How To Make Money Blogging for 2017

8000-word Free ebook about how to make money blogging written by professional blogger Bob Lotich of He has been blogging full-time since 2008 and shares his strategy for growing his audience and earning more blogging in his book here - In 2 years I went from not knowing what a blog was to making more money blogging than my day job.

The purpose of this article is to show you how to make money with a blog. I suspect most people won’t stick with it long enough to make a full-time income, but even making an extra few hundred dollars a month isn’t too bad either (here are 23 other ways to make money as well).

This article is extremely long (more like 10 articles), but I wanted it to be a thorough and helpful resource for those wanting to start a blog or make some more money from the one they already have.

I should also mention that I really haven’t written about blogging or making money from blogs on SeedTime yet, because I wanted to make sure that it was a viable option for making some cash. Now that I have found that it is, I decided to pour out everything I learned the last two years about it…

Learn the 3 secrets to making a full-time living from your blog

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In it I will teach you 3 secrets that no one is talking about, but are EXACTLY what helped me go from $100/m to six-figures blogging.

Click here to register for FREE



Update and Warning:

I have since turned this article into a short FREE ebook and as a result I haven’t kept this article up to date.  

I highly recommend downloading the FREE ebook for the most up-to-date information.


You can keep reading this E-Book below or for the most updated version download a FREE version: 

Article Contents

For the sake of convenience, I added links to different sections of this article, so you can easily skip ahead to the section you want…

How to get started blogging in 10 minutes!

Follow these steps if you would like to get started blogging in about 10 minutes!

This is just a quick cliffnotes version for committed bloggers only. These recommendations aren’t best suited for those dabbling with blogging, but they are the things that I would do if I had to do it all over again.

1. Find a domain name

Picking a domain name at psychicwhois

  • Go to and search until you find a domain name that is available (green ones are open, red ones are taken).
  • If possible aim for one that has at least one of the keywords you would like to be found in the search engines for.

2. Get a domain name and web hosting package from Hostgator (my recommended host)

Getting Blog Hosting From Hostgator

  • Head over to Hostgator and select either the “Hatchling” or “Baby” plan.

picking hosting package from hostgator

  • Then make sure to register the domain that you found in the first step.
  • Next enter “ChristianPF” as a promo code and it will knock 30% off for you.

Enter domain and coupon code

  • Now follow the remaining steps to complete your purchase.

3. Install WordPress (with a little help)

Installing wordpress on your blog

  • Either watch the video above for detailed instructions or just jump on the phone or use the chat box with Hostgator.
  • When you get them on the line just tell them that you want to install WordPress on your blog.
  • They should hold your hand and walk you through the process (if they don’t please email me). When complete ask them for the WordPress login information.

4. Login to WordPress

  • Once they give you the login information you can go to and login.
  • Now that you are logged in to WordPress you can begin making changes to your site and or publish your first post.

How it all started for me

About 2 years ago I was talking to a friend of mine about the idea of building websites full of free information to help people. After brainstorming a bit, I got a couple ideas of topics that I was passionate about: Proverbs and Personal Finance.

My first idea was to post a Proverb each day and comment on it. As I explained my idea further to him, he informed me that I would basically have a blog. I didn’t know what a blog was, but I thought, “oh, ok, sure.”

So, over the next few weeks I read as much as I could find about blogging and ultimately decided on creating a blog about Personal Finance from a Christian perspective. I had been very interested in helping people with their money, so blogging seemed like a great way to reach people all over the world.
Over the next couple months, I started writing articles and officially launched ChristianPF in June of 2007. At this point I had thought about making money from the site, but had no idea how and honestly didn’t really think it was possible to make a living at it. I threw up an Adsense ad just to see what would happen and I still remember how excited I was when I saw that I had made my first 7 cents!

From there, I set a goal to make $100 by the end of 2007 which was pretty easy to accomplish – even without knowing anything. I should also mention that from June 2007 to June 2008 I spent about 4-6 hours each weekend writing articles and averaged about 4 new articles each week. And I spent a few more hours each week on site maintenance, emails, social media, etc. So in total I probably was spending about 10 hours each week working on the site.

I have been updating this article over the past few years, but since releasing the Book Version of it, I have been updating that version rather than this blog post. So to get the most updated details of the rest of the article check out the Kindle or Paperback version.

Getting laid off

In July 2008 things got interesting. The large brokerage firm that I had worked 5 years for was bought out by a larger firm. I was told that my department would no longer be needed, so they handed me a severance check and I was on my way. By this point I was making some money from the blog, but not enough to even pay the rent each month.

After much prayer I decided against looking for another “day job” and decided to work full time on building the blog. Thankfully we had paid off most of our debt, and had my wife’s income as a support to buy us some time. I figured I would give it a shot for a few months and if it didn’t work out I would find another 9-5. From that point, the income generated from this website has increased each month and in February 2009 it exceeded my monthly income from my old day job.

I am still a little bit in awe and can’t believe that I am actually paying the bills from this website!. But, I thank God everyday that I get to do this – I really did not like working in Corporate America and am so thankful! It is hard work, but it doesn’t really seem like it when you are doing something that you are passionate about and love doing it.

An interview I did a few years ago

Jeff and Mandy did a great job asking some very helpful questions, so I encourage you to check it out!

Blogging basics

I am going to try to boil this down to the essentials. There are whole books written on this subject, so I am not going to try to cover everything here. If you are looking for a good book about blogging for beginners, I suggest reading Darren Rowse’s “31 Days To A Better Blog”. But for a quick, bottom-line version keep reading…

What is a blog?

making money bloggingA blog is short for “weblog”. Basically, it is just a website that has entries listed in reverse chronological order. The original idea behind it was to be a online journal or diary that was updated daily (or as frequently as the writer chose). Over the last decade many software programs and blogging platforms have been created to make the process VERY EASY. As the blog writer, depending on which platform you use, you can just type your entry, press submit and it shows up on your blog for the world to see. Most bloggers don’t know any programming languages and are not “techies.” Starting a blog is one of the easiest ways out there to start a website. If you haven’t started one yet, why not try it? It can be very quick to set up and can be completely free.

Is it easy to start a blog?

It is very easy. Even if there are steps along the way that are confusing, there are plenty of resources to get the help you need. There are over 20 million blogs in existence, so it can’t be that difficult.

How much does it cost to blog?

There are many services that allow you to start a blog for free (see below). I suggest using one of the free services to get a basic feel for blogging and “get your feet wet.” Once you decide you want to stick with it and that you want to make money with your blog, I suggest moving up to a self-hosted blog (see below). Anyone who is really trying to make money with a blog will probably be more successful with a self-hosted blog. Getting a self-hosted blog may not be free, but still can be VERY inexpensive. You will need to pay for nothing more than a domain name ($10) and web-hosting (as cheap as a few bucks a month).

Getting a blogging platform

All 4 of the options listed are free. The first 3 options are the easiest, but the are also limited on features. If you are just trying to make an extra few hundred dollars from your blog, these options could work. But if you are really serious about trying to make good money from your blog, I recommend self-hosting your blog (which we talk about in the next section…). – This is probably the simplest blogging platform to use, but it also is the probably the least customizeable. So, it might be something good to start with, but it would be more difficult to build an income-generating website with it. – Blogger is also very good, easy to set up, owned by Google, you can customize the theme, and the domain name includes “” (in some people’s opinion a little less professional). Blogger continues to become more customizeable and currently has a lot more options than they did a few years ago. – I like they are completely free, easy to set up, you can customize the theme, but other customizations are limited, domain name includes “”. – Wait, what is the difference between and To put it simply is where you will go to set up a basic, easy blog with limited features. is where you will go to get a self-hosted wordpress blog. If you get to the point where you are serious about blogging and really want to make some money with it, you need to self-host your blog. Now I should mention that you don’t actually ever have to visit, if you use Hostgator as your host, they will be able to help you install wordpress on your selfhosted blog. Just follow the steps here.

How to setup a self-hosted blog

If you are going to be using one of the first three options above, you can skip this section.

If you are serious about blogging and are looking for the best way to customize your blog’s look and other features, then getting a self-hosted blog from is probably the best way to go. It is currently the top choice for most bloggers. It does require more work up front and does have small costs associated with it: buying a domain name ($10/year) and hosting your blog ($10/month).

One of the big advantages is that you can use your own domain name (i.e. While this might not seem like a big deal, it is a lot easier for people to remember rather than which is what you will be given if you use Blogger.

I will warn you, being a non-techie myself, this took me some time figuring out how to get my self-hosted site set up. has a great step-by-step guide for getting you set up. While it is more work on the front end, I am really glad I got good advice and did this at the beginning, than having to do it now.

Pick a Domain Name

1. You should start by purchasing a domain name. Domain Samurai is a great tool that will help you enter in a keyword and then find a bunch of related domains that are still available. I would suggest going to for a .com rather than a .info or .us or anything else for that matter. It is just too easy for people to get confused. A .com is always going to hold more value than any other extension. For a simpler tool, just go to and find an open one.

2. Once you get it picked out, you need to find somewhere to purchase it. I bought my first few domains at GoDaddy.comand have bought the remaining ones from my hosting companies. While GoDaddy is about one of the biggest names out there, I can’t say that I recommend them because of some of their advertising campaigns that they run. I now recommend just buying the domain and hosting from Hostgator as it will make the whole process simpler. But if you already have a host, then Namecheap is a good and cheap way to buy a domain.

Pick a host for your blog

The webhost is the company that you pay to store all of your files for your blog. There are also a million web hosting companies out there. I don’t suggest just looking for the cheapest one, because a lot of these companies are not very reliable and your site might be down quite a bit. I like to go with the bigger companies who have a longer track record and are more established.

They may cost a dollar or two more a month when you are starting out and it is well worth it. I have hosted my websites with Dreamhost from the beginning, mostly because I knew a lot of people using them and I got a hosting package for about $7.00 a month.

I still host most of my websites at Dreamhost, but have moved this site to MediaTemple. The main reason was that since my livelihood now depended on the website I wanted a higher level of service from my hosting company. MediaTemple has been great in that regard, but as always it comes with a price. I am currently paying $150 a month for hosting with them.

Watch this video to find out which host is best for you!

(Added 01-05-10 – I am currently in the process of buying a website that is hosted on BlueHost, and after digging around the backend quite a bit, I am starting to think they are a better choice than Dreamhost. Their prices are slightly lower than Dreamhost, but they seem to have things a little better organized and create an easier experience for new users. I haven’t dealt with their customer service yet, so I can’t comment on that yet, but my overall experience so far leads me to like them a bit more than Dreamhost. For what it’s worth.)

(Added 05-04-10 – After using Bluehost a bit more and calling their customer service reps, I can safely say that I definitely like them more than Dreamhost. Just the fact that they have phone support gives them a leg up – but the rep I spoke with was very helpful. So Bluehost gets my recommendation for beginner hosting.)

(Added 04-04-11 – After more and more frustrating experiences with MediaTemple’s customer service I started looking for another host that I could scale up with. I still really like Bluehost – especially for the price, but the fact that they only offer shared hosting makes me hesitant about hosting my sites that pay my mortgage each month. After looking at Hostgator‘s site it became very clear that they are a host that you can start with for as cheap as $4/m and they also offer much more thorough hosting packages as your site grows. I had heard great things about them from others, so I figured I would check them out. I called them up and asked a bunch of questions and I was surprised to find out that even though they cost a fraction of what MediaTemple costs, they have some features that MediaTemple didn’t.I opened an account with HostGator and used the chat feature to get help 2 different times and I was very pleased with their knowledge and helpfulness each time. Honestly, I was so impressed that I am getting started on moving many of my sites over to Hostgator. I will let you know how things progress…)

Hosting Companies I’ve Used


hostgator webhosting for bloggers

bluehost blog hosting

dreamhost webhosting for blogging

media temple blog hosting

As Cheap as…





Notes I started hosting with Hostgator after being increasingly frustrated with MediaTemple. From my experience their customer service seems to be far better than any other host I have used. I have been so impressed with their customer service that I am in the process of moving many of my sites over to them. I host a few of my sites with Bluehost and I have had a really good experience with them. They are cheap and have great phone support, the only downside is that they one have one hosting package – which is fine for small-medium sites, but not so good for bigger blogs. I started with Dreamhost and still have a few sites hosted there. I was happy with them for the price, but I always longed for phone support and they don’t really offer it. If you decide to use them, I have a coupon code you can use for 25% off… just enter “Christianblog” as the promo code. $20/mI currently host this site with MediaTemple. Starting at $20/m they aren’t cheap, and they have been great in terms of site uptime, but I am becoming more and more dissappointed with their customer service.


I worked a deal out for you guys – if you decide to go with Hostgator, just use our 25% off Hostgator promo code: “ChristianPF” and it will knock 25% off for you.

Get a customizable theme

After I took the step the self-host this site, the next step that greatly helped me increase earnings was choosing a highly-customizable theme. I don’t necessarily recommend doing this at the beginning, since it does cost money to get a good theme, but once you are committed to blogging and are willing to invest a few bucks, putting that money towards a good theme is a good investment.

For this site, I purchased Semiologic, which is a fantastic theme that gives you a lot of control. It costs $300 for the full version, but I quickly made that money back because the theme allowed me optimize my ad placement in ways that no other themes did. If you are a programmer, you really don’t need to buy a theme because you can make the all the customizations yourself to any basic theme. Since starting to blog a couple years ago, I have learned some HTML codes, but I am still about the furthest thing from a programmer! So for people like me, a customizable theme allows me to control things and areas of the site that I would never be able to change with out the help of a programmer.

My Themes

At the time of this writing, I am still using Semiologic for the theme on this site, but since I had been hearing so much buzz about the Thesis Theme, I decided to buy it and try it out on another one of my sites. I have to admit, I never thought it would be able to compete with Semiologic, but I am finding out how wrong I was.

After testing it out, I really am very impressed with it. Right out of the box, it provides you with a very pretty looking site that is very easy to customize. It is SEO optimized very well, has a ton of support for it, and once you figure out how to use the hooks you can customize it to oblivion if you want. The kicker is that you can buy it and get lifetime updates for $87.

I still really like Semiologic and think it is a great theme, but for the price, if I were shopping right now, I would go with Thesis. I am going to get to know and learn Thesis on my other site for a while and make sure that it really is everything that I think it is and eventually I will convert this site to Thesis.

How I make money bloggingHow I make money with this blog

When I go to family functions or social events I often get a blank stare when I explain what I do for a living. I think people understand the part that I write articles and put them on a website, but when it comes to making money from it, they don’t get it. In this section I will lay it out and hopefully it will help bring some clarity…

CPC Ad Networks

There are a few different ad networks that I use on CPF. The most successful one has been Google’s Adsense program. Basically what they do is read the article that I write and find ads that are relevant to it and display them next to the article. The great thing about it is that by having extremely relevant ads, it actually can be quite beneficial to the readers as well.

For example, if I write an article explaining what an IRA was, but didn’t mention where you could open one, Adsense would likely be displaying ads of places to open an IRA. So as a reader, if I read that article and decided that I did want to open an IRA, the ads would be providing options that the article did not. I am currently doing a few tests with another CPC network called Chitika. Apparently, you can use it in conjunction with Adsense. The jury is still out, but I am interested to see how it compares to Adsense. All things considered, I have found that if optimized correctly, Adsense really can work well. I will explain more about how to optimize it in sections below.

CPM Ad Networks

While Adsense pays on a click basis (CPC), I use other ad networks that pay by the total # of impressions (CPM). At the beginning, these networks didn’t produce much income, but as the traffic grows CPM networks seem to work well in conjunction with Adsense. I use (or have used) ContextWeb, AdClickMedia, Adbrite, Adify, BuzzLogic, and Casale Media. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and may be suitable for one kind of a site and not another.

Affiliate Product Sales

Basically an example of an affiliate sale would be if you sold lawn mowers and I referred a customer to you, if they purchased you would pay me back a % of the sale for referring them. There are a million options for this on the internet now. The main programs I use are

There are many others, but these are a few of the more popular ones available.(Added 10/20/10 – I recently found out about a new site called Viglink which allows you to automatically turn all our links on your site to affiliate links. I am testing it out and am pretty excited about it since it greatly simplifies the process of adding affiliate links.)

I have a very strong policy about honest recommendations. I give my honest opinions about products that I find regardless of how it will affect affiliate sales. For example, I wrote about Cash Crate and updated the article to show what I didn’t like about them. Because Cash Crate has such a generous referral program, I know some people making lots of money from it, but I just don’t feel comfortable recommending it since I had a bad experience using it.

On the other hand there are products like Cap One 360, (check out my review here), and Tradeking that I recommend and also have some sort of affiliate or referral program as well. These are what I love because I can help readers by pointing them to good resources and tools that have helped me and get paid in the process. I know some people don’t have a problem promoting anything that will pay them, but I just can’t, in good conscience, recommend something to someone that I don’t genuinely believe will help them.

Direct Ad Sales

I also sell ad space directly to advertisers. This hasn’t provided much income for me yet and may or may not even be worth my time. I know that in certain niche markets direct ad sales can work out very well, but thus far it hasn’t been a big money maker on CPF.

How long does it take to make money from a blog

The second question that people normally ask after, “how do I make money with a blog?” is, “how long is it going to take?”. Well, let me just say this, if you are looking for a fast way to make money, blogging isn’t it. It takes time and hard work. As you can see from the chart below it took me a long time before the trend started moving upward.

But, for more than a year I was working at it about 10 hours a week. And don’t forget I didn’t know anything about blogging, advertising, getting traffic, etc when I started. So, if you know that ChristianPF is a blog, then you have a head start on me. 😉 Also, you have the wonderful privilege of reading this article where I am going explain most of the things that I did to help create that upward trend seen below – that I didn’t know the first year.

Blog earnings visualized

Making money with a blog chart

From other people I know who make a decent amount from their blogs, this curve seems to be typical. While the first year didn’t yield much income, it was crucial for the second year to be able to. While I wish I could tell you that you could jump right ahead to where the income starts increasing quicker, but I just don’t think it is likely. There are some tips in this article that I wish I would have known at the beginning and I think they will make things go a lot quicker, but there is no getting around the fact that it is going to take time to get there. But just like anything, the more you put in, the more you get out. The two keys are consistency and a willingness to learn. Without them, I would say that it will be very difficult to make money with your blog.

getting traffic to your blogHow to get traffic to your blog

So now are getting to the point of this article where I start sharing everything I have learned over the last couple years about blogging. So, if you are like most, you want to create a blog so that others can read what you have to say. Sadly, people will not find your blog (in the beginning anyway) unless you do a little legwork. These are some of the things I did to get traffic and some that I still do. The first thing I suggest doing is writing a few great articles about your topic and feature them in your sidebar. Then I would start working on generating traffic, because you not only want traffic, but you want returning traffic as well.

Guest Posting!!

I think this is one of the best ways to start getting some quick traffic. Almost every blog I know allows guest posts (even this one) – and almost every one of those does not discriminate. What I mean is that most bloggers (that I know anyway) will accept or reject a guest post based on it’s quality, not on whether they know the person or not. This provides a great opportunity for a newbie to write an article that could be seen by 20,000 readers. I don’t know of any other method that could bring traffic as quick. I must admit, I could still do more guest posting myself. I have been pleased with the results in the past. The key is to write a great article – don’t hold back your best stuff. I have seen people grow their blogs very quickly by giving some of their best articles away as guest posts. Also, only submit unpublished content as a guest post. If it has already been published, then the blog that is allowing you to guest post won’t get any search engine traffic for that article. But there are places to republish your articles you have already published – we will get to that in a minute…

Join Directories

If I were starting a blog today, one of the first things I would do is Google “whatever topic I want to blog about” + “directory” This should return a list of web directories about your topic. Getting added to these directories will only help. You may not get a lot of traffic from them, but ultimately they will help you get more traffic from the search engines. A few of the more valuable ones to get you started…

Blog Commenting

One of the absolute best ways for new blogs to get traffic is just to comment on other blogs. Commenting with a thoughtful and provocative response will often send a few visitors your way. The blogging community is generally a very social community and those who are active in the community often reap the rewards of it.

Forum Commenting

Becoming involved in forums related to your topic and having a link to your blog in the signature line can send a few visitors. Google “your topic” and “forums” and you are sure to find a few. Just don’t be annoying and go in just to promote yourself. People can see that from a mile away. The new age of the internet (aka Web 2.0) is very much a “give and you shall receive” environment. If you seek to give and be a benefit before seeking your own rewards, you will be much better off. Why not get started at the Christian PF Forums?

Linking to other blogs

I don’t know what it is, but everyone wants to know when someone is talking about them. So it is with blogs. When people link to my site, I get a notification and often go check out who linked to me and what the context was. I have had some good relationships form just from this.

Create Hubpages,,  and a handful of others are sites that allow you to build a simple page about a topic. You can do it very quick and the pages often rank well in the search engines. If you build a page that gets a little bit of traffic and have links coming back to your site, you will catch some of those visitors. If that weren’t good enough, many of them allow you to earn money from your articles as well.

Article submissions

Submit articles to article submission sites. These sites collect articles and most allow a bio-section that can include a link back to your blog. Here are a few that are worth looking into…

SEO tips for blogs

It will take a while to get a decent amount of traffic from the search engines. The search engines do not like NEW websites. They like more established sites that have a lot of people linking to them, hence proving that they are reputable. This is why getting links from other bloggers, directories, other web sites that have a good reputation in the search engines’ eyes is very important. As your blog begins to grow by having more pages and more links the search engines will begin to send you more and more traffic. This is a good thing!! But, as I mentioned earlier, they are very wary of new websites – so time will be your ally when it comes to the search engines.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an science/art (depending on who you ask) that focuses on getting your website or blog to the top of the search engine listings. Being at the top of Google’s results for any decent keywords can be a great source of traffic and the greatest part about it is that it is FREE TRAFFIC!!!

I am not going to get deep into SEO much here, there are far more thorough books about it  but as your blog grows you should try to learn more about it, as it will only help you by knowing more. Just like most of the things you will learn while blogging, you don’t need to be an expert at it – just having a working knowledge will provide great results.

The thing to remember about the search engines (especially Google) is that they are trying to create a perfect system where any searcher can find exactly what they want. Google wants to display the most relevant websites to their searchers. They will never have a perfect system, but they probably won’t stop trying. If you can keep this in mind, it will be very helpful when you are trying to optimize your blog. Don’t waste your time trying to trick them, they will figure it out and will punish you for it. Just focus on making it very clear to them what your site is all about and writing great content for your reader and the rest will take care of itself.

So, let’s get to some SEO. These are some of the most important (in my opinion) pieces of SEO that every beginner should know. If you do these right, you will be much better off than most people who don’t know anything about SEO.

1. Title Tags

This may be the single most important part of on-page SEO. The title tag of your website is what shows up in the top of your browser window. It is also one of the most important determining factors that the search engines use to determine what your site is about.

Make money with a blog by learning SEO


In the above picture you can see that the title tag is “Christian Personal Finance – Financial help, debt help…” You WILL want to make sure that your title tags contain the keywords that you want to rank for in the search engines. If your site is about rock climbing, you will not want to have “welcome to Bill’s blog” in the title tags. Something better would be “Rock climbing 101 | the best rock climbing techniques”

2. Anchor Text

Anchor text – the text that people use when linking. For instance, if I created a link for a great search engine you can see that the link will go to Google. “great search engine” is the anchor text. The anchor text is a big deal, because it tells the search engines what other sites say your site is about. Google really places a lot of importance on what words are in the anchor text. Obviously, you will not be able to control how other people link to your site all of the time. But, for those times that you can, you should use your keywords when possible. Linking to other pages and posts on your website, directory submissions, blog carnivals, and your signature line in forums all may be good places to make sure you get your keywords in your anchor text.

3. Keyword Research

If you are trying to get traffic from search engines, it is always a good idea to know what people are searching for before you start writing. I often use Aaron Wall’s keyword tool and run some keyword ideas through it to get estimates of how many people are searching for them.

4. Get links

We already lightly discussed the importance of links coming into your blog. Other that the great benefit they play in improving your search rankings, they also send visitors to your site. It is an obvious benefit, but often overlooked by people focusing on SEO. If you get a link from a blog that gets a lot of visitors, you could see a huge traffic spike from it. If you get links from lots of blogs, you could and will see visitors coming from most of them. Maybe not a bunch, but as you get more and more links, you will see more visitors coming. The bottom line about link-building is that you have to create something great that people want to link to. If you can consistently do that, many other things will fall into place.

Need more?

This is really just scratching the surface of SEO, and honestly if you really want to do well with it I would suggest hiring someone to help you with it.


How I increased Adsense earnings $1500 in less than 3 months

make money blogging with google adsenseThis section is going to be a little bit beyond the basics and I will provide details of how I dramatically improved earnings from Adsense. Just to clarify, at the time of this increase I was already making some money with Adsense, but I had no idea how much difference a few tweaks could make. In my case I increased earnings over $1500 in a short amount of time. The thing you have to understand about Adsense is that no two sites are alike. Every blog has a different audience and different articles and most likely a different layout, all these things affect Adsense earnings. Knowing that, testing and trying new things is critical to find the winners!

1. Added a Privacy Policy

This is such a simple thing to do. I never realized that is a “requirement” for Adsense publishers, but when I added a link in my footer to my Privacy Policy there was a noticeable increase in earnings. I assume that Google rewards those who have a privacy policy and punishes those that don’t by trimming their earnings. In a perfect world you would want your lawyer to draft your privacy policy, but here is a sample template of a privacy policy to make your life a bit easier.

2. Put ads where people’s eyeballs went…

Adsense ad placement chart For me there is an eternal struggle between usability and profitability with ads. While I want need to make money to pay my bills, I still want to make this site as user friendly as possible. So, I have made some sacrifices with this site in order to maintain certain levels of usability, but one of the main keys to making money with Adsense is ad placement.

Like I mentioned before, this needs to be experimented with. But for the first year or more of this site I just kinda threw the ads where ever I had extra room. Once I changed the location of my ads, my earnings tripled overnight. It really freaked me out. I had no idea that just moving an ad a couple inches would have such a dramatic effect. The diagram to the right (from Google) provides some good starting point for what locations work and don’t.

3. Section Targeting

This was another tweak I made that made a noticeable difference in earnings. Basically “section targeting” is telling Google what text on your site to look at when deciding what ads to show. Google is pretty good at figuring this out if you don’t do this, but if you have a lot of stuff going on in your sidebars and footer sections, it is probably worth experimenting with. It is very easy to implement. You only need to use this tag…

to tell Google to start, and this tag…

to tell them to stop. I just added a text widget at the top of my post for the start tag and after the content for the end tag.

4. Who Sees Ads Plugin

This is a great plugin that allows you (as the name suggests) choose which visitors see which ads. There are lots of criteria that you can select, so you can specify that Search Engine users see a particular Adsense unit when regular readers see something else. I have found that search engine visitors click Adsense ads a lot more than regular readers. I still show some Adsense to regular readers, but I focus my energy on the visitors from search engines – this plugin makes this very easy.

5. Changed the colors

When Adsense first came out, people said to make the colors as loud and ugly as possible to draw attention to them. Next I heard that the best thing to do was to blend them into the site. Of the two methods I think that blending works a little better, and definitely looks a lot better! But, I have a slight variation of that has worked even better for me. Currently I have have most of my links set to a lighter blue color. I used to have many of my Adsense ads match that, but I saw a nice increase when I changed the Ad titles to the old standard Link Blue. I feel that visually it is a complement rather than a match. It stands out a little bit more, but doesn’t look bad either – IMO…

6. Wrote articles people are searching for

This might seem unrelated, but it is very important. If you are like most bloggers, you have a regular readership and you have readers from the search engines. For some reason, a lot of bloggers just don’t give much respect to search engine readers and don’t really try to reach out to them other than trying to “convert” them to a regular reader. I approach things a little bit differently, rather than getting frustrated at the fact that so many search engine visitors don’t come back, I started to embrace it. I realized that my main goal of this site was to help people, so why should I care if they only visit once or on a daily basis if they are getting helped?

So while I very much appreciate and value my regular readers, I also understand that I can help those who find the site via a search engine. I started doing keyword research to see what people were looking for in the search engines. If there are people searching to find the highest paying jobs without a degree, I want to help them find out! What happened for me as I started to become more conscious of what people were searching for was that I started getting more search engine traffic – which of course leads to higher earnings from Adsense.

7. Added a Google search bar

This is a no-brainer. Google is the master of search, so you can bet that their search capability on your site is going to be better than the default WordPress search tool. By installing this, you will help your visitors find the information that they are looking for on your site and make some extra cash in the process. When the search results (from the websites you choose) are displayed they have the standard Google ads present, just like normal Google search results.

8. Hooked Google Analytics up with Adsense

A few months ago, Analytics started allowing the option to integrate your Adsense data. This has been so helpful for me. It provides webmasters with a wealth of information about earnings. It is simple to see which articles are making the most money, which keywords are yielding the most, what sites send the most valuable traffic, and a whole lot more. If you use Adsense, don’t pass this one up.

9. Tested, re-tested, and tested again…

When running Adsense tests, I typically let them run for a month in order to make sure they are very thorough. I have a calendar that I use to mark down when I make changes and what changes I make. Then when the test is complete I compare CPM and eCPM rates to see what performed better. A/B split testing is a better method when possible, but for certain tests is just isn’t possible or practical. But either way, if you want to make more money with Adsense, experimenting and testing is a must!

7 tools that have helped make it all possible…

Not all of these tools directly contribute to the bottom line, but each one of them have been very helpful over the last couple years.

  • Google Analytics – which is a wonderful (and free) statistics tool that will help you keep track of your visitors and analyze a lot of data about them. As I mentioned before it now integrates with Adsense to give even more valuable data.
  • Google webmaster tools – This will help you see how Google views your blog. They will also let you know if there are any problems with it that you may not be aware of. For me I had some issues that were really hurting my search rankings, but I found out about them and fixed them and voila! All better.
  • Aweber Email Marketing Service – I haven’t been using this too long, but if you read anything about internet marketing, you will certainly hear about the incredible value in having an email list. I have been happy with Aweber thus far.
  • SEObook Keyword Tool – I use this to get a ballpark estimate of how many people are searching for particular key phrases.
  • – This one provides ideas for articles based on what you have previously written about and could probably rank for. I just noticed that the free version is gone. If you have a blog that is established it might be worth paying $10 a month for it – I suggest doing the free-trial and see how much it helps you.
  • Stock.xchng – The best free stock photography site I have found.
  • BigStock – The best cheap stock photography site I have found. They have lots of images that you can get for just about a buck.

A few more tools that may be worth checking out…

  • Scribe SEO Tool for WordPress – I wrote a more thorough review of this tool that the blogging tips subscribers received (you can sign up for free below if interested). But basically, I tried it out and decided not to continue to use it because I thought it was priced a little to high for what I got from it. It can make the SEO process a bit easier, but I just wasn’t sure about spending $27 on it. If they lower the price, I might recommend it a bit more.
  • Yaro Starak’s (and Leslie’s) Become a Blogger Training Course – I haven’t tried this, but have heard good things about it. Yaro is an extremely successful internet marketer and I have learned a whole lot from him. If I were starting out today and could afford the program, I would do it.


Warnings for those starting out…

Don’t quit your day-job

Even if you know a lot about making money with a blog (which just be reading this article, you have a tremendous advantage over me when I started) it is going to take a while. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, it is more of a work-for-free-for-a-long-time-and-then-reap-your-reward type plan. The beautiful thing is that I can now say that it does work if you are diligent and open to learning from your mistakes. But either way, convention wisdom says, build your blog part-time and when you start making more from it than your day-job consider making it a full-time deal. My situation is a unique one and I don’t recommend doing what I did unless it really is God calling you to do so. In my case I am now thankful that I got laid off – if I hadn’t I would probably still be doing a job I didn’t like!

Learn everything you can

One of the advantages I have is that I love to learn and don’t stop when I make a mistake. I work really hard to learn from my mistakes and figure out what the better course of action would be for the next time. You are going to do things wrong, but you just have to keep going and keep learning. Learning how to use Google search is very important. If you do, you will be able to find an answer to just about every problem you encounter on the web.

Avoid time-wasters

Checking your stats every hour, reading 500 blogs in your RSS, playing on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, or Youtube all day will kill your productivity. Focus on what yields results and stay disciplined to stick with that. Social media is an important part of building traffic, but you have to keep it in check.

Have fun

While I wrote this article as a guide to help those who want to make money with a blog, I understand that many people don’t really care about that. Either way, life is too short not to be enjoying it. So whether you want to be a full-time blogger or just communicate with friends – have fun!!

This article was written by Bob

Did you like this article?

Many people have told me that I am “giving away too much for free” with this article. That was my intention. I have had some success making money blogging and want to help others do the same. I just figured that by creating a great and free resource a lot of links would follow – and they have. Some people ask me how they can repay me – which is not necessary -but for those wanting to show their appreciation, I just say linking to the article from their blog is the best compensation I could receive. Thanks for reading!

FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers. Read more here.

  1. Bible Money Matters

    Great primer on blogging for money.

    I was stunned to hear that you increased adsense earnings $1500 in 3 months? Wow.. guess i need to do some more testing. 🙂

    • bob

      Yea, Pete, I was surprised too – I guess it was just because I was doing so many things wrong before 😉

  2. James

    Thanks for writing a thorough article about making money from blogs. I learnt something new and hope to test drive your ideas soon. Awesome article!!

  3. Gayle McLaughlin

    Thank you so much for such a thorough article on the How to’s of writing a blog. I write for a website and have dabbled in writing for a blog, but I have never seen a more honest and thorough discussion of blogging and how to make money. I have been a subscriber to your blog for a couple of months. I thank you for such quality information.

  4. PT Money

    Fun article to read, Bob. Just curious…was the $1500 increase due to one particular article or keyword getting hot? Or are you attributing it ALL to making the changes you mentioned (i.e. placement, segments, etc.).

    Oh, and also…where is the Quicken Online aff program managed?

    I’d like to go full-time in the next couple of years. I just can’t get affiliates to take off.

    • bob

      Thanks everyone – glad it is helpful! PT, I am sure some articles got hot, but some were getting hot before as well… I decided to spend a lot of time learning about Adsense and as I implemented all those things I learned I saw the increase… Like I said above, I am sure some of it was because I was doing so many things wrong – but the good thing for most adsense publishers is that they are doing things wrong that can be fixed pretty easily…

  5. Dana

    Thank you for sharing, getting the whole story from start to finish was very interesting.

  6. Greg / Wise Bread

    Bob — amazingly comprehensive guide to blogging here! Thanks for sharing this info. It’s very helpful! Will be passing it around to newbie bloggers.

  7. Wojciech @ Fiscal Fizzle

    A very good article indeed. I think it’s important to point out how long it takes to establish a blog and develop traffic that has the potential to provide a full-time income. I think many people go into it expecting immediate results and are deeply disappointed when things don’t go their way.

    Like you point out, it’s important to have fun and be passionate about what you’re doing. If you like to write about your topic, it will show.

  8. Stephanie

    What a great post! I am definitely coming back to read this over a few times. Thanks for the information.

  9. Matt Jabs

    In 2006 Steve Pavlina taught us how to successfully blog for income.

    In 2009 we have Bob Lotich leading the way on the same topic. This article will be very successful for a long time to come, and rightfully so. The information contained herein is invaluable for the modern income seeking blogger.

    Many thanks to you Bob for taking the time to share your knowledge and deep understanding of this topic with all of us. I am very appreciative.


  10. mbhunter

    Wow, this is a stellar resource! Thank you!

  11. Very extensive article. I’m going to put it a few of your suggestions into action.
    I’m also going to place a link from my website to this article.

    I didn’t know about the who sees your ad plugin.
    I’m also gong to try it out

  12. Matt Jabs

    Hey Bob…

    If you don’t mind, could you let us know what your “Page CTR” averages are? This will really help give people a target number to shoot for.

    Also, did any of the methods you employed above help you increase your “Page CTR”? What about methods not mentioned above?

    Thanks in advance for this information.


  13. The Happy Rock

    Wow Bob,

    What an amazing story and article. I think most people are shocked to hear that you are making a living off a blog your size and also with you Adsense success. I switched to basically the same ad positions about the same time as you and I also saw my adsense revenue jump 300-400% although not near the actual levels you are talking about.

    I bet you have a lot of bloggers questioning there site setup and monetization efforts!!!! I know I am.

    Thanks for the great resource.

    -The Happy Rock

  14. Patrice Washington

    I absolutely loved this article! You are truly an inspiration. I started out my blog just a few months ago because like you, I am passionate about Proverbs, but also teach personal finance classes at local churches and non-profits.

    I only recently found your blog, but I love your content and am excited that one day I may be able to turn this passion into profit.

    Thanks for being so giving!

    Peace & Blessings

  15. Travis @ CMM

    Bob, thanks for the great resource. I didn’t know you had gone full time. Congratulations! This is an article I’ve bookmarked and will come back to. It’s not only informational but it’s also inspirational. Thanks again.

  16. Matt B

    Great article, especially for those (like myself) whose sites are relatively new and are stuck trying to get traffic, optimizing everything and still debating between blogger and wordpress. (I am seriously debating a move). This is an AMAZING resource for new bloggers!! Thank you,

  17. Matt B/Financial Methods

    Thank you for a great article Bob. I will be coming back to this one for who knows how long.

  18. Jason @ MyMoneyMinute

    Such a great wealth of information – thanks for writing it, Bob. I will be returning to this many times over for knowledge & inspiration.

  19. Shannon

    Thanks for the tips! They came at the perfect time for me, as I’m just starting my own blog. (I actually found you when you commeted on one of my posts at Savings Advice a while back.) I will definitely be coming back to read this post more thorougly and try out some of your ideas.

  20. Studenomist

    This is the kind of advice we pay $399 for with all of those “how to make money blogging experts” lol. Maybe you can start your own program “Bob’s Blog Mastermind.” All joking aside thanks for the great post, it is definitely a good source of motivation for a motivated newbie blogger like myself.

  21. Patrick

    Excellent resource, Bob! There are a few things here that I know I can improve upon – thanks!

    And congrats on your well-deserved success! 🙂

  22. Thanks so much for the great article. Google adsense is a mystery you are helping to clear up.

    If you are getting 20K hits a day as a blogger you should be extremely proud. I know some of the biggest forums out only get twice that daily. You are getting some amazing traffic.

  23. Andy

    What a great article! You’ve inspired me to keep going (getting a bit hard to stay motivated at the moment). I can also remember the thrill of the first adsense click and never thought I would reach the $100 payout limit (I now make that in one day at times)….Still, now it feels more like a business with taxes, admin and lots of mail to deal with. Formed my S-corp recently, which was kinda cool, but has also doubled my admin work.

    Despite following a similar trajectory to you (in most parts) I know I learnt a lot from this article and if you are new to blogging this article is a must read. But to make money, you have to treat it as a business and write articles from that perspective. Combining intersting articles with revenue opps is the hallmark of a good for-profit blogger!

  24. The Personal Finance Playbook

    Very well written, informative post. I’ll be adding a privacy policy to my blog asap. Thank you.

  25. animotech

    very informative blogpost thanks so much

  26. Eden

    Well, it all sounds so easy! 🙂

    I guess my problem has been never being consistent or really trying hard enough. Thanks for the great write-up. I already have several to-dos from just reading this once. I will dig in a lot more later.

  27. Steph

    Wow! Thank you very much! I can’t wait to get started…this is exactly what I needed to read!

  28. Michele

    Thanks for this great article. I started a personal finance blog about 6 months ago but am still pretty green when it comes to making money on it. I will be referring back to this post.

  29. Steve Sherron

    Hard to say more than those above me have said. You are truly a giving person when others may not be so eager to share. I found you through a mention at Simple Dollar. I’ve already gone and tweaked a few of my sites based on your article. I’m now a subscriber. Thanks again for a truly awesome article.

  30. Pam

    Thanks so much for sharing all this helpful information. My husband and I have just started blogging in March and we have so much to learn. After reading some of your content on your site I feel kind of like I know you. I really like your site!

    Thanks again!!!

  31. David

    This entry of yours have enlightened me. I’m a programmer, yes, one of those that can create applications like wordpress etc, etc.

    I’m a college student, and of course as any other have the need to find new sources of income, like just today my poor desktop died so it’s just my laptop and me.

    I do thanks you for inspiring me to stop wasting time and use my talent and creativity, it’s admirable to see bloggers like you having such commitment.

    An excellent post containing real information, believe me, many people that knows all this are greedy and have succumbed to its nature. Kuddos to you!

  32. eBayweb

    Just found your blog. Great article for beginners. I stumble upon successful blogs everyday, but never realize how well they perform. I am really impressed by your performance too.

  33. Steve

    Just what I needed for getting started! Thank you!

  34. Roland

    Good tips, thank you.

  35. This was a fabulous article. As a frugal blogger, who like you, had no idea I could make money with my blog when I started, has been amazed at the potential for making money on topics that are just about sharing your passion.
    i didn’t know any of this about AdSense, even though I am making money through affiliates/sponsors, and will be implementing this immediately (as well as adding a Privacy Policy).

  36. Jennifer

    Thank you for a great post! I learned so much! 🙂

  37. Linda Owen

    Wow–so much to take in! Thanks for the great advise. I’m bookmarking this for (a lot of) future reference! I want my blog to be a testimony to the Lord, but I know I need to be a better steward of my internet time and efforts. Thanks again for the step-by-step approach!
    Blessings, Linda

  38. Thanks for the the information. I have implemented a few of the suggestions and hopefully I can come up with some time to digest the rest of the article in the near future. I have been running a blog more as an outlet than as a business for the last year, but have yet to see money from it. I think I need to focus more on my subject and network more. Maybe someday I can hope to be doing what you are.

  39. jana

    Hey Bob- Will the who sees it plug in work with blogger? I love this idea but I’m not sure how to implement it!

    • bob

      as far as I know blogger still doesn’t have plugin functionality. If you are really trying to make some money with your blog, I suggest switching to a self-hosted wordpress blog. It might be a pain on the front-end, but longer term it will probably be worth it…

  40. Steve

    Thank you for your generosity in sharing this great information. You’ve answered many of my questions.

  41. Will

    Great information for someone like me that is just starting out. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate your generosity

  42. samirian Hill

    Thanks you for sharing! I have not read it all, but the post was an answer to my prayers. I just came up with a name for my blog and was having an anxiety attack thinking about going public with my thoughts on the world wide web. What do I say? I had not thought about making money.

    I went to because they have a list of top financial websites/blogs. I wanted to review some of the others online. I ran across your site and then this post. It soothed my nerves. I feel like I can move forward with ease. I will continue to digest what you wrote and get the Dummies book.

    Thank you!

  43. Erik

    The amount of time that you must have put into this article is awesome! It’s definitely a great resource for regular people looking to start a blog on a subject they are passionate about. That is the key to having a blog that makes money…write about something you love, because then you won’t drop it after a few months when you see that it’s near impossible to make good money blogging until years of hard work pay off.

  44. This has got to be one of the easiest and most understandable articles I have read. How I even stumbled across your site, let alone read the in-depth article posted here is an achievement. You have summed up everything so well. I will certainly be implementing some of the advice given. Congratulations on this article and the blog. May you continue to receive the blessings that are so obviously abundant in your life.

  45. Henry

    That’s a really informative series of articles, Bob! I’ve been thinking about quitting my day job for a while but I haven’t had the courage to do so. I want to start going full time with my blog, but I’m not anywhere near my earnings at my regular job.

    Keep up the good job! I remember when you first started your blog and asked me for advice. Now it’s me that needs the advice!

  46. Wise Finish

    Thanks Bob for the great advice! I appreciate you putting all of this together in one easy to read article.

  47. Beach Bum

    Thanks for the great article! For the last 2 years I’ve been promoting the resort job sites with moderate success. Recently I’ve noticed my page rank go from 3 to 1!
    Your article is really going to help me get back to the basics and regain my page ranking! Thank you so much.
    PS. It would be nice to get you thoughts on WordPress plugins as to which one are beneficial and which ones actually hurt you.
    Bless you.

  48. The Kingsta

    This is the best free information I have read about how to make money with a blog to date. Thanks for the blessing.

  49. The Bible Post

    Very good post. Helpful and informative.

    Blessings to you…

  50. Heidi

    I’ve been thinking about how I might blog for pay, not big pay, but some pay. I started a blog for fun not knowing anything about websites or anything related to them. I’ve been writing there for about two months. I finally got a few minutes this morning to see what I could find on the topic of blogging for pay and I found your article. It is the first I have read on this topic and I can’t imagine finding one more clearly written or more informative. Thank you. I also am interested in staying true to my Christian values in any endeavor, so I appreciated that perspective here.

    I am going now to check out your site.


  51. Diana

    This is a great article. I just want to say that I have an informational Web site rather than a blog, and most of this can be applied to Web sites as well.

  52. Edos

    Thanks for the post, i’m sure this will help me to start making money with my blog.

  53. John Mellem

    Me too. I used a lot of the ideas here and made a good blog and got some traffic and income already. And I get to publish great articles now and have them read.

  54. J. Money

    Huge help!!!! So glad you threw this out there, the 10+ hours you must have spent will now help hundreds down the road! Well done, sir. Well done.

  55. brandy

    Great post, I have a new blog and have been trying to earn money through it, it is good to know that all the time I invest in it will eventually payoff.

  56. dee

    I have enjoyed reading your website. I am looking to open my own blog with supporting affialite links. Update the site each week. I have reading everythin I can learn.
    am I on the right track.

  57. John Mellem

    It sounds like you are on the right track. I update my sight more often but once a week might work for you. I have adsense and an amazon store on mine and use many of the techniques here to get traffic to the blog.

  58. Patty Fleming

    Thanks for a great article – it’s always wonderful when people share their experiences. I’m very new at blogging, but find it fascinating. Thanks again!

  59. Amanda Meuwissen

    I am 25 years old and have been in a rut since I graduated college. I am lucky to have married a wonderful man, but neither of us are happy in the usual work environment and I have struggled with figuring out what I can do to change that. I am a writer. I am currently trying to sell a graphic novel idea, as well as a screenplay, but I don’t have any grand ideas of making it rich. If one day I do, so be it. In the meantime I want to enjoy what I do. While I promise I won’t quit my day job just yet 🙂 this article really helped me believe I can do this, create a blog about something that means something to me, and eventually earn a real income on it. Thank you for being so thorough, thoughtful, and well-written.

    • Braden Cobb

      Hey Amanda,

      I think I have some ideas that you might find very interesting regarding making money via blogging. Let’s chat! And this post is awesome, btw!! Pure gold!

  60. William Duncan

    Thanks for the tips.As a beginner it has helped me alot.