This is an important one. If you don't know who your audience is, you don't know whether or not the content you're creating is truly having a positive impact in your niche. Sure, you can rely on keyword research and analytics to steer you in the right direction, and you should, but you should also consider forming a deep understanding of who your audience is, what they want and what problems they're facing.
Hello, I just found your blog while looking for resources on financial planning. We’ve been passive and a little sloppy in this dept for our entire marriage and want to change that. I have to be honest. While a lot of the resources here are fantastic, I feel suspicious about the blogging for profit idea. Seems a bit too good to be true. I went to a very good school and majored in lit/writing. There was no mention of the potential to write, profitably, for the internet (with the exception of science/medical writing). Could a writer generate a decent income simply with freelance writing and blogging? Where does the money come from? Ads? Or would I have to also have a product to sell (i.e., a course, ebooks, etc). I’m feeling a pyramid scheme here (buy my writing course, start a blog, sell your course, etc). Gina’s income in her first few months was outrageously high. More than I make now as a librarian. Forgive me for being cynical/suspicious. I’m just curious.
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.
PS: my answer to this question is always… “the better question is… how can my blog help me build a profitable business?” Most of the profits from blogging are not made on your blog, but that’s okay. I don’t believe blogging about making money per se, but about branding yourself and positioning yourself within your niche market as an authority and leader. Once that is established, there are so many ways to move people into your money making enterprises. Email marketing, as you pointed out, is one of the best ways to do this. Sending people to your membership sites, services, info products and coaching programs are all great things to route people into as well.
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.
Once the course launches, they are ready with their wallets. The course is priced at $100 (probably undercharging here, but it’s your first course and you are nervous) so some of them balk at buying it, but 100 people do end up buying it and you make $10,000 (minus processing fees). That’s the same amount you made from your advertising and you are in control of everything! Even better you don’t have to wait 30-60 days to get paid.
Hi Ramsay, Happy New Year! Another great post from which established bloggers can also benefit. I’ve been getting bogged down with SEO recently so I’m glad of the tips in the comments thread about keeping it, mostly, simple and concentrating on good, long form content. I have a couple of questions. 1. in 2018 do you think narrowing down to a specific niche is super important or is multipotentialite blogging still going to be effective? Yikes – I know I need to work on my strategy 😉 2. I notice when I click on a link in your posts the new post doesn’t open up in a new window – evidently this isn’t an important back-end consideration for you, and perhaps something you do intentionally? 3. For selling a blog would you recommend Flippa or Empire and any chance of a new updated blog post on this (or is your previous one updated already?)
Great post Jamie! There’s so many posts about how to make a money blog and your one is by far the best. One thing I want to comment on is initially all people who start a new blog don’t know where to start. They just sign up to different affiliate money making programs thinking that they will become rich quickly. You and me both know that this is not the case. What they don’t know and need to understand is that blogging needs hard work and dedication. To keep on going when after 6 months they are still earning zero. Only after that one can think to be successful online.
You want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. Even if you’re not interested in making money from your blog, I am assuming that you at least want other people to read it – yes? Then the same rules apply.

Do this for each of your keywords and look at the results. If all of your top keywords have a Monthly Search Volume of 5,000 – 10,000, you’ve definitely got a potentially profitable niche. If you’re too much over that up into the high hundreds of thousands of Monthly Searches, you might want to get more specific with your niche rather than competing with much larger, established websites on more popular subjects.
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.
Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
Great question! Yes, starting on a free platform limited my visibility to search engines (there are so many spammy blogs and sites that are self-hosted, I think that google just ignores all of them). They also don’t have the speed that self-hosted plans can. (readers don’t want to sit around waiting for a site to load) While you can do custom blog URLS with some free platforms, if you have the /blogger or /wordpress web address, it just doesn’t look as professional or legit to potential readers and sponsors. It also limited my ability to customize and optimize my blog design for growing my audience and income. There may be other reasons someone more technical than myself could explain, but all in all, I saw my traffic increase almost over night after I switched over. I hope that helps a bit! Best wishes with your blog!
The next step in starting a blog and eventually earning a healthy income, is to find a good domain name. Domain names are in high demand these days, and there are all sorts of new extensions available. However, I would recommend that you stick with the dot-com domain extension. If you can't find it through a regular search, try GoDaddy Auctions or another domain auctioneer.

Passive income is an always popular option since it allows you to earn money even while you sleep. While the concept is very tempting, you should understand that it isn’t entirely true. While you are able to get paid all the time, you still have to work hard on the advertisements and different systems if you want to get the best out it (earn as much as possible). This usually includes:


Although I do think conversions are the most important thing I can recall when I first started out one of my sites and I was starting to get regular daily traffic of around 10 uniques, and then I had one day that spiked to 200. That was a very encouraging day. Just seeing that traffic spike gave me confidence and a drive to work harder towards my next goal. I had not made any conversions yet, no money. However, seeing that my hard work was doing something was very encouraging.
If your answer was the former, you’re wasting your time. In fact, if you’re not starting a blog because you’re inherently passionate about whatever it is you’re blogging about, it truly is a lost cause. Why? Because building a blog to any semblance of an audience is an astronomical feat. I don’t tell you that to scare you. Only to prepare you for what’s to come.
“The turning point for me came when I realized that of the 3-5x a week I was publishing it was the ones that were about small businesses and freelancing that really took off. I also really enjoyed writing that kind of content. So that was this pivotal moment of understanding if I want things to be shared and I want to be consistent, this is what the blog should be about.”
Fortunately for us, being active on social media in the months prior to trying to make money blogging really paid off here. As of right now, we have a social reach of nearly 750,000 people each month. Starting a blog has helped immensely with that. What you can charge is largely dependent on your traffic and what an advertiser can expect to make back for paying you for a sponsored post.
I have actually put all my plans and projects on hold for about a week to focus on reading your blog and that of a few others such as Serena Star-Leonards’ ‘Retire Young’ and Darrens’ ProBlogger. Figured the old adage holds true, if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you’ve always got (other than when the effective means of delivery changes anyway =P ) But as blogs and passive income are where I have constantly struggled I figured it was high time I learnt some new stuff as the old stuff clearly wasn’t working out.
That being said, while you shouldn’t expect to go full-time right away, blogging has in fact led to multi-million dollar companies. There is no guarantee in blogging, just like any other business endeavor. We share these stories with you so you can see what is possible. While you may never make millions, with the right research, time, effort, and timing, you can certainly earn a good income from blogging. To play it safe, we recommend blogging as a side business until you start seeing those returns.

Hi. Thank you for your informative post. I’m still looking for the best (least expensive or free) value to use my own domain (not with wordpress.com or the like in the domain name). If you’ve included this information somewhere, I have missed it. I also didn’t see it on the comparison chart? I’m sure it’s probably there, but maybe worded differently…?
Keep in mind that making money from your blog takes time. After all, there is a reason that learning how to make money from a blog is the last step in my guide. You need to make sure you have followed all the previous steps perfectly in order to give yourself the best chance of earning a substantial income from blogging. This will not happen overnight, but most bloggers find that the work itself is rewarding enough to continue on the journey.
I’m a bit confused…are you talking about using WordPress.com or WordPress.org when setting a blog? I heard not to use WordPress.com for a blog even though its free because the blog isn’t really “yours” and they can do what they want with it. Can you clarify the difference between the .com and .org and which one should be used in setting up a website and blog?
Consistency and success go hand in hand. They have for centuries, from the publication schedules old newspapers used to the publication schedule you use today. For example you see it in TV with weekly episodes. You see it in magazines with monthly issues. You even see it in sporting events with weekly games. Some of the most successful blogs use a posting schedule.
Hi Ramsay, Happy New Year! Another great post from which established bloggers can also benefit. I’ve been getting bogged down with SEO recently so I’m glad of the tips in the comments thread about keeping it, mostly, simple and concentrating on good, long form content. I have a couple of questions. 1. in 2018 do you think narrowing down to a specific niche is super important or is multipotentialite blogging still going to be effective? Yikes – I know I need to work on my strategy 😉 2. I notice when I click on a link in your posts the new post doesn’t open up in a new window – evidently this isn’t an important back-end consideration for you, and perhaps something you do intentionally? 3. For selling a blog would you recommend Flippa or Empire and any chance of a new updated blog post on this (or is your previous one updated already?)
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:
“As a newer blogger, I have been wanting a conversation – a seasoned blogger to talk to me about the most popular ways to monetize my blog, the pros and cons of each of them, and give me realistic tips and goals to reach my future goal. Ruth did all of this. She has such a fantastic writing style that you feel like you are sitting down with her over a cup of coffee. The material is easy to navigate, covering the importance of good content before anything else, Pinterest, media kits, reviews, ads, and a whole lot more. Ruth is incredibly level-headed in her approach to monetizing her blog and truly believes and promotes that a blog full of good ideas, content and writing must come first. My favorite part is that every chapter ends with a “plan of action” which is great if you are truly looking to improve your blog. I can’t wait to put her tips and ideas into action and watch my blog grow!“
Choosing an extension is also important. The extension is the “.com,” “.net,” or “.org” after a website. There are now dozens of extensions, but those three are the most familiar to English-speaking audiences and will drive the most traffic to your website. Unless you’re a non-profit or a similar type of blog, don’t go for “.org” -- a “.com” is the top choice, followed by “.net.”

Since I have a large proportion of freelancers in my audience, he offered to set me up as an affiliate where I'd earn a set fee for each new paid subscriber that signed up as a result of an email or clickthrough from my blog. The week I sent my first email out to my community about SolidGigs, nearly 100 people signed up to try it out. And that number's only continued to grow over the months, adding more to my recurring income that comes from this channel.

There are literally millions of blogs on the internet, and only a fraction of them are earning any income. (It’s hard to get exact statistics, but I’d guess that that less than 10% of bloggers ever become “full time”. I heard somewhere that 90% make less than 1$ per day – but don’t worry. I make well over 100$ each and every day, and I will show you WHY I earn money with my blog, so that you can start your own blog and make money too.)
Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing. I’m blogging about healthy food. I’ve been trying put traffic to my newly blog for months into no avail. The only thing that get me from stale mate point is that I’ve performed some serious keyword expansion. I’ve got help from support guys from the SEO tool I’ve been using. Now I know how to rank well for as many relevant keywords as possible and it did miracles to by blog. The tool calls SERPstat and the guy were awesome. Thanks for this post. And huge thanks for the guys who helped me. I’m starting to believe that if you put efforts into something, the universe will oblige)
Lastly, don’t be afraid or too shy to integrate your personality into your brand, and yes, your blog is your brand. Consumers want to buy products from brands they trust, and there are few greater ways to form relationships with them than by sharing your own thoughts and personal struggles in your niche, showing more of yourself, and generally being as authentic and transparent as possible.
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.

Use a keyword research tool to gather even more ideas: We want a TON of these blog post topics, so let’s use a keyword explorer tool like Ahrefs (pictured above), Google Keyword Planner, or Moz to help us fill it out. These tools basically just show you terms and topics related to the ones you’ve already come up with, as well as how much traffic those terms are getting (to show that your audience cares about them!)


It was interesting to see the diagram wheel picture in tip one with all the different domains that are used. Self-hosted WordPress seems to be the most popular. Do you think it has to do with how you can customize it the way you want the most compared to the other domains? I’m wanting to start my blog of dancing. I sincerely appreciate all of these additional ideas to get my blog started!
For many visionary novice bloggers, the world is not enough. The stash of free themes (more than two thousand themes are available on WordPress.org) does not satisfy their particular desire for look and feel. There are two other options you can take a look at, premium and custom themes. But they incur a cost, sometimes a tiny one, at other times a huge amount.
Hi Ramsay I think I may have replied to someone else’s comment! Thanks for your very helpful article. I have a lot of learning to do. I signed up with Blue Host rather impulsively, and paid $7.95 for 12 months- and only then found your website with the excellent deal of $2.95. I have another blog but now want to start a new one but I realize I’m not quite ready. Can I cancel with Blue Host – I’m still within the 30 days – and sign up later, but, most importantly, I don’t want to lose my domain name. Thanks.
That being said, while you shouldn’t expect to go full-time right away, blogging has in fact led to multi-million dollar companies. There is no guarantee in blogging, just like any other business endeavor. We share these stories with you so you can see what is possible. While you may never make millions, with the right research, time, effort, and timing, you can certainly earn a good income from blogging. To play it safe, we recommend blogging as a side business until you start seeing those returns.
If you start constructing your blog through wordpress.COM, you will likely spend a lot of time picking a theme and starting to write and organize your posts, only to discover that wordpress.COM does NOT support any ways to monetize your site. You can NOT place any adds on a wordpress.COM hosted site. Of course, that defeats the whole purpose of having a "blog for profit".
×