So you’re a fashion expert. Or perhaps you enjoy sharing your travel escapades. Maybe photography is something that you’re passionate about. Whatever reason it is, blogging is a fun way to express yourself and connect with people who share the same interests.

But what if you want to do something you love and still get paid for it? Ain’t no harm in that. Trying to figure out how to get started can be intimidating, especially when there are a lot of successful bloggers out there who have already made a name for themselves. Not to mention that they earn big bucks on the side.

According to an article from Lifehacker, most professional blogger “salaries” range from US$19,000 to US$79,000 while freelance bloggers can earn as low as US$10 per post and go up to a hundred.

As Entrepreneur puts it, blogging is a “low-cost (your startup costs could be basically zero), low-risk way to start an internet business. You don’t need any special equipment, tech knowledge or internet marketing experience and you don’t even need to be a professional writer. In fact, sometimes you don’t need to write much at all to have a blog.”

Sounds easy? We’ve listed down a few helpful tips to guide you on your venture to start monetizing your blog.

1. First, pick your niche

And make sure that it’s a specific one. Sometimes, beginners can be all over the place, catering to several segments especially when they’re unsure of what they want to blog about. Entrepreneur shares that “figuring out which market you want to be in is a vital part of being successful.”

You may want to pick a niche that a lot of people are interested in. Otherwise, you won’t get a fair amount of visitors on your blog. Beauty and food are usually some of the most popular segments, so if you think this is right up your alley, it’s best to start mapping out a concept. Thorough research on trends helps a lot too.

2. Make sure your blog looks presentable

Who wants to read a blog that’s poorly designed with layouts and color schemes that aren’t pleasing to the eyes? Readers prefer a blog that’s easy to navigate with not too fancy fonts. Most of the time, minimal templates are the favorite choices since simplicity can go a long way when it comes to blogging. Professional-looking sites can also help boost your branding. Another tip is to avoid creating a site that takes too long to load. Visitors on your blog can be put off by this.

3. Get noticed by putting content out there

A crucial part of your blog, your content needs to provide value for your audience. Will they find it useful or practical? Is it informative? Or will they be entertained? Learn from the most read blogs and browse through their sites to see how they write their content.

Blogger Christina Hills shares that you should utilize your blog to constantly get your message out. Doing so enables you to attract readers. For easier and quicker sharing of your posts on social media, provide tools/plugins for that so it can help you gain exposure in other communities.

4. Build a following (and nurture them)

Build an audience for your blog and keep it growing. Attracting tons of visitors when you’re a beginner can be tricky so you’ll need to go out of your way to market your content. Share and boost your posts on various social media platforms as this helps in driving organic traffic to your blog. Whenever someone leaves a comment or messages you, interact with them and make them feel that you value their opinion.

5. Start by writing sponsored content

Also known as affiliate marketing, this can be a good way to start earning money. This involves including links to a certain product or service offered through another company’s affiliate program. If a visitor clicks on that link, then you’ll receive a cut of the cost.

According to the Affiliate Summit’s AffStat Report 2012, at least 60% of affiliates are using “blogging” as their primary method of “driving traffic” to their website. And 55% of full-time bloggers are affiliates.

However, Start Blogging Online advises bloggers to only promote products relevant to your niche, promote products that you have personally used or recommend and to include a disclaimer on the site so that your readers won’t be mislead. Don’t just jump into any affiliate marketing program you see out of desperation to earn.

Forbes also warns bloggers to not let the quality and consistency of the blog suffer because you got lost chasing several money-making opportunities. It says “no matter which path to monetization you choose, you need to keep the quality of your work high and consistent.”

The path towards earning through blogging is not easy. It could take months or even years before your efforts come to fruition, but passion, perseverance and patience will soon reap their rewards.

Image credits: Problogger