When I started blogging on This Online World back in January of 2018, I had 2 goals: to make money and to teach other people along the way.
Let me tell you, it’s been an interesting and bumpy ride over the last year and a half. In this time, I’ve gone from knowing almost nothing about blogging to running a site that generates anywhere from $300-$1,000 a month in revenue and continues to slowly grow.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, and I still do. However, while starting a successful blog is tough work, it’s definitely possible if you stick to the basics, work hard, and have patience.
Since I’ve already gone through a lot of the growing pains beginner bloggers face when starting out, I decided to write this post to help fresh bloggers reach their first milestone of revenue.
So, buckle your seat belts because I am going to to cover everything I have done so far to create a blog that generates $100/month in profit.
Also: don’t forget to check out part 2 in this series, The Road to a $500/Month Blog!
Making Money With A Blog – Some Quick Stats
Before diving into the minutia for this post, I think it is important to have a quick rundown of the bigger picture.
This is how my blogging journey has progressed from the beginning:
- I started blogging in January, 2018. My first blog post was published on the 15th of January.
- I spent roughly $140 between 1 year of SiteGround Web Hosting and a blogging theme. You can see why I chose SiteGround in my official review.
- At the time of writing this post, I have 34 posts and 92,309 words on this blog. My average word count per post is 2,429 words.
- I have also written 6 guest posts.
This is the trend of my blogging growth:
And here is how the traffic breaks down:
As you can see, organic search, direct search, and social traffic are the most significant portions of my traffic. I have never run an email campaign, my referral traffic is negligible, and I do not pay for advertising.
So, in the eyes of Google, This Online World is currently a 7,000-8,000 view/month blog, and for me, this is what translates into $100 of income a month.
Here are some screenshots from my earnings after 1 year of blogging for some proof:
How I Have Monetized This Online World + My Reasoning
As I mentioned in the intro, the 3 forms of income generated by this blog and it’s content include:
- Google AdSense revenue.
- Amazon Affiliate income.
- Monthly payments from writing on Medium (where I have republished content from This Online World).
These 3 methods of making money with a blog are very straightforward, and the amount they return correlates with the amount of traffic you drive to your landing pages.
In other words, with these 3 monetization methods, the more traffic I receive, the more money I make. I also don’t have to put in any effort to promote affiliate programs or push products onto my readers, and these 2 reasons are mainly why I have taken this route.
Plus, as your traffic grows, you can get into more premium advertising networks and earn more revenue.
Since writing this post, I’ve been able to join Monumetric, which performs way better than Google AdSense and only requires 10,000 monthly pageviews to get into the program.
Long story short: focus on the basics.
Learn some basic search engine optimization skills, write long content that provides value, and focus on growing organic traffic alongside a bit of social. Content is king, so focus on getting your blog up and running and don’t stress about being on every single social media platform.
You don’t need to get into sponsored posts, offering coaching, selling courses/printables, or anything too complicated at the start. Just focus on the basics and you will earn income over time.
Compared to a lot of other blogs out there, This Online World is still in its infancy.
However, I think I have learned some useful bits of information along the way that other beginner bloggers might find useful.
In terms of my greatest blogging successes, I think they boil down to these 3 aspects:
- I have developed a steady stream of referral traffic from Quora.
- I have aggressively attacked several niches/keywords and ranked at the #1 spot on Google for related keywords.
- My website is simple, user-friendly, and is geared for SEO.
Let’s take a minute to break each of these down.
Quora Marketing for Blogs
To date, I have answered 94 Quora questions, received 850,000+ views on the platform, and been featured in the Quora Digest 7-8 times.
I’ve also gained 450+ followers on the platform, and have used Quora to drive 10,000+ people back to This Online World.
I’ve covered the basics of Quora marketing for blogs before, but I can’t underplay how vital Quora marketing has been for the progression of this blog.
Quora drives traffic every single day regardless of if I answer a question or not. Building foundational sources of referral traffic like this is how you force a blog to grow!
I rank extremely well in 2 niches: phone farming and making money on Medium.
I’m not scared to disclose these niches because anyone with a spy tool can discover this, but ranking highly on keywords related to these topics is not a mistake.
My phone farming guide was the first post I ever wrote, but it wasn’t the last time I mentioned my phone farming side hustle.
I’ll admit, I initially wrote about phone farming because it amused me, was a great source of passive income, and was hard to find accurate information on.
However, when something is ‘hard to find accurate information on,’ that also means no one in the industry is doing a good job at explaining the subject matter.
Phone farming has some great YouTube content, but the written content is abysmal. After realizing this, I expanded my content on phone farming to include the best phone farming apps, farming devices, and other passive income websites and apps.
The lesson behind all of this is to step on the gas the moment you start making progress.
SEO is a contest. When you start to rank well on something, you need to remember that there are other people out there trying to outrank you. In this sense, gaining positions on Google search is about creating quality content and defending it.
Write a bunch of articles, each with their own set of keywords you want to rank for, and cover every scrap of information you can on the subject matter to build your mighty SEO fortress!
Now, my article on how to make money on Medium took me by surprise with how well it has ranked, but the concept was the same.
I identified a less competitive niche and wrote what I believe is the best content on the subject matter. In this instance, Google rewarded me.
Ultimately, when you smell blood in the water, you need to push out high quality content and work to expand your authority on the subject matter.
Leveraging SEO Fundamentals
I mentioned how I hired a Fiverr WordPress developer to improve the speed of my website back in my June income report, but I like to think This Online World has always maintained an okay SEO profile.
I’ve covered the basics and used some handy SEO themes WordPress plugins, such as:
- SEO Yoast.
- Image Smush.
- WP Fastest Cache.
- Auto Optimizer
Additionally, I also paid for a premium WordPress theme, and I argue that SiteGround hosting is the best hosting out there.
Aside from website speed, I believe that having an average word count of 2,000 ish words per post has assisted me in ranking better on Google over time.
Just check out this graph from Neil Patel on the average content length for the first 10 results on Google:
Longer content simply ranks better.
With longer content, a blogger can share more information, attack more keywords, and ultimately provide more value to their readers, especially if they are discussing a very complex topic.
If you are struggling to grow your organic traffic, I recommend writing some evergreen, long form content and letting Google do their thing. Just be sure to always provide real value and not fluff!
Blogging Failures & Lessons
After about 8 months of blogging, I’ve identified my greatest blogging mistakes, opportunities, and the lessons I have learned.
My two main mistakes have been:
- Ineffective social media promotion.
- Delaying my backlinking efforts.
Social Media Blog Promotion
When I first started blogging, I tried to do everything at once. However, I really didn’t need a Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/LinkedIn for This Online World at the very start of it all.
If you’re a beginner blogger or someone who doesn’t have a lot of spare time, I’d suggest only picking 1-2 social media platforms to use, securing the remaining ones, and taking things slowly.
Personally, I use Twitter for networking and Pinterest for driving traffic to my blog, and I outsource my Pinterest marketing work with blog revenue now so I can solely focus on content creation. I couldn’t always do this, but as you grow your blog you will absolutely be able to delegate and outsource these sorts of tasks.
Extra reading – see how I use Pinterest and Tailwind to attract hundreds of visitors a month to my blog.
Waiting to Backlink
I don’t think bloggers should stress over backlinking, guest posting, or aggressively promoting their blog before they have a decent amount of content on their website.
Backlinks are links from other sites that point back to your blog, and they help websites rank higher on Google. Content creation is just one part of the blogging puzzle; you need to get other website owners to link back to your content over time if you want to continually grow.
I was about 6 months in and already around 25-30 articles before I actually gave backlinking some thought, and this was pretty late.
On the bright side, the speed at which I am now gaining backlinks is continuing to increase, and you will find this can happen as your content starts to rank on Google and people begin to reference it in their articles.
In the first few months of starting your own blog, don’t stress about backlinks.
Build up some content, make sure your website is operational, and gradually include guest posting, forum commenting, and joining high quality directories into your marketing agenda.
Extra reading – how to gain backlinks in 2019.
How Many Page Views Will You Need To Make $100/Month?
On the low end, I would say you would require roughly 2,000-3,000 monthly blog visitors and to heavily push an affiliate program in order to make $100/month by blogging.
Many bloggers who take this route start their own ‘how to start a blog’ course/post and ram Bluehost down your throat, but hey, I guess it gets the job done.
I might even be overestimating this number seeing as a single web hosting referral usually pays $50-$60, but take this as a conservative number.
On the high end (and for bloggers who barely use affiliate programs), your blog is similar to mine, and would probably require 5,000-8,000 monthly visitors to reach the $100/month goal.
These are completely speculative numbers, and metrics like display advertising RPMs or what affiliate programs you can use largely depend on your niche, the countries you target, and other factor, so keep this in mind!
Extra Reading – How To Pick A Blog Niche + 45 Blog Niche Examples To Get Started.
How Long Does It Take To Make Money By Blogging?
Since starting This Online World, I estimate I’ve put in between 10-15 hours every week into blogging.
Granted, some weeks were busier with work/school and allowed less time for this side hustle, but I most likely offset this with other, more intense weeks.
Between content creation, marketing, and learning how to blog in the first place, there’s quite a bit of work to be done!
Ultimately, I estimate my total blogging work hours as being around 350 hours. Since I started making $100/month by blogging in June, it took about 200-250 hours to reach that point.
I’m sure everyone will have a different pace of work, ability to write content, or disposable time, but you definitely can’t create a money making blog at a whim. However, it is feasible for you to start making money with your blog in just a few months.
Making Money With A Blog – My Final Tips/Steps
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to throw a massive list of steps at you that cover my suggestions for starting a blog that makes money:
1) Buy an expired domain name that already has backlinks and some domain authority, or register your own domain name through a hosting provider.
2) Use a solid hosting provider, WordPress, and purchase a premium theme. WordPress and a premium theme will save you time in the long run versus doing things yourself, trust me.
3) Identify a low-competition topic in your chosen niche and attack it while mixing in other relevant articles. It doesn’t matter if it only receives 100 searches per month, just go after it.
4) Spend 80% of your time creating content (or more), and around 10%-20% of your time marketing it in the first few months of blogging.
5) Write long form content that utilizes SEO best practices, and stick to evergreen content (topics that people will always search for, not seasonal/singular events).
6) Gradually incorporate display advertising and affiliate programs into your blog. Develop traffic first, then monetize it. I recommend starting with AdSense or Media.net.
7) Start backlinking and reaching out to other bloggers once you have 15-20 posts and your blog doesn’t seem skeletal.
8) Don’t overwhelm yourself with options: keep your marketing, niche, monetization strategies, and everything else at a manageable level.
9) Work smart, not hard. It would have taken me 10 hours to figure out what the WordPress developer did for my website for $30…use your time wisely, stick to what you know, and feel free to invest your blog earnings back into your website.
10) Finally, respect your readers. They are the people who will make your side hustle enjoyable and possible, and you should never deceive them or push products/programs down their throat.
I hope this post has proved useful or inspiring for anyone out there who is looking to make money through blogging!
While $100/month might seem irrelevant to some, I look at this number as the start of a nice passive income stream, a way to invest more money on the side, or something that takes the sting away from monthly bills.
Plus, if you stick with it, you;ll be amazed at where you end up. You can checkout my recent YouTube video that breaks down all of the methods I use to earn over $1,000 a month from blogging (it’s been nearly 2 years since I wrote this post, but as you can see, I didn’t up yet!)P.S. don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more money making content 😉
Blogging certainly requires a lot of work and dedication, but I think the rewards are worth it.
When you’re ready for the next step, don’t forget to check out part 2 in this series, The Road to a $500/Month Blog!
And, if you want to take the plunge and start your own blog, I definitely suggest using SiteGround’s affordable hosting to launch your own blog!
Thank you all for your readership.
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please use our contact page to get in touch!
very honest; i also starte a blog 3 months later than you but I am not getting sponsored contents and money like you are getting.
Tom Blake says
Hi Aryal, thanks for reading and your comment! I think different niches might take longer or shorter amounts of time to grow organically with Google, but with high quality content and SEO I think any website can grow over time! I just checked yours out, and you have some very cool articles that I imagine are very useful for your audience or students.
Erica Moore says
Thank you. This is awesome and relatable.
Tom Blake says
Hi Erica, thanks for reading and no problem! 🙂
This has to be one of the most genuine articles I have read in the blogging niche. And yeah, thanks for not ramming Bluehost down our throats, lol! Took me 7 months to start making even $5. I picked a niche that is too competitive and unfortunately Adsense RPM is extremely low.. for most keywords/ posts RPM is around $1.50 so even after 6K monthly visitors I have unfortunately made only $10 on Adsense.
How much one makes on Adsense depends totally on the niche.
Subscribing to your newsletter so I get to read more about your journey!
Tom Blake says
Hi Rashmi, thanks so much for reading and your kind comment! I really appreciate it! I always try to hold back on harping about web hosting affiliate deals and to remain genuine so I am glad it came across that way. I also agree that niche has a lot of impact on Adsense RPMs, but I am sure that with growth and time you will find great success! I also think that once traffic grows to 25K+ monthly sessions a lot of doors open up with other display advertising programs.
One of the best, clearest articles I have read about the steps to get getting started. Thank you
Tom Blake says
Thanks so much Sinead, I’m glad you enjoyed the article!
farhan shaikh says
which wordpress theme are you using right now?
Tom Blake says
Hi Farhan, I currently use ‘The Blogger’ theme by Pixelwars! You can checkout the details here: https://themeforest.net/item/theblogger-a-wordpress-blogging-theme-for-bloggers/15832662 hope this helps!
Baby Boomer Super says
Thank you, this was a very helpful article and I will be applying some of your tips! I look forward to watching your growth!
Tom Blake says
Thank you so much for reading and the kind words, Kathy!
Thank you for sharing, started my blog a month ago
This is probably the most honest article I have ever read on blogging. Thanks for the great information.
As a new blogger, you have given me a lot of things to think about and work on. Great job!
Tom Blake says
Hi Graeme, thanks so much for the kind words! 🙂 I am very glad you enjoyed and found it valuable. Best of luck on your new blog!
Reverse The Crush says
Very helpful post, Tom! Although I’ve had some success with blogging and have been blogging for a while, I have mostly been blogging because I enjoy it. I’m going to start viewing it more as a part-time job. I have done some very basic SEO, but I need to focus more on SEO to drive traffic. I liked what you said about working smart, not hard. I think a lot of the success I’ve had is more from hustling than working smart. Thanks very much for sharing!
Tom Blake says
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Investing in SEO is always worth it in my opinion, and as long as you continue to love blogging it still feels like fun 🙂 Really liking your recent dividend income reports by the way!!
Thank you for this post. I jus started my blog 3 months ago and I will make sure I subscribe to learn more.
Tom Blake says
So glad you liked this mini blogging guide! Congrats on taking your first steps 🙂 I just checked out your site and you have awesome content for only being 3 months in. Plus your logo is great, keep up the stellar work!