Even back in 2009 people were telling me that traffic isn’t everything, and traffic with no business model doesn’t make money. I heard it but didn’t really grasp what it meant. Big numbers are attractive and gratifying. I’m on the right path now but I spent almost five years missing the chance to cater to my biggest fans instead of reaching for more.
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.
If you’ve gone with a self-hosted WordPress site like I suggested, you’ll have literally thousands of amazing free and paid theme options at your disposal. Plus, once you buy a theme (which are relatively inexpensive investments) like the one I use for my blog here, OptimizePress, you'll own it forever and get all the benefits of excellent support and customization options that come with premium WordPress themes.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others.  If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
Even though you have to pay for your own web hosting out of pocket, going this route allows you much more flexibility in terms of site design and usability. And don’t worry, hosting is really inexpensive, especially if you take advantage of our 42% off coupon code with Hostgator (BTOP42). Depending on your hosting plan, it shouldn’t end up costing you more than a few dollars a month.
The truth is, it's not as easy to carve out your space on the web and make a name for yourself as a blogger today, as it was back when blogging was brand new. And it takes a lot of time to build your audience to the point where it's successful. (The most successful, multi-million dollar blogs today were started around 2005 or earlier.) So it's definitely not something you can get rich quickly with, though many people do work on their blogs full time.
Outstanding article. I was researching remote jobs, and stumbled here in my google search. My questions about blogging for money were all answered for my beginner’s level. The rest is up to me. Thank you! I’ll share this on social media as an exchange for the free knowledge, and to help others like myself that want to start, but are unsure where to begin their journey.
23. Affiliates – There are many affiliate networks, such as FlexOffers and CJ Affiliate that allow you to promote other people’s products and services. You simply put a link or a banner on your page and then you get a percentage if someone clicks through and buys the product/service. You’ll want to select products that are specifically within your blog’s category.This is an effective way to earn money once you have the traffic coming to your blog.
Once you’re up and running with your hosting account, your next step is to install WordPress, the most popular blogging platform, onto your newly-minted blog. This is a rather straightforward process, so don’t be alarmed here. In your Bluehost control panel, you’ll find a simple one-click logo icon with the description “Install WordPress,” that will help guide you along in the process.

But if you're willing to put in the time and the effort, and you can stay persistent over the years (and yes, I said years), then you can most certainly generate a substantial income online. In fact, your blog is quite possibly one of the best hubs of passive income generation, and if done the right way, it can attract the right clients and customers no matter what industry or niche you might be in.
This is the strategy that most bloggers start with when looking to monetize their blog. However, keep in mind you're not limited to selling banner ad spots (which is generally an ineffective strategy these days). Consider other areas you could rent out: space on your pop-up box, social media headers, the "P.S." on your email newsletters...think outside the box (quite literally).
Thanks for an awesome step by step. I started by getting a domain and hosting, as per your instruction, but at the end of my registration page on Host Gator, I didn’t find the “Constant Contact” add on. Instead, I have “Get a Pro Email Address from Google” add on. How do I get this Constant Contact add on, and do you suggest me adding the Pro Email Address one? Thank you so much, and so sorry for such a noob question 😀
I guess, based on my computer abilities, that I knew that blogging wouldn’t be easy but I just wish someone had been a little more HONEST with me about what it would take. I also wish, that the first “how to start a blog tutorial” I ever used had held my hand throughout the process a little more. (I am a classic victim of the how to start a blog tutorials that ONLY take you through step one!)
Bloggers like Michael Hyatt, Yaro Starak, Brian Clark, and Ramsay of Blog Tyrant (among many others) have learned to invest time, energy, and money on creating timeless and useful products. This information comes in the form of eBooks, software, themes, plugins, online courses, etc. so that their audience can learn and advance their understanding in a short amount of time.
I’m a cyclist! I try to ride my bike outside as much as I can throughout the week. If its too cold or wet, I put the bike on the trainer and do 20-minute high-intense spinning workouts (lot’s of free videos for it on YouTube). Biking is a wonderful fitness tactic… You burn calories fast, exercise the parts that mean the most and you kill stress and junk that is giving you that horrid ‘blogger’s block’ plus, its fun and makes you feel like a kid again! 😀
Great information altogether, but my main question still hasn’t been answered. I think I have Pinterest figured out and my traffic is gradually growing. I haven’t reached 5000 views per month yet but right now it seems like I will get 1000 page views in August and I started Pinterest mid-July with 0 views. I’m sure could be better, but not too bad either.
This step should have been obvious by this point in the article. Again, creating content or products based on what you feel would be most successful is risky. It’s next to impossible to replicate what another, more successful blog is doing and expect the same results for yourself. It’s better to know who you’re targeting, what their biggest pain points are and what products you want to use to target those pain points. A content marketing strategy will help you plan more effectively.
Email subscriptions is one of your most important priorities as a blogger, if not the most important. Highly engaged email lists are at the core of every successful blog. Unfortunately, managing and sending emails on a list involves a lot of spam regulatory laws, which means you’ll need a reputable email marketing service. There are quite a few great services which can handle your email broadcasts, autoresponders, and more.

Through my affiliate link, you can secure hosting for as little as $2.95 a month. But you have to purchase the 36-month package, which would be $106.20 — but this includes a free domain name. You can use a free theme, but I highly suggest purchasing one, for $39 – $130. You can buy a custom logo design on Fiverr for $5, and you can use Sendinblue for email marketing which is free for a certain number of email subscribers. All in all, it shouldn’t cost you any more than $150.20 – $241.20 (plus tax).
Include keywords in important places. Include them in your blog post title, the large "headers" introducing a new section, the first few sentences of your post, and in links. Change your settings so each blog post's URL includes the title of the post, not the date it was posted. Try to make these as descriptive as possible to raise your ranking in search results and attract the right audience.
Hi Anna! I love that you already know blogging is your calling! You’re totally right that there are many possible directions to go, but you won’t truly know which is the one that will make you most successful until you get out there and try a few things. Also, with practice, you’ll be much more likely to see posts take off. I don’t think you need to be afraid to start, though. As long as you start your blog off the way I’ve outlined in the post, you’re going to have such a great start. This is everything I wish I would have known in my first years of blogging that would have helped me become successful so much faster. You can do it! And I hope you’ll stop by and give me an update about how you’re doing as you do get started :)

Hi. Thank you for your informative post. I’m still looking for the best (least expensive or free) value to use my own domain (not with wordpress.com or the like in the domain name). If you’ve included this information somewhere, I have missed it. I also didn’t see it on the comparison chart? I’m sure it’s probably there, but maybe worded differently…?
Have in-depth knowledge in your niche? Package it up into an ebook and sell it on your blog. I'd generally advise against selling it (at least exclusively) on Amazon or Kobo, as you'll probably be able to charge much less. If you've already built up a solid audience, you can probably change anywhere from $5 for a very short one, all the way up to $39+.
Thanks so much for this great post! I’m a new stay-at-home mom and was researching jobs I could do from home (so I could stay at home for the longterm!) and I kept coming back to blogging. I have read and re-read your post multiple times and downloaded Ruth Soukup’s book; so good! I feel like I’m much more set up for success and not floundering in the dark! I would love any feedback on my website!
And if you want to maximize your blog’s potential for earning an income (maybe the reason you're learning how to start a blog in the first place?), then it’s always worth it to own your platform and go with a self-hosted WordPress blog, powered by a hosting provider like Bluehost that'll have your back on any of the technical questions & issues you run into.
If you entered a new domain at the beginning, it takes 2-24 hours for it to become fully registered. When it’s ready, Bluehost will switch it for you automatically. If you used an existing domain or opted to choose a domain later, you can set it up when you’re ready. (If you’re unsure how to do that, call Bluehost support and they’ll walk you through.)

Don’t get me wrong I have made many mistakes along the way but once I knew what I was doing it became a lot easier and more enjoyable. Many of my friends have emailed me or called me to find out more about “What Jamie Does”, but it can be a little hard to sink in at first as to how you can actually make a real income from running a successful blog(s). Therefore I have decided to create this guide for my friends, family, email subscribers and anyone else who wants to start doing “What Jamie Does”.
Once you’ve selected the right account, you’ll move to the next page where you can actually purchase your domain. Either you already have a domain, which you can easily port over to their service, or you’ll buy a new domain name. If you’ve already done the research on your domain, this step should be fairly straightforward. If you haven’t, don’t rush this step and take enough time selecting the perfect domain.

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.
Of course, if you’re launching a blog for personal reasons and have no goals beyond the satisfaction of writing, these don’t impact you. However, if you’re trying to make money from blogging, it is very important to set realistic expectations of the work involved. Blogging for money is a form of business, which involves a few costs. Thankfully, blogging is relatively cheap compared to most other startups.
Protip: Your post or page title (i.e. what your readers see) does not have to be the same as your permalink (i.e. what appears in the search bar). Your post title should be easy to read by humans, whereas your permalink can be easier to read by computer bots. For example, I titled my page Tools I Use & Recommend but I edited my permalink to simply “tools” which you can see in the address bar at the top of your screen). The shorter permalink can be easier to link to and advantageous for SEO.

Digital products are another awesome way to make money with your blog. Rather than selling someone else’s product or service, you’re creating something of your own and selling it directly to your tribe. There are many options to choose from when it comes to digital products, but we’re going to look at what we’ve seen and consider to be the top three.
An email list is a vital tool to blogging and online business. It helps you acquire site visitors and turn them into regular members of your audience. It also helps you connect with your audience, something you can do more effectively if you use your email list to segment them. The end result is more a consistent flow of traffic as well as more buzz when you're ready to launch your first product.

Earnings Disclaimer: While we are here to help you at every step of your blogging journey, we cannot make any guarantees about your success as a blogger or the amount of money you will make from blogging. Any examples in our content, including our sales pages and marketing campaigns, are not to be interpreted as a promise or guarantee of earnings. Your earning potential as a blogger is entirely dependent upon you and your efforts to become successful.
Selene, Bluehost has several different packages available. I believe to get the $2.95 rate, you have to pay for 36 months up front, but I am not 100% sure. Definitely check into it first and make sure it’s something you’ll be comfortable with before signing up. Alternately, you can look into Black Chicken hosting. Their rates are a little more but you can pay monthly.
These three factors will determine the amount of money you make. Estimating exactly what you will make is pretty difficult, but a high traffic blog on the right topic has the potential to bring in several thousand dollars every month. Of course, many people earn less than this, and some earn even more. In fact, it has been estimated that some top AdSense publishers earn nearly $2 million per year just from AdSense.
Yup. I have thought about this long and hard, especially since I have started to see a profit from this blog in such a short time. It’s because people don’t understand what it takes to start a profitable blog, because the internet world is filled with “8 minutes to a profitable blog” tutorials. (Unlike this free tutorial, which assures you it will take a decent amount of effort and walks you through the steps.)
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