Advertising is easy to start, making it a popular income stream for many bloggers. However, it’s not nearly as lucrative as it once was and it requires a lot of traffic to be truly profitable. Also, it runs the risk of frustrating your readers (ever been on a site only to be assaulted by the ads?) and making your site look cheap and unsophisticated. Therefore, it’s not a top recommendation of mine.
Hi Jamie, the article is very helpful. I have a question though…I searched several niches on Google Trends. they all show between 75 to 100 searches. That makes it difficult for me to choose. I blog about many things within the lifestyle category. Do I really need to pick a niche? My goal is to be a social media influencer. I’m a practising artist though.
Anyhow, the good thing is I think we can very reasonably expect a warning before anything like that happens. Enid Hwang (one of Pinterest’s top honchos) recently spoke at the AdThrive Summit and shared that Pinterest does penalize/look down on/treat any differently an approved API partner (like Tailwind) than it would someone who is manually pinning — this has been known for some time, it was just nice to hear them reaffirm it (any conjecture beyond that is merely a rumor).

IF something like that were to happen I surmise we can reasonably expect some sort of announcement/warning to the approved API partners (and probably even to the general public). I would say it’s almost impossible they’ll push through some sort of update that suppresses auto-pinned content without us knowing (at least a little) ahead of time, thus giving us time to adjust accordingly.
Write content on your blog that is helpful and informative to people who are reading your page. By focusing on one niche, you will be able to focus your content on just one particular market and draw in an audience that is interested and devoted to that niche. You will soon learn that targeting a specific niche has a whole load of benefits that can help you out.

Very useful, applicable and dare I say inspiring post, Jon! I feel I’m ready to systematically implement all of your solutions (and similar ones offered by others) but I often wonder if I would have more success starting a new blog from scratch, than trying to up the ante with my existing blog. It would be nice to have time for both! Great post though, I will be bookmarking (and sharing, cuz you asked) this one.
Some blogs are focused on getting paid to provide links to news articles, company stores, or other third party websites. The most financially successful of these range from the Drudge, a blog composed almost entirely of conservative-leaning news links, to Smashing Magazine, a site that provides advice and product reviews to help software developers.[5][6]
Disclosure and quick heads up – I started my first blog on Bluehost and have now partnered with them to get you a big discount rate. If you make a purchase through this or any of the links on this post I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I still think a self-hosted WordPress blog is the best way to start a successful blog and build a business!
You need to advertise on FB Will, and create targeted ads, they are not that expensive and will, if your content is appealing, drive traffic to your website, or FB page, or both… the targeted advertising on FB is absolutely fantastic, it might be a small number of people, but at least you know they are interested in what you have to offer. Forget about the free promotion on FB. It only works a little and it takes way too much time! Unless you have a FB page with 10.000 active followers or so… and even then, because FB is not showing your followers everything especially promotional links… they want you to pay… which I can understand. After all FB is free to use and the advertisers are the ones that help FB make a huge profit… Good luck! Anja

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??

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:
If you want to be famous or reach a wide audience, you will have to choose something slightly broader and work hard to make the best content for that topic. A subtopic relating to fitness, finance, or relationship advice is likely to reach the most people. Consider specific but broadly applicable topics such as managing money in college, or a marriage counseling blog.
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!
promoting your expertise to deliver training or consultancy services to businesses can be a highly profitable way to create an online income. In the past I have helped lots of businesses get started blogging by working with them to create editorial calendars and giving their marketing teams tips to promote their posts. Whether you’re an Excel guru, a marketing whiz or a customer services master you can build up your profile on your blog.
Hi! This was hands down one of the most helpful posts I’ve ever read about how to make blogging a realistic career path. I love how honest and open you were in both suggesting the good but reminding me of the bad choices out there, some of which I know I would/have made. I found your blog after hanging my head from another post on yet another site saying to forget about blogging as your source of income. Completely ignoring that advice and seeking out some that matched my determination, I found yours and so glad I did! Thank you again for this awesome post – it’s officially made it into my favorites bar to come back to.
• WordPress.com: Not to be confused with WordPress.org which allows you to create your own website, WordPress.com is a free basic blog hosting service that's easy to use. However, you will have to put up with WordPress ads and branding unless you pay a monthly fee, and you can't put advertisements on your site. There are also limited options for customisation and expansion
Affiliate marketing works in conjunction with several other online advertising mechanisms. This is the case because affiliates will often use these platforms for marketing purposes. Some of the mechanisms include search engine optimization (SEO), e-mail marketing, paid search engine marketing (PPC-Pay Per Click), display advertising, and content marketing. At the same time, affiliates can also appropriate less traditional advertising methods. An example would be publishing reviews of services or products.

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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.
To all the bloggers out there…STOP sucking up to the very small, elite and narcissistic group of self-proclaimed influencers out there. If you all stop treating them like they’re special, they will not longer by special and therefore some of us who aren’t in there secret society will be seen as knowing what we’re talking about too! This isn’t High School, grow up and read someone else’s blog already!
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
Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to make money blogging. I love it because it can feel quite passive. You can create just one blog or social media post, which can potentially still earn you money years down the line. Now, you will have to maintain the post and keep generating traffic to it. Still, affiliate marketing allows me to relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living by promoting products that I use and enjoy.
Jeff, first article of yours I’ve read. Excellent stuff! I’m following Michelle as well and am floored at the potential. I’m starting right now to implement all your suggestions. I’ve not yet set up my website email, but hey, one bite at a time, right? I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the interwebs. At this moment, by site is a blank slate, but I have several posts written in Google Docs of which to choose from. Cheers!

Fortunately, there are many resources available to help. In addition to the BlogHer events and site, some of my personal favorites for learning tips on writing compelling content, marketing and monetizing are Fizzle.com, MichaelHyatt.com and Problogger.net. All three provide lots of free advice (and more in-depth training and support is available for a fee).
Second job, anyone? In America, two-income families are the norm but think of the havoc it wreaks on your daily life. You’re so exhausted by the time you get home from work; you barely have enough time and energy to make dinner and help the kids out with their homework. Even that becomes difficult if you work at more than one place, whether evenings or on weekends.
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.
Use a contextual ad service. Once your blog contains high quality content and has begun to attract an audience, you can make money using Google Adsense, WordAds, or any other contextual ad service. These automatically generate ads in the amount, size, and placement you specify, matching the ads chosen to the topics you write about. The more readers who click on the ads shown on your site, the more money the advertisers will pay you.
The point that especially resonated with me was the patience factor. This blog/website business is a huge undertaking and your message served as a helpful reminder that it takes time to build. I’ve been frustrated by the amount of traffic since my launch in February, but your post reminded me to readjust my expectations and just keep investing my time and energy in this. Thanks for the helpful insight! For the next few months, my focus is on just building quality content and then I’ll figure out if there’s a way to offer a service from my site…still trying to come up with that!
Write down every topic that you are knowledgeable or passionate about. You'll have a much easier time making money from a blog you are interested in, rather than trying to write content you don't like because you think it will make money.[1] Some examples are hobbies that you enjoy, your career, or some specific and miscellaneous knowledge that you have.
It all started back at university when I decided that I really didn’t want to work in a 9-5 office job that I hated. I had a dream of working for myself so I could avoid things like office politics and spend more time on things that mattered to me. I also really wanted to make enough money that I could contribute meaningfully to some charities that I’m passionate about.
Thanks heaps. Really honest and helpful information and makes me want to get into making mine happen again. Time off from Uni soon so more time to devote to it. I like the point about adding something that you feel is good. What’s the point in getting to where you want to go if you have to do so at someone else’s expense? There’s already enough of that in the world now so why add to it. Better to make yourself stand out by being someone who doesn’t do that. Perhaps that’s why I like your blog. By the way, I can truly say that “I hate Uni too.”
This is fascinating. I´ve been working in illustration for a couple decades now but i always lacked promotion skills over the web i guess. I thought that blogs were dead and gone and facebook and twitter was all that mattered nowadays but now i can see i was wrong to ditch my own personal blog for which i haven´t posted a single thing for five years or so…but even without posting i noticed today that i have around 25.000 visitors and people keep coming back… i definetely need to start paying atention to my blogs…
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.

promoting your expertise to deliver training or consultancy services to businesses can be a highly profitable way to create an online income. In the past I have helped lots of businesses get started blogging by working with them to create editorial calendars and giving their marketing teams tips to promote their posts. Whether you’re an Excel guru, a marketing whiz or a customer services master you can build up your profile on your blog.
With a business account, you’ll have access to Pinterest Analytics, as well as the ability to create “Rich Pins.” You can also pay Pinterest to promote your pins with a business account, but that’s definitely not necessary. We experimented with about $50 worth of promoted pins before figuring out we could make our pins go viral on our own, without the help of ads.
One of the great things about email marketing is that it is extremely cheap. Not only is it cheap, but if done the right way it is extremely effective. It allows you to reach your subscribers to provide them with information about your blog, and you can even choose how often you send an email. It is a great way to bring in customers and experience growth in revenue, whether it gets them to click through to your site, purchase a product or service or take interest in your blog.
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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