How to Start a Successful Blog That Generates $3817 a Month

This blog generates hundreds of thousands of dollars every month by helping readers answer their questions. It took me years and a team to get to this point–but starting a blog that makes hundreds of dollars a month is a lot easier. More money is there if you keep at it. Here’s how to begin today. If you want to start a blog that makes money, you’ll need a web hosting company and AdSense. I will also talk about some of the google AdSense alternatives for blogger.  I try to create content for both brand new bloggers and bloggers that are already blogging full-time from home. This email is really for newer bloggers. I wanted to take a few minutes to walk you through everything you need to know about being a blogger. From how to start, to why you should. Still have a million questions about blogging? Got you covered!

Why Blog?

Because it’s the best job in the entire world. You get to be your own boss, working from home, teaching about something that you're passionate about, and make a difference in the lives of your readers. I can’t tell you the number of tear jerker emails I’ve gotten from readers when they paid off the last of their debt or finally got their bills under control (I should mention that I blog about Tech, ToS and budgeting).

I probably get more excited than them!

You have no cap on your income. In my former career, no matter how hard I worked or how long I stayed there, I would never make more than 10% more than my starting salary. That was the best to hope for. And that was incredibly stressful, hard work with an unpredictable schedule and long hours.

The income, while slow in the beginning snowballs quickly. I went from $18.00/month - $500/month in 19 months on a new blog when I switched to blogging. And in February, I had an unusually profitable month with over $5,000 earned in just one month! 

It requires almost no initial investment (called capital when you start your own business). Instead of putting up large amounts of money to start your business, you’re investing your time instead.

It’s not uncommon for bloggers to work for 6 months, before they start making money. So this can be a benefit or a drawback depending on whether you have more time or money available.

Isn’t it hard?

This is a tougher question. It’s not that it’s hard (working 8 hours a day with a huge commute to make just about enough to pay for daycare is hard if you ask me!).

But it’s not a get rich quick scheme and it’s nothing like an MLM (multi level marketing, like Avon or Pampered Chef) where you can rely on your friends buying from you to make money right away. For the record, the earning potential of blogging is so much more than an MLM, so I’m not saying a MLM is better at all.

The toughest part is finding the motivation to stick with it in the first 3-6 months, when you likely won’t make money doing it. I spent 10 hours a week blogging every single week without fail for that first 6 months.

I loved doing it. I loved writing and connecting to readers and I understood that I wasn’t looking for immediate results. I was looking for longer term growth. So, no. It’s not tough at all. But it can be hard to stay motivated as you find time to carve in your schedule to dedicate to something that you won’t truly believe will be your full-time job until later. That’s why I’m here. I wish more than anything that more women realized this was possible.

It’s not for everyone. You have to love writing (you don’t have to be a grammar expert though!) and you have to be passionate enough about something to write about it. But my biggest regret is not doing this sooner.  

Isn’t it expensive to start blogging?

Shockingly no. The biggest expense is $3.95/month for hosting (that’s a special price that you can get through Bluehost).

Your goal in starting should always be to make enough blogging to afford Elite Blog Academy (which is crazy expensive, but so worth it!). Once you can get in that class, you’ll learn how to professionally blog and can grow quickly.

Why can’t I just grab a free blog?

You actually can, it just severely limits your ability to make money. One of the biggest regrets I have with blogging is that I didn’t start self-hosted from the beginning. I didn't know at the time, but I could have been making full-time income before I did.

You can get a free blog at places like, but at only $3.95/month I think it’s well worth it to pay the little bit extra and set it up right from the start. If I’m already on a free blog like blogger, should I switch?

YES! A million times YES! Assuming that you’re looking to make blogging a full-time income. I was getting decent pageviews on my free blogger account but only about $70/month for AdSense earnings.

When I started blogging professionally, I realized that I could have turned those page views into full-time income if I were self-hosted. It’s actually the biggest regret of my life to date. It’s a pain to switch but we managed to do it ourselves with YouTube videos and after a week or two, it was all done.

Did I answer all of your questions?

Feel free to reply with any that I missed! I get a lot of email so it may take me a bit to respond but I’ll get back to you!


If you haven’t taken the leap yet and need a push, this could be exactly what you need. If you email me your receipt (to, I’ll even send you the "8 Biggest Blogging Mistakes and How to Fix Them" for free.

If you get stuck figuring out your name… I have a tutorial below to walk you through it.

How to Choose Your Blog Name and Topic

Choose a niche.

This is a really broad area of what you want to write about. Choose something that you know about. While you don’t have to be an expert, you need to be passionate about the topic and willing to learn as your blog grows. If you’re a success story in your niche (for instance a weight loss blogger that lost weight, a budget blogger that paid off debt etc. it will make blogging easier.)

However, you should choose a topic that you absolutely love talking about. When I started blogging, I was working as a clerical assistant. It wasn’t my passion though, and I would have gotten bored of that topic in a month.

What I couldn’t shut up about was how much money we saved ditching paper towels for a year, or canceling cable. So, I started blogging about budgeting… and I never get bored of writing about this.

Common Niches:


Frugal Living



Food: Caution- You need to have very strong photography skills to be profitable in the food niche.

Deals/Shopping- This is considered to be the niche that’s the most work because you can’t schedule things far in advance. You’re at the whim of when the deals come out.

DIY/Crafts- Caution-You need to have very strong photography skills to be profitable in the Diy/Crafts niche.





What Niche are you drawn to?

Narrow your focus.

What specifically in that niche are you excited about? If you had to focus on one type of person in that niche, who would it be? I’ll give you an example: If you want to write about fitness and you’re passionate about helping women who are obese lose weight, that would be your focus.

Everything you write would be targeted to women who are out of shape and just starting out. So likely, you wouldn’t be talking about super intense workouts, but more orientation, and baby steps, and skill building.

I write to women who are so overwhelmed with organization and budgeting, and work/life balance that they feel hopeless. Even though I’m in frugal living, I know that my audience is more focused than that.

I’m a success story in my niche (we reduced our company spending by $23,000 in a year, paid off our debt and I got to quit my job and start this awesome blog!) and I basically write to myself 7 years ago.

Who in your niche do you want to focus your writing on?

Brainstorm Keywords

I want you to start a list on a separate piece of paper of every word you can think of that relates to your topic and focus. A minimum of 30 words, but if you can fill a whole page up that’s even better. I’ll give you an example of what I used:

I wanted to write about organization and time management with a focus on saving money and work/life balance.











Keep going...

Then I want you to start randomly combining sets of two or three words on your paper to create potential blog names:

Here are the few that I came up with... 

Simple Saver

Simple Calculator

Hopeless Budgeting

Money Focused Life

Saving Help


Keep going…

If they’re available, that’s a blog name that you can choose.

Run it by a friend and ask them what they think when they hear it. I almost became The Prudent Provider, which I loved but all of my friends said made me sound old and strange.

When you find the right one, grab it immediately!

This process isn’t a super-fast one. I wanted to pull my hair out. But it’s the best way that I know how to choose a blog name that’s focused on your topic that you love.


(Just in case you missed it above, because this will make your life so much easier!)

If you haven’t taken the leap and need a push, this could be exactly what you need. If you email me your receipt (to, I’ll send you the step-by- step checklist “The First 10 Steps to a Profitable Blog Checklist”.

Which walks you through that “Okay, now what?” phase. You can do this! But I can guarantee that you won't get anywhere unless you try.

Have an awesome week! Stop by the blog and say hi!


5 Ways To Drive More Traffic To Your Blog

Getting traffic on a new blog boils down to 5 simple steps. Yet, it took me 100s of hours to master this back when I had no idea what I was doing. You could pay $597 for an SEO course to learn how to get traffic, or you could read this post for FREE. It all your choices.

1. Niche down but stay broad enough to avoid hitting a bottleneck. Example: Rather than starting a blog about the Fitbit Charge 5, you could start one about smart watches.

2. Find niche subtopics and build a list of related, low-competition keywords for each one of them. Example: You chose smart watches as your niche. Your subtopics could be: - Apple - Samsung - Fitbit etc. 

3a. Write quality content for each subtopic and interlink the articles to create topical authority. Example: - Is the Fitbit Charge 5 waterproof? - Is the Fitbit Charge 5 accurate for calories burned?

3b. In the second one, you could say "you can even use the Fitbit Charge 5 to track calories burned while swimming". Then link it to the article about waterproof.

4. For each article, link out to established sources to show Google you have done your research. Example: In the article about "calories burned", you could say: "According to studies conducted by xxx, tracking calories has shown to be more effective than, etc etc"

5. Integrate FAQ schema to increase the likelihood of showing in People Also Ask. Lots of resources out there to learn about FAQ schema.

How FAQ Rich Snippets Increase Your Search Visibility In Near Real...

Use FAQ Rich Snippets To Instantly Increase Search Visibility (I am serious!)Once you have watched this video you are going to be breaking my arm off to get.

Did you find this thread helpful?

Best Google AdSense Alternative For Blogger To Make Money 

After you make your first website, the next thing that's on your mind is how you are going to make your first dollar. At least for me, that first money came in the form of Google AdSense. Though Google dominated for years, they are no longer the only ad network in town. There are lots of alternatives out there, and some are actually pretty competitive with AdSense earnings.

What's more, there are services that help you make money with Google AdSense even though you aren't working with Google directly. One such example is a service called Ezoic, which will basically manage your AdSense account for you. They do work with multiple ad networks, but because AdSense pays so well, that's the main ads they display on your blog. Essentially, they are an ad testing system, and will display whatever is more profitable for your website. If you do go with Ezoic, I highly recommend using one of these ad management plugins so you can keep track of all your tests properly. There are tons of options out there. I haven't tried them all, but I have tried more than the average website owner. While struggling to monetize one of my blog, I cycled through a total of six different services before I finally landed on something that turned a pretty good profit. Which one was it? Keep reading to find out!

1. Taboola: Best for Enterprises

Taboola is one of the best advertising company that has worked with large media brands and earned a reputation for its high quality of advertisements. It specializes in native ads from sponsored websites that are targeted based on Taboola’s advanced tracking methods.

Taboola is also noted for its range of features that go beyond simple ad placements. The service lets you display advertisements with highly customizable formats, embed videos, manage personalization methods, and filter ads shown by keyword.

With a minimum traffic requirement of 500,000 pageviews per month, Taboola’s services are reserved for enterprises, not small bloggers. The minimum payout is $50 through Payoneer. Best for: Enterprises with a diverse audience that would respond well to personalized, targeted ads.

2. InfoLinks
Though InfoLinks is certainly active, and has been many years, my previous experience with them was not one I'd recommend to my readers. Yes, they are a reputable company, but they would be my last monetization choice. Their ads are intrusive in my opinion, and they pay peanuts. You really need a boatload of traffic to make any income from InfoLinks.

This is why you see them on websites like WikiHow, forums, or other user-generated content websites. 
Sites like those have tons of traffic, but no other way to monetize other than to put as many links as possible on the page. InfoLinks would be a last resort for me to monetize a blog-style, highly targeted website.

3. AdThrive: Best for Large Blogs
AdThrive is another well-received ad network that takes good care of its bloggers. This cost-per-impression network works closely with both publishers and its advertisers to ensure your blogging site is only showing ads for exceptional products by exceptional businesses. The AdThrive team works with you on a monetization strategy and will help you place your ads in the most optimal spots.

But, perhaps the best reason to join AdThrive is its 75% payout directly to publishers, as well as its payment guarantee — you’ll always be paid in full, on time, even if AdThrive doesn’t receive payment from its advertisers on time.

This all means that AdThrive isn’t for beginner bloggers. It requires at least 100,000 monthly pageviews, the majority of which must be based in the U.S. However, established blogs should consider this service. The minimum payout is $25 for PayPal and direct deposit. 

Best for: Established publishers that want to work closely with their ad network to build a monetization strategy and receive a high payout.

4. Media.Net
Media.Net is actually a pretty cool company to work with, and they would be a great option for anyone that cannot use AdSense, doesn't want to for whatever reason, or as an addition to ads from other CPM companies.

The cool thing about Media.Net is that they have a lot more customization and flexibility than other ad companies. I was able to change the style and look of my ad units quite easily, so they matched my content. In AdSense world, that's a no-no because it counts as a deceptive click, but in Media.Net world it's just clever advertising. Plus, they have a post-click page before displaying the ad, so advertisers don't get a bunch of false clicks.

In other words, a visitor will click the ad, go to a intermediary page from Media.Net, then go to the ad. 
You don't have to blend your ads, but it can help with click through, especially if you use a sticky ad (also a no-no with AdSense), or one of their ads that look like a list. People love lists. 

Plus, if you are a high earner they will do extensive testing to help you get more clicks on your site. They did a bit of testing for my site, but stopped shortly after. Though I liked their setup, the earnings were very poor. 

The main concern here is the RPM. That's the rate of earnings per 1,000 views. It's simply horrible. Unacceptable. Less than $1 RPM? It would be worth MORE money to not have the ads and just do affiliate promotions. Part of the issue is my niche, which has a low cost per click to begin with. However, even with AdSense I was able to get at least $5 RPM, and with my #1 rated service (below) I'm able to get over $20 RPM, and even close to $30! $0.30 to $30.00 is a huge leap.

However, I know that some people do extremely well with them, even better than with Google Ads. Even if earnings are not on par with AdSense, consider this: If you are earning $10,000 USD from AdSense, why not add a few more ads through this company and earn an extra $2,000 USD per month? Sure, it only earns 20% of the revenue, but an extra two grand per month is nothing to scoff at. ==> Sign Up For Media.Net here.

5. Google AdSense
Most people will be familiar with AdSense, so I don't spend too much time here. In fact, I didn't spend too much time using AdSense myself, because I was able to leverage their ads through an “Certified Publishing Partner” exchange. In other words, I didn't work directly with Google. Instead, I worked with a middle-man, who published Google ads to my site (along with other ad companies).

Your first dollar is always the sweetest (even if it is a $0.01 click), and it was the same experience for me. I don't have any recent stats from my website with just plain Google AdSense, but believe me that their earnings will surpass most other display ad networks by a long shot, even with all their silly rules.

Which brings me to the main downside of working directly with Google – the confusion about the rules, the lack of support, and the permanent bans. There are a lot of rules when dealing with Google's display ad network!

Ø no dropdown menus that obscure ads
Ø no sticky ads in the sidebar
Ø only 3 units per page (rule has since changed)
Ø no more than two ads can be displayed on a mobile device at one time
Ø various content restrictions
Ø anything that causes accidental clicks

…and more!

Of course, it's all laid out in their rules, but who reads those? Even if you do, most newbies will simply be confused by them. Got a question? There's no support team. Just endless FAQ pages.

So although Google AdSense my favorite “ad deliverer”, I don't actually recommend you use them right away. I'd recommend that you use one of the intermediaries shown below. They are essentially companies that deliver a variety of ads on your website, but are approved by AdSense to manage ads. That way they ensure you are in compliance with Google ads policies, so you can have less worry of being banned simply for not understanding the rules. => Sign Up For Google Adsense Here

6. Ezoic
Using Ezoic really opened my mind to the possibilities of how much money you can earn through display ads. What was so great about Ezoic?

They really give you a lot of control in ad testing, while taking care of all the hard parts of the testing process. It's a bit complicated to explain, but I'll do my best.

Basically, Ezoic will give you a bunch of different “titles” for your ads so you can name each unit. You can then place each unit on a spot in your website. These spots can match up with the titles like “Sidebar Ad”, “Before Content”, or “Footer”, or you can just assign them as you see fit.

You can place as many as you want on your website, in any position (as long as the position doesn't violate AdSense policies like a sticky sidebar). Ezoic will then take control and display only as many ads as it thinks your site can handle. They choose from a variety of ad providers, but it's mostly Google ads. They will then run the ads in different positions for each visitor of your site, running tests on which ads make you the most money, with the best user experience. The “user experience” part is why they call it EPMV instead of CPM.

But why wait around that long? I found a better service that skyrocketed my CPM from $5 (on a good month) to $30! (keep reading below). Before you get too excited about my crazy results, you may still want to stick with Ezoic. Why?

The main thing to know is that many of the best ad services have traffic requirements, so if you are starting out, you may not meet those requirements. Such is the situation with the service I'll mention below. They have a 30,000 visitor per month requirement. Some of those services have exclusivity contracts, which mean you cannot combine it with other ad networks! Again, this applies to the example below. With Ezoic, I could run Ezoic + Amazon CPM + MediaVine to increase earnings. CPM will vary for each person. You may get better earnings than me if you have a different niche, or different traffic source.

[Note: Ezoic does not accept websites or AdSense accounts that have been banned by Google Advertising] ==> Sign Up For Ezoic Here

7. Monumetric: Best for Mid-Sized Blogs
Monumetric (formerly The Blogger Network) is a blogger-centric advertising network that pays special attention to its content creators and ensures the ads shown on your site are high-quality and appropriate for your readers. They do this in part by talking directly to their customers, and are available for support when you need it.

Monumetric runs a cost-per-impression model instead of a cost-per-click model, meaning you’re paid when visitors see ads on your pages, not when they click them. While earnings from impressions are lower than clicks, Monumetric makes up for this with highly-targeted ads.

Monumetric is also notable for its four monetization programs, which are tiered by monthly pageviews — these increase your level of support as your blog scales. While there is a minimum of 10,000 monthly page views to be approved, this threshold is lower than some other networks on this list, and can be achieved by mid-sized blogs. Also, note that blogs under 80,000 monthly pageviews pay a $99 fee upfront for setup.

Monumetric’s minimum payout is $10 via PayPal or direct deposit. Best for: Large and medium-sized bloggers who want high-quality, targeted, impression-based ads.

8. MediaVine
MediaVine is what I'm currently using for the website I've mentioned several times throughout this post. After getting frustrated with earning just $150 per month from the ads on my site after two years of creating content, I decided I didn't have much to lose by experimenting with other services.

The first day MediaVine ran ads, I got something like a $15 CPM. Tripled Ezoic Instantly. Now, my average is about $20 CPM, but it's been as high as $28. That's huge! Not groundbreaking earnings, but better than before, and consistently improving over time. Still a big success in my book!

And you can see, my earnings have therefore gone from $150 per month at the peak of all previous efforts, to $800 per month. I”ll probably reach $900 or $1000 per month by the end of the year. That's about 8x of my previous earnings. So it turns out that my willingness to test another service really paid off!

$800 per month from a website that gets about 1000-1500 visits per day, in a low cost per click niche.

The best thing about all of these earnings is that I had to do zero work. All I had to do was install their plugin and fill out their contract forms, and they did the rest. They do the testing, the ad placement, and all of the behind-the-scenes stuff. That means I no longer have to look at individual page CPM, ad placement, ad cannibalization, and other metrics to figure out the puzzle.

Of course, I can try to improve my website to increase earnings, write more content to get more organic traffic, or even send paid traffic to the site if I want! However, the burden of testing lies with MediaVine, and I'm OK with that.

There are downsides though. While we're on the topic, all of this “behind the scenes” work means you have very little control over the ads that appear on your site. There's no custom placement option, and tracking data is sparse. The worst part is that lack of data. One thing I really enjoyed about Ezoic is that I could track individual ad unit earnings, page earnings, or entire site earnings. This would help me learn which ads were making the most money, so I could repeat the process, or optimize for further revenue.

With MediaVine, I can't even see what my top pages are for CPM. I can only see my top traffic stats (which I already know from Google Analytics), and assume they are my top earning pages.

Another potential downside to MediaVine is exclusivity. That means you cannot run Amazon CPM, Media.Net, or other networks along with MediaVine. They seem to do pretty well with filling your site up with ads, so it's not really an issue with me, but it's something to keep in mind if you are currently getting good earnings from those networks. You really don't want too many ads on your site though, so this type of quality control ends up benefiting website owners and visitors in my opinion.

Also, don't forget that you'll have a contract with them, so you won’t' get paid right away. Payments are delayed by a month, and you need to give them a month notice if you plan to end your agreement, so there's a bit of a time commitment if you want to test out their service. ==> Sign Up For MediaVine Here

Final thoughts and comments about display Ad Networks

There are a lot of options out there, but in my experience, the places that will make you the most money are going to be Google Ad focused. Sites like Media.Net or Infolinks just can't compare in terms of RPM and the bottom line of dollars versus traffic numbers. On top of that, using services like Ezoic or MediaVine, which help you do testing to optimize your site for maximum earnings and a balanced user experience will help you grow your income faster than manually testing this yourself.

I used to be very hard on display ad networks, saying that the amount of traffic you need to make good earnings was too astronomical to make it worth your while. I've since softened my stance on this (obviously), and I see how display ads play a specific role in the world of making money online. What's more, though you do need a lot of traffic to earn good money…so what? There are billion people on the internet and you need just a few thousand per day! So yes, it takes a lot of hard work to build up that kind of traffic, but it's possible. You don't have to be superhuman to achieve this. Normal people like me and you are earning good money from display ads. If you combine these ads with affiliate links, sponsored posts, and other forms of monetization, there's no reason your website can't earn $10k per month, no matter what your niche is. 

However, keep in mind that you can still make more money from less traffic using affiliate marketing. It's still true that 100 visits a day can earn a very good income with a targeted affiliate approach to your website. I've done it. I had a website that was earning $3,000+ from about 50 visits per day because it ranked for a great keyword. There's just no way you could earn any significant income using display ads for that small amount of traffic.If you are interested in monetizing your website with display ads, my personal advice is to wait until you have at least 200-300 visits per day, ideally 500+. Then sign up for Ezoic. This way you can actually earn a few dollars per day and have some traffic flowing in to make the ad testing work its magic. Otherwise you'll be loading your brand new site up with a bunch of ads and be earning pennies per day.

After you build up to 30,000 visitors per month, check out MediaVine. There are more AdSense alternatives out there, but for now, this company has given me the best experience. I'm working on a post listing all those alternatives, and will link to it once it's published.
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