Hey everyone, we are on the 8th edition of Why Most Bloggers Fail. It feels like I just started the column last week! The support I've gotten here has been tremendous. So as I always do in the beginning of these posts, I'd like to say thank you. Your emails, comments, and kind words mean the world to me. Today, we're going to talk about monetary expectations with regard to blog ownership. It seems like most of the beginners I've coached along the way have incredibly unrealistic expectations in the beginning. I can't blame them either; I had the same problem. So, today we're going to talk about what you can expect as far as income in the beginning of blog ownership, and how monetizing your blog really works. Before we do, we've got a new MVP to crown!

This Week's PF MVP Goes To...Natalie!

Natalie at Finance Girl is one of my favorites in the personal finance world, and it's obvious that she's one of your favorites too. As a matter of fact, she is the first MVP to ever receive more than 100 votes! It seemed like every day I saw new emails coming in letting me know that Natalie was their choice! Natalie is a "twenty something attorney" who blogs about getting out of overwhelming student debt. In her posts, she adds her amazing personality; making each post enjoyable to read to the very end! She's also amazing with regard to interacting with her community! Thanks for being such a great influence on the personal finance community Natalie; I'll be adding you to the Personal Finance Hall of Fame as soon as I finish this post!

What Most Beginner's Monetary Expectations Are

Speaking from personal experience and from the experiences I've watched others go through, I can tell you that most beginners have monetary expectations of their blog that are way out of the park. For instance, when I first started, I wanted to have my blog making five thousand dollars a month within the first 3 or 4 months. Now, it's almost laughable to think that way.

Where Beginners Should Set Their Expectations

I read about get rich quick schemes all the time. The problem with these concepts is that they simply don't work. Blogging definitely isn't a "get rich quick" process. As a matter of fact, I don't think I made a dollar on this blog until it was about 6 months old; well, maybe it was pennies. The bottom line is that you can expect it to take at least a year to grow your blog to the point where you're making substantial income. You know, the "Quit your job to work for yourself..." kind of income. But, that's only if you're willing to bust your butt to get there! I know of bloggers, myself included that have made it in 9 months, but it's best to set your expectations further out. This way, if it takes a bit longer, you will have expected it.

Properly Monetizing Your Blog

Step #1: Decide When The Best Time To Start Monetizing Will Be - Monetizing your blog means placing ads in your content...ads your readers will see. Sometimes, it can be off putting to see a new blog with ads all over it. When I started, my blog was full of ads. After a while, I took the ads down and decided that I'd focus on the audience and monetize later. It was one of the best moves I made. Sure, it prolonged income, but it definitely helped growth. When it comes to monetizing your blog, my recommendation is to wait until you've got a core readership; you know, readers that comment often, that you've created relationships with. This will usually take about 6 months. Step #2: Decide How You'd Like To Monetize Your Blog - One of the things I love about blog ownership is that when it comes to income, there seems to be an endless amount of opportunities. For instance, you can do pay per click ads, cost per mil ads, link ads, video ads, cost per acquisition ads, you can even write your own eBook for sale on your site and more. So, at this point, you're going to need to do a bit of research to figure out which strategy is going to be best for your blog and its audience. Do a little research into the different types of ads you can place on your blog, and look at the ads like you think your readers would. Is that something they'd want to see? Is the product something you'd personally buy? If not, move onto the next. Trust me, you'll see how endless the possibilities become. Step #3: Decide Where You're Going To Place The Ads On Your Site - This is incredibly important everyone. The simple fact is that if you've got a website that's so convoluted with ads, the visual appeal is taken completely away; you're wasting your time! We've all seen those sites, and if you're anything like me, you just bounce right off of them! Think about subtle ways that you can add advertisements to your blog. For instance, the sidebar is a great place for ads. The reader's attention stays in the article. When they're done reading, they look in the sidebar for other things to read or do online and see the ads...it's like a match made in heaven. Step #4: Follow Through With Your Plan - Steps one through three were all about planning to monetize your blog. Now, it's time to actually follow through. Sign up for the affiliate networks, Adsense, or other channels used to monetize websites, and put those ads on your blog!

This Week's PF MVP Award Nominees!

This is a very special week for the CNA Finance PF MVP Award (Wow, that's a mouth full). Anyway, this week, I didn't choose the nominees. Instead, last week's MVP, Debt Debs did! To vote for your favorite MVP, simply let me know who you want to win in the comments below, or send an email to CNAFinanceHelp@Gmail.com. I may not have time to respond to everyone, but trust me your vote is counted! OK, onto the nominees!
Who's Your MVP?
Hey everyone, I'm Joshua Rodriguez. I'm the founder of CNA Finance as well as several other sites. If you'd like to connect with me, follow me on or Twitter! I'd love to see ya there. Also, if you're looking for top quality content for your blog, news outlet, or any other website for that matter, please reach out to me at Info@CNAFin.com! Legal Disclaimer - CNA Finance is NOT an investment advisor. All investment decisions should be well thought out and made with the help of a an investment advisor. For our full legal disclaimer, please scroll to the bottom right of this page.


  1. Thank you so much, Josh! I’m honored and excited to be included. And congratulations to Marie and Brit, who are both rock star bloggers. Regarding your post here, I will say that the Smart Passive Income podcast is something I use as a tool to get great tips on monetizing. All your points here really support what I’ve learned so far. The most helpful tip for me here is deciding how to monetize. There are so many options out there, so creating a plan and figuring out what works best is key for me. And finally, I would like to vote for Shannon @ Financially Blonde. Shannon helped me get started, specifically with all of the kinks that come along with blogging. She reached out and was really helpful.

  2. Congrats to Natalie! She definitely deserves it, she has been hustling hard on her blog for a while now. And, Wow, Debt Debs thanks for the nomination!! I actually had no monetary expectations for my blog and I still don’t. I have made money through freelancing opportunities that I never would have gotten if it wasn’t for my blog.

  3. Great series! I’m not going to lie…I started my blog after reading about how you can earn an income from it. Well I haven’t done great with that but I’m still trying. If it wasn’t for the great pf community, I probably would have stopped long ago. I enjoy blogging…even with the money but it would still be nice to make something! I need to work on monetizing! Oh and I vote for Shannon@Financially Blonde.

  4. These are great tips Josh. I think I had read too many of those “get rich blogging” websites and definitely had unrealistic expectations. I still don’t have any affiliate links on my site, and only run a few google ads, but I like the way it looks, and honestly, like you said, I don’t want to offput new readers. I’m sure I’ll change it eventually, but I’m okay with the dimes I’ve made. And congrats to Natalie- her blog is defintely pretty rad!

  5. Another great post, Josh! Keep ’em comin’!!!!

    Yesterday morning, I got my first email from an affiliate advertiser. He told me of another PF blog he works with and thinks my blog would be a good fit. It’s cool when things like this happen. I’ve been blogging since Valentine’s Day of this year.

    But I’m really tense about the idea of affiliate links. They would have to be only to products/services that I would buy myself. If I find something ethically disturbing, I don’t want any part of it either.

    Your WBF series always gets me thinking…

  6. Great tips on monetizing your blog, I am on step 1 and I made the decision to not place any ads on my site until I feel comfortable with where I am at. I know you mention 6 months, do you think a number of views or page rank should be met as a goal?

    • Thanks Even Steven. I love that you’ve already thought about when would be the right time. I wouldn’t attach PR to anything, it’s a dying metric. Maybe we’ll talk about that in the next edition. Anyway, I would attach engagement goals. Things like getting 5 or 10 comments on each post (if you post daily) or 40-50 comments (If you post weekly). It’s hard to find the right time, but the best tip I can give is if you feel as though you’ve got followers you’re ready. Not just readers, but people that come back time and time again for what you have to offer. I know you’re getting close to that!

  7. Congrats to Natalie! Well done! Having just recently converted from WordPress.com to self-hosted I somehow (? 😉 ) managed to get Adsense ads on my site and got accepted for 1 affiliate (with many rejections I might add!) Still just starting and have a lot to learn. I’ve made $2.54. I didn’t start out with the intention of monetizing, but when I saw how much work it was to reach a wider audience, I decided that I should at least try to recoup my costs and maybe a bit more will come in handy when I decide to retire. Great inputs, Josh! TQ

  8. I would like to vote for James Molet at RetirementSavvy.net. His website is always up to date, has relevant investment advice, and incoporates personal stories and quizes.

  9. Nice post! I like the comment about having subtle ads, I don’t want anything really being in the middle of my articles either. Now the affiliate thing, not sure how that works, but I am not concerned about that for the time being. I am more concerned building my blog and social media before any of that.

  10. Hi Josh, I just finished reading all of your posts in this series and WOW was it a good binge read! I don’t know why it took me so long to start reading them, but I’m sure glad I did. Thank you for this–I’m excited to implement your suggestions!

    And I’d like to vote for Shannon this week!

  11. A very timely post for me. (Thanks for recommending it to me, Travis.) I started blogging over two years ago with a simple desire to write and to have accountability in our journey out of debt. I’ve been encouraged to monetize, and I’m moving forward – terrified! Fortunately, I am happy to earn pennies : ) Every single one of them will go against our debt!

  12. I cast my vote for Shannon of Financially Blonde. I have slowly started to put a couple of ads on my blog in places that are not distracting. I intend for the focus of my blog to be about solid content, growth of its readership and encouraging conversation with my readers. That’s always going to be the main priority for me.

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