How to Make Money with a Blog

How to Make Money with a Blog

Have you ever fantasized about running your own blog? Have you ever wondered how to make money with a blog?

I certainly am no expert (…yet!), but since starting The Wealth Brick Road blog almost a year ago I’ve gained a bit of insight into the world of blogging and felt I had enough content to share at this point.

So if you’re eager to start your own blog here’s a few things I’ve learned over the past year.

HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH A BLOG

First and foremost (as this is a personal finance blog) I’ll address the money aspect of blogging…it’s rough at the start!

If you’re really interested in how to make money with a blog I highly suggest you check out Wealthy Affiliate. This is a forum dedicated to teaching you how to earn money online via blogs/websites that starts from scratch. It provides access to a great community that is extremely supportive. You are allowed to try it out absolutely FREE, so the start up costs are minimal!!

There are definitely bloggers out there who completely crush it in terms of earning money from their blog, but the vast majority of bloggers earn little to nothing to start. The bad news is it’s very difficult (especially when starting out) to generate any revenue. The great news is it doesn’t cost that much to set up a basic blog. From my own personal blog income statement I have without question spent more than I’ve earned but it’s totally been worth it.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to earn income from a blog, especially if you’re passionate about your topic and provide quality content to your audience. Unsurprisingly, some of my favourite blogs (Mr. Money Mustache, Rock Star Finance, Smart Passive Income) are managed by people who earn a living from blogging, however, their passion for writing and blogging put them in the money, and not the other way around.

I’m also a huge fan of what I like to call “indie blogs”. These are those blogs in my back pocket I like to visit and feel cool about because they haven’t blown up yet (Retire 29, Messy Money). The thing is a lot of these blogs have a decent following, however, even if only a couple people showed up on their blog doorstep they’d still produce amazing articles. These bloggers are all driven by passion, not cash.

A full-time blogger, J-Money (Rock Star Finance, Budgets Are Sexy), who also helps coach other bloggers, had this to say in regards to blogging:

“As a blogging coach, I never help people who are only in it for the money. For one, there are PLENTY of other ways to make money – and faster – than starting a blog from scratch. I don’t think I made my first $1.00 until at least 6 months in. Secondly, you really have to be passionate about whatever subject you’re blogging about because you’ll be spending a looooooooot of time writing about it. And marketing it. And then writing again and marketing again. And going to conferences and networking and meeting people online and meeting people offline and just spending a ton of time talking and writing about whatever it is you love :) Much better to start a site as a hobby, and if you happen to get lucky you can focus more on it then. Nothing wrong at all sharing your thoughts just for fun!”

Eventually, once your passion has provided you with a substantial audience base there are a lot of different ways to earn (ad revenue, affiliate programs, your own products). The Penny Hoarder blog did a very in depth article on how to earn money with a blog.

YOU WILL SCREW UP…HORRIBLY

Did anyone try and visit my blog back on November 24, 2014? I hope not because I crashed it!

I had a brilliant idea of trying to move some unimportant paragraph spacing around and during this venture I put the site out of commission for a good 8 hours until I figured out how to fix my mistake.

I’ve screwed up a ton on this blog, and I still have a lot of things I’d like to improve, but the process of working on something that I own is a great reward.

SET REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS

Before the blog went live I wrote down a list of goals I wanted to accomplish in the first year of the blog. Most of my expectations were in regards to the number of monthly blog visitors, number of articles I would write and guest posts I would publish on other blogs.

Within the first 2 months of the blog I had surpassed my blog visitor target (more so due to a low expectation than high volume!). This was a huge encouragement for me to see people would actually read the blog…and come back as well. Hitting my target was a huge encouragement for me to keep going. While the number wasn’t astronomically high, it was enough to make me feel a minor success.

Moving forward my goals are oriented towards staying consistent with my contributions to the blog. The main benefits for me with this blog are meeting people that are interested in personal finance and staying sharp and up to date on financial topics.

YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE

The best way to promote your blog is to promote other similar blogs. There are countless ways in which you can do this, but the important bit is to network with similar minded bloggers.

I was amazed at the support I received once I reached out to a few large bloggers. While I had very little to offer them, since I was just starting out, they were very helpful because they had once been starting out too.

While it may appear these people are my competition it doesn’t feel or work that way. From my experience to date I have yet to receive a rude or intimated response from any of the bloggers I’ve reached out to. These bloggers have been a great source of inspiration for me and I look forward to paying it forward in the future.

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16 comments

  1. It’s so true that blogging takes time and effort with a bunch of trial and error along the way. This is my second bridal blog, and I utilized all of my knowledge from the first to gain traffic so much more quickly with the second. I think if I were to begin another, it would be even quicker because I’ve learned so much more; however, it still takes time to build traffic to make any worthwhile income with ads. I checked Analytics this morning and was shocked when I saw the amount of traffic I’m finally getting after a year with this blog. I have so many hopes for the future and the years to come, but I love what I do. Every milestone is just another reason to keep going and continuing to grow something I enjoy immensely.
    Corinna recently posted…Cassi & Cody’s Summer Wedding in CanadaMy Profile

    • Jonny

      Congrats Corinna – it’s great to hear how you’ve progressed over time.
      It’s obvious you’ve found your passion and it’s fueling you to some well deserved success.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thanks for the plug, Jonny. We’re a lot alike in many ways. I’m still trying to get the hang of this whole blogging thing, now just over 50 posts in. I’m almost at a point where my adsense revenue will pay for the hosting/registration fees, but so far it’s been a money-losing proposition, but incredibly rewarding.

    I hope you’re right that one day my blog “blows up,” but I’m guessing we’ll reach that point about the same time.

    Take it easy! I was gonna nominate you for Liebster, as I was nominated and I have to pass it on. Instead I’ll hit up MessyMoney. Thanks!

    Eric

  3. HAH! Great article man. Thx for including me in it too. Another thing to keep in mind is that you can get quit caught up behind a computer 24/7 with the online world (it never sleeps!) so it’s important to make sure you’re living an actual life offline as well. Rather than writing about life all the time… I get stuck on this myself many times and it blows. There’s many more ways to gain “success” than just from $$.

    • Jonny

      I probably would have quit 10x over by now if it was based on the financial success of this blog!
      Thanks for the contribution and glad you could be a part of the article!

  4. This was an interesting read Jonny (as always).

    One of the best parts about your blog is that you are doing good public service that helps the wider community by educating them about financial matters. I am moving back to Canada this summer, and will definitely be re-reading several of your posts to assist with purchasing a home, saving for my kids education, etc.

    Keep up the great work buddy! It is appreciated.

  5. Ah cheers Jonny! Thanks for the mention. I am definitely not in for the money and that is a good thing because if I was I would be starving or would have quit ages ago. I find the whole PF blogoshere fascinating – it has its own social ecosystem. That has been the most surprising (and delightful) thing about blogging I think.
    It is a lot of work though and I have taken some extended breaks but I there are days I wish I could blog full time. I have learned a lot and don’t regret it.
    Keep up the good work here and thanks again.
    May @ Messy Money recently posted…Got Stress?My Profile

    • Jonny

      Thanks May – I always enjoy swinging by your blog to see what you’re writing about.
      I hear you on the extended breaks – it’s nice sometimes to take a breather and come back refreshed!

  6. There is a wealth of knowledge here. This is might first attempt at it. I have never been a man of many words, it’s all there in my head I know the point I’m trying to get across but I just a can’t capture all my thoughts.

    • Jonny

      Hey Demetris – I checked out your site and LOVED the video.
      It’s crazy to see where you started to where you are now.
      Ya, writing still stumps me a lot too, but the more I keep at it the easier I find it becomes.
      Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Indeed, when trying to use a blog to make money, you need to be prepared to fail multiple times. The important part is working through the failure, and continuing to try. There is a saying we use based on this, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try try again”.

  8. good information on how to make money with websites!

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