How I Went From $10 to $10,000 a Month with Blogging

David Utke •  Updated: April 10, 2024 •  Monetization

From the desk of David Utke

Subj: How to make money blogging – the stunning truth

You can make money blogging, it’s simple but not easy.

It takes 1 or more years of consistent, steady effort, knowing how to structure a blog around a topic that people will find helpful and how to implement various monetization strategies.

I’ve personally have made tens thousands of dollars from publishing content online.

It’s one of the best business models as it requires a lot of upfront work (which keeps lazy people at bay), but if you do it correctly you can build a long term asset that makes money fairly hands off.

Take a look at the results I got from promoting a 47$ ebook in the dating niche:

I made $2,907 over the course of a few months months by promoting a low cost ebook on a blog post about “how to tell if a guy likes you” that ranked really well on my personal development blog.

I simply linked to this book in two spots:

Blogs with good content that rank well for transactional content with the right product offering make money.

There are quite a few ways to get started and one of the best ways is to focus on affiliate marketing. Take a look at my Amazon earnings for one website for one month from my website about online teaching:

It’s not easy and requires work

While it’s cool and inspirational to showcase screenshots of making money from blogging, I do want to be clear that it’s not easy.

Everything is a function of traffic and attention.

If you can’t get the right traffic, you’re going to struggle to make money.

My very first website was called “Super Awesome Dating” where I blogged about dating advice for both men and women.

My content was not particularly good and the site was way to broad. After 8 months of blogging and spending $1000 on a custom design, I quit.

I maybe made maybe $50 all together. Not exactly what I was expecting – but it was a learning experience.

I then started my personal development blog where I shared more personal stories, focused better on creating content people were actually looking for and after 6 months I had an online income source.

The crux of making money from blogging is traffic and attention around content that has a specific offer.

Without these two things, you won’t make money blogging.

Even today, the most popular blog post on my personal development website is about height for men and how to deal with being particularly short as a guy.

While this blog post gets A LOT of traffic, guess what?

There is no real way to monetize this content beyond ads.

Focus on affiliate marketing as a revenue stream

To make money with a blog you must pick a topic where you can leverage affiliate marketing.

While there are numerous way to make money with a blog (covered later), affiliate marketing will always be your base income with a blog.

If your topic has no real affiliate program opportunities I would consider choosing a different topic and niche.

We are here to build a business and help people and that can’t be done if there is a lack of potential revenue streams.

How much traffic do you need?

Well that’s a simple question with a complex answer. For simplicity’s sake, 500 visitors a day is the threshold of where you can start earning a consistent income.

Again, for the majority of blogs your income will come from affiliate marketing and display advertising at first and then long term you can leverage email marketing and selling your own products if you like.

Start your blog

To make money blogging you first need to create your blog, choose the right niche, pick the correct blogging platform and build out an email list:

  1. Pick the right topic
  2. Choose the right platform
  3. Create helpful content people want
  4. Build an email List

Pick the right topic

Topic selection is what will make or break a blog.

Most who start blogs tend to:

Instead, you should consider creating a topic on a specific niche that you have an interest in. Instead of creating a photography blog, go a step more specific and create an iPhone photography blog for example.

In addition, you need to find where money is being spent. Blogging on your “passion” does not work. We’re trying to make money blogging so focus on topics people care about and that have an audience around.

Broadly speaking, the most profitable topics are:

To make money online you need to provide value and value comes from helping other people solve their problems.

So when looking at your topic think about your unique angle you can take.

What about the competition? You want to find other websites on your topic because that’s how you know there is revenue potential.

Are there any keyword phrases that are competitive as well and can drive a lot of traffic?

How about under-served topics where you can create content on? Last, are you interested in this niche and do you think you can publish 100+ blog posts?

Choose the right blogging platform

So with starting a blog there are quite a few platforms to choose from. In general I suggest going with a quality web host and installing WordPress.

WordPress is open source, there are a lot of great themes to customize the design of your website and you have access to additional plugins to expand your websites functionality.

I know one size does not fit all, so here are my top three blogging platforms explained:

WPX and WordPress

My current web host is WPX hosting, they are a managed web host for WordPress and cost around $20 a month.

Sure, there are cheaper options, but if you want your website to be fast with great support, don’t waste your time with budget hosts.


My current host. They are a managed WordPress host and provide the best support and hosting I’ve experienced.

Go with them if you’re sure you want to start a WordPress website. blogging and direct response email marketing

I use Ghost for my personal development website because for one low price you get a powerful blogging platform with high converting themes for building your email list and email marketing built in.

With Ghost you can create blog posts that rank well and email your audience with broadcast emails. You don’t however get any advanced funnels with their email marketing.

For I prefer to use WordPress because I focus heavily on affiliate marketing here and WordPress provides useful plugins like Pretty Links that allow me to clean up long, ugly affiliate URL’s

I also need, not want, need a proper email marketing tool that I can build out an email funnel with.

So Ghost is a great platform if you want to grow an email list and send out broadcast emails on a weekly basis.


Ghost is a blogging platform with a strong focus on paid subscriptions, blogging and email marketing.

I use them for my travel/expat blog that has a private, paying subscribers only newsletter.

ghost cms orb

Squarespace – The all in one platform

Squarespace is a website builder. They provide a drag and drop page builder so you can create a custom design for your blog and you can also add on email marketing as well.

Squarespace is similar to Ghost in actuality, but the main difference is that you have way more control over the look, feel and design of both your website and emails.

One added benefit of Squarespace email marketing is that you can setup a simple sales funnel with a sequence of emails with their auto responder.

It’s not as advanced as something like Convert Kit or Active Campaign, but it’s good enough if you’re just wanting to share content and link to low priced products.


My favorite website builder. Custom design your website and emails. A great alternative option for non-techy people.

Create helpful content people want

You need to pick a topic where you’re solving problems for people, answering questions, and/or creating tutorials and can leverage affiliate marketing in addition to running display advertising.

Keyword research and topic selection is by far the most important aspect of creating a successful money making blog.

Do not just go and create content on whatever you think and hope for the best.

You need to first do keyword research and get an idea of what people are looking for. You do this by using a keyword research tool like aHrefs, SEMRush or Ubersuggest.

For example, I have a popular YouTube video on “Fiverr selling tips” so one would assume that I should create a blog post on this topic:

Nope, wrong.

Doing some basic research it’s easy to see that this would be a waste of time. People are not looking for this content.

But are there another keywords that are a bit similar?

Let’s take a look:

So the phrase “sell on Fiverr” is much more searched for.

So now I know if I want to create content about being a top rated Fiverr seller, I should focus on the concept about how to sell on Fiverr and not just “Fiverr tips.”

By doing basic research like this, I also know that I should title the content like “How to sell on Fiverr” or “sell on Fiverr with no skills.”

Professional judgement

Developing the ability to understand keyword research is quite important to making money with a blog.

You need to know what content to write that people want that can also make you money and what content is in fact a total waste of time to create.

Start an Email List

Email marketing is incredibly ignored by beginners who would rather focus on blogging and creating videos.

I get it, I used to be the same way.

You already have a ton to do and now you have to manage an email list?

An email list is how you turn a blog into a business, it’s algorithm free income.

Through automation and testing, you can build out an email list that runs on auto-pilot that converts subscribers into customers.

I’m telling you right now, a blog +YouTube channel + email list is a powerful marketing stack that can generate a significant income.

My personal favorite provider is ConvertKit. Most professional marketers though use Active Campaign because it’s more powerful with it’s features.

If you’re a total beginner you’re going to be overwhelmed by Active Campaign honestly.

They offer easy to use automations, you can set and/or/if functions for your email sequence, you get beautiful landing pages and can setup dedicated thank you pages with a one time offer.


Create a brand new revenue stream from your blog using email marketing

convert kit logo

How I made serious money from blogging (and how you can too)

Once you have a blog that has traffic, here are the different ways you can leverage to make money from your blog:

  1. Donations 
  2. Subscriptions 
  3. Advertising 
  4. Affiliate marketing 
  5. Selling a product 
  6. Selling your time 

Donations for your blog

Donations are what they sound like – people sending you money. But why would anyone do such a thing?

It goes back to value. If you provide enough value as to where you helped make a meaningful life change for someone, people will donate. Remember, you have no idea who specifically is visiting your website.

It could be a high paid executive for all you know searching for gift ideas for his wife and you help him discover the perfect gift with your website on fashion.

If you have every intention of creating products and running advertisements DON’T ask for donations.


You can setup donation buttons with

You need to provide a way for people to give you money and Pay Pal is the ideal platform for accepting donations.

You could also provide an address to send checks to if you like. But people tend to be most comfortable with using Pay Pal as a way to send money.

Also ask for donations too. People won’t give if you don’t you ask. So ask.

Use language that is simple and to the point like:

“If you want to support my work please consider donating to help cover costs of running this website”.

Next, focus again on value and don’t demand donations or beg. You have to give, give, give, before you get.

You can also use a wish list instead of asking for donations. Wish list? On many websites like Amazon you have the option to add products you want to a wish list. You can use this instead of asking for a monetary donation.

Buy me a coffee

Buy me a coffee is a platform where you can setup a profile and people can donate money to you to “buy you a coffee.”

While they are trying to position themselves as a Patreon alternative, at their core they a casual donation platform.

Subscriptions revenue for blogging

Subscription revenue is the most difficult, but most lucrative from of revenue for blogging. There are many platforms where you can setup an on going subscription model in order to support your blog.

To get this to work you’ll need to have publicly available content to get traffic and to then funnel that free traffic to your subscription offer

Patreon – The easy to use option

Patreon is an excellent membership, subscription revenue option for bloggers and YouTubers.

What makes Patreon so great is that it’s easy to setup and has brand recognition. Most people have head of Patreon or have a Patreon account so getting people to support your work has less barriers to entry.

Patreon works best by giving subscribers a clear and specific monthly benefit to support you.

This can be in the form of members only content like private videos, podcasts and posts as well as discounts or more personal access to you.

Memberpress – The WordPress option

Memberpress is a premium WordPress plugin that allows you to create a membership website. If you want to create a your branded platform that you control. This is the best option if you’re a blogger using WordPress.

Ghost – Paid subscription

Ghost (the blogging platform I previously mentioned) is a blogging platform that integrates email marketing and paid subscriptions.

You can setup a paid monthly subscription with your Ghost website and create private members only blog posts that people who pay get access to.

Teachable – Create a Membership

Teachable is primarily focused on selling online courses. But they do allow for you to a membership for products that have a recuring monthly cost.

Skool – Community

Skool is a community platform where you can interact with your members, publish courses and have live events online.

For courses you will need to use YouTube or pay for Vimeo.

With Skool you can either create a free community or a paid community.

Display Advertising (like AdSense)

I have a whole dedicated post on display ads you should checkout.

Look, I’ll be upfront, I don’t like running ads.

I’ve always found my other revenue streams to be way more lucrative and have only used display ads on pieces of content where there was no specific offer to tie in.

Content like “things to do in Rhode Island” can get traffic, but is this audience looking to buy anything?

No, so that’s where running ads come in.

How to use advertising

Display advertising is an excellent way to make money from your content that’s not transactional focused.

It’s also a great fit for multi-author, high traffic websites that are getting thousands upon thousands of visitors a day.

Otherwise you have limited control over what ads appear, they slow down your website and negatively impact the UX of your website.

Click fraud

I know what you’re thinking, “why don’t I just have my friends click on my ads 10 times a day”?

This is click fraud.

You’re not the first person to think of this.

It violates the terms you agreed to as a publisher, and companies can track consistent unusual click activity.

Stay away from click fraud and focus on your unique selling point and helping people instead.

Direct Ad Sales

I love direct ad sales. You have total control over this and I suggest using this form of advertising within your email list.

While you can run direct ads on your website, I do find ad networks to be way better at this than doing it yourself.

If you like the idea of working with advertisers directly, then I would open up the ability to advertise within your email list.

To get started, you’ll need to first build up an email list and know your open rates. Then, setup a “advertise with use” type page where you outline your audience metrics.

Affiliate marketing

The BEST way for blogs to start making money. and is how I broke $10,000 in monthly income from promoting web hosts, domain names and software tools

Affiliate marketing is when you sell other people’s or companies products and services and receive a commission on the sale.

Affiliate marketing has numerous benefits for the affiliate:

Affiliate marketing has numerous benefits for the company/person:

Affiliate marketing is very, very misunderstood by the public at large. This model may appear an easy path to wealth or at the very least some sort of online income – but it’s actually quite difficult to make sales.

Having success with affiliate marketing is trust based and physcological based. You need to connect with your audience and show them you understand their problem and you understand how a certain product or service can help them.

You do this by again building a brand, promoting relevant products and services and being helpful. From practical experience, you’ll have the most success with affiliate marketing for products under $100 as it’s more of an impulse buy.

How to make commissions

To earn money with affiliate marketing simply requires you to get targeted and relevant traffic and then put relevant offers in front of that audience.

Review posts

Review posts are highly effective if you know what you’re creating content on a topic you know and understand well.

Where bloggers go wrong with review posts is thinking they can create short, useless posts about a product.

I normally like to create 2,500 word long posts that review a specific product category and then cover the pros and cons as well as a buying guide.

Tutorials and guides

Better than reviews, demonstrate knowledge.

Demonstrate how something works and how you’re benefiting from it. Mention a product or course if it makes sense. Also show people how to do it for free and without the product.

Bottom of the blog post

Mention a relevant product at the end of your page or blog post in a short and sweet manner.

This is how I made thousands of dollars promoting that $47 dating ebook for women. I created a helpful piece of content that ranked well and then had a soft pitch at the end.

How to soft pitch:

For example:

“So that’s it! If you want to dive deeper into affiliate marketing by learning how to sell products and help people without being sketchy my close friend Mark has a great course on building passive income.

It helped me get started online, maybe it can help you too?”

Email newsletter

When writing an email and wanting to include affiliate links you must for spam reasons make the email long and of high quality. To get the best conversions from my experience is to mention a link 3 times. Once in the beginning, once in the middle, and once at the end.

Resource Page

A helpful resource page does convert.

Here is my primary resource page I send traffic to.

The trick is to be helpful. Don’t link to random products and services that are unrelated to your blog/websites topic.

Just make a helpful resource page of stuff you use and why. Not everything even needs to be an affiliate offer too. Just set out to create something helpful.

Sponsored Content

This is not something I personally do as my blog does not get enough traffic and I’m more of a video first creator (my focus is YouTube and email).

But sponsored content is where a company will pay you to write content about their product, and give you an affiliate link to promote that product.

Michelle of does this and it’s quite lucrative for her. Let’s take a look at a sponsored content post from an app called Empower.

She was paid to publish this blog post on her site and email it to her list. She’s was also given an affiliate link for Empower so she makes money in a secondary way as well.

Sponsored content becomes an option once you have a prove track record of success and a

Sell your own products

A real online business sells things. Affiliate marketing is an excellent monetization strategy, but it is second to actually creating and selling helpful content to your audience.

Products that you want to sell can be anything from a PDF e-book, to a combination of videos, audio and written content.

The real question is what is the best medium to deliver what you create.

The two main options are to either send the product directly in email or to have a private page on your website with a download link.

The price points for what you create will vary as well based on their perceived value. A best practice is to have one product have three price points.

This tends to generate more sales than having a single price point, and it generates the most sales of your middle price point (which from a physiological perspective looks like the best deal).

Before creating a product however, you must go through the process of market research. Understand your market, use the words they use to describe their problems, look for ways to differentiate yourself from others with already existing products.

Do not copy anyone, simply understand the problems your target audience faces better than they understand it themselves.

This of course takes months of research, surveys, and talking to people – but it’s what will help your product be successful in the end because people will be telling you what they need.

Pay attention to naming and design as well. These must match your brand and must also instill trust by having a level of professionalism.

Take your time and do it right the first time. Every interaction people have with you online must be of high quality. Always.


Old school but still works. Create an ebook with Canva, put it on Gumroad, E-junkie or Thrive Cart and then whip up a simple sales page.

You can create tiers with ebooks where someone can buy the ebook itself and the tie in videos and audio at different price points.

You can also use bump offers on your ebook checkout page to increase the total cart value:

This is a low priced ebook, but on the checkout page there is a bump offer to also add on a video. You can even add an upsell that if the person buys your ebook, then they see a more expensive course offering.

What price should you place your books at if their on your website? 7$-39$ seems to be the range.

The higher the range, the more specialized the content should be. If you’re going to charge 39$ for the ebook, then it should the low end of a three tiered package.

Kindle books

Don’t forget that you can self publish on Amazon, I have a whole dedicated guide on this.

In short, create a Kindle book, in the top of the Kindle book direct people to your email list. When people are on your list, you email them new books you create as well as helpful content related to your niche.

When you publish a new book, email your list. Rinse and repeat.

This helps your book rank organically in Amazon which helps you get more sales.

If that sounds like a hassle, you can always just publish a Kindle book and link to it from your website.

Johnny of has been making 200$ a month, every month off his travel book on Thailand.

$200 is not life changing, but imagine you had 10 books doing this.

That’s $2000 in income, not too shabby.


Courses in combination with an email list and YouTube channel are quite profitable. You can use a course marketplace like Skillshare or Udemy or use a platform like Teachable.

The best option for most is to use the Teachable platform.

They take care of all the aspects of creating an online course from the sales page, to accepting payment and hosting all your course materials.

You can also have bump offers, cross sells, upsells, run an affiliate program Teachable, have a membership product and a coaching offer.


Teachable comes with all with essential marketing features built in.

Good landing pages, can use bump offers, upsells, coupon codes, provide a referral code to your students as well as run your own affiliate program.

On top of that you can sell ebooks, memberships, coaching offers and of course, online video courses.


Selling merchandise sounds like a big deal, but there are so many platforms that will handle the selling, shipping and delivery for you it’s actually not that complicated.

You can use a service like Printful or Modalyst to drop ship products. Printful allows you to design clothing that people can buy and Modalyst allows you to sell related physical products for your website.

The margins on using a service like these two are roughly 15-20%.

Sell a service

The last way to make money blogging is to sell a specific service.

I personally suggest using a 3rd part website like Fiverr because they take care of all the technical details that go into selling a service online like payments, deliverables, feedback and they are a marketplace so you’ll get organic sales. is another interesting option where you can setup a coaching call offer for prospective clients. This is an excellent choice if you’re an in demand expert.

How to money blogging – From $10 to $10,000

Blogs can make a lot of money and provide a lot of unique opportunities for creative professionals to earn online. Though blogging is a slow process, if you’re willing to put in the work you can eventually make money blogging.

The first step is to start building up traffic and attention for your brand. Put in the work, spend the money, do what it takes and know that it will likely take a year before you start seeing big results.


My current host. They are a managed WordPress host and provide the best support and hosting I’ve experienced.

Go with them if you’re sure you want to start a WordPress website.

It's all my fault

Hey I'm David. I'm a blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated UX consultant on Fiverr. My writing, videos and courses have helped tens of thousands of people make their first 1$ online. I write this blog to show you the "how to" for turning knowledge into income so you can live life on your terms.