How To Start A Successful Blog (and make money doing it)

What makes a successful blog? And what do I know, after blogging for only a year?

Success in blogging means different things for everyone. To me, having a successful blog means that I have been able to cross some huge goals off my list in my first year of blogging:

  • Being published on Scary Mommy
  • Generating income
  • Being accepted into rewardStyle
  • Connecting with other mama bloggers
  • Participating in sponsored posts
  • 3.5k followers on Instagram

My goals for this next year are just as lofty, and I have high hopes that I’ll be able to cross them off my list, too.

Here’s what I’ve learned in my first year of blogging: 

HUSTLE If you’re a blogger, you’re in sales. You’re selling yourself and you’re selling the idea that you are the expert in a certain field. And as with all sales job, you have to hustle. You have to put in the time. You have to visit 20 other blogs a day to leave comments. Join blog engagement Facebook groups (my favorites are here and here) and participate in the threads. Use Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Stumbleupon to promote your blog and support other bloggers. Network. It’s the equivalent of going door-to-door or making cold calls. You’ve got to make connections. You have to put in the work.


WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER  Ok, I’m not saying you won’t have to work hard (see above). Blogging is hard work and can be very time-consuming. So, you need to be smart about how you work. No one is going to visit your blog just because you spent hours trying to figure out how to install and activate all those plug-ins. They will visit your blog if you continually create compelling content (whoa, alliteration), and promote your stuff.  So if you can, hire someone to assist you with the mundane stuff (technology, I’m lookin’ at you). Spend your time doing what will keep your readers coming back.


ASK! You want to work with a particular brand? ASK. You love another blogger’s theme? ASK. You didn’t land a certain campaign and you’re wondering why? ASK. You need help with technology because it sucks and your brain just doesn’t work that way? ASK. Blogging is a business. You can make it an extremely successful business. But in order to do so, you need to start the conversation. ASK. And if you get turned down? Wait awhile, and ASK AGAIN.


DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT Let’s be clear: you can totally wear sweatpants and a messy bun. I mean figuratively dress for the job you want. ACT AS IF you already have that job. If your goal is to become a part of RewardStyle, find out their requirements and start fulfilling them. (I’m working on a post all about rewardStyle for all of you who have asked!) Want to get sponsored posts? Start posting similar content. Make yourself the obvious choice.


INVEST The first investment in blogging you will make is time. It will take up A LOT of your time. Especially in the beginning. Secondly, it will take some money. If you’re a style blogger, you will need clothes (think classics!). Invest in a pretty theme. When you start blogging, think of it as an investment. With some hard work, creativity and promotion, it will pay off.


So, there you have it. That’s what I’ve learned in my first year, and I know there is so much more to learn. I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about blogging. Let me know in the comments below! Share the wealth 😉



How To Start A Successful




  • Rachel Moore

    You have rocked!!!! Impressive work – especially only a year in. Cheers yourself for all that hard work. Xx

  • Kim

    This is so helpful. I have been in a blogging slump, and now you have encouraged me to hustle. I am so impressed by your first year. Way to go!

  • Kate

    So much accomplished in a year! I remember when this was just a twinkle in your eye a few years ago ♥

  • Shay Scholtes

    Wow! It’s amazing what a year can do! Look at all that you’ve accomplished! Amazing!!

  • Kelly Hoover

    All of these tips are so good! Biggest thing: PERSISTENCE! And doing it for yourself and not for money!

  • Crystal Cara

    I love this Suzanne, just what I needed to hear. It’s so easy to get lost in this blogging world. Thank you for giving more specific examples like the groups info.

  • Emily

    I enjoyed reading this. I am so impressed with your Instagram numbers! Your pictures are great though…so I shouldn’t be surprised. 🙂

  • Gina Gelo

    Love this! Great motivation! Keep it up, mama 🙂

  • kerona

    Lovely tips, being consistent in blogging is what also helps you to be successful and also motivation

  • Rachel Golden

    Such great tips! Working hard is probably the best overarching tip of all. Keep doing what you’re doing and work hard for what you love and the rest will fall into place 🙂

  • Christine Anne

    Loved this post! I love the “Hustle” part. I never really thought of blogging as a sales position but you’re totally right! I’m about to kick my butt in gear.

  • Ana De- Jesus

    I have just been accepted into Reward Style funnily enough but have not earnt money yet, do you have any tips to pull in sales?

  • Adree

    Awesome post! You accomplished a lot in your first year and have some really great points!

  • kari

    Such a great post! Congrats on your one year!

  • Nicole @ Work|Wear|Wander

    This is really great advice! I don’t think everyone realizes how much hustle is involved in growing a blog.

  • candy

    Very motivational and telling us how it is. Congratulations on your hard work paying off.

  • Cara

    Great post with wonderful tips! I completely agree with the one about asking. You’ll never get anything unless you ask for it! 🙂

  • Lauren

    I always love reading tips and tricks for blogging success and you are so spot on with these! And I’m looking forward to your RewardStyle post!

  • Sophia

    These are great tips and all of what you said is so true.

  • Tessa Kirby

    Yes, Yes, and YES to all of these! Great tips! Thank you for sharing pretty momma!

  • Jenny

    Great tips! They are all so true.

    xoxo, Jenny

  • The Home Loving Wife

    These are all SO spot on!! And, can I just say how stinkin’ proud and amazed I am by you?! You’re a total babe and rockstar!! Can’t wait to see what this next year brings for you!!

  • Christie Lawrence

    Hi mama! I loved reading your tips. I’ve been blogging about a year and learning as I go. This read gives me more motivation though, thanks for sharing!

  • Jen

    Great tips! You’re so right about asking… Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! You’ve accomplished so much in one short year – looking forward to seeing where the future takes you!

  • Bella B (xoxoBella)

    Great resource for a new blogger! I think new bloggers find there is so much more to it than they imagined.

  • Alison

    Great advice! I’ve only been going a year as well but actually have recently started to feel successful (getting paid helps). And 3.5k instagram followers is amazing well done – I’m stuck at 2k!

  • Melissa Valmonte

    Great tips! I think it’s important for new bloggers to understand that it’s hard work and requires hustle 🙂

  • Melissa

    Congrats on your first year! This blogging gig does take a lot of hard work and perseverance!

  • Nicole

    Yes I totally agree with you this is great advice! Thanks for sharing 😊
    xo, Nicole

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    Love this! Thank you so much for all of the tips. Hustling has been my middle name since I started my blog.

  • Ava

    These are all great tips and insight. I have started blogging less and promoting more but I still sometimes feel overwhelmed with the hustle!

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