Nick is the co-founder, editor and author of Goats On The Road. He contributes to numerous other media sites regularly and shares his knowledge of travel, online entrepreneurship and blogging with the world whenever he can. Nick’s advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider and Forbes.
Hey Sumalee! It doesn’t hurt to start early – just make sure you have some great content published first so readers who are coming from social media sites can see what you have to offer and will want to come back and read more 🙂 And if you want to monetize – go for it! It took me some time to build up – mostly because I had no clue what I was doing – so the earlier you can get started, the better!
you changed your domain name and you are doing well but i did the same but things are bad (no traffic, back links, mass email not working). I have just read your advice on domain change in one of your posts but now what should i do.
A lot of bloggers launch a cheap e-book as their first product, and then they get frustrated when they don’t make much money. Here’s why: the real profit is at the end of the funnel, not the beginning.
As always, a fantastic post Jon. Have just shared on G+ with the comment that you are simply the best at what you do. I love your style, and the practical advice is invaluable. I was particularly interested in your downplay of using twitter, FB etc to hope to grow your blog, but what you said makes total sense. As someone who is building an author’s platform prior to publication, I’d been hesitant to sell products, but no more. Thanks so much for your inspiration.
Making money through blogging requires a carefully thought out topic. If you have an existing blog with a small audience, be honest when considering whether the topic has broad appeal that isn’t already covered by other established bloggers. If it does, great! Otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with starting a second blog that will be more successful in attracting an audience, marketing itself, and making money through a variety of methods described below.
I would suggest you one thing. It would be better to post the income reports each month. After few months, you would have a considerable post and when someone will need to see the income proof, he or she will come to your site. You may get linking to your posts.
Try to go viral. This is never easy or guaranteed, but it can also be fun to try even if you fail. if you manage to promote your blog through a video or image exciting or funny enough for people to share, and you’re lucky enough to stand above the crowd of people trying to do the same thing, you’ll have a huge influx of readers.
Truth is, it would be silly to quit your day job when you are building a blogging income. Your reason for trying to make money with your blog is to have extra money.. Right?  So why leave your job that is giving you and income?
Offering a service is an excellent way to make money quickly because startup costs are low, little to no inventory is required and you get paid for a skill you already have. The downside is, it’s not scalable.
Over the past eight years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the smartest bloggers on the planet. I worked with Brian Clark as he built Copyblogger to a multimillion dollar brand. Neil Patel and Hiten Shah also hired me to help them launch the KISSmetrics blog, eventually creating a multimillion dollar SaaS company.
It’s my responsibility. If people are ever going to respect blogging as a legitimate business model, those of us who are successful have to speak up and share what we’ve learned. None of us works in a vacuum. The only way we can advance our field as a whole is to collectively share what we’ve learned.
WordPress.org is an open source software platform which allows you to build your website or blog on your own. It is a self-hosted solution, which means you will need to sign up with a WordPress hosting provider.
My affiliate revenue fluctuates a lot month to month, but I’m going to try and make it more consistent and grow it in 2018. Most, but not all of the affiliates I work with are listed on my best money tools page. I am in the process of scaling a few of my affiliate relationships that align well with Millennial Money. I also run display ads through the AdThrive network and work with MyFinance – both have solid payouts per pageview, but I’ve been scaling them back a little bit to make the reading experience cleaner.
When anyone asks me about starting a professional money making blog I always recommend them to use self hosted WordPress as it’s the best platform for bloggers and I suggest you use BlueHost to host your new blog.
It can guide future product creation. If one affiliate product sells 10X better than all the others you promote, you might want to think about developing your own version of the product, because you have proof your audience wants it.
wow!! i am really overwhelmed with this article, i just got an affiliate ad and decided to check it, and i browsed through and found out that i can add my code to my website blog, of which i had none, so i googled on how to set up a blog to do the business and also make money to support myself and family and i got this web. it blew my mind and as i am starting i am sure to use the ideas u have given and explore. and i pray to be successful in it in Jesus Name. Special Thanks to Jessica Knapp and God Bless YOU.
Youre welcome Mark! Thanks for checking out the list. I like to go through it once a month and remove/add as needed. Its tough finding bloggers who consistently track it every month. A lot quit after awhile.
Great information and all in one place too! Nowadays I see people are getting very creative in ways to make some extra money from home. I must say, you certainly help to solve this problem very beautifully. Nice guide for making money.
In January 2015, I bought my blog and decided to get serious and treat it more like a business. I really wanted to make blogging a side hustle that earned me money! While I loved the idea of blogging as a hobby, I really wanted to earn income from it! 
An amazing post! Thank you so much! Many valuable tips, especially the one with the reversed pricing, which I would have never thought of myself. Also a great way of writing that is easy to understand for everyone.
This guide to making a money making blog is completely free. I don’t want anything for it – just for you to take action and do it, so many of my friends would love to do it but give up too soon, often when their big breakthrough might only be a few weeks away.
Alexander, thank you so much for championing this cause and pulling this list together. I have been inspired by many bloggers income reports over the last year and felt a calling to put together a site that documents each of their journeys so that we can all learn from those who have gone before us, whether they made $10 or $10k.
This post was so good that I had to sit in my car and keep reading after I left work, here in the garage. Ha! What caught my attention is the funnel analogy and the webinars. Starting with the expensive first, then offering the less expensive. Brilliant. Also, I want to do webinar but am not sure how to get started. But dammit if I’m not going to think of how to move in that direction! Thanks for the kick in the butt, Jon! 🙂
Absolutely not. Yes, there are way more blogs online today than there were 5 years ago when we started, but there were also fewer people reading travel blogs and fewer companies willing to work with us.
It’s taken me this long to reply…but I figure saying THANK YOU late is better than not saying it all. I’m going to look at parenting…though I am far from a perfect parent. (Self-improvement? That’s why I’m HERE.) Anyhow…thank you for the direction. (And I joined SBO. More than I bargained for that’s for sure!) Peace.
To put it most simply – affiliate income is when you link to a product that is for sale on another site (take Amazon for example) and if someone follows your link and ends up buying that product you earn a commission on that sale.
I suppose I just don’t see why being DEVOID of a blog and social media will make you an attractive guest blogging candidate. I get that you’ll maybe be more focused on finding guest blogs rather than building up your Twitter following, but couldn’t you just ask easily say that we should focus on doing nothing but building followers on Twitter, because you can then build relationships and find guest posting opportunities through the people you meet in social media?
Nice explanations there. With fresh new blog to promote, how I could know which country to choose for ads. I would like to start campaign in make money online niche with Bing ads but what Country would be more interested?
So this is really based on when you’re planning to blog about ‘making money online’ I guess… because lesson #10 “Don’t Waste Time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.” is so not true when you’re blogging about travel, recipes, photography, viral topics, news….. and a whole lot more.:P
One example is this: since our blog is a sub-domain for my wife and I’s boutique beach resort, nobody seems to want to touch me as a guest blogger. I get the same response every time “you’re commercial and so you’ve got to pay for a sponsored post”…and while yes, we are commercial and not a private blog per se, we’re a tiny family run business and 95% of private blogs are striving to be commercial, whether they’re associated with a company name or not.
There are some complicated rules for bloggers who publish sponsored posts and depending on your country they can differ. The main point is to make sure that you clearly declare when a blog post is an advertisement.
Edge on the side of caution. Although putting a link on your site to another site for money is not illegal, it is against Google’s guidelines, as the person wanting the link is trying to manipulate the SERPs for their own gain.
If you are using Google Blogger, know their policies or risk becoming invisible on their search engines. Any tag containing an affiliate link should include instructions that stop your referral from boosting the ad buyer’s search engine visibility: .
Your most loyal readers are huge fans, and may be willing to pay to read more of your work. You can create a members-only area for them to share more in-depth blog posts, downloads, videos, audio content, and more.
I have a blog that uses a wordpress theme, and blue host hosts my domain name. However, I don’t really understand what a platform is and I don’t know what my platform is. I am planning to start a new food blog with a different focus and use wordpress.org (whatever that actually means.) Does wordpress.org help you with setting up and explaining whether or not they are your platform? I am a granny (79 to be exact.) I have a three year old cooking blog that never gets visitors except for family and friends. I would like to do better with my blog, but I don’t even understand the idea of platform. Can you give me some advice as to how to proceed?
Choose affiliate products your readers will buy. This seems obvious, but it bears thinking about. If you write a cooking blog, recommend home kitchen tools, not expensive equipment for professional chefs. Consider what someone who is a fan of your topic would purchase, not just what active practitioners will.
Start by thinking carefully about the type of reader you’d like to have read your blog. You might like to create an avatar of that reader (sometimes called a reader persona or profile) to help you work out who you’re trying to attract.
This is really a great idea to share your blogging success & failures at one place and more over helping everyone by showing what is working & what is not. I love to read such income reports to stay motivated.
Awesome post so far, Jon. I’ll have to read the full post in the morning since it’s nigh time at where I live. I just have one question. Is it profitable for a freestyle blogger to affiliate marketing? If I’m correct, affiliate marketing is more suitable for niche-based sites, right? Are freestyle blogs even profitable? I’m just starting out, so can you recommend me something?
OK – the first four steps of starting a blog, creating content, finding readers and building engagement with those readers are important foundations that you really do need to get in place before you’ll be able to build long term income for your blog.
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That’s one hell of a promise. Just to put a dollar value on it, you could probably sell a blog with 10,000 subscribers for at least $100,000 in most markets. So, I was essentially promising them $100,000 of value in exchange for only $10,000.
As usual, Jon Morrow, you are the Master of Bloggers. I’m planning my first blog-site and this article, as other ones in SmartBlogger.com, has opened my eyes and expanded my view of what I want to achieve. Thank you so much for sharing you wisdom and knowledge.
Thank you for your advice. I’m definitely interested in applying these techniques to my make money online blog. I currently have Google Adsense on my blog and I offer advertising banner spots on my website through micro job sites. But $100k a month is awesome! I’ll even be happy with $100k a year. If I can get my blog on that level, I could quit my job and work from home. I’m re-reading these techniques tonight and applying them to my blog. Thank you so much!
Kristin, is the creator behind Believe In A Budget. She teaches others how to start a blog and how to side hustle. Her course, Pinterest Presence, helps bloggers + businesses drive traffic to increase their website’s profitability.