Blogging is not the only way to earn money from home in Malaysia, nor is it the easiest, nor is it the fastest way to make money.
It’s best if I start out this way, so expectations are clear – at no point I want to mislead you into thinking blogging is easy. Work, even doing something you love and enjoy, is still work.
In fact, if you need money fast, you’re better off becoming a freelance writer so you can immediately earn from writing articles.
However, if you have the time, and the inclination… blogging is a great way to eventually make money – either from your own blog, or from the skillsets you learn along the way.
To be fair, I’m a bit biased here, because developing RinggitOhRinggit.com from scratch is truly one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done, in both personal and professional capacity. Since its inception in December 2015, I’ve made thousands in active and passive income, and appeared on TV and radio.
While I’m far from being the highest-paid blogger in Malaysia, I earn alright, enough for me to live my low-key life and put aside some money towards savings and investments. The best part, however, is to have full ownership of my time and schedule. This part is priceless to me.
How I earn money from home in Malaysia through blogging
In this article I’m going to share the exact steps I personally used to earn money from home through blogging. I’m not saying ALL bloggers go through the same steps (they don’t), but at least you know how the blogging journey looks like, from one person’s POV.
Note that the steps are not linear – they overlap with each other, but they should be okay to use as a general guideline.
Step 1: Create a website and choose a blogging theme
I dabbled with Blogspot and Wix, but ended up with Wordpress. Highly recommend it – this guide has a huge preference towards the Wordpress platform, but use whatever you like.
Should you pay for a website name?
If you don’t have the funds for it, or if you’re just ‘trying this blogging thing out’, it’s okay to just make do with blogname.wordpress.com. It will work, albeit with fewer functions and personalisation options.
In short, if you don’t have the funds for it, start free, you can always upgrade later – that’s what I did. I only bought blogname.com at Step 4, when I got serious and decided to do this full-time.
Should you pay for a website theme?
Website themes are website design, or it’s layout. Ringgit Oh Ringgit uses a blog-style layout.
As you can imagine, there are many website themes available – for personal pages, businesses, photography, news, and so much more. Pick one that fits your style.
When I started blogging, I used one of Wordpress’ free themes. They have a lot of good free ones – see some options on HongKiat.com. Later on (Step 4), I bought a premium theme.
Step 2: Start filling in the website with content
What type of content, up to you. However, websites that have a niche tend to perform better. Pleasantly, my topic of interest is personal finance and specifically for urban Malaysian millennials, which people kinda like, so that’s swell.
Important: sort out your niche early!
Many people who start blogs make the mistake of not having a niche. Their content is all over the place – they write about a jumble of content, including their travels, what they ate, their lifestyle, their fashion, etc.
Some of them are fun to read… but’s here’s the deal. No one (aside from friends and family) truly care about their lives, unless they are a ‘somebody’. This is real talk, I’m not going to sugar coat anything. It’s hard to gain traffic this way.
You need traffic to earn money from blogging, and to do that you have to create content that people want to consume even if they don’t know you.
What type of content do people like to read?
Content that people like to read are, overwhelmingly, things that help people in some way and/or entertaining content.
Is the restaurant worth visiting? How much is X? Where to get Y? Reviews. Recommendations. Personal opinions and experiences on its own are pretty boring to read if not accompanied by facts, information and humour.
My simplified formula whenever I brainstorm content idea is: think of what the audience wants to read + structure my content in that way. That’s where Step 3 comes in
Step 3: Optimise the heck out of my Wordpress and work on content marketing
If content is the outfit, then optimisation in Step 3 and Step 4 is the stitching and detailing.
There are a few components here, including:
- Installing plugins (some recommendations below)
- Learning SEO and implementing it
- Commit to writing those content on a regular basis (at least once a week, more is better)
- Having a consistent, clear format in my articles
- Writing, re-writing, editing and proofreading posts
- Setting up Ringgit Oh Ringgit Facebook page, Twitter handle and Instagram
- Engaging with the audience aka community management
- And more.
Each of the above was hard work and research. It definitely wasn’t implemented overnight. It took months to incorporate them in Ringgit Oh Ringgit.
Step 4: Once I see consistent traffic, I paid for a bunch of stuff to improve my website
If I’m not mistaken, I bought the ringgitohringgit.com domain at around 2k monthly traffic.
Basically how it went down was, ‘huh, people are reading this. I should probably make it look nicer, so they have a good experience and visit more often’.
Things I paid for:
- Hosting and Domain (aka ringgitohringgit.com)*
- A premium theme from MojoMarketplace. My theme costs $49
- (I’ve since bought another theme)
- A graphic designer to make a pretty-looking blog header (got a good price from Fiverr.com. Note: referral link)
- Facebook ads, but that didn’t go that well
- A Wordpress expert to help speed up my website loading time (also via Fiverr.com)
- Customisated reports
- Professional website audits
- Courses after courses to improve myself
- And other few bits and pieces
Each of these contributes to the overall user experience for my readers. You’d think blogging is cheap, and it can be, but I invest a lot back to my business and spend tens of thousands annually to improve my website and my skills.
(It doesn’t have to go this high, but it can, especially if you are a lifestyle blogger who travel all the time. This is also why I say you can start free, then pay for what you think is important as you go along)
Ps – if you have recommendations on how I can improve Ringgit Oh Ringgit further, I’m all ears. Please share in the comments section.
*Hosting Protip: If you’re targeting Malaysians, get hosting provider with servers in Malaysia
It took me years to learn this so let me just share with you, to save you time:
- If you are targeting international audience, get from reputable hosting provider. Bluehost and Siteground are both good options.
- HOWEVER, if you are targeting primarily Malaysian audience, use hosting provider with servers located in Malaysia or Singapore. If not, your website will be super slow for your audience, and they will leave!
Step 5: Experimenting with various revenue channels that work for my type of content
At about 5-10k per month monthly traffic mark, you can start selling your influence. There are many ways to do this – WPBeginner listed 25 ways to make money from blogs.
As of time of writing, after much trial and error, I concentrate on these channels:
- Affiliate marketing (affiliate platforms I signed up)
- Google Adsense (how to setup Adsense in Wordpress without coding skills)
- Sponsored Posts
- Selling my books (Money Stories from Malaysians)
- Recommending great financial products I personally love (like the Financial Behaviour Report)
While you can’t pick companies advertised via Google Ads, you can pick everything else. For example, in Ringgit Oh Ringgit, I promote bitcoin service providers in my crypto guides and Shopback in my travel articles (like this Japan trip for RM2500 one).
Should you target international audience or Malaysian audience?
I’d say both have good income potential. With international audience, you have more earning potential from Adsense and affiliate links (lucrative), but with Malaysian audience, you can do more sponsored content (also lucrative).
With a name like RinggitOhRinggit, you can guess which audience I’m stuck with lol (jk jk I love yall)
Where to get influencer jobs
It can work both ways: clients approach you, or you approach clients. For the former, sometimes you’ll get emails from companies or agencies representing companies.
For the latter, the easy way is to join influencer job platforms like Catjira and Nuffnang. Some Facebook groups also post these types of jobs like the Social Media + Blogger Community Group and the Malaysia Bloggers and Social Media Group.
harder gutsier way is to cold-call or cold-email companies and tell them your influencer services are available.
As for payment, usually clients offer cash, but sometimes they might offer products or services instead. You can choose or reject offers.
How to work with clients for sponsored posts/
The general flow if clients approach you is:
- Companies email you asking how much you charge for a specific type of content or engagement
- You email back with your rates
- Some negotiation or request for website/social media statistics might happen
- Accept or decline the work at the rate they offer or counter-offer, up to you
The general flow if you approach clients is:
- Indicate that you’re interested to work with them, what you can offer and give them your website/social media statistic
- If they’re also interested, negotiate rates and what you can deliver
- Accept or decline the work at the rate they offer or counter-offer, up to you
Here are some articles that will help you in the figuring-out process:
- 5 Methods to Figure Out Your Rates
- The Exact Email Template You Can Use to Get Hired by Clients
- How I Get Great Clients Who Pay & Treat Me Well
Nowadays I’m quite choosy with who I decide to accept to promote on Ringgit Oh Ringgit. Personally, I have several rules when it comes to company promotions:
- It must be a product or service that I like / use anyway
- It must come with a disclosure policy (for example, some companies legit offered me money to write about them without the [sponsored] tag) (unfortunately, I know some bloggers who do it)
- It must fit into the theme of my website (finance-related) and the content I’m writing anyway
- It must be, to the best of my knowledge, a legit platform
However, I don’t judge other bloggers who hustle hard and earn whatever they can, however they can.
To earn money from blogging is hard work, but can be fun AND financially fulfilling.
My personal agenda from writing this post is simple: I just want to read more good-quality shit from other Malaysians. I see your posts on social media. You guys have such amazing information to share, such amazing personalities kept hidden.
How many times have you read ‘news’ that is nothing more than someone else’s Facebook posting? I want you to monetise your own content, dammit, before other semi-news outlets take that profit from you. It makes me angry.
Well anyway. Reach out if you ever need help. I can review websites and blogs and stuff and give you feedback from the user experience side. Now go forth and prosper.
If blogging is not for you, but you still want to earn online, check out my The Exact Steps I Use to Earn Online in Malaysia article. All tbe best in whatever you choose to do 🙂