Starting a blog and making money from it is not as easy as many YouTube videos and online courses make it seem. The truth is, building a successful (and profitable) blog takes a lot of time, effort, experimentation, and consistency.

So, is blogging hard? Well, it’s not hard to get a blog set up and off to the races with content creation today, but it is hard to make $10,000+ per month from a blog. Andy and I talk all about setting realistic expectations for blogging in this vid:

Blogging is a journey that requires consistently trying out new strategies, experimenting with different approaches to attract readers, and reinventing yourself along the way. I’ve been earning from my blog for more than 10 years, and the primary driver of my blog’s income has shifted about every 2 years.

From my detailed guide on how long it takes to make money blogging, here’s how I like to think about setting realistic expectations for earning from your blog:

Now, let’s dig a little deeper into the approach we advocate for today, when it comes to building a profitable blog.

The Realistic Path to Profitable Blogging

One of the biggest misconceptions about blogging is the idea that you can start a blog today and be making thousands of dollars within a few months. That’s just not a realistic expectation—and the reality is far from that.

Even for experienced bloggers like me, the income from a blog can fluctuate significantly over time.

Blogger Stock Photo Ryan Robinson at Computer

I’ve gone through different stages where my blog’s made $50,000 to $60,000 a month. These days, it makes more like somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 a month—which is still fantastic, but I’ve since leaned into building other fun projects (and successful income streams) like RightBlogger here.

Andy, also a seasoned blogger, has been blogging for over 10 years, and he usually hits a ceiling of around $1,000 per month from his blogs. This is a far cry from the unrealistic claims of making $50,000 or more in just a few months from a brand new blog.

Your path to building a profitable blog will be unique to you.

These kinds of factors will dramatically impact your time to earning from a blog:

  • The niche you’re in (some niches are more profitable than others)
  • How much experience, skills & interest you have in the niche
  • Whether you have an existing audience on a social platform or two
  • If you have a clear, realistic idea for monetization with your future audience

Check out my in-depth guide for a much more detailed breakdown of how to go about starting a blog and making money.

Once you’re ready, here are the best ways to begin making money from your blog:

  • Sell your services as a freelancer or consultant (easiest way to start earning from a blog, by showcasing your expertise across your site)
  • Join niche-specific advertising networks (best once you have 5,000-10,000+ readers/mo)
  • Get sponsored posts from brands that want to reach your audience
  • Promote aligned products & services via affiliate programs and earn a commission when one of your readers purchases a recommendation
  • Create digital products like eBooks and online courses

Factors for Blogging Success

While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for becoming successful with blogging, there are several key factors that can contribute to building a profitable blog over the long-term:

  1. High-Quality Content: Creating valuable, informative, and engaging content that addresses your target audience’s needs and interests is full-stop, something you need to do before anything else. There’s no short-cutting providing real, genuine value to the people you wanna help. This includes things like in-depth tutorials, guides, videos, and resources that provide solutions to real problems your peeps have.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing your blog content for search engines like Google can help drive organic traffic to your site. This involves keyword research, on-page optimization, and building high-quality backlinks.
  3. Social Media Presence: Leveraging social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, X/Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can help you reach a wider audience, engage with your followers, and promote your blog content.
  4. Email List Building: Building an email list of subscribers allows you to nurture relationships with your audience, promote your products or services, increase engagement and loyalty.
  5. Monetization Strategies: There are tons of ways to monetize a blog, including avenues like affiliate marketing, sponsored content, selling digital products or services, and display advertising (e.g., Google AdSense) to name a few.
  6. Consistency and Perseverance: Earning $1,000/mo or more from your blog doesn’t just happen overnight. It requires consistently creating high-quality content, promoting your blog, and engaging with your audience over an extended period of time. You’ll have to try new strategies & learn from what’s working with other creators in your space, too.
  7. Adaptability: As search engine algorithms, social media platforms, and audience preferences naturally evolve over time, successful bloggers adapt their strategies and continuously learn & grow.

As you can see, there isn’t a super simple, straightforward answer to how everyone can build a profitable blog—there’s always a lot of nuance, as your unique life circumstances will come with your own set of advantages and disadvantages you’ll have to learn to work with.

Cultivating a Winning Mindset: The Artist & Scientist

One of the biggest mindset shifts I’ve made that’s helped me in my blogging journey, has been adopting a way of thinking of myself as both an artist and a scientist.

Ryan Robinson Blogger Stock Photo in Chicago with Camera
  • As an artist, you need to lean into your creative side—to create high-quality, engaging content that truly resonates with your target audience & reaches them in the ways they’re seeking to learn and connect.
  • As a scientist, you need to constantly experiment with different strategies, test out new approaches, and analyze what works & what doesn’t.

The scientist is particularly helpful here, when you’re trying to test different ways that you can bring people to your blog and monetize with them.

Blogging: It’s Hard Work, Fun & Rewarding

Building a successful blog is a challenging journey that requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to constantly learn and improve.

While the potential for earning a full-time income from blogging is still here, it’s important to have realistic expectations based on where you’re at today and understand that it takes time, effort, and perseverance in order to get there.

When you’re evaluating joining something like a course (like my own, Built to Blog) to help accelerate your progress, just make sure that you’re choosing a creator you feel genuinely connected with, that you trust and feel like has your best interest in mind, rather than it just being a get-rich-quick scheme for them.

Ultimately, blogging can be a rewarding and fulfilling pursuit, allowing you to share your knowledge, expertise, and passion with the world while potentially generating a sustainable income. Anyone who promises you a guarantee of making money from your blog on any specific timeline, likely doesn’t have your best interests in mind.

What’s important, is that you approach blogging with the right mindset, realistic expectations, and a commitment to providing value to your audience.