earn money from home malaysia blogger
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How I Earn Money from Home as a Malaysian Blogger

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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.

earn money from blogging 1

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.ย 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.

Related: My Personal Blog Costs RM1,646.36 per Month. Breakdown Inside.

(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!

I use Siteground, but for some reason they no longer accept Malaysian users. A good and reputable alternative is Exabytes. Simply pick their Wordpress hosting and go from there.

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:

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.

The 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:

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.

Conclusion

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 myย The Exact Steps I Use to Earn Online in Malaysia article. All tbe best in whatever you choose to do ๐Ÿ™‚


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42 Comments

  1. entri kedua yang saya baca dari blog Ringgit Oh Ringgit.. sebelum ni saya baca tentang Bit Coin.. hehehe.. tapi saya tak berapa faham jugak tentang bit coin tu.. nanti saya baca semula.. =)

  2. “I want you to monetise your own content, dammit, before other semi-news outlets take that profit from you. It makes me angry”

    If you read Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ or saw his Tedx talk,you will know you are spot on, on why you’re doing what you’re doing. Tbh, I really love your ‘Why’ in this post^.Thanks for this post. I hope you get more attention than semi-news outlets with useless content and clickbait titles.

    1. Thanks to your recommendation, I watched the Ted talk video. It’s very interesting re-reading my own posts with that ‘why’ context, and I’m flattered that you think my ‘why’ is clear.

      Financial independence for all. That’s what I want.

      1. I really like your conclusion too, Suraya.

        I share the same why but I have the bad habit of starting thing halfway and leaving it for a long time before realising I need to do it for the same why!

        Help! Haha…

  3. Thanks for the informative article, Suraya. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog for months now… i still haven’t taken the plunge. Not sure of my writing capabilities and whether it will make financial sense.

    But i guess it’s now or never ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Take the plunge, TK. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, failure has its own lessons.

      My failed business (tried to sell instant coffee before this!) taught me how to create a website and basic copywriting. My failed first blog taught me how to write and format my posts better.

      But above all, have fun in the process ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Thanks for writing this helpful post! I’ve just started blogging and your post has helped me to clear some doubts ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the awesome content. I hope to write as well as you do one day. Keep it up ๐Ÿ‘

  4. Thank you for sharing your blogging experience, Suraya. Just like you, I have spent some money, effort and most importantly a lot of time in improving my blog layout and readers’ experience. I’m definitely looking forward to having more traffic in the coming next few months. I’m a medical doctor, writer, and healthcare blogger by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Woah. I don’t know how you juggle between medical doctor-ing, freelancing and maintaining a website.

      Selfish request to add something about bruxism because I suffer from that since teenager. I’m not even stressed wtf. Now correcting my bite with braces and it’s still there! I wear teeth guard when I sleep so that helps but… sigh.

  5. Hi Suraya,

    This is a really good article. Thank you!

    โ€œI want you to monetise your own content, dammit, before other semi-news outlets take that profit from you. It makes me angryโ€

    Should remind myself to publish thoughts on my blog instead of Facebook. Let’s talk more soon! xx

    1. Hey Sara, awesome glad you liked it!

      I like your stick figure series, you might want to consider a piece on that ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Such a good article ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve just recently started my own blog. Would you be so kind to have a look, give some feedback. One thing I can take from your article is having a niche which I’m sure I’m lacking. There may be other things that I’m overlooking.

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks, KTL! Checked out your website, I like the layout. My feedback is to re-write your paragraphs so the flow is clear. Add headings, use bulletpoints, delete redundant words and make it concise. Look forward to read more money-related updates from you!

  7. Nice write up as usual. Have you ever done something like “30 financial advices for people under 30” or financial advices that you would give to younger you.

  8. Hi Suraya, stumbled onto your blog by chance and thoroughly enjoying all your content. I must say you have inspired me to take the plunge and start a blog too. Keep up your magical content and i’ll continue to learn and perhaps when i’m started my journey i’ll share with ya too. Thanks

  9. Hi suraya! im a big fan of yours. I found your blog when you posted about bitcoin. Since im a fan of cryptocurrency, it will be great if you can share more post regarding cryptocurrencys

  10. Hi Suraya! Great article. I am thinking about blogging to earn extra cash but am worry abt the content since I am not good at writing and getting ideas to write. What do you think about buying articles for the content? An advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hey Sue,

      You could commission a team of writers or content creators, sure. I know there are content-buying platforms out there too. That can get pricey though.

  11. Inspiring and fun to read. My niche is travel and kinda stuck at giving out rates when clients asking for post reviews. I mean. They make more on sale tapi sekali bayar je untuk post review in blog (free marketing forever!). Takut diorang taknak kalau rate tinggi. Should I handle sale to get commission as per head? urghhh D:

    1. Hi Fariz,

      Sometimes, I’d word my services like ‘pay x to reach xxxxx audiences’ or ‘the last client recorded xx% ROI after advertising in [website]’. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but more often than not it does.

      Commission can work too! Maybe even more lucrative, with the right deal.

      Your website design is gorgeous btw. Looks super professional. Keep up the hustling!

  12. Amazing post Suraya and you made it so personalised to Malaysian which is great.

    Totally agree with the following. That’s why most local blogs fail.

    “Many people who have blogs make the mistake of not having a niche. They write about a jumble of content, including their travels, what they ate, their lifestyle, their fashion, etc. Some of them are fun to readโ€ฆ butโ€™s ..”

    I’m also a blogger, started long time ago but stopped in 2012. Now I am reviving my old blog ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Gaman!

      Checked out your website, cool stuff, enjoyed your John Chow $400 review. Have subscribed to your mailing list. Looking forward to great content from you!

  13. hi Suraya.
    what if i make blog for product/service review. do i need a niche? is this plan will work?

    how about blogging for affiliate? promoting products from other market.

    1. Hi Zein,

      Yes, that will work! Many people do the same – they do reviews for products/services and insert their affiliate links to earn referral income. It can be very lucrative!

      I do it too for ringgitohringgit.com. You’ll see links for fintech products, hosting plans, etc. The challenge is making content that converts, of course

  14. Hi Suraya,

    I’m planning to start a blog as well. However, I am unsure whether to use my real name or a pen name. Would like to hear your opinion on this. Thanks!

    1. Hi Nick,

      Use your real name if (1) you’re comfortable with it, and (2) its part of your personal and professional branding strategy

      Use a pen name if (1) you want to maintain anonymity, or (2) your real name is too generic and you want to make it easier for people to find you when they google you

  15. Hi Suraya,

    Appreciate your detailed steps. It’s definitely helped me in defining my ways.

    As you started with free wordpress.com, did you convert your blog to wordpress.org to host domain?

    1. Hi JZ,

      Glad to help man!

      Re: wordpress – well, yes since I didn’t take any of the packages on wordpress.com (and thus didn’t take hosting services from wordpress.com), it must have converted into wordpress.org during the process

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