Business & Blogging

How to Start a Money Making Blog (The Right Way)

Few blogs are profitable, because they skip right over the important stuff. Here’s how to start a blog and make money…for REAL. Proven tips from a full-time blogger!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

I've read hundreds of "How to Start a Blog" posts, but this one is by far the BEST one out there! She offers real tips to get started, {not just technical know-how}, and even includes how to create your own blog mission statement—something I never thought of before! I'm definitely saving up for the course she mentions at the end. It's exactly what I need to take my blog to the next level! #howtoblog #howtobeablogger #fulltimeblogger #protips #moneymakingblog #workfromhome

Back when blogging was purely a hobby, no one ever really thought about ever making money with it….at least not that I knew of anyway.

Bloggers started writing because they wanted to update their family after moving away, or chronicle improvements to their first home. Most of them had no idea they could actually monetize what they were doing!

Flash forward to 2016, and blogging is now an incredibly profitable profession. You’ll see earnings anywhere from a couple hundred dollars a month, all the way up to six figures, and hundreds of blogs start every single day to cash in on the potential profits.

But there’s also a lot of blogs that fail.

They don’t make it past the first 3 months, and many quit before they’ve reached a full year. That’s because blogging is not easy money. It’s HARD work that requires huge sacrifices without a whole lot of reward….at least at first. But if you stick with it, I promise you’ll see results.

Right now, I earn a full-time income with KalynBrooke.com (previously Creative Savings), which supports both my husband and myself. But it wasn’t always that way.

I also had two blogs that completely failed and didn’t bring in a penny. Even though I felt totally defeated at the time, I learned many valuable lessons along the way, that ultimately helped me make this blog a smashing success.

So what’s made the biggest difference between those two blogs and this one?

In my own experience, I’ve found three crucially defining elements that set money making blogs apart from hobby blogs. So, if you want to start a blog that makes money too, you must do these things first—no excuses!

1. Identify Your Mission

A mission statement might sound too corporate for a blog, but if you want to make money, you need to treat your blog like a business from day one. And that, my friend, starts with a detailed mission statement!

Think of a mission statement as the foundation to absolutely everything you do. It defines who you are, what you want to write about, and who should read your blog.

If you’re not sure what to include in a mission statement, the following template makes this SUPER easy. This 2-page worksheet includes five core elements needed in every blog mission statement, and asks specific questions to help you create and hone your core message.

DOWNLOAD THE MISSION STATEMENT WORKSHEET HERE

After you’ve filled out your mission statement, hang it where you’ll see it every day. Remember, this is the foundation to your entire blogging business, so keep your mission statement handy and reference often!

2. Build the Right Framework

Next, you need to set up an online space for your blog. A self-hosted WordPress website is essential to professional blogging and is what I always recommend. Free options might sound enticing, but they do way more harm than good. Trust me on this!

Here are the ONLY two hosting companies I would ever use for my site: {This is after trying about 5 different ones—ha!}

  • Bluehost: Bluehost is insanely cheap, which makes it the perfect option if you’re just starting out. Plus, they’re not overly technical. Bluehost walks you through everything from start to finish, and the entire process only takes about 15 minutes to set up with a super easy one-click WordPress install. Read more about why I recommend Bluehost HERE, and use my step-by-step guide to get started. Psst…you get a FREE domain name too!

  • BigScoots – When you start bringing in more money and traffic, you will want to consider a dedicated host with extra bandwidth for those viral posts. I highly recommend BigScoots Managed WordPress option starting at $34.95/month. It’s what I use and my site loads sooo fast! Anytime I’ve had a problem (which is rare!), I can get a hold of someone 24/7/365.

A host might not seem like a big deal, but it can literally make or break your website. You want to place your blog in the best of hands!

Once you have your blog set up, it’s time to choose a theme. A theme is like a blueprint for your new WordPress site. It provides a sidebar, navigation menu, and other important widgets you need for your site to function properly.

  • Of course, you can always hire someone to do a custom theme for you, but expect to spend between $500-$3,000 for a professional design.

Now you’re set up to completely rock the blogging world with a professional website!

3. Create the Right Content

The final and most important element is to fill in your framework with mind-blowing content.

Maybe you’ve heard other bloggers talk about this before, and you’d rather roll your eyes and gloss over this part. Please don’t! Because it’s not just about creating quality content, it’s about creating the right content.

The right content is:

  1. Extremely valuable – a.k.a. lots of tips and unique tricks!
  2. Has viral potential – overpromises AND overdelivers. It’s not clickbait, but rather a juicy filled post that’s as good as it’s headline.
  3. Leaves readers begging for more – when you write in an engaging way, readers can’t help but fall in love with your personality. Share your stories, and your quirks. Be awesomely you.

I want you to write down 25 different post ideas based on the core mission you defined in step #1. What problem keep your readers up at night that only YOU can solve for them?

Then flesh these ideas out based on the three elements of right content. These are the posts that belong on your blog, and will show everything you have to offer!

laptop-and-flowers

One Final Thought

It’s not enough to *hope* that you’ll make money with your blog, even if you start with that initial goal in mind. You either REALLY want it or you don’t.

A ho-hum commitment of 2-5 hours a week will never yield results, and any results you do have, will take years for you to earn more than a pennies.

I hate to say that, but it’s not because I don’t think you can do it, it’s because I know you can. You just need to be willing to put in the time and effort to help you get there. And I promise, if you’re willing to do the work now, you will absolutely love the payoff later!

Are You Ready to Start a Blog?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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22 Comments

  1. Thanks for the hosting recommendation of Servously! It’s about time for me to upgrade from Bluehost, but I’ve put it off because I can’t seem to find anyone reasonably priced enough for a better quality of service. Looking forward to your behind the scenes newsletter, too! Keep up the great work, Kalyn!

    1. Thanks so much for your support, Kristen! Your blog will be in excellent hands if you choose to go with Servously. A growing blog is SUPER exciting!

  2. This is inspiring on so many levels; and I’m definitely going to work through your suggestions for crafting a mission statement. It’s LONG overdue for me, but I think it’ll be so essential to my blog’s success this year! Thanks, friend. {Pinned.}

    1. I found that a mission statement made a HUGE difference in my confidence levels too — it’s like I knew exactly what I wanted to write about, and made my decision making in terms of topics and such a whole lot easier. Cheering you on, friend!

  3. Great post, lots of helpful information! I never thought about writing a mission statement for my blog.

    I don’t see where to sign up to receive your checklist though :o(

    Tania

  4. Kalyn, I know there are gobs of web articles out there intended to inspire novice bloggers, but your article just hit me in the right way, at the right time. I studied every word of the “Identify Your Mission” section, and literally watched the Ted Talk and identified my own mission, step by step. I feel incredibly refreshed and encouraged as I labor on this mission – and for me, my blog is a mission. I’m VERY determined and your post offered me the reinforcement I needed that if I don’t give up, I will succeed. Thanks for writing such a practical, valuable post.

    1. Thank you, Elsie. You’re right that there is so much blogging information out there! I’m honored that you took the time to read through my post and leave such an encouraging comment! I hope the reinforcement you received will keep you motivated even through the days when words just don’t seem to flow.

  5. Thank you for the fantastic article and information. I feel like I’ve read a hundred articles on how to start a blog yours really clicked with me. I’ve felt very overwhelmed with starting a blog and hoping I’m not crazy for wanting to do this. My 4 little boys may have something to do with that overwhelming feeling though. haha. Anyway, you put the information in just the right way for me to feel like I CAN do this and I feel like I have some clarity in my thoughts today. I have my ‘homework’ for the next few days. I have some of the work done, but I’m struggling with my exact mission and finding the ‘right’ content. I don’t want to do it the wrong way! So thank you for your great advice.

    1. I’m so glad this was helpful for you, Amy! I was frustrated with a lot of those articles too, which was why I really wanted to write my own. ๐Ÿ™‚ And you are NOT crazy. Depending on the niche, I think your boys will inspire a lot of great blog topics!

      Also, don’t worry about getting the mission perfect the first time. The key is to at least have an idea to start, so you have a clear direction of what your first few months worth of blog content will look like. I like to think of my posts as the spokes on my “mission wheel”. Your mission will most likely evolve with you over time, but having one to begin with is such a huge asset that most bloggers don’t even think about. You’re on the right track!

  6. This post was really helpful, especially with the mission statement. I’ve been blogging since high school (with Xanga!) and since 2012 I’ve had a teacher blog. I just transitioned from Blogspot to having a self-hosted WordPress, and have been reading dozens of posts about what to do next. Thanks for the insights!

    1. My first experience blogging was with Xanga too! It sounds like you are on the right path. Keep reading, keep learning, and keep writing!

  7. Thanks Kalyn for this great post. I have started and restarted blogs and was searching and searching on the internet for help in successfully starting a blog. You made it very clear and concise and so now I am amped and excited to begin again. I printed out the checklist (thank you!) and jotted notes from this post as well. Again, thank you for such great advice!! You are awesome!

  8. Great tips!

    I am on my 3rd blog thus far and I have never gotten to the monetizing part. I especially like how you emphasize to focus on your target audience. In the past I have gotten caught up in what I want to write instead of looking at my top posts and focusing on more of those!

    1. Creative Savings was my 4th blog. Always look at each of your past blogs as part of the journey that has brought you to where you are! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I like the subscribe box on the front page but it doesn’t show up on mobile. Is that intentional?

    Also do you have a designer recommendation. Love your rebranding!

  10. Kalyn,
    Thank you for your content on getting started. I really think this is what I needed. I have been thinking about blogging for a few years, getting more serious each year as I narrow my focus and decided between topics.
    I really think what I’ve been needing is the mission statement and especially the advice on right content. I heard bells in my head as I was reading. Perfect! Thank you so much! All of this will help me to narrow my focus which I think has been one of my problems. Now I know how to proceed. I look forward to reading more of your blog.
    Stay safe and healthy!

    1. I’m so glad you found this helpful, Debbie! Yes, a mission statement will help you stay focused and keep you from getting distracted with all the other things that you COULD write about…but probably shouldn’t.

  11. Hey Kalyn,
    Thank you for this guide, I was looking for tips to add to my own blogging pier article, and I stumbled upon your blog, it’s really helpful and in-depth enough.

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