All Posts,  Blogging

How to Start a Blog and Make Money to Travel the World 2020 Guide

Table of Contents:

  1. Chapter 1: Introduction
  2. Chapter 2: Frequently Asked Questions about Blogging

Chapter 1 – Introduction

I never thought we’d get to make money from my blog. 

2.5 years ago Matt and I quit our desk-bound jobs to work on The Wedding Vow full time. 

Little did we know that today, our blog would be our jobs and main source of income. 

I had been writing on TWV for 3 years before we decided to quit our previous jobs (we were working on eCommerce. It was a “family business” but it was almost like any other job out there). We had a decent amount of traffic (20-30k monthly views), but no income from it. We had zero ideas on how to make money from a blog. Quitting did take a (big) leap of faith. 

But we had dreams – we wanted to see more of the world, compete in more tournaments (we love Ultimate Frisbee) and live more freely (I could not imagine being bound to a desk for the rest of my life). 

After months of contemplation (and sleepless nights), we quit our jobs and packed our bags…

Fast forward 2.5 years later, we visited 18 countries. 

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Us in Greece: Taking a selfie at the top of the Acropolis
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In the Maldives: Us boarding our seaplane to our resort
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Us in Thailand: We spent 3 weeks touring 8 cities & islands

We competed in 18 tournaments (both overseas and in Singapore) and won several medals!

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Us in Taiwan: We won the champion medal!
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Our club team in Hainan Opens – We won First Runner Up and Best Spirited Team. We even got a cash prize!

In the last 2.5 years, we’ve been to the USA, Japan, Greece, Turkey, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Borneo, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Malaysia, Taiwan, India, Maldives, Hainan, New Zealand, Vietnam, Myanmar.

Matt created a vlog to document and share our latest adventures in New Zealand! 

While we’ve been traveling the world and competing in tournaments, we also doubled our traffic to 70-100k monthly views.

We also crossed the 3.5 million mark for our all-time views.

Today, we make a decent income from our blog (more than what we made at our last job). 

During this period, we had the opportunity to visit and stay at 23 hotels and resorts. Some hotels were so luxurious that we would not have imagined being able to experience them in our lifetime.

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Us in India: Staying at the Samode Palace (this was previously a palace for royalty that was converted into a hotel)

We built up a work team of 6 that we call family. They are our support system. This is us during our team retreat in Legazpi, Philippines (special thanks to Misibis Resort!).

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All this would not have been possible if we were still in our desk-bound jobs. 

I’m sharing our story, not to brag, but to share with you that it is possible. It is possible to build on your own dreams. 

If I was to go back in time to 2.5 years ago, I would not have imagined a life like this. We all have doubts of our own. But now, I realize anything is possible if you set your heart and mind to it.

The reality behind the photos is that it has not been an easy/smooth ride. Running a blog and building your own business has its own set of challenges and stresses. But any job will come with its own set of challenges and stress, so why not choose the job that makes the stress worth it? 

Running a blog and your own business gives you a lot of autonomy and flexibility, which is what many of us dream of. 

We could pack up our bags now and move to Bali or anywhere we’d like to work from there. We now can work from anywhere in the world (with an internet connection). It’s whether we want to or not.

Just seeing what we’ve done in the last 2.5 years, imagine what we could do in 10! 

Many of our friends ask us these questions:

  • How do we do what we do? 
  • How do we start and run a blog?
  • How do we make money from our blog? 
  • How do we get to travel around the world? 

I’ve learned a lot about blogging and business over the last 5 years. Much of my own personal experience was built on trial and error (and googling my way out).

I’ve decided to put it all together in this guide. 

I want to answer the questions above and provide you with a blueprint so you can recreate the success for yourself. 

If you are:

  • interested in blogging
  • want to make money from your blog
  • want to run your own business
  • want to travel and explore the world
  • want to have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world (that has internet)…

…then this guide is for you.

It has a lot of valuable content inside. I am going to be very honest and transparent. I will share our process and experiences.

You must be wondering, what is the cost of this guide to you? Free. 

All I ask is for your time. And that you take action after reading my material. 

Why am I doing this, you might ask?

Because too many people wait on their dreams. Too many people wait around for things to happen. Too many people think it’s impossible.

I almost fell into that trap. It took me 6 months to get the guts to get moving on my dream. Those 6 months of going back and forth on ‘should I quit’ could have been put to better use.

Back then if someone told me they believed in me (and had a guide to help me), that would have encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.

So now that I’ve gotten traction on my dreams, I hope to be that person for you.

I aim to take you from no blog and working your ass off making someone else rich, to making your own money from your blog, enough for you to quit working for someone else. 

Don’t wait until tomorrow. Start right now.

That said, I want to start by sharing a few disclaimers:

  • Blogging is hard work. It does not make you a millionaire overnight. 
  • Without the stable monthly salary from a ‘corporate job’, we had to be more prudent with our money as well (on the plus side, I learned how to be more minimalist). 
  • Running your own blog/business/company is not for the faint-hearted. It can be quite the rollercoaster ride. I have days where I have too much to do. On the flip side, I have days where I wake up and I am clueless on what to do – but the challenge here is to go figure it out. This is also the reason why I wanted to create this guide. It is so that you don’t need to spend so much time figuring it out. You just need to take action and follow the steps. 
  • There is nobody to push/motivate you. In fact, it can be the opposite, there will be people who ‘advise’ you against it. You have to count on yourself to succeed. Be disciplined and set up habits/systems in place to keep yourself in check. Always go back to “Why” you are doing this. For me, it was about freedom, the freedom to live and explore, and not be bound to a desk. 
  • There might be days where you are going to wonder if you made the right choice. There are days where you might stress about paying the bills. But if you follow the right strategy in this guide and hustle hard to keep improving on your work, it will pay off. 
  • Like everyone else (even those at the top), I am still learning. This guide will always be a work in progress. I will update it as I move forward.

I’m not asking you to quit your job immediately and go be a blogger. That is pretty much a pipe dream. 

You can read a million articles by bloggers and know that being a successful blogger will not happen overnight. BUT the good news is you can build it on the side before taking the leap. 

I am asking you to give your dreams a chance. 

Because it is possible and I will show you how to do it in this guide. 

Let’s get started, shall we? 

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“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Chapter 2 – Frequently Asked Questions about Blogging

Before we jump into building, let me answer some of the questions that most people ask about blogging. 

Do bloggers get paid? 

It depends. There are many bloggers on the internet. The harsh truth is, the majority of bloggers do not get paid. But this is likely because they do not think about monetizing their blog. 

On the other spectrum, there are superstar bloggers making millions off their blogs. Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income), Rand Fishkin (Moz), and Brian Clark (CopyBlogger), just to name a few, along with these top bloggers in the world, are undisputed leaders in the blogging industry who have successfully monetized their blogs. 

I have read many success stories of many bloggers who earn more than their previous jobs. Jon Morrow (Smart Blogger), Joe (Why I work from Home), Darren Rowse (Pro Blogger) are some of my favourite stories. 

In short, yes. It is possible for bloggers to get paid. 

I found out for myself that it is possible to make a living off blogging. While it is not easy or straightforward (it does require time), it is nothing as complicated as rocket science. It is important to have persistence and the right strategies (I will share more in the following chapters). 

How much can bloggers earn? 

Salaries for bloggers lay across a wide spectrum. There is no straightforward answer to this question. It can range anywhere between $500 a month to 5-figures a month. I believe making 4-figures a month is achievable. 

If you are interested in stats, you can refer to this article by Lifehacker. 

If your sole goal is to earn loads of money quickly, I would advise against starting a blog to do so. Starting a blog is not a get-rich-quick solution. In fact, starting a business seldom is. 

It is important to have a passion for the topic that you are writing about, and a passion to share and help others. It will show in your writing. You will not be able to last the long haul (which is needed) if your sole motivation is money. Also, blogging is not an efficient way to earn quick cash. Most of the methods to monetize a blog requires significant time and development. I will share blog monetization strategies in Chapter 6. 

Why should I start a blog? 

My answer to this? It is meaningful.

A blog allows you to reach out to others who share the same passions as you. A blog allows you to help others who face a problem that you know how to solve. Writing also helps you to grow, reflect, and learn new skills. 

Is blogging still relevant in 2019? 

Well, are search engines still relevant in 2019? The answer is, of course! Google gets over 63,000 searches per second every day, which translates into 5.6 million searches per day. 

Many people turn to Google to find information before purchasing a product or service. Blogging is still an effective way to get in front of an audience, to connect with them and to establish trust. 

But yes, the blogging industry is saturated. This does not mean that blogging is dead. It only means that you have to innovate and adapt your approach in order to stand out from the crowd. (I will cover how to do so in the following chapters.) 

One thing about competition. While it is always good to target white spaces, I have learned that the existence of competition is not negative. Competition indicates that there is a demand for the topic. It also gives you a working reference to follow and innovate. 

How much does it cost to start a blog?

It is possible to start a blog with $0. You can go to WordPress.com and you can set it up in less than 10 minutes. Or you can start on Medium. 

The problem with free is that it is not scalable. If blogging is going to be a personal hobby, then the free option is ok. But if you are planning to build it up as a business, I would encourage setting up a proper structure. The cost of starting your blog can be less than $150 a year, and this investment will pay off in the long run. 

Get a proper CMS (content management system) – WordPress.org is by far the best. It is open source and is free.  The script is also very light. Also web hosting, domain (Bluehost gives you a free domain when you buy their hosting), a theme, and some crucial plugins. (I will cover these in detail in Chapter 3). 

Which is the best blogging platform? 

It is no doubt that WordPress.org is the best and most popular blogging platform. Million-dollar blogs are built on WordPress.org. 60% of CMS sites are built on WordPress.org. You will see WordPress.org listed as #1 on WPBeginner, WPForms, LifeHack, IsitWP. There is little reason to consider other blogging platforms, so just dive right in. 

You might get confused between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is self-hosted, whereas WordPress.com is a hosted service (you have free 3GB of space, but after which you will switch to paid plans from $36 – $299/year depending on your storage needs). If you want to know more, WPBeginner has a detailed guide comparing the two. 

Which is the best blogging platform? 

It is no doubt that WordPress.org is the best and most popular blogging platform. Million-dollar blogs are built on WordPress.org. 60% of CMS sites are built on WordPress.org. You will see WordPress.org listed as #1 on WPBeginner, WPForms, LifeHack, IsitWP. There is little reason to consider other blogging platforms, so just dive right in. 

You might get confused between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is self-hosted, whereas WordPress.com is a hosted service (you have free 3GB of space, but after which you will switch to paid plans from $36 – $299/year depending on your storage needs). If you want to know more, WPBeginner has a detailed guide comparing the two. 

More FAQs will be added shortly. I am in the midst of writing them. 


I will be releasing a new chapter each week and updating this guide. Subscribe to get notified once a new chapter is released. 

Chapter 3 will show you How to Start your Blog in Under 15 minutes

To be continued.

The Wedding Vow is a digital publication bringing you the best content on weddings, honeymoon travel and lifestyle. We hope to inspire you to create the most beautiful memories of your wedding and honeymoon, followed by building your dream home. Embark on this magical journey with us!