If you are wondering how to make money blogging with a self-hosted blog, then you have already taken a step in the right direction by looking at this article.
There are myriads of reasons as to why you should move out of a free blog and purchase your hosting and domain name. You have more control and can literally do whatever you want without unnecessary restrictions.
The best thing is that there are way-more ways to make money online with a self-hosted blog as opposed to a free blog. The methods are actually endless. This is why I moved this blog from being a free WordPress blog and hosted it with HostGator back in 2012.
My income and overall industry influence shot up after that.
How can you earn as a self hosted blogger?
I have highlighted some few awesome methods below.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is where you put special links or banners in your website that refer visitors to merchant sites. If a web visitor buys a product from the merchant, you earn a commission.
You can make a lot of money online as an affiliate. An advertising network may pay you 0.1 per click whereas a merchant site which you are affiliated to can pay you $10-$50 (or more) when someone makes a purchase or spends a certain amount on their products.
And that’s why I no longer recommend advertising networks like AdSense. I don’t use any any in my blogs. But I do a lot of affiliate marketing.
At some point, some of the world’s richest bloggers were affiliate marketers. We still have insanely rich affiliates, though course builders are now really gaining traction as top earning bloggers.
2. Selling Your Own Offline Product
You can create and sell your own products. You can even create a website that solely revolves around your product. Whether you are a musician, a writer or a restaurant owner, you can get a lot of business through your blog.
In Kenya, you can use services such as PayPal or the local PesaPal to collect payments from your web visitors.
3. Selling Digital Products
Selling your own digital product is so sweet and rewarding.
Digital products require minimum capital when compared with physical products.
The easiest digital product to start with is an eBook.
Make recurring, semi-passive income with eBooks
I have sold a lot of copies of my eBook, How to Make REAL Money Online in Kenya. I wrote that eBook back in 2012 but can still sell it 10, 20 years later, and just regularly make minor updates.
If I was to do a physical book, I would have to keep producing new copies. Each would cost me. I would need some middlemen to distribute. Every time I made an update, it would be back to square one.
However, for an ebook, I can easily be a solopreneur – doing the writing, editing, selling and updating with the click of a few buttons.
You can write an eBook about anything you are good at, whether you have devised your own weight-loss or money making method.
Note that eBook sales dwindle over time, and may not necessarily be the best and most stable way of earning online. But if you do it very well and people love it, you’ll still earn semi-passive income from it for years.
How to get evergreen sales with online courses
Courses are awesome.
I started offering my freelance writing training back in 2013 and guess what? The sales keep going up!
All my eBooks earn exceptionally well in their first few months, then the sales go down.
But my training keeps doing well, even without heavy marketing. Of course when I market more, I earn more.
Why have the training sales been evergreen?
I believe it’s because training introduces a mentorship aspect. Instead of just sending them a manual (ebook) for them to read and sort themselves out, you literally walk with your students from start to finish.
You give them tasks, analyze their performance, point out where they need to work on and applaud them for achievements. Trust me, when many succeed, they don’t forget their mentor. They’ll refer you to all their friends, family, cats and dogs 😉
And that’s why you get evergreen sales when you build a life-changing course. Your main goal should be to help people, not to make money. That way, you give them real results and totally inspire your trainees to success. It may require a lot of patience, especially when working with slow or stubborn trainees.
It’s a calling. Remember that high school teacher who you kept giving a hard time but she still believed in you and did the best for you? That’s what a mentor does.
Whether you choose to do ebooks or courses, make sure the digital product you create is relevant to your website and is of the highest quality. After that, promote it heavily.
4. Paid Posts and Marketing Opportunities
An authority blog will attract authority requests for mentions and sponsored posts.
I know a famous Kenyan blogger who once got $300 to just mention a certain site in his blog. Never mention poor products or link to spammy sites. This will hurt poorly affect the search ranking of your blog. Your will also lose credibility from your followers.
On the marketing opportunities side, you will get lots of opportunities in your inbox. Someone may want to create a website just like yours, place a banner on your blog or call you for paid speaking engagements.
You can provide all these services for a fee. The income you get from these cannot be quantified as you can get requests to do all sorts of stuff.
Your fans trust you and to them you’re their superman. Whenever you can help them out with something, do it. Sometimes for free, sometimes at a fee. Note that selling is simply solving people’s problems in exchange for money.
5. Be a Consultant
If your blog has had incredible following for a long-time, you can become a consultant in your field.
You run a successful weight loss blog. You’ve been serious about weight loss and have personally lost a lot of weight.
You have detailed a lot of exclusive stuff in your website on how other people can also lose weight and many succeed with your methods. You can easily become a weight loss consultant. The more authoritative your website is, the more you can charge for consultations.
I have personally provided consultancy services to Dalberg, World Bank, SamaSchool and Homeboyz Foundation among many other organizations. This can be very profitable as well.
6. Having a Services or Hire Me Page
Many people start a website for this very reason – to provide a service.
If you’re a writer, you must have been advised by many to create a writer website. If you’re a graphic designer, a website outlining your services can do wonders for you. This applies to all other services.
Some people are multi-niched and provide many services at once.
Your services page will include just that — your services. Have a list of each service and a paragraph or two describing what each service entails.
7. Email Marketing
This is one of the most powerful ways to generate income from your site. You will start by creating a list using different list building providers.
I personally use AWeber. Building a list is one of the best ways of getting targeted traffic. Whenever you launch your product, there are high chances that 80% of your buyers will be people from your list. You can join my list anytime for exclusive updates and freebies.
Two most important metrics in your site should be the number of subscribers in your email list, and the sales you make. Experts may tell you to follow many other metrics that may not really help you. I feel so sad when I see new bloggers following totally useless metrics, but making no sales.
Have these simple goals:
- To give people value from your blog and give genuine solutions to their problems.
- To get as many people as possible to subscribe to your mailing list. Focus on quality i.e. not forcing your mum to join your list, but to get people who love your solutions and are looking to get more from you.
- To make sales.
8. Job Boards
Jobs are hot topics worldwide. People want to get by. To earn a source of living and take care of their loved ones. You can create a job board in your site as a solution to this. You can then charge advertisers to place their listings on your site. One of the most famous job boards is the ProBlogger Job Board.
Bloggers actually make money.
I’ve had friends come here looking for ads and other shiny things that I’m selling. They then ask me whether I earn anything from this blog or I just give out free information.
But as you can see above, I actually earn from this blog. And there are many other Kenyan bloggers who earn from theirs as well. They use the very methods above. You can do it too.
Yes, I was also scared when starting this blog. “What if I don’t earn anything?” I thought to myself. But after reading widely, I figured out that you don’t earn by thinking. You earn by taking action, especially on things that have proven income potential. So I plunged in and made it work.
You can make it work, too. Start today. Download my free blogging ebook here for more tips.
Hi Walter. Thank you for your informative post. I’m interested in creating a blog. I have two concerns, though.
I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this. Thank you.
Thanks for your email.
1. This depends on what you do. Most online work doesn’t require any special licensing or business registration.
2. Same as above.
Talk to a legal or tax expert, though, so that you get accurate information on your specific situation. I refrain from giving legal or tax advice since inaccurate advice can have terrible implications.
How do you approach tax declaration as an online business owner in Kenya? Would love to hear your experience (not as financial advice – just your thoughts on it).
Did you incorporate your business or do you operate as a sole proprietor?
Appreciate you taking the time to read this and eager for your response.
Thanks for reaching out.
I usually don’t advise on tax issues and other sensitive issues like medical and legal. Why? Because any form of wrong advice can have detrimental effects.
I’d implore you to talk to a tax expert to get the best advice on this.
Hi Walter, I love your information on this site. I am interested in doing two things at the same time. One is to start a psychology blog and the second is vlogging via YouTube. I also want to monetize both. I want to use wordpress.org and have it hosted locally maybe through Truehost or Top Pinnacle. What would be your advice in both of these adventures will they be productive or there I’m complicating my dream?
You can do it!
I’d suggest you start one at a time, though. Not easy to run two new startups at the same time.
Also, you can’t go in blind. For that reason, take your time to research on every little aspect of each so that you do them well from the onset.
Akolo thank you for the info,so the domain name is just any creative name if I want to create my blog site?
Welcome Jonathan. It’s basically the name of your website.
I always look forward to reading your blog posts since they are so informative. Thank you.for your good work.
I have several questions for you
1. Is it ok to start a free WordPress blog as a beginner then, later on, upgrade it? After how long should one upgrade?
2. Can I use my personal email address for everything or it’s advisable to have separate email addresses?
3. Who are some of the best web hosting providers?
4. What are the steps taken to open a PayPal account and have it active by linking it with a bank? What are some of the costs to be incurred in the process?
5. Which are some of the banks that offer PayPal services in Kenya?
6. Between WordPress and blogger.com which one is best that you would recommend?
7. What are some of the best and reliable writing accounts.?
Whoa! Quite some questions right there hehe…
Anyway, below are quick answers.
1. It’s alright. You can upgrade when there’s stable traffic and you see reasonable income potential
2. You can use your personal email. In future when you upgrade you can create a professional email. Good for branding.
3. HostGator, SiteGround, BlueHost etc. I use HostGator.
4. Here are facts about PayPal with all the steps and details you need http://freelancerkenya.com/going-about-paypal/paypal-in-kenya/
5. You can read on the post in number 4 above.
7. See here http://freelancerkenya.com/money-online/legitimate-freelancing-websites/
Hi. Walter. Thank you for this great article. I have some questions please. 1) What services do you use for your domain name and webhosting? 2) Is self-hosted WordPress.org a website or just a blog? 3) In your views, what is the difference between a website and a blog?
Below are your answers:
1. This used to be a free WordPress.com site that I later upgraded to a self-hosted site. So the domain is still registered in WordPress.com. My other sites are registered in NameCheap.
2. I host with HostGator. You can feel free to register your domain and hosting in HostGator using my affiliate link http://freelancerkenya.com/hg . If you use that you’ll get your first year at just $36.
3. No much difference nowadays since you can use WordPress to do most things online. I use the names website and blog interchangeably. Anyway, most use the term website to mean a static site that is not frequently updated. A blog is more dynamic, gets frequently updated, has ability to leave comments etc.
Thanks for your post. Interested in starting a website use Host gator through your link. I understand they was a discounted offer. Is it still on. How much shall i per for a year.
I appreciate your response.
Yes, the discounted offer is still on. You can click on this special link and you’ll only pay $36 for the first year http://stfi.re/yxoedko
You can make some good money online only if you are patient. It is not a get rich quick scheme
Very true Muema.
Blogging saves life.it spreads news though not faster but wider..i didn’t know that Antony Maina nganga had a chronic liver problem and that he needed donation if it were not for blogging.i didn’t know that jadida had a brain tumor and too also needed donation.blogging played a critical role in restoring health back into Jadida’s life while Antony is currently on treatment in india.
it is informative and easier to start and maintain if anyone is serious about working online.look no further.thank you
Well said Jacob. Blogging is truly awesome and a lot more people should consider it.
This is my One Stop/ All Stop Shop for all the information I need. Was just researching stuff on blogs, as I want to launch mine, Thanks for the info.
I have two
Q.1 If I have a free domain (such as wordpress, with a .wordpress.com or .simplesite.com extension), I can transfer the domain (with all the information) to a paid domain with only xxxxx.com, RIGHT? Something called domain transfers?
Q.2 What (if any) are the disadvantages/ risks of leaving your blog unupdated for lengthy periods of time?
Wooooooow Maggie. Good to know this is your one stop shop for information.
To answer your questions:
1. Yes you can. For example, this site was once freelancerkenya.wordpress.com. If you click that it will redirect here.
2. Not updating for too long may make you lose traffic and some of the ardent followers you had gathered may feel ditched. Good to update frequently especially if new. People with big names still retain some authority even when they stay a while without updating.
hi walter…what is the lowest amount a domain would cost,?
Around $10 mostly but if you get some coupons you can buy for even $3 or so.
HI WALTER,which payment system do wordpress and hostgator uses ?
Hi Daniel. You can use your ATM card, a credit card or PayPal. Thanks.
I just came across this blog, and I must admit it’s quite informative. I have a question though, which I hope you don’t mind answering. Is it safe to use my debit card on the sites you’ve recommended here? (forgive my uoga 🙂 ) I want to set up a self-hosted blog, and as such, I’m interested in Namecheap and Hostgator
Hi Alice. Welcome here. Yes, it is absolutely safe to use your debit card on those sites. Feel free to ask more questions.
thanks walter, you have done it again as always. Have you applied for Google’s adsence account.
Thanks for your humbling words.
I applied for AdSense but don’t really intend to use it here. It drives away traffic for peanuts.