Launch a blog in 1 hour, get 10,000 page views & earn $1,000/mo


Not a week goes by when I don’t get asked “Emma, I want to start a blog. Can you give me some tips?”

I am so flattered people see me as a successful blogger, and I am really proud of what I’ve accomplished. After all, just one month after launching WealthySingleMommy in August, 2012, I had 9,400 page views in 30 days.

Since then, I’ve found blogging to be amazing. WealthySingleMommy has led to high-paying speaking engagements, an appearance at the United Nations, thousands of dollars in advertising income, invitations to write for top publications like the New York Times and Forbes, and being quoted in amazing outlets like NPR, Wall Street Journal, Women’s Day and CNN. I also found it is easy to earn about $1,000 per month just from a few affiliate partnerships, right away. This year I will earn multiple six-figures from my blog.

Plus, more than any other work I’ve done in my 15+ years as a professional journalist, this platform allows me to help people in a very real way. WealthySingleMommy has connected with hundreds of thousands of women all around the world, many of whom comment and email about how my message has given them comfort when they needed it, helped them find new and higher paying work, enjoy dating, find love, and relish their role as a mother.

To help others create their own powerful platform and blog, I thought about creating a video course (which I would sell top you for a lot of money!) “How to Start a WordPress Blog in an Hour.”

how start and make money blog

Then I realized that my hosting service, BlueHost, has that very video — FOR FREE. And they do a way better job of helping you with the basics than I could have.

Knock yourself out. Thank me later :)

First step: Find a domain name (it’s free):

Then hit this vid. Sign up for hosting services on BlueHost.

When selecting your theme and fidgeting with design, keep in mind these things that I learned (some of them the hard way. You’re welcome.):

  • Make it personal. There is no such thing as an anonymous personal blog anymore. People connect with other people. Use your real name.
  • Place your photo front and center. People want to know who is speaking to them. Again: It’s all about connection.
  • Social media buttons must be top of the blog, and front-and-center of every single post. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn (depending on your topic and audience) is how people find out about you. Even the most successful sites have very few people visiting directly, but instead rely on social media to draw audiences.
  • Prioritize social media channels. Focus on one or two media — Twitter and Facebook are good places to start. Again, this is where people will find you. Readers have very short memories, so you must remind them of your work where they hang out: On social.
  • Make it mobile. At least half of content is consumed via smart phones, and that figure grows daily. If your site is not designed to be read on a tablet and phone, and does not have social media buttons for mobile, you may as well not exist.
  • Prioritize email building. See at the top and center of WealthySingleMommy the “Free Guide”? I didn’t have that for the first TWO YEARS of blogging. I estimate I missed out on collecting about 10,000 email addresses. Don’t make this mistake! Email is a powerful way of connecting with your audience, including selling them stuff. I use email management service Aweber, which is one of the most popular ones, and offers great customer service.

Once you get your new awesome blog up and running, here are my basic tips for driving traffic:

  • Post regularly. I post at least three times per week. Once per week is the minimum.
  • Headlines: STRAIGHT-FORWARD. Just say what the post is about. This is important for SEO (search engine optimization, which is how Google helps people find your site. For example, I use the term “single mom” whenever I can, since that is what my blog is about, and the search term I want people to use to find me).
  • NO PUNS. If you try to get clever with headlines, you miss opportunities for SEO power. They are confusing and make people think — which no one has time for when you’re competing against — literally — millions and millions of other, straight-forward headlines. Plus, puns are horrible. No one appreciates puns except your corny 70-year-old uncle. Again: NO PUNS.
  • Interact with your readers! Respond to every comment, whether on the posts or social.
  • Have a point of view. There is so, so, so much content out there. Who should anyone care what you have to say? If you have something new, surprising, personal, controversial, unorthodox, funny, edgy, sad or jarring, you win. Plus, when you have something to say, big-name media pay attention, and interview you. I didn’t get quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Women’s Day and other big outlets by being boring.
  • Connect with other bloggers. Email other bloggers, and editors at large sites with audience relevant to yours, and simply ask if you can guest post. Do not ask for money, but do ask for a direct link to your blog. This builds readership and SEO.
  • Connect with influencers. Tweet your latest post to the big names in your area. Send an email introducing yourself to the hottest podcasters with shared target audiences.
  • Track traffic. Google Analytics is free, easy to use, and has an app so you can stalk your traffic, minute-by-minute, on your phone. This way you can start to understand what posts resonate with readers, what marketing efforts work.
  • Partner with really successful people. Your network is everything — not just for landing clients. But for inspiration, finding best practices, sharing good vibes and surrounding yourself with support and, well, success.
  • Think big. Really big. Then think bigger. Because, really, what’s the point otherwise?

Once you get some nice traffic going, it’s time to monetize. I’ve found the easiest way is through affiliate ads — like the one I have with Bluehost, which pays me a flat fee every time someone signs up through my site. Other affiliate partnerships include FlexJobs,, and

Find these partnerships either directly through the company sites, or networks like:

A few tips for success with affiliate marketing:

  • Be authentic. I never write about products I don’t really truly endorse and/or use. People follow me because I’m honest. It doesn’t work if I suddenly start promoting sleazy weight-loss programs or whatever. For example, I really love FlexJobs, the career board for part-time, telecommute, remote and other flexible jobs. I know the founder, and just this morning bumped into a SAHM mom I know while I was working at Starbucks and recommended the site by showing her on my laptop.
  • Write about how you use these products. Again, this is about building rapport and trust with your following.
  • Examples of these posts:

You are stupid if you do your own laundry

Should you sell your engagement ring after your divorce? (Yes, and here’s how)

Everything moms need to find a PROFESSIONAL work-at-home job

Still with me? Here’s an even more in-depth run-down of exactly what I had going when I first started:

I bought a domain name (that is the URL of your blog, like at

I then signed up with DreamHost as my server (if your blog is a house, the host/server is the town in which it resides). is also a popular hosting service.

Like most personal blogs, mine is built on WordPress. Make sure you go with WordPress.ORG (not .com). This is really important. It would be really lame if my URL was You don’t want that.

Then you You need a basic design. No need to spend a bunch of money when you start out. I bought an affordable one at Elegant Themes — they have lots of really pretty ones.

Sign up for a service to collect email addresses and send emails. I use Aweber, one of the most popular services. I like it because it is easy to use and has lots of design options.

One of my favorite parts of my business is hosting “The Emma Johnson Show.” I had never worked in radio until this year. I host all of my shows as podcasts using an easy and affordable app, Libsyn.

But you may know that I am also a freelance journalist, writing stories for publications like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Woman’s Health, Woman’s Day, Real Simple, WORTH, MSN Money – you name it. In fact, that is still how I make a lot of my income. I highly suggest you use sites like FlexJobs , a site that lists only freelance, telecommute, contract and other flexible positions (the owner launched the business to find work-life balance for herself and her family, and all workers are telecommute).

When it comes to building the actual business, earlier this year I started using QuickBooks, which is awesome (for years and years I had a really ghetto accounting system involving an Excel worksheet, Word doc invoices and email. Negative!). Seriously, Quickbooks looks awesome, is super-easy to use and helps me keep track of all the money I make.

Finally: Keep at it. Blogging is hard work. It is also very rewarding, powerful way to connect with other people and change the world. It can lead to professional opportunities, income, personal growth and, well, lots of fun. But there is no fool-proof recipe for blogging success. Every successful blogger I know has tales of months and years of ruthless writing, trying numerous marketing efforts, and staying focused and energetic — even when it gets discouraging.

A few takeaways on how to build your own personal brand:

  • You are your business’s personal brand, like it or not. Before the advent of modern advertising, a business owner’s reputation and customer service was what set him apart. Same today.
  • Be authentic. The only thing you have is what makes you special as a person. Everything else is a commodity. Let that shine.
  • Do something scary. You have to take risks. Say, do, offer things no one else will. You can’t grow without risk.
  • Partner with really successful people. Your network is everything — not just for landing clients. But for inspiration, finding best practices, sharing good vibes and surrounding yourself with support and, well, success.
  • Think big. Really big. Then think bigger. Because, really, what’s the point otherwise?

Texas Business Women’s Lisa Goodgame interviewed me about building my brand and being vulnerable and authentic in your marketing. Check out the post here and listen to the podcast now:

I also wrote about the risks, mistakes and triumphs of my brand-building journey for my lovely client DailyWorth:

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Built My Brand

But the best part of all of this is that I am having so, so much fun.

I mean, I’ve been a professional writer for my whole career — a writer my whole life. But I’m stepping outside of my journalism work — where I eagerly devour and write other people’s stories. Now I write my own story.

My opinions. My very own voice.

By sharing my pain and shame and secret thoughts seems to give others permission to absolve their pain and shame and secrets, too.  This journey has been so cathartic. Beyond cathartic. It is affirming and joyous and helped me work through all kinds of personal baggage.

Good luck!


BlueHost and Aweber are partners of WealthySingleMommy.

Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post’s ‘Must Read” list.

Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.

A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

31 thoughts on “Launch a blog in 1 hour, get 10,000 page views & earn $1,000/mo

  1. Very informative and practical tips! Thank you so much for sharing. I do have one follow up question. How to use Google Analytics effectively. I have it but haven’t figured out a way to fully harness and the get the most value out of it. What are the top 2 to 3 things that I should be looking at to get the most value out of Google Analytics?

  2. Thanks for this. I am just getting started in the blogging world as a single parent of a kid with a chronic illness. Figuring out how to monetize it is my current stumbling block and an absolute necessity.

  3. Hi! My name is Jane, I will be moving back to NYC with my 11 yr old end of july. Stumbled upon you….and wonder if you could please invest a bit of your precious time to connect with me. ?
    im on facebook as well. or
    I am a single mom, unfortunately I made bad choices when I was young, have no degrees, but I do have a few talents if you can call them that! I have been living in Switzerland for the past 15 years, and hope to find an apartment in my hometown of Queens!! I last lived in sunnyside!! :-) please, please I know you must be a super busy person, but I am trying to reach out to many and see how what results in me having an open heart and a big mouth!!! Be blessed my fellow big appler!!

  4. Thank you for this. I struggled with putting together my blog and creating my voice. It is so funny how long it has been to realize that I JUST NEED TO BE ME.

    Every person that I follow, I follow them because of what they say and how they say it. I continue to try to get away from sounding like a regurgitating robot of how to be perfect, when I am definitely not! At this point, this comment is now more therapeutic than anything, so I will continue…

    Too many people, including myself, are trying to be something they think people want or talking in a tone they think will be relieved well. After realizing how boring I sound when I do that, my goal is to try to be more vulnerable and speak from a place of truth, rather than a pedestal of bullshit :)

  5. love the info and the storyline here. stumbled on your blog as I am trying to share my story as a single father at what you have built here is truly inspiring. – Nick

  6. Hi, this one really give me some inspiration and motivation for doing more on blog, i’m a mom and a new blogger, i really want to work at home from my blog. May i ask you a question about how you get your 1st income from blog? And did you wait for long time since you launch ur blog to get that income? Tq

  7. Great shout over here! ;)

    I love the point of “Having a video on How to Start a WordPress Blog in an Hour..” I have always been facing problems with Launching Blogging and this is article is a big help ;)

    I will tweet your post. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  8. Just stumbled on your blog and I’m loving it so far. Currently a single mom for past year, separated and thought I was stuck. But you have given me the encouragement to start what I always wanted to do. Thanks so much!!

  9. Thank you, Emma for this post! It has been so helpful to me as I have begun blogging over the past week! I had always thought it was better to have catchy titles instead of “boring” ones but, now that you mention the relation between titles and SEO, I get why those are a bad idea. I’m so glad I read your tips so early in the game!

    P.S. I love your Facebook group too! Your blog and the group have been a lifesaver over the last year as I have been learning how to do this single mom thing!

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