Is it really true that you can start a blog and make money, or is it a bunch of hogwash? Well, the good news is that you CAN start your own blog or website very easily and also make a good income from it.
However, to make an actual income from it (say, $1000/month or more), it takes time and effort. Once you hit $1000/month and experience the feeling of true freedom from this income, you’ll never want to go back to a 9-5 job (unless you love working for someone else!)
Most people are impatient and hope to earn a good income through blogging within a few months, and while possible, if you have never done it, you will need to set proper expectations to avoid disappointment 😉
In this guide, I will be sharing how to make money through your blog. First, I will explain the overall concept and then, we will jump into the more technical details.
Why You Should Create a Blog and Invest Time in it
If a blog can take 6 months or a year before it will generate revenue, why should you go this route?
The easy answer is: if you think that a year or two is “too long” to see a part-time or full-time check, then your expectations from what a blog can do for you are being perceived from short-time pressure.
Think about it this way. Going to school, and training for a certification can take thousands of dollars and months or years. Going to a college or university for four years costs anywhere from $40,000 or more just on tuition alone.
As long as you commit to the process, keep learning, and making your blog be the best hub it can be to your audience, there is no reason you can’t see awesome traffic and earn an income from it.
All you need is a laptop or computer, an internet connection, and a small budget to get started. That’s it. Like anything worth having in life, those that master these skills will reap the rewards.
Examples of Sites and Blogs Generating Revenue
To understand how realistic it is to earn an income from blogging, I thought I’d dive into various niches here and give a few examples. The proof is in that delicious pudding, after all 😉
Please keep in mind that I have not reached out and talked to the site or blog owners to verify how much their sites are making. I am using software data and guesstimating what their sites may be making. Lastly, I will not be revealing the sites and will be censoring some of the metrics, because this is for informational and motivational purposes only. It is always awesome to see other sites that are doing amazing!
There are two metrics I’ll be mentioning: organic traffic and an estimated revenue the traffic may be generating. Organic traffic refers to traffic/visitors the website is receiving in any given month. The estimated revenue a site may be generating is a complete guess, as I have indicated above. It could entirely be the case that a site has amazing traffic, but if the site owner hasn’t implemented an effective monetization strategy, they could just be generating a big, thick phoenix egg!
The sites I chose have either ads, affiliate products and programs they are earning from, and/or their own digital and non-digital products.
Here we go:
Category – Food Bloggers:
Holy Moly Batman! This site receives over 6+ million visitors in a given MONTH. This is traffic that most bloggers would DREAM of and here we have a passionate food blogger who started this blog a few years ago and has achieved incredible results that giants would envy. If I put an estimated value of $0.50 on each visitor, that would make the estimated traffic value to be ~$3,000,000. This sounds disgustingly awesome but hell, even coming in at $0.25 gives us a traffic valuation of $1.5 million. Just know that by hitting this level of traffic, you will do extremely well in most niches. However, this doesn’t mean that the site is actually generating that much revenue each month.
As if the first food blog traffic wasn’t impressive enough… this food blog receives around 8 million visitors in a given month. This is quite an accomplishment and would take years of persistence and work to achieve such remarkable results. Your favorite Phoenix had to already hold her heart in place when she crunched numbers together to estimate traffic valuation for the first example that had lower traffic than this site. We can assume a similar traffic valuation for this one.
Here’s a site that stood out to me. It is not as “big” as the last two that I have shown, but it receives over 30,000 visitors per month… which is still an amazing accomplishment and an absolute dream to make a site that successful! A conservative estimate of $.10/visitor puts the traffic valuation at $3,000. I do believe the site could be earning $5,000-$8,000/m.
How AWESOME is that?!
With all the content these sites put out, they have built traction over time, and Google and other search engines know what these sites are about over time and keep rewarding them.
The reason I included this example is because for someone who doesn’t like complicated recipes with a gazillion ingredients, this site was all about creating delicious dishes using only a handful of simple ingredients. It was definitely different than the other sites.
This shows you that there is room for YOU to take an angle with your blog and make a great income.
Let’s look at more examples.
Category – Plants Niche:
During the pandemic, even I considered learning about a sub-niche of this niche and growing them, so these are some cool ones for The Phoenix to share with you 😉
This website receives a WHOPPING ~95,000 visitors per month. My conservative estimate is that this site is generating $8,000-$15,000 per month. Assigning each visitor $0.10 and doing the math… *clickityclackclack*, that comes out to be… $9,500.
This site receives much less in organic traffic: ~2,000 visitors to the site in a given month. Let’s take a moment to recognize the hard work that goes into creating a site that ranks and makes ANY money at all. We don’t know the intent of the site owner with this site. Perhaps it’s just a hobby or a project to learn from.
I don’t just want to show you sites generating lucrative earnings only, but also sites that generate $100-$2,000/month range. Doing an estimate at $0.10 per visitor, this site could potentially be generating $150/month.
Category – Sewing Niche:
This particular site that highly focuses on beginner sewing projects receives ~8,000 organic visitors on a monthly basis. If we do a simple valuation of $0.10 per visitor, let’s see what the math tells us… *clickyclacksthenumbersforahotminutewithherwings* It comes out to be $800. That’s an extremely conservative number and I would put a valuation more at $2000-4000/month.
This site is full of sewing tips, projects, and so much more! Look at the organic traffic of over 60,000 visitors per MONTH with traffic valuated at over $6,000 (if we stick to $0.10 per visitor).
One additional note regarding doing estimated traffic valuations and guessing what the site might be generating; this post is to shed light on how people are earning part time to full time incomes from their sites and blogs and nothing more. Don’t get stuck on the figures. The point is: once you build an amazing online asset like a blog, it can make money while you are sleeping or while you are traveling… or even while you’re sitting on the toilet.
15 Steps to Show You How to Start Your Own Blog and Make Money
Let’s talk about how you can set up your blog in a hobby or niche you love and explore how to make money using that website. For your blog to be a success, you need to go through each of the following steps. If you need a checklist of these steps, I’ve created a PDF document for you that you can download and print and use it for your own blog setup. Get the 15 Step Checklist to Starting and Setting Up Your Own Blog PDF here.
Step 1: What Will Your Blog or Niche Site Be About?
Once you determine this, the rest is easy peasy! One thing you want to consider is the passion you hold around certain topics.
- Do you love baseball?
- Do you love to cook?
- Are you a cat trainer?
- Do you love to hike on the weekends and know a lot about hiking trails and gear?
Maybe you know a lot about birdcalls, or love to build Lego sets, or know a bit too much about Star Wars 😉
The point being: you can potentially be successful in any niche or micro niche!
Because blogs take a few months or a year to truly take off with consistent work, you will be investing in it for the long term, so why not make it around something you enjoy or love?
If you will be the sole writer for your blog or niche site, make sure you pick something that you love and can talk about for a long time (and are happy to do research about!)
Step 2: Can You Monetize Your Blog?
Having a blog up and going is good and getting organic traffic to it is fine and dandy, but what you need to research is: can you make money from the subject matter or niche your blog is in?
If you are not sure, go ahead and take a look at some of the top sites in the niche you are thinking about starting a blog in.
Do they have ads, their own products, or product reviews?
If so, super cool. If the top sites in that niche have display ads or another way of monetizing their site, it will give you ideas on how you can monetize your own site.
Additionally, you can research what affiliate programs exist for products that may sell in your niche. There is a whole world of affiliate programs out there that take time and patience to research. By selling someone else’s product, you can earn a commission. Amazon Affiliate Program is just one example.
Step 3: Choose a Domain Name
You know what you see in the top of the browser (like etsy.com)? Well, that is a domain name. Hence, etsy.com is a domain name. This website’s domain name is affiliatephoenix.com.
You can go with johnnylovessewing.com. These are super random examples off the top of my head: iloveblogging.com, catsareawesome.com, howtobakecookies.com, and losangelestouristguide.com.
Give this a bit of love.
It is important to note that you can buy domains other than .coms. You can buy a .net, .info, and so much more.
Theoretically, they can all rank, but when you do a Google search, you will see the most common website extensions are .coms.
One additional beneficial check to do is to see if other social media handles are available by the domain name you are considering. If in the future you decide to build a following on Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FB, or other social media platforms, you want to make sure they are available to you.
Step 4: Register Your Domain Name
Once you decide what name you want, you can register it at NameSilo:
Cheap, easy, fast. The Phoenix is a fan, hence the affiliate link above.
Step 5: Register Social Media Accounts
Remember those checks you did? Well, start claiming those accounts, because if someone else does, they’ll be gone from you forever. Claim them now and use them when you decide to.
Step 6: Choose a Hosting Company
What is a host? A host is where your website (files) lives. It will contain all the necessary files to display them to visitors all around the world.
For most bloggers, a shared hosting plan is sufficient and for my smaller sites, I start them off on my HostGator shared account. If you have a budget to stick to, then HostGator may be a good fit for you. I have been using them for a decade… maybe two.
Once your site becomes bigger and it starts receiving a lot of traffic, you can consider other solutions such as VPS or dedicated hosting (if that sounds foreign, it’s okay) that HostGator also offers. Don’t waste money on those plans unless you have experience, and you know for certain that you need more than a shared hosting plan.
Step 7: Setup WordPress as Your Content Management System
After you choose your hosting, you will want to set up WordPress as your content management system. You will see that HostGator has a “one-click install” to install WordPress for your site. It is the easiest platform to use to start a new blog or site. If you are new to WordPress, once you get beyond the basics, you will see that there is a ton of flexibility when it comes to themes/designs and plugins.
Step 8: Order a Logo for Your Site
I find that this step, while technically isn’t “needed” to set up a site, is crucial to getting excited about your new site, your new baby, your new… screech it with me…
A business needs a logo. If you can spare $10-$30 for a basic logo, it’ll do wonders for your site.
Step 9: Create Home, About, Contact Pages
These are the most basic pages of your blog. These should be the first set of pages you create and it will help you define what your blog is about and who you are serving.
Step 10: Learn and Apply Keyword Research
What is a keyword or a keyphrase? Well, it is any word or phrase that someone types into a search engine like Google. If your site is about sewing, then you will want to do keyword research to find out what kind of phrases are people typing into Google and Microsoft Edge when they want to learn about sewing. So, you could discover that people are searching for keyphrases such as “how to sew a scarf”, “sewing a scarf for beginners”, “best sewing machines under $500”, and so much more. Then, you can craft content and optimize it for your keyphrases, giving it a better chance at showing up in the top of Google and other search engines. You can check out my keyword basics guide by clicking here.
You can make a list of those keywords or keyphrases and move onto the next step 😉
Step 11: Write Awesome Content and Apply On-Page SEO to Receive Organic Search Visitors
Without solid content, the rest won’t matter. You need awesome content with your audience in mind.
Once you create a piece of content, it is time to apply some on-page search engine optimization (SEO) elements to it so it has a higher chance of doing well and ranking in Google (and other search engines!) Remember that keyword research you did? Well, it’s time to apply it. You will want to learn on-page SEO basics.
Step 12: Rinse and Repeat Steps 10 & 11
You will want to rinse and repeat steps 10 and 11. The idea is to publish content on your blog until you have at least 20 posts. This is a nice start to your new blog!
Step 13: Monetize Your Website
There are so many ways to do this. For your website, you can take the route of:
- Selling your own course or paid membership
- Display ads
- Earn an affiliate commission from selling products (ex. Amazon)
- Sponsored ads
Now that you have content published, it’s time to implement a monetization method. Keep in mind if you want to use Ezoic, Mediavine, or another ad program, be aware that they each often have “requirements” before you can partner with them and use them.
Step 14: Build a Community
Once you are gaining traction in the search engine, think about creating a community by whatever means suits you. You can create a FB page, a FB group, Tik Tok, YT, or an email list to go hand in hand with your awesome blog. In fact, you can ask your site visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. These people are finding your content in the search engines, why not give them a place to “commune” or check out more of your content? They can also leave you comments or ask questions, depending on which route you go.
Depending on your niche, I suggest building an email list in addition to any other platform. There is a great reason for this: if FB, YT, Tik Tok, or another platform becomes temporarily unavailable, you will still have access to your audience through your email list.
Also, it can help in times when your website’s traffic may be fluctuating.
At this point, think about your site as more than “just a site”. This is your business! So, treat your site like a real brand and be proud of what you are building.
Step 15: Continue Publishing Content on a Schedule
Continue publishing helpful content on your blog that will serve your audience. Over time, you will have built a thriving affiliate blog with an audience that loves you!
The World Is Your Oyster
If you need to print a checklist of all of these steps, then you can download and print the 15 Step Checklist to Starting and Setting Up Your Own Blog PDF here.
As long as you learn to create great content, there is no limit to how much revenue your site can earn. Creating an income with your blog or website isn’t as hard. It’s like losing weight: if you commit to the purpose, you will succeed!