How Pros Make Money Online

Income Diary

The Ultimate Road Map to Making Money Online

By:     Topics: Make Money Online

There are over 350 posts on Income Diary and each one is designed to help our readers make money online.

Put together, these articles are a comprehensive resource. They’ll teach you how to start your first website, design it, optimize it for search, drive traffic to it, monetize it, and put it on auto-pilot.

But it helps to have directions through all of this advice. That’s why I’ve created a road map, to guide you every step of the way – from getting inspired to making a your fortune and everything in between.

If you’re just getting started making money online, then scroll down and start with the first section. If you’re already on the road to making money online, then you can check the table of contents to the right and jump straight to point you need.

Roadmap to Making Money Online

Getting Inspired

steve jobs wide

The first step before going on a long road-trip is to fuel up. The same is true before starting on your entrepreneurial journey, but in this case the ‘fuel’ is inspiration that will continue to motivate you and propel you forward on your journey.

One of the best ways to get inspired is to look at the successes of those who came before you. That’s why we’ve previously shared the life lessons of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson (just to name a few). We’ve also conducted many of our own interviews with top bloggers like Pay Flynn and Gary Vaynerchuck.

Just like with getting gas, you’ll probably need to fuel up a few times before your journey is over. So when you begin to feel unmotivated or pessimistic, you can return here and find more inspiration.

Starting a Blog


A blog is the vehicle for online success. Michael Dunlop has called blogging “the cheapest way to bring in new leads, customers and build a solid brand,” and the source of all of the money that he makes online.

Before you start blogging, first read these 7 Business Decisions to Make Before You Start a Blog from Nicholas Tart. They include deciding who your audience is and what the primary keywords are for your niche. You’ll thank yourself later for having started your blog with a clear vision of the end goal.

When you’re ready to begin, then read Nicholas’ guide for what to do on day one of your blog. From there, you can go through Michael’s 30 Day Plan to Create a Blog where he walks you through everything from buying your domain name name to running your first contest.


Creating Content


Great content is the engine the engine of your blog. It’s the reason people find your site and the reason they stay there. More than that, it’s the way that you provide value to your audience.

Nicholas Tart has written a step-by-step guide for writing blog posts that will take you from researching your post to publishing it. Michael has also offered up his own blog post creation tips, in which he discusses the best time to publish an article and how long your posts should be.

Part of writing good content is writing content that’s optimized for search. If you feel like your posts suffer from a lack optimization, check out these 10 SEO blog post publishing steps. If you would simply like to be a better online writer, you can find my 20 tips here.


Correcting Your Path


It’s not a road trip if you don’t get lost at least once. The same is true on your entrepreneurial journey: if you don’t make any missteps, then you must not be taking enough risks.

Still, once you realize that you’re not going in the right direction, you’re going to want to change your path as quickly as possible. Luckily, Income Diary has your back and we’ve written several posts designed to help you troubleshoot the problems with your blog and improve them.

Josh has chronicled the embarrassing mistakes he made as a beginner blogger – and how he overcame them to turn Expert Photography into the huge success that it is today.

Last spring, Nicholas Tart asked Income Diary readers about their struggles online. He received a ton of responses (the post has over 140 comments) and broke it down into the 33 most common online struggles. By far the most common complaint was that their sites weren’t receiving enough traffic (more on that next).

Photo Credit: jessgrrrr via Compfight cc


Driving Traffic to Your Site

driving traffic

Few people know more about how to build a site’s traffic than Michael Dunlop. Last year, I sat down with Michael and got his top traffic tips. Michael has also explained the fastest way to 1000 visitors per day with three words: Twitter, Facebook, and Lists.

One of the fastest, tried-and-true methods to boosting your traffic is to write a guest post on an A-list blog. Tommy Walker wrote a great first hand account of how to he wrote a successful guest post for Chris Brogan’s site. If you want a comprehensive list of techniques, Tommy has also written a list of 101 ways to drive more traffic to your website.

I find that it’s difficult to grow your blog’s traffic unless you have a reliable way of measuring it, so if you don’t do this already check out Kristi Hine’s excellent guide to how to measure your blog’s growth.


Making Money


More than anything else, Income Diary is about teaching people how to make money online. We have a wealth of articles on the subject.

Michael has explained the most powerful ways to make money online, which include selling products, building membership sites, and affiliate marketing. Since so much of his earnings have been through PopUp Domination, Michael has also gone in-depth on the six steps to selling a product online.

If you’ve already monetized your site but you’re just not making as much money as you want yet, you may want to check out these seven fast fixes to increase your website’s conversion rate.


Reaching Your Destination

Making money is great, but true wealth is in a business that expands even as you devote less of your time to working on it. This has been Michael’s focus lately, as he’s automated his site with writers like myself and invested in other sites like Expert Photography. I sat down and talked with Michael recently about the big picture and how to go from a blog to an online empire.

Personally, my focus as an entrepreneur is much more about cultivating my ideal lifestyle. My online business has allowed me to travel the world and spend more time with my friends and my music. If that’s a priority for you as well, check out these twelve tips for creating a freedom business that will allow you to travel the world.

Ultimately, a big part of being successful online is discovering your own personal definition of success. Like with a road trip, there’s some sort end result in mind – but also like with road trips, the journey is far more satisfying than the destination.


Parting Words

I hope you find this road map a helpful resource as you advance on your entrepreneurial journey. Happy travels!

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  • Sam

    These are essential fundamentals and show perspectives that many persons fail to see. Making money from blogging is even more difficult now than even 2 years ago and one has to start approaching MMO as they would approach launching a business with the desire to make money, with a marketing and strategic plan and utilizing short and long term goals.

    Its not get rich quick for the most part.

    • Nick

      You’re right, Sam. I think the extent of all of the different in-depth articles I linked to above is a great demonstration of how multi-faceted making money online really is.

  • Samuel Pustea

    This is what I call great content!

    The road to making money is a long road but one that will reap some great benefits.

    Thanks for the article Nick 🙂

    • Nick

      Thanks Samuel. You’re right about the road being long but worthwhile. Good luck on your path.

  • agusdwi

    It can I have a road map to be make real money.
    I have not success to have the money till now.
    May be I am stupid.

    • Nick

      Making money online is challenging and requires a great deal of perseverance and determination. Just because you haven’t broken through and found success yet doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re incapable of achieving it some day.

  • wayan

    As a beginner in this field, it’s great and helpful tutorial. I will follow them step by step. Thank you very much Nick.

    • Nick

      I know that the Income Diary audience includes many people who are already well along on their online journey, so I’m glad to hear that this post reached you as a beginner. I hope that you find it a helpful guide as you progress through each step.

  • UK US Marketing

    When I first created ukusmarketing I understood website design alone would not be enough. On-page optimization is vitally important. Incomediary takes that to another level leaving even wiki in its wake when it comes to interlinking content.

    • Nick

      I don’t know if that’s true about Income Diary in general. This article features a lot of interlinked content because it’s whole purpose is to organize and connect the our articles in a useful way. Most of articles on Income Diary are closer to one cross-site length per 400 words.

  • Ralph Hua

    Getting traffic is a challenge for me. I will study the links here. Thanks Nick!

    • Nick

      Good luck, Ralph. Increasing traffic isn’t easy but I hope that our resources will help.

  • K.Singh

    A great inspirational post no doubt, but I think it is very easy to make the mistake of under-estimating the amount of work required to make your website or blog a success. Winning strategies such as eBooks, setting up niche blogs, subscription sites or launching other digital products can indeed be replicated. But it requires a lot of effort. It took me almost 4 years of hard work before I could call my blog a success by any means. And I made a lot of sacrifices and almost gave up dozens of times. I guess the key is preseverance, and add 2 years to what other sites tell you how long it takes to suceed.

    • Nick

      That’s good advice. Generally, I don’t like to think of success in terms of years — 2 years, 4 years, etc. Reaching a goal will take less or more time depending on how diligently and intelligently you work toward them.

  • Damian

    Need to spend an hour or two reading all the links you included. Thanks!

    • Nick

      Yes – I know I just added a bunch to your reading list. Enjoy poring through!

  • Creativity and imagination the wow factor obsession ,service, free information intresting stories, value , tools, links , hardwork, little sleep, a great team and fun people are required to make something great ;)) cool post inspiration yea very true too!!!

    • Nick

      I can’t argue with you, Joseph. Those are all very helpful in finding success online.

  • Garry Ponus

    Hey Nick

    great post. The biggest challenge I have found by far, is getting traffic so I’ll be sure to follow up on the links you’ve provided.

    More power to you!


    • Nick

      And to you!

  • sunil

    Thanks for really inspirational post. As i have just entered into blogging your post will be great for me. i wll not comment too much here but i can just add that your words in this post are valuable to me.

  • Justice Bapadile

    Thank you for the inspiring post..I have just created a blog and my main focus at the moment is to drive traffic to my blog..As for the making money part.i believe one should build traffic first before you can even think of making some bucs..Cheers!!

  • Annie

    Really a nice post man. I’ve recently started a website and i liked the part “Driving Traffic to Your Site”. Thanks for posting.

  • Umar

    You direction are very cleared and well defined. I already in the process of getting traffic through quality content. My ultimate aim is to get the satisfaction of my reader. Money Making is my secondary option. Regards and thank you.


  • Craig Crawford

    Hey buddy!

    Awesome post man. I am looking at gaining traffic to my websites.

    Finding blog posts/ articles that even offer one piece of valuable info is a bonus for me.

    Thanks for the tip! I will be sure to check it out!


  • Abel

    I have read so many posts concerning the blogger lovers except this article is actually a fastidious post, keep it

  • Dhruv Bhagat

    If you want to make real “Smart Passive Income”, then you need to get your hands on Affiliate Marketing..

    If you are good in explaining things, you need to review some products.. Reviewing a product is difficult for those who haven’t used the product..

    For this you can ask the author for a review copy..

    After writing a detailed review, all you need to build quality links to that url, create web 2.0 directories links, do aggressive blog commenting, go for PPC ads and BANG!! You will soon get desired visits for that particular keyword 🙂

    Good Luck!

  • Anas Taher

    Nice Guide!i Shared It On My Website!

  • Hey Nick! Thanks for this info. Some bloggers is making a website just for fast money, not thinking that they are doing it wrong. They don’t mind about the quality of the content or if the readers would like their website. Almost all of them are unsuccessful. It takes a good strategy, hard work and a strong inspiration to build a successful website 🙂