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!
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.
At the time of this writing, I’ve been blogging for only 1 1/2 years. And most of that time I spent on my podcast and writing my book – not blogging. And yet one day I realized – hey, I can make money blogging! The last time I published my monthly online income, my blog made $40,560.20.  You can find out more reading my income reports. And I don’t say that to brag, but to show you, you can do it.

I’ve been building online businesses and e-commerce websites since 2000. I would never in my life start a new website with a “free” blogging or “free” website platform. If you do, within months your website is going to start growing, and you’re going to have to switch to a paid platform anyway. You will have thrown away all that time (and lost money in the process).
Adsense is a contextual advertising network that places partner (business) ads on your website. It’s easy to set up—all you have to do is copy and paste some code given to you from Google in the places you'd like the ads to appear on your website. Google will then show ads from advertisers that are a match to the content on your website so that ideally your website visitors see relevant ads.
This year’s BlogHer event, held in New York City, featured successful bloggers including celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow (founder of the popular Goop.com),  workshops on branding, social media and monetization and a whole lot of networking. BlogHer puts on one heck of a show and if you’re serious about learning more about blogging, I highly recommend you check out some of its upcoming conferences.
Jeff, first article of yours I’ve read. Excellent stuff! I’m following Michelle as well and am floored at the potential. I’m starting right now to implement all your suggestions. I’ve not yet set up my website email, but hey, one bite at a time, right? I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the interwebs. At this moment, by site is a blank slate, but I have several posts written in Google Docs of which to choose from. Cheers!
Notice that I avoided putting a specific dollar figure on the amount you can make from blogging. It will come down to your work ethic, your skills as a writer, your ability to generate targeted traffic, and plain old good luck. It’s a bit like baseball: everyone played it as a kid, only a small fraction make it to college ball, an even smaller number become professional, but only the cream of the crop makes it to the majors.
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 for the update, Jon. I’ve been blogging for over 11 years. In that time I’ve seen a LOT of changes. In fact, the number one change is change itself. What used to work (Google Adwords, keyword optimization) is actually a way to lose traffic now. I’ve seen eBooks come and go, as well as video marketing, podcasting, and social media marketing. The secret is they all work, for the right message, and the right person. The hard part is, to find the right message for your brand/personality takes a lot of hard work, a lot of experimentation, and months/years of time. Thanks for laying it on the line. Blogging can be a viable occupation, just don’t quit your day job until you’ve found what works for you.
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.

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.
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.
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!
Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing – I bought this ebook last month, and I highly recommend it. Facebook is an area I'm currently working on, and I've already read the whole book. The author of this ebook grew her Facebook page from 2,000 to 100,000 followers in just 5 months! Crazy, right?  I started 2016 with just around 6,500 Facebook followers and ended it with 38,000. I owe a lot of that to the great tips in Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing. Growing my Facebook page has allowed me to reach new readers, improve my blogging income, grow my email list, and more.

You need to advertise on FB Will, and create targeted ads, they are not that expensive and will, if your content is appealing, drive traffic to your website, or FB page, or both… the targeted advertising on FB is absolutely fantastic, it might be a small number of people, but at least you know they are interested in what you have to offer. Forget about the free promotion on FB. It only works a little and it takes way too much time! Unless you have a FB page with 10.000 active followers or so… and even then, because FB is not showing your followers everything especially promotional links… they want you to pay… which I can understand. After all FB is free to use and the advertisers are the ones that help FB make a huge profit… Good luck! Anja
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?
In-depth tutorials are great for getting links and social shares. However, they can also be a great way to earn money on your blog. There are a number of ways you can make this happen - include affiliate links for the products you use in your tutorial; promote your own products in the tutorial; write a tutorial to promote an advertiser's product (just be clear that it's a sponsored post), etc.
I had a blog a couple years ago in a pretty precise niche (female musicians), too precise maybe. I had like 20 readers! Now I’d like to try again with another topic but I’m afraid there’s way too much blogs about it already (hippie lifestyle including health, fashion, decor, beauty, printables, etc). I tried checking stats and keywords but I don’t understand any of the information I’m getting. I’d rather pay someone to do the research for me but I have no money. The other thing is that I’m not an expert in anything. The hippie lifestyle thing is the only topic I can think of that would generate more than two article ideas in my brain! Do you think there are solutions for someone in my situation ?
Hey Isabel. I would definitely create your blog in your native language if that is the one that you write better in. If your English grammar isn’t impeccable, you will have a hard time getting a loyal audience of English speakers. A blog written in English has the potential for a larger audience, but a blog in your native language will have less competition and the potential for a far more LOYAL audience. I hope that helps!

The answer is yes. However, I would caution against it. The reason is, when you use a free service, you don’t have as much control over your blog—the free service does. This can be risky, especially if you will rely on your blog for income. A self-hosted WordPress blog is my recommendation and can be started very inexpensively. See my step-by-step tutorial here.
Thank you for sharing such a great post! I am new to blogging and I keep on searching for website like this. One of the hardship I encountered is content for my blog I am not very good at writing so I am planning to hire someone who could provide a very good content. Do you have any recommendation where to hire for someone who could write an article for me?
WordPress also have a variety of plugins that make it easy to put social sharing buttons on your blog posts. Some people like to limit the number of plugins they use on their WordPress blog because it can slow the blog down and it can open your blog up to more attacks, butt a social sharing plugin is one that should have high priority if you do choose to use plugins.
Create and customize your blog. If you are using a free service, there should be a tutorial to guide you through the initial steps of setting up your blog, as well as a forum for people to ask questions. If you are hosting your own site, you will need someone with web design experience to customize your blog, or you can use software such as WordPress.org to use the same structures available at free services.
Write content on your blog that is helpful and informative to people who are reading your page. By focusing on one niche, you will be able to focus your content on just one particular market and draw in an audience that is interested and devoted to that niche. You will soon learn that targeting a specific niche has a whole load of benefits that can help you out.
My main concerns why I’m asking this is that I think 12 published blog posts might not be enough content for the person that lands on my page to stay on my page for too long, therefore it might be more beneficial to guest post a few months from now. Also, I’m thinking maybe it is better to invest that time in things like learning affiliate marketing rather than trying to get somebody to collaborate.
My main concerns why I’m asking this is that I think 12 published blog posts might not be enough content for the person that lands on my page to stay on my page for too long, therefore it might be more beneficial to guest post a few months from now. Also, I’m thinking maybe it is better to invest that time in things like learning affiliate marketing rather than trying to get somebody to collaborate.

Great article Jamie! I’ve only ever used affiliate links on my blog but recently I’ve been getting a lot of text-link offers. A typical email will ask a link to be put into one of my articles (relating to the content or website they want to link back to) and they offer anywhere between $50-$150 per link. Given the nature of your article, I just wanted to check your thoughts on such offers. Are they legitimate or should I have red flags go up as I’d hate to think they increase spam or worse yet affect google ranking or break basic rules of website T&Cs. Again, I’m not familiar in monetizing via such offers and googling about it didn’t give me much info. Thanking you in advance.
Make it easy for readers to browse – If you want more pageviews, you should make it as easy as possible for readers to read your other blog posts. You will want to make it 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, so readers can easily find related topics.
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