You’re going to start a blog and replace your income, right? Of course you are. And I’m going to help you do it.

But first, you gotta have a message and a reason for sharing that message. Without a clear desire, passion, interest, or mission, you’ll share a couple boring journal entries and then abandon your newborn blog just like hundreds of thousands who’ve gone before you.

That’s not you, though, right? You wouldn’t club a baby seal. And you wouldn’t birth a blog just to let it die on the vine.

Since you’re not going to make that same mistake, let’s talk about five ways to monetize a blog so you can start mapping which approach you’re going to tackle first.

Run Ads On the Site

When you’re first getting started, ads don’t make a lot of sense. First of all, you won’t even qualify for the ad networks that are generally regarded as worth using. Google doesn’t discriminate, however, and you can put AdSense ads on your blog whenever you choose.

Don’t do it when you first start, though. Trust me on this. When you’re building a following, you want the cleanest, most attractive blog design you can manage. The barrier to entry and interest has to be SUPER low. Give people any reason to bail, and they will… in droves.

Plan on spending at least six months building your readership before you consider ads. Some bloggers never use ads. Some try it for a while and decide against it.

Link to Affiliate Products

This is one of my favorite approaches. If, in the course of writing valuable content on the subject of your choice, you can manage to mention products that directly relate to the topic, use your Amazon affiliate account to link to the product in your post. Share the best possible product for the occasion. Or focus on the most affordable. Or the most luxurious. Whatever fits your style and voice.

Over time, you’ll have a library of affiliate links cleverly embedded into posts that generates “passive” income as people visit, read, click, and purchase.

Sponsored Posts

Like the ad network, you’ll need a decent following to profit from writing sponsored posts. Once you’ve positioned your site as an authority on a given subject, companies will eventually find you and ask if they can send you products to review or pay you to write a post. The more traffic and newsletter subscribers you have, the more you can charge for a sponsored post.

Don’t be afraid to update your sponsored post pricing as your traffic and subscriptions increase. That’s the only way this tactic makes sense as a long-term strategy.

Sell A Product

In an ideal world, you created a product before you even started blogging. Maybe it’s an e-book. Or an online course. Or a product you sell on Amazon. If you do, you can ramp up quickly using advertising to generate interest in your product through discounts, giveaways, sales, etc.

Once you’ve published a hundred or more valuable articles on your focused topic, look for ways to integrate natural mentions of your product throughout your copy.

Offer A Service

A service might be the fastest and easiest way to start making money with a blog. If you do something well that people can pay you for, you can charge by the hour, day, phone call, or completed task. It’s faster than a product because you only need to bring your experience to the table. No further creation needed. Product development takes time, but can be a lucrative approach. For some, service offerings make more sense, and can lead to profitability faster.

The downside? You are only one person. How will your service scale? By that, I mean what will you do if 100 people want your service at the same time? Can you train others to provide the same service? Or can you serve groups of people at the same time? These questions will help you decide whether your service offerings are a long-term solution or only a quick start boost.

The Bottom Line: It’s all about quality content

Most people looking to start a blog think they’ll just journal their life adventures and earn a supplementary income.

If you jump out of airplanes or build working machines out of scrap metal, that just might be true. But unless your day to day life is something extraordinary, journaling won’t transport you from hobby blogger to profitable blogger. There’s simply too many people sharing too many day-to-day stories. Nobody needs to read that stuff. Your closest friends might be interested. But what’s in it for the person who has no idea who you are?

Figure out what THEY want to know, and solve their problems for them. THEN you’ll be so valuable people will have to share your content with someone. And ultimately that’s how you grow a blog.

Any one or combination of these approaches can generate revenue for your family. But they all hinge on you producing unique content people want to read. Can you do that? Then you can win.