How I {finally} Started Making Money Blogging- Part 1

How to make money blogging is probably the biggest question of the last 5 years! Everyone wants to know how the two correlate, and many people start a blog for this sole purpose. On the other hand, according to one pro-blogger, the average blogger only lasts about 6 months. There is so much time to put into it, and so much competition, that (relatively) few bloggers stick around for the long-haul.

How I finally started making money through blogging... and you can too! Helpful hints from Kelli at

And I get it, I really do. I think you have to truly love writing- and putting yourself out there- to stick in this game. And finally, after 2 and a half years of blogging, I’m making more than 13 cents a month from Google AdSense! Woohoo!

Now, my husband is not quitting his job so I can go full time- things aren’t that good (nor would he quit his job!), but I did pay for our recent trip to Galveston with my blog earnings from November and December. Not shabby.

So, how did this all finally come about? I’ll give you several steps, but don’t, I repeat don’t, try to do them all at once!

So relax, take a deep breath, and get ready to work hard! (really hard!)

Turn Your Blog Into Cash!>

1. Attend a Blog Conference

Now this may seem counter-intuitive. But you know the old adage, “It takes money to make money?” Well, I think it’s true. I attended my first conference in September of 2013 (make sure to read it here to learn how to get the most benefit from a conference) and began implementing what I learned. The information you learn will be invaluable and most likely you’ll come away with new friends and contacts in the business.

I attended BlogElevated– which I loved and I’ll be attending this year as well- but there are so many out there to choose from. If you pick one close to home (like I did), you won’t have to pay for airfare or, if it’s in the same city, even a hotel room.

I have no doubt that the fact I started making money in October of 2013 had to do with the fact I went to a blog conference in September. I learned so much my head was swirling, but I made a list of what I needed to do and started working my plan!

(It also helped I got a promotional ticket for only $13! *wink*)

2. Read what other money-making bloggers have to say

That’s what you thought you were doing here, right? Well, yes, but reading what other (much bigger bloggers) have to say about the topic may bring to light ideas you (or I) haven’t thought of yet. All of our blogs have different niches, which means different things will work for each one of us.

I have done no small amount of reading on this topic myself.

Here are some of my favorite resources that I recommend:

Ruth Soukup’s “How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul.” This e-book is crammed full of useful information about getting started on the right foot.

I also went through Blogelina’s Profitable Blogging for Beginner’s Online Class which I highly recommend. Tonya, AKA Blogelina, always takes questions at the end of each session and provides lots of valuable information.

Also very helpful is Crystal Paine’s (of e-book entitled “How to Make Money Blogging.” This one is free!

3. Sign up with multiple media companies

I’m part of Pollinate Media, Clever Girls Collective, Izea, SoFab, and (most recently) Sverve. So far SoFab has been my most successful as far as making money goes. They do pay very nicely for each campaign. When you get accepted to one of these companies, apply, apply, apply to campaigns! I got accepted to a campaign for Pollinate very early on, then it was a very long time before I got accepted again. (You can read my most recent campaign here.) Make sure that you make your pitches unique- in other words, make yourself stand out!

This wraps up part one. Be sure to subscribe by e-mail so you’ll get each part of this series!

If you make money blogging, what has been your most successful route? If you haven’t started yet, what changes can you implement? Feel free to leave any questions in the comment section!

Got all this and ready to move on? Click here to read part 2!

Check out my brand-new ebook! Click the picture to take you to Amazon.

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About Kelli Hays

Kelli Hays is a wife, mother, writer, and friend. She has been blogging since 2008 and loves sharing inspiration for the everyday woman!


  1. Great post! I am trying to revitalize my blog. I have yet to attend a blog conference. Too bad this one wasn’t in the summer, or I might be able to convince Ron it would be a good idea to combine it with a family trip to Texas. :)

  2. Congratulations! I’ve done #2… but that’s about it. Thanks for your tips. I’ll give them a shot.

  3. Great blog posting on great tips on how to monetize the blog. I am still working on it! Thanks for the tips!!

  4. Outstanding post!! I’m always reading up on how to improve my blog and the top of my list is go to a conference. And you are right about spending money to make money. I do love doing the sponsor posts.

  5. Great post! I am hoping to attend my first blog conference this year and I’ve read Ruth’s book and gone through the Blogelina course – both VERY helpful.

  6. Thanks for this great info! I just subscibed to your website. I would love to attend a blog conference but I haven’t found one as of yet for New England. I also took the online blogelina class too!

  7. Glad you’ve found some success in making money blogging. I’ve found that I do well only with the companies that I truly love and endorse from my own experiences. But I will still blog without them :) ~ Renee

  8. I took Blogelina’s course several months ago too. So informative. You have some other sources on here that I want to check out. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Great tips, Kelli! Pity there are no blog conferences where I live. But I definitely read a lot about what other successful bloggers have to say. Implementing something new every day until you get there is really the only way to get there. It’s impossible to do everything at once. By the way, I’ve recently started making money blogging as well, and it’s such a great feeling being paid for what I love doing so much. :-)

  10. This was a wonderful post, and I can’t wait to add you to my list of “regular reads”. I took a big jump at least moving my site from Blogger to and owning my domain, but wow I still feel I have a long road ahead. I loved that you said most quit blogging after 6 months. I keep on it (now for 5 years) but have yet to try to spin a profit. You’ve given me hope and more direction, thank you!

    • Hello again! You are part of my Blogelina Commentathon Group, and it made me smile that I remembered reading your post already and commenting. I also smiled remembering that it is time to set some month-by-month goals of where I want to be blogging. I’m creeping closer, but I am not focused yet on a game plan. Re-reading this helped me to check in again and truly get GOING!

  11. Great to read that you are making money from blogging. I too do paid campaigns and they have been my biggest money earners.

  12. I love everything that you are saying. I am doing most of what you are saying and need to do more. I attended my first conference in 2013 as well, and definitely intend to attend at least 2 in 2014. I’m ready to register for BloggyCon2014, which was absolutely awesome!

  13. I am so glad that you wrote this post. I am relatively new to blogging and am learning SO much because people like you are not afraid to let other bloggers know what you have learned.
    I hadn’t thought about attending a conference…I will look into it and see if there is one around here.

  14. I thought about attending a conference, now im just gonna make it happen! great info!

  15. Great advice! Thanks for sharing.

  16. I’ve had many blogs come and go over the years as I have been blogging since the late 90s. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I really started to use a blog in my freelance business and it took some trial and error with that. Because I was working on a BA, then an MBA during that time I really did not focus on monetizing those sites. Now I have some new sites and one of them was picked up by a national ad network (Glam Media.) I know a lot of people out there think BlogHer is the end-all be-all but it’s not. As for the sponsor networks that you listed here it is important to point out that most of these companies will not even look at you unless you have a large amount of monthly pageviews and a largly populated social media following; which can be rough for new bloggers.

    Building a blog is like building your own business. Success does not happen overnight and if you look at the top bloggers in any niche you will see that many of them didn’t start making a full-time living off of it until their 2nd or 3rd year (meaning $5k or more a month.)

    A lot of people want instant gratification. That doesn’t really happen in the blogger world.

    Because most B&M business plans are required for a 5 year time period I would also advice that bloggers set themselves up on a 5 year time plan. There are a few blogs I have followed for many years, and those making $10k or more a month started around their 3rd or 4th year. By year 5 they have residual coming from old and new posts.

    All new bloggers should implement a standard business and marketing plan just like a business. You’ll be amazed at what that outline can do in terms of your mind and your goals for your blogging business.

    • Thanks for taking the time to add your voice to this thread. You answered some of the questions I’ve had like when should a blogger look into signing up with media companies? And what can a mid-level blogger hope to make in a month if they work hard at this?

  17. Congratulations! It sounds like you’re doing it right. I’ve been blogging almost five years and make a little here and there, but not as much as I’d like. I’ve never been to a blog conference before but would love to one day.

  18. Great advice, Kelli! I’ve been working on these things too, slowly but surely. I had not heard of Pollinate, so I’m heading there now to sign up. If you have a referral # or something, feel free to send it to me so that I can sign up under you.

  19. Thanks for this! I’m still working towards making a consistent income of any kind off my blog. Hopefully I can utilize some of this info!

    Thanks for linking up to our Weekend Wind-Down party! =)

  20. This is a really great post! I’ve been debating on attending a blog conference, but I don’t even know where to start looking or which ones are the best. Maybe another post idea??? 😉 Thanks for linking up to our Weekend Wind Down Party!

  21. I really enjoyed reading your post! I found it to be very encouraging. Thanks for linking up to the Weekend Wind-Down Party! Now following all your social media platforms

  22. I hadn’t heard of Pollinate either! I’m on Sverve, too. :)

    Thanks for sharing. I’m still growing and learning…and hopefully earning more, too.

    Thanks for linking to WWDParty!

  23. Great Post, thanks for sharing! very informative…Looking forward to the next!

  24. This is a great post, I also teach Blogging 101 and Making Money Blogging so I enjoy reading and sharing about this topic. I haven’t made much money, but the most from Sponsored Tweets and a few Sverve Campaigns. I never heard about Pollinate Media and will check it out. Thank you for linking up with our #WWDParty

  25. This is great. I have been contemplating on attempting to make money again on my blog once the baby is born. I am currently watching kids to bring in extra money, but once I have 4, I don’t think I will be doing that anymore…and will be losing a significant amount of money :/ I still would like to tend a regular blog conference later this year maybe.

  26. Thanks for the advice! I’ve been wanting to attend a blogging conference for a while now but there are never any near where I live and I really can’t afford to take a trip any where. I hope one shows up around here eventually. Even if I have to drive an hour or two to get there.

  27. Love this post.. looking to expand and grow my blog so I am looking for different ideas…to monetize my blog… keep updating!!

  28. Getting started can be a challenge and yes to make money you need to spend money. This month I have made some huge investments and have already started to see it pay off.

  29. Thanks for sharing this information! I love when other bloggers are willing to “put it all out there.” I’ll be reading all your posts in this series as I am new to blogging!

  30. There are some great tips in here and its definately a must read for everyone just starting out. I like that you truthfully show that your not making hundreds or thousands of dollars just by having a site. But there is one key point in here that most people probably skipped over, you made a plan.

    Creating a plan, or editorial calendar, of the direction of your site is just as important as having one. Sure people will love almost any topic, but if your site is really going to be successful, having a plan is key.

  31. I am so wanting to go to a blog conference, but finding one in my area might be a struggle. Great advice. I have been using Social Spark for many years now. Love them. I applied at Pollinate, but they aren’t accepting right now. So I will just wait with them. Great advice and pinning to my blogging boar.

  32. Nice tips, thank you for specifically mentioning which places are helping you make money, that is always where I get caught up in, where to look to work through and with.


  33. Great post!!! I had no clue that most bloggers start and stop within 6 months. 2 years in the making here. Thank you for sharing your tips on how to make money. It is so nice to get compensation for all the hard work and passion that goes into our sites.

  34. Congrats it is so nice to hear someone is making money and will share how. I have been blogging for a while and make some once in a while but hope to step it up soon. Some of the sources you mentioned I had not heard of and so I will also check into them. I am in Fort Worth and will look for a conference to attend this year as I know if I want to grow I need to spend money to make money and what better way than a conference.

  35. Great post! I’ve always wanted to attend a blog conference. I’m working towards monetizing my blog and I will definitely refer back to this post. Thanks for the tips!

  36. Kelli, I’m new to blogging and interested in making money doing this – it’s intriguing. Not sure if I’m ready for it tho. I’ll have to keep your blog post and come back to it at a later time. Thanks for posting. Tina

  37. #1 is on my top 5 list for the year. I really want to attend a conference this year and make my blog better.

  38. Great series. I can’t wait to see the rest. I need to do a better job of monitizing my blog, too. At least enough to pay to keep the domain going each year. :-) Thanks for the info!

  39. Thanks for the great tips!! I have been blogging now for 2 years and I am just starting the $$$ making part.

  40. One of my goals is to get to a conference, but it is really stepping out of my confort zone to go by myself.

  41. This is encouraging. I would love to start generating an income by blogging, but I’ve been lax about doing what needs to be done. I’m adding you to my Feedly and I’m going to work on being more disciplined so I can get there. Thank you!

  42. Thank you for your insight. I’m so new to blogging, I’ve never heard of blogging conferences. I’ll have to check out the one you went to and search for other ones.

  43. Glad to know I have passed the 6 month Mark. Some helpful information, yo look into. Thanks for posting, look forward to part two.

  44. Woohoo! Gotta love those Adsense payments! Lol. When I see my own I just want to cry. This is a great post for new bloggers to get started on monetizing their blog. I’ve been doing it now for just about three years and I’m just starting to earn some income from it, so it does take time and patience!

    As for attending a blog conference, I have yet to do so. I am looking at a few for this year, so we’ll see.

    Thanks for mentioning Pollinate Media. I haven’t heard of that group yet and I may give them a try!

  45. Great tips. Both those ebooks are sitting in my queue waiting to be read. Off to research blogging conferences near me…

  46. Last February I decided to research on how to start a blog and two weeks later I won a free ticket to a blog conference. I knew then blogging was meant to be. It’s become a passion for not only writing but meeting other bloggers from all over the world. Thanks for the tips.

  47. I wish it was much more commonly known that making money blogging doesn’t start right away and that you have to really want to write to get started. When I started blogging, I knew there was some money to be made, but I had no idea how much. I think that’s the way to start…with tiny expectations…and just writing your heart out!

  48. I have been blogging for 2+ years now and have seen financial success. I guess because I concentrated on learning from bloggers who were already having well-documented success. I learned what works and what doesn’t and I wasn’t ever concerned about competition. I’m not sure I understand the competition factor anyway because no matter what focus you have for your blog, it will be authentic to you. No two people can deliver the same exact story, facts, experiences, or lessons-learned, unless they are copying content. I have looked at blogging as a way to get my message out to whoever wants to read it. In return, I have been fortunate enough to have learned ways to improve my results when it comes to financial gain. Now, I have companies contacting me and I can pick and choose opportunities, which anyone who is blogging should do. Not all financial opportunities are worth it. However, I would have to say that starting a blog, seeking financial abundance, is not the best reason to begin a blog. It will only frustrate you once you’ve started and realized that it will be a while before you see any of that, which in return coincides with your 6 month statistic for most bloggers. I’ve started a new blog for my business and I am again reminded of how much work it takes to gain credibility and an audience. Good Luck to anyone who ventures into this journey as a blogger. Hopefully blogging will enrich their lives as much as it has mine.

  49. These are some very interesting tips. I am just starting on my first serious blog and there is so much to learn. I loved Blogelina’s class for beginner bloggers. I think your suggestion about going to a conference is a good one. Nice work!

  50. Great advice! It was a good year and a half before I even started making money with blogging. I probably could have started before then but it was just a place to write for myself and then slowly became something much bigger. Now over 2 years later I finally feel like I’ve gotten somewhere. haha!

    I’m just now moving to self hosted wordpress in March so i’m hoping that is another great push in the right direction. I want to attend a blog conference but all of them are so far away and it just hasn’t been in the books for me to go to one yet.

  51. Great post! I was actually making decent money from googe adsense but then when my husband went to school full time to become a law enforcement officer, I had to put my blog on the back back BACK burner. But I still keep it up a bit and when the time comes, I WILL get it moving again!

  52. Great tips and don’t forget about affiliate marketing too.

  53. I’m just starting out so I haven’t earned any money from my blog yet. I’m signed up with bidvertiser. I saw luminate on one site and liked how their ads appeared, so I signed up for them as well. The ad didn’t appear on my site and a few days later, I received an email from luminate stating that my site didn’t qualify because I had multiple ads. I see many sites with more than one ad, so there’s just a lot I need to learn about site advertising.

  54. Thanks for the tips. I’d love to attend a conference, but the international flight costs would kill my budget. I’ll definitely check out the freebie ebook for new advice, as I’m just beginning to monetize successfully after 5 years of hobby blogging.

  55. These are great tips. I just recently started blogging for money. I get so frustrated sometimes when I get rejection after rejection after rejection. I know I am good at what I do, I just need people to give me a chance. I did get several opps through Social Fabric. But I have been turned down more than I care to count.

    I wish I could attend a blog conference, but with 2 very active boys and one messy house, it isn’t possible.

  56. This is great! I’m a baby blogger, coming up on 9 months at my current blog. I don’t make any money off it yet, I’m still working on building a following. I just started a FB page. Hopefully by the end of this year, I will be on a self hosted site, right now I’m just using

  57. Thanks for this post! I’ve dabbled in reading about monetizing here and there but haven’t really gotten a game plan together.. It’s more like crossing my fingers and hoping for the best! I’m definitely going to look more into the sources you’ve mentioned!

  58. I am actually going to be attending my first blog conference in July (BlogHer in San Jose, CA)…I’m pretty excited about that and pretty nervous too!

  59. So looking forward to the rest of the series! I’m not there yet… not ready to have ads and affiliations, just trying to hone my writing skills and acquire some readership. I’m passionate about my topic, but I don’t consider myself a writer.

    Best to you!

  60. Great post – I agree with each 3 steps. I would say, make sure you attend the RIGHT blog conference. I am a little more technologically advanced so some of the blogging conferences are too beginner – but there is a good blog conference out there for everyone !

  61. I did not know there was such a thing as blog conferences until now. Thanks for this info. I look forward to implementing these ideas with my blog !

  62. I don’t make a whole lot of money from my blog, but I do get a lot of things for free to test out and review. While it would be nice to get cash more often, I love getting free stuff!

  63. This is really great advice for those who want to learn to make money blogging. I do this by writing for clients, along with whatever other sorts of projects they need completed. I wouldn’t change it for anything. :-)

  64. I have only attended one blog conference and it was so overwhelming. I need to find a smaller more intimate site.
    Thanks for all the great tips!

  65. Thank you for this great information. I learned some new sources here. I like your blog cute yet professional layout.

  66. I would love to go to a conference, since moving to Dallas maybe I’ll get lucky and there will be one close. Did you go with a buddy? I kinda hate the idea of attending by myself but then maybe I’d meet someone in the huge new state! Thanks for the ideas.

  67. Of all the “how to…” posts I’ve read about blogs, this has been the most helpful

  68. Great tips! Thanks!

  69. These are great tips! I’m super new at blogging but it never hurts to learn as much as I can now!

  70. This is something I’ve been looking into lately and its all very discouraging and at the same time scary. It’s definitely not easy, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to check out the links to posted. I actually posted about the book How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul today as well. It’s helped me a lot too in determining which direction to go with monetizing and that it’s definitely important not to lose yourself in trying to get rich. This was super helpful! Thanks for sharing!

  71. Hahahaha. I’ve been blogging for two years now, and I’m getting about $1.00 a month from my Google Adsense account! Hahaha I know your pain!:P.

  72. Very informative! Thank you for sharing!

  73. I really enjoyed your post as I too am working toward monetizing my very new blog. I had an adsense account so I just implemented it on the new site, but that’s basically it. Any tips on how to start on the right foot at the very beginning? I’ve mostly been focusing on delivering quality content at this point.

    • Adsense is a great way to start! Focus on getting your pageviews up and your income will naturally increase, then you can start working on other income avenues. Good luck!

  74. Thank you for sharing, lovely lady! You’ve inspired me to apply for Pollinate and Clever Girls! I told them you referred me. =)

    Hope all is well with you! Happy, happy Halloween!

  75. I had never heard of media company campaigns! Going to put that on my to-do list! Thanks for the post!!!!

  76. Do you have any tips about how to monitize for someone who is only reaching about 2600 pageviews a month? I checked out SoFab and some of your other suggestions and they require 10,000-25,000 pageviews a month!!

  77. Thank you so much for this post. I have been reading a lot lately about companies such as IZEA but haven’t explored them yet. I guess I should look further into them. Thanks again!

  78. Thanks for the awesome resource post, Kelli! I applied to Social Fabric and let them know you referred me. Any idea on these sites’ requirement for monthly pageviews?

  79. thanks for sharing what worked for you… I have a dream that someday everyone can make a living working from home doing what they loved. It is too bad that it does take a lot of work to learn to blog. Thanks for helping others take shortcuts in the learning curve.

  80. Great post! I always love reading how others monetize and grow their blogs! Thanks for sharing this post!

  81. My first time here and am loving your style ,and yes this is exactly what i need to pysh my blog further and start getting money coming this way Am going to stay here longer.

  82. Kristy Maczko says:

    How do you decide what to blog about? I’m interested but in have no idea how to start….

  83. Thanks so much for writing this blog! I have been debating on going to a conference to network and learn more about blogging, but I wasn’t sure where to find them. Thanks for adding that resources!

  84. Great post, you gave me lots of ideas now!


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