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How To Monetize Your Blog From Day One (Free Step-By-Step Guide!)

What to learn how to monetize your blog from day one?

For most bloggers — and entrepreneurs in general — it takes time to sustainably monetize their business.

That being said, there are things you can do to get set up for success and start earning an income right from the beginning.

The below make money blogging action plan details the exact steps you should take to earn money from your site sooner rather than later.

Follow it to avoid spending years figuring out how to earn and instead spend that time scaling your business.

Note: This post on how to monetize your blog from the beginning contains affiliate links to trusted partners I love and think you will, too!

Invite: How To Make Money As A Travel Blogger [Free Workshop]

While we’re on the topic of blog monetization, I’d love to invite you to my free workshop: 10 Powerful Ways To Make Money Travel Blogging.

During the 60-minute on-demand workshop, you’ll learn:

  • Myths related to monetizing a blog (that may be holding you back!)
  • Strategies for creating profitable content (so those blog posts, emails & social shares lead to income!)
  • Tips for earning recurring passive revenue as a blogger (so your income grows even when you’re away from your laptop!)
  • How to create products that you know your audience will buy (so you don’t waste your time!)
  • Advice for growing your affiliate income (with a strategy that truly works!)
  • And more!

Plus, your free ticket to this actionable workshop also includes a Q&A, limited-time replay, and special bonuses.

Click here to grab your seat in the free travel blog monetization workshop.

Can You Earn Money As A Blogger?

Yes, you absolutely can earn money as a blogger!

That’s why I…

Like this one:

And, it’s not just me who has been able to take their blog full time.

For instance, if you’re curious how to become a full-time blogger you can check out these creative ways bloggers monetize their sites.

Of course, there are creators who set out to make money blogging and don’t succeed, often because they don’t have a clear plan for success.

That is not what I want for you, which is exactly why I wrote this article on how to monetize your blog from day one in the first place.

Blog Monetization Requirements

Let’s start by discussing important blog monetization rules.

First of all, before you start trying to earn an income you’ll need a self-hosted website. For instance, if you’re using WordPress, you’ll want to opt for WordPress.org instead of WordPress.com.

If you’re using WordPress and aren’t sure which you have, if you pay for web hosting then you have WordPress.org and are self-hosted.

Free blogging platforms may seem like a great idea to start because they save you money, but you’ll be limited in what you can do, including making money.

Moreover, you’ll also want to think about legal requirements when it comes to earning money through a blog.

These may differ slightly depending on your monetization strategy. For instance, if you do affiliate marketing on your blog, you’ll need to clearly disclose this within your content and in your site’s privacy policy.

Speaking of privacy policies, it’s a smart idea to have some legal pages published in your website footer, including your privacy policy, website disclaimer, and terms of service.

Note: I am not a lawyer, so the advice I’m providing is based on my experience. Every blogging business is different, so consider consulting a lawyer.

Pro tip:

Where I live in NYC, there is an organization called the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project that offers free legal services to small businesses. I recommend checking to see if there is a similar program in your area.

A lawyer can help you understand blog monetization requirements
Meeting with a lawyer before you launch your business is a smart idea. Photo via Karolina Grabowska/Pexels.

Get Set Up To Earn Money From Blogging

When you’re just starting out you likely won’t want to spend a ton of money, but it is worth it to invest in a few budget-friendly tools to get set up for success.

These include:

Good web hosting. Choosing a good hosting company means a faster site, less site downtime, and solid support when things go wrong — which will happen less often with a reputable hosting provider.

Personally, I use and love Flywheel, though if you’re just starting out this will be more expensive than you likely need.

For beginners, I recommend Bluehost or SiteGround. Compare their pricing and features to see which one will work best for your blogging business.

You domain. As in, YourSite.com, not YourSite.wordpress.com. This makes your blog look more professional — which also makes it easier to monetize. My recommendation for this is NameCheap.

Keysearch (get 30% off with code “jessieonajourney30”). I talk about Search Engine Optimization and keyword research more in the blog monetization guide below, but in short, you absolutely want to be doing keyword research from the beginning so that your posts can easily be found in Google search results.

Otherwise, you’ll need to backtrack later on to revamp your previously-published posts — which is a lot of work and a huge pain.

Surfer SEO. This tool is like employing an SEO expert on your team (without the 4-figure monthly price tag). You’ll get specific recommendations tailored to your blog for how to optimize your blog posts for SEO and rank in organic search results. You can see my video tutorial here, too:

WP Rocket. WP Rocket is one of my absolute favorite WordPress plugins, as it can help keep your site running lightning-fast and improves overall site performance for a better experience for your readers.

A theme. I don’t recommend going with a free theme, as you typically won’t get any support included.

Trust me, you will absolutely need theme support from time-to-time, so this is really a must.

Personally, I use the Beaver Builder theme on this blog, though you can search Envato Market for other options.

Having a good theme is important is you want to monetize your blog from day one
A preview of my homepage, which uses the Beaver Builder Theme

Additionally, do some research on the best laptops for travel bloggers. A good laptop can be pricey; however, it can really help you work much more efficiently.

The Honest Truth About Blogging

Before we dive into this guide on monetizing a blog fast, I want to bust a common myth.

Despite popular belief, blogging is not a get rich quick scheme or a super easy way to make money from home.

It involves work. A lot of it.

And how long it takes to make money blogging really depends on how driven and focused you are.

That being said, it can be a lot of fun, as you earn an income sharing content related to your passion and help others through your articles, videos, and social shares.

On that note, if you’re up for putting in the effort, let’s dive into our guide on how to monetize blogging.

Researching how to monetize your blog from day one
Blogging is hard work but can also be very rewarding. Photo via Jessie Festa.

How To Monetize Your Blog From Day One: Step-By-Step Action Plan

The following will take you through a step-by-step pre-launch process.

By following these steps, you’ll be set up for success — as in, to earn an income — once you officially launch your blog.

The best part:

Instead of spending days, weeks, or even years figuring out how to grow and monetize your blog, you’ll have a repeatable process in place to scale your blog right from the start.

Moreover, if you need additional helping setting things up you can grab my free 4-day blogging course, which walks you through the entire blogging journey from branding to monetization.

In the online blogging course you learn through video, too, which really allows lessons to come to life as you go behind the scenes of a profitable blogging business.

Okay, so let’s kick things off with…

Step #1: Get Clear On Your Blogging Goals

The easiest way to be profitable faster is to know why you’re blogging in the first place and what you want to accomplish through your business.

Maybe you want to empower women to confidently travel solo, help make sustainable tourism mainstream, or help adventurous travelers find the world’s best hiking trails.

Whatever it is, pinpoint your “big why” — which will guide everything you create for your blog moving forward.

You can then turn this big why into a mission statement using the simple template:

“I help [group of people] do [how you help].”

By the way, if you need some assistance with this I’ve got an in-depth guide to branding your blog.

How To Monetize Your Blog From Day One Workshop

Step #2: Understand The Different Ways To Monetize A Blog

Once you know your why, it’s time to pinpoint how you’ll actually monetize that mission.

I know many articles that share blogging tips and tricks save monetization for the end, but if you want to grow your blog fast and earn an income right away, it’s important to have profit clarity from the beginning.

But, maybe you’re wondering “How can I earn money from a blog?”

To help provide some insight, let’s cover a few smart ways to make money blogging, like:

For this guide, I’m going to recommend you create your own profitable digital products.

In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to monetize your digital content and take your business full-time as it gives you a lot of control over your income, especially if you host product launch events to increase sales.

If you’re unfamiliar with these, don’t worry, this product launch plan template can you help you map out a successful event.

Moreover, I know a lot of people are curious about how to monetize a blog without ads, especially as, aside from Google AdSense, most ad networks require a certain amount of traffic before you can apply to be a publisher with them.

Here are some of my absolute favorite digital product ideas for bloggers:

Now, if you’re not sure what digital product you should create, let me share my personal favorite option: Online courses.

The great thing is your online course does not need to be business-focused to make money.

What is more important is that it offers a transformation — because remember, people pay for transformation, not information.

Therefore, you’ll want to remove the fluff and filler and give people just what they need to change their lives for the better in the way your course promises.

For instance, looking at the travel examples above, your course topics might be:

Personally, creating online courses is the main way I monetize my blog and consistently increase what I earn per month. Additionally, there are ways to validate your online course idea before creating it to ensure people actually purchase.

Want to dive further into this powerful tactic?

This video shares my step-by-step strategy for creating and launching a profitable online course as a blogger:

Step #3: Create A Profitable Content Plan

Create Your Content Plan

Now, with your mission and revenue streams in mind, you want to create your blog content plan.

Having this mapped out before you launch your blog will make it so much easier to craft a streamlined blogging workflow that saves time and allows you to create content faster and with intention.

And it doesn’t need to take a lot of time, either. In fact, once you understand your brand and SEO, you can easily plan out a year of blog content in one week.

My recommendation:

Start with two or three content pillars that act as an extension of your blog’s mission.

For instance, if your blog aims to help travel photographers take better pictures in less time, your content pillars might be taking photos, editing photos, and making money through photography.

These pillars do a few things:

  • Allow you to keep content cohesive and focused
  • Help you stand out as an expert in your niche on specific topics
  • Make it easier for your content to rank in organic search, as writing about the same topic consistently tells Google that you’re an expert on it

Consider Blogging Revenue Streams

Now, as you create your content, you also want to consider your revenue streams and how your content can work to grow them.

If you’re selling products, one way is to create content that attracts your target audience.

For example, I own a company that offers photo tours in NYC, and one way I get bookings is by publishing blog posts that attract people who might want to book — like my post on Central Park For Couples.

Central Park is one of the most popular locations on my tours, and couples are a main demographic. With this post, I’m sharing romantic Central Park ideas, which include booking my private photo tour.

Come Up With Content Ideas Quickly

To save time with coming up with blog post ideas and help you overcome blogger’s block, you can use a tool like Jasper AI, which utilizes artificial intelligence to help you quickly and easily come up with topic ideas, create article outlines, and even draft content. You can click here for a 10,000-word free trial of Jasper.

Make Your Content Profitable

Taking this a step further, also consider how you can create content optimized for buyer-intent keywords; as in, words and phrases people search when they have their credit card in hand ready to purchase.

So, if your product is a travel blogging course, you might write a post on “The Best Travel Blogging Course To Grow Quickly”. In this instance, you know that someone searching the term “best travel blogging course” is looking to enroll in, well, a travel blogging course.

Bonus tip:

If you’re creating content optimized for affiliate programs you’re a part of, you can use the same tactic of writing blog posts optimized for buyer-intent keywords.

In fact, I recommend regularly publishing content that promotes your highest paying affiliate programs — as well as recurring revenue affiliate programs — to help increase your blogging revenue.

While we’re chatting about content, I’ll throw another tip for creating profitable content into the mix, which is to create and monetize a blog series:

Step #4: Understand Search Engine Optimization To Monetize Your Blog Faster

Okay, so we’ve been talking about using and finding keywords, which you may or may not be familiar with.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very complex topic that I cover fully in my Travel Blog Prosperity membership.

However, right now I’ll give you a quick lesson with some important tips, as SEO is vital to comprehend if you want to rank your blog in Google. This should absolutely be a main goal of yours if you’re interested in growing and monetizing a blog.

In short, SEO refers to optimizing your blog to rank higher in organic search. This means that when someone searches a phrase in Google, your blog posts and pages show up toward the top and generate traffic to your site.

And traffic to your site can equate to income, as you get more eyes on your products, affiliate links, ads, and other revenue streams.

A lot of SEO has to do with user experience and what is best for the searcher. This means you’ll want a blog that has a clear structure, is fast, works well on mobile, and is secure — so make sure you have an SSL Certificate installed on your site (which means your blog has “https” instead of “http”).

This content should also be factual and relevant, so make sure to update old blog posts.

Additionally, you’ll want to create high-quality in-depth content that answers the reader’s questions and is easy to link your other posts to and from.

Like I said above, consistently writing about the same topics is great for SEO, as Google will get to know your niche and what topics you’re an expert in. Moreover, it makes it easy to interlink your posts, which helps keep people on the site and is also helpful for ranking.

Finally, your content should be optimized for keywords — as in, words and phrases that people search in Google.

Here is a quick demo of how I do keyword research using a tool called Keysearch — which you can snag 30% off of with code “jessieonajourney30”.

Now, another tool that can help with optimizing your content to rank in organic search results is Surfer SEO.

Instead of simply giving you data about other sites that are ranking, Surfer SEO analyzes your website to make tailored recommendations for:

  • specific keywords to target
  • specific ways to optimize new content
  • specific changes to make to old content to improve its chances of ranking
  • specific missed opportunities for internal and external backlinks
  • specific on-page SEO optimizations (such as optimal word count, title length, image count, etc)
  • and much more

Did I mention the tool gets specific?

In short, you’ll get a step-by-step SEO workflow that can help you grow your traffic and increase your rankings – no guesswork required!

Here is a quick tutorial going over some of Surfer SEO’s powerful features:

While you’ll need a paid plan to get everything I showcase in the video, they do offer a free AI Article Outline Generator to give you a small taste of the platform.

Step #5: Create Your Content Marketing & Visibility Strategy

Now, SEO is one strategy for growing your blog traffic and getting eyes on your content, though it’s not the only option.

Really ask yourself where your audience is hanging out and how you can get in front of them.

For instance, one of the top ways I get in front of my audience is through my Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast, which shows up in Google search — because I create show notes for the episodes — and in searches on podcast platforms like iTunes and Spotify. By the way, if you’re interested in podcasting you can steal my podcast workflow template here.

Social media is another opportunity to gain visibility, as long as you choose the platforms where, again, your audience is hanging out and that help you meet your goals.

In my personal opinion, I like to put the most energy into search engine-like platforms where my content has a longer shelf life. For instance, your YouTube videos and Pinterest pins can be found for years to come.

And, by the way, being picky with the platforms you join makes it much to actually understand how to enjoy social media. It’s a lot more effective — and fun — to spend time fully getting to know and grow on one platform than to feel scrambled trying to be everywhere. For example, you might learn how to grow your TikTok account and really spend time implementing best practices to get results.

Finally, consider how to grow your blog through collaboration, which allows you to quickly get in front of new people.

For instance, maybe you partner with other bloggers in your niche that have the same audience you want to get in front of and co-create content or swap guest posts.

Taking part in group events like online summits, conferences, paid bundles, and free bundle giveaways is also a great way to get in front of new people quickly, as you have many people collaboratively promoting the same thing.

For instance, whenever I take part in an Ultimate Bundles sale I get a huge surge of traffic — and new email subscribers — as everyone who contributes to the bundle promotes the same themed bundle and sends their audience to my included product.

Note that the above list of visibility ideas is not exhaustive. Have fun and get creative when it comes to getting in front of your desired audience.

How To Monetize Your Blog From Day One Workshop

Step #6: Grow Your Community & Capture Leads

A few moments ago I mentioned growing my email list as a blogger.

When it comes to earning money through blogs, email marketing is hands down one of the most effective strategies (especially if you weave in email storytelling!).

Not only are there ways to monetize your email list, but the people who give you their email addresses are your most dedicated fans. It takes a lot more to do this than simply hit like or follow on social media.

Now, what is vital to think about is getting the right people onto your email list; as in, the people who will read your posts, engage with you on social, and, most importantly, buy your products.

This is why an email subscriber — which is also a potential customer — is known as a “lead”.

And the best way to get more leads is to create a lead magnet. Sometimes known as an opt-in freebie or a content upgrade, a lead magnet is a free gift — like a workbook, free trial, or workshop — you give someone in exchange for their email address.

This graphic shares some of the best examples of freebies:

How to monetize your blog from day one with a content upgrade
Pin me for later!

The thing is, the free gift should solve the same problem as your product. This is how you’ll attract the right people onto your list and more easily monetize your blog.

Note that it’s important to not only grow your email list, but to also nurture it by regularly sending helpful emails related to your topic. This helps position you as an authority in your niche in the eyes of your subscriber. Plus, the more you help them through valuable emails, the more likely they are to purchase your product.

Pro tip:

You can set up a profitable automated nurture sequence to quickly foster your relationship with your new subscribers. That article also includes a template you can swipe for this.

Finally, keep in mind that you want to be promoting your lead magnet like crazy. For instance, make sure that every time you publish a new piece of content, you’re promoting your lead magnet within it.

Step #7: Automate Your Strategies Where Possible

A really important but often overlooked part of how to earn money from a blog sustainably is to automate your efforts where possible.

One clever way to do this is to set up sales funnels on your site.

While the word “funnel” may sound scary, it’s simply a journey you send your potential customer on that typically ends with a pitch to purchase your product or a product from an affiliate program you’re a part of.

Actually, the automated nurture sequence template I shared is an example of a funnel, as the final email in the series ends with a pitch.

Additionally, setting up a tripwire sales funnel can be a fast way to make money. Honestly, if you’re curious how quickly you can monetize a blog, this is absolutely a recommended strategy.

In short, a tripwire funnel is a juicy limited-time offer you put in front of your audience, typically on the thank you page of a lead magnet.

Of course, the offer should be related to your lead magnet to keep everything cohesive.

So, if your lead magnet is a free camera settings cheat sheet for newbie photographers, your tripwire offer might be a course that helps these photographers get out of manual mode.

To make the offer extra enticing, you’d offer it at a discount for a very limited-time — for instance, 60% off if they purchase in the next 15 minutes.

Bonus:

Once set up, it can continue to earn you an income on autopilot, especially if people enter the funnel through places they’re organically finding your lead magnet, such as a blog post that ranks high on Google, your social media bio links, or via Facebook Ads.

Learn how to monetize your blog from day one with a tripwire
A tripwire sales funnel can help you monetize your blog from day one. Created by Jessie Festa.

Step #8: Profitably Launch Your Blog

In terms of how to monetize your blog from day one, having all of the things we previously mentioned in place before you launch will help you make money right away.

Now, you have a few options when it comes to launching your blog.

First of all, you can do a soft launch where you simply start publishing and promoting your content.

Or, you can create a launch event to really drive buzz.

This can be an in-person event, such as hosting a themed meetup at a bar or in the park, or an online event, such as an all-day social media party with giveaways.

You might also create a sort of hybrid event where you “meet” on Zoom for a set amount of time and have fun events, games, and giveaways that make sense for your brand.

For instance, if you blog about wellness travel, you might invite a few wellness experts from different countries to demonstrate some curative local rituals.

Pro tip:

If you have a launch party, make sure to incentivize people to share about your blog! One idea is having giveaways where people need to share something to enter.

Personally, I use a viral giveaway tool called Gleam that makes it super easy to set this up and reward people for taking specific actions. It’ll even pick a winner for you at the end.

Monetize your blog from the beginning by creating buzz around your launch
Hosting a launch event with themed experiences can be a fun way to create buzz around your blog. Photo via Monstera/Pexels.

How To Monetize A Blog With Ads

Now, while it will take time to get to a point where you can really earn a sizeable income from ads, it is a goal worth working toward since it means earning recurring passive income — as in, the best kind of blogging income to earn!

As I mentioned above, Google AdSense does not have a minimum traffic requirement to take part in their program, though you likely won’t make very much until you have solid traffic.

In my personal opinion, it’s worth it to wait until you’ve grown your traffic to join a program like:

  • Ezoic (you should have an average of 10,000 sessions per month)
  • Mediavine (you need 50,000 monthly sessions to apply)
  • AdThrive (bloggers must have at least 100,000 monthly pageviews)
  • Monumetric (you need a minimum of 10,000 monthly pageviews)

Basically, you want to make sure that if you’re going to be serving your readers ads it is worth it. Monetizing your blog won’t happen if you’re driving people away.

Personally, I’m a Mediavine publisher, and absolutely love the recurring passive earnings that automatically hit my bank account on the first of every month.

female travel blogger creating content on her laptop
Personally, Mediavine ads are one of my favorite ways to earn passive income as a blogger. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Blog Monetization Tips

Along with understanding how to monetize your blog from day one in terms of strategy, it’s also important to have some implementation tips under your belt.

A few of these include:

Don’t do everything. Trying to be everywhere and do everything is the quickest way to spread yourself too thin and get burned out.

Instead, implement one strategy at a time so you can test and tweak. Then, once you’re getting your intended results, move on to the next.

There is more than one way to reach an outcome. Just because your favorite blogger is on TikTok or is posting glamorous photos on Instagram doesn’t mean you have to be.

That’s also the beauty of knowing your brand and what feels right to you. You’ll not only be able to choose the platforms that make the most sense for your blog, but you can approach them authentically.

Remember, too, that just because another creator is seeing success on a platform doesn’t mean you have to be on it.

There is more than one way to monetize a blog, grow your traffic, and get blog followers.

Map out the big picture of your blogging business first. Truth: Simply publishing blog posts and social media shares does not in itself lead to income.

For that, you need a clear strategy that helps you meet your blogging goals.

But, you can’t create that strategy if you don’t know what you’re working toward.

This is why I recommend pinpointing your goals and then working backward to determine the milestones you need to reach along the way.

Focus on strategies that allow you to grow your blog fast. While monetizing a blog takes hard work, there are certain quick-win strategies that can help you start making money blogging quickly.

I actually outline 14 of my favorite of them in this video:

One of my top quick-win tactics:

Installing Skimlinks , a set-it-and-forget-it affiliate marketing tool that immediately turns your non-affiliate links into affiliate links to earn you additional income.

Note that they do keep a portion of your earnings, but this is money you wouldn’t have made at all without their tool.

Moreover, selling your products on niche outside marketplaces allows you to easily get in front of new people. For instance, I make a lot of tour sales by listing on sites like Expedia and Viator.

Again, my free blogging challenge can help you grow your blog quickly and with less overwhelm.

Do regular check ins and schedule a New Year blog check in. This allows you to regularly look at what is working, and what isn’t, in your blogging business and adjust accordingly.

During these check ins, you should also revist your goals to see if they’ve changed — meaning the tasks and projects you’re working on should also change.

Bonus: Blog Post From Scratch Template

blog post from scratch template

One of the most important skills to master as a blogger is creating content that ranks in Google search.

Luckily, this template will help you create an SEO-optimized blog post from start to finish – affiliate links and email opt-ins included!

The PDF template essentially acts as a mini course, showing you how to:

  • structure, outline, and create your blog post
  • optimize your content for SEO
  • create content that increases affiliate and product sales
  • use your content to grow your email list
  • and more!

Additionally, the template goes over important yet often overlooked concepts. Because some of these may be new to you, I’ve made sure to link to numerous examples and resources to really bring the template to life.

Ready to grow your traffic, community, and income through your content?

➡️ Click here to grab the free Blog Post From Scratch Template!

When it comes to how to monetize your blog from day one, what tips would you add?

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