How to Make Money Blogging (A Free Guide for Beginners)

Do you love writing and want to make some extra cash? Then blogging might be the perfect opportunity to generate a steady income while doing what you love.

If you’ve only ever worked 9-to-5 jobs and have never had your own business, making money from blogging might seem impossible.

However, with the right tools and technologies, a blog can bring in thousands of dollars every month, so with time, it can surely become a full-time job.

Not to mention that blogging offers a plethora of benefits, such as working from home or remotely and at your own pace.

Although you’ll need to dedicate time, effort, resources, and a lot of research, running a successful blog is extremely rewarding.

The first thing to do is to start a blog. 

After that, you’ll need to grow your audience, foster an engaged community, and use effective strategies to make money from it.

This step-by-step guide explains how to make money blogging, expand your following, and grow your blog, whether you’re looking for a side hustle or want to make a living from blogging. 

Table of Contents

1. Set Up Your Own Self-Hosted Blog

The first thing you need to do if you’re a beginner and want to make money by blogging, is to start your self-hosted blog.

There are a lot of open-source content management systems on the market that you can use to set up your blog, but WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform.

You need to follow these five easy steps to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog.

Step 1. Get a host and start a blog

Your website “lives” on a web host. 

Even though it’s yours, you have to pay a small fee to keep it online.

Think of it like this: if you owned a property, you’d have to pay taxes to the government. This works in a similar way.

SiteGround, for example, is one of the fastest and most secure web hosts on the internet, providing excellent customer care 24 hours a day.

SiteGround
Source: SiteGround

Step 2. Register a domain

After you’ve bought your host, the next step in the process of setting up your blog is to register a domain name.

The domain name is the URL address that you’ll need to access your website.

You can register your domain directly on SiteGround, which offers this service for free. 

However, if you want to register your domain name with another service and need to host it, you’ll have to transfer your domain registration or point your name servers to the host.

Choosing a domain name for your blog can be difficult, especially since the internet is already flooded with cool domain names.

However, remember that the branding and story you create around your blog are far more important than the domain itself.

There are a few tips that you can keep in mind when choosing your domain name:

  • Keep it short and sweet. No one will remember a long or fluffy URL.
  • Register a .com URL. While it may be more expensive to pick a .com URL, it’s more stable and gives you more authority.
  • Avoid adding numbers or symbols. You want to pick a domain name that is straightforward and your readers will easily remember.
  • Think of a catchy name that is also unique. You don’t want to choose a domain name that already exists, so do your research beforehand and get creative. 

Step 3. Install WordPress

Now that you’ve got a host and registered your domain name, the next step to begin your blogging journey is to install WordPress.

WordPress is one of the best content management systems because it’s easy to use, rapid, and accessible.

You have two options when you get to this step.

You can install WordPress through your web host (SiteGround does this for all their plans). 

Otherwise, you’ll have to download the software from WordPress.org and then upload it to a server. 

Keep in mind that using WordPress.org differs from creating a free WordPress.com blog.

Step 4. Choose a theme

After you’ve gone through all the technical aspects of setting up your blog, you can finally get to this fun and exciting step: choosing a theme for your blog.

This aspect of your blog is the first thing your visitors see. Therefore, personalizing it to your brand is crucial, as it increases your chances of expanding your audience.

SiteGround, for example, has its own starter plugin which offers a wealth of free themes to choose from.

Moreover, purchasing a theme for your site makes a significant impact, giving your blog flair and a competitive edge.

Lastly, make sure your blog theme is not only visually appealing but also has a responsive design that works well across different devices and screen resolutions.

Step 5. Log in and start blogging

Now that you’ve gone through all these steps, all you have left to do is log in and start producing content for your blog.

Go to the left-hand column and click “Posts,” then “Add New”. 

Create a title for your new blog and some articles, and you’re ready to go!

2. Choose the Right Blogging Niche for a Profitable Blog

Choose the right blogging niche (a profitable one)

When choosing a niche for your blog, my advice is to start with your hobbies and interests. 

After all, you’ll be putting a lot of time and effort into this, naturally, it will be easier if you enjoy the subject matter.

Suppose you’re serious about making money by blogging. 

In that case, you’ll need to consider topics that people are interested in reading about, which will also be financially sustainable in the long run.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right blogging niche to ensure you’ll be making money from blogging:

  • Your interests. While the internet is already awash with content about everything and anything, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Blogging about something you care about will be more enjoyable for you and will enhance your chances of making money.
  • Potential audience. After choosing your topic, you need to think of your audience. Look up what people are searching for to find blog post ideas. Your blog should help your audience or solve their problems, so try to provide answers through your interests. Is there a demand to learn about your niche?
  • Profitability. If you plan to make money from blogging, you need to consider a niche that offers financial opportunities. You might be passionate about a specific topic, but if that blog niche is not popular in search engines like Google and doesn’t have economic potential, you should probably go back to the drawing board and re-orient somewhere else.

3. Improve Your Content Writing Skills

If you want to make money blogging, you need to be a skilled writer, there are no two ways around it.

Needless to say, a passion for writing will also serve you well. Luckily, there are many strategies you can employ to improve your skills:

  • Write regularly. Like any other competence, writing can also be mastered with practice. You can exercise by writing blog posts, social media posts, comments on articles, and so on.
  • Keep it simple. Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter, so keep your writing concise and avoid fluffy wording.
  • Write about something that people want to read. Great blog content ideas can come from anywhere, you can’t go wrong if you listen to your audience.
  • Always check for grammar and proofread your content. There is nothing more disappointing than lousy grammar in a good piece of writing.
  • Do your research. A good piece of content is always well-researched. Regardless of the topic you’re writing about, educate yourself on the subject first and double-check the relevant information. 
  • Optimize your content for SEO. An excellent writer needs to keep up with all the SEO technologies to ensure the content ranks highly in search engines.
  • After writing a piece of content, promote it on social media. This will increase the authority of your content and its ranking on Google, while helping you practice your content writing skills.
  • Identify your most productive hours. Writing is a creative activity, so figure out your peak times and try to do as much as you can during those hours.

4. Choose a Traffic Source (Google Search or Facebook)

If you’re new to the game and want to know how to make money as a blogger, you’re probably asking yourself, “How many traffic sources do I need?” or “How do I choose a traffic source for my first blog”?

The answer is you only need one traffic source that works for your content that you can optimize.

There are many traffic tactics available that can bring valuable traffic to your blog. However, data says that Google and Facebook are the most powerful in this arena, as most traffic for written content comes from them.

Distribution of Referral traffic sources by topic
Source: Statista

So now, how do you get them to send you traffic?

You have two options here.

You can pay for traffic, although this isn’t necessarily your best option since your objective is to start a blog and make money with it.

The second option is to think organically.

If your niche is about something that people talk about regularly on Facebook, such as travel, parenting, or cooking, you should focus on Facebook.

If you write about topics that people usually search for on Google, such as specific industry themes, guides, or how-to information, you should focus on SEO.

You can do both for most niches, but one will usually prove to give better results. If that is the case, concentrate on the dominant one.

5. Grow Your Email List With Pop-Ups to Promote Your Blog

If you want to learn how to make money by blogging, you’ll need dedicated followers who appreciate your content and always come back to read more.

You need to build and grow an email list for your blog to do this.

When a reader signs up to receive emails from your blog, you gain permission to contact them in their inbox.

One of the most successful methods of encouraging blog readers to join your mailing list is to use pop-up boxes.

However, remember that you need to provide them value if you want them to give you their email address.

Offer your readers different incentives, such as:

  • Free templates
  • Free checklists
  • Resources or recommended products/services
  • Studies, charts, or statistics
Moz blog CTA module

Once they’ve signed up, continue to grow and nurture that relationship by sending them regular emails with educational or entertaining content, depending on your niche. 

This way, you’ll create a strong community of people interested in buying the services and products you recommend.

6. Build a Community Around Your Brand

Growing and nurturing a community by sending regular emails is only one technique you need to implement to make real money through blogging.

If you want to have a successful blog that you can monetize, you need to create a story around your brand and build a community interested in your story.

Of course, it takes time to grow your blog and establish a solid and engaged brand community.

Nevertheless, with patience and commitment to providing something of value to your readers, you can grow a community which will be extremely rewarding in the long run.

You need to think of the following things when building a community around your brand:

Keep your community involved

Give your readers a voice in your brand community by constantly asking for feedback on how to improve your content.

People who believe they have a direct say in the content they consume, and the general direction of the brand they support, are more likely to participate in your community. 

This increases the chances of readers sharing your content on their social channels or mentioning it to their friends.

You can keep your community involved and open up a dialogue by finishing your articles with a question they can answer.

You can also create a Facebook group to share ideas, feedback, and questions.

Give your community value

To increase your community, you must provide value to your readers and give them a purpose.

Try to adapt your content based on the feedback you collect from your community. 

If they know they’ll find answers or advice on your blog, they’ll keep coming back and engage with your content more.

In time, this will position you as an industry expert.

Provide a sense of belonging

Beyond keeping your community involved and providing them with high-quality and valuable content, you also need to make them feel that they belong.

People are naturally drawn to communities where they feel seen and appreciated.

You can nurture the feeling of belonging in several ways, such as responding to comments/questions, hosting live events, or reposting user-generated content.

Community page on SocialMediaToday (SMT)

7. Create a Membership Community

Another way to monetize a blog is to form a membership community.

We already mentioned the importance of creating a solid community that is genuinely interested in your brand.

Let’s imagine the following scenario: you have a small blog that only generates a few dozen or hundreds of visits each week, but you have managed to establish a strong community.

Provide community access to your most engaged readers and ask for a small fee in return. 

This kind of online community is usually just a set of forums where people can communicate.

You may not receive a large sum of money at first, but if you have a couple of members paying a monthly subscription, it can rapidly add up.

Social Media Examiner’s society page
Source: Social Media Examiner’s society

8. Start Monetizing Your Blog With Affiliate Programs

Affiliate marketing is the advertising practice of earning money by recommending products or services on your blog to your readers.

This advertising technique is pretty straightforward: the affiliate earns a commission after someone clicks on a unique link affiliated with the recommendation, and proceeds with the purchase.

If you want to adopt this way of generating revenue, you need to consider turning your blog into an educational hub. 

This way, you’ll gain your readers’ trust and increase the likelihood of them making purchases through your blog.

Affiliate marketing does not require you to produce your own services or goods. 

You can connect with an established eCommerce company and act as a virtual intermediate for them. 

There are a lot of affiliate networks you can join, such as ShareASale or AWIN.

While signing up for affiliate marketing programs may not be hard, you still need to find the right products and services to promote.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when opting for an affiliate program:

  • Choose products that are of interest to your audience. You don’t want your audience to lose interest in your blog because you insert irrelevant links or banners.
  • Provide value. Remember that your blog’s purpose is to help your audience, and the affiliate links you include should serve the same goal.
  • Don’t be overly promotional. People don’t like when they’re bombarded with aggressive advertising. Find the sweet spot between providing real value and suggesting products to your community.
What is affiliate marketing

Source: Smart Passive Income

9. Sell Freelance Services on Your Blog

Another effective way of making money blogging for beginners (and not only) is to start freelancing.

While freelancing presents its challenges, it can also be rewarding and highly profitable if done right.

The content marketing industry is still compelling. 

In fact, according to Hubspot, 90% of marketers using content marketing planned to invest the same amount in the channel in 2023.

As a blogger, you’re already perceived as an authority in your field. As a freelancer, you’ll be making money by offering your skills and selling your expertise.

Freelancing is a great way to make money online because it doesn’t involve any financial investment. 

You can begin by selling your services to your current clientele and grow this aspect of your business through positive reviews and referrals.

All you have to do is find the best way for you to invoice your work and receive payments from your clients.

10. Start Making Money Blogging by Selling Ads With Google Adsense

One of the most straightforward ways of making money by blogging is selling ads.

Similar to physical banners or billboards companies invest in to market their ads, blogs can serve the same function.

However, your blog needs to meet some criteria if you want to generate income from selling ads:

  • It needs to generate enough organic traffic
  • It needs to have content that converts
  • It needs to have a strong and dedicated community
  • You need to have a decent email list

After you’ve made sure that your blog meets these conditions, here’s how you can make money online by selling ads on your blog.

The easiest way to do this is through Google AdSense, a tool that allows you to insert ads on your website. 

google adsense

Google then fills in the blanks with ads relevant to your blog and site’s visitors. 

When those ads are viewed or clicked, you get paid. 

The amount of blog income you get through Google AdSense depends on the following:

The organic traffic levels your blog generates

This criteria is probably the most intuitive one.

On top of creating high-quality content, you need to find ways to generate a decent amount of organic traffic.

The more you drive traffic to your blog, the more money you can make from AdSense because more people navigate your site and click on the ads you placed throughout your content.

Making your blog profitable with strategic ad placements

The placement of ads on your blog is crucial if you want to generate a decent income from blog advertising.

You need to place your ads strategically: they have to be visible but not too overbearing because people don’t like excessively promotional content.

However, remember that there is no secret formula for ad placements.

Usually, ads placed above the fold, as opposed to the footer or sidebar, perform better.

However, this doesn’t mean that they will automatically perform best this way for your blog. 

This is why it’s crucial to conduct regular A/B tests to determine which ad placement gets clicked the most. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the ads’ overall look. Try to design them as branded as possible so that they fit your overall brand identity.

You can use your branded colors to make them cohesive with your blog, but don’t forget that they still need to catch the reader’s attention.

11. Make Money by Selling Your Own Products or Services

We already mentioned that joining affiliate programs or selling ads are great ways to start monetizing your blog, but it’s also important to consider their downsides.

When you sell ad space on your blog, you only receive a small portion of the money since most of it goes to the advertising company.

To minimize financial losses and maximize profits, consider developing and marketing your products or services that you sell through your blog.

Of course, this isn’t as simple as it seems. 

Like any other way of generating income, it takes time and effort to create products that clients would pay for.

However, it’s one of the most effective approaches for growing a long-term digital business and making money from your blog.

Selling your own products increases your profits, and you’ll know that all the work you put in to increase traffic will result in more sales.

You can sell physical products or digital ones, but no matter what you decide on, you should still answer these questions:

  • What kind of product should I create?
  • What products or services would my audience be interested in?
  • How can I test my products or services before putting them into production?
  • How much should I ask for my products/services?

The purpose of selling products or services is to generate income, so think about what your audience would be interested in buying.

The products you decide to create and the content you produce need to create a cohesive brand story.

Beyond digital products (such as online courses or ebooks) which we’ll get to later in the article, you can also craft products that don’t cost you much money to produce, such as handmade products or merchandise.

Take Kaito Ridge for example, who is a food blogger passionate about maple syrup. He also has a shop on his website, selling products for making maple syrup.

KaitoRidge Homepage

12. Offer Online Courses and Workshops to Generate Income

We talked about the importance of selling goods and services on your blog as an additional passive income stream.

If this doesn’t resonate with you or you can’t sell physical products, you can always turn to digital products, and online courses or workshops are a great way to make money blogging.

If you’re a blogger and generate decent organic traffic, you’re already perceived as an industry expert.

Try to collate all your knowledge and expertise into an online course or workshop and then sell it to your audience.

Remember to create additional materials that might help your audience understand the information you’re delivering better, such as graphs, infographics, PDFs, templates, lists, etc.

You’ll also have to consider whether or not you want to offer personalized support for your courses. 

Some websites provide two versions of each course: a free version with no help and a paid version with email support.

Online courses and workshops can offer one-time income or constant revenue through subscriptions, depending on the business model you adopt.

Another advantage of this type of digital product is that they’re very versatile. You can create online courses for any topic or niche.

Take a look at how Neil Patel does it.

Neil Patel's online courses

He offers several digital marketing training courses on various topics.

13. Sell Consulting/Coaching Services to Make Money With a Blog Online

If you have good communication skills and you’re a people person, you can also consider making money from blogging by offering consulting or coaching services.

A consultant or coach provides expertise and knowledge in order to help clients achieve their business goals.

A huge advantage of this money-making technique is that it doesn’t require an initial investment on your part.

If you already have a steady community, you can start this process by offering consultancy or coaching services on your blog.

You have to develop a website with a form for users to fill out to seek further information.

This way, you can use your blog as a portfolio and sell your expertise as a service.

After a while, you can take this online business model to the next level when you’ve gathered enough individual clients and established a good reputation as a consultant/coach.

You could offer group services like conferences, public speaking events, and webinars.

Dr. Natalia Wiechowski, for instance, is a LinkedIn coach and trainer, personal branding expert, and bilingual keynote speaker.

She offers coaching, a combination of consulting and coaching for LinkedIn business and individual pages.

14. Sell Books and E-books on Your Blog to Generate Income

Finally, an excellent means of making extra cash through your blog is to produce and sell books and e-books.

If you’re a beginner blogger, you may think that writing a book or e-book is something that only seasoned bloggers can do.

However, if you’ve been blogging for a while and have some written content up your sleeve, you can compile all of your material and turn it into book chapters.

Coming up with digital products is a great way of experimenting with repurposing content, which is an important practice for writers. This enables them to reinvent their existing content and reach a broader audience.

There are a lot of accessible and easy-to-use graphic design platforms on the market, such as Canva, that you can use to create a cover or a PDF version of your e-book.

Take Maria Killam as an example. She is a decorator and stylist who sells a variety of e-books on her website.

an example of selling ebooks

Conclusion: How to Make Money Blogging

And there you have it! A complete guide that explains all the tactics a beginner could need to make money from blogging.

If you’re a passionate writer, starting your own blog is an excellent idea that can generate passive income, but only if you treat it like a business.

There is a massive difference between simply owning a blog and monetizing it.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with starting your blog as a passion or side hobby.

However, if you’re serious about generating a substantial income from it, you need to do your research, practice, up-skill, and put in a lot of work.

Blogging is an incredible way to interact with people who share similar interests while getting paid in the process.

This article is a great starting point for anyone who wants to embark on this journey and start earning money by blogging.

If you want to leverage social media for your blog’s success, read this article on how to use Pinterest for blogging next.

FAQ

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to create a blog and make money from it for beginners, let’s see what the most frequently asked questions are.

Should I start a blog in 2024?

Yes, creating a blog in 2024 can be a great way to share your expertise and build a personal brand. There are many reasons to start a blog: you can generate passive income, network with like-minded individuals, improve your writing skills, and take advantage of the growing online audience and digital economy. You can start a blog for free and in time figure out how to make it more attractive to make money with blogging.

How do beginner bloggers earn money?

This step-by-step guide puts together plenty of practices you can put into action to make money as a blogger, even if you’re just starting out.

However, you must be aware that it can take some time to earn a full-time income if you’re just beginning. As previously mentioned, one of the quickest and most effective ways to monetize your blog is to display ads.

Bloggers can also offer advising and coaching services to earn considerable revenue in the early stages. Naturally, traffic levels are lower in the first months, therefore converting loyal visitors into consumers with a higher-priced offer is logical.

Bloggers can add affiliate links, digital products, and ads to their blogs if they have a stable stream of consultancy money and increased visitors.

Is blogging a good way to make money?

Like any other profession or industry, making serious money from blogging is not a task that everyone can pull off.

The reality is that most bloggers don’t earn enough money from blogging to support themselves and use it as a side hustle. Making a lot of money out of blogging depends on a variety of things. You need to be a skilled writer and have knowledge and expertise in the niche you choose for your blog.

Then, you must dedicate time, effort, and resources to grow your blog into a successful one that generates a steady income. It all depends on your patience and perseverance.

It’s just as tough to start a blog from scratch as to establish a small business or online store. It takes the same amount of time and work to start your own cafe, software company, or accounting firm, for example.

However, if you decide that you want to monetize a blog and do your research, results will come in time, and it can become extremely profitable.

What is the fastest way to make money blogging?

Building a profitable blog takes a long while, but the fastest way to make money from a blog would be through displaying ads and affiliate marketing.

These are generally considered to be the easiest methods for monetization and are how most beginners usually start earning money from their blogs.

That being said, you cannot expect to see large amounts of money flowing in immediately with either of these income streams.

How much money can you make from blogging?

Similar to other industries, bloggers generate different amounts depending on their niche, authority, dedication, and many other variables.

Some bloggers don’t generate an income at all, some of them generate just enough to supplement their salary, and the big dogs can make $100,000 per month.

At the end of the day, you can expect to make as much income as the effort and time you’re willing to devote to this business.

Many new bloggers lose interest during the first year of blogging and give up because they don’t see immediate results and become demotivated.
The amount of money you’ll make through blogging is determined by the amount of traffic you receive, the monetization tactics you adopt, and the amount of work you put in.

Check out this 2018 ProBlogger survey regarding blog owners’ monthly earnings to get a clearer picture:

– Almost 38% of bloggers make less than $10
– 25% of bloggers earn between $10 and $99
– 17% of bloggers earn between $100 and $499
– 7% earn between $500 and $999
– 9% earn between $1,000 and $9,999
– 4% earn $10,000 or higher

How many views do you need to make money as a blogger?

There’s a lot of misunderstanding around how many page views are required to make money blogging. And the truth is no one can give you a definite answer to that.

However, if you have no idea what you’re doing or how to run a business with a blog, you could have tons of page views every month and only make a few hundred dollars.

On the other hand, a seasoned pro who knows exactly what they’re doing could quickly get 50,000 monthly pageviews and earn $10,000 each month from blogging.

According to the Busy Budgeter, if you have more than 100,000 monthly pageviews on your blog (in total, not unique), you can consider turning blogging into a full-time job.

However, this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll earn income from your blog every time you hit 100,000 pageviews.

How long does it take to start making money from your blog content?

How quickly you start making money depends on many factors that we already mentioned, such as how hard you work to obtain this goal.

Don’t expect it to happen overnight if you want to make money from blogging. There are bloggers who only succeed in producing tiny amounts of money right after starting their blog, while others don’t earn any money even after months or years of blogging.

There’s no simple way to predict when you’ll start making money, but usually, you should be able to earn an income after the first six months. Moreover, those who work hard and stick to a plan are most likely to see positive results quickly.

What type of blogs make the most money?

Here’s a list of the top 10 types of blogs that make the most money:

– Fashion
– Food
– Sports
– Travel
– Lifestyle
– Parenting
– Gaming
– B2B/Marketing
– Health and Fitness

If you’re passionate about at least one of these niches, you’re lucky. You can start making money through your expertise. However, if you’re not into any of these categories, don’t worry. There are a host of other profitable blog types out there for you to explore.

Are there any free tools I can use to improve my blog’s performance and monetization?

Yes, there are several free tools available, such as Google Analytics for tracking website traffic and audience behavior, Canva for creating visually appealing graphics, Mailchimp for email marketing, and WordPress for building and managing your blog.

How can guest blogging help me make money from my blog?

Guest blogging is a great method to make money blogging and get more online writing opportunities. It helps with expanding your reach, driving traffic back to your own blog, and establishing your authority in your niche.

Additionally, it can lead to new blogging business opportunities, collaborations, and potential monetization avenues as you connect with other bloggers and influencers in your industry.

Article by

Nikola Baldikov

Nikola Baldikov is an SEO magician with a passion for helping companies succeed in their online efforts. He is a founder of Inbound Blogging, where he specializes in SaaS marketing, SEO, and outreach strategies. In addition to his work, he is an avid football fan and loves to dance.

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