Blogger, which you can set up for free in less than five minutes, automates Google AdSense so that you can make money with your blog by displaying ads and getting paid when people click on the ads. To make more money, set up an affiliate program (see below) for books, music, etc., and insert your affiliate links whenever you refer to those items. A good strategy to set you on the path to success is selecting a unique topic, writing intelligent copy, and telling all your friends. You're off to a good start with building a targeted audience.
If you have pop-ups and optins on every page, I would have to think that it would be a lot harder to convince someone to link to it. Especially since the pages where you have your optins (and probably receive the most traffic) are probably the same pages that you have your best content on as well that you'd be hoping to pitch in your outreach campaign.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).