Disclosure and quick heads up – I started my first blog on Bluehost and have now partnered with them to get you a big discount rate. If you make a purchase through this or any of the links on this post I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I still think a self-hosted WordPress blog is the best way to start a successful blog and build a business! 

Make it easy for readers to browse – If you want more page views, you should make it as easy as possible for readers to read your other blog posts. It should be easy for readers to find your blog homepage, categories, tags, search bar, and so on. Also, I recommend including links in every single one of your blog posts, which helps readers easily find related topics.
If your niche doesn’t allow you to promote or build premium products (anything over around $100 per unit) then think about getting a solid mix of offerings and building it up over time. I remember Darren Rowse saying that initially Amazon Associates was a really small source of income but over the years it has really started to add up. Think eBooks, affiliates, consulting, books, etc. and you’re starting to build an income stream.
Jon Morrow is the gold standard in this arena, and this post encapsulates that. He consulted with me at the launch of my blog, and these 20 principles feel like evolutions of that great advice. My numbers are nowhere near his (frankly, my subscriber list seems fixed lately), but my experience validates the core of what’s here: it’s all about consulting, leading to products (in my case, a bit of the other way around, via a book that arose from my website/blog). If you can afford Jon (I can’t), go for it… provided you truly are an “expert” in a given field, one that other people will pay to listen to. If you can’t, or aren’t (at least yet), just read everything he’s written, here and elsewhere.
If you want to really make money with your blog, you need to create a mailing list using one of the billions of email service providers out there. I use and love ConvertKit, but if you are just getting started and don’t understand sales funnels, sequences, or tagging you might want to start off with something simpler and free. If that is the case go with MailChimp where you get the first 2,000 subscribers free or Mailer Lite.
It all started back at university when I decided that I really didn’t want to work in a 9-5 office job that I hated. I had a dream of working for myself so I could avoid things like office politics and spend more time on things that mattered to me. I also really wanted to make enough money that I could contribute meaningfully to some charities that I’m passionate about.

One of my biggest struggles lately has just been mental – I am having trouble getting myself to actually create content or really do anything with my blog. It could be so many things – overwhelm, too many ideas or goals, lack of results which feels discouraging, not making any money, even a feeling that maybe I’m not doing the right thing / have the wrong goals. It’s tough but I am sure many beginners go through these challenges.

Hi, of course a freestyle blog can be profitable, you have to research the market that your audience is interested in. So what topic(s) (read: niches) do you write about. Do some research in Google and see if any ads pop up. If none, that topic is probably not a very good one. The key is to write great posts, provide great content, build an email list and research what your list is interested in (hint: use polls to check that out, let’s say if you are considering to become an affiliate for amazon and you want to promote cooking books, just an example, you could ask your subscribers to go to a poll you created about what books they love to read, and add cooking books as one of the options, plus several others, to make it more attractive, promise that they can win a reward or so, a free product or free service or even $25 will take them to your 1 minute poll). Also: learn about doing keyword research in Google keywords tool. And learn a bit about SEO done the proper way. Now don’t think you learn this in a week. It can take many years to master this art, but at least a year, if you study like crazy. Make sure your content is great, over deliver in great content, so people LOVE to subscribe to your list, offer a freebie that they will LOVE, and to find out what they would Love you can do a poll in your blog post(s) to research various interests your readers have. Then see if there are affiliate programs for that. Before my reply becomes longer then Jon’s article, I think I leave now, but you get the point…. go do your homework kid 😉 Good luck with your booming business! Believe you can do it, because you can, but you need to work hard, and learn the art of building trust and offering what your readers and subscribers Love…. Woohoo, go do your research now!


If you want to make direct income from your blog through ads, Google AdSense is something you may want to consider. Google AdSense is a type of advertising program known as CPC (cost per click, also known as pay per click) in which publishers display relevant ads on their websites. It is one of the easiest ways you can make money as a beginner blogger.
A blog itself isn't really a business—it's more of a platform for other income streams. Your content alone won't likely make you money. Instead, you'll have to get advertisers, sell services like consulting or speaking, use affiliate marketing to get a percentage of sales from links people click on your blog, or maybe offer products like ebooks or premium content to actually generate income. ProBlogger has an excellent post about these different ways you can make money.
More and more companies are starting to advertise with online influencers on their blogs, social media accounts, and more, and I expect this to just continue to grow well into the future. Whereas in the past, it was mainly celebrities that companies advertised with, but now, it is actually shifting to bloggers and other online influencers (such as Youtubers and Instagrammers!).
Jon, this is a great article. Thank you. As usual, you are full of useful information. I am new to blogging (just launched in March) and I initially started with the small e-mail list from my business website, which does not have a blog. I started a completely new website after realizing I was on the wrong platform altogether to grow an audience. I learned this thanks to the information you and other professional bloggers provide. You recommend affiliate marketing to monetize a small new blog, which are my exact thoughts for my blog. Do you have an affiliate program? If so I would love to promote your info on my site. Thanks again!
really great article, thanks Jon. I particularly like #1 – it’s the mindset shift that we all need to step up and “play” at the level to generate substantial revenue. Reversing the sales funnel is also very smart and makes a lot of sense. It’s easier to make one $3,000 sale than making 300 $10 sale – although putting a $10 product out there is less scary than selling a $3000 service – again, it’s all about the mindset.
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.
Now, once you and I have taken advantage of that info. (and I am still in the process of launching) then we will be in a better position to either thank Jon or criticise him. Of course, timing is almost everything but with the amount of free flowing, easy to read, writing that Jon provides, which is the hallmark of all good communications, plus incorporating such useful content, then I like to think that if we could follow that example then eventually we (yes, you and I, Bill) would be rewarded with fans and finance.
Create a schedule for one month full of topics and the dates they will be published. I like to make sure I have a good variety of topics covered each week on Making Sense of Cents. For example, I don't usually like to have a week full of making money ideas. Instead, I like my posts to vary between making money, saving money, life improvement, and so on.
In my opinion, the most important way to let yourself know is through networking. As an IT Professional for over 20 years (way before social media sites) I’d seen how human interaction has evolved, but the basics remain the same. Everyone wants to get known and recognized and if you want to get yourself or your product/services out there, you have to network with others respectfully and also help others. Networking is not a one-way street, you have to contribute by collaborating with others. This is how you get to promote yourself or a product/service.

I will quibble on one point though, your comment about BBT getting 13,000 subscribers before launching even though you “had nothing but a coming soon page and an invitation to join our email list.” As I recall, you also had a freakin’ awesome video on that page as well that just made people yearn to give you their email address, even without knowing a thing about BBT. So that didn’t hurt, either. ; )


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!
With the free version of WordPress, you don’t really have that much freedom to make changes to your site. Plus, WordPress actually owns your site if you use the free version (meaning, your site is technically not even yours). With the free version of WordPress, your website link even looks unprofessional; instead of a .com ending, your site will look like “yourwebsite.wordpress.com”.

If your niche doesn’t allow you to promote or build premium products (anything over around $100 per unit) then think about getting a solid mix of offerings and building it up over time. I remember Darren Rowse saying that initially Amazon Associates was a really small source of income but over the years it has really started to add up. Think eBooks, affiliates, consulting, books, etc. and you’re starting to build an income stream.
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, affiliate marketing allows me to relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living by promoting products that I use and enjoy.

I learned this the hard way last year when I launched a new blog… it felt icky doing it but I convinced myself that it was part of growing and “getting outside my comfort zone”. I was promoting something I believed in, but it was too heavy handed because my focus was more on making money than serving my audience. I got my first unsubscribers that week… lesson learned. Not that I’ve sworn off selling, but I’m learning how to do it in a way that doesn’t turn people off.
What is CPC? CPC stands for “cost per click.” By displaying CPC ads with Google Adsense, you receive a set fee every time an ad on your website is clicked by a visitor. The cost per click is set by the advertiser. (This is in contrast to CPM ads, where you’re paid for ad views instead of clicks. CPM means “cost per thousand impressions,” where M is the roman numeral for 1,000.)
7 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Blog Income Overnight – By signing up, you'll receive a free copy of the informative ebook 7 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Blog Income Overnight. Plus, Ruth sends out many other great blogging tips all the time. Her course, Elite Blog Academy, launches one time each year (next time will most likely be 2019), and it's probably the most popular, well-rounded blogging course.

Jon, this is a great article. Thank you. As usual, you are full of useful information. I am new to blogging (just launched in March) and I initially started with the small e-mail list from my business website, which does not have a blog. I started a completely new website after realizing I was on the wrong platform altogether to grow an audience. I learned this thanks to the information you and other professional bloggers provide. You recommend affiliate marketing to monetize a small new blog, which are my exact thoughts for my blog. Do you have an affiliate program? If so I would love to promote your info on my site. Thanks again!
Español: ganar dinero con un blog, Deutsch: Mit Blogging Geld verdienen, Português: Ganhar Dinheiro Blogando, Italiano: Guadagnare con un Blog, Русский: заработать на блоге, Français: gagner de l'argent comme bloggeur, Nederlands: Geld verdienen met bloggen, Bahasa Indonesia: Mencari Uang dengan Blog, Čeština: Jak vydělávat peníze pomocí blogu, हिन्दी: ब्लॉगिंग से कमाएँ, العربية: كسب المال من خلال التدوين, Tiếng Việt: Kiếm tiền Trên Blog
My understanding is that you have to subscribe/pay for the business version of Word Press in order to use any of the monetizing functions. I think you should clearly state this in this article at the beginning. I think there is a degree of bait and switch here if people are just signing up for the free subscription and then finding out they have to pay for a subscription to make money. I am ok with that, it just needs to be stated up front everywhere.
Quality content is content that people can engage with and find useful. Your content should help readers and bring them value. Your blog needs to have interesting, helpful content that people would be willing to recommend or share with their friends. The format, structure, layout (and, of course, the writing itself) will all determine the quality of your blog.

Paying for clicks and traffic on social media or in the search engines can be a great option to market your blog. A lot of the information about blog marketing covers the organic options. While some of these can turn your blog into a popular destination quickly the more likely scenario is that it will take time for you to build communities to promote your blog content.

Oh, wow! Just…wow! I knew the changes on this site would be phenomenal, but good grief, Jon! I’m nowhere close to where I should be, but this post will be my bookmarked ‘go-to’ when I need to remind myself of the most actionable process I should take as an ‘old newbie’. I know I need help, but this particular post is helping me to wrap my head around what I didn’t understand before. Thanks!
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!
With a business account, you’ll have access to Pinterest Analytics, as well as the ability to create “Rich Pins.” You can also pay Pinterest to promote your pins with a business account, but that’s definitely not necessary. We experimented with about $50 worth of promoted pins before figuring out we could make our pins go viral on our own, without the help of ads.
Trust continues to be a major issue on the World Wide Web between bloggers and readers. Readers want to see bloggers posting lots and lots of meaningful content to their sites on a daily basis and giving them something to think about. It’s relatively easy for a person to post once a week and expect readers to be converted into repeat buyers when that’s certainly not the case toward being a successful and profitable blogger. Creating quality content and putting people first puts a full-time or part-time blogger in the front seat to earning honest and passive incomes from affiliate marketing.
Selling private ads can come in the form of banners, buttons, or links. You can even make money writing sponsored posts where you write about or give a review of an advertiser’s product or service. Another option is to write an underwritten post or series, which is where you can write about any topic, but the advertiser pays for a “Brought to you by” mention in the content.
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