Thank you so much for this helpful post! I have been researching how to make a successful blog for a month or so and have found many of your posts very helpful! It is my goal within the next year or so to have one up and running! I’m currently working more then full-time hours but live my job; just want more freetime. I think with some hard work I can make it possible.
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.
If you’re passionate about something, it will show in your content. Readers will be able to see your genuineness and will be attracted to that. This is probably the most important thing you will learn about blogging. You can try everything in the world and use every tool known to man to be successful, but if you’re not genuine, people will see right through it.
Hi Jamie, the article is very helpful. I have a question though…I searched several niches on Google Trends. they all show between 75 to 100 searches. That makes it difficult for me to choose. I blog about many things within the lifestyle category. Do I really need to pick a niche? My goal is to be a social media influencer. I’m a practising artist though.

Success in every facet of life is based on who you know and not what you know 🙂 The secret is to start connecting with more people, if you build your network wide enough you’ll meet someone who can help you, no matter what it is that you are trying to achieve. Some meet these influential people more quickly by complete luck of the draw, others need to keep plugging along longer. The system works either way, and whether or not it works better for others is irrelevant, all systems in life work better for some than others. 

Create an online store if appropriate. If you are an arts and crafts blogger, create a shop through etsy or another service for selling your artwork. If you are a writer or illustrator, search for a website that will sell T-shirts with your slogans or drawings on them. Many blog topics are not easily tied to products. You don't need to sell anything to make money, but if it fits your blog, do it.
Thanks heaps. Really honest and helpful information and makes me want to get into making mine happen again. Time off from Uni soon so more time to devote to it. I like the point about adding something that you feel is good. What’s the point in getting to where you want to go if you have to do so at someone else’s expense? There’s already enough of that in the world now so why add to it. Better to make yourself stand out by being someone who doesn’t do that. Perhaps that’s why I like your blog. By the way, I can truly say that “I hate Uni too.”

I am getting everything in line for my blog. Hosting on blue host, child theme with studio press, fiverr logo made because that’s what my budget will allow at this point. I am now extremely focused on writing content. I am an expert in my niche, but my writing skills need to be developed. I am going to looking into freelancing.com but are there any books, blogs, or other materials you would suggest on becoming a better writer and learning how to put your voice in writing?
You always share valuable messages with your readers, Jon. Sharing your wisdom and what you’ve learned from your experiences is appreciated. I still recall one of your suggestions in your original April 2014 version of this post to begin by offering services. I followed your advice and learned loads of insight from conversations with clients and referral sources. It’s interesting that you mentioned your success with guest webinars in the original post and with hosting webinars on your own site in this post. Hmm… It may be worthwhile to think about growing blogging businesses by speaking more often with your current or potential audience. ~Keri
One of the great things about email marketing is that it is extremely cheap. Not only is it cheap, but if done the right way it is extremely effective. It allows you to reach your subscribers to provide them with information about your blog, and you can even choose how often you send an email. It is a great way to bring in customers and experience growth in revenue, whether it gets them to click through to your site, purchase a product or service or take interest in your blog.
As usual a top knotch post full of excellent advice, very easy to understand and follow. Just studying your posts is an object lesson in how these things are done. I, like many aspiring bloggers, am very familiar with the glazed look that passes over people’s faces when I attempt to explain what my plans are! I think the primary problem is that we have been brought up to do business in a particular way. You make something therefore you get paid for it. Most business people feel there is something inherently wrong about a system where you provide huge amounts of valuable content free of charge and without obligation. The peception is that the model cannot be susstainable.
Create an online store if appropriate. If you are an arts and crafts blogger, create a shop through etsy or another service for selling your artwork. If you are a writer or illustrator, search for a website that will sell T-shirts with your slogans or drawings on them. Many blog topics are not easily tied to products. You don't need to sell anything to make money, but if it fits your blog, do it.
Affiliate sales comprise a large chunk of revenue for most big-name bloggers. For instance, Pat Flynn made $53K last month from affiliate sales, compared to "just" $9,500 from book sales. In general, look for affiliate products with higher price points; web hosting companies are a great choice if it makes sense in your niche, with payouts of anywhere from $60-$130+ per signup.
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.
Be aware that many blog hosting services only allow their proprietary contextual ad service, and may shut down your blog if you use one not made by the host company. If you are hosting your own blog, you should research contextual ad services and choose one that shows appropriate ads. Some allow pornography or other ads that may not be suitable for your blog.

As you build up your blog, expect to receive multiple sponsored post requests each day. These native ads can be a highly effective way for businesses to reach your audience in a non-threatening way - and they can be a highly effective way for you to make a lot of money. Just make sure the posts are actually interesting and relevant to your audience, and that you fully disclose the sponsored nature of the post.
Sometimes I think we just need permission to do the things we love without having to make a living at it. So I'm giving you permission. I'm telling you it's fine for you to have a blog that gives you an outlet for your creativity, allows you to talk about things that are important to you and lets you stay connected to friends and family. You don't have to try to monetize your joy.
I mean, of course I’d come up with suitable content for Forbes should they wish to publish me, haha, but honestly we’d be happy with guest posting on even mildly popular travel blogs. The problem up to now, as I mentioned above, is that nobody wants to let us guest post, they want us to pay to do a sponsored post since our blog is attached to our business. If my blog was MexicoMike.com instead of http://blog.geckorockresort.com/ then it wouldn’t be an issue, but as soon as anyone sees the name of our business they incorrectly assume we’re loaded 🙂

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!
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
I am getting everything in line for my blog. Hosting on blue host, child theme with studio press, fiverr logo made because that’s what my budget will allow at this point. I am now extremely focused on writing content. I am an expert in my niche, but my writing skills need to be developed. I am going to looking into freelancing.com but are there any books, blogs, or other materials you would suggest on becoming a better writer and learning how to put your voice in writing?
This is an awesome post. I too found PinchofYum.com some time ago. I’ve built a niche site and I’m in the stage of promoting it so I really needed the information posted here. I’ve researched making money for years but never paired that research with any ACTION. It was not until recently that I started putting things in motion so seeing some of the steps I’m taking being talked about in this topic is quite reassuring. My blog is based around making money online but making it make sense for beginners. https://chuckcandoyoucantoo.com
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.
Lets say, for example, that you refurbish and resell used smartphones out of your home. You could use a blog to attract visitors to your website where you list your current phones for sale. Your blog might cover topics about DIY refurbishing. On one level, it seems counterintuitive because you want people to buy your phones, but it also helps you build a brand and gain recognition. Social media guru Jay Baer explains the concept on Copyblogger:
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