Are you looking to make money online? Have you considered starting a blog?

Blogging has quickly become one of the hottest ways to make extra money—nearly every side hustle and personal finance websites tout blogging as the path to riches.

However, what many of these sites leave out is how to start a blog AND actually make money. Making a blog is easy; you pick a name, choose a WordPress theme, choose a host, create some social media accounts, then write a blog post, and wait for fame and fortune. Right? 

If only blogging were that simple, blogging takes hard work.

Blogging Takes Work

To make money blogging, you must learn to develop a business plan and learn how to monetize your blog effectively, i.e., you need to treat your blog as a business.

Most blogs fail because they fail to execute an effective business strategy. Many aspiring bloggers are attracted to the prospect of launching a free blog or nearly free website, and quickly learn their newfound hobby promising passive income is way more work than they anticipated.

I suspect this is why most blogs fail after just six months.

So, to keep you from becoming another blogging failure cliché, I am going to take you on a journey to make $500 a month online.

Blogging Requires a Plan

Sure, I could just share with you all the things I did to grow Your Money Geek into a profitable blog. However, like most bloggers, I started without a plan or any guidance and stumbled along the way, making mistakes after mistake. (Soooo many mistakes)

Plus, I didn't have the foresight to chronicle my journey.

I feel virtually everyone who has the drive and determination can launch a successful blogging side hustle. Not every blogger will blow up to be a media sensation, but if you want to make money online and have some fun, you can certainly launch a profitable blog.

To prove blogging is within your reach, I'm going to teach you to blog by launching a second website. I am going to journal everything I do to start the blog, and you can follow along. Think of it as an operating manual for blogging.

We are going to go way beyond “how to choose the best web hosting' and delve into each step of building a new blog, from how to write an effective blog post to search engine optimization and beyond. Everything we do from spending money to choosing plugins will be chronicled in our series of posts.

And yes, be warned scaling a website fast will require spending some money. 

Our goal is to prove nearly anyone can make a profitable website.

The Challenge

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” —Les Brown

I'm a huge fan of setting lofty goals because even if you come up a bit short, your sill a considerable success. So the goal for this project is to launch a website and have it generate a profit of 500 dollars a month.

If I achieve this result, then you will have an actionable guideline on how to do the same. If I fail, well, then you will know what not to do. Either way, we will all learn and have some fun.

The Rules

Obviously, almost anything is possible if enough money and resources are tossed at a problem. To keep this “experiment' as valid as possible, we are going to set some self-imposed rules.

  1. We will start with a 1k budget. Any money that is to be spent on the site over and above 1k will need to be produced from the website. I would break down spending in my reports and include lower-cost alternatives for those with smaller budgets. Additionally, I will list nice to have options for those with fatter wallets.
  2. We will not use any YMG resources. Launching a second site would be easy if I promoted it on YMG or called in favors from friends of YMG. Any software of programs that YMG uses that the new site could benefit from will be disclosed, and the cost deducted from the figures as if the new site had to purchase it.
  3. We will conceal the identity of the second site to the extent possible. Readers of this series could potentially inflate the traffic statics of the website by “checking it out.”
  4. We will not use YMG's social media accounts or email lists to promote the site.
  5. We are going to limit the amount of work to 8 hours or less a week. Our goal is to keep this project as time-efficient and passive as possible. Devoting more time each week to the project would likely speed up the results; however, we want this to truly be a “side hustle” and not a second job.
  6. We will make a good faith effort to disclose any advantages that may skew the results. Additionally, we are not going to leave anything we do out, everything from link building, SEO, technical tweaks, and more will be on full display.
  7. We will use pseudonyms for author profiles to prevent tainting the results.
  8. We will answer your questions in the comments along the way, as long as doing so doesn't conflict with the above rules.

Our Goal

We hope that by following along our journey to making $500 a month online, you will be inspired to start your blog. Starting with a fresh website will provide us with an opportunity to catalog all the steps necessary to build a website. Think of it as a how-to blog course without actually having to pay for an eCourse.

Additionaly, it will provide a testbed to try various plugins, software, etc. that we might be reluctant to test on Your Money Geek.

I hope that you follow along with our experiment and join us on our journey to starting a blog. Stay tuned for our next post where we will jump into the process of building a blog business plan and launching a site.