Ruth Soukup is a writer, blogger, mom of two, and the successful founder of the blog LivingWellSpendingLess.com. Since launching in 2010, Living Well Spending Less has become one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the net, receiving more than one million visitors per month. She is also the founder of the Elite Blog Academy, as well as the author of the bestselling blogging guide How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), and her next book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life (Zondervan) will be released December 30th, 2014. For more information about Ruth, please visit LivingWellSpendingLess.com.
Perhaps most importantly, you need to choose a responsive design. The term responsive design simply means a design that works on all devices – desktop, tablets, and mobile. It is called this because the design is responsive and adapts its appearance based on the size of the screen it is being viewed on. This creates a pleasant, cohesive user experience for everyone. This is vital because since 2016, more people use the internet from their phones than from a computer desk!
I still remember the beginning days of building this blog. I worked tirelessly for 60 to 80 hours every single week without fail. In the beginning, I saw a trickle of traffic that amounted to maybe 20 to 30 visitors per day. That number multiplied by about a 100 after approximately a year and a half or so of grueling hard work. And since then, it has climbed significantly for one reason and one reason only: consistency.

– Project Payday is one of those sites that has testimonials of people who have earned thousands of dollars by getting paid to get trial offers. I’m not saying you’ll earn thousands, but it is legit and you can earn some extra cash. They assume that by paying you to do a free trial, you’ll either like the product and purchase it, or forget to cancel the trial and get charged for it. If you can keep track and cancel before you get charged (if you don’t want the product), then this is a great site for making some money.

Starting a blog to make money requires that you are willing to learn and learn and learn. And then learn some more. (Many people don’t want to hear that – because they want blogging to be the thing that solves all their problems easily… but if there’s a way to make a living blogging without gaining any knowledge about blogging, I haven’t figured it out yet.)

29. Videos – This could be an entire section on it’s own. Many people have made money by creating YouTube videos. Evan of EvanTube is a kid and he has made millions by creating reviews of products that other kids his age would use. It’s not easy to get views into the millions, but once you do, you’ll start seeing some cash come in. Many bloggers have completely turned to videos to get their point across by starting a video blog.
Show consistent, relevant postings over time. Google seems to favor domains that have had some time to age and that are going to be a good bet for their visitors. Remember -- Google's (and other engines') goal is to provide the best experience possible for the people who search with them. If your blog is going to be a good match for your search terms it will be easier for you to rank and stay there.

Indirect Income – later on in my blogging journey opportunity has come for ‘indirect’ income streams. As my blogs and profile grew as a result of my blogging I was able to sell my services as a speaker and consultant and was offered the opportunity to author a book with the publisher Wiley. Later I was able to start an event for bloggers which also made money. None of this income came directly from the blog – but rather it came ‘because’ of my blog.


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.
The entire blog world keeps talking about how it's not that hard to be a professional blogger. Usually the people saying that are the ones who have something to sell you, quite frankly. If someone's telling you this is not that difficult, you should look at what their motive is. Do they have something to sell you so that you'll become inspired, you'll think you can do it, or you'll start building a blog?
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!
Even still, with around 200,000 monthly unique readers on my blog, I only earn about $1,000/mo from being a member of this ad network. Plenty of other ad networks offer marginally higher CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) rates, but aren't as restricted in the types of brands & products that are allowed to advertise on my site—so I've chosen to take less in earnings in order to stick with the types of brands I want to promote on my site.
Take the time to build your automated sales funnel. There is so much involved with sales funnels, but the basic premise is that your visitors will show up to your site by discovering your content, drop into your sales funnel through an offer via your lead magnet or some other tripwire, and they'll then be led through a journey with drip-fed messages at some periodic schedule that will allow you to sell your products and services on autopilot.

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.

WordPress is free open source software – you are referring to your web hosting company. Web hosts will inform you of any charges in advance and it is very easy to move to a new host. Some web hosts offer free transfers if you sign up for a contract of 12 months or more. The other thing to do to avoid sudden price hikes is pay for 36 months rather than 12.


Just wanted to check up and say hey. I’m following your lead of side hustle millionaire entrepreneurship. Building a million dollar online business is tough. People have to want to do this because there’s no guarantees. It’s certainly worth the risk because speaking from past experience in corporate America, I was miserable waking up everyday and going to work for someone else that got rich off of my work without me getting benefits. This is why I’m in the side hustle millionaire mindset like you. Thanks for keeping me inspired.
“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.
Money. You should not start a blog to make money. We need to get that out of the way first. If your primary objective is to replace your full-time income from blogging, forget about it. It doesn’t work that way. Do you think that Jimi Hendrix picked up his first guitar so he could “supplement his income”? No, he didn’t. Rather, he did it for the love of it, for the joy and fulfillment he received, and the income came thereafter—much later actually.
Even back in 2009 people were telling me that traffic isn’t everything, and traffic with no business model doesn’t make money. I heard it but didn’t really grasp what it meant. Big numbers are attractive and gratifying. I’m on the right path now but I spent almost five years missing the chance to cater to my biggest fans instead of reaching for more.
The tools you use to reach people constantly change and you always have new options – more than you can handle. If however you understand the fundamentals, you realize that your core values stay consistent. How you present your value and what distribution formats you use to deliver it to people, fluctuates based on what is working best at any given time.

That concludes our official list of the steps you should take to become a successful blogger, but let’s go over a few honorable mentions we couldn’t squeeze into the list. For starters, growing your email list is an obvious one. It’ll help you turn casual visitors into regular readers and eventually customers. Read our posts on how to create an email marketing strategy and how to start an email list for free for more information.

Email subscriptions is one of your most important priorities as a blogger, if not the most important. Highly engaged email lists are at the core of every successful blog. Unfortunately, managing and sending emails on a list involves a lot of spam regulatory laws, which means you’ll need a reputable email marketing service. There are quite a few great services which can handle your email broadcasts, autoresponders, and more.
Edit yourself. We know you’re ready to click “publish,” but take a minute to self-edit your work. (The Write Life has some great self-editing tips.) If it’s laced with errors, you’re going to lose credibility — and readers. Recruit a friend or family member to have a second look. If no one’s available, read your work aloud. This is a great way to view it from a different angle and identify areas that need polishing.
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.

Write several posts about a certain topic. If you have written about the best fishing lures once then don’t be afraid to revisit the topic later on. People need reminders to get inspired and to take action. And you’ll learn more about the topic along the way and may have a slightly different view now that you can share. Plus, you’ll get new readers that haven’t read what you wrote a year ago.
Once you’re up and running with your hosting account, your next step is to install WordPress, the most popular blogging platform, onto your newly-minted blog. This is a rather straightforward process, so don’t be alarmed here. In your Bluehost control panel, you’ll find a simple one-click logo icon with the description “Install WordPress,” that will help guide you along in the process.

First of all the guide very easy and I started my blog using this guide only. But I have a doubt. I started blog using WordPress with a free account and now I want to upgrade my account so that I can use plugins for optimizing my site to get more traffic and after that monetize my site. So the doubt I have is what is the difference between a HostGator plan and a WordPress plan that I can buy directly on the WordPress website.

With Bluehost, there are three hosting options to choose from, Basic for $2.95/month, or Plus or Prime for $5.45/month — these prices are only available through my link, normally it's $3.95 and $5.95 a month) If you have the funds, I’d suggest going with the Plus Plan, because you get more unlimited features; and as your website grows you can switch to a more robust plan.
Thank you Yaro for all the information. Being new to all this, I am trying to get my thinking straight. When you all speak of conversions I take it that you are talking about having something extra to sell than just having them click on adsense ads. Correct? I believe you are talking about converting visitors to loyal paying followers, is this correct? I have only been blogging a couple of months so I have much to learn. Thanks for your patience.
Thank you for this post. I am a SAHM of 3 kids. With only one source of income, I would love to be able to create some extra income blogging to help my family out. I love to share ideas and recipes online so I really feel like blogging is my calling but I am nervous to start because I feel like there are so many different directions to take and I want to know I am going to do everything I can to be successful.

If you absolutely cannot find a dot-com domain, then you could opt for a different extension, but be careful not to make that extension country specific. For example, don't use .US or .CA or even top-level domains such as .info or .cc or .name because you simply won't get the same global awareness and appeal that you would with a dot-com domain name.

In case you don’t know what Adsense is or how CPC advertising works (cost-per-click), basically Google gives advertisers a pre-determined amount of money each time someone clicks on an advertisement on your blog (from as small as $.01/click to some keywords raking in as much as $100/click based on a bidding system/how competitive a particular keyword is).


Do you want to know what’s really hard to read? A long paragraph like this. One that is huge and the text is long and the sentences run on and on and on. Even if you start out with a compelling first sentence, eventually people are going to get tired. It’s just too much of a task to take on to read this entire thing. Ain’t nobody got time for that! It makes people’s eyeballs hurt. They want content that they can easily scan over and pick and choose what they want to read. So please, unless you are a writer for the NY Times or moonlight as a ghostwriter for Steven King, do not write blog posts like this.
These three factors will determine the amount of money you make. Estimating exactly what you will make is pretty difficult, but a high traffic blog on the right topic has the potential to bring in several thousand dollars every month. Of course, many people earn less than this, and some earn even more. In fact, it has been estimated that some top AdSense publishers earn nearly $2 million per year just from AdSense.
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.
This is an ambitious method, but it's definitely plausible if you make smart decisions and are willing to work hard enough. Outreach involves getting noticed by influencers and getting your content on their websites. These will be the biggest names in your niche who probably have about a hundred other bloggers looking to get their content on their blogs. You'll need to do a lot to impress them.

Also, I have a theory that a contact page without a form cuts down on time-wasting emails. That’s because a lot of people will see a form and use it immediately before reading the information on my contact page. By providing my email address at the end of my contact page, I’m hoping their question(s) will be answered before they get there, thus saving us both time in an email exchange.

Anyone who's serious about building a blog and making money, needs to leverage Google's webmaster tools to see what keywords they're ranking for and any messages that would impact their ability to rank. This will also allow you to submit an XML sitemap and track keyword impressions along with click-through rates. This is one of the most useful tools for growing your site or blog through constant analysis of your efforts.


After you've determined the right way to help a handful of your readers solve a real problem they're encountering, pitch them (individually in a very personalized manner either over email or ideally on the phone) on pre-ordering your course and getting direct coaching from you in the meantime while you work on building out the actual course material.

Of course, offering products and services doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive from using ads. You can do both, but what I see happen is that when you start to make $5 from ads you try to figure out how you can make even more and that becomes your focus. The tactics you use to boost your ad revenues are often the ones that prevent you from building your list and promoting your own products.

25. Products – You can create your own product, such as an ebook or computer software. You would then use your blog as a promotion tool to get people to buy your product. As long as you create a legitimate product with a whole lot of value, you should be able to get some buyers, but like everything else with a blog, you’ll need the traffic to get the sells.


Have in-depth knowledge in your niche? Package it up into an ebook and sell it on your blog. I'd generally advise against selling it (at least exclusively) on Amazon or Kobo, as you'll probably be able to charge much less. If you've already built up a solid audience, you can probably change anywhere from $5 for a very short one, all the way up to $39+.

Making money with a blog is a slow process. You want to establish yourself as a thought leader first, then get savvy with marketing. That means you shouldn’t focus on search engine optimization (SEO) or linkbuilding schemes, or plastering 20 ads on your newly founded blog. You should focus on the things I mentioned above in point (3). If you have excellent content that readers love, you will eventually find ways to make money.


This step should come after defining your niche. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can get to work on finding out about all of the individual problems they’re having and pinpointing their top pain points. Why is this important? People read blogs, watch videos and buy products to solve the problems they’re having. You could simply blog about what you feel would be most popular and create products you feel would be most profitable, but having definitive proof on what your audience cares about the most is a much better way to ensure success.
The internet has afforded us that freedom. We have the freedom to become digital nomads and earn an income from anywhere in the world. The majority of those that succeed in this endeavor opt for starting a blog. They escape to some exotic destination such as the tropical jungles of Costa Rica or the sugary-white-sanded beaches of Mexico where they can live on the cheap while building their digital empires.
At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier. Writing about more than one topic is totally fine too. As long as you are writing about things that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through and keep your readers interested.
Internal Linking. Internally link to other content on your blog to organize it better for web crawlers. In addition, aim to have other websites link back to your website (through guest posting, blog comments, or just by publishing quality content others want to mention on their own site) so Google and other search engines can reward you for being authoritative and rank your blog posts higher.
Last year I focused for brief time on traffic again. Had a few weeks where I had tens of thousands of visitors streaming in. The result – lots of work for me and virtually no money. So I’m back to my original model. I agree with you that this is one of the biggest fallacies on the internet and one people seem to have a hard time letting go of – that the best focus is on building traffic instead of focusing on serving the people who are willing to give back.

I am a writer (freelance) of print production, which as we all know, is going the way of the dinosaurs. While your tutorial was helpful, I am a dinosaur. Please send me one link (I will pay a fee, if reasonable, but I only want to pay one fee…and this tutorial leads me (I am sure, incorrectly), to believe I must pay this and that for a domain , host, etc.
“This book is an excellent resource for bloggers, especially bloggers relatively new to blogging (i.e. have been blogging for 2 months to a year or so) and that are looking to take their blog to the next level. Ruth gives you clear advice on how to build a solid foundation for your blog, and she does an amazing job of emphasizing the importance of that foundation and it’s role in helping you make a profit down the road. For Ruth, it’s more about lasting upward momentum than getting rich quick. And I love that! Additionally, Ruth’s advice is valuable even if you are not looking to monetize your blog, since many of the same qualities that make a profitable blog are also ones that grow your readership generally. It quickly becomes apparent that Ruth is all about quality, honesty, action, and organization. I feel like I have a much clearer picture of what kinds of items need to be on my blogging to-do list, and after reading I felt empowered to actually get myself in gear and cross those items off my list.
Hi Betsy, thanks for stopping by the blog. Yes, you can start a blog for free, but as I mentioned in the post, you’ll have a much better chance of success if you do go with a paid host. However, the investment is minimal. I have been earning a significant income through blogging that has allowed me to stay at home with my kids since about 2014, so I can say yes, it really does work. I hope you’re able to find the at home job you need!
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 ?
You’ll Become a Better Thinker – blogging forces you to think, research, and then type your thoughts into the computer. It’s much more involved than I just made it sound. Try writing for 5 minutes without stopping if you don’t believe me. It takes critical thinking and concentration. You will think deeply and with more clarity as you practice writing.
Thanks so much for this article and all of the links! I’ve been thinking about blogging for the past year. This year I started my Instagram page and just this week joined Twitter and Facebook as a means of (hopefully) expanding once the blog is underway. My first dilemma however, is the name! For the past four months, I have been @travelsandtantrums on IG (and the other platforms) however, I am thinking of changing that name as it began as a way of documenting our big family trip this year – I hadn’t counted on growth (as you talk about in your articles). Also, as our kids grow up, I hope that the ‘tantrums’ will subside – so, I don’t know whether to stick with what I have or to change to a more ‘family/reality’ name. It is catchy but is it relevant if we are not ‘travelling’ all the time? Hmmmmm. I’d love to know what you think!
Our friend Bobby realized that soon after he started his blog. His site wasn’t making any money at the time, so he needed to find another way to bring in some cash. That’s when he started reaching out to other businesses offering his services doing the things he’d learned from blogging (Facebook ads, writing online content, social media strategy, etc.).
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!
This includes what blogging actually is (and isn’t), understanding what successful blogging entails, examples of successful bloggers, and what you’ll need to have ready before even thinking about setting everything up. Then, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions for technically setting up your blog so you can start publishing content. Finally, we’ll offer you our hard-earned knowledge and strategies on how to get subscribers for your blog and even start making some money out of it.
In addition to getting new readers to your blog, you will also want to make sure your current readers are coming back. This is where email marketing plays a big role. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors (with their permission of course), you can then notify them when you post something new on your blog. This keeps people coming back to your blog, which not only gives you more readers over time, it also allows you to build a closer relationship with your readers.

I have a lot of great ideas, but most of them are just thoughts and theories, and it seems that no one would want to read about, even pay for, ideas in which I am not a complete expert on. My greatest talent, perhaps, is being a prolific writer. Otherwise, I’m more of a Cliff Craven I know a lot about some things, and some about a lot of things. How does THIS make MONEY??
Money. You should not start a blog to make money. We need to get that out of the way first. If your primary objective is to replace your full-time income from blogging, forget about it. It doesn’t work that way. Do you think that Jimi Hendrix picked up his first guitar so he could “supplement his income”? No, he didn’t. Rather, he did it for the love of it, for the joy and fulfillment he received, and the income came thereafter—much later actually.
This direct connection to the reader is one of the main benefits of starting a blog. This connection allows you to interact and share ideas with other like-minded people. It also allows you to build trust with your readers. Having the trust and loyalty of your readers also opens up the door to making money from your blog, which is something I discuss later in this guide.
Making money with a blog is a slow process. You want to establish yourself as a thought leader first, then get savvy with marketing. That means you shouldn’t focus on search engine optimization (SEO) or linkbuilding schemes, or plastering 20 ads on your newly founded blog. You should focus on the things I mentioned above in point (3). If you have excellent content that readers love, you will eventually find ways to make money.

It was only after following the example of some of my favorite bloggers (like Darren and Yaro), and some excellent advice from the Internet Business Mastery Academy that I knew I had to do something more than just blog to make some real profit. Soon after, I formed my LLC and leveraged the authority and trust I had earned on my blog to launch a profitable online business. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
×