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How Difficult is It to Start a Blog That Makes Money in 2024?

I still remember starting my first “real” blog in 2016. I was pretty clueless about blogging, but as I began to do it, I started wondering how difficult is it to start a blog that makes money?

To make money blogging, focus on quality long-form content creation above all other priorities. Avoid time-wasting activities like posting on most social media, but do consider YouTube and/or Pinterest. Don’t pay for traffic or backlinks, and focus on writing helpful articles on search terms with low competition.

But there’s a WHOLE lot more to know about blogging, getting traffic, and monetizing that traffic. It’s not hard to start a blog that makes money but it’s not a quick process easier.

The good news is that IF you can get substantial traffic to your blog, there are a lot of different ways to make money.

Since I originally wrote this article, I’m now full-time blogging, earning in the low to mid 6 figures. I quit my day job in September 2020 after my blogging efforts were more than triple what I was making there.

Check out my income reports to see my exact numbers –

If it makes sense for your budget, I want to recommend the blogging course I bought.

It’s actually the only blogging course I’ve ever bought, even though I’ve considered several. I bought it after thinking about it for a few months, after watching the Income School YouTube videos and feeling like the course could take that information to a new level.

Income School, who I mentioned above, has a course called Project-24. Just click that link to learn more about it on their website.

The course is called that because it’s designed to get you to a full-time income in 2 years, and lots of people have done it. I get into more detail on the course at the end, but for now, let’s get going!

How do you start a blog and make money?

To start a blog that will make money, first pick a topic you have some knowledge, interest, or passion about. Then make sure it’s not too competitive. Write better & longer articles than what is currently in the search results for the article titles, but know it will take 8 months before anything starts to happen.

But honestly, the biggest thing you need to do is just start! And don’t worry if everything I just said doesn’t quite make sense. I’m answering all your questions in the article below.

You can read all the blog posts you want, watch all those YouTube videos about how to make money online, or buy everybody’s course on blogging. But if you never start, all you will have done is waste time and money.

But I hear your concerns:

  • I don’t have the time
  • My job is crazy busy right now (but I’ll have more time in a few months)
  • I just need a little more information
  • I’m waiting until my writing skills are better
  • I’m not very good at writing

Honestly, those are excuses.

Excuses come from our own fear and insecurity. But they also come from our own laziness and not wanting to step out of our comfort zone.

I wish I could tell you some secret that will instantly make you money online tomorrow. But I’ll leave that to all those YouTube people with the big homes, giant piles of cash, and fancy cars.

No. If you want to build a successful business online and quit your job, you’re looking at 1-2 years to get there. And that’s if you really work hard, avoid a lot of the mistakes I made, and are laser-focused.

But you also have to want your goal more than you like being comfortable.

By that I mean my alarm goes off almost every day at 4:15 am. I don’t enjoy getting up that early, and I look forward to the day when I don’t have to. But to make it happen, I need a little time every day before my family wakes up and before work.

So what do you need to do to start a blog that makes money?

Here are the basic steps and then we’ll break it down in greater detail below:

  1. Pick a niche to make your blog about (something you have knowledge and passion about, but you don’t have to be an expert).
  2. Start a website (follow my detailed step-by-step guide. Just click to see it on my site)
  3. Learn the basics of SEO (Search engine optimization which allows people to find your website on Google)
  4. Start writing articles on your website (it will take a minimum of 6 months in most cases before those posts start to get enough traffic to be able to monetize)
  5. Be consistent with publishing (the faster the better) minimum of once a week, but 2-3 times a week is a lot better
  6. Avoid making social media accounts for your blog other than maybe YouTube and Pinterest (or at least avoid the time-suck of trying to post consistently on them; they almost never bring results)
  7. Sign up for Google Analytics so you begin to track your site’s traffic growth (it’s free)
  8. Make writing new content (ie: blog posts) your #1 priority. Nothing will move the needle faster on making money online than having a lot of content on your site.
  9. Once your site gets to about 5,000 page views a month, apply for Amazon Associates affiliate program. You must earn at least 1 sale within your first 90 days, so no point in starting before this point.
  10. Then look for products you can recommend in your blog posts that you can link to on Amazon. Target items between $50-200 as anything lower than that pays terrible commissions and anything much above that often doesn’t get people buying on the spot.
  11. Once your site gets to 25,000 sessions a month, apply for ads through Mediavine. They’ll set everything up and you could almost immediately start earning a few hundred dollars a month.

Then as your site continues to grow you can look at other affiliate networks like MaxBounty, Share a Sale, ClickBank, and Flex Offers. There are a ton of others, but those are the ones I’ve been most successful with.

Add links into your posts where it makes sense and doesn’t seem spammy.

Build trust with your audience by recommending things you use, know about, or at least have verified in some way. Don’t just blindly recommend something solely because it has big commissions.

Also, make sure you abide by any restrictions each of those companies may have so you don’t lose commissions or get your account shut down.

What are the biggest challenges bloggers have making money?

Bloggers face many challenges in trying to make money by blogging. But the biggest challenges are either not writing articles about questions people are searching on Google for, or writing about topics where the top search results are from super well-known websites.

So basically, where most bloggers go wrong is in deciding what to write about.

But the other challenge a lot of bloggers have is focusing on the money before you have traffic. Instead, I want you to focus on helping people.

If you put helping people as your #1 goal; the money will follow!

If your website isn’t at least 6 months old, unless you are paying for traffic through ads or have a killer YouTube or Pinterest channel sending your blog traffic, you don’t have much traffic.

If you don’t have much traffic, don’t focus on making money; focus on creating new, helpful, and better content than what’s out there.

The next mistake people make is thinking that more is better. If 1 affiliate link in a post is good, then maybe 10 links will get me 10 times as much money, right? Wrong.

The trouble is two-fold.

Google knows affiliate links and sees them as just another ad. Too many ads and Google thinks you might be a spammer and they’ll push you down in the rankings.

But if your post is more focused on making you money than it is helping the searcher who landed on your post who has a problem, then people won’t stay on your post.

Landing on your post and then quickly leaving to go to the next search result (called pogo-sticking) also tells Google your post isn’t great and they’ll again push you down in the rankings.

Lastly, bloggers (and I was guilty too) tend to think that making their website pretty with constant tweaks, cool plugins, or posting a bunch on Facebook and Twitter, or redesigning your logo (again) are high priority things.

In reality, the #1 thing that will move the needle forward on your blogging career is writing new content.

Think of it this way. Each blog post is an opportunity to get people to your site. I have a few blog posts that generate thousands of views each month. But my average is really probably closer to 800 people/month per blog post.

You won’t be able to make a full time living by blogging until you’re at least around 100,000 page views a month.

So if you average 800 views a month per blog post as I do, that means you need 125 blog posts on your site; so get writing!

The other reality is that unless you are an experienced blogger (and I’m guessing you’re not since you’re reading this), your first several blog posts probably won’t be great.

I have a boatload of blog posts I wrote early on I thought were great. And maybe they are, but almost no one sees them.

So write, write, write, and then write some more. It will take a while for you to get good at it, and not all of your posts will bring traffic, especially the early ones.

What is SEO and how does that help a website make money?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It simply means writing your articles and setting your website up in such a way that Google and the other search engines can crawl your website and show your articles to people searching for answers your content provides. If no one sees your articles, you don’t make money.

The key to writing blog posts that will get seen and generate traffic (and then earn money) is what’s known as SEO (search engine optimization).

You will never get anywhere blogging without at least a basic understanding of that.

Basically, we’re talking about figuring out what to write about that people are actually searching for (on Google). But it doesn’t end there. You can write all day long about cool stuff you know about, but unless you are answering a question people are searching for in Google, no one will ever see your blog post.

The next step is to also make sure what you want to write about doesn’t already have a ton of other posts on that same subject or from well-known websites.

For example, I would NOT write a post targeting “best vacuum cleaners 2019”.

Why? The top results on Google right now include:

  • Good Housekeeping
  • Consumer Reports
  • The Wire Cutter
  • and many other extremely well-known websites

I would never outrank those sites no matter how good my blog post was, how long it was, or even how much better it was than those posts. Those are huge sites with teams of writers, lots of authority in their niche, and lots of money behind their companies.

What could I write about to try and sell vacuums using an Amazon affiliate link?

The search phrase “best vacuum for pet hair and hardwood floors and carpet” is certainly less competitive. But even better might be “can bed bugs crawl out of vacuums”.

That last phrase probably gets fewer people each month searching it, and it’s also true that those people are less likely to be looking to buy a new vacuum cleaner. BUT, if you can get in the top 3 spots on page 1 of Google for that phrase, you can bet there are a lot of people searching that phrase.

And there might also be bed bug products on Amazon I could link to also.

I’d take spots #1, 2, or 3 on page 1 of Google for a phrase like that any day compared to page 2, 3, 4 or 17 for a phrase like “best vacuum cleaners 2019”.

If SEO is still a bit of a mystery, check out my Ultimate Guide to SEO using free tools. Just click the link to read that article on my site.

It’s a little comprehensive, but it breaks down SEO in simple terms that are easy to grasp and get started with. Plus you get my recommendations on what tools to use and they are all FREE!

What is searcher intent?

Searcher intent simply refers to the reason behind why someone is typing their query into Google. If you don’t understand their intent, your article may not address their query, and probably won’t rank well.

When you are looking for search terms (sometimes called keywords or keyword phrases) to write about, sometimes you find something that seems like a no-brainer.

But then you write the post and no one comes to it. What went wrong?

Well, it could be a few things, like maybe the top-ranking posts were from Time Magazine or Huff Post. Or maybe you wrote an article about heart attack prevention but you have no expertise in the medical field (more on that below).

BUT, one other possibility is you found a keyword phrase that seemed like it would get a lot of traffic, but you didn’t quite understand the person most likely to search that phrase and what they were looking for.

That is called, most commonly, user intent. And misjudging user intent can easily tank an otherwise well-written article.

For example, you could write a post targeting the phrase “Amazon Associates”, but if most people searching for that term are simply looking for Amazon’s login page, even if you rank initially for that term, no one is likely to click your article; they just want the Amazon page.

Without many clicks, or if people do click but instantly hit the back button, those are clear signs to Google that you aren’t providing their users with what they were looking for.

When that happens, Google will bury your article deep on page 13 and you’ll never get traffic.

So, begin, as Stephen Covey says, with the end in mind. In other words, think about who is likely searching that terms and what they are really looking for. I would never write an article targeting Amazon Associates.

But I might write one targeting the phrase “amazon associates conversion rate” which is clearly intended for other bloggers wanting to know what a good conversion rate is for clicks to purchases using the Amazon Associates program.

So as much as possible, focus on targeting keyword phrases that are 4 or more words, as it’s much easier to gauge user intent than 1 and 2-word phrases.

What is E-A-T in Google?

E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It was a measure added by Google in response to criticisms that sometimes search results showed wrong or low-quality information. While it is used more for medical and financial websites, it will continue to be an important blogging consideration.

In 2019, Google made some dreaded algorithm changes that everyone refers to as E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust).

Basically, it means that they are lowing the rankings on websites that are lacking in those areas.

So what does that mean for a blogger like you or me? Well for starters, if you aren’t a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, I wouldn’t create a website about heart health.

But if you’re a middle-aged woman who just lost 40 lbs, you could start a weight-loss blog about your journey because you do have that experience. Just niche-down into some sort of sub-topic of health/fitness/weight-loss as those are EXTREMELY competitive areas to be blogging in.

I also wouldn’t create a website all about financial planning if you aren’t a CPA, accountant, or at least have a lengthy career in finance. In other words, if Dave Ramsey were starting today, Google may have never let his career get off the ground.

But does that mean blogging is doomed?  No!

You just need to ideally start websites that are about topics you have some passion and/or experience for as opposed to just thinking about topics you think you can make the most money in.

That does NOT mean you have to be a licensed expert.

BUT, I would tend to steer clear of topics that are commonly referred to as YMYL (your money or your life) unless you have some level of experience. Those would be topics related to physical health or money. You don’t have to be a doctor to start a health-related site.

But I wouldn’t start one if you have no experience (ie: job-related) or accreditations.

Think about your career and hobbies, and ideally target something that gives you knowledge and insight. For me, being married, a homeowner, and father of 3, I went after all the things a Dad might have to deal with;

  • Parenting
  • Marriage
  • Homeowner DIY stuff
  • Family travel
  • Personal finance

Also, with E-A-T in mind, make sure you have an About Page on your site with your real picture and a bio that talks about who you are and your experience. If you want to take that even further, have a contact page with full name, email address, and maybe even a phone number, and address.

Google is starting to take this seriously and so should you.

What are the most profitable types of blogs?

There are different types of blog posts and different niches to write about. Here are the most profitable niches for blogging:

  • Personal Finance
  • Online Marketing
  • Recipe sites
  • Lifestyle/Mommy blogs

Having listed those, I would not recommend starting a blog in personal finance unless you are a CPA, have a well-known podcast about it, or are a published author on personal finance.

It’s simply too competitive, and your website will rarely, if ever, rank about Dave Ramsey, PennyHoarder, or WiseBread.

I also would not start a recipe site. There’s a million of them, and your amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe will never see the light of day.

Online marketing, basically people like you and I searching for information about how to make money online, is also super competitive. Being a full-time blogger and YouTuber now, I obviously know a few things. But aside from the occasional blog post like this one, I would not enter that arena either.

Now “lifestyle” can mean a lot of different things.

But if you have a hobby you’re learning, or know fairly well (you don’t have to be an expert), I would go down that route in a heartbeat (and I have with some of my other websites).

But after you pick a niche, what about the type of blog post?

There are really 2 types of blog posts out there:

  • Opinion posts
  • Information posts

An example of an opinion post would be “Why I Hate Camping in Yosemite National Park”. Now if that was written by Oprah, many of her millions of followers might indeed be curious why she hates camping there.

But if you or I write that post . . . . crickets. Nothing. That post will likely never, ever, get traffic.

Why? Because, and I hate to break it to you, nobody cares whether you or I like camping in Yosemite. More importantly, we aren’t targeting a search term people are actually typing into Google.

Let me crystal clear.

If you aren’t making your posts an answer to a question people are typing into Google, you will probably never succeed as a blogger unless you are already an established personality or have a lot of money to throw at paid traffic.

Now if I wanted to share my opinion about camping in Yosemite, but go after it from the standpoint of an information post rather than opinion, I could write a post called “Do I need a reservation to camp in Yosemite?”

Now personally I wouldn’t write that post because most of the results on page 1 of Google are all National Park website results and it could be hard to outrank them since they are the ultimate authority in that area.

BUT, I stand a way better chance than I do writing that opinion piece.

So DO share your opinions and personality in your posts. Let people get a taste of who you are. But make sure EVERY post, especially the title and intro paragraph, is answering a question that people are asking on Google. Otherwise, you may never make any money at all blogging.


CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

Does posting on social media drive traffic and revenue for bloggers?

No. Posting your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram, rarely results in visits to your website or revenue. Social platforms like to keep people on their platform and don’t push posts that drive people to other websites. The notable exceptions to this would be YouTube and Pinterest.

Of course, you’ll hear about someone doing amazing on Facebook. But unless they are paying for ads, that is the exception, not the rule.

99% of bloggers who share their posts on Facebook or Twitter don’t even remotely get enough views to warrant the time they spend doing it.

When I started my blog, the very first thing I did, even before I launched my website, was to start a Facebook page for my brand. Then Twitter, Instagram (check out Instagram services), LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

Once upon a time, I was scheduling posts to go out on all those platforms daily. I was using paid scheduling tools, and spending hours a week finding things to post and creating helpful or funny memes.

I suddenly had this revelation last December of how much of a time suck that had become, because except for Pinterest, none of it was doing anything to drive traffic or money to my blog.

To be fair, I need to completely revamp my YouTube strategy as I do believe that could work.

But stay away from creating brand or blog pages on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & Facebook (unless you think you will eventually use paid ads to generate sales, which is possible).

I go into a lot greater detail on this, in a recent article about whether Facebook works for marketing your blog or small business. Just click the link to read it.

What really surprised me was the change in my traffic from when I was posting regularly to what it is now with literally doing no posting.

Is blogging expensive?

No. Blogging is not expensive to get started in. Website hosting & domain name registration will be the primary initial expenses, but hosting can be purchased for well under $10/month. Domain names are as little as $10/year. Forgo the other paid options until your blog is generating revenue.

So, in short, blogging doesn’t have to be.

I started my blog on a shoestring budget. As it grew and my revenue grew I added services. But you can do a lot for little to no money.

Make no mistake. There are loads of folks trying to sell you things. I still see ads from “web designers” charging thousands of dollars to make you a website.


When you get to be the next Oprah or Tony Robbins you can spend thousands on your website. For now, I want you to build your website simply, quickly, and cheaply, doing the work yourself. When you get successful you can hire a VA (virtual assistant) help you manage everything.

My step-by-step beginner’s guide to building a website will walk you through every step with a ton of screenshots to follow along to. Just click the link to read it on my site, or bookmark it for later.

If you don’t build your business on a foundation where you have a clear understanding of how everything works, how will you ever know if people you hire down the road are doing a good job?

In short, while you don’t have to be an expert at everything, or love every aspect of running a blog, you should know how to do all the basics, from:

  • Building and updating a website
  • SEO basics
  • Knowing affiliate marketing basics
  • Understanding how to build an email list/email marketing
  • Basic graphic design
  • Pinterest pinning

That may sound daunting, but those are great skills to learn. Plus as you hire people, you’ll be in a much better place to gauge if they are doing a good job.


So what are the main expenses a beginning blogger has?

The primary expenses a new blogger will be web hosting and domain name registration. You do not need a paid WordPress theme to get started and if you want to build an email list, there are many options that are initially free.

When you first start your blog, I only want you to spend money on the following:

1. Web hosting (the company that provides the network servers where your website lives).

I started with Siteground and was quite happy with them for a while.

But over time, they got very expensive (well over $400/year) and I also felt like my website speed was getting slower too. But what really pushed me to switch was a decline in their customer service.

At any rate, these days I use WPX Hosting for all my websites.

My websites never have downtime, are very fast, and their 24/7 live chat support is great; what Siteground’s used to be.

They can solve virtually any problem, including me messing things up accidentally. I use the smallest plan on WPX (the business plan), which gets me 5 websites for only $24.99/month and I can do at least 100,000 monthly page views on that plan.

Now if you’re just getting started, WPX is NOT who you should use. In that case, I would recommend NameCheap (click to see their plans including ones as cheap as $1.24/month).

NameCheap is reliable, well-rated, and simply offers the lowest rate of any quality host to get started. And let’s face it, when you’re starting out, you want to make money, not spend a ton of it! And NameCheap helps you do that.

CLICK HERE to get started with NameCheap for as little as $1.24/month.

But once you outgrow any host’s basic plan, you’ll want to move to a better host for larger and/or multiple site owners.

Once your site is getting 30,000 page views a month (or greater), or if you eventually have multiple sites as I do, you may want to move to a larger & faster host. As I mentioned, I switched to WPX once I had 4 sites and was getting combined traffic of 100,000 page views a month. It’s been great so far!

CLICK HERE to learn how you can get started with WPX for $24.99 a month. That link takes you to their website to see all the pricing and options.

2. Domain name registration

A domain name is simply the URL that people type into a browser to go to your website. It can be different than your company name. For instance, I call my blog Middle Class Dad, but I had to pick the URL of because was taken.

This will cost you about 10 bucks a year and while you can register it with your host after you create an account, I recommend using a 3rd party. I use NameCheap (click to check them out) as I can register domains for under $10 bucks.

When I had my domains with Siteground they were charging me $25 bucks a year!

That way if your host ever goes down or out of business, you can just get a new host quickly and simply point the domain name from NameCheap to the new host (assuming you can backups of your sites, which you should).

While you can buy URLs that someone else has registered, I personally think that’s a waste of money. For instance, I just started a new site all about hot tubs.

I could have bought, probably for thousands of dollars, or I could (and did) build my site on which cost me nothing except the $10 registration.

After all, there are people out there who make their living buying domain names they think they can later sell for big bucks (imagine if you had beaten Steve Jobs to registering

Ultimately what matters on that site is the quality and quantity of posts I write; not whether the URL has an HQ at the end of it.

3. WordPress theme

Arguably there are a lot of great free WordPress themes, but sometimes the paid themes have more options, are faster, and are easier to get looking great faster.

If you do opt for a paid theme, most are in the $50 (one-time) range.

While it’s not the theme I use now, my very first theme was a free theme I got from aThemes (click to see all their free and paid options). I recommend them highly, and they also have a great support team if you need to customize your site.

If you love the look of my website, though, I use a theme called Acabado (I use it on all my sites).

It’s lightning-fast (yes, these can affect the speed of your website). I get it for free for being a member of the Income School blogging course called Project 24 (click to learn more on their site).

But you can buy Acabado by itself for only $50/year or a 1-time payment of $99 for a lifetime license. Just click that link to learn more about it on their site.

And that’s it!

You can eventually add an email service provider and Tailwind for scheduling your Pinterest pins. But to get your blog off the ground, those are the only expenses you ABSOLUTELY have to have.


CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

Do bloggers actually make money?

Yes. Many bloggers make a full-time income blogging. The average blogger earns over $4,200/month after 2 years of blogging. But many of the top bloggers earn well over $10,000 per month, with some earning almost 6 figures a month.

But don’t expect that right out of the gate.

In fact, I quit my day job in Sept 2020 and am now a full-time Blogger and YouTuber. But I started my 1st blog (the one you’re reading) in August of 2016. So it took me 4 years.

But with all I’ve learned, I could easily have cut that in half.

I wasn’t one of those bloggers who posts income statements but I actually just started. So check out my income reports here –

I got my start in blogging by following Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. Pat has always posted his income statements, so click the link to see how much he earns (it’s a lot!).

But you and I may not ever get to that level (and that’s OK).

The next guy I started following after Pat was Brandon Gaille of The Blog Millionaire. Brandon is a blogger and a podcaster, and I highly recommend his podcast for nuts and bolts tips and techniques you can immediately implement to see improvements.

Pat has a podcast too, and while I do still listen to it a lot, he’s drifted quite a bit from blogging tips into more of a Tim Ferris kind of self-help area, so great for motivation, but less actionable.

One of Brandon’s best podcast episodes was a complete breakdown of blogger income; how much people make on average, how they make it, and how to take your income to the next level.

The link takes you to his written post which covers his podcast content, but either way, it’s a must-read/listen. But you can definitely make a full-time income blogging.

Who is the highest paid blogger?

The #1 wealthiest individual blogger is Syed Balkhi. He does not release income statements, but his monthly revenue is likely in the 7 figures, although his revenue is not only generated from blog posts but also paid tools other bloggers use.

But he’s not the only wealthy blogger, so let’s review a few others.

It’s not so much a person (anymore) as it is a brand and company, but Huff Post (Huffington Post, started by Ariana Huffington) earns a whopping 41.6 million a month in revenue.

Now to be fair, they also have a huge staff at this point, and likely have some huge expenses. So it’s not quite the same as what you and I do or are looking to do.

It is worth noting, however, that no other blog site even comes close to Huff Post in terms of income.

Pat Flynn, who I mentioned above, is a better example as he started his first blog from nothing after being laid off as an architect in 2008. So in a little over a decade he’s gone from basically broke to very wealthy.

He now ranks in the #8 spot of the world’s richest blogger.

As I mentioned, the #1 wealthiest individual blogger is a guy I’ve never heard of. His name is Syed Balkhi. While much of his wealth has come from creating paid tools like OptinMonster, but he got his start as a blogger, just like you and me.

How much money can I make from blogging?

While the average blogger only earns about $4,200/month, there are many bloggers earning over $10,000/month, and a small percentage earning close to $100,000 per month.

The sky is the limit!

I currently have 6 websites and plan to eventually add more. If each of the 6 were to hit 100,000 monthly page views (one is already over that and some others are close), which is realistic over the next 1-3 years, just from ads alone, that would likely be around $216,000/year.

Then if you add affiliate product links, and maybe my own series of e-books, or other informational products, I could easily be over $300,000/year.

But as I said above, content creation is the driver of income.

As you start to make money, invest some of it back in hiring writers. I know it’s important that we bloggers write our own content. But trust me. I bet the last time Arianna Huffington did much writing on the Huff Post was a LONG time ago.

Blogs like that and other successful blogs know that quantity, combined with quality (and that’s where I think sites like Huff Post sometimes miss the mark) is where the money is at.

Not every post you write is going to shoot to the #1 spot in Google and bring in thousands of visitors a month. While I have several posts that bring in around 700 visitors a month each, I only have a few that bring in multiple thousands of visitors each month.

But the more I write, the better the odds are of getting another money maker.

How to hire quality writers to create content faster on your blog

So once you’re getting at least $500/month, I want you to invest a portion of that in hiring quality writers and supplementing your own content with theirs.

I’m not talking about guest posts. As your blog grows you’ll get hit up daily from people wanting to guest post. Now one of my top ranking posts is, in fact, a guest post (that I have heavily edited and added to at this point).

But the vast majority of guest posters want to give you a short, low-quality article just to get a link back to their site.

I want you to ignore those emails (I get dozens a week). To be fair, I have an autoresponder on my email that tells people how to submit a guest post (I use a form that gives a detailed description of the process and my expectations).

Most people ignore that, and thus never get my consideration.

While I’ve tried TextGoods, iWriter, and a few others, I’ve had the best luck hiring writers from Upwork. I put out a job order initially asking for 1 article that I paid $30 for.

In my description, I was pretty specific about what I wanted and I also linked to a blog post on another website that wasn’t mine as an example of what I wanted. I also included a special request to mention the name Kylo Ren in their response.

At least 30% of the respondents didn’t do that which tells me they just hit reply without bothering to read my job description. I ignored those people.

In the end, I hired 5 people and all turned in decent posts, some better than others. All told, I’m still using 3 of those 5 on an ongoing basis.

You can get 1,250-word blog posts for as little as $30.

10 articles more a month, each month, can really build your blog quickly.

With the Google E-A-T algorithm I mentioned above, it’s important for your authoritativeness that all the blog posts you hire writers to write appear under YOUR name.

After all, no one knows those people and they are unlikely to have expertise in your topic, no matter how well they are written.

DO proof-read those posts and make sure they fit your style of writing, and it’s also very unlikely you won’t have to do at least a little editing. But have them appear as your posts.


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How long does it take to make money blogging?

Expect to not make significant money on a blog for at least 1 year. Traffic has to come before monetization for your blog. And initially, it will take 8 months or longer for most new blog posts on a new website to being to rank. 

In short, you aren’t likely to see more than a few bucks until at least the 6-month mark, if not 8 months.

After all, the key to making money blogging is getting people to see your blog posts. The best way to have that happen in a sustainable way is by doing SEO and getting Google to rank your posts on page 1, ideally in the top 3 slots.

Yes, Pinterest can definitely help (almost 50% of my traffic comes from Pinterest), and YouTube can also help significantly too (which I’ve only dabbled in). And I DO want you to be diversified in how you get your traffic to protect you from algorithm updates and other fluctuations that might hit 1 of those platforms more than another.

But until you are getting at least 10,000 visitors a month to your site, don’t expect to make much money.

Yes, there are loads of people on YouTube talking about affiliate marketing and how you can get rich in a day. But you have to realize that MOST of those people make money by trying to convince you they can teach you how to make money.

I’m not saying there aren’t successful affiliate marketers out there (there are!)

But a lot of those YouTubers with the fancy cars and big houses make their money off of selling a course to people like you and me. They aren’t likely making the bulk of their money doing affiliate marketing.

And some of them are really spammy (in my opinion) in how they suggest you go about it (posting a bunch of Clickbank links on your friends & family’s Facebook pages or in random Facebook groups).

Now if you have a big brand, like Pat Flynn, for instance, who I mentioned above, you can make a lot of money off of affiliate marketing (specifically by recommending blogging tools). But even Pat is making the bulk of his money by teaching others how to make money online.

If you want to follow a YouTube channel that has GREAT blogging advice, follow the Income School channel.

How do bloggers get paid?

Most bloggers make the majority of their income from paid ads using companies like AdThrive or Mediavine. But many also generate revenue by recommending products from Amazon or other websites as an affiliate, earning a commission on sales from their links.

When you first start blogging you won’t be eligible for ads yet.

That’s OK as I don’t want you focused on making money. Instead, focus on writing awesome articles on things people are searching on Google for answers on. Then make your article better and longer than those in the top spots on that search results page.

When you get to around 10,000 people visiting your blog each month, apply for ads with Ezoic. Don’t waste time applying for Google AdSense ads. They pay very little and will junk up and slow down your site.

Then when you get to 50,000 a month, apply to Mediavine. AdThrive’s threshold is higher (100,000/month), but I’m not convinced you’ll make more money with them than Mediavine.

After you’re getting at least 1,000 people a month you can apply for Amazon Associates affiliate program, and start to recommend Amazon products on your site.

Just don’t apply too soon as they will cancel your account if you don’t get a sale in the first 90 days. And no, you can just get your Mom to buy from one of your links. That’s against their terms and will also get you shut down.

They don’t pay well, but everyone knows and trusts Amazon, so it tends to convert a lot better than other affiliate programs.

But there’s a ton of other affiliate programs out there. So search your niche+ affiliate program to get an idea.

In terms of specifically how I get paid, the most common is either through Paypal or by direct deposit.

Most companies that pay you also pay you about 60 days after what it is you did to generate money, so just be aware of that too.

For example, the ad network I use, Mediavine, generated over $12,000 for me in September 2020, but they’ll pay me that in December.

Amazon Associates, one of the affiliate networks I use, paid me in late July for the commissions I earned in May. So just expect a delay with most companies you deal with.

Amazon and Mediavine both pay by direct deposit.

I prefer that over companies that use Paypal since Paypal takes a cut, and there’s at least a 1-day delay in transferring from Paypal to your bank account.

Can you make a full-time income blogging?

Yes. You can make a full-time income blogging. On average, it takes a blogger between 2-4 years to earn a full-time income blogging, earning, on average, $4,200 per month.

As I’ve mentioned, I went full-time blogging (and YouTubing) in September of 2020, 4 years after I started.

However, if you avoid some of the mistakes I made, I know you can do it a whole lot faster than I can. If I hit my goal, then it will have taken me about 4 years from start to finish.

But I want you to do that in 2 years.

Here are the biggest mistakes I made I want you to avoid:

  • Learn basic SEO and do keyword research for every post you write!
  • Size the length of your posts to be longer than the top-ranking posts you see on page 1 of Google for the term you’re targeting
  • Avoid using paid ads just to get traffic
  • Don’t start a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page for your site (or if you do, don’t post on them with any regularity; it’s a time suck that generates few results)
  • Don’t buy backlinks (links to your website from other people, which in theory could help your rankings)
  • Post at least 2-3 times per week, each and every week
  • Don’t write any post under 1,200 words (even if the competition’s posts are tiny)
  • Skip Google Adsense ads (they pay very little) and wait until your blog hits 25,000 monthly sessions to get ads through Mediavine. If you’re going to junk up your site with ads, you may as well get paid well for it
  • Review Google Analytics monthly, but avoid the time-suck of checking it daily
  • Don’t waste a bunch of time constantly tweaking your website – remember nothing moves the needle forward on your full-time income like just writing more content

If it makes sense for your budget, I want to recommend the blogging course I bought.

It’s actually the only blogging course I’ve ever bought, even though I’ve considered several. I bought it after thinking about it for a few months, after watching the Income School YouTube videos and feeling like the course could take that information to a new level.

Income School, who I mentioned above, has a course called Project-24. Just click that link to learn more about it on their website.

The course is called that because it’s designed to get you to a full-time income in 2 years, and a number of people have done it.

Since I started this site before I knew of those guys, it’s not a fair comparison. But since discovering them, my traffic on this site went from around 25,000 monthly page views to about 70,000.

I can’t attribute all of that to the changes I made from what I learned in the course. But a fair amount of the improvement credit should go to them.

I also started my other 3 sites fully under their system, and they are on track to hit their goals.

It’s honestly not an expensive course compared to many (currently well under $500) and if it can help you to get to a full-time income and the freedom and flexibility that comes from being able to work whenever and wherever you want, isn’t it worth that?

Here are some of my favorite things about being a Project-24 member:

  • There’s an amazing free WordPress theme, which I use on my sites (that otherwise would cost $100)
  • They do a private weekly podcast of very actionable tips each week for members only
  • There is an online community forum for all members where we help one another with problems and the founders of P24, Jim and Ricky, are on there all the time too
  • They add new courses to the course list about every other month, so we are constantly learning and improving
  • There are a lot of free tools you can download too

Learn more about Project-24 today and see if it’s right for you. Just click that link to go to their site and watch their free video.

Or just listen to me being interviewed by Income School right here!

Did I cover all you wanted to know about how difficult it is to start a blog that makes money?

In this article, I took a detailed look at the world of blogging and how the most successful bloggers make money. I took you through a lot of my own trial and error over the past 3 years of my serious blogging.

So we looked at some of those pitfalls I want you to avoid. And we looked at some proven strategies that are starting to pay off for me.

To be sure, I am not one of those online gurus showing videos of me standing next to my Lamborgini. I’m a guy probably a lot like you that just wants to have a little more money for my family and eventually have the financial freedom and flexibility that comes from being my own boss and being able to work when and where I want to.

I’m not 100% of the way there yet, but my plan is to get there by the end of 2020. But Adam over at lifehackerguy has been making money online for the last 20 years. So check out his site for even more tips!

What stage of blogging are you at?


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Jeff Campbell