FINALLY! I finally hit half a million gold. It wasn't because I couldn't have earned it before now, but I'm a chronic spender! Every time one of my alts dinged 85 (and I now have 6) I had to get them the latest gear (even though I now regularly play 2). Repair mounts? "Had" to have them! Dalaran Rings, etc.
Did I put a lot of gold into my alts? Yes. Did they end up paying for themselves? ...mostly. Either way, today I'm going to focus on my theory of leveling alts.
How to Make Gold Using Alts.
This is my key method to making tons of gold leveling alts. Some may disagree, some may have suggestions to tweak or better use my general method, but this is what I do, and I will provide an argument for why, and how to better it.
Farm. Yup I said it, Farm. Get Herbalism and Mining on your alt from the first profession NPCs that you see, and get out there and farm (don't forget a Mining Pick).
Yes, I know, farming at max level isn't the most effective way of making gold, but due to these professions rewarding XP just for doing them, it's the best way of making gold while leveling!
**Note: If you are interested in having a max level mine/herbalist farmer Horde side, I suggest rolling a Tauren Druid. Taurens have a passive racial Cultivation that allows them to gather herbs faster than other races, and Druid Flight Form at lvl 60+ is an instant cast and you don't have to leave it to Herbalize. It's the most efficient Mining/Herbalism combo in the game, if you care. (If you roll Alliance, a druid in general is still the fastest because of the reasons listed)
Why This Method Works:
This is the most cost effective way to level your toon. If you're going to level an alt, why not have it work for you? Mining and Herbalism are the 2 professions that will grant you XP solely for doing them. My advice now is to sell the raw materials and start making gold for this toon. You can farm sitting in a queue, and farming gets you around the same XP as grinding quests, but makes you A LOT more gold!
If you are interested in finding the best places to level your herb/mining or just professions in general I suggest using wow-professions.
The 75 Conundrum
Once you hit 75 you have the ability to max your professions, which leaves you two options. Learn Illustrious Grand Master Mining/Herbalism OR use the gold your toon earned to max out serious gold making professions (with no farming) like Alchemy or JC. My personal goal is to have a character that, through leveling, pays to max out their really good gold making professions. The one argument I can think of for holding out to 85 to drop herbalism/mining is that you can continue to get XP using your professions if you stick to mining/herbalism.
If you choose to continue leveling past 75 using Herbalism/Mining you can start in Mount Hyjal. You're going to have to grind a bit here, but there are a lot of nodes that don't have nearby NPC's. Once you hit 500 Herbalism and 475 Mining, go to The Violet Citadel in Dalaran and take the portal to The Caverns of Time. Once there, fly south one zone and start farming in Uldum. A little dangerous in the 70's, but there are plenty of nodes not near NPC's and these nodes will reward TONS of XP.
Have fun leveling your toons!