The Side Hustle (Creating Passive Income) - Part 2

In the last blog I wrote about how to get started setting up a website. Let's say you've made it that far. You've started writing your blogs and your not really sure what you're writing about but you're writing. Great! Keep going! Take the time to write intelligent, well written articles/blogs that are at a minimum of 1000 words but on average 2000 words. This is one of the secrets. Good, relevant, consistent content. As you start to fill your website with these blogs you've written it's good to start thinking about your audience. How will they find your content? It doesn't just magically pop up on the Googles. Google doesn't know what to do with your content with out context. As you write your blogs a central theme should start to emerge. This idea is the start to your brand. It should hold a value from you. If you find value in what you are writing about chances are others will too. It sounds cliche but it's true. That valuable theme is your brand and now that we have a theme we need to build out the big picture a bit more. Create a name for your theme. It could be your own or something you've made up. Make sure to research what's out there already though so you don't end up directing your audience to different sites or to someone else! Come up with a good name? Awesome! Next make a logo. Again, people seem to stress a lot about these steps. This should be fun! Not an artist? Neither am I, I can't even do basic Photoshop to make my logos look good. But there's easy solutions that should minimize your stress and help get the job done. Check out canva.com It's what we used to make our logo and it took minutes. Seriously! Look how good that looks! 

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Branding is bigger than the product your selling.

Great! Now you have a logo, a name, and a great start to a brand! As you continue to write blogs utilize tags, hashtags, and simple SEO tricks like long tail keywords in your blog and tags. This will help Google identify your website and blogs as relevant search topics which in turn builds your brand more! So while Google does it's thing we can get started on establishing your brand outside of your website. I'm talking about good old fashion social media. 

Social Media…Think of it as digital word of mouth.

Social Media is the new free market place! It's an opportunity for you to establish and grow your brand without sinking any additional cost in marketing (unless you want to). Think of it as digital word of mouth. Depending on what your blogs and brand are based on will determine what social media site is probably best to start with. I would recommend starting with Pinterest and Instagram if you're brand is angled around DIY, life hacks, or has a lot of pictures. If you're more of the motivational writer maybe start with Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. In reality though, any of the social media platforms can be used to grow your brand. Think about Facebook Groups that follow a similar path as your website; are you a part of those already? If not, I would join and strike up conversations that eventually lead viewers to your site. Don’t be that person that just joins a group to post a link to their site and disappears, that’s a quick way to get banned and never get any new leads. Join groups and start talking with others. That's a great way to find like minded individuals that express similar ideas as you. Ultimately, you're trying to find copies of yourself, which saying out loud sounds a little weird. Ultimately, you need to be asking yourself, would you go to your site? (This should be a "Yes"). Then so would someone exactly like you. Now you have to just find them. Where would you go (other than your site) to find people with the same thoughts and ideas? Join more communities and don't be afraid to ask people to check out your site. It's even great to just ask for feedback. I've noticed more times than not that if you join a Facebook Group and get into a healthy discussion and mention that you've written about whatever you're discussing and would love some constructive feedback, it's an easy way to get viewers and if they like it they'll stick around! If not? Well, hopefully they'll give you some ideas on what you can fix or improve on.

Cool, you’ve joined the groups, made the social media post, started building a brand, and have a lot of writing under your belt. Your site should be good to go and start getting some regular traffic now. This is where your ranking on Google will start to grow. It’s funny, everyone thinks that if they build a website people will find it, but the truth of the matter is: it isn’t that simple. Honestly, it’s actually quite the opposite; you have to build a website and build an audience to get Google to notice you.

Build the audience to get Google to notice you.

Let’s say you’re on Google and ranking pretty high on some key words and your blog post are being found on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, other people are sharing them. Perfect! Time to start working on that passive income. If you don’t already have an Amazon account you’ll need to create one. You’ll then want to create an Amazon Affiliate account. This is where you start to bring in small amounts of passive income. You don’t want to blow up your site with ads, that will just bog it down and can actually hurt your ranking with Google. Once you’ve setup your Amazon affiliate account, look through your blogs and see if you’ve written about or mentioned any products that Amazon sells. If they do sell it, use your affiliate page to find it and create a unique URL that will link your visitors to an Amazon page of that product. The product page will have a unique code that Amazon recognizes and will use that to provide you with a little kickback for directing more traffic to them. Other sites do similar things too, like Airbnb and Turo; when you share a link to their site and someone signs up through your link they offer you credit to apply to your account. Lots of companies offer these kind of incentive programs and it’s easy to throw those links into your blogs. Add a sentence or two (if you need to) to make the link relevant and you’re good to go!

Here’s a perfect example of how you could use affiliate links to gain a little extra passive income if you’re a travel blogger. You’ve written blogs about places you’ve been, take a picture of the shoes you’re wearing if you really like them. Maybe someone else will be looking for great shoes to travel in and click on your link to your shoes and buy them. Cha-ching! Kickback. So you’re doing lots of traveling, and taking lots of pictures with your nice camera. Post a link to it in one of your blogs or on your Instagram description. When people click on it and purchase the camera after seeing all the amazing pictures you’ve taken with it you’ll get more kickbacks. Maybe you travel using your Southwest Credit Card for travel points. Southwest gives you 10,000 points for each person who signs up. Try writing a blog about the card and the benefits of that card vs others. Keep it relevant and put a link to your referral in the blog. If you get 5 referrals you’re half way to the companion pass and earning points to help pay for your next adventure!

These referral links are without a doubt the easiest way to start earning some extra income on the side. It doesn’t start off as much, but the more you grow the more hits you’ll get. It’s called passive income because it earns you money while you are currently not doing anything to earn it. They neglect to mention you have to put in the work upfront, there’s no such thing as free or easy money. Writing these blogs, building your brand, engaging with audiences; it takes time and effort and sometimes, it can be exhausting. All that said, you can do it. You now have the tools you need to start. Don’t be afraid to dive in and build something. Like I said earlier, just start writing, it’s the first big step to starting your side hustle. If at any point you hit a roadblock or have questions let us know! We’ll be happy to help you out along the way.

-Matt