Making money online, from home is every internet users dream. It's a dream because most people think it's easy. It's not. Many people try, most don't make it.

Some people do end up making money but for the time put in, it can be less than minimum wage. Very few make "ok" money and those few you see who've given up the commute to become professional bloggers are akin to the few basketball dreamers that make it to the NBA.

If you want to make money online from blogging alone, you must realize it is a lot of work. You have to write well, consistently, and in a way that engages people. Your writing needs to make them want to read more, come back and most importantly - tell their friends.

If you think you want to give it a try, here's my guide to making money with blogging:

  1. Pick a subject
    What are you going to write about? A personal blog, sharing anything that crosses your mind is a diary, it's not a money making blog. Narrow your focus and be the authority on that topic. Find your niche.
    Your niche is something you can talk about that (and this is the most important part) other people want to know about. Your site is going to answer questions people ask. Those people are going to ask through google.
    An alternative is an entertainment blog. You share entertainment. These can be fun to make too, especially if you are entertained by your own site.
    The final point is that you need to pick a topic you know a lot about and want to talk about. Trying to find motivation to write consistently is hard enough when it's a personal interest - don't pick something that bores you.
  2. Choose your platform
    I used to recommend starting with a free wordpress blog. Then, after you prove to yourself that you can write to a schedule, you ensure you enjoy it, then you can switch to your own website. NOW I DON'T. Wordpress charges you for every little upgrade now and that means they advertise on your blog unless you pay them not to, and when you want to leave, you have to pay them annually to redirect traffic from the old blog to your new blog.
    So now, you have to choose. You may still want to try wordpress. It's a place to start and it's easy. Or you may want to pay for your own Joomla site and own it outright, right from the start. No ads you aren't making money on. Your own domain. And you can customize without having to pay extra.
    You can get your Joomla site started (domain name and hosting) at Namecheap.com for about $20. Video tutorials here.
  3. Start writing
    Post every day or every Thursday or whatever your own schedule is. Blogging quality content on a regular schedule isn't easy - can you do it? Don't worry about the look of your site too much yet. The main thing you want to bother with is writing well. And adding some photos - images make a blog post much more attractive.
  4. Connect
    Making friends online is key to success. By friends I mean people that come back and comment on your posts regularly, people that follow you and people that re-blog your writing. The way to do this is my engaging in the same behavior yourself.
  5. Evaluate
    After a few months, ask yourself - "How is it going so far?" Are you keeping up with regular posting? Has your readership grown? Are people reading what you are writing? Do you feel motivated to keep writing? Can you maintain writing on top of your normal job because even for those who do make money, it's most likely going to be more like moonlighting at a part time job than a career change.
  6. Upgrade
    If you are having some success and want to push on with the blogging then now is the time to upgrade the look with a custom template and if you didn't do it at the start, get your own domain name. 
    This will take quite a bit of work as you will have to learn how to do these things yourself but if you want to do it, it's easy enough. It just takes time.
  7. Monetize
    Now is also the time to monetize. This means selling stuff for other people or selling your own stuff. As a blogger, you are most likely to be selling for others. In other words, advertising. There are so many ways to do this but it only works if you have a lot of readers. So again, don't waste time doing this until you have the readers/visitors. Monetizing is the last step.
  8. Keep Writing
    Actually, this should be every second step. And it doesn't just mean writing for your own blog. You should also get out there and get social. Let people know you are online and blogging by making comments on other people's blogs - ideally one's that are within your circle of interest. You may want to try guest posting on other people's sites, if they'll have you. This is a great way to show the audience of other websites the quality of your writing.
  9. Marketing
    The last step is something you need to think about after you've got a quality website and you think more people need to know about it. You need that viral marketing play that gets your name known. Think about getting your best content presented in a way that makes people want to share it. Put the time in, put it out there and hope it was worth your time.

Making money with blogging isn't easy. Blog about things you know about, want to talk about and then keep doing it. Focus on content and relationships first, then worry about image monetizing. After that, your imagination with marketing stunts is your key to blowing up. Good luck!