How to Turn Your Blog into a Money Making Business in 2020

Can you even believe that a new year is already upon us?! Staying busy with my family and this little blog of mine makes the time fly by (but in a good way). I’m so excited to see what’s in store for this year, and I want you to feel the same way about your blog too!

That’s why I’m coming at you with my top 10 tips for turning your blog into a money-making business THIS YEAR.

Whether you’re a brand-new blogger or a seasoned blogger that wants to make more money, these tips will help you take your blog to the next level (without losing your mind in the process)!

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Simply put, this means you need to find out WHO you’re writing for and HOW you’re going to help them.

Skipping this important step is one of the biggest mistakes I see new bloggers making. Most of the time, new bloggers want to write about anything and everything their little heart desires, but they aren’t thinking about their reader… and that’s a BIG mistake.

Now, as a side note: If your blog is just a personal journal where you share your thoughts online, writing about anything and everything YOU love is fine. But if you want to turn your blog into a money making business, you have to think about your readers and what THEY want and need and love. And it starts with defining who that reader (or target audience) really is!

This crucial step is going to help the right people find and fall in love with your blog. It’s also going to help you grow faster and start making money sooner.


When you’re helping specific people fill specific needs, they remember you, they come back to you, and they recommend you to their friends! This is how businesses grow. Simple as that!

Whether you’re just thinking of starting your blog or you’ve been blogging for years, make sure you have a good understanding of WHO your audience is and WHAT they need from you.

This part doesn’t need to be complicated.

{ Actionable Tip }:

Think about WHO you want to reach with your words.

Maybe you want to reach local business owners in your city and help them grow their business with marketing tips. Or maybe you want to reach solo travelers and help them find hidden gems in South America. Or maybe you want to reach stay-at-home moms and help them find the best products for their babies.

Get specific about it!

When you write each post, who are you hoping will read it and love it? How old is that person? Where is that person at in their life? What does that person want and need that you can help with through your blog content?

The closer you can get to narrowing down one specific type of person or reader, the easier it will be to write for that person, reach that person, and give them something valuable. And remember, giving them something valuable will lead to blog traffic, recommendations, and eventual income (which we’ll get to in a minute).

Keep in mind:


You can still write about multiple topics, tell personal stories, and share things that you enjoy. You can and should do this! But you want the majority of your content to be enjoyable and beneficial to a specific group of people who are searching for specific things online.

Prime example: my friend over at Fabulous in Fayette blogs about her city and state, the best places to visit, food to eat, and bourbon to drink, since most of the world’s bourbon is made right there in her home state of Kentucky!

She writes for a specific group of people and she helps them with specific things.

Not necessarily “females between the age of 20 and 30”, but anyone who visits her city or state and wants to find the best spots to eat, drink, and play! She knows her audience and she writes specifically for them… she is also a very successful full-time blogger.

This will be an important part of growing your blog into a money-maker this year, so keep it in mind.

Quick recap for my quick scrollers out there: figure out who your target audience is and write content that is specifically useful or relevant to them.


Like we said before, new bloggers often find that they want to write about ALLLL THE THINGS, and they can’t find their focus.

Again, your content doesn’t have to be NARROW (e.g. writing solely about Rolex watches), it just has to be FOCUSED (e.g. writing about sustainable fashion and accessories for women). Always focus on solving problems and filling needs for your specific audience.

So, ask yourself:

When my readers come to my blog, do they know what I’m all about and what kind of content I share here, within their first 30 seconds on my site? 

On top of that, your message and your mission should be clear and consistent throughout all of the content on your blog. This makes it easy for your readers to recognize your writing style and personality no matter where they come across your content (via email, social media, video, etc).

Your message and mission should consistently focus on how you can help your target audience and how you want to influence people through your business, goals, and philosophies.

As an example: my focus for this website is helping aspiring bloggers start, grow, and monetize their blogs. But my message and my mission go a little deeper than that. I try to help bloggers simplify the business of blogging and take charge of their life and their income. And I hope to convey that in all of the content that I create.

{ Actionable Tip }:

Check your “about” page and make sure that it clearly reflects your message and your mission. It’s not all about you, it’s more about how you and your blog can benefit your reader. That benefit can be something as simple as a delicious recipe or a funny story. Or it can be something as complex as building a website or starting a business.

This will also help you to draw in the right kind of readers and show them the value you bring to the table. And it will keep them coming back for more!



If you want to turn your blog into a money-making business, you need to set your blog up the right way.

Don’t set it up the cheapest way, the easiest way, or the way that someone told you to on Facebook.

No, no, CEO.

Set your blog up the way a real business owner would…because that’s how you turn this thing into a real business.

When you are starting a business, you want to set things up so that you actually OWN that business and have the ability to do whatever you want with it. Move the business, customize the business, grow the business, brand the business, etc.

It’s the same with your blog.

The absolute best way to turn your blog into a money-making business is to set up on a self-hosted platform using WordPress .org. In fact, the vast majority of online businesses use self-hosted WordPress… the list includes Forbes, eBay, The New York Times, The Washington Post, UPS, TechCrunch…and just about 26 million others!

Here are the simple, step-by-step instructions for doing that (and it’s actually way cheaper than you might think)!



It’s usually a good idea to select more than one revenue stream as a blogger…

You don’t really want to “put all your eggs in one basket” when you’re running a blogging business. It’s best to diversify and make sure you have money flowing in from a few different places.

This is important because blogging income fluctuates a lot and you can’t guarantee a paycheck every Friday, or even on the first of the month…especially in the early days.

So, let’s talk about the various revenue streams that bloggers can earn from.

Typically, you’ll be making money from one of these two things:

Promoting and selling your own products and services …
Promoting and selling other people’s products and services …


Your revenue streams of choice might change as you grow and learn the ropes of blogging, and that’s okay too! But you want to, at the very least, have some idea of what systems you’d like to use to earn money.

This will also help you find your focus and work smarter!

If you want an extensive look at the top 10 blogging revenue streams, how to earn money from them, and the pros and cons of each option, check out this comprehensive training course.

Personally, I make my money from affiliate marketing, selling my own digital products and courses, and doing sponsored work. You have to choose the revenue streams that work for you.

If you’re a new blogger, I highly recommend getting started with affiliate marketing.




People typically come to blogs for one of these reasons:

1. Education or information
2. Inspiration or motivation
3. Entertainment or adventure … or some variation of the three

Let’s break them down:

Education or information >>> the person wants to learn something or needs help solving a problem. The problem can be something as simple as finding a recipe or something as complicated as designing a website. Think of websites like Khan Academy, WP Beginner, Pinch of Yum, and Dollar Sprout. Each of these websites contain educational or informational blog posts!

Inspiration and motivation >>> the person is looking for a story they can relate to, for something to inspire them, or something to motivate them to take action. Think of fitness blogs like Diary of a Fit Mommy or motivational blogs like Tiny Buddha.

Entertainment or adventure >>> some bloggers are just plain funny, they tell great stories and bring great comedic relief that we need. It might be an informational blog with a humorous edge. It might be a blog like getting started with affiliate marketing, that’s all about entertaining and educating moms. Or it might be an adventure blog that allows readers to live vicariously through the writer. No matter what, most people want and need a little entertainment in their lives!

Keep these things in mind when you’re writing your content. Great content is the stuff that inspires, educates, encourages, and/or entertains!



The one thing I wish I had done sooner in my blogging career was to figure out how to use Pinterest for my business! 

And we’re not just talking about pinning pretty stuff on Pinterest either. We’re talking about serious strategic marketing work that will help you get more eyes on your blog.

You don’t need a lot of money to learn the ropes of Pinterest either, there are so many free and super affordable options for Pinterest training.

Ultimately, the most important thing to know about Pinterest is this: it’s a search engine where your target audience is spending time to find and save things they want to read, buy, and try.

Go where your audience is searching for you and put your content in front of them. 

Side note: creating eye-catching pins will be an important part of this process, because people are scrolling fast and we have to grab their attention and get them to SLOW. THEIR. SCROLL.

This pin graphics course is the best one I have found to accomplish this!

After implementing these strategies for just a few weeks, my Pinterest page views shot up to over 400,000 and my pin engagement nearly doubled… if you implement the lessons in the course, you will learn how to create some kick-booty, attention-grabbing pins! And this can be a huge contributor to blog traffic growth!



Affiliate marketing is a big part of my business strategy, and diving into this revenue stream has allowed me to make more money from my blog than I ever made at my sucky day job. If you want to turn your blog into a money making business this year, then you definitely want to dip your toes into the affiliate marketing world… it’s pretty awesome, and it’s a great way to earn money!

Affiliate marketing is essentially promoting products and services for other companies. You recommend their stuff to your audience using a trackable link. And when someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

Woot woot!

A word of caution though: most affiliate programs take a little while to actually pay you the money you earned. Some affiliate programs can take 30 or even 60 days to pay you.

With this in mind, affiliate marketing is not what you want to focus on if you have rent to pay next week. It can be a great source of income, but it takes a little while to get the ball rolling and start seeing that money in the bank.

If you need to pay rent next week, look into freelancing or virtual assistant work. Here is a list of money-making jobs you can do from home.



One of the best decisions I ever made as a blogger was joining the Ultimate Bundles affiliate program. This is a company that sells bundles of niche-specific products through “heavily discounted, limited time only” sales a couple times a year.

Their affiliates get 40% of every sale, which is awesome. During my highest paying sale, I made over $2,000 in a single weekend… Although this won’t happen every single time, it’s a good indicator of how well their system works!

They have product bundles for all of the major niche markets, some of them being health and fitness, business, motherhood, blogging, productivity, and meal planning…

And they provide a ton of free training and support to help you make sales, which is why I think it’s been such a successful program for so many bloggers.

If you’re interested in promoting products that will be genuinely useful to your audience at a super affordable price, this is a company you want to work with. And if you take advantage of their marketing and training materials, you can definitely make some money from their program each time you promote it!



Blogging is one of the few legit businesses that you can invest very little money in, and still make money within a short period of time.

With that said, there are a few small investments that a new blogger needs to make if they truly want to up-level their biz this year!

Things like website hosting, a domain name, a computer or laptop, a phone or camera, some basic business education etc.

Another big mistakes that new bloggers make: saying that they can’t spend any money on their blog because they haven’t made any money from it yet.

But my friend, that is like saying you can’t stock the shelves in your grocery store until you have paying customers in the store…. That’s not the way business works. You stock the shelves first, and then the customers come in and buy groceries. And you make money.

So, don’t be afraid to invest a little bit of money in your blogging business. You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars, but every business requires some investment.

When I first got started, I already had a laptop, a phone for taking pictures, and the Microsoft Office suite. So, during my first year, I really only invested in my website hosting, a domain name, a few affordable training courses, and an automation tool called Tailwind.


My top investment recommendations for your first year:


A laptop or computer (if you don’t already have one).
Website hosting and a domain name (about $50-100 for your first year).
-Legal pages drafted by a lawyer (get my insider discount when you buy through that link).
-A website theme (about $0 – $50 depending on your needs).
-A beginner’s blogging course (around $100-200).
-Microsoft Office Suite (around $10/month).
-Tailwind (for Pinterest automation, first month free when you buy through that link).

Start where you are and use what you have, but don’t be afraid to set some investment goals and work hard to reach them! It will help you grow your blog so much faster.



Most people open and read emails every single day. We look forward to the stuff that we love and benefit from (like coupons and pictures of our relatives’ new baby)!

I recommend starting an email list for a few reasons:


1. Email is a great way to connect with your audience on a personal level. When someone signs up for your mailing list, it’s because they actually want to hear from you. They trust that you have something valuable to share with them, which inevitably leads to a loyal, connected blog reader.

2. Your email subscribers are more likely to BUY from you. They are part of your dedicated audience. If you protect their information, give them valuable stuff on a regular basis, and help them find solutions to their problems, many of them will become future buyers (remember those affiliate products and services we talked about? Yeah, these are the people that need to hear about them)!

3. Your email list belongs to you. It’s so important to spend time growing the parts of your business that belong to you. It’s equally important to be able to chat with your audience whenever you have something valuable to share with them! And since your email list belongs to you, you don’t run the risk of losing it at any given time.

Example: I have a large Facebook group with over 17,000 members. But if Facebook removed my group for any reason, I would lose that entire audience and all of that engagement. Which would suuuuuuck!

Spend a little this this year focusing on starting and growing your mailing list. Here is an email marketing guide that can help you get started!

{ Actionable Tip }:

Think about something valuable that you can create for your ideal reader. A checklist, a workbook, a PDF guide. Create it and make it look pretty using free software like Canva, and then offer it to your readers as a freebie in exchange for subscribing to your mailing list!

You can set up a mailing list for free using MailerLite.



Now that we worked through the actionable tips for making money from your blog this year, I’m gonna throw a free piece of advice at you.

Have FUN with your blog.

Remember why you started your blog. Remember why you wanted to do this for a living.

You’ll spend a lot of time nurturing your blogging baby, and growth won’t always happen as quickly as you’d like it to. During the hard times, keep our actionable tips in mind, along with this reminder to enjoy your business and embrace the good times and the bad.

I hope this article was helpful! Be sure to pin this baby on Pinterest and come back to it for reminders throughout the year!

Make Money Blogging

Note: This post is updated each year with the latest blogging tips + tricks that are working NOW! 

24 thoughts on “How to Turn Your Blog into a Money Making Business in 2020”

  1. Hey Cate,
    Thanks for sharing these valuable tips. I’m taking #6 by the horn because that’s what I’m adding to my list this year. I’ve been pushing things forward but the procrastination is ending with this year. I believe getting more traffic from pinning will up the game.
    Happy weekend

  2. Great post, Cate!! I really want to focus on mastering affiliate marketing and growing my email list in the upcoming year- these are some great tips!

  3. Loved this post! I still cannot get a handle on an email list, which I think is really limiting me! And affiliate marketing can be so daunting. I can’t wait to look into more of your suggestions!

  4. I’m so glad it was helpful, I have plenty of email marketing and affiliate marketing tips on the blog too, I hope they are helpful as well!

  5. Thank you so much Cate, I found your post very inspiring. This was all I wanted to do and I want to take it a notch higher.

    Could you mentor me please? I
    Thank you in advance!

  6. Hi Cate, this is a great post. it captured evertything perfectly. #9 is an important one. A lot of us want to make money but do not want to invest and that can hold us back. Thanks for this. :))

  7. Thanks for the tips. Hopefully, something will work. I’ve been blogging for years but have notoriously low monthly traffic in spite my best efforts so far… including a few attempts of paid advertising. I suspect I need to get better at Pinterest but just don’t have the time for that. *sigh*

  8. Great resources and tips to making your blog a money making machine! Pinterest is still tricky for me and I always find myself continuing to do more research about it and optimizing my posts with SEO keywords. One of the many tips I will be following that you provided is building an email list. I agree that it is a great method to connect with your audience. Thank you for such a great post!

  9. Keep plugging along! We all have ups and downs, but Pinterest and SEO are a must for boosting blog traffic, so give that priority 🙂

  10. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing. I started my blog a little over a year ago. I got overwhelmed and unfortunately neglected for a while. I started it back up and have been trying to focus on my niche. Still haven’t found it yet but I feel the more I write, the more my niche will come to light.

  11. Hi, I am Angie 🙂 glad to meet you . This article is very good, thanks for your sharing.
    To be a blogger, it is not easy from the beginning and I am learning with it too:) your tips inspired me to build blog.

  12. I actually update this post every year and just updated it for 2020 – the information is definitely relevant right now. Thanks so much for reading!

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