While sitting back and making money on affiliate or display ads is nice, your revenue slows down if you aren’t consistently creating new content and getting more traffic. This is why it’s essential to think about a blog not as a blog, but as a platform. Because on a platform, you can make money in a ton of different ways, as you’ll see below. To learn more about turning a blog into a platform, check out this post on how to make money blogging.
Granted, it’s not really a fair comparison. With your own products, you have to consider the cost of development, support, and other miscellaneous expenses, but even factoring those in, advertising our products was still more profitable by far.
Indirect Income – later on in my blogging journey opportunity has come for ‘indirect’ income streams. As my blogs and profile grew as a result of my blogging I was able to sell my services as a speaker and consultant and was offered the opportunity to author a book with the publisher Wiley. Later I was able to start an event for bloggers which also made money. None of this income came directly from the blog – but rather it came ‘because’ of my blog.
Simple, Search engines, at least the first scan of a page do not scan all the content. By showing the pages latest comments first, it make those comments more likely to be read by the search engine’s spiders. This will register as always fresh content and fresh engagement – which is good for SEO.
Congrats on the paycheck! I’ve had my blog for about a month now. Growing enough followers to get Adsense to work for me has been a chore. Nice to know that others have a similar story, that it is work, that it didn’t come easy, but that the work paid off.
Now, I had a question. I am just 14 years old and I am entering the blog-o-sphere as an intermediate. Now, you may check my blog “theartofvk(dot)com.” I write how to articles mostly and also try to do videos as I am not a native English speaker it get’s difficult for me. When I read post on BBT I find it really interesting but How To articles… umm.. are they nice enough? How To article probably don’t keep people engaging do they? I am recently also trying guest post and on my 5 attempt my article was accepted at Hongkiat.
This is another favorite income stream of mine. My first digital product was my ebook Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free which still sells every month. Another digital product of mine is the Knowtbook, a form of premium content.
When anyone asks me about starting a professional money making blog I always recommend them to use self hosted WordPress as it’s the best platform for bloggers and I suggest you use BlueHost to host your new blog.
1. Get a squeeze page. 2. Drive traffic through ads 3.Get an autoresponder. 4. Collect leads. 5. Market to the leads. What I don’t see mentioned is “choosing your niche” the niche that you are passionate about.
Great post! An eye opener indeed. I have 2 blogs one for sales (small business) and one as a hobby posting lists of anything. I learned a lot from this single post. Thank you, Jon, for sharing your knowledge to us little guys. 🙂
I would like to create a tech blog but also would like to be able to develop web apps and tools for the users at the same time, to show case my project and skills, so along with the blog I would need to run code and have access to database. Any host option ?
So as we can see from this chart SEMRush thinks that it would cost Everydaycarry.com over $30k per month to get the traffic they are getting for “free” from Google’s organic results. By clicking on the different options we can then see which keywords have the highest search volumes.
Nice guide for making money via blogging. Mostly people use adsense and affiliate networks but sponsored posts are good option too and as you said above declare them as a sponsored post so that everything goes well, i like that part that is good for users and search engines also like that you do advertising but mention it.
Jon, you just rock! I agree that you should be called “his Royal Awesomeness” :). This is the greatest post I ever read about blogging and monetizing a blog. I know some bloggers who are able to make a living 20-30k per year with their blogs but it took them years to build a following and thousands of posts too…
Here at Smart Blogger, our products cost $9,997, $1,997, and $997, $497, $197, and $47.  We started on the expensive side first, and we gradually worked our way down. It’s been much, much more profitable this way.
Consider affiliate programs. By finding an affiliate program suitable for your blog, you agree to provide links to a company’s products, and in return are paid for each reader who makes a purchase after following your link. You can find specific companies by searching an affiliate directory such as ClickBank, or by searching individual company websites for affiliate programs. Consider these factors before you choose an affiliate program:
I would suggest you one thing. It would be better to post the income reports each month. After few months, you would have a considerable post and when someone will need to see the income proof, he or she will come to your site. You may get linking to your posts.
I had a blog a couple years ago in a pretty precise niche (female musicians), too precise maybe. I had like 20 readers! Now I’d like to try again with another topic but I’m afraid there’s way too much blogs about it already (hippie lifestyle including health, fashion, decor, beauty, printables, etc). I tried checking stats and keywords but I don’t understand any of the information I’m getting. I’d rather pay someone to do the research for me but I have no money. The other thing is that I’m not an expert in anything. The hippie lifestyle thing is the only topic I can think of that would generate more than two article ideas in my brain! Do you think there are solutions for someone in my situation ?
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So this is really based on when you’re planning to blog about ‘making money online’ I guess… because lesson #10 “Don’t Waste Time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.” is so not true when you’re blogging about travel, recipes, photography, viral topics, news….. and a whole lot more.:P
Hey Kenzie!! Aww, you’re so nice! If you’re ever in the Nashville area, let me know 🙂 Blogging has totally changed my life, but it took some work to get where I am now (I’m on maybe my 12th income report?) But I am totally open and share the good and the bad when it comes to blogging, so hopefully others find it useful. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment 🙂
This is a wealth of information at my fingertips! I like how you structured the links on this page in such an organized manner. I think that if you want to be a successful blogger you need to create multiple streams of income and not just depend on one to get you to the top.
This is a really interesting post Jon. What you’ve listed here are the “tools of the trade” so to speak. Every type of business has a list of things specific to that business that must happen in order for their to be income produced. If that list isn’t followed, then you have a hobby, not a business.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this one. I was blown away that you don’t have ads on your site. I have ads on my site and I’m reading along thinking your advice is to forget the ads and sell products. As a food blogger, my mind goes to e-cookbooks, actual hold-in-your-hand cookbooks, books on how to start a food blog and how to do food photography. But according to this post, those I should sell later…the cheaper products. I can’t think of what “services” I could offer, other than offering to come over and cook for them (not happening) and I’m not quite an expert at offering services of personally coaching someone’s food blog. Maybe I’m just too green for that 🙂 Am I missing the point?
So counter-intuitive, I thought that I was going to monetize my blog with ads as well. Literally changed the direction of my blog for the better. Thank you so much for saving me the time. Going to read this again and again in the future and will share it now.
Selling your professional services. I used to have great success as a web designer, and graphic but the industry has changed and people are doing their own small business sites. Yes, they all look the same but the clients don’t know the difference. Logos? People are going to fivrr.
Alexander, thank you so much for championing this cause and pulling this list together. I have been inspired by many bloggers income reports over the last year and felt a calling to put together a site that documents each of their journeys so that we can all learn from those who have gone before us, whether they made $10 or $10k.
I have a lot of great ideas, but most of them are just thoughts and theories, and it seems that no one would want to read about, even pay for, ideas in which I am not a complete expert on. My greatest talent, perhaps, is being a prolific writer. Otherwise, I’m more of a Cliff Craven I know a lot about some things, and some about a lot of things. How does THIS make MONEY??
Keeping your day job as you grow your blog will let your grow your blog with less pressure to succeed. If you quit your job and wanted to make a living off your blog.. it would get very stressful, and your blog would suffer in the end.
I have read about being careful to charge enough to cover my expenses, also not to undercut others who must cover expenses, and really, I think that an admirable goal. I don’t want to run someone else’s life, to guarantee their life-long success if I’m the one in control. I just want to publish, successfully, and thereby help as many as possible.
I’ve found a few that you might not have seen yet, so I’d love to help you out any way I can. You can check out my Complete List of Bloggers Who Share Income Reports at http://onlineincomereport.com/complete-list/
There are some complicated rules for bloggers who publish sponsored posts and depending on your country they can differ. The main point is to make sure that you clearly declare when a blog post is an advertisement.
As I write this, I am getting ready to fly to New York to be interviewed on ABC Nightline which gets like 1.5 million viewers (freaking out a little bit). I also have two other TV interviews confirmed so far in just January. But in 2017, I made my first appearance on WGN News in Chicago and it was so much fun. I also learned (the hard way) that you should always wear makeup on TV simply to reduce the glare on your face from all the lights. Here’s my first time on TV for Millennial Money with my shiny forehead. It was a ton of fun though.
This guide to making a money making blog is completely free. I don’t want anything for it – just for you to take action and do it, so many of my friends would love to do it but give up too soon, often when their big breakthrough might only be a few weeks away.
I tell new bloggers to allow 3-6 months to make a decent part-time income and 1-2 years to make a consistent full-time income. There are always exceptions of course, but after being active in the blogging world for almost 14 years, these are reasonable averages.
Yeah I am very familiar with pinch of yum and used to have them on here but to be honest, I got tired of calculating their net profit each month. For some reason, they list all their income and expenses but dont calculate the net and they have a lot of items for both. It’s really just me being lazy!! 😐
Using Bluehost, I paid for a domain and a wordpress website, used a free theme and had no idea what I was doing. This was my only expense for my first several months of blogging. Talk about a cheap, low cost to start an online blog/business!
As always, a fantastic post Jon. Have just shared on G+ with the comment that you are simply the best at what you do. I love your style, and the practical advice is invaluable. I was particularly interested in your downplay of using twitter, FB etc to hope to grow your blog, but what you said makes total sense. As someone who is building an author’s platform prior to publication, I’d been hesitant to sell products, but no more. Thanks so much for your inspiration.
This post is surely destined for the list post Hall of Fame. Some awesome tips to help stir up the pot of BS excuses most people hide behind and light a fire to finally get people off their asses and into gear. So here’s an unpaid endorsement.
I have a blog that uses a wordpress theme, and blue host hosts my domain name. However, I don’t really understand what a platform is and I don’t know what my platform is. I am planning to start a new food blog with a different focus and use wordpress.org (whatever that actually means.) Does wordpress.org help you with setting up and explaining whether or not they are your platform? I am a granny (79 to be exact.) I have a three year old cooking blog that never gets visitors except for family and friends. I would like to do better with my blog, but I don’t even understand the idea of platform. Can you give me some advice as to how to proceed?
Affiliate marketing is the easiest way to make money because you can promote a wide-variety of products. Just about every popular store like Walmart, BestBuy, Amazon, and others have an affiliate program.
Founder of Millennial Money. Dubbed “The Millennial Millionaire” by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to over $1 million in 5 years, reaching financial independence at age 30. He’s passionate about helping others build wealth and is addicted to Personal Capital.
Love all of the info you have available here! I wanted to clear something up, I am kinda confused!! I just launched my website with Bluehost. When you mention having WordPress. org in order to use adsense, do you mean that you have to purchase a wordpress.org theme? (as in graphics and format)
Example: The past 5 months I have been getting clients hiring me to be their Social Media Manager. I never planned to offer this service and I never even had it on my blog, but because of what I was doing on my blog and the social proof, they reached out to me.
Thanks for this list. It is really inspiring. I started my own blog, http://www.wisdomforwinning.net but am not sure how to go about and earn some passive income from it. It has been running for a month now and I have got feedback from different people that I really publish some good content which is really helping them. Even the traffic is getting bigger each day which motivates me to go on.
Time and time again, I have to repeat many (if not all!) these points to them; some learn, some don’t. But the ones who learn will definitely see better results and probably become one of those bloggers who gets paid to do what they love!
It’s definitely important to diversify when it comes to affiliates – both the programs themselves as well as the products / companies you promote within each program. Most of them have some sort of minimum payout, so it can take a lot of little drops in the bucket before a payout.
Working with advertising networks isn’t your only option when it comes to selling ads. If you end up with enough traffic, advertisers may come directly to you and ask you to place their ad on your site. You can also contact advertisers yourself. The biggest difference from the above mentioned option is that there is no middle man, which means you can set your own ad rates.
The conclusion? Build a site around a niche that you have a burn desire for (ex. Harry Potter’s Passive income Plan) a niche that comes to you as an idea, invent something no one else has and stop duplicating the same “gurus” methods over and over again.
Reddit – ads appear on the top of the various pages. They are obviously ads so users don’t feel tricked into clicking on them. When people choose to select an ad they usually know it. So there is little chance of upsetting customers this way.
Now, I had a question. I am just 14 years old and I am entering the blog-o-sphere as an intermediate. Now, you may check my blog “theartofvk(dot)com.” I write how to articles mostly and also try to do videos as I am not a native English speaker it get’s difficult for me. When I read post on BBT I find it really interesting but How To articles… umm.. are they nice enough? How To article probably don’t keep people engaging do they? I am recently also trying guest post and on my 5 attempt my article was accepted at Hongkiat.
If you are using a free blog hosting service instead of your own domain name, you must provide high quality content with a limited number of relevant links or risk being shut down. If you are only interested in writing short, quick product reviews in order to earn money, you will need to host your own blog. Be warned that low-content, high-link blogs are a less reliable, though lower effort, way to earn money.
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One thing that really struck me in this post is the reverse sales funnel. I’ve always thought to start off cheaper then gradually charge more money. To be honest, this reverse funnel sounds scary, but since you said you had great results, I should probably give it a try.
I’m not going to lie to you but it can take months even years before you might see a significant return on the time you invest in to starting a blog but that is why I have created this free guide so that you can be confident in taking the right steps to achieving your blogging goals.
Jon, amazing article! I would just add to your #15 regarding e-mail subscribers. The number you described is real if you have a legit database of subscribers behind it (don’t know if you take this here for granted).
If you can’t find any popular blogs related to your topic, you probably went too niche. People interested in a topic will often visit several related blogs, and each blogger can link to the other to direct more traffic to each site.
Laurel, I am so thrilled for you. That’s awesome news. You deserve it though, you’ve put in the hard yards to truly understand your audience. Your blog is beautiful, entertaining, and ‘on the money’ – literally! Well done. Inspiring stuff.
If you are new, obviously don’t try to fit all of these income streams in at one time. You should build on it and work on one at a time. Slowly build your income. Think of it in terms of a job. When you start out at a job you don’t usually start making the big bucks right away. After time and experience come into play, then you start making more and more money with raises and promotions. Now you can make a ton more money online than a typical job but it is the same concept!
One area I never really got into with my survivalist blog and wanted to was Everyday Carry. Most people will have never heard of this concept but it really is an interesting sub-niche with in this niche. Everyday Carry is basically any items you can’t leave the house with.
If you want a custom domain name but don’t want the hassle of running your own site, create a blog on a free hosting service, then pay for a domain name that redirects to your blog. Contact your hosting service if you don’t know how to redirect a page.
1. Get a squeeze page. 2. Drive traffic through ads 3.Get an autoresponder. 4. Collect leads. 5. Market to the leads. What I don’t see mentioned is “choosing your niche” the niche that you are passionate about.
The way I do it is I find all the big players in my niche and put their URL into SEMrush to see what they rank for and what content does best for them in terms of traffic and keyword rankings. This will then give me some ideas on content and how to enter that niche and try to gain some of that traffic.
Once a month we publish the income earned from JustAGirlandHerBlog.com. It gives us a chance to reflect on the month– what went well and what didn’t go so well. We hope you follow along on our journey of turning our blog into a business!
I’m a blogger from Malaysia. I was impressed with your list of online income report and it has inspired me to work harder. In the future, i want you to add me as part of the awesome list. Currently i’m generating online revenue about $200 per month through google adsense and only joined the affliate marketing for 2 months.
If you’re not interested in selling ads or sponsored posts, there are plenty of other ways you can earn money online from your blog. A popular method is by having your audience pay to access certain content or areas of your site. Here are a couple of ways to do that.
This is a really thorough post. I think a lot of people get lost in the forest for the trees thought. Some how they end up thinking that the blog prints paper money. In reality, the email list is what prints most of the money. The blog just facilitates getting people on your list.
No matter which group you’re in, making money with a blog – whether it’s a hobby blog or a business blog –is possible. It’s not a get rich quick ordeal, but if you do it right, you could make enough to support your family and more. Let’s dive in and see how you can make a profit with your blog.
Well, out of curiosity, I shopped around to see how much advertisers would pay for the same ad space. The absolute highest rates I could negotiate would’ve brought in only $5,000 per month per ad spot, totaling $15,000 per month — 70% less than we made selling our own products.
Keep in mind you need lot’s of traffic that is actually targeted traffic which will help convert into money for you.. Let’s say you have a blog about dog grooming and you are getting backlinks on a high authority fashion blog. That traffic from that blog will not equal money for you or very little because those fashion freaks may not even care about dog grooming and find nothing interesting on your blog so they leave rright away. That effects bounce rate over time and you wasted your time getting a quality backlink on a blog that there visitors most likely don’t care about your blog.
For 2018, I’ve set a revenue goal of $500,000 which might be achievable if the new courses being developed are successful and website traffic continues to grow. I’m also planning to donate a lot of money in 2018 to support Ugandan school fees (my wife works there) and invest in financial literacy initiatives in the United States.
Create something within your budget. Unless you’re running a company blog, you’re unlikely to be able to get a crowd of extras or expensive equipment. Brainstorm silly ideas that can be performed by you and your friends.
Kristin, is the creator behind Believe In A Budget. She teaches others how to start a blog and how to side hustle. Her course, Pinterest Presence, helps bloggers + businesses drive traffic to increase their website’s profitability. 
It’s not because they were stupid. They didn’t get one of my emails and say, “Oh, look honey, this is a fabulous opportunity to throw our money away. Let’s give this good-looking fellow $10,000 just for the hell of it.”
Bill hit upon an interesting point (although I disagree with how he expressed it…) Jon, you’re a phenomenal writer, but would you say it’s phenomenal writing alone that got you to where you are today, or your connections with well-known blogs, or both?