Just be aware that affiliate marketing with the wrong company can damage your brand. For instance, I started my blog w/ Blue Host because of Pat Flynn’s recommendation – which I am sure he was paid for. I am now on day 5 of my site, and e-mail being down, with NO estimate from Blue Host as to when it will be back up. As a consequence, I wouldn’t buy a thing he suggested or endorsed, because of my experience with someone he put his seal of approval on. Blue Host has a HORRIBLE reputation among the community, and I even wonder if anyone would “recommend” them unless they were being paid.
Hello Jon, the lessons are detailed and comprehensive. Frankly speaking, I have never read a blog post that carefully like today and I really benefit a lot from it. However, I still have a question regarding to this post, that is, if I am not an expert in any field, what kind of blog (topic for blog) should I start with and how to get enough traffic to my blog? I agree with you that we should not sell ads but should sell our own products or affiliate products via our blog. However, if I cannot teach others something and my blog doesn’t have enough traffic, how can I sell my products or the affiliate products to my readers? Anyhow, I will still focus on your blog and hope I will learn more valuable knowledge through your blog.
I suppose I just don’t see why being DEVOID of a blog and social media will make you an attractive guest blogging candidate. I get that you’ll maybe be more focused on finding guest blogs rather than building up your Twitter following, but couldn’t you just ask easily say that we should focus on doing nothing but building followers on Twitter, because you can then build relationships and find guest posting opportunities through the people you meet in social media?
I know many personal finance writers with blogs that track the financial mess they got themselves into. They don't have financial degrees, but they are doing very well for themselves and help many people with their experiences. Many times, readers just want to hear from you, follow a real person's journey, read about how a real person made it through a problem, and so on. This is a great example of why degrees are not always needed.

I’ve been building online businesses and e-commerce websites since 2000. I would never in my life start a new website with a “free” blogging or “free” website platform. If you do, within months your website is going to start growing, and you’re going to have to switch to a paid platform anyway. You will have thrown away all that time (and lost money in the process).


It’s always great to learn from the best (=Jon)! The idea of the Minimum Viable Funnel was a real eye-opener, I have a product idea and will definitely test with the MVF if it flies. Actually, I did it with my other blog in the past (wasn’t even aware of the concept, it just happened…). It saved me from a huge disappointment and effort. Only one person bought the product so there certainly was no market for that! And refunding the money to that one person didn’t break the bank!
People who start to blog always thing of making money which tends them toward failure. In my opinion bloggers should choose the topic which interests them. They don’t think about making money. It’s about knowledge, try to learn more and don’t think about money stuff. There are many top blog topics to make money online but you can get success only with the topic you like to write on. Try to choose your topic for the blog. Making money is very easy, don’t think about it much.
People who start to blog always thing of making money which tends them toward failure. In my opinion bloggers should choose the topic which interests them. They don’t think about making money. It’s about knowledge, try to learn more and don’t think about money stuff. There are many top blog topics to make money online but you can get success only with the topic you like to write on. Try to choose your topic for the blog. Making money is very easy, don’t think about it much.
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.
Solid numbers about blogging incomes are hard to come by. For example, in the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lump bloggers in the very broad category of “Writers and Authors” which has a median income of $61,240 per year. That’s not an accurate measure since there are vastly different occupations included in that category. Information from small surveys and anecdotal evidence can also be found online, but much of it is outdated or taken from tiny sample sizes.
If you want to be successful and really grow the ways you are making money from a blog, then you may want to look into buying ebooks and/or courses that will teach you exactly what to do, so that you can minimize the amount of blogging mistakes you make and learn how to run a successful blogging business from the very beginning. Plus, there are many blogging secrets that you just can't find by searching the internet. So, by taking a course or reading an ebook, you will learn exactly what you have to work on.
This article has gotten my mind churning and working in so many new and exciting ways. Thank you for sharing your insights! You deserve all the success you’ve been having on your blog. I can’t wait to start putting these tips into REAL practice (not the “wow-I-feel-so-inspired-for-20-minutes-and-do-nothing kind of practice I so often fall victim to).
Digital products are another awesome way to make money with your blog. Rather than selling someone else’s product or service, you’re creating something of your own and selling it directly to your tribe. There are many options to choose from when it comes to digital products, but we’re going to look at what we’ve seen and consider to be the top three.
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
Success in every facet of life is based on who you know and not what you know 🙂 The secret is to start connecting with more people, if you build your network wide enough you’ll meet someone who can help you, no matter what it is that you are trying to achieve. Some meet these influential people more quickly by complete luck of the draw, others need to keep plugging along longer. The system works either way, and whether or not it works better for others is irrelevant, all systems in life work better for some than others.
If you are interested in covering a broad topic that many people already write about, create multiple specialized blogs instead and link between them when the subjects overlap. For instance, if you are a nutrition expert, write one blog about healthy weight management, another one about child nutrition, and another about growing your own vegetables.

Thanks for the tips! I just started by blog last month and am deciding the route I want to go for monetizing. I have a few affiliates setup, but I’ve been going back and forth on adsense. I appreciate your opinion against using it, my feelings are similar. I also really like your infographic. Did you create that yourself or pay someone else to? I would be interested in how to go about making something like that. Thanks!!
Thanks for a great post. I have printed it out as I always like to read my inspirational stuff again and again. I am thinking of teaching a creative writing course to senior school kids, because in my country(South Africa) job opportunities are scarce and education expensive. I want to teach young people that you can create your own opportunities through writing and growing to be an expert in a chosen field. This way they will also improve their confidence in approaching opportunities when it do arise and with the right attitude. I am a real estate professional and writes a blog on aspects which I have noticed my clients are ignorant about. My readership has risen through the year and all my sales last year came from readers of my blog. Thanks again for the information you present so well and with a sense of humour. I still cannot afford one of your courses but I read every one and apply all that I learn. Praise be to Your Royal Awesomeness!
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.
You always share valuable messages with your readers, Jon. Sharing your wisdom and what you’ve learned from your experiences is appreciated. I still recall one of your suggestions in your original April 2014 version of this post to begin by offering services. I followed your advice and learned loads of insight from conversations with clients and referral sources. It’s interesting that you mentioned your success with guest webinars in the original post and with hosting webinars on your own site in this post. Hmm… It may be worthwhile to think about growing blogging businesses by speaking more often with your current or potential audience. ~Keri
Understand the difference between total revenue and net income. Most income reports tout total revenue. Net income or profit (what really matters) is often buried in the post. I came across an income report recently with a super impressive number in the title (and Pinterest image). It was total revenue. Not until I read the whole post did I learn this blogger spent well over half their total revenue on Facebook Ads alone. On top of that, they had an extensive list of expenses. By the end of the post I realized I had netted more than they did the previous month.
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.
These are some of the best I have read in a while Jon. Well, am a blogger in a relatively different online environment – Africa to be precise. Some things just don’t work out over here – ebooks no one buys them, mailing lists, no one joins them and very few people are willing to pay you to teach them anything. Hopefully, over time I will find the right formula to bissect this difficult market.

Thanks for such a great post! I’m a newer blogger but have made a little money as a influencer, from my decent sized Instagram page (@Msheatherlynne). I’ve always been passionate about fashion so took the step to create my own blog a few months ago, and boy has it been an adventure (i.e. not nearly as easy as I thought it would be, especially monetizing). It would be an honor if you ever have time to drop by my blog! 🙂

A blog is not a blog without content so once you’ve set your blog up you need to focus your attention upon creating useful content. What you choose to create will depend a little on the topic that you choose to write about (on that note, most successful bloggers have some focus to their blogging whether that be a niche or a demographic that they write for).
Thank you so much for this helpful post! I have been researching how to make a successful blog for a month or so and have found many of your posts very helpful! It is my goal within the next year or so to have one up and running! I’m currently working more then full-time hours but live my job; just want more freetime. I think with some hard work I can make it possible.
Thanks for sharing all this useful and relevant information Jon. The most interesting and surprising lesson was the one where you mentioned that spending a lot of time on social media outlets doesn’t really help. I also specifically liked how you set the tone about the fact that you’re not just a blogger and that you’re an expert…etc. This is some confidence needed to be successful in anything.
Awesome post so far, Jon. I’ll have to read the full post in the morning since it’s nigh time at where I live. I just have one question. Is it profitable for a freestyle blogger to affiliate marketing? If I’m correct, affiliate marketing is more suitable for niche-based sites, right? Are freestyle blogs even profitable? I’m just starting out, so can you recommend me something?

Have in-depth knowledge in your niche? Package it up into an ebook and sell it on your blog. I'd generally advise against selling it (at least exclusively) on Amazon or Kobo, as you'll probably be able to charge much less. If you've already built up a solid audience, you can probably change anywhere from $5 for a very short one, all the way up to $39+.
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