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.
If you aren’t part of an ad network then you are constantly searching for new companies to advertise on your site. This one was always a pain in the ass for me. I wanted to spend time making my site better, but if I ignored selling my ad space then I wouldn’t have money to continue to make my site better. You can join an ad network, but that means you are giving up a percentage of the revenue. Work hard to only get 50% of the money? Bleh.
Okay, so if that doesn't dissuade you one bit, or you've already made the decision to start a blog, here's what you need to do in a step-by-step format. First, I need to premise this by saying that this post is largely based off of the WordPress blogging platform. It is not a step-by-step configuration guide to WordPress, but it does reference the system often.
It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the “How to start a profitable blog in 10 minutes and earn $5000 / month while you sleep!” articles that you see out there. But the thing is, those articles leave out some details – they do this on purpose, so that you go ahead and start your blog RIGHT NOW, without giving it any thought – so the writers can earn commission on hosting sales. Many bloggers earn so much money from hosting sales with their how to start a blog tutorial that they hardly even need to try making money anywhere else on their blog.
I guess, based on my computer abilities, that I knew that blogging wouldn’t be easy but I just wish someone had been a little more HONEST with me about what it would take. I also wish, that the first “how to start a blog tutorial” I ever used had held my hand throughout the process a little more. (I am a classic victim of the how to start a blog tutorials that ONLY take you through step one!)

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.
If you do decide to hire a designer, it’s always a good idea to do your homework beforehand and know exactly what you’re after. There’s nothing more time-consuming (and expensive) than going back and forth with a freelancer because you didn’t have a clear vision of what you wanted in the first place. If you're looking for more sites to track down some freelance designers, check out my list of the best freelance job sites.
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.
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.
“I signed up about a month ago and set up a page with the help of Jennifer. She responded immediately and helped all the way to my satisfaction. I foolishly tried doing my 2nd site with WordPress/BlueHost on my own and was road-blocked, frustrated, and told that for $80 I could sign up for a training seminar because they “aren’t there to help with design” lol What was I thinking!!
Just started an idea and discovered your info. Very helpful. I am over 50 and a little late in the tech game because of past jobs that required little or no time in front of a computer. I am a very good writer with many a published article to my name over the years BUT now journal writing by hand does little or no good in the world of tech. When I get this blogging thing going, it is gonna explode.
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