The Essence of Blogging (+ How to Earn Money Online)

Last Updated on: May 15th, 2017

The Essence of Blogging (+ How to Earn Money Online)

Someone on Facebook messaged me the other day, asking “What is blogging?”

I was a bit speechless. I didn’t know how to answer, because really, how can you explain what blogging is to someone who doesn’t really know?

So I directed him to my post 5 Things New Bloggers Need to Know, and said, “This will help you.”

Yet… just four years ago, I had the same question. 

I was a newbie blogger back then.

I was clueless.

And I still remember the struggles I’ve endured over the years as I’ve journeyed from “newbie” to “pro.”

It wasn’t easy. It was time-consuming. I was constantly learning. (I still am!)

To help speed up my learning process, I followed these 8 Action Tips For Guppy-Bloggers In An Ocean Of Sharks.

I also followed these 30+ Blogger-Sharks Spouting Oceans of Knowledge… and still follow some.


I’ve come quite far in my blogging journey. I’ve practiced the 10 Effective Strategies to Becoming a Successful Blogger.

I’ve also built a solid business from it.

The thing that really amazes me it that most people think blogging is a quick way to earn money.

But blogging is NOT a quick way to earn money… not at first.

In today’s post, I am going to share a few things I’ve learned about blogging and earning money online. I will reveal how I earn money through blogging, explain what blogging really is (the essence of blogging), and hopefully give you some ideas about how you can increase your blogging strategy and income streams.

By the end of the post, you should have most of your questions answered! Of course, chances are, you will likely have a bunch of new ones! LOL

But at least you will know more about how to earn money online!

WTF is Blogging?

Blogging is more than just writing articles (also called blog posts) and publishing them online.

If you’re a blogger, you likely already know that blogging involves:

  • creating and then running your own website  — read Blogging Resources + How To Start a Blog (if you don’t already have one)
  • learning how to install and update plugins
  • moderating and replying to comments
  • figuring out how to be noticed by search engines (hint: make sure you submit a sitemap to the search engines! You can use this free sitemap plugin to help you with this.)
  • learning how to create images for your posts (hint: use Canva or PicMonkey to help you — they are both FREE to use!)
  • learning how to take and then use screenshots in your blog posts
  • learning how to use Click-to-Tweet links in your blog posts (hint: read How to Use “Click-to-Tweet” Links In Your Blog Posts (for FREE))
  • figuring out who to link to within your posts (promote your friends, but also link to top posts in Google that provide good information or complement your message)
  • determining how to promote your posts on social media (hint: you have to have accounts everywhere!)
  • learning why networking with other bloggers is important (especially “blogger-sharks” — the big bloggers who you constantly learn from — such as the ones in
  • doing guest posting (and following proper guest posting etiquette)
  • providing value to your audience
  • growing your audience (usually by offering them an incentive to sign up to your mailing list, such as a freebie or a content upgrade)
  • determining which email marketing platform to use (Mailchimp, GetResponse, Aweber, MadMimi, Constant Contact, etc.)
  • figuring out how to monetize your site (hint: you can start by using AdSense)
  • creating content on a regular basis (remember, you can always hire someone to help you do this… such as me!)
  • AND SO MUCH MORE!

The Downside of Business Blogging

Blogging takes time. So does running and growing a business.

The tasks pile up.

There is no end.

Between checking emails, assembling newsletters, keeping accurate Income/Expense book-keeping records, writing content for my own sites, writing content for others, marketing my business, promoting my blog posts and interacting with others on social media, doing editing and other author assistant work for others, and forming relationships with my friends/followers, it easy to become exhausted!

I sometimes wonder if I’ve made the right choice.

I’m passionate about MOST of what I’m doing, but I have doubted myself a lot throughout the past four years. 

I was filled with a lot of unhappiness in November and December of 2016, too — so much so that I decided to quit blogging for a while.

But… all I needed was a break. A long break! (I took one over the Christmas holidays and also cut back on my blogging schedule.)

I needed some time to evaluate my goals. I have many, both personal and business-related. Yet some of my personal ones are related to my business ones. (For example, I’m currently working on a book about helping others overcome their suicidal thoughts. I plan on selling it from one of my top posts: I Want to Kill Myself – What Should I Do?)

There are other downsides to business blogging. Many people make mistakes. Read 7 Common Blunders to Avoid when Business Blogging to find out what they are. Once you fix these mistakes, you will be able to earn money from your business. (Or should I say, more money?!)

Are You In the Wrong Biz? 

If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then you’re in the wrong business.

Sure, “work” is called “work” for a reason. It’s usually not fun.

However, when you make a decision to do something with your life, you often don’t have all of the information required.

You learn as you go.

At least, that’s what I did.

When I began blogging, I did it simply to “get my name out there,” because I wanted to do something with my writing abilities. I actually wanted to publish a book I wrote while I was in university.

Today, that book remains unpublished and is sitting on a shelf in my home office. It’s a scholarly book about Canadian poetry. I’ll publish it someday. (I was planning on having it traditionally published, but now that I know about self-publishing, I will likely self-publish it… someday.)

I made a video long ago about it…

I have no excuse for not publishing this book, except that I got sidetracked along the way.

You see, when I started blogging back in January 2013, I actually treated each blog post like a personal diary.

I thought that’s what blogging was… writing in an “online journal”! (Seriously… I did.)


I never thought anyone would read what I wrote.

Sure, I knew my stories could be found online, but with millions of blogs on the internet, who would find me? And how?

I didn’t think that anyone would ever read my stuff, much less be interested in what I had to say.

But people found my honesty refreshing.

I also got on Google’s radar with the fourth post I ever wrote. Why? Because I provided VALUE to others. I provided a solution that was extremely hard to find.

 

THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF BLOGGING – to provide value to others, via solutions or tips on how to make life easier or better.

 

This was my first lesson about the true meaning of what blogging is… and I’ve constantly attempted to provide value to my readers ever since!

That is why I create such useful posts and resources. There is a lot of good stuff on my Resource Kit page!

Blogging Has Other Benefits (Including Earning Money)

There are many benefits to blogging, depending on what your goals are.

You can express your thoughts and feelings.

You can network with others, making new friends in the process.

You can establish yourself as an expert, and an online authority.

You can grow your business.

You can make a difference in this world, and/or make a difference in someone’s life. (You can even save a life!)

And, of course, you can earn money.

 

(In my old life, I earned money by doing different jobs. One was teaching high school math and English. Another was prostitution. Seriously. The money I earned was fast and easy… much like how I was when I was a drug addict. In fact, I even quit teaching high school to return to this field because it offered more flexible hours, less stress, and more money. I shared my true story about how I got into prositution after I was raped.)

Today, my life is totally different.

I also have multiple, legitimate, respectable income streams. And most are from blogging!

Ways to Earn Money Blogging

I participated in a round-up post about ways people make money online.

I included most of the ways I earn money online, too.

The ways I earn money include:

 

  • Selling someone else’s product and earning affiliate income by promoting it to your audience. (For example, I promote Elna Cain’s freelancing course WRITE YOUR WAY TO YOUR FIRST 1K because it’s so awesome!)

 

  • Selling my books. Risky Issues is a book of short stories. From NOPE to HOPE: How I Overcome Suicidal Thoughts (and How You Can too) is my second one, and is available from Amazon (search for it) and CreateSpace (in print)… but the best deal is getting it directly from this website, on sale at 40% off!

 

risky issues cover

 

From NOPE to HOPE - final e-book cover with girl

 

 

  • I earn through sponsored posts and link placements. (See my guidelines for this.)

 

  • I do website work for others. (This service is only offered to a few people, and by request only.)

 

  • I earn through social sharing. I found a new way to earn online through Izea. You can get started with this easily! Use my referral link!

 

 

This is the final cover for Max's ebook, Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light.

cover image for It's Not the Cookie, It's the Bag

Wow Your Clients book cover

Because I’m always trying to add more revenue streams to boost my income, I recently signed up with Swerve. (One of my business goals for 2017 is to work less and earn more.)

In addition to these ways of earning, YOU can create something of your own to sell, whether it’s a book (or an e-book), an email course, a video course, or some other type of digital product or training.

Maybe you can develop an app that people will pay to use.

You can also create a membership site and earn money from your monthly subscribers.

Really, with the way technology is nowadays, the sky’s the limit when it comes to earning money online! How you will earn will depend on your interests, your skills, and your financial situation. Sometimes you need to invest some money in order to make money.

For example, with blogging, you need to invest in hosting. If you want to be an author, you need to invest in editing and cover creation. There are other things you can invest in, such as paid plugins, paid marketing tools, and a million other things that you might not necessarily need but will make your life easier.

Because I am frugal, I try to limit my expenses while increasing my income!

Blogging Resources and Tools I Recommend Using

I can, however, recommend the following tools and services — all links are affiliate links, which means that if you decide to buy them, I will get a small commission (YOU WON’T PAY MORE BY USING THESE LINKS):

For blogging, I highly recommend buying the plugin Content Upgrades PRO. This will help you grow your email list and ultimately earn money.

So will Tweet Dis .

If you want some themes, check out the ones from Thrive.

For hosting, I suggest you use Abivia, CanSpace, or Bluehost.

 

For course creation, take The Course Course.

If you want to earn money as a freelance writer, I highly suggest you take Elna Cain’s course, Write Your Way to Your First $1K, or Gina Horkey’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success

If you want to earn money as a virtual assistant, check out 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.

What’s Next? GET FREE STUFF!

Gett some free stuff from me! Each of these posts offers you a freebie! Grab one. Grab two. Grab them all!

26 Phone Apps that Make LIFE Easier (for blogging or business)

5 Self-Editing Hacks to Boost Your Blog Writing (+ a FREE Checklist!)

How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance (+ a FREE Workbook/Planner)

5 Website Changes You Need to Make ASAP (+ a #tutorial )

Also, you can…

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

and grab your free e-book below!

I offer a free e-book to my blog subscribers, along with other goodies free of charge in some of my emails… so pick up your copy of 20 Blog Post Must-Haves today! Wording Well's freebie: An e-book titled 20 Blog Post Must-HavesAnd don’t forget that I’m a a freelance blogger, writer, and editor for hire. (And an author who can help you create an e-book to give away on your site, sell, and even turn into a print book… to help you earn passive income.)

38 thoughts on “The Essence of Blogging (+ How to Earn Money Online)

  1. Great Tips! Such a great information.

    I agree with you that “Blogging is more than just writing articles and publishing them online.” I have always been facing problems with Making Money and was trying to hire someone to help me.

    The way you have stated everything above is quite awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Stefan

  2. Great Tips! Such a great information.

    I agree with you that ”Blogging is more than just writing articles and publishing them online.” I have always been facing problems with The Essence of Blogging and was trying to hire someone to help me.

    I will tweet your post. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Thanks a lot!

    Stefan

  3. Hi Lorraine, you really create an amazingly informative blog for newbie blog writer. Such a helpful article for those who want to start their own blog!

  4. Hi Lorraine,
    Such an interesting post, this post will be very useful for all the newbies. Nowadays most of them started their new blogs and tried to make money through blogging. Though they have enough self-confidence, they don’t have that much patience and time to work on it deeper and to achieve the results. A person who loves blogging and having more passion on it only they can get made in this field. Because we need to work a long time and at the same time we need patience about what we are doing. Then only they can start earning money sooner. Your blog post is unique and quality. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Sathish, I always try to provide some value for everyone, regardless of where they are on your blogging journey.

      You’re right, though… blogging takes a lot of time and hard work before you can see results!

      I’ve been doing it for over four years now. This past year has been my best ever! (Money-wise and networking-wise, too.)

      Stay strong and persevere! You’re doing great!

  5. says

    Lorraine! You’re such a treasure. This post is a goldmine for anyone who is new to blogging or has gotten offtrack. It’s true that blogging is a not a get-rich-quick scheme and that it takes work. It’s a big job but for us who love to write it’s not an option to quit! Like you, I took a long blogging break. I thought about shutting my blogs down. People said, no at least leave the content there even if you don’t feel like adding to the blogs right now.. and now here I am with new blog ideas. We don’t have to blog every day but we do have to have a business plan and that’s what I’ll have to work on. Your post gets me excited about blogging again and that’s awesome. More hugs coming your way!

    • says

      Christy, blogging breaks are definitely needed. I have thought about quitting, too. But then I think of all the hard work and all the hours I put in… and come to my senses! Lol.

      I worked so long and hard to grow to where I am now that I simply cannot fathom just giving it all up.

      I currently have over a year’s worth of blog posts as drafts, in various stages of completion.

      I won’t quit yet and I am glad you are not quitting either.

      Your poetry is read — and needed — by many. And your other site inspires women everywhere — and they also NEED that.

      I am so glad you listened and didn’t shut them down!

      Blogging is more than just a way for earning money. It gives us a chance to make an impact on others… and to change lives!

      What other “job” does that? Not many. Not like blogging does!

  6. Hey Lorraine,

    You’re bringing inspiration to the masses!

    There’s a lot of people out there who don’t know what a blog is and others who don’t have the confidence to try to make money through blogging.

    Your story does give hope for all that don’t have self confidence.

    You didn’t know what a blog was just 5 years ago and now you have different streams of income coming your way.

    Despite the fact that making money online with a blog isn’t easy, it is definitely possible and you’re a prime example of it.

    Great share!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…ADZBuzz UBlock Review: The Best Free and Paid Popup Ad Blocker

  7. says

    Hey Lorraine

    Indeed a Great Post!

    I personally believe that Blogging is all about Passion, it is hard to succeed in this field without having passion as we need to work for longer period of time, which is not possible, if we are not focused enough and also patience is key.

    And all this comes automatically if we are passionate about our work. We will eventually start earning money sooner or later, but only thing that is needed for me is to love the work we are doing.

    Correct Me if I am wrong.

    Cheers
    Jenny
    Jenny Rev recently posted…Welcome to The 100k Factory Revolution Reviews Blog

  8. Nishant says

    Nice article Lorraine, Thanks for sharing your experience of traveling from a newbie to a pro blogger. I went through the article you wrote of Aha-now “8 Action Tips For Guppy-Bloggers In An Ocean Of Sharks” – It was amazing. I like these points 1)Realize that blogging growth takes time and 2) Position Yourself Properly and Support Others With Gestures of Appreciation. these two points seems to vital for a blogger to become successful. No blogger knows everything we should wade through the tides and keep us updated. Creating high quality articles are te best way to get audience attention.

    • says

      Hi Nishant.

      Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.

      It’s not always easy to learn things from scratch, especially blogging!

      It’s also really important to keep learning from one another. That is another important aspect of blogging — being a community! Supporting one another and teaching one another is crucial to blogging success!

    • says

      Thanks, Bheru.

      It’s hard to be a new blogger. Heck, it’s even hard to be a pro blogger!

      One thing, however, that always helps is knowing that you’re not alone in the struggles you face. That is why I like to talk about my personal experiences so much… to teach others… and to help them.

  9. Hi Lorraine,

    Nice breakdown of your blogging income streams. And yep, I dig you have streamS 😉

    Gotta have MSI to allow in increasing amounts of cash through increasing channels, as you keep on adding dem streams. I am up to 10 now – I think – and always toy around with new ideas to offer value, to have fun, and to be compensated for my having fun.

    I too had no idea what a blog was a while back. A decade ago for me. I swear I only knew how to check espn and my email 10 years ago. I wasn’t even on Facebook much at all. Yet in 2 weeks, Kelli and I are traveling to Qatar through blogging, and good old house sitting. Crazy stuff.

    Keep on prospering Lorraine!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…10 Blogging Income Streams to Explore

    • says

      Hi Ryan,

      I remember you mentioning how you were a broke security guard back then. LOL
      Isn’t it funny how life-changing blogging can be? I mean, really, it gives you soooo many opportunities that you would not have had otherwise.

      Take the book I’m working on as an example (which I mentioned in this post). If I didn’t write about my personal experiences with suicide, I would have never known just how popular this subject is, and how many people are constantly looking for help in dealing with their suicidal thoughts (and depression). But by blogging about it, an opportunity arose. I can help others AND earn money at the same time. You definitely gotta love things like that when they pop up! It’s always nice to add an unexpected income stream to your plethora of revenue streams!

      Thanks for your comment, Ryan. I know you and Kelli are going to enjoy your next house-sit. You know we’ll be expecting pictures (on Facebook) and/or in your blog posts! 😉

    • says

      Hi Erika.

      Yeah, it’s such an easy question but it has a complicated answer!

      It’s easy to understand it all IF you’re a blogger, but if you’re never heard of the term “blogging” before, it’s easy to get confused.

      Thanks for sharing this post, too, by the way. I appreciate it!

  10. Hi Lorraine,

    It is really interesting to know that you have written a book. I must say you should get it published as hard copy or convert it into ebook and publish on Amazon like Ryan Biddulph.

    I must say you have the essence of blogging in your soul. making money is always good and when you have some unique quality, why not monetize it.

    keep growing and share more.

    Thanks!
    Gaurav Kumar recently posted…How to Find Popular Keywords Using Google Insight Search in 2017

    • says

      Gaurav, there are still many things that people don’t know about me! LOL I actually have several drafts of books (in various stages of completion) on my computer. It’s a matter of actually setting them as priorities and publishing them… which I will do eventually.

      Of course, I’m known as a blogger, a writer, and a freelancer. And having multiple income streams is great, but being able to make money from my skills is even better. 🙂

      That is why bloggers should focus on THEIR UNIQUE skills and figure out how to best earn money from using them!

  11. Hi Lorraine,
    Nice, informative post! I think writing ebooks is a great way to earn money online … keep at it! And blogging is a GOOD thing. It’s your personal online “storefront” of you.

    • says

      Lesly, thanks a lot.

      If all goes as planned, I will have a few e-books published within a few months’ time. 🙂

      In addition to the book I’m currently writing, of course. 😉

      Blogging is awesome, and, yes, it’s a great way to showcase yourself to others… and sell things!

  12. says

    Aloha Lorraine,
    Thank you so much for all of this useful information. I have been blogging off and on for over a decade (mostly off) but last year I decided to get serious about it and it has slowly allowed me to earn some extra money on the side. I hope to double what I made last year by being more consistent and applying everything I learned last year.

    I appreciate bloggers like yourself that are open and willing to share with others along the way as I am the same way and it seems like there are so many bloggers that just don’t want to share knowledge with others. We are a community and should work with each other. I hope you have a beautiful week.

    • says

      Rose, what a beautiful thing to say to me. Thank you so much.
      Actually, I have always been transparent in my personal posts. My honesty about my experiences is what has made people like me and follow me on social media.
      That, and the fact that I always provide value to others for free.
      That’s one thing I love about bloggers — the are the most helpful people in the world!

      Good luck to you with doubling your income this year! 🙂 And thanks for commenting. You made my day!

  13. Hey Lorraine,

    It’s amazing to know that you wrote a book many years ago. You should publish it so that people can know more.

    Every now and then people ask the same question, what is blogging? I say only one thing. If you’re passionate about something and turn your experience into words is blogging.

    Every blogger something unique to say. You can influence someone’s perspective. Money making blogging isn’t as easy as people think.

    To build a career as a blogger, you should develop the professional writing skills which takes years.

    I am glad that you have pointed out some great points here.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    ~Ravi
    Ravi Chahar recently posted…How To Setup a Professional Email Address With G Suite?

    • says

      Hi, Ravi. Thanks for the compliment and the encouragement. I’ll get around to publishing it eventually! 😉

      You know, it’s kind of funny that I didn’t even think about writing skills being needed to build up a blog… (I guess that shows you how tired I am right now.) LOL

      But you’re right. Bloggers need to have writing skills!

      I didn’t think to mention this because I am highly skilled in this area. After all, I built my business around words! (Writing, editing, blogging, helping others become authors, etc.)

      It’s nice that you pointed this out.

      Thanks!

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