Okay, so there are a ton of other considerations. For the sake of brevity, I’ll have to skip over all the little nuances that are involved with configuring things properly and optimizing for things like search engine optimization and installing plugins and so on. If you want to learn about SEO, I would recommend checking out my course on Udemy or one of my books or audiobooks on the topic.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools, services and learning resources I’ve personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.
Google AdSense might be the fastest and easiest way for a beginner to start earning passive income with a blog. The basic idea behind AdSense is that you can display Google Ads on your website and when a visitor clicks on those ads you get a percentage of the ad costs. You've certainly seen ads on other people's websites; you can have these ads appear on your blog or website as well.
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.
I will tell you up front that within a month of starting my blog I had spent over 600 dollars and I chose to see it as an investment, one that I knew I might never get back. It was scary. I could have spent ten times that – but it would have been unnecessary. I will also tell you that my best (successful) blogging buddies have also spent AT LEAST that much within their first months.
I would also suggest that if bloggers have the time, they need to think about their social media strategy too as this can help amplify your posts. I’m not talking about just setting up social accounts for the sake of it, but to really think about what platforms your social audience is most likely to be using. And not to start off with them all at once, see how it goes and adapt and refine. Once you’ve got the foundations right then look to open it up to other platforms.
If you scour the web, you'll find companies like Aweber, Get Response, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact and loads of others when it comes to email marketing. The first thing you need to do is to pick one of those companies and integrate it into your blog. Second, you need to develop a free offer. What will you give away in exchange for that lucrative email address?

Amazon is the giant in the industry, but it’s also a good idea to reach out to small companies and even individuals who make products or services that are related to your blog. For example, if you have a popular cooking blog, you might contact small BBQ sauce companies to see if they’d be interested in setting up an affiliate marketing program with you. You earn a portion of the sale through your blog, and they get free marketing.[46]


It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.
Hi Jessica, thanks for the advice! I have been setting up my blog over the last few days and written a few posts already. I’m really nervous to launch the site though so as of now only I have access to my blog. Did you wait until you had a good amount of material on your blog before publicizing it or did you start with one article and got more traffic as more material was added? Thanks!

Google knows that most people will abandon a site that's slow-loading. To combat that, it's created the AMP specification to help ensure that pages load very quickly. AMP is successful at doing this by thinning down the page and removing extraneous bloated elements that take up a lot of front-loading resources. Specifically, you can learn more about the AMP specifications here. In short, here's a summary of what AMP does:
“Heidi and I are fortunate to make our own schedules, travel the world, and live our lives on our own terms, because we built our blogs into a business that affords this lifestyle,” Sabra said in her email. “And, we believe if someone is interested enough to start a blog, then she, most likely, is searching for this flexible lifestyle too—which we warmly call the ‘blogger lifestyle’.”
If you can repurpose your content and put it on content hubs (sites that collect specific kinds of content), you will start to bring in readers from different sources. For example, SlideShare hosts professional content in the form of presentations, infographics, documents, and videos. Youtube is a well-known video-sharing website. Podcasting is another great way of repurposing blog content for iTunes listeners.
If you are blogging about one specific topic then you will definitely want to include that in some way in your blog name. Try not to get hung-up on just one word though. For example, a cooking blog doesn’t necessarily have to have the word “cooking” in it. The words “food”, “recipes”, and “meals” would also let people know that your blog is about cooking.
Starting a blog that actually makes money involves a great deal of writing. But not just any writing. You need to write keyword-focused content and do it repeatedly. When it comes to writing your content, there are a ton of rules that you should follow if you want it to be effective when it comes to SEO (in fact over 200+ which you can learn about here), but try not to allow that to overwhelm you.
Starting a blog that actually makes money involves a great deal of writing. But not just any writing. You need to write keyword-focused content and do it repeatedly. When it comes to writing your content, there are a ton of rules that you should follow if you want it to be effective when it comes to SEO (in fact over 200+ which you can learn about here), but try not to allow that to overwhelm you.

Help document travel, education and other life events – Sometimes, people start blogs to help document some kind of journey. That journey might be traveling to some far-off destination. That journey could also involve learning a musical instrument or a new language. It could also involve a life event such as getting married, divorced or fighting through a health scare.

Be Yourself. Part of being interesting is telling your story. Every person is unique, and your story is an important one. The important part of storytelling, however, is removing the superfluous details that make the story uninteresting. A great storyteller removes 99% of what really happens—the absorptive details—and leaves the interesting 1% for the reader.


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, with affiliate marketing, I can relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.
In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

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.)
Protip: A quick way to tell if others are making money in a particular topic or niche is to do a Google search. Do ads show up at the top of the search results when you type in main keywords for that topic? If so, people are making money in that niche (otherwise they wouldn’t spend money on advertising) and there’s potential for you too. But do note, the absence of ads doesn’t necessarily mean you couldn’t make money in a particular niche. Dig deeper and you might find sites do make money but don’t choose to advertise on Google.

Allow readers to purchase your own products or donate to your cause through your blog. If you have an online store for selling arts and crafts, or you create T-shirt designs available through a clothing website, provide links to those sites. Including a PayPal button for quick, safe purchases or donations is a common way to monetize creative blogs, or blogs that provide free advice or assistance to those who can't afford it.
“I truly loved reading this book!! I will admit, when I first heard the title, there was part of me that was tempted to think that there wasn’t “anything new under the sun.” But, I was wrong. Ruth’s fantastic writing grabbed me from the start with the encouragement that each of us has AWESOME in us somewhere…and growing a great blog means finding YOUR awesome. I just can’t tell you how much I love that. 🙂 The rest of the book goes on to give motivation, inspiration, practical ideas and action points at the end of each chapter. She includes her thoughts and ideas on writing good content, SEO, Pinterest, ads, reviews, and so much more. I also love that we get a “behind the scenes” look at a big blogger’s blog & how-she-does-it type material. And, don’t worry, at the end of the book she assures you that no one can do it all. 🙂 She shares ideas for goal-setting and time management. As one who has been blogging for 6-7 years, but only recently started trying to grow my blog and make a small, part-time income from it, I found this book very helpful!!”
Please note that your chosen domain name may be taken; you may need to try a few different names before you find one that hasn’t already been registered. If you find this process a little frustrating, remember this: your domain name doesn’t have to be permanent. If you’re not 100% happy with your domain name, you can always change it in the future (you can grab a new domain for as little as $11.99).
My decision to learn how to start a blog and begin making money from it on the side of my day job, is what propelled me into building a six-figure freelance writing business with clients like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Google, Intuit and more. On top of that, starting a blog has helped me generate thousands of dollars in passive income each month and book interviews with some of the world’s top entrepreneurs for my podcast.
Easy Social Share Buttons – This one is the best social media plugin I have found. You use it for adding the buttons you see on just about every website so your readers can share your content on social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A premium plugin but it only costs $14. Well worth it since it loads faster and looks better than the previous free ones I used to use.
Make it easy for the person you are guest posting for. Don’t forget to edit and proof-read and perhaps even format the post before you send it to the website. Make it as easy as it can be for the website owner to just cut and paste the article and hit publish. I used to publish guest posts on The Positivity Blog maybe 6 years ago and I loved it when people did that. I did not love it when people sent me lazy drafts and hoped I would do the cleanup.
You’ll Develop New Skills – If you commit to starting a blog, you will become a better writer. Writing is a life skill and a key form of communication. My writing has improved tenfold since I began blogging. In addition, you might decide to learn about web design, search engine optimization, marketing, and much more. Those are skills that employers find valuable.
All you have to do is keep going. Rinse. Repeat. Again and again. Keep churning out great content and people will eventually take notice. Get social on social media and share your content everywhere that you possibly can. It's going to feel frustrating at first. I still remember the early days and just how painful it was to see a small trickle of traffic. But that changes over time.

“I came across an article from Chris Guillebeau said it’s really easy to write a traditionally published book, a self-published book, or a couple self-published guides, you know…100 blog posts, 50 guest posts, and then it goes on, a few long form pieces for some magazines, blah, blah, blah, in a single year. It said it’s pretty easy if you just write a thousand words a day.
I was wondering what your thoughts are on wordpress themes. I don’t want to get hung up on picking one, but I was wondering if you would recommend going with a free one or a premium one to start? And if you recommend a premium one, do you have a favorite site to get them from? I’ve read that free themes aren’t really a good way to go because you don’t get updates or support and they can contain malicious code, so I was just wondering what your experience is with themes. Thanks so much!
Take some time and create a list of topics you’d like to write about. Then for each topic create subtopics. Example: Cooking – Gourmet Cooking, Gourmet Cooking on a Budget, Gourmet Recipes, Easy Gourmet Recipes, Gourmet Desserts, Gourmet Chocolate Desserts, etc. Next brainstorm specific article ideas for each subtopic. Make sure to write these down on paper — it helps to visually see the process.
I love your stuff. I so agree about multiple formats – I have a little system down for writing my post, recording the video and editing and then exporting for youtube and the audio version for podcast. The pin said article to pinterest, etc. I am very niched down and I’d like to think there isn’t really anyone else on the web providing the quality of information to my particular audience as me. I am passionate about what I do – I used to hear people say you need to have a passion for what u do, but I didn’t really think much of it until now when I think how hard I’ve worked the past couple years and realizing that there’s no way I would have been able to do so on such a level if I wasn’t truly passionate about it.

You can actually start getting to know your audience before you even launch your blog by becoming active where they hang out online. Try forums tailored to your niche, Facebook groups, Quora, Reddit, Stack Exchange and similar sites. You can also try to form in-person relationships in your niche. Once you start blogging, take the time to ask your email subscribers and commenters what their biggest problems are.
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.
Choose your topic. The best blogs focus on topics that you, the blogger, are passionate about. This topic can be anything that you believe you have enough to say about to interest others. It works best if you can find a “niche” that is not being fully exploited.[9] There are several important things to keep in mind when choosing your blog topic:[10]
Network with other bloggers or mention their blogs: Early on, you want to get on other people’s radars. And one of the best ways to do that is to mention other relevant bloggers and blog posts on yours. For Austin Belack, founder of Cultivated Culture, that meant linking out to relevant blog posts and then emailing the blogger and saying “Hey! I mentioned you in my most recent article. If you think it’s worthy of a share, I’d really appreciate it. But if not, I’m happy to keep sharing yours.” This drove the initial 50,000 to 60,000 readers to his blog.
It makes your blog portable. If you decide to move from one blog host to another, you just take your blog content AND your domain name with you. That way you don’t lose the links you’ve built over time. If you didn’t have a domain name, you would lose all the “search engine rankings” and “link value” you’ve built up so far – so in a sense, you’d be starting over.
Second job, anyone? In America, two-income families are the norm but think of the havoc it wreaks on your daily life. You’re so exhausted by the time you get home from work; you barely have enough time and energy to make dinner and help the kids out with their homework. Even that becomes difficult if you work at more than one place, whether evenings or on weekends.
These “old men” to me at the time, also have their mentors who came before them. I remember listening to interviews (and you still hear this today), and names like Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert were mentioned as the pioneers before internet marketing, back when direct response was all about paper sent in the mail, or full page ads in trade journals or magazines.
Hi Carol, Sorry to hear about your troubles. Did you upload WordPress to Bluehost? If so, what you need to do now is upload a theme. There are free ones that you can use, or you can purchase one from StudioPress (this is what my blog is designed with now), Elegant Themes, or Thesis. I’ve heard the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes is super easy to modify. Don’t give up you can do this — with anything new, there is a learning curve.
This is such a helpful post. Thanks, Carly! My one big question is how do you do this (maintain and publish a blog) while being a stay at home mom? I would love to do what you’re doing more than anything. I have a two year old and another one on the way, and I feel like I absolutely have what it takes to be a blogger, but with how busy littles ones can keep you, I have a hard time imagining making it all work. I’m new to your blog. How often do you post? How many hours a day do you typically spend on the blog? (By the way, I noticed that you responded to the comment above mine at 12:20 am, that could be my answer–ha!)
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