ATMOver the past few years, blogging has become extremely popular. Nearly everyone who tries to make money online usually creates a blog very early in their Internet Marketing career, and for a very good reason – blogs alone can put serious cash into your bank account.

The big problem is that a lot of folks don’t use blogs properly. There was a time where you could have thrown up a simple Blogger blog, write a couple short articles, put up some Google AdSense ads, attract some web traffic, and then watch the money roll in.

That doesn’t work any longer.

Sure, you might make enough to pay for a few beers, but it’s not going to put a roof over your head. The good news is that blogs are still extremely lucrative and can put thousands of dollars into your pocket every single month – if you know what you’re doing.

The premier blogging tool, hands down, is Wordpress. It’s free, works well, and is easy to use. The only requirement is that you have a hosting account such as BlueHost (who we use to host our websites and recommended) to host your website. In your hosting account control panel, you can automatically install Wordpress on your website in less than a minute by using Fantastico or Simple Scripts.

However, the key to making real money with blogs is to get creative. Yes, it’s a huge cliché…but you have to think out of the box. That’s why I use these 6 simple profit machines to maximize my income potential with Wordpress…feel free to steal them and build your own blogging empire:

Profit Machine #1: Authority Sites

Setting up simple Niche Authority Sites is one of the easiest ways to start making a profit online, but it’s also the most time consuming. I wrote out an extensive step-by-step guide to building your first simple blog in a post I made over a year ago: Make Money Online – Step-By-Step Method

Note: If you have no money to your name, you can use a Blogger blog to build your first authority site (as I recommend in the above guide), but I do recommend upgrading to Wordpress as soon as possible. It is far more customizable and offers you more opportunity to expand. Wordpress also provides a free blogs via their website, but you want the self-hosted option so you can upload your own themes and plugins.

It takes serious commitment to start one of these and stick to it – and you won’t see any immediate returns. However, if you post daily for 2 to 3 months, have a professional design and monetize it properly, you’ll be light years ahead of competing websites and you will able to pull in at least a few hundred dollars per month.

The real trick to becoming an authority site (rather than a boring “blog”) is to either position your company, your brand or yourself as an expert. This is a big stumbling block for a lot of people – most feel like they’re not an expert in any particular area. That’s simply not true. When I asked my Dad if he was an expert in anything, he said no…but that’s definitely not the case. He’s a perfect example…

My Dad spent 30+ years as a police officer and learned some extremely valuable skills that you wouldn’t expect. One of them was the ability to write grants that generated millions of dollars for equipment and additional personnel for his department. His success rate was incredibly high – over 90% of the grants he submitted were approved. That’s unheard of and it’s a skill that companies, organizations and individuals would pay thousands of dollars to learn. Starting an authority site about grants would be perfect for him.

You really need to think about your experiences and your interests. Even if you truly don’t feel like an expert on a topic, you can do research to become one. Spend an afternoon learning the basic “rules” of your niche and you’ll know more than 80%+ of the population, and that qualifies you as an expert.

Once you’ve established a topic for your authority site, spend some time doing research on the types of phrases people are searching for using a free tool such as Google’s Keyword Tool or a premium tool such as Micro Niche Finder. (MNF is highly recommended – it makes it very easy for you to find profitable long-tail keywords and to quickly assess your competition.)

Once you’ve found several keyword phrases that people are searching for, you focus your site’s content around those keywords and post to it daily. You build momentum for your new website by talking about your authority site on other blogs and niche forums, then offer to be a guest blogger for other popular blogs.

You make money via Google AdSense ads and affiliate links to start, but you will want to begin building an e-mail list using a provider such as AWeber as soon as you start seeing a significant number of visitors pour in. They visit your blog and you offer exclusive content as a “bribe” for signing up. With an e-mail list, you’ll be able to launch your own products or services at anytime. (I like to think of this as writing my own check.)

The potential with an authority blog alone is extremely high. It’s a very flexible model that can be expanded almost indefinitely, but it’s just one way to make money with blogs. Here’s a method that’s a little less conventional…

Profit Machine #2: Niche Storefronts

A lot of people don’t know that you can actually setup an entire online store using Wordpress. Whether you want to sell items directly from your blog, or appear as a third-party store and simply refer customers to Amazon as an affiliate, Wordpress can help you establish these profit machines easily.

There are a couple of different ways you can do it…

a.) You can download a theme that converts your blog into a storefront. Some of these themes are fairly advanced and require a fee to download, but you may be able to find some for free. Once you have your website established, you can use Paypal to accept payments. Some of the more advanced themes even have an “Add to Cart” feature built in.

b.) You can download a plugin that automatically pulls in products from websites such as Amazon or eBay. These plugins can automatically include a picture and short description from those sites, integrated with your affiliate link. There are free and premium options for these types of plugins, but the premium options typically provide more options and flexibility.

If you decide to establish a store, you will want to make sure that you add some unique content (as the content you add will be from Amazon or eBay and won’t boost your search engine rankings) and also implement a professional design. This is effectively a type of authority site, but you will providing direct links to products or services rather than information. It’s harder to get traffic to these types of sites, but the quality of customers is often higher as they’re looking to buy a particular type of product.

Profit Machine #3: Membership Sites

Membership sites are a tried-and-true method for generating long-term cash. There’s so much to say about memberships that we created an entire course called Membership Blueprints. With that said, using Wordpress to power and protect a membership site is a very smart way to go.

In fact, we use Wordpress for our Simple Cash Blog Membership, our most popular resource. It’s extremely easy for anyone to do. First, install Wordpress in the location you want your member’s area. For example, you’ll want to install Wordpress in a location such as: http://yourdomain.com/members/

After you’ve installed it, you simply need to password protect either individual posts or the entire member’s area. For the Simple Cash Blog, we password protected the entire member’s directory in under 2 minutes using a tool called the Instant Membership Site Creator, which we sell for less than $20. If you want to password protect individual posts or provide different levels of access, you can use a plugin such as s2Member.

The best part about using Wordpress for a membership site is that you can actually create content for the membership site in advance and schedule it to be posted at a future date. Your membership site could have a full year’s worth of content in queue without you ever having to touch it. (Of course, this might not be possible depending on the type of membership or the support you need to provide.)

The toughest part of the membership creation process is that you need to write an extremely powerful sales letter and provide “addictive” videos, articles and resources to your members. It’s significantly harder to get someone to subscribe to a $99 per month membership than to purchase a $99 product. Plus, if your content isn’t compelling enough, people will drop out. It happens all the time and some folks will even drop out immediately after joining.

The key for the membership site model is to provide an ongoing service or educational material to a very specific market, and to expose your membership to as many of those people as possible by partnering with others, advertising, article marketing and more.

Profit Machine #4:
Local Businesses

This is a rapidly growing opportunity that nearly every internet marketer can take advantage of. Most small, local businesses do not have a website, but most are rapidly realizing that they need to have one. It adds an immense amount of professionalism to a business if they have a well-designed website, and younger generations use internet search as their first resource to find out reviews or more information about a business.

As a 23 year old living in Toronto, I can tell you that I have only tried out new restaurants if I was able to read their menu online. There is a fantastic fish and chips restaurant 5 minutes down the road that I would have never found if they did not have a website. The website wasn’t even that fancy – it was simply professional enough that it gave me confidence that it was a good business.

The potential here is HUGE. There are a nearly endless list of services you can provide to offline businesses…

* Setup their site using Wordpress, then design it using a related theme (there are a lot of great themes available for restaurants, professional firms, and much more.)

* Charge a yearly fee to host their domain and website for them

* Sell them on Search Engine Optimization services – it’s extremely easy to rank for search terms in small towns

* Charge a monthly fee to update their website for them as needed – news, updates, new products or services and more.

* Charge firms to update their website design or ways to make money directly from their website

* Charge businesses for the ability to sell products directly via their site or to accept online ordering

That’s really just the tip of the iceberg. It’s easy to sell these types of services to small businesses. Provide a guarantee and legitimate recommendations to improve their business and you’ll be able to find a lot of customers who are willing to pay for monthly services.

Wordpress is an extremely powerful tool, but you have to remember that it’s only a tool – you need to think out of the box and apply the techniques above to create a profitable website that produces residual income for months and years to come.

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