master it. All the pages that you optimize using on-page SEO will “add up”, having a compounding affect in the search engines when it gets “noticed”.
Lucky for you, awesome tools like Frase exist (I explicitly reviewed it here) and make the job so much easier when it comes to content optimization. You can even train your writer to use it when they write articles so by the time you get them, you’re editing and proofreading the optimized and final version of the articles.
As mentioned earlier, if you want your blog to do well in the search engines, rank in top positions for relevant keyphrases, then search engine optimization (or SEO for short) is something you want to dig into. It’s fun to read, but even more fun to apply to your blog and watch your content rank.
SEO is split into two parts: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-Page SEO requires you to optimize your content with the following factors: URL, meta title, meta description, h1-h6, entities, keyword density, images, and more.
If you’re a beginner, all this may sound overwhelming but I have you covered right here with the on-page SEO guide right here. However, if you want a paid course that can help you learn SEO faster with video lessons, check out the AP Academy Course here.
Time to Complete this Task: 3-6 Months.
Step 4: Content Creation and Publishing Expectations
To see solid results, we want to create as much quality content as possible. However, it is also important to recognize it is easy to burnout with aggressive goals. Depending on your schedule and demands, you need to define what is a good fit for you.
If you’re a beginner to blogging and content optimization, you will feel challenged the first few weeks as you are learning new information, learning new skills, setting up your blog, learning new tools, etc. Each month that goes by consistently, you will learn and progress more and more.
If by the end of month 2, you have published one or two articles, you need to give serious thought to why this is happening. Too tired to write content after work? Would hiring a writer part-time help? How about adding a content optimization tool? Whatever the case, every 4 weeks, take a look at the progress of your blogging journey and be honest with yourself about where you can improve and what needs to be done to hit this goal at the end of a full year.
If by the end of 6 months, you have published 40-50 quality articles (two per week, around 50,000 words published total), you have done an excellent job getting your blog off the ground!
You are showing great progress and commitment to your goal of creating a blog that has the potential to earn you serious income.
Setting Up Google Search Console:
Once you have determined your publishing rhythm, you will want to setup Google Search Console for your blog so you can keep an eye on indexing and impressions which are critical to your blog’s success in the search engines. Google Search Console shows you any technical issues that Google is experiencing with your blog and will also give you data insights that you can use for SEO purposes.
Good Time to Monetize:
By month 3, you should be settled into your blogging schedule enough that you should look into monetization methods, sign up for affiliate programs or networks, and start implementing/testing them.
If you are in a niche where you can recommend physical products, then the Amazon Affiliate Program is the easiest way to get started. You will want to see which articles are best suited for referring products and insert your affiliate links in them.
If you are in a niche where people buy digital products, you can research what type of digital products you can sell as an affiliate. Of course, with digital products, you can also create your own product and sell that instead, with 100% of the profit going to you instead of a percentage with an affiliate product.
Make sure to have an affiliate disclaimer (like I do here at AP) as there are legalities involved here. I have an in-depth article on affiliate disclaimers here that you can read as well.
The Compounding Effect is the Best Part About SEO:
This point is worth hammering home. If you want your blog to rank well in Google, you need to understand how Google’s search engine actually works!
One of the easiest and hardest components about Google (other than SEO) is mastering the art of consistency with creating content (it’s funny how this applies to ANY kind of result we want to see 😉 ).
The more you talk about the main topic of your blog (publish content every week), the more topical relevance you are building. Remember: in SEO, topical relevance is an important concept in which Google determines how relevant you are to a particular topic. The MORE relevant you are, the BETTER.
How can you make sure you creating topically relevant content? When you niche down, you will always be creating content around that topic, so boom! Covered! But, let’s dig a bit deeper.
Remember that Goldendoodle example? If you have categories on your blog like nutrition, training, diseases, then make sure you fill up each category significantly.
As you grow articles for each category, you’ll see your blog starting to rank for food topics much easier, then training, and diseases as well. But if you only have 5 articles in each category, that signals to Google that you don’t have enough topical relevance to rank in top spots.
Truly, topical relevance is built over time as long as you remain persistent and dedicated.
Time to Complete this Task: 3-6 Months.
Step 5: Learn Technical SEO
Now you have a significant amount of content and you need to keep learning about technical SEO. Technical SEO pertains to technical things on your site such as crawling and indexing your site that can affect your rankings in the search engines.
Technical SEO factors include using SSL, using a mobile-friendly theme, creating an XML map and submitting it in Google Search Console, making sure you don’t have https and http mixed content loading, and oh so much more! But please, don’t get overwhelmed. As always, The Phoenix has written an in-depth guide here regarding technical SEO that you should find helpful.
Time to Complete this Task: 14-30 Days
Step 6: Continue Content Creation and Publishing
By the end of six months, you should have:
- 40-50 in-depth articles fully search engine optimized
- setup Google Search Console
- monetized your blog
- created About, Contact, and Affiliate Disclosure pages and added them to your blog/website menu
- a lot of articles indexed and starting to rank in the top 50 in Google
At this point, you need to continue your blogging journey. Your goal is to get at least 75 amazing pieces of content on your blog up, fully search engine optimized.
Six months in, it is time to assess your blog as a whole.
- How is indexing going?
- What do traffic and rankings looking like?
- Is there any more room for content to be published? (depends on how small/big your niche is)
- Is your blog ranking for key phrases in the top 3? (you should have dozens if not more rankings in the top 100 by now)
After a few months of blogging, you should audit your site to make sure everything is fine tuned. Once your blog hits the year mark, you will notice more key phrases in the top 100, top 50, and even in the top 3.
Because now that your blog is a year old and your content has aged a bit, Google is starting to trust your content more (and remember the blessings of topical relevance). A lot of blog and niche site owners notice rankings and traffic increase at the 6 month mark and the year mark.
Time to Complete this Task: 3-6 Months.
Depending on your niche and your method of monetization, a healthy blog that is 50,000-100,000 words rich can potentially earn you $3,000/month.
If you haven’t hit that goal, you need to evaluate what the issue may be: are you receiving any traffic? Maybe you have enough traffic, but not a good monetization method. You may need to experiment with monetization methods because it takes experimentation to nail the monetization part.
Assess the situation, learn one new thing every week, tweak, and keep progressing.
As long you have the motivation to learn and grow, you can grow your blog into a lot more than a $3,000 per month blog.
If you want to learn the itty bitty details about blogging and how to make money from it in bite sized pieces, check out the Affiliate Phoenix Blogging Course here.