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How I Started Blogging To Make Money Online

Published 8/14/09 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

My Dream Of Becoming An Internet Entrepreneur and Working For Myself

I am a part time (almost full time now) blogger who spends a great number of hours working on the Internet from home every night. For more than a year now, I've been quietly earning a sizable and consistent amount of money through blogging and my internet marketing efforts. As a multi-year veteran now to the world of making money online with a blog, I've joined a rather unique and eclectic group of young and emerging internet entrepreneurs - individuals who have not only successfully harnessed the power of the Internet to generate real money, but who have managed to turn seemingly unassuming websites into rather lucrative income producing automatons. While the phenomenon of blogging for money on a part time basis is certainly not new, the idea that one can actually become a full time professional blogger (a problogger of sorts) and generate not only a stable, but a sustainable income at a high velocity through mere blogging alone is quite a surprise to many (particularly among my friends and family).

I'm sure many of you are already well aware of a number of fairly successful bloggers and established Internet entrepreneurs like John Chow, ShoeMoney, and Darren Rowse of Problogger fame - online personalities that dominate the so-called "make money online" niche. Most of these semi famous Internet tycoons have been in the news for some time and have had many years to perfect the art of both online and mainstream personality-based sales pitches. Much of their mystique, self perpetuating hype, and authoritative attention stems from the sheer amounts of money they have raked in through their blogging and online entrepreneurial activities, and the continuous reminders of their financial success to their readers in the way of monthly income reports and screen shots of high dollar amount affiliate income checks. However, the ones you usually don't hear about are those of us like myself who also run pretty successful operations of our own, but who have generally chosen to remain contently semi-anonymous and out of the lime light. While I've enjoyed a pretty lucrative career thus far in terms of the income streams that I've been able to pull through my collection of websites and online businesses, I made the conscientious decision early on to remain in the online shadows and out of the way in terms of real world publicity and attention. Not vying for the social media spotlight for ego-stroking purposes has allowed me to quietly generate a pretty prolific online business without the complicated hassles of unnecessary attention or even the critical scrutiny that the well known online bloggers at center stage face. Have you heard of the term "Millionaire Next Door" ? Well I'd like to think of myself as the "Blogger Next Door" - one of a growing number of unassuming and self made entrepreneurs who enjoy their relative anonymity and are content to blend in with everyone else in cyberspace while they quietly build their online fortunes.

Working From Home As A Full Time Blogger Is A Difficult, But Emotionally and Financially Rewarding Profession

My goal today is to simply break out of my usual personal finance subject matter for a moment and perhaps share some tidbits to encourage and inspire fledgling writers and aspiring entrepreneurs who have been quietly sitting on the sidelines - individuals who want to believe, but are afraid to take the first baby steps towards the world of self employment and Internet-based incomes. Admittedly, the journey from entry level writer and semi techie egghead, to nearly full time super affiliate power blogger is a very difficult and time consuming process, particularly in the early stages. Despite its rather ephemeral and unestablished nature, the seemingly unrealistic fantasy of being able to work from home and generate a full time income from just blogging alone is very real. While I have yet to make the final leap to full time blogger (I'm still a part time attorney), I am living proof that working from home and working for yourself is entirely and ultimately possible.

I stumbled upon blogging and the whole online business model a few years ago in 2006 quite by accident. One day I was tinkering with my free personal Xanga blogging account (this was back in the old days when Xanga.com was still popular) and I suddenly noticed the banner ads and affiliate links in the website margins for the first time. Examining the html source code, I finally realized and discovered that there was a whole marketing and income producing mechanism underneath it all that was quietly profiting from all of the user generated content that Xanga consumers were creating. From then on I decided to investigate further and figure out how the blog content and advertisement scripts were integrated into a workable business model - and the rest is history. A blog, or a weblog as it is officially called, is nothing more than an online diary of sorts sorted in reverse chronological order according to article post dates. Blogs are uniquely advantageous for monetization purposes because of the regularly updated and archived nature of their content. Simply put, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and all of the other search engines love blogs for both the fresh and timelessly relevant content they churn out, and generally prefer to rank them very highly for organic search engine traffic - which when translated into practical terms, equals dollars and cents for savvy entrepreneurs.

Now that I've worked for myself and have finally tasted financial success and professional freedom, no longer will I ever go back to working for someone else. No longer will I ever want to go back to the emotional and professional constraints of working the traditional full time desk job and devoting my efforts towards benefiting someone else's company or firm.

I attended law school and graduated to eventually work as an attorney (law school is overrated in my opinion). But anyway, in one of the lawyer jobs I held before I pursued my dream of becoming self employed, I used to work for an overbearing and very unprofessional alpha-female attorney. Despite my best professional efforts at the job, I felt absolutely miserable working as an associate attorney at her small solo practitioner law firm - and never felt so unfairly scrutinized, treated so condescendingly, and persistently set up to fail. But because it was her law firm and because she was my boss, and also because I wanted to keep my precious full time job, I humored her belligerency and endured her belittlement and unreasonable demands for weeks and months. Despite my seething frustration, the fact remained that it was her personal law firm and I was merely a replaceable cog in a bigger machine - and thus I swallowed my pride and did as I was told. But eventually I had enough of the disrespect and quit the firm, literally storming out at the end of one working day without looking back - going from having a full time job that paid the bills to immediate unemployment.

Now that I am a semi full time blogger who runs a variety of part time real life business ventures and operates his own part time legal practice on the side, I use tragic memories of my working past to motivate myself. Whether you no longer want to work for anyone else or whether you were forced out of your previous or current job due to the economic recession or as a consequence of layoffs, it's time to consider chasing the dream of becoming self employed and finally throwing off the shackles and emotional constraints of the traditional "trading hours for dollars" working life. It may be a scary first step to take, but the potential rewards and financial upside are worth it.

How Much Money Do Bloggers Make From Their Blogs? Answer: Depends On Blog Niche, Your Tech Savviness, and Effort That You Put Forth

When I talk about bloggers, I'm not referring to full time freelance bloggers and online newspaper writers who crank out articles for others. Those types of freelance writers who produce text based content for blogs that are owned by other people only generate a few dollars or perhaps just a measly $1.00 to $5.00 per blog post that they write. In this article, when I'm talking about bloggers and webmasters who are able to generate a very good part time income supplement or even a full time living from their blogs, I'm talking about those who own their own blogs and websites - entrepreneurs who serve as both website owner and chief content producer.

So how much income exactly do average bloggers earn from their blogs assuming a reasonable measure of built up success? That's not an easy question to answer. Because the amount of money that bloggers make from their blogs varies so greatly depending on the type of advertisers that a website can attract, that statistic is highly dependent on the subject matter of the blog. As a general rule of thumb, the most lucrative and financially rewarding websites and blogs tend to be those in the financial niche where credit card issuers, online banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, and mortgage lenders are better equipped in terms of financial capacity to pay a lucratively high price to affiliate publishers for customer and new sales referrals. While not as financially lucrative, other blog content niches such as entertainment, gossip, fashion, clothing apparel, legal services, health care, weight loss, shopping, computers, electronics, and dating are certainly financially worthwhile in their own rights and can be immensely profitable as well. However, successful online entrepreneurs who are able to multi task and pour in significant amounts of time and effort on a consistent basis may be able to target different content niches with a diverse portfolio of actively updated websites. Obviously the greater the content diversity from a variety of different websites with appropriate targeted traffic to match, the greater the pool of prospective advertisers to generate income from. The key is to also truly enjoy what you write about. The blog traffic, blog comments, and relevant advertisers will naturally flow thereafter.

Making a decent full time income online by working as a blogger is very much possible but it does require an enormous amount of time investment and educational self training, especially upfront during the initial stages when the financial rewards are still miniscule or non-existent. Whatever you do, absolutely do not quit your full time day job until your part time blogging efforts start paying off. I started blogging part time while I still had a full time day job - spending my off hours teaching myself the intricacies of blogging, website design, and Wordpress blog optimization tricks. It also took a great deal of time to learn the fundamentals of Adobe Photoshop graphic manipulation and the intricacies of basic Wordpress PHP programming for blog theme tweaking purposes. While the barriers to entry are extremely low for blogging as a profession and almost anyone and his/her grandma can get started at any time without paying a dime, there is no guarantee that the process will be easy (and I can almost assure you that the journey will be difficult and sleep depriving). A five figure income per month is possible if you pick the right niche and work extremely and exceedingly hard, but it's not the norm. Most of you (more than 95%) will probably fail due to blogger's block, frustration, and lost of interest - but the ones who can persist will succeed in time. Nothing in life is guaranteed but if you put your mind towards blogging and don't burn yourself out - $100 a month, $1,000 a month, and perhaps even $10,000 a month of passive income is reasonable with the correct mix of content, the right blog niche, and a lot of search engine traffic generation luck.

Much of the information needed to get you started as a professional blogger can be obtained online for free and there is no real need for you to purchase or spend money on E-books or on the make money online books being sold at bookstores. But if you really want a good primer to get you started, I'd recommend something like Darren Rowse's book - ProBlogger: Six Figure Income Blogging. Anyone who is a wannabe blogger knows about the original pro blogger himself - and ranked by experience rather than age, he's the granddaddy of us all. Alternatively you can always just visit your local public library and borrow the books for free. But my advice is to just follow your favorite bloggers online and read through their past blogging post archives to get the information you need. You'll get more real world practical advice on blog writing techniques, search engine optimization tricks, and website business maintenance pointers from these updated daily blogs than you'll ever glean from mere stale books alone. The world of blogging for income and the fickle nature of search engine traffic generation techniques are constantly evolving so it's best to stay updated on the latest news by reading from actively updated blogs and websites than from constantly reviewing some ancient textbook on the subject.

If you want to know exactly how much money I currently generate from my online businesses and from this personal finance blog in particular, unfortunately, I won't be able to share that information in great detail at this time. If you must know a little bit, I will put this forth - this personal finance blog generates in excess of $100,000 in organic net profits per year, most of it without substantial effort on my part. I do not pay any money for advertising, I absolutely do not sell text links, I don't do paid reviews, and I don't engage in any pay per click Google Adword advertising - it's all organic search engine based. Regarding the specifics of my income breakdown, I wish to stay silent on that for now. Perhaps in the near future I will share more about my online income sources and real life business ventures in greater detail with readers. For the time being, I don't plan to share any pictures of fancy checks or reveal the specifics of my income sources from my blogging operations - you'll just have to take my word for it. But it's perfectly okay if you don't believe me. Like I mentioned early on, I'm not interested in capturing attention or attracting a loyal zombie following - just hoping to inspire a few people and motivate some of you to a call to action.

Never Stop Learning And Chasing Your Entrepreneurial Dreams

To get the blogging and website business know-how you'll need to run a successful blog, you'll need to strive towards constantly educating yourself on all aspects of blogging. The facets are broad as blogging encompasses everything from the fundamentals of writing to grammar, basic web programming, graphic design, salesmanship, multi tasking, negotiation skills, and efficient time management. It will take months, even years before you will become a fully self trained expert on the blogging business. I started the early research and tinkering process in 2006, but didn't start running my first few successful online blogs and start seriously generating a stable income sufficiently large enough to replace my day job wages until 2008. From the time I truly started writing and promoting this particular financial blog you are reading, I didn't generate a sustainable full time income until 12 months thereafter. There will be times when you first start out that you will feel like no one is reading your work and that you are writing for yourself, but that's okay. We've all been there before and that's perfectly normal in the beginning. It's a lonely process at the start but with time, your efforts will pay off. Meanwhile, to this very day, I still spend hours and hours every day reading blogs about blogging and scouring the web for any new morsels I can uncover about website optimization, how to generate more search engine traffic, and how to capture blogger traffic. As far as I'm concerned I will forever be a work in progress. There is so much to learn and my self driven educational enrichment will never cease so long as I continue to blog for a living and make money online (view my beginner's primer on how to get started).

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35 Responses to “How I Started Blogging To Make Money Online” 

  1. No Debt Plan says:

    I'm inspired. I recently hit a blogging rut. This is good ammunition to stoke myself right back up. I really appreciate you giving us a glimpse of how everything has played out for you.

    I never thought I would earn a $100 check from AdSense. Now I do at least that on a monthly basis. And as you said... start with $100, then $1,000, then if you are lucky $10,000.

  2. Studenomist says:

    Raymond congrats on the success man! I really appreciate your candor when you discuss the world of blogging for money. Perhaps one day you will share some additional tips with us?

  3. Jeff Rose says:

    Very inspiring read. I've only visited your blog a few times, but this post has me wanting more. Thank you for sharing your story. I always enjoy reading the success of other entrepreneurs.

    For those that feel that they don't have the "time" to blog, I immediately view it as an excuse. If you really, really want it, then you'll do it. Granted, blogging might not be your thing. If not, then find it. On top of my 40 hour plus work week, I spend a few hours every evening working on my blog and the weekends as well. When I'm not behind the computer, I keep a notepad handy for any story ideas that pop in and immediately jot them down before they escape me.

    I've managed to start my blog from scratch through self-learning (as you) and with the help of other bloggers (much thanks for all their help and encouragement). I've done this on top of growing on financial planning practice, raising a son (with another on the way), soon to be building a home, and balancing everything life has thrown at me. I'm not nearly at the income level that you are, but the past few months have seen a nice five figure monthly income coming in. And that's not including the direct business I get from new clients directly from my blog. Overall, blogging has been a challenging experience and look forward to what future endeavors it may bring.

  4. Ian says:

    Thanks for the heads up - nice to hear some honest words about blogging for cash for a change!!

  5. make a lot of money says:

    thank you for sharing the things you've learned over your years of your existence through web. i am new in this field and i really appreciate the things you wrote here especially those tips that you've included. it would really help in my marketing life. i really love your blog. keep it up.

  6. stephen miracle says:

    This is a great story about how you are working to become a fulltime blogger. I wanted to let you know that I am definitely adding this story to my blog carnival about inspirational true stories. It has helped motivate me to work harder on becoming a full-time blogger..

  7. William Livingston says:

    Your success story is very encouraging. This is exactly what I'm trying to do. One day I will be able to quit my job and work online full time at home!

  8. James Huntington says:

    working full time at home blogging...i would go crazy.

  9. Financial Samurai says:

    Great Stuff! $8,500/month in online income is great.

    That's why I find it weird when Trent at TSD talks about his goal to pay off his $190,000 mortgage, when he probably makes $50,000/month at his site.

  10. Raymond says:

    Well Financial Samurai,

    As we all probably know about the nature of blogging incomes, they're quite variable and highly dependent on traffic flows and the state of the economy. With the recession plagued economy in shambles the way it is now, many advertisers have drastically scaled back their advertising budgets, impacting the amounts that bloggers are able to earn. Hopefully those who have depended on the Internet and blogs to make money online will continue to do so successfully in the coming years.

    Despite his tremendous traffic, because Trent at TheSimpleDollar does not advertise as heavily in the credit card space, I suspect his income levels are not as high as that enjoyed by other competing personal finance blogs.

  11. Alex Burda says:

    Well explained and well done for consistently earning a great online income through blogging. I am sure you will inspire many people to do the same and hopefully they will listen to your message.

    I have been an internet marketer for about 2 years and earn approximately $4000 a month. You article has truthfully explained the fact that earning an income online takes alot of hard work. You definitely do not succeed overnight and the income comes in slowly in the beginning. Blogging is terrific because you don't have to be a computer guru. Just talking about a favourite subject or hobby will get you started.

    Good luck. Hope you turn it into $10,000 per month.

  12. Teen Blogger says:

    Great Inspiring post.

    I actually read the whole post and thought it was an amazing post. Looks like you've hit the jackpot if your earning $100.000 a year with this blog. I think the best thing to work for online is having a long term income, this means consistant income that you earn every month. As you made clear in your post that earning money online takes hard work and dedication I agree 100% with you.

    Never stop learning as there are always new trends coming out. Try to extend your knowledge.

    Great post. Very encouraging

  13. Monevator says:

    Inspiring post. I'm still far behind you in income terms, but perhaps not in passion for financial blogging terms. It would really be a great gig if I could get the time I spend on my blog to pay for itself. Best keep at it I guess!

  14. internet work at home says:

    Awesome ? Thanks for sharing! I read your and John chow blog daily!!

  15. Professor Money says:

    @Depressed With My Job: My advice would be write about what you are passionate about, the job you hate! Look at how much you managed to write on here in the comments section! That could have been your first blogpost.

    Before you take action though, sit down and think of ways to monetize what you will create.

  16. Nimit Kashyap says:

    Very Inspiring post.

  17. Patty says:

    All of these methods are good methods to make money online if you know what youre doing, if you have money to invest, if you have time to spare and to wait for income some time down the road, if you have a list.

  18. John | Make Money Online says:

    All of these methods are good methods to make money online if you know what youre doing, if you have money to invest, if you have time to spare and to wait for income some time down the road, if you have a list.

  19. Laan says:

    I have been blogging in aprox 3 years now and my income is good - but not as good as in 2007 :(. Due to the financial crisis.

  20. jeana says:

    im interested of "blogging at home"how does it really works to make money out of it?im a full time mom and i have 5 hours of vacant non sence hours just sittin down the aside from cleaning.i wanna make out of this hours.thanks and hope u can let me in.

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