Turn Your Hobby Into a Money-Making Blog

I’m not going to lie to you, blogs these days are a dime a dozen. Wherever you go, be it the coffee shop, bookstore, or a cocktail party, undoubtedly someone will say these fateful words: “Hey, you should really check out my blog!”

Let me be clear: I love blogs. The Internet has allowed virtually everyone on the planet to express and share their views on everything and anything. Maybe you have a blog yourself, and that’s great. Myself, Before I moved to Central America, I had a blog about kayaking in South Florida. It was a fun way to chronicle my adventures on rivers, coves, and inlets of the state for friends and family.

What I want to tell you about today, however, is how to start a very special kind of blog – one that turns a profit. And the great news is that when you have this kind of “business,” it doesn’t seem like work at all.

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Where to Start

Before you go ahead and start blogging, it’s important to think about the niche your blog is going to cater to. As you’ve probably guessed, not all subjects will make you money, even if they’re really popular.

A blog with funny cat videos might make you a star of the online cat community, but you’ll be doing it for free. Sorry.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t base your money-making blog on a hobby or topic that interests you. Far from it.

In fact, here are my two rules of successful, profitable blogging:

1) Pick a niche that you already know about, like a hobby

2) Don’t have a hobby? Pick one up – one that’s popular!

Check out my article, “Turning Your Business Ideas into Online Profits” for a step-by-step guide to picking your profitable niche.

Once you have your niche nailed down you’re ready to get started.

First, off… the technical side. You can get started with your blog free by using Blogger.com. Head over there when you’re ready to sign up for an account. It’s very easy to use software.

Alternatively, you could set up your blog on the WordPress platform. The software itself is free. But you will have to secure hosting through a service like GoDaddy.com or HostGator.com.

What’s Possible with Your Blog

Let me give you a quick hypothetical example to show you how a typical money-making blog comes about.

Let’s say “Tom” fancied himself quite the rock star in his younger days. Long hair, denim jacket, torn jeans, the whole nine yards. As he grew up and matured, his dreams of rocking out stadiums quickly evaporated but his love of music and guitars remained.

Over the years his collection of guitars grew in size and quality. Pretty soon he found himself the owner of a very fine treasury of musical instruments. So he started a blog about his guitar collection. Just for fun, at first.

He wrote a few articles about his favorite brands, made a few videos demonstrating various effects pedals, and all sorts of things that appealed to the gear heads out there. Pretty soon his blog caught the attention of guitar nuts worldwide and his site was soon seeing traffic of thousands of readers a month.

Tom had created a community of like-minded individuals interested in all things guitar-related. And he was ready to capitalize on that.

First he started offering guitar products as an affiliate from retail sites like Amazon.com. He found information products like how-to guides and guitar lesson books on Clickbank.com. And he was even able to hook up with specialty retailers like Guitar Center by joining their affiliate programs.

He included ads on his site and casual mentions in blog posts that included his affiliate link… all the “selling” was very casual and didn’t turn off his readers.

Soon he was making a couple thousand bucks a month from just a few hours work a week.

Then he started getting noticed. The major musical instrument manufacturers saw the amount of traffic his website was getting, and pretty soon he was in business with these big names.

Not only did they start advertising on his little home-made blog, they even sent him free swag! It was mostly guitar picks and stickers at first, but pretty soon he was getting free high-quality strings, straps, cases, effects pedals – one time he was even given a studio-quality guitar for a month to test and review…and this is a guitar that would normally cost thousands of dollars!

There are thousands of blogs out there right now with similar stories on growing organic tomatos, coffee, bodyweight exercises… the sky’s the limit.

Now onto the Content…

Blogging isn’t hard work, but in order for it to generate profit, you’ll need to keep it updated – a few hours a week is plenty. You’ll be much more inclined to keep up that pace if you write about something you’re interested in. That’s why I always recommend you pick a hobby as a niche.

As far as written content, you can write about your take on industry trends, product reviews, top 10 lists, open letters to movers and shakers in your niche… the content you can create is endless. Examine blogs you follow for types of content you can model.

Video is always an easy way to generate content. In a past article, I wrote about a carpenter friend of mine who successfully started his own how-to website about basic woodworking. His start-up was simple and cheap: a small flip camera.

Since he was a carpenter by trade, he already had all the tools and know-how. So whenever he was starting a new project – say, building custom cabinets – he would set his flip camera (price: around $75) on a nearby shelf and explain what he was doing step-by-step: how to use the miter box, the type of wood-stain to use, etc.

Because he was doing these projects as his real job, it wasn’t any more work for him to set that camera on a shelf and give out the information along the way.

Maybe you have a hobby or a job like that: something you love to do or something you do for money, and something that other people will find useful. Know how to replace a clutch in a car? Next time you replace yours, take out the camera and make a short informational video. Put it up on your blog with the title “How to Replace Your Clutch in an Hour.” Know how to unplug a sink? Film it for your blog.

Becoming the Go-To Source… and Boosting Your Profits

As the Internet grows exponentially, more and more people are going to it for information. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have a question about a historical event or my favorite author, the first place I turn to is Wikipedia or YouTube.

Now, I’m not saying your blog is going to replace those websites. But by creating a niche-marketed blog, you’ll find a vast audience ready to receive the information and content you have to offer.

The fun part is you’ll be selling the products you use or host on your blog. And that’s when the money starts rolling in.

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Best of luck!

John Hollister

P.S. I’ve just given you the basics on how to start your own profitable blog. But here are a few resources to help you along and get you inspired!

Resources

The “Tech” Side

www.blogger.com – a free blog-hosting site

www.wordpress.com – a website/blog management platform

www.godaddy.com – a step up, where you can buy your own .com domain name and hosting

www.hostgator.com – an alternative hosting service

Making Money

https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/

www.clickbank.com

www.cj.com

Blogs to Watch

www.dismountcreative.com/top-11-diy-fashion-blogs – a list of top fashion blogs

www.centsationalgirl.com/ – a fun blog about the budding chef on a budget

www.furnitureknowledge.com/ – a great hub of knowledge about refinishing furniture

Content Idea Generators

www.ehow.com/ – one of the biggest how-to websites around

www.howcast.com/ – another big dog in the how-to niche

http://www.howstuffworks.com/


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