So you’re wondering how to make money blogging because you’re the type of person that likes to make money.
More specifically you’re the type of person that would like to make the money they want wherever they want and whenever they want it.
That’s the type of person that should read this post.
And just so you know, I love to make money from blogging.
Before we dive into this mega guide I want to give you some background on why I believe I’m a good person to write a guide like this.
My First Blog
I started my first blog in 2003. It was a blog about web design and I had no idea how to make money with a blog. I started it because I was interested in web design and thought it would be a good way to learn it.
By sheer luck, the blog became pretty popular and that’s when I started to realize that you can make money from a blog. It seemed kind of silly back then because all I was doing was writing about a topic I loved and people read.
But blogging is more than that.
Blogging gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge with the world. It gives you a chance to show people how to solve problems.
It connects you with a global audience.
Since that first blog, I’ve created, destroyed, sold, bought and grown over 27 different blogs. I’ve learned a lot over the past 2 decades and I’m still learning.
I now run a company called Odd Noodle and what I do is help people build the lifestyle that they feel they deserve.
What does that mean?
It means I help people build businesses so they can make the money that they want.
One of the methods that I help people do that with is blogging. It’s why I still create blogs because I NEED to know what blogging is all about.
I’m writing this guide as someone that is still in the trenches creating blogs and growing blogs so I can continue to see what the experience is like for you.
(Note: Just to make sure I’m not blowing smoke up your ass or that I’m only talking about this blog, you can check out my case study on my home decor blog right here.)
Now let’s talk about why you should be blogging.
Blogging Provides Freedom
Being able to work from anywhere in the world working on something you love is one of the greatest feelings.
There are people that laugh at the idea of being able to make money from a blog but that’s because they don’t understand that the purpose of any business is to provide value and that is what you will do with your blog.
I want you to start making money from blogging just like I do, but how do you do it with a blog? There are many different ways and I’ll cover a number of them in this post.
But first, let’s tackle some of the myths about making money with a blog because you need to enter this game with a clear mind not filled with junk.
To say it another way, you need to understand that blogging is more than clicking the person’s Bluehost affiliate link and installing WordPress.
The Myths About Making Money From Blogging
The thing about making money online is that so many people do it differently. You’ll see one person doing one thing that works really well for them and someone else doing something completely different. Unfortunately, this can cause some myths to form.
Don’t worry, you can earn money blogging. That isn’t one of the myths.
Myth 1: You Need a Ton of Traffic
This is probably the biggest myth out there. I’ve seen people set up a blog and plan to not monetize it for the first six months because they think they need a ton of traffic. Sure a ton of traffic will benefit you, assuming it is good traffic, but your revenue doesn’t have to be tied to it.
The very first course I ever sold was on a site called Makers Cabin that went out to a list of 500 people and it made $3,000 the first weekend. There weren’t more than 100 people a day visiting the site.
If you plan to monetize your blog through ads then traffic is probably the only metric that matters to you, but as you’ll read later, there are better ways to make money blogging.
I fully understand that traffic isn’t as easy to come by for bloggers as it used to be. The shit really hit the fan when Pinterest changed their algorithm and many bloggers lost over 50% of their traffic.
If you’d like to read more about what happened then check out my Pinterest Traffic Study.
Because it takes a while for you to build up enough traffic for your blog to join a solid ad network, I had to think of a new way of blogging. One where the focus wasn’t on immediate traffic because you just don’t know if that was going to happen or not.
Instead, it’s a framework where you focus on getting the most out of every visitor that comes your way. If you’d like to learn more about it you can check it out on the FREE Blog Simple Guide.
Myth 2: Only Experts Make Money Selling Products
I was talking to someone the other day who had recently started a blog. She was asking me about ways to make money online (you can thank her for inspiring this post) and I told her that she should create a course.
Her face went pale as she told me that she wasn’t enough of an expert to create a course.
Anyone can create a course because everybody has some knowledge to share.
Maybe you feel you don’t have enough material for a course, but you’ll be surprised how much you have in that big brain of yours when you start to plan things out. Plus, courses do not have to be large. You can create mini-courses that sell extremely well.
Whatever you do, just don’t wait for that mythical expert status to arrive, because if you are anything like me, that time will never come.
In fact, you shouldn’t even think about creating something large. Focus on smaller ideas or what I like to call Minimum Viable Offers that allow you to push out smaller products faster.
You can see how I handle micro-offers and pre-launch them to my audience in the $5,000-Day Case Study.
Myth 3: The Only Way to Make Money Is by Starting a How to Make Money Blog
This one is tricky because sites that teach you how to make money can do very well. People think it’s just because they are teaching people how to make money, but there is something deeper at play here and it applies to almost every niche.
As humans, we have a natural inclination to want to get better.
The only thing that people buy is improvement.
We want better for ourselves. We want better for our family. We just want better.
One of the ways people try to better their lives is by making more money so they go searching for ways to do that.
Other people want to lose weight.
Some want to learn a new language or teach their cats how to use the toilet.
The point is, your blog doesn’t have to be in a heavyweight industry to make money. It just has to be in an industry where there are people actively searching for solutions.
As your audience expands, you’ll start to notice some problems they talk about continuously creep up. These are your opportunities to make money.
It’s also why I started the Billionaire Blog Club to show people that you can make good money with blogs across different niches. Check it out.
Myth 4: All the Big Blogs Make All of the Money
It’s easy to think that blogging is a zero-sum game. If you are starting a blog on kitten mittens and there are already 3 major blogs that cover it, you might think you don’t stand a chance.
But you do.
Although you cover the same topic, that doesn’t mean you cover it in the same way. The great thing about blogging is that you get to bring your perspective to the world. Your brand and message are what separate you from everyone else.
There is always room for more. Blogs aren’t sports teams. People don’t pledge their allegiance to one blog and ignore the rest.
You are about to get a piece of a pie that continues to grow and won’t stop.
Here’s a wonderful interview that Blog Simple Framework‘s Community Manager, Marybeth Santos, did with Rachel Fairchild of This Crafty Home. In this interview, she talks about how she was able to surpass her husband’s monthly paycheck with her blog. Tons of great pieces of knowledge to pull from this.
How to Start a Blog and Make Money
Now that we’ve debunked some myths about making money online lets dive into what thing you need to make money online. It doesn’t make sense to try and make money if you don’t have these things.
1. A Blog
Hopefully, this one was obvious to you. You aren’t going to make money blogging if you don’t have a blog.
However, don’t mistake the easy setup with easy results. Getting a blog up and running is easy and you can start a blog as a home business with almost no money.
But getting content that people love and finding the right audience are going to take a bit of work.
If you don’t have a blog or you have one and things are looking shaky, then check out the FREE Blog Simple Guide. It gives you a complete overview of how we tackle each of our blogs and the things that you should do with yours.
2. Content That Rocks
Getting a blog set up is the easy part and that is where most people stop. They think that simply having a blog is enough to start making some extra money, but it isn’t.
The hard work begins when you start writing content.
You can’t just fill your blog up with the hope that people will find it magically and read it.
The content needs to be good.
The content needs to provide value to your reader so they come back for more and share it with the world.
If it doesn’t provide any value then you will see that people visit your site and never return.
If you aren’t sure what to do in the content creation process then here are 19 things you need to do to every blog post before, during, and after you hit publish along with the methods I use to write a powerful blog post.
3. Relationships With Influencers
I’m a very independent person.
I truly believe that I can do anything on my own if I put my mind to it. However, that doesn’t mean I should be doing everything on my own. No matter what topic you decide to blog about there will be others blogging about it as well. You might see them as competition, but you shouldn’t.
In fact, you should treat them as allies. A rising tide raises all ships.
These relationships will help your brand and increase your traffic.
Don’t be scared to reach out to people when you write a new post. If you include another blogger in one of your posts then let them know.
Build relationships on social media, comment on other people’s sites and participate in forums and groups. You are not building a dynasty in a vacuum.
Do what I call planting flags which means you are everywhere that your audience is at. Don’t just assume that people will come to you. Go to where they are and build relationships.
That doesn’t mean that blogging isn’t a great job for introverts. It definitely is. You get as much interaction with people as you want, but not more than that.
4. Authority Status
Your blog is your platform. It’s where you share your knowledge and create a brand. Over time you want people to think of your blog when they think of a specific topic.
Authority status is a term you will see me throw around a lot on this site. What does it mean? It means that when someone thinks of a topic and they have a question, they think of going to you for the answer.
Whatever topic you write about, you want people to think that you are making complete sense because you are an authority on the subject.
One of the things that we have you focus on in the Blog Business Framework is focusing on micro-niches as you build your blog out. The reason for this is because you want to build a nice cache of content around specific topics which will make you look like an authority.
This works because nobody in their right mind would write 10 posts about growing tomatoes without knowing a thing or two about it, right?
5. A Tribe
This is probably the most important thing you will need to make money.
Your Tribe is similar to your audience, but they go deeper. Your Tribe is the people that buy everything you create, open every email you send, and tell the world about everything you do.
They are your True Fans and the people that will help your empire grow.
It is important that you are always in communication with your tribe. The best way to do this is through an email list.
But isn’t email old-fashioned? It is, but it’s also the best way to keep in touch with your tribe. Not everyone is on Twitter or Facebook and those that are probably won’t see your message.
Everybody has email and everybody checks their email constantly.
If you want to really make money with your blog, you need to create a mailing list using one of the billions of email service providers out there. I use Drip but can also recommend ConvertKit for those getting started.
However, if you don’t understand sales funnels, sequences, or tagging you might want to start off with something simpler and free. If that is the case you can go with Mailer Lite.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can convert random blog visitors into True Fans then check out the FREE Pocket Tribe Guide to Tribe Building.
How to Make Money Blogging
Okay, it’s showtime.
You will learn a number of different methods to make money with a blog and might be tempted to try all of them.
The best way to make money is going to be unique to your blog and audience.
Some topics don’t make any sense to have a video course while others might lend themselves better to online services.
Even though I just told you not to try and pursue all of the different ways to make money online, I will tell you that it is always wise to have multiple revenue streams. You don’t want to depend on a single source of revenue because if that dries up, you are left with nothing.
You’ve been waiting long enough so here is how you can start to make money with your blog.
I put this one first not because it is the most important or the most lucrative, but because it seems to be the default revenue stream people think of when they get ready to start a blog.
Let me get this off my chest.
I hate using ads to make money.
I can’t stand it and that’s why you never see ads on a majority of my sites.
Why is that?
There are a number of reasons.
- People ignore ads. When is the last time you clicked on an ad? I don’t even see ads anymore because I have an adblocker installed on my browser. If people aren’t clicking your ads then that turns advertisers away. If people, like me, can’t even see the ads then what is the point?
- It’s dependent on traffic. Traffic goes up and down and you never know when it is going to do a major dip. Most advertisers pay based on the number of views their ad will get. This turns you into a traffic monster. You start to look for creative ways to get any kind of traffic, no matter if it’s good traffic or not. This can easily lead to your site becoming another junk site that you try to avoid.
- You don’t control the experience. I’m a strong proponent of controlling the user experience. With ads, you control almost none of it. You don’t do the design for the ads and you don’t do the design of the site at the other end of the ad. All you can do is control where the ad is shown. This makes you a very poor middleman.
- If you aren’t part of an ad network then you are constantly searching for new companies to advertise on your site. This one was always a pain in the ass for me. I wanted to spend time making my site better, but if I ignored selling my ad space then I wouldn’t have money to continue to make my site better. You can join an ad network, but that means you are giving up a percentage of the revenue. Work hard to only get 50% of the money? Bleh.
- There is a low ceiling for earning potential. There is only so much that people will pay to advertise on a site so while your site continues to grow in popularity, your ad rates could very well stay the same. That means the only way to increase ad revenue is by showing more ads which then devalues the other ads and your site.
- The time you invest to make any significant amount of money is the same amount of time it takes to build a course or other offerings. If you want to know how to make a lot of money online with ads (in the thousands), then you need to get 100s of thousands or millions of pageviews a month. This takes time and in that time you could just as easily build up your mailing list, create an infoproduct and make thousands whenever you want.
With all of that being said, I understand ads are one of the easiest ways to get started (once you build up to a certain level of traffic) and for a lot of you money is money.
If you can pull in a couple thousand dollars in ad revenue then you should go for it until you beef up your other revenue streams.
Just keep in mind that to make a healthy amount of money from advertising ($1,000+ a month) you need to produce 50,000+ pageviews a month. The thing is, if you get that much traffic then you will get a better return providing your own products and services if you can boost yourself up to that level.
See, I have no problem making money with ads as long as it’s the right move for a site.
…the things you can do by selling your own products are so much juicier.
If you think your blog and niche are best suited to go the ad route then I would suggest joining an ad network that specializes in blog advertising.
How much can you expect to make with these networks? The CPM ranges between $5-$40. What this means is that for every 1,000 pageviews your blog receives you will earn $5-40.
You also should know that advertisements just don’t have to be in the form of a banner in your sidebar. There are other formats for advertising as well.
Product Reviews and Giveaways
Companies will often approach bloggers to write product reviews because they have an audience that is engaged. They will pay you to review the product and might even let you keep the product! That sounds like a sweet deal, but you need to be careful about reviews.
Because what happens if you don’t like the product? If you’re like me then you want to write an honest review about it, but companies don’t pay for bad reviews. They are paying you money and giving you a free product because they expect a good review.
Product giveaways have the same function. A company will give you a product to offer as a giveaway which means you have a chance to grow and reward your Tribe. However, just because you aren’t writing a glowing review about the product doesn’t mean that your Tribe won’t associate that product with you.
If it’s good enough to offer to them as a giveaway then that must mean you are okay with the product.
Newsletter and Podcast Sponsorships
Newsletter and podcast sponsorship don’t go on your blog, but they do follow the same principles. If I had a podcast I probably wouldn’t mind giving a shout out to a business. At the moment, that is the only way to monetize podcasts effectively.
And by effective I mean some people are making a killing with podcast sponsorships. John Lee Dumas regularly does over $50,000 a month from podcast sponsorships.
I keep ads out of my newsletters because they are geared towards my audience. I am providing them with some value that will later translate into more revenue for me. Throwing in ads just distracts from the purpose of the newsletter.
However, if I had a general newsletter that was just a bunch of links to cool stuff I’ve found, I wouldn’t mind putting ads on it.
These are similar to product reviews, but with sponsored posts, you are working hand-in-hand with the company. It is important that you disclose to your readers that this is a sponsored post because you do not want to lose their trust.
If you were to go down the route of sponsored posts I would suggest that you keep them to a minimum. People come for your content that brings them value, not for the content that a company paid you to write.
Can You Make Money Blogging Without Ads?
Yes, but it takes some work. However, the rewards are far greater than simple advertising can provide for you.
In my opinion, display advertising is a dying model that is slowly being phased out so it’s important to not make it your long term revenue model.
Affiliate marketing means you are promoting another company’s products or services and you get a commission when someone makes a purchase. This is similar to advertising but is not dependent on the traffic you receive.
I like affiliate marketing when it’s done in a way that provides your audience with value. It can be too easy to get caught up in the act of throwing affiliate links all over the place with the hope that someone will click one and make a purchase.
Instead, you should only include affiliate links when it enhances the content around it.
For example, in How to Start a Blog I have affiliate links in the post because they complement the content that is being written. However, if I stuck in an affiliate link for a Talking Elmo it wouldn’t make any sense at all and would actually detract from the content.
If you’ve ever wondered if it’s possible to make money with your blog then their answer is “YES” due to affiliate marketing. In the Blog Business Framework, the goal is to set your blog up for financial success on the day it launches because why should you have to wait to make money?
Confession time. This is my absolute favorite way to make money with a blog.
Because you control the whole experience and the only thing it is dependent on is you creating value for your tribe. There are a ton of different options for digital products, but I want to focus on just three for this post.
1. Online Courses
This is how I make a living. People love to learn and there is always someone around looking to learn what you are knowledgeable about. If you can package it up into a course then you are good to go.
You can create as many courses as you want and there are a ton of sites out there to help you get everything set up. I host all of my courses on Thinkific but have also used Podia and absolutely loved it.
The very first digital product I ever sold was an ebook. Excuse me, I should say the very first digital product I put up for sale was an ebook. I didn’t sell any but that is because I failed to grow a Tribe.
Ebooks are definitely one of the easiest digital products that you can create. You have all the tools required to build an ebook at your disposal. For a basic ebook, all you need is a word processor (Microsoft Word, Google Pages, Apple Pages) that will allow you to export your document as a PDF.
When I used to only do books I used SendOwl to handle payment and delivery. What’s great about this service is when I update my books, I can simply shoot an email to all of my customers letting them know of the updated version.
Webinars are awesome. They are like live happy hours for you and your tribe. You sit down and talk. That’s it really. You share knowledge about a particular subject and people listen and ask you questions.
My webinar software of choice is Crowdcast.
4. Membership Sites
This one you can’t just do right off the bat. First, you need to build a tribe to make it happen, but once you have that tribe then you are good to go. What’s awesome about membership sites is that they offer you a way to make recurring revenue.
Once you start making recurring revenue you will never turn back. Recurring revenue is money that keeps coming in every month or every year. It truly is a beautiful thing.
If you have a Netflix subscription they are making recurring revenue from you.
Odd Noodle Kitchen is an example of a membership site. Every 3 months you pay just $47 and you get full access to everything inside of Odd Noodle Kitchen. This provides us with recurring revenue outside of the sales we make with our courses.
5. Email Coaching
This is one I don’t see that often, but it is still a viable info product.
Email coaching works because people value their time. We are all busy and jumping on phone calls once a day or week or month can be too time-consuming. However, we always have time for email!
This also allows you to coach anyone around the world because time doesn’t play a factor.
6. Email Courses
Similar to an online video course, but in this case you are sending out a series of emails that will teach your audience. Most of the time I see email courses being used as email magnets, but you can very well offer them as a paid info product.
The problem I have with email courses though is that it can be too easy to treat those emails just like any other email. I understand that not every student will complete every course that I create, but I do want to see higher engagement numbers and you will get that with a video course over an email one.
However, it’s not your responsibility to make sure that every student stays on top of their learning. An email course can be setup just like any other autoresponder series or email sequence that you have.
7. Website Themes and Templates
Not necessarily an info product per se, but still a nice way to bring in some money.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income partnered up with StudioPress to release his own theme. So as you can see, you don’t need to build one yourself, but if you aren’t popular yet you probably won’t be given the chance to have a professional studio work with you.
One of the downsides to creating themes and templates is that you will have to spend time handling support. As you know, computers always have hiccups and people will have issues. If you aren’t ready to invest time in helping people with your product then this might be something to avoid for a while.
8. Office Hours
Your audience will love to read everything that you publish, but there are times where they might wish they can speak with you 1-on-1. Offering office hours allows you to sell your time and also help out people.
If you do decide to go this route, make sure you are very specific about how much time a person has to speak with you. If an individual is paying $50 for your time and in your head, that means 30 minutes of conversation, don’t give them 3 hours free of charge.
To make this work you need to get some scheduling software set up. There are a lot of solutions available so this shouldn’t be a problem. Be very specific about what you can help with during these office hours.
If you are a personal finance blogger then you don’t want your office hours to turn into a discussion on diets.
9. Guidebooks and Workbooks
When you are teaching your tribe all the knowledge that you have to offer you will find that people retain that knowledge better with workbooks.
Workbooks ensure that your audience is taking an active approach to learning instead of a passive one and that is why people love them.
For example, if I were to create a course on making a million dollar blog, I could definitely sell it just based on the videos I produce. However, it would be even better if I included a workbook that guided you along the process of building a million dollar blog.
That way you can check your progress as you are moving along instead of simply bouncing around from task to task.
Someone that has done well making workbooks is Regina Anaejionu.
10. Reports and Audits
This is something that you can do as a personalized service. An example of this might be if you have a blog and you want me to look over it to see what can be improved.
If you plan on offering this as a service be sure to include everything that you will be looking at and what the customer should expect in return. Don’t just go and tell them that you will glance over their site and make a list of improvements.
Give them a guarantee. If you follow the advice in this report you will see an increase in traffic of 200%.
Definitely one of the more technical ways to make money and depending on your niche it might not be ideal.
But imagine if you ran a food or fitness blog? You could have an app that showcased different recipes and exercises.
Ever hear about house flipping? Well, you can do that with websites as well and there is a huge market for it! Sites like Flippa allow you to buy or sell websites and you can make some pretty nice money.
When I started to build websites I created a design gallery that showcased beautiful designs. 5 months later I sold it for $20,000. At the same time, I created a site for geeks and a year later sold it for $40,000. In my lifetime, I’ve made over $150,000 from selling sites.
I don’t really do it now because every site I create I have the intention of building a brand and keeping it going for the long haul, but if you like to bounce around from topic to topic and really enjoy making quick hits, then you might want to look into flipping websites.
Just like ebooks you can create physical books and you don’t even need a publisher. There are a couple of services out there that will take a digital version of your book and convert into a hard copy.
Let me tell you, it’s pretty amazing to be able to hold your book in your hand.
Many people that work for themselves are freelancers. As a freelancer, you offer a service and get paid in return. Think of a web designer or app developer. A blog is a great way to attract potential clients and push them onto your services.
In fact, one of the reasons why I created Obstacle.co and Thrive/Strive was to showcase to my clients what can be done with WordPress.
Here is a short list of the different services that you can offer. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it will certainly give you an idea of what you can offer.
- Administrative Assistant
- App Developer
- Audio/Video Editor
- Personal Assistant
- Project Manager
- Social Media Manager
As you can see there really is no limit to the services that you can offer. If you do decide to go this route don’t let your blogging fall behind. Your blog acts as your marketing so as long as you continue to grow it, you should find you have a steady stream of clients knocking on your door.
What’s a mastermind group? It’s something that I recommend every business owner (that’s you) be a part of.
The idea behind it is that you have a group of people that share what is going on with their business weekly. There are different ways to run them and I won’t go into detail here, but the general idea is that you get honest feedback from a group of peers to help you grow.
When running a business (blog) it can be very easy to get caught up in your own bubble. If the only people giving you feedback are ones that have positive things to say, are you really going to grow?
A mastermind group is put together to challenge you and push you to push yourself.
Don’t let the name fool you. You don’t need to be in a group with just masterminds. It was just given that name to sound cool.
No Shortage of Methods
As you can see there is no shortage of methods with regards to making money on your blog. While it might be tempting to try and make money right away, I would advise you to focus on getting a nice foundation built up. Offering services from day 1 can work out for you and bring in some clients, but as your blog grows you’ll find that your time is better spent making products.
You can also get on a jump on affiliate marketing if you’ve found some great products and services to recommend to your audience.
If you still haven’t heard enough about how to make money blogging, check out how to make money blogging in 2020:
So What Now?
There are pros and cons for each of the different methods for making money with your blog. When trying to find which one(s) to use, you need to consider your audience and what type of person you are. If you hate interacting with people on a constant basis or just don’t have the time, then you probably shouldn’t start a Membership site.
If you are a terrible writer that sucks at proofreading their own work (raises hand) then you probably shouldn’t offer your writing services until they have improved.
Take a look at what others in your niche are doing. If they seem to be successful with courses, then you might want to consider making some courses. The great thing about blogging is that with so many blogs out there, many people have already tested the different revenue streams for you.
How to Make Money With a Blog: Build an Audience
It’s pretty easy for someone like me to say that you need to pick one of the methods above and just start making money. However, none of those methods will work if you don’t focus on building up an audience.
When it comes to your blog there are a number of different ways to build up an audience:
- Social Media Marketing
- Word of Mouth
- Search Engine Marketing
Every single successful blog that you come across is successful because of their audience. It isn’t a secret formula.
You need to focus on building up your audience.
For many blogs this means building an email list.
The more people you can get on your email list, the easier it gets to make money so make this your #1 priority with your blog.
If you’ve been reading carefully you might notice that you don’t make money from blogging, you make money from all of the things that blogging brings to the table. I guess you could make money blogging if you charged for your content but you aren’t going to do that.
The act of blogging is just writing and publishing. That in itself will not make you money.
You make money because in some way you are providing stupidly awesome value to people that are willing to pay for it.
Change Your Mindset
I’m telling you all of this because you need to change your mindset.
Instead of thinking about how your blog can make money you need to think about how you can provide awesome value to whoever is on your site right now.
I’ve seen too many hopes and dreams get crushed because someone saw someone else making crazy money from a blog and figured that’s what they needed to do. Unfortunately, they always miss the things that really make the money.
Notice I didn’t say you need to think of how to get more traffic or people to sign up to your mailing list.
Every day you should wake up and ask how can you serve your audience even better today?
Every time you think of your site this question needs to pop up into your head.
Your Audience Is Your Money
When you have an engaged audience that is when you can make money. I like to call this audience your tribe and you can only build a tribe when you provide them with some value.
No value, no tribe.
You might’ve spent the past couple of months wondering how to get more traffic to your site, but is more traffic going to make you more money? It’s possible if your revenue model is based around advertising, but you probably shouldn’t go that route.
During the first 90 days of Obstacle.co’s existence, the site received almost 16,000 pageviews. This isn’t many. That isn’t many for one month, but it was just the start.
In those 90 days Obstacle.co helped make me over $8,000. There is no advertiser on the planet that would pay you $8,000 for 16,000 pageviews. Maybe $16, but not $8,000.
Let’s play a fun numbers game.
You have a site where advertising is your main source of income. In this scenario, you need a hefty amount of visitors to make decent money from advertising so I’ll pretend you get 1 million pageviews a month. That’s pretty freaking huge.
Seriously, that’s a ridiculous amount of traffic.
In total, your ads are paying you $10 CPM. That means for every 1,000 pageviews you get $10. Running the numbers it looks like you are going to make $10,000 in a month from ads. That’s not too shabby at all. I would love $10,000 in my pocket.
However, I’m sure you know how hard it is to get up to that 1 million pageviews summit.
For most sites, it takes years to get there. You don’t want to think in years, you want to think in months.
With advertising, you are also reliant on constantly finding advertisers, hoping you can continue to charge a good amount for ads, and praying that your traffic doesn’t decrease. You also don’t want the advertisers to lower their rates.
You’re making money, but it really isn’t in your control and can disappear at any time.
When Google Adsense first came out I was completely dependent on it. I was making a healthy income from it and then one day it was gone. Google said that I manipulated clicks, but that wasn’t the case. When this happens you can argue, but they usually don’t listen. Adsense stopped being a stream of revenue for me.
Poof. Gone just like that.
Back to the fun numbers game…
Now let’s run my ideal scenario. After a couple of months on a site you are able to get 1,000 email subscribers. They subscribe and stay subscribed because they love the value you are providing.
They are truly engaged.
You decide that you want to make a course that helps them out and so you begin to tell them about the course and they get excited.
Once the course launches, they are ready with their wallets. The course is priced at $100 (probably undercharging here, but it’s your first course and you are nervous) so some of them balk at buying it, but 100 people do end up buying it and you make $10,000 (minus processing fees). That’s the same amount you made from your advertising and you are in control of everything! Even better you don’t have to wait 30-60 days to get paid.
You aren’t hoping that a company renews for another month. You aren’t reliant on traffic. You are simply reliant on your own abilities to produce value, present that value, and ensure everyone is happy.
Do you think it is easier to get 100 people to buy something from a pool of 1,000 or to get 1,000,000 pageviews?
This is why I say your tribe is your money.
If you really want to have a go at this online money making thing then you need to focus on value.
It’s why I’m able to do mini-product launches and make $5,000 in a 24 hours.
Are you constantly providing people with value in some way? Once you nail down that part then you can start to work on the other things like content marketing and social media promotion.
The Rat Race
I see too many aspiring bloggers jumping into the game today with the wrong mindset. They see that a popular blogger pushes out an income report where they make $7,000 from advertising and they want to go that route because it looks easy.
If you think about it, the logic is pretty sound:
- Start a site
- Slap ads on it
- Get a lot of traffic
- Get paid
However, as a blogger, you have a choice between getting paid today or getting paid 18 months from now.
Fighting for traffic and eyeballs is a losing game. It causes you to try to pump out a ton of content that is mediocre and not useful at all. It wears you down and you begin to question why you even started to blog in the first place.
Too many people start off blogging trying to fully understand everything that is needed for success. I am going to let you in on a little secret:
The only thing needed for success is the ability to produce awesome value.
There are no fancy tricks. No SEO hacks. Nothing else is needed. You create awesome value and you promote that value out into the world.
Value + Tribe = Money
You make money by building a brand. This brand attracts a tribe because they know that your brand is going to produce value in their lives. Put those things together and you start to make money.
Blogging just to blog won’t make you the money that you want. If your aim is to make an extra $50 a month then sure, go ahead and write about whatever, slap some ads next to the content and call it a day.
But you want more than $50.
You want enough to cover the lifestyle that you really want.
Being in control of your lifestyle is awesome and to do that you need to be in control of how you make money.
So maybe I was wrong before when I said that you can’t make money from blogging. Technically I guess you can, but when people think like this they always take the wrong approach. To them, more content means more money so they just write content to write content.
They aren’t concerned about value. They are just concerned with trying to get more content because to them that means added potential for more Google traffic. Sure you’ll end up in more Google search results, but what good does it do if they are all on page 2?
When you create value you aren’t reliant on Google or any other search engine. The flipside of that is you will find you get way more traffic because you focused on value. Go figure. You ignore trying to please Google and you end up pleasing Google anyway.
Supply and Demand
When you focus on building an email list you are giving yourself free reign to make as much money as you want.
You can write a small ebook and tell your list about it and they will buy it. You can tell the new people on your list 6 months from now about it and they will buy it.
Want to diversify? Create a course. Tell your current audience about it and they will buy it. Tell your new people 6 months from now and they will buy it.
Want to diversify? Offer coaching to a limited group of people.
It’s your blog. You can control the supply and demand as long you control your list and how you make money.
I know this sounds way more involved than using ads, but it really isn’t. You’ll have to put just as much work into getting awesome traffic to make money from ads as you would have to build up a list to make good money right now.
Of course, offering products and services doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive from using ads. You can do both, but what I see happen is that when you start to make $5 from ads you try to figure out how you can make even more and that becomes your focus. The tactics you use to boost your ad revenues are often the ones that prevent you from building your list and promoting your own products.
Are you going to open a restaurant where you let 10 different vendors sit in the front and talk to all of your customers before they get a chance to sit at their tables?
No matter what you do you make money from your audience. You don’t make money from your blog.
The question then becomes do you control the money source or do you allow someone else to?
Different Niches Have Different Earning Potential
It would be silly for me to say that it doesn’t matter what type of niche you pick for your blog because they all make good money.
They all don’t make good money and although I think you can make some money from any niche, there are definitely some that do better than others.
There is a reason why there are so many “how to make money” blogs out there. When done right they make a good amount of money because there are more and more people very single day looking to break free from the 9-5 and join the ranks of full-time bloggers.
If you want to learn more about how to choose the right topic for your blog then read How to Choose a Money-Making Blog Topic and the 7 Blog Niches That Get Good Traffic and Make Good Money.
Blogging Is the Catalyst
Phew! Who knew that something on how to make money blogging for beginners would take up so much space?
After all this talk you might be asking yourself should even bother starting a blog. You most certainly should! Blogging is the ultimate gateway to making money because it opens yourself up to the world.
Every day we are constantly fighting messages from millions of brands that we do not care about. Blogging helps you to build a connection to people that those brands can’t.
Every day we are looking to find solutions to the problems we face. Blogging helps you provide those solutions for people.
If you’re starving how much are you willing to pay for a pizza vs paying to see an ad for pizza