So you’re thinking about starting a blog and you want to know how to make money blogging for beginners.
Or maybe you already have a blog as a hobby. You’ve been blogging for fun, getting a bit of traffic. Now you want to know how to earn money by blogging. Is it really possible?
Everyone has to start at the beginning when it comes to making money from blogging. There are no shortcuts unless you have a heap of money for a team of writers and paid ads.
You haven’t? Thought not!
Most of us take the slow route to make money from a blog. Forget the huge blogs earning 6 figure incomes. This 101 guide is here to give you a reality check.
Yes, you can make a lot of money from blogging but it takes time. Most successful bloggers didn’t appear overnight.
If you want to know how to make money from blogging, read on. This post will tell you everything you need to know as a beginner. Buckle up – it’s a big read…
Disclosure: If you purchase products through links on my site (eg Bluehost hosting) I may earn a commission. This is at no extra cost to you but it helps me create more free content.
How To Make Money Blogging
This is an in-depth post. It looks at why people blog, what you need to make money from blogging, the top myths about blogging, the essentials to get started, and the different ways to make money blogging.
Pin or save this post to read later, or you can use this index to skip ahead.
- Why I Started Blogging
- Getting Started Making Money Blogging
- Why Should I Start A Blog?
- Just blog regularly and the traffic will come.
- My Top Myths About How To Make Money Blogging.
- The Essentials – How To Make Money Blogging For Beginners
- How Do You Start A Profitable Blog?
- Different Ways To Make Money Blogging
- Which Is The Best Way To Make Money Blogging For Beginners?
- Will Most People Find It Too Hard To Make Money Blogging?
- Can You Really Make Money Blogging?
- Conclusion – How To Make Money Blogging For Beginners
Why I Started Blogging
Blogging means freedom. How many people get up in the morning and plan their own day? No deadlines imposed by a demanding boss or restrictions over what you can or cannot do.
Bloggers get to write what they want when they want with full control over the look, layout, and feel of their blog. That’s why I love blogging.
Yes, it can be hard work but blogging means I work part-time hours, live in a beautiful part of the World, and earn a full-time income.
Getting Started Making Money Blogging
First up you need a blog! Yes I know that sounds kind of obvious. After all, this is a post about how to make money blogging for beginners!
Yet you’re never going to make any money unless you start something. There are a lot of people who I call “search addicts”. I live with one of them!
How many posts like this have you read? I bet it’s not the first one! You can research how to make money blogging as much as you like, but unless you actually start a blog, it’s not going to happen.
Ditch the search paralysis and start a blog now:
Why Should I Start a Blog?
When it comes to designing your lifestyle, blogging is hard to beat. Okay, it does take some hard work replacing a 9-5 income and you’ll need to roll with the ups and downs as you learn your craft.
But with blogging, you really can work from anywhere and if you hate working Mondays – just take the day off. You need the discipline to blog away regularly but the hours are down to you.
There’s no boss demanding 8 am breakfast meetings, no sitting in traffic or racing to meet children from school. Just you and a laptop working to your own schedule.
Just Blog Regularly And The Traffic Will Come
Is a myth and it’s never going to work for you. It’s a saying that’s tossed around by established bloggers who got lucky when blogging was in its infancy.
My Top Myths About How To Make Money Blogging
- You can blog about any topic
- You can make money from any niche
- All you need to do is blog regularly
- You need a lot of traffic to be successful
- You can make money from a FREE blog
Myth #1. You can blog about any topic.
If you write about lots of unrelated topics, you’re confusing not just your readers but also Google. It won’t be clear what your blog is about. You’ll fail to build trust around a particular topic. Fail to build authority.
Writing about a tightly focused niche, not only sends clear signals to your readers that you’re an authority in this area, it will help you to be seen as an expert by Google. A site with a lower domain authority can outrank a higher domain authority if it has high relevance in a particular niche.
It was only by narrowing the focus of my Simply Hatch blog, that I started to see a big jump in my page ranking on Google
Myth #2. You can make money from any niche.
Not all blogging topics will make money. Your niche has to have a big enough audience. It has to be a niche where people will spend money and don’t expect to get everything for free.
The best way to find a niche is to look at other successful blogs and think about the things you spend money on. I spend money on yoga. I buy products, and clothing, and spend money on online courses. It’s a good niche for making money.
Other great niches are interior design, food, fashion, parenting, travel, health & fitness, beauty, relationships, and finance. I’m sure I’ve missed a few but anything, where you’re helping people improve themselves, is usually a good choice.
(In case you’re wondering, blogging about blogging is one of the harder niches to crack because it’s so competitive – I just love a challenge). It’s been much easier starting up my lifestyle blog.
Myth #3. All you need to do is blog regularly.
So many bloggers post regularly and don’t make any money. And the advice they get when it doesn’t work? Post more frequently.
You need to promote your posts. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to spend as much time on promotion as it is on writing posts. Getting hung up on how frequently you post is a mistake. There are extremely successful bloggers who only post once a month (they just make sure their post is worth reading).
When I switched to focusing on promotion as well as writing, my traffic started to grow.
Myth #4. You need a lot of traffic to be successful.
This just isn’t true. Okay, traffic is obviously good and if you have a ton of traffic you can make a lot of money from adverts. Making money from advertising is the most passive way of monetizing your blog.
Write your posts, promote on social media, optimize for search engine traffic (SEO) and watch the money roll in. It’s just that you need a lot of traffic to make a full-time income this way and it’s a tough call when you’re starting out.
Realistically it takes 12 to 18 months to gain enough traffic to make good money from advertising. It’s playing the long game.
Making money from affiliate marketing or your own digital products can be much quicker and doesn’t need as much traffic. With a focused blog, it’s possible to start making money within a few months.
Myth #5. You can make money from a FREE blog.
Yes, you can make money with a FREE blog but it’s not the best way to start. Starting out on Blogger can be a good way to test out ideas but sooner or later you’ll want to move to a self-hosted platform.
A free blog affects your credibility and you don’t own your blog. That could become a real problem as your blog starts to grow. You’re spending all your time building a valuable asset you don’t own!
The Essentials – How To Make Money Blogging For Beginners
So we’ve debunked a few myths but what do you actually need to start monetizing your blog? A blog of course, but what else is essential?
What do you need to make money blogging?
#1. A professional-looking blog
This doesn’t mean you need to splash out on an expensive theme or a custom design. But you do need to benchmark your site against competitors in your niche.
Not so much the star bloggers, those guys at the top of the money tree with their unlimited resources and custom builds. You need to compare yourself with the bloggers just a little bit ahead.
What are they doing? How do their sites look?
Make sure your blog is just as good. That bad design won’t make your readers click away.
#2. Terrific content
This may seem obvious but if you want people to read your blog, you need to give them something worth reading. What’s in it for your reader?
One of the biggest rookie mistakes I see is the self-indulgent blog. Now it’s possible that a blog about fitness, for example, could reasonably chart progress towards your fitness goals.
But and it’s a big BUT. Only if it’s a way of showing the reader what they can achieve and inspiring them to produce the same results.
In the same way, assuming you’re not a celebrity, no one’s going to care about your weekend in the Saint-Tropez. Unless of course, you can tell them how to snag the same cut-price deal on an out-of-season luxury hotel room.
People want to be better at stuff, get better stuff and learn how to do better stuff. If you can help people on their way to achieving those aspirations, you’re on to a winner.
That’s what counts as terrific content.
#3. An email list
It depends on how you intend to make money from your blog. A completely passive blog makes money from advertising and maybe Amazon Associates. It can make good money without an email list.
It’s just that not having a list means you’re missing out. Forget any ideas you have that emailing is dead. It’s still the best way of creating avid followers. These followers are essential if you’re promoting products that need more detailed buying information.
Just about everyone has an email address, not everyone uses social media. Most people will check their email daily and it’s a very personal medium.
Sending a missive straight to a person’s inbox is the best way to convert a mildly interested follower into someone who really gets your advice. A future customer.
Not someone who just reads a few posts and thinks: “Yeah, that’s quite good advice”, but never takes the next step and buys your recommended product.
✅ I use ConvertKit for my Simply Hatch mailing list. It has a FREE startup plan for your first 1000 subscribers. The guys at ConvertKit really get bloggers. If you’re planning on growing big, ConvertKit’s automation, sequences, and landing pages will help you get there.
#4. Blogging friends
To make a success of blogging, it helps to build connections. Starting out and earning your first $100 will be a lot easier if you’re learning from other bloggers.
Your blogging friends and connections can really help with promoting your blog.
Connecting through Facebook groups, shared Pinterest boards, and Reddit forums, blogging is a medium that works better together. Ultimately you’ll be aiming for relationships with influencers.
People who can sky-rocket your traffic simply by sharing a pin or tweeting about your latest post.
These people are reachable. Sometimes it’s just a case of requesting comments on a topic you’re writing about or letting an influencer know you’ve written a stellar post and referenced their blog.
#5. Being knowledgeable
You don’t need to be THE expert in your field but you do need to build some authority.
If you pick a topic you know nothing about it will show. It’s important to do your research and have something to offer.
Own your niche, read everything you can about it and keep up-to-date. You want to become THAT person. The one everyone turns to when they’re french polishing their cabinet or setting up a poodle parlor.
You get my drift… You won’t become the go-to expert overnight but there’s no time like the present to start being knowledgeable.
How do you Start a Profitable Blog?
For most normal people it will take around 12 months to build a good income from a profitable blog.
This is how long it took for my lifestyle blog. It was my side income. Starting in 2019, I put in a lot of work over the first few months, then left it to fester. With good SEO, my posts started to gain traffic from Google and by the following year, I was making a good income from adverts with Mediavine.
Income like this:
That’s with 70,000 – 120,000+ monthly pageviews. Traffic fluctuates throughout the year, I get the most traffic in January and it drops off in the summer when people are away on holiday. It sounds like a huge amount of traffic when you start your first blog.
Yet if you’re willing to write the posts people want to read and target a popular topic, it can be quite easy to get this sort of traffic.
Yet income from ads is tiny when you first start your blog. It’s best to wait until you grow your traffic to at least 50,000 monthly page views.
Fortunately, advertising is just one way to make money from your brand new beginner blog.
Different Ways To Make Money Blogging
These are most of the different ways you can make money blogging (only some of them are suitable for beginners):
I still think advertising isn’t the best way to make money blogging if you’re in a hurry but it’s an easy way to make money for beginner bloggers. You concentrate on writing posts and your income is completely passive from a good ad network.
I use Mediavine. They are fantastic with excellent support. Mediavine really wants to help you make money but you do need a lot of traffic to apply.
Mediavine recently upped their entry requirements to 50,000 sessions/month (about 60,000 pageviews/month). Plus a big chunk of your traffic must be from Google (mine was about 50% when I applied) and you need high-quality, unique content.
For my lifestyle blog, it took 12 months to be accepted. I’ve seen committed bloggers with popular topics qualify for Mediavine in 3 months but that was with a 25,000 session entry requirement. With the new requirements, one to two years seems more realistic.
Mediavine does have plans for a new scaleable service for smaller blogs. Just watch this space. Hopefully, the new service will launch later this year.
In the meantime, concentrate on growing your blog. I stronger suggest you avoid adding AdSense to your blog. You won’t make much money, it’s a bad user experience for your readers, plus it’s easy to fall foul of their rules and end up unable to apply later to Mediavine.
This is my favorite way of making money blogging for beginners with a brand new blog. When you’re looking to make your first $100 from blogging it’s your fastest option.
I remember getting so excited when I first realized how affiliate marketing works.
You mean I can just earn commission selling products on my website? I don’t have to store them in a warehouse, pick and pack them or deal with customers.
It was such a revelation.
I spent years physically selling products through my eCommerce outdoor clothing store. We had some good times but picking and packing goods in the lead-up to Christmas was hard work. Plus we had the risk every year that if the goods didn’t sell January was going to be bleak.
Imagine if all those goods had been sold on a commission basis and we never even set eyes on the stock.
There is a site here in the UK called Menswear Style. It looks like any other young men’s eCommerce fashion store. Except it isn’t. You can even speak via live chat to a personnel shopper.
Menswear style is a very clever blog making money from affiliate marketing. Look closely at the products and they all link to other physical eCommerce stores.
I estimate they make around 5 and 7% commission per sale – no risk, just profit.
What is affiliate marketing?
When shops evolved into online mega-stores, they lost the personnel touch. Humans are social animals and people like to buy from people. We started turning to friends and social media for recommendations. And to bloggers.
Brands finally caught onto this. Originally they thought it was just famous people who had influence and concentrated on giving away freebies to the stars.
Fast forward to today and brands are reaching out to all influencers and yes that includes you – writing your first post on your beginner blog.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Affiliate marketing works by adding a unique link from your site to the product you’re promoting. If a visitor to your site clicks on the link ad buys the product within the set time frame, you earn a commission on the sale.
The amount of commission can vary widely and really depends on the type of product being sold. I’ve seen commissions ranging from 1-2% to 50%. The time frame also varies; the standard Amazon cookie lasts just 24 hours.
How do you start affiliate marketing?
When you’re a beginner blogger writing your first few posts, Amazon Associates is the best program to sign up to.
As long as you have a blog you should be eligible. Amazon will only check your suitability once you’ve made your first three sales. (It can be best to wait until you’re getting at least 1000 visitors a month as there’s a time limit on hitting your first 3 sales. Otherwise, you can end up reapplying and having to redo all your affiliate links).
The best thing about Amazon is the huge range of products. Everybody knows and trusts Amazon. There’s something to promote for every niche. The downside of Amazon is the low commissions and 24-hour cookie.
Amazon works best for blogs with good traffic. For smaller niche blogs it can be better to find products with higher commissions. Promoting downloadable ebooks and courses from other bloggers often works well.
Promote products you genuinely believe in.
When you’re recommending products your reputation is on the line as a blogger. Get this wrong by recommending products you’ve never actually used and you’ll run into trouble.
The best way to find products to promote is by searching on google. Search for the product you believe in by name and add the word affiliate. This usually works and you can ask to join the program.
Often brands use affiliate marketing networks. A number of my products are with ShareASale. This network has a vast range of products in several different categories. You need to join the network to search for brands.
Ebooks and Workbooks
Selling digital products is a great way to make money from blogging. Why? Because it’s something you’ve created. You own it and you get to control it.
With affiliate products, links might change, competition might increase and prices go up or down. Your income can change overnight and you have no control over it.
With digital products, you get to make the decisions. You can tweak prices, marketing, and positioning – it’s all down to you.
Ebooks and workbooks are some of the easiest digital products you can create as a blogger. They don’t have to be particularly long – you can think of them as an extra-long blog posts and you already have the tools to hand for production. (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, PowerPoint… any software that will allow you to export your document as a PDF).
How To Write An Ebook
Come Up With A Content Idea
Brainstorm a topic that will resonate with your readers. Better still send an email to your list asking them what they need help with.
Write Your Ebook
Don’t get too carried away producing your ebook. Keep things simple. As long as you’re providing useful information, you don’t need to worry too much about graphics and fancy software for your first ebook.
How To Sell Your Ebook
You can sell your ebook on your own blog or self-publish and sell on Amazon. Promote it everywhere. to your email list, on social media, and put banners in your sidebar.
Creating an online course is the next logical step after you’ve written and promoted your first ebook. It can often make sense to expand your ebook topic into an online course.
You do need a bit more know-how and equipment but it is possible to produce an online course on a budget.
You don’t need an expensive camera. I use the Logitech, C920 HD Pro Webcam for filming my videos and it’s perfectly adequate.
Probably the hardest part about creating your first online course is getting comfortable in front of a camera. Practice certainly makes this easier.
An online course may not be your first means of making $100 but it should be on your radar. Once you’ve gone through the learning process it’s a terrific way to make an online income.
The idea that you can make money selling printables just blows me away. Create an inspirational text graphic on Canva and sell it directly from your blog.
The opportunities with printables are only limited by your imagination. Workbooks, planners, how-to guides, recipes, digital images. These items can be so quick to produce.
How to sell printables on your blog.
First, work out what will appeal to your readers. Don’t sweat this too much. Printables are quick to make and you can find your best sellers by trial and error.
Secondly set up your printable store. You can sell your printables via a Shopify store or add links to Sendowl.
Thirdly, signup for business accounts with Stripe and Paypal, load your products, and start selling. Don’t forget to promote your printables on your blog and social media.
Coaching or Services
If you have the skills, a blog is an excellent way to attract clients for coaching or services. The growth of the internet and the blogging community has added to the opportunities.
These are just some of the possibilities:
- Virtual office manager
- Freelance Writing
- Coach or Mentor
- Bookkeeping or Accountancy
- Legal advice
- Graphic Design
- Social Media Manager
It’s quite possible that some of the skills you acquire along your blogging journey will lead to service opportunities. For example, if you can grow your own Pinterest account successfully, you can do the same for other people.
One growing area at present is group coaching – instead of coaching one-to-one, mentors are coaching small groups at a time. It’s a way of increasing revenue and lowering costs for participants.
Freelance or coaching is the best way to make some money when you first start your blog.
Product Reviews And Giveaways.
As your blog grows you may be approached by companies asking you to write product reviews. These companies will offer money and may let you keep the product.
Sounds terrific, doesn’t it?
There is a catch. It’s unlikely that companies will pay you for a bad review so the issue here is your integrity.
I suggest you make it clear that your review will be your honest opinion and that you stick to reviewing products you truly believe in. It’s a similar situation to affiliate marketing.
Just remember your reputation is important.
These are a variation of the same idea except here the company will collaborate with you to write the post.
It’s basically an advert and it’s very important to label the sponsored post clearly.
If you do accept sponsored posts I suggest you’re selective about which products you accept and keep these posts to a minimum.
This can be a very successful way of making money. Charge a modest monthly fee for access to useful material and a supportive community.
Membership sites can work for a wide variety of niches from helping to start a business, to diet and exercise.
Think of it as a form of group coaching.
Most people promoting webinars are providing them for free but there’s no reason these couldn’t be used as a means of making money.
It can be a variation on group coaching, another way of engaging and tutoring a larger audience.
Which Is The Best Way To Make Money Blogging For Beginners?
It depends. Yeah I know that’s not what you want to hear. It really does depend on so many factors.
What works for one person or one niche might not work for another.
It’s important to figure out your blogging strengths… are you creative, do you want to provide a service, do you want a high volume traffic blog or a small niche blog and how important is it that you’re not tied to office hours.
There are so many different factors that will impact how you make money.
Check Out The Competition
Note I didn’t say copy. Taking a look at how other people make money blogging in your niche will give you ideas.
If a money-making method works for them, it will probably work for you too. There’s no need to be a trailblazer. Following a well-trodden path to make money blogging is perfectly fine.
Will Most People Find It Too Hard To Make Money Blogging?
No way! It’s just that you can’t expect miracles! With blogging, the amount of effort you put in equates to how much money you can make. To be successful, you have to go about blogging the right way.
What do I mean by the right way? Keep your blog focused on your chosen niche, realize it’s going to take time and effort to build your blog, promote your blog effectively, and make sure it has a means of making money.
Many bloggers see blogging as a hobby. And that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with blogging for fun. But blogging for fun won’t make any money – unless you’re a celebrity, nobody cares about what you did last weekend or the name of your cat!
If you want to be a full-time blogger you have to write the type of posts that attract visitors to your blog. Your blogging is driven by the needs of your readers. You’re answering the questions your audience is typing into Google.
Can You Really Make Money Blogging?
It’s important to be realistic. In many ways how much money you can make from blogging will depend on your skillset. Forget the “I made $103,000 last month” headlines. A good target for new bloggers is earning around $500 – $1000 per month within their first year.
(After 18 months I started making $3000+ per month from my lifestyle blog. It’s a blog I work on part-time when I’m not teaching people how to blog on Simply Hatch. This isn’t exceptional. There are bloggers with the Mediavine ad network who are earning far more than this, but most have been blogging for a lot longer. Blogging isn’t a quick way to make money but the results can be impressive).
Achieving this type of income takes hard work and the right approach. Find a niche where you can write with authority, (something you’re knowledgeable or passionate about). Promoting your blog through social media and setting up a way of converting traffic into income.
I’m not here to put you off blogging. It’s a terrific way of making extra money from home. I just want to be clear that the big headline money takes a lot of hard work…
Conclusion – How To Make Money Blogging For Beginners
If you haven’t started a blog yet, follow my ultimate guide to start your blog quickly and easily.
When it comes to making money from your blog, writing content and growing your blog are the first steps you need to focus on.
Even small niche blogs need traffic to make money.
Because that’s what it’s all about. Maybe you enjoy blogging just for fun but I suspect that if you made money from the process it would be even better.
Choosing to make money from blogging… My lifestyle blog went from earning maybe less than $100 in the whole of the first 12 months to earning $3000+ per month just 4 months later.
Once your blog starts to make money, the rapid growth may surprise you. It certainly surprised me!