Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
But before we begin; if you’re interested in a full, no-holding-back guide on how to start a blog then we have that for you. It’s a complete walk-through from nothing to a live blog that’s optimized, secure, and ready to welcome your readers. The guide was written based on our experience growing this very blog (which now has more than 150,000 monthly readers). And it’s 100% free. Click here.
Consider a free blogging service. Many people opt to create a free blog using popular services such as WordPress.com or Google Blogger. This is a good option for people who aren't familiar with web design, don't want to pay for their own hosting, or enjoy the ease and stability that comes with these services. These services do have limitations on how you can make money using them, however, so make sure your blog won't break the terms of service.
That’s why I created this ultimate guide that’s taken me years to build. In it, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know when it comes to learning how to start a blog and actually profit from it. I’ll show you the exact techniques and strategies I’ve used for both myself and my highest-profile clients I’ve helped to go from 0 to millions of readers a year. Most of all, we’re diving deep into how I went from learning how to start a blog myself, to making this blog a source of more than $100,000 in side income each year.
If you are using a free blog hosting service instead of your own domain name, you must provide high quality content with a limited number of relevant links or risk being shut down. If you are only interested in writing short, quick product reviews in order to earn money, you will need to host your own blog. Be warned that low-content, high-link blogs are a less reliable, though lower effort, way to earn money.

Once your hosting account is set up, it’s time to actually get WordPress up and running. Bluehost makes it really easy by installing WordPress in the background. You will be asked to choose a theme. A theme is like a skin for your blog. You can change your theme at any time. Scroll down and choose ‘Skip This Step‘. On the next screen, click on ‘Start Building‘ button to configure your blog.


WordPress.org is a highly popular choice because you don’t have to know any coding to design a slick blog. 1 in 5 websites use WordPress. Note: WordPress.org is a full-service blog hosting site, but you have to register your domain name and get set up with web hosting first. Wordpress.com has limited features and provides you a .wordpress domain name for free, but you can’t put advertising or affiliate links on a wordpress.com blog.[16][17]
One attractive feature of promoting digital information products is that the commissions tend to be higher than that of physical products; ranging anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent or even higher. As an example, if someone is selling a digital information product for $500 with a 50 percent commission, you can earn $250 per sale. This is much higher than commissions on physical products due to the high profit margins.
It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the “How to start a profitable blog in 10 minutes and earn $5000 / month while you sleep!” articles that you see out there. But the thing is, those articles leave out some details – they do this on purpose, so that you go ahead and start your blog RIGHT NOW, without giving it any thought – so the writers can earn commission on hosting sales. Many bloggers earn so much money from hosting sales with their how to start a blog tutorial that they hardly even need to try making money anywhere else on their blog.

22. Advertising – This is definitely the most old-school way of earning money with a blog. It’s also starting to become the least common way. You can sell advertising spots directly on your site or you can sign up with a company like Google AdSense or Media.net. Either way, you won’t see a whole lot of money from ads until your views are well into the thousands each day.
Blogs are wonderful tools to help people establish themselves as experts in a field or niche. We all have some kind of interest and expertise to share with others. If you’re able to produce great content and/or have a unique point of view on the topic, then be assured that your future audience will recognize it and reward you for it. With a bit of effort, you too can become an authority in your area of interest and teach others how to start blogging.

It’s only finally getting into my head that it will only ever be a small percentage of my audience that really matters in terms of supporting my business. I was always so worried about not alienating the Big Crowd that I missed a ton of chances to focus on the people who really do understand my overall message and want to go deeper. This post (and especially the comment thread) has been wonderful and is helping me to clarify my new philosophy.


WordPress is free open source software – you are referring to your web hosting company. Web hosts will inform you of any charges in advance and it is very easy to move to a new host. Some web hosts offer free transfers if you sign up for a contract of 12 months or more. The other thing to do to avoid sudden price hikes is pay for 36 months rather than 12.
Understand the difference between total revenue and net income. Most income reports tout total revenue. Net income or profit (what really matters) is often buried in the post. I came across an income report recently with a super impressive number in the title (and Pinterest image). It was total revenue. Not until I read the whole post did I learn this blogger spent well over half their total revenue on Facebook Ads alone. On top of that, they had an extensive list of expenses. By the end of the post I realized I had netted more than they did the previous month.
The entire blog world keeps talking about how it's not that hard to be a professional blogger. Usually the people saying that are the ones who have something to sell you, quite frankly. If someone's telling you this is not that difficult, you should look at what their motive is. Do they have something to sell you so that you'll become inspired, you'll think you can do it, or you'll start building a blog?

Anyone who's serious about building a blog and making money, needs to leverage Google's webmaster tools to see what keywords they're ranking for and any messages that would impact their ability to rank. This will also allow you to submit an XML sitemap and track keyword impressions along with click-through rates. This is one of the most useful tools for growing your site or blog through constant analysis of your efforts.


SEO – SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically, you want search engines, like Google, to index and rank your content high in their algorithm, so that when people do an internet search — your content is easily found (preferably on page one). So when you research and write your content you'll want to consider your niche, keywords, questions, and phrases that individuals are searching for and intertwine these into your blog posts. This is an oversimplified definition, but it gives you the gist of what SEO can do your blog. This article talks more about SEO so you can start learning the ropes.
Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to make money blogging. I love it because it can feel quite passive. You can create just one blog or social media post, which can potentially still earn you money years down the line. Now, you will have to maintain the post and keep generating traffic to it. Still, with affiliate marketing, I can relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.
Great Pricing. TheMinimalists.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, which means that in addition to using their service, we also receive a commission for referring new customers. To be fair, though, we would still use Bluehost even if we weren’t an affiliate—we’ve used them for a long time. Ergo, we don’t recommend Bluehost just because we’re an affiliate (every hosting company offers a similar affiliate program); we recommend Bluehost because they are the best, most reliable option. Plus, because we’re a partner, Bluehost offers a 50% discount for The Minimalists readers: only $2.75 a month. That’s an outstanding price!

Once you have your niche picked out, then start researching what else is out there. Do a Google search, Instagram search, and Pinterest search — this will give you a wealth of information. Once you find your competitors, figure out how you can put your unique spin on the topic. I like to include personal stories in my content because I know that no-one else will have exact experiences.
Thanks, I’m 59 years old and at a point in my life that I believe I’m starting to understand the meaning of life. Though this understanding is still in its infancy I think I’m ready to start asking some questions. Is it plausible to have a Blog that explores is subject matter and do you think it would be interesting to others. I’ve not written anything since high school but on my way home from work I had a Moment of clarity and then this idea thank you for your time.
Edit yourself. We know you’re ready to click “publish,” but take a minute to self-edit your work. (The Write Life has some great self-editing tips.) If it’s laced with errors, you’re going to lose credibility — and readers. Recruit a friend or family member to have a second look. If no one’s available, read your work aloud. This is a great way to view it from a different angle and identify areas that need polishing.
Hey Alex & Lauren! All this information has been so usefull and so easy to understand, i am very grateful. But i have a query, i live in a country in South America (Chile) where spanish is the main language, therefore i don`t know if its best to create my blog in spanish (which is easier for me because i have much more vocabulary and grammer skills) or go with the world wilde language English. Hoping to hear from you guys, thanks!
It’s hard to get noticed when you cover topics on a broad scale. Everyone has their own set of problems, and every blog is trying to solve them. What you need is a niche that will help you target a specific market in the broader topic your niche belongs in. It’s important for you to define your niche before you start blogging or in the early stages of your blog, at the very least.
Great post Jamie! There’s so many posts about how to make a money blog and your one is by far the best. One thing I want to comment on is initially all people who start a new blog don’t know where to start. They just sign up to different affiliate money making programs thinking that they will become rich quickly. You and me both know that this is not the case. What they don’t know and need to understand is that blogging needs hard work and dedication. To keep on going when after 6 months they are still earning zero. Only after that one can think to be successful online.
If you're unsure whether or not you've written a strong headline, take it for a test drive by using the free headline analyzer tool from CoSchedule. It's super cool—you just paste in the headline you're thinking about using, and it gives you a score on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 100 being a truly perfect headline), based on their analysis of millions of headlines.
Blogger allows its users to choose from various templates and then customize them. Users may also choose to create their own templates using CSS. The new design template, known as "Dynamic View", was introduced on 31 August 2011[19] with Dynamic Views being introduced on 27 September 2011.[20] It is built with AJAX, HTML5, and CSS3. The time for loading is 40 percent shorter than traditional templates, and allows user to present blog in seven different ways: classic, flipcard, magazine, mosaic, sidebar, snapshot, and timeslide. Readers still have the option to choose preferable views when the blog owner has set a default view.[21] Some of the widgets (e.g., Labels, Profile, Link List, Subscription Links, Followers and Blog Archive etc.) are available for Dynamic Views; other templates are chosen by the blogger.
Great article. I recently came back into blogging. I hadn’t realized how much I had learnt from my first attempt. Now with the new blog I started about a month ago, I am seeing an increase of traffic everyday which is quite surprising and very exciting. So I have been reading all over how to monetize a blog. Your article is excellent and in-depth. Thank you for sharing I will definitely be using some your advice. Blessings.
Unnecessary plugins. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. You’ll see a list of plugins, all of which I delete (the only plugin I might keep at the beginning is the Bluehost plugin). A plugin must be deactivated before it can be deleted. So, if you hover over a plugin you may have to choose “Deactivate” then repeat the process to see the “Delete” link. As I explain later, plugins can slow your site down and make things glitchy so I use them very sparingly. I only add a plugin when I have a clear reason to do so. I’ll give my plugin recommendations in a bit.
The answer is YES, resoundingly yes, there is plenty of room for new bloggers to make money. (Not to mention that just because there are “millions of blogs” doesn’t mean there are millions of successful blogs. People who won’t invest the time, money and effort it requires are included in that “millions” as well. Remember, blogging for profit is work!)
×