When it comes to generating passive income, several ideas and strategies get tossed around quite frequently, one of them being blogging. So the question is, can you really make passive income from a blog? In a word, yes.

Four Bloggers Who Make Some Serious Cash

By now, we’ve all heard claims that bloggers can make six or even seven figures per year. But isn’t that an exaggeration? Are there actually people that make significant sums of money running blogs online?

While it certainly takes some work — and isn’t the norm — it’s more than possible. Just ask the following bloggers, all of whom have transformed their lives by creating blogs that generate high passive income on a monthly basis.

  • Jeff Rose has a successful personal finance blog called “Good Financial Cents” that nets him monthly blog revenue of $102,000.
  • Robbie Richard of RobbieRichards.com generates over $60,000 per year on affiliate revenue alone without spending a dime on ads or traffic generation. And that’s just one of his revenue streams from the blog!
  • It took Lena Gott of the What Mommy Does blog just ten months to scale up to $10,000 per month in revenue. Best of all, she works just 20 hours per week.
  • Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich earns millions of dollars per year on his blog. On top of that, his blog has paved the way for bestselling books, six-figure speaking gigs, and various seven-figure courses and business ventures.

Those are just four examples. It’s relatively simple to find more than 4,000 examples of bloggers who are making lucrative full-time revenue with blogging. There are tens of thousands more who are using blogging as a passive, supplemental source of income to cover bills or upgrade their lifestyle.

In other words, it really doesn’t matter if your goal is to make $300 per month or $3 million per year — blogging can help you get there.

The key to making money blogging is to have a game plan. You can’t just throw some words into cyberspace and hope they come back with dollar signs. (That’s highly unlikely.) Instead, you need to be intentional with your approach.

While every blogger has their own unique formula for success, here’s a basic three-step plan that will increase your odds of building a cash-generating blog.

Step 1: Start a blog.

The very first step in the process is to create a blog and launch it out into cyberspace. In many ways, this is the easy part. However, there are several things you’ll need to keep in mind if you want to do it well the first time around.

According to The Blog Starter, which has helped many people successfully launch revenue-generating blogs online, there are six overall steps to follow when starting a blog. Four of them occur during this initial step.

  • Choose a blog name. Begin by choosing a blog name. Typically, this name will be directly related to your topic or your name. It should be simple yet descriptive. It also needs to have an available domain. The best blog domains are one to three words. If possible, you want a top-level domain (TLD) that’s either .com, .org, .net, or .co.
  • Get your blog online. Once you settle on a blog name and find an available domain, you’re ready to get your blog up and running. To do so, you’ll need a website hosting company to host your blog on the internet. You’ll also need a content management system (CMS) to help you populate your website in an attractive and user-friendly way.
  • Customize your blog. Armed with a blog host and website builder, it’s time to customize the look and feel of your website. You can either customize an existing template/theme or pay for a custom website developer to do it for you.
  • Write/publish your first post. The time is now at hand to publish your first blog post. We recommend starting with a “pillar post.” This is a long, meaty blog post — several thousand words — that will serve as a piece of foundational SEO copy for your blog.

Once you check the box on each of these four items, you can officially say you have a blog. That’s more than 99 percent of people can say, so give yourself a pat on the back.

Step 2: Monetize your blog.

Having a blog is one thing. However, you’re not starting a blog so that you can journal your thoughts online. You’re starting a blog because you want to make some serious passive income. This means you have to monetize it. Here are the four most common blog monetization methods:

  • Affiliate Marketing. Once you have a steady flow of traffic visiting your website, you can leverage affiliate links to capitalize on this traffic. Using this method, you don’t even have to own any of your own products or services. You just drive traffic to other people’s products and earn a commission for any sales made.
  • Banner Ads. Advertisers will pay for a digital “billboard” on your blog in the form of a banner advertisement. They typically pay based on your blog analytics. These include monthly visitors, engagement, conversion rate, and so forth. The more impressive your numbers are, the more you can charge.
  • Sell Digital Products. One of the best monetization strategies is to build a loyal following with high-value free content. After that, you can upsell followers into digital products such as eBooks and courses.
  • Sell Coaching. If you have a particular skill or service that you’ve mastered, there are always people looking to learn your skill and replicate your success. One way to monetize this is by using your blog to sell coaching services. Done well, you could potentially charge thousands of dollars per month for coaching. Mastermind groups are yet another option.

Every blog monetization strategy will look different. Some bloggers make 100 percent of their money from affiliate marketing. Others focus on selling their own digital products and courses. You also have bloggers who do a combination of everything. You’ll have to decide what makes the most sense for you.

Step 3: Automate and outsource your blog.

Successfully monetizing your blog is super exciting. Whether you’re making several hundred dollars per month or thousands, there’s something very rewarding about seeing your blog go from concept to published website to cash-generating machine.

However, unless you like the idea of spending 40 to 60 hours per week writing content, optimizing your website, and monitoring your email inbox, you must find a way to turn that income into passive income. There are two primary ways you can do this:

  • Automation. The first step is automation. Simply find tools that streamline the tasks you’re tired of doing and integrate them into your blogging workflow. There are apps to automate email marketing, social media, list segmentation, proofreading, writing headlines, scheduling meetings, tracking analytics, finding link-building opportunities, optimizing images, automating business payments, and everything in between. The key is to make sure you’re choosing smart tools that work together. You can always use a tool like Zapier or IFTTT to connect different applications.
  • Outsourcing. There’s only so much you can automate. At some point, you have to build up a team of skilled professionals who can help you handle the tasks that require human energy and creativity. This is where outsourcing to freelancers and virtual assistants comes into play. For best results, you’ll probably want to start with a freelance copywriter to shoulder some of the content creation burden and a virtual assistant to help out with the administrative tasks. Over time, you can expand to add more writers and assistants. You may even want to hire an operations person or sales professional to get your revenue numbers moving upward and to the right.

You don’t have to automate and outsource everything at once. Start with the tasks that are both time-consuming and undesirable. In other words, if you hate the SEO component of blogging, there are always SEO professionals who would be happy to do the work for you. Alternatively, if you find yourself spending two hours per day answering emails and replying to comments, hiring a virtual assistant might be a good move.

Once you have the most time-consuming and undesirable tasks out of the way, you simply let things progress from there. Try automating/outsourcing one new task every week. Before you know it, you’ll only have to spend a few hours working on your blog as opposed to dozens of hours. You’ll also discover that it’s easier to scale up your revenue when you aren’t the only one creating content, running promotions, or selling products.

Ready, Set, Blog!

No one is saying that you’ll magically start generating $10,000 in monthly passive income if you start a blog. However, if you follow the steps listed above and really commit to honing your strategy, you’ll eventually start generating a steady drip.

At first, your revenue might be $100 per month. Then, it could go up to $1,500 per month. Next, $5,000…and so on. It’ll take time — and plenty of work on the front end — but you can get there. The path forward has already been blazed by thousands of people ahead of you.

Read more: The Elephant in the Room: You Don’t Have to Write Your Own Blog Posts