How To Make Money Blogging in 2019: What Beginners Should Know Before Getting Started

You just Googled “how to make money blogging”, and you’ve found yourself on the Authority Hacker site.

And you want to know something weird?

I can read your mind.

I know you’ve been scouring Google for info on ways to make money from a blog because:

Long story short, you want to know if this “making money online” stuff is even possible.

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place for a practical guide on how to make money blogging.

No theory, boasts or guesses (well, not many) – just actual steps you can follow.

You see, far too many people jump into the world of blogging after reading some over-hyped content that tells them they can earn thousands of dollars each month.

And they can do that with very little work.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

It is.

Those bloggers who seem to be an overnight success?

Yeah, they’ve worked their asses off for years to get to where they are right now.

Most of them had no idea how to make money blogging when they got started.

But we’ve put together a 6-step, blogging for beginners, blueprint you can use to skip to the top of the queue in terms of making your first few bucks online.

You’re welcome.

6 Key Steps For Building A Profitable Blog

  • Choose something to blog about
  • Choose a domain name
  • Set up your blog
  • Write some content
  • Get traffic
  • Monetize your content

How do bloggers make money With a blog?

Before we delve any deeper into this topic, I wanted to take a few minutes to cover exactly how people make money blogging.

You see, when non-internet marketing (normal) people first hear about bloggers making thousands of dollars every month, their first reaction is usually along the lines of:

“Really? Isn’t that some kind of scam?

But the truth is that for every blogger that goes public with their income reports, there are 99 others who keep their online income hidden.

In fact, a growing number of bloggers no longer publish monthly income reports.

I don’t blame them.

Anyhow, here’s a quick roundup of the monetization models (or ways to make money) used by the same bloggers who are making 4, 5 and 6-figures per month:

  1. Affiliate income – Making money for referring affiliate sales to another company
  2. Advertising – Earn money by displaying ads on your site or get clicks on these ads
  3. Products & Services – Making money get for selling their own products and services

We’ll dig into these income models and how to make money blogging from them in more detail shortly.

But for now, here’s how that income breaks down for the top 1% of bloggers, as per our own research:

how to make money blogging

Make Money Blogging With Affiliate Marketing

This is one of the oldest income models out there and still one of the most profitable ways to make money blogging.

Why?

Because there are almost no overheads, no customer service headaches, and no shipping costs.

You can get started by signing up for an affiliate program such as the Amazon Associates Program, Commission Junction, ClickBank, or any of the thousands of other programs out there.

Actually, before I forget, we’ve already put together in-depth guides on the Amazon and Clickbank affiliate programs.

You can check them out here:

Once approved, you then find products or services that seem like a good match for your blog’s audience and promote them via banner ads or text links.

If somebody clicks on your ad and then makes a purchase, you’re paid a commission.

30 – 90 days later you’ll receive a check or EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) payment for all the money you’ve earned.

And all you did was put these affiliate offers in front of your existing audience – it’s pretty much passive income.

It’s one of the best ways to get started making money – promoting affiliate products and services.

Here’s an example of a blogger making the most of affiliate marketing opportunities in their niche.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner runs the hugely successful Making Sense of Cents blog, something she started way back in 2011.

The concept was simple and relevant (especially back in 2011) – help people control their emotional spending habits and personal finance.

She never actually set out to make money online.

Making money from blogging just kinda happened for her – she wound up making money by helping people to stop spending theirs.

Her timing was perfect though because most of the world was just starting to crawl out of a recession.

As of her last income report, Michelle now earns more than $125,000 every month, and the bulk of this (at least $50,000) is from affiliate marketing.

Most of her affiliate income is from three sources: Bluehost sign-ups (hosting company), survey companies, and affiliate referrals for a number of info products.

Make Money Blogging With Advertising

Once you’ve built up a substantial audience for your blog, you’ll  be surprised at how quickly you’re approached by ad networks wanting to buy advertising or a sponsored post from you.

This normally doesn’t happen until you have at least 100,000 unique visitors coming to your blog each month, so don’t start planning your retirement just yet.

You’ll have two basic options when selling advertising space on your site:

  • Selling display ads directly to companies
  • “Renting” your site to companies like Mediavine

With display ads, there’s a certain amount of manual labor involved, including fun stuff like uploading the ads, calculating an RPM (Rate per 1,000 views) that won’t bankrupt you, and then invoicing the advertiser. Or worse again, chasing an advertiser to pay their invoice.

Using a vendor like Mediavine is a far more straightforward way of making money from your blog.

What…no Google AdSense?

You could always go the route of using Google AdSense, but most bloggers report making better money when using platforms like Mediavine or AdThrive.

You only need to apply, and if approved just add a snippet of code or plugin to your WordPress blog.

They take care of everything else, and you go about your publishing schedule safe in the knowledge you’ll be paid.

The only tiny snag here is that your site needs to generate at least 25,000 sessions (visits) per month to be considered for the Mediavine program.

And no, they won’t take your word for it – you need to give them access to your Google Analytics.

If you want to learn how to make money blogging in the most passive way possible. Mediavine is probably your best bet.

Do we have an example of bloggers who are making money from advertising?

But of course!

TheplanetD

And who better to feature than two of the better-known travel bloggers, and Mediavine “stars”, Deb and Dave of The Planet D.

This happily married couple have been making an income-replacing amount of money from their travel blog for over a decade now, but only recently added Mediavine to their income stream.

Although most bloggers are now tight-lipped about their income, Deb and Dave earn somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 per month just from ad networks.

They’re making money no matter where they are in the world. Cool!

Make Money Blogging With Products & Services

So, what if you don’t want to do affiliate marketing or sell/rent advertising space?

You sell physical or digital products and services instead.

What types of products and services could you possibly sell from a blog?

Everything and anything.

You could create and sell your own online courses on beekeeping, and combine that with eBooks on the same subject.

You could create a membership site for budding authors who want to learn how to write something good enough to make the NYT best-seller list.

Maybe you love pottery and you’re looking for a platform to sell your physical products from?

Or maybe you could sell your knowledge via a consulting service, where you bill more per hour than you could ever hope to in a 9 – 5 job?

See, the possibilities for making money from digital products or services are pretty much endless.

But let’s take a look at a blogger already making money using this approach.

Making money from a blog in the fitness niche might seem like the worst idea ever.

And it is unless you can differentiate yourself from the hordes of other fitness bloggers online.

Steve Kamb did just that by digging into the niche and finding an untapped audience – “…nerds, misfits, and mutants”.

Yup, he started teaching nerds how to get fit and lose weight using a mixture of info products and coaching through his Nerd Fitness blog.

How did it pan out for him?

As of last count, he’s earning at least US$1 million per year (gross) from his fitness products and coaching services.

He’s making money teaching nerds how to get fit!

So, as you can see, selling products and services is yet another way of making money blogging.

The above are just a tiny sampling of the tens of thousands of bloggers making money blogging today.

Now that I’ve lit a bit of a fire under you (I hope…otherwise that burning smell is something else), it’s time to figure out exactly what you’re going to blog about.

1. Choose A Blog Niche/Topic

Some well-intentioned people will tell you to “…pursue your passion, and the money will follow” when it comes to building a blog.

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but pursuing your passion is terrible advice for making money in the vast majority of cases.

Allow me to explain why.

“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).” 
– Cal Newport.

Let’s say your passion is mouse furniture – you make tiny furniture for mice.

Now, while this might keep you occupied for hours on end, there’s probably a very limited market for making minute furnishings for mice.

But how can you be sure?

It’s always a good idea to validate your blog topic before you start a blog.

This saves you investing weeks or months of your time in creating content for an audience that doesn’t exist, killing all your hopes to learn how to make money blogging.

How do you go about validating your idea for a blog about mouse furniture?

The first place to start is with checking basic keyword volume, or how many times per month people are searching for keywords related to your idea.

Ubersuggest offers a quick and easy (and free) way to do this research.

20 searches per month…you’re going to struggle to make money here.

And by “struggle” I mean “Forget this one and start again”.

Let’s compare this to a keyword like “dog furniture”.

ubersuggest keyword overview

Ooooh, 4,400 searches per month – that’s a big difference!

You now know there are enough people searching for dog furniture to make it worth your while blogging about it.

But let’s make doubly sure this isn’t some weird glitch by asking Google how popular this topic has been over the last 5 years.

Say hello to my Google Trends:

(Bonus points if you heard that in Tony Montana’s voice.)

Google Trends Overview

The blue line shows a consistent/upwards trend for dog furniture, and the red line is the flatline trend for mouse furniture.

So, Google confirms what you discovered in Ubersuggest.

And yes, you can also track trends with Ubersuggest, but you can only run a comparison from within Google Trends.

It’s always, always better to use data rather than guesswork when coming up with something to blog about.

Ubersuggest is an awesome free keyword tool, but if you want to take your research to the next level consider something like KWFinder or Ahrefs.

And, as you might expect, we have reviews of both of these tools here, which you can (and should) check out:

Or, check out our comprehensive guide on which keyword tool would best suit your needs, and your budget – there are no punches pulled here.

Are there any other ways to test that your blog idea is watertight…or has as few leaks as possible?

Absolutely.

Search for forums, social media pages, Facebook groups and..similar blogs.
Yes, you should check to see if anyone else has a blog on the same topic.

Why?

Because it’s instant proof that a market exists, especially if that blog has been around for several years.

You’re concerned you might look like a copycat?

Don’t be – everything is a remix.

Your blog – even on the same subject – will have its own angle, your unique writing style, etc.

We highly recommend that you never skip doing keyword research if you want to make real money from your blog.

2. Choose A Domain Name For Your Blog

Even if you plan on using free blog service like Blogger or WordPress as your publishing platform, it’s still important to consider a blog name.

Why?

Because the time will come when you’ll need one, especially if you’re using a free blogging platform.

You have four choices when creating a domain name for your blog:

  • Crammed full of keywords
  • Branded
  • Branded with keywords
  • Clever

If we take our earlier example of dog furniture you might be tempted to register a domain name like “JennysBestDogFurnitureBlog.com.”

Don’t do that.

Equally, “Jenny’s Blog” doesn’t give visitors any clue as to what the blog is about.

You could also go with option 3 and come up with something like “JennysDoghouse.com”

Or, you could be clever and do something like “HoundHouses.com” “or “FourLeggedFurniture.com”.

You’ve probably noticed that I’m using .coms here, and not .org, .net, .info or any of the other domain extensions.

The reason for this is that it’s now human nature to automatically type the .com version of any domain name.

If you can’t find the .com version of your domain name, then play around with .org, .net or .co.

Let’s run our idea through Instant Domain Search:

Instantdomainsearch Whois

That ‘WHOIS’ indicates somebody has already beaten us to the .com, but the .net and.org are still available.

Instantdomainsearch Extensions

Instant Domain Search is really handy for checking the availability of a domain, but it also has a domain generator feature, which is the second column of results in the above example.

You’ll see lots of potential ideas there.

It also has a dedicated domain generator feature when you just type in your keywords and it spits out dozens of free domain ideas for you:

Instantdomainsearch Domain Generator
Instantdomainsearch Generator

If you’re not certain that your domain name looks and sounds professional, imagine what it would look like on a business card.

Does it look childish and amateurish, or do you think “Hmmm….I’d check that out”?

Always consider how you’re branding yourself, even if you’re just starting out.

If you find yourself struggling to find a domain name you like, here’s some advice on coming up with a blog name.

DO NOT rush out to register a domain name straight away, or at least not until you’ve finished reading the next section on how to set up your blog.

3. How To Set Up Your Blog

The first decision you’ll need to make is which blogging platform to use.
You have two basic choices:

  1. A free blog
  2. A self-hosted blog

Free Blog Platforms

The most popular free blog platforms are WordPress and Blogger, although there are dozens of others.

Blogger Logo
WordPress

What makes them so attractive to a new blogger is that they’re not only free, but you need zero technical knowledge to get them up and running.

You just sign up, complete a few fields, choose a template and your blog is live.

At first glance, a free blog platform would seem to make more sense. And if you’re starting off with absolutely no budget, they very much do.

But there are downsides to using free blogs:

  1. You have no control or ownership over your blog – it could be deleted without warning, and forever. This happens way more often than people think.
  2. The range of templates and actual features is usually pretty limited. You can pay for upgrades, but they usually cost as much as owning a self-hosted blog.
  3. Getting a free blog to rank in the search engines is an uphill struggle. This is thanks to idiots spamming free web blogs almost non-stop for the last 15 years.

If you want a really good explanation as to why using free platforms can be a terrible idea, check out this article on the now-defunct blogging platform, Squidoo.

Thousands of bloggers saw their income dry up overnight when this platform closed its doors with little or no warning.

So seriously, from you to me, if you are serious about learning how to make money blogging, skip this option.

Self-Hosted Blogs

Starting this type of blog means you’ll first need to come up with a domain name, which we’ve already covered.

Once you’ve done that you need to find a reliable web host, and then install and configure your WordPress blog.

Sounds very confusing, doesn’t it?

After all, there are dozens of domain registrars and web hosts, so which ones are best for new bloggers like you?

Take a deep breath.

We know this is a point where many prospective bloggers quit because even starting a blog seems too complicated.

It’s honestly not.

And to prove that point we put together a quick tutorial video to show you how to:

  • Register a domain
  • Set up your WordPress hosting
  • Install WordPress plugins
  • Launch your WordPress blog

So, as you can see, it takes less than 20 minutes to actually start a blog.

And SiteGround makes the process really easy for newbies.

And the total cost of doing the above?

About $40.

What’s that you say, you can’t afford $40 to start your blog?

How many venti cappuccinos do you drink each week?

Or how much money do you spend on pizza and sodas?

Fiddy Bucks

Even the most cash-starved person can find $40 by making some entirely healthy lifestyle changes i.e. not eating burgers and fries several times a week.

Self-hosted blogs are so affordable it’s silly to use a free blog unless you have absolutely no other choice.

And I mean cornered-by-zombies-trying-to-eat-your-face lack of choice.

4. Create Great Content

Now, this is where the rubber meets the road – writing blog posts that help build your audience.

Far too many newbie bloggers sprint away from the starting line, writing for all they’re worth.

They’re pumped. They’re motivated. They’re productive. They want to earn money.

They churn out blog post after blog post, pouring all their passion into their writing.

This goes on for weeks and weeks, as they wait for their audience to magically appear.

But there’s nothing.

Meanwhile On Your Blog

This is the point where most bloggers quit.

They announce to everyone that trying to make money blogging is a waste of time, and slink back to their still-hated day job.

Hundreds of new bloggers experience this during their first 90 days online.

You might even be one of the people this has happened to.

The Internet is overflowing with blogs that started out posting once a day, then once a week, then once a month…and then silence.

Yet another dead blog.

What these bloggers missed is the research phase of writing their blog posts.

Publishing great content on a regular basis is important, but if your posts lack focus or structure, then you’re wasting your time.

You simply can’t write a few blog posts and expect to start making money without any further effort.

So, how do you go about adding focus and structure?

Keyword Research

The good news is that you’re already familiar with the basics of keyword research because you used it to check if there was an audience for your blog.

Even better is that you’ll only need to use Google for this part.

Let’s take the random keyword of “dog beds” and enter that into Google, and scroll down until you find the “People also ask” section.

Google Autosuggest

What you’re seeing here are real questions people have typed into Google.

If you open and then close several of these results you’ll get an even longer list:

Google Autosuggest List

For the purposes of our test research, we’ll settle on the keyword “get rid of dog smell”.

Shouldn’t we check how competitive this keyword is?

We ran this keyword through KWFinder (review), just to put your mind at ease:

Kwfinder Keyword Overview

A keyword difficulty score of 28 is ranked as ‘Still Easy’, and this keyword also has consistent search trends.

That means year-round traffic, so this looks promising so far.

391 searches per month might not seem like a big deal.

But that number is based on you only ranking for the exact phrase, and not the dozens of related phrases you’ll also rank for.

391 searches per month are actually more like 3,900 searches per month.

Keyword search volumes are not absolutes…because only a Sith believes in absolutes.
That’s my movie reference done for this blog post.

Moving on.

Competitor Research

Now let’s take our basic keyword and run it through Google, and we see these title tags/headlines in the top 10 positions:

  • How to Get Rid of Dog Smell Without Removing the Dog
  • 10 Ways to Get Rid of Dog Smell
  • 12 Hacks To Get Rid of the Dog Smell In Your House!
  • How to Remove Dog Smells From Your Home: A Pet Lover’s Guide …
  • How To Get Rid Of Dog Smell | Products & Steps For Your House
  • How to Get Your House to Not Smell Like Your Pets (with Pictures)
  • How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in Your House
  • Ultimate Guide on How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in House
  • How to Remove Pet Odors in Your Home

You might have noticed that:

  1. Numeric values appear in the first three results – numbered lists are popular
  2. They all focus on getting rid of dog smells from a house or home
  3. “How to” is the question format for 60% of the titles on page one of Google

Keep these titles in mind as we move onto the next section – writing your headline.

Headlines

A famous marketer once said:

When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
-David Ogilvy

That hasn’t changed.

These days your headline isn’t just important as a means of grabbing attention.

It also needs to incorporate elements of search engine optimization for things to really work in your favor.

Basically, you need to include your keyword(s) in your headline.

Based on your earlier research we have two options – either mimic the existing headlines or come up with something new.

My choice here would be to include the best of both worlds, like so:

How To Get Rid of Dog Smells: 10 Simple Homeowner Hacks

So, does our headline compare to the other blogs?

  • Our exact keyword is included
  • The correct question (How To) format is used
  • We included a numeric value (10)
  • Using the word “Simple” implies anyone can do it

Content Formatting

This is the easy part of explaining how to write a blog post.

Why?

You just need to structure your page like a roller coaster.

What in the name of Hades does that mean, I hear you ask?

What most bloggers do is write as if they were still in high school or college i.e. several long paragraphs, all composed of large blocks of text.

Presenting “walls of text” to your visitors is the quickest way to have them mentally switch off.

Instead, you should allow your content to “breathe”.

Now, let’s pause for a few seconds while I ask you to do something odd…

Tilt your head to the right and draw a mental line along the right-hand margin of the above text that starts with the word “Why” and ends with the word “breathe”.

Looks like a rollercoaster, doesn’t it?

That’s roller coaster content formatting in a nutshell.

You can write a long paragraph of text, but only as long as you follow it with a short line of text afterward.

Like the last few lines you read.

Sneaky, eh?

The reason why you should write like this is that it makes it easier for people to read. This approach is based on something called the Flesch-Kincaid readability score.

What you might not realize is that most adults can only read at a high school level.

They also have a very short attention span – successful bloggers understand this.

So, you need to write specifically for that audience.

The Hemingway Editor allows you to test how readable your content is, providing you with an overall score.

Please don’t try to achieve a perfect score with this tool – it’s possible, but your writing will lack any personality if you do.

Use Mixed Media

Another way to make your content far more readable is to make it a rich experience for your readers.

Basically, you should include images, charts, graphs, pictures and embedded videos and podcasts where it makes sense to do that in your blog posts.

How many images should you use?

One for each major subheading, if possible.

How many videos?

Two is more than enough for a single blog post.

These extra media elements break up your text, making it easier to read, which you readers will appreciate.

And the easier your content is to read the more likely readers are to actually finish it and maybe even share it with their friends.

Read more:

Content Focus

The focus of everything you publish on your blog should have your readers in mind but also what search engines want.

Keyword research shows you the topics your potential audience are interested in reading about.

There’s zero guesswork involved there.

But some people only use their blog as a way of showing off their vocabulary.

Meanwhile, bloggers who “get it” pay attention to not only their keyword research…but also to what Google is doing.

You see, the easiest way to figure out what the focus of any blog post should be is to look at what’s already ranking in Google.

Check out the blogs that already rank on page one for the keyword you want to target and analyze each one in detail:

  • Analyze the keywords used in their headline
  • Make note of keywords used in their subheadings
  • What’s the word count for the post?
  • How many images do they use?
  • What sites do they link out to?
  • Do they have videos embedded in their post?

Google gives you a blueprint for how to rank on page one – the sites they already have in the top ten positions.

Read more on this topic: SurferSEO Review – How to do correlational SEO

These are the sites that the algorithm has decided as the best possible match for that keyword.

This also means the content on these blogs is exactly what Google wants to show visitors.

All of the information you need is right there – you just need to pay attention.

But you’ll see new bloggers trying to use this template or that style of content, or some weird viral tactic they heard about in a forum.

But they rarely bother looking at the blogs that are already ranking for the keyword they’re chasing, and asking themselves one question:

“How can I do a better job than any of these other sites?”

Mastering this skill will set you apart from 90% of other bloggers.

We’re done here – let’s move on.

5. Get Traffic

Some people would have you believe that all you need to do is write mind-blowingly engaging content, and people will “naturally” find you.

Or that search engines will fall in love with you because your content is SO good.

That’s a steaming pile of horse shit.

And I say that based on experience.

That one piece of advice torpedoes the careers of far too many bloggers, so I’d like to stamp it out right here and now.

Writing content alone won’t generate traffic to your blog.

It certainly won’t help you earn money.

Not now. Not ever.

The good news is that there’s a bazillion ways to build an audience for your blog, but you might have to use a little bit of lateral thinking.

Search Engine Optimisation

If you’re a regular visitor to Authority Hacker then you’re probably already familiar with the basics of search engine optimization.

If not here’s a beginners guide from the lovely people at Ahrefs.

Truth be told, if you can get your head around the keyword and competitor research sections featured earlier, then you’ll already know most of what you need for good on-page SEO.

Successful bloggers take SEO seriously.

But good search engine optimization has another key component – backlinks, or what posh people call off-page SEO.

We cover that over the next few sections.

Blog Commenting

No, no I don’t mean go and pay some outsourcer to spam people’s blogs.

What I’m suggesting is that you find blogs that are in some way related to your own and leave a helpful or engaging comment on their most recent blog post(s).

But not this:

Please only comment on blogs that are related to your topic, but never your direct competitors.

Your dog blog might leave a comment on a popular post from an animal welfare charity, for example.

You will get a link back to your site by leaving a blog comment (in most cases), but the real value in doing this is in:

  1. Incidental traffic from people who get to “know you”
  2. Building a relationship with the blog owner

You can hack your blog commenting by using a site called Feedly.

Basically, make a list of the 10 – 20 most popular blogs in your niche, and add them to Feedly.

You can do this by searching for the name of the blog within Feedly, or manually adding its RSS feed.

Now comes the cool bit – when you get a notification that one of these blogs has published a new post, get over there and be the first to comment.

Being the first commenter not only raises your profile with that audience, but there’s a very good chance you’ll get some free traffic to your blog as a result.

You can use the free Chrome extension Feedly Notifier to have alerts appear within your browser, so you’ll never miss an opportunity.

Guest posting

You’ve become a regular (and hopefully popular) commenter on several popular blogs related to your niche.

Now is the perfect time to approach the owner of the blog with the idea of writing a guest blog post for them.

You know their audience, their audience knows you, so all the planets should now be in alignment.

Basically, you come up with a handful of content ideas you think would be a good fit for their blog. Then drop the owner an email asking them if they’d be interested in publishing any of them.

Your guest blog post will contain at least one link back to your site.

Plus, it might also draw some curious readers over to your blog.

This is a hugely simplified version of the guest posting process, but it gives you enough info to get started.

Guest posting is one of the key link building strategies within The Authority Site System 2.0, by the way. This is our online course that takes you through each step of building your own money making blog.

If you want more tips on guest posting, check out guest posting tips post out.

Answer People’s Questions

Once you’ve reached a stage where you’re comfortable with your blog topic, then it’s time to consider sharing your knowledge and expertise directly with others via sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers.

The model here is a simple one: People post questions, and “experts” answer them.

A worrying number of the “experts” on these sites plagiarize other people’s content and pass it off as their own.

Actually, that’s being far too kind – they steal content from other sites.

This presents smart bloggers like you with the unique opportunity of posting original, helpful answers and getting “upvoted” for doing that.

Fifteen minutes each day answering a handful of questions is enough to:

  1. Make a name for yourself as a “go to” blogger in your niche or market
  2. Get Quora users visiting your blog to see what other topics you cover
  3. Earn money from your blog

YouTube

Okay, not everyone wants to sit in front of a camera and talk – I totally get that.

But having your own YouTube channel doesn’t always require “talking head” videos.

I’ve witnessed dozens of YouTube channels growing from zero to 250,000+ subscribers in less than 12 months.

And without the content creator once showing their face.

Most of the time they’re just discussing whatever their blog is about against the backdrop of whatever news article or forum thread they’re commenting on.

Posting engaging/useful/funny content on YouTube can help you build a substantial audience.

And all without having to do any other form of marketing.

Social Media

There are arguments for and against using social media to help build your blog’s audience.

If you’re a photography blogger, then platforms like Pinterest and Instagram make perfect sense.

But even if you’re not a photography blogger, using an image based platform like Pinterest can still make sense.

Okay, you might not have cool photos to share with the world, but why not create a mini infographic to share on these platforms?

Use social networks where it makes sense for you to do that, but don’t feel compelled to be on all of them, all the time.

You’ll drive yourself nuts if you do.

Facebook Groups

The days of cashing in from free Facebook traffic to business pages are over.

But Facebook groups are still going strong.

Why?

Because humans are tribal creatures.

We love to belong – it’s hardwired into us.

So, how can you use Facebook groups to drive traffic to your blog?

1. Join other groups

What I’d suggest is to join 10 – 20 Facebook groups, but:

  • Only those related to your blog topic
  • Only those with active members, and lots of them

Look at the different Elementor groups on Facebook, for example.

Facebook Groups Engagement

Thousands of members and multiple posts per day – these are the types of groups you’re looking for.

Then focus on adding value to each group by answering questions, offering advice, etc.

DO NOT join the group and instantly start spamming it with links to your content – that’s the fastest way to find yourself at the business end of a ban hammer.

Be.of.service.

Watch out for any “promo days” where you can post links to your own blog content – that’s one way to get traffic to your blog.

While you’re being Captain Helpful you should also pay attention to the types of content that get traction in the group.

Are they long-form posts, or images, or maybe just people asking questions?

Make note of any trends you notice.

Once you become a trusted member of the group you’ll find that most admins will be way more lenient with you linking out to your own posts.

Now for the next step.

2. Start your own group

There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from starting your own Facebook group straight off the bat.

But you should participate in other groups at the same time you’re doing this because:

  • It’s the easiest way to learn what works, and what doesn’t
  • People love joining related Facebook groups, especially ones run by people they know

Your long-term strategy should always be to run your own Facebook group but to leverage the audience of other groups to ramp up your audience more quickly.

Finally – and please don’t forget this – stay active in your own group(s).

Be as helpful as you were in other groups. Offer advice and tips. Share links.

But if you only ever shill your own content/products/services then people won’t be shy about leaving your group, and lots of them.

6. Monetize Your Content

“Monetization” is Internet marketer jargon for “how you make money from your blog”.

You might be wondering why I left monetization till last?

After all, wouldn’t it make more sense to start making money right after you publish your first blog posts?

You can do that, but without an audience, you’re going to struggle to earn money.

But, let’s assume you’ve already written some great content, and spent some time building your audience.

Now it’s time to look at ways to monetize your blog.

We’ve already briefly covered the different types of income streams your blog can have.

What’s important to understand is that monetizing your content isn’t just a matter of splattering it with banner ads.

There are better ways of making money.

Here are my 5 rules of monetization to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Rule #1 – Use banner ads sparingly

Newbie bloggers have a terrible habit of plastering banner ads all over their site.

And they’re usually banners advertising everything from web hosting to “adult products”, or anything that looks like it might earn them their first money online.

Lingscars.com

Note: LingsCars.com is actually a very successful business – this hot mess actually drives viral traffic to her site.

But her site is the exception, not the rule.

Any new affiliate taking the same approach would be lucky to make a single cent.

Banner ads do have their place in the world of blogging, it’s just that new bloggers always overdo it.

Not only does a page full of banner ads look gaudy AF, but you’re also wasting your time if your visitors use ad blockers.

And as of 2017, 47% of US respondents to a survey admitted to using two ad blockers across all their devices.

But if you can’t use those lovely animated banner ads…what on Earth can you use?

What’s a contextual link?

It’s when you casually link to something within your blog post, like mentioning that Ahrefs is awesome and that I use it for my own keyword research.

That didn’t feel like a promotion for Ahrefs, did it?

Even though it totally was.

You can do the exact same thing for any product you’re promoting via an affiliate program.

Why use contextual links instead of a banner, a graphic or something else?

Opinions might differ, but numbers don’t lie.

Unless you’re dealing with somebody who tries to convince you that 2+2=5.

Back away from them slowly.

Anyways, banner ads account for 22% of overall sales, but contextual links account for 51% of overall sales.

That’s not just a marginal difference, it’s a ginormous one!

One tweak can result if you making twice as much money from your blog.

And the added benefit is that these types of links are completely safe from ad blockers.

Why do people click links more often than banners?

It’s human nature to click on a blue link on a page, even if it’s just because you’re curious.

Rule #3 Choose bigger commissions

Generally speaking, it takes roughly the same amount of time and effort to promote a product that pays a $50 commission as one that pays $5.

But most new bloggers tend to gravitate towards products that pay lower commissions.

Why?

Well, because they assume their visitors might be more inclined to buy them because they’re cheaper.

What they’re missing is that the price of the product or service you’re promoting isn’t important – it’s how you position it.

Let’s say you’re promoting a web hosting service that pays a $50 commission on each sale.

An inexperienced blogger will just paste affiliate banners or affiliate links all over their site and hope that somebody clicks on them.

A more clued-up blogger would review the web hosting service by actually signing up for an account.

Not only that, but they’d point out both the good and bad aspects of the service.

But doesn’t including “negatives” make people less likely to buy whatever you’re selling?

Nope, because by doing that you build trust with your audience.

And once you’re in a position of trust, people are far more likely to use your affiliate link.

In turn, you’ll earn more money.

One final tip: Choose products with recurring commissions if possible. Making money this way is ideal because you only have to “sell” once, but you get paid commission for months or years afterward.

Rule #4 Test multiple offers

Let’s assume you have a healthy level of traffic to your site – a few thousand visitors per month who engage with you by leaving comments and maybe even emailing you.

But you’re not making any money, and you can’t understand why.

You ran some banner ads and made exactly zero sales.

Fine, test contextual links instead.

The contextual links aren’t converting visitors into sales either?

Cool, that particular product or service obviously doesn’t appeal to your audience. In fact, they appear to hate it.

Maybe AdSense ads are a better option for your site, and maybe it’s not.

Maybe your audience would react better to digital products, or maybe they won’t.

But you’ll never know until you keep testing until you find something that does convert.

Rule #5 Be patient

It takes time to earn money from a blog, usually several months.

Sure, there are exceptions.

But for every “instant success” story you read, there are thousands of other bloggers who won’t earn job replacement income for at least 12 months, if not 24.

Yes, success can happen overnight, but in the meantime patience will help a lot.

How much money can you make blogging?

What’s interesting about the blogging world is that the Pareto Principle comes into play here too.

Or, in other words, 20% of the bloggers make 80% of the money.

So even if you learn how to make money blogging, expect some stiff competition at the top.

Something else that’s interesting is that how bloggers view “success” is entirely subjective.

Perezhilton Homepage

If you take somebody like celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, his site reportedly earns him about $575,000 per month.

He makes money blogging about celebrity gossip – just in case you’re not familiar with him.

Nope, that’s not a typo – over half a million dollars per month for blogging about celeb rumors.

That’s life-changing, build-your-own-supervillain-lair, money every single month.

Abeautifulmess Homepage

Or, what about Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, who earn $125,000 per month from their homemade crafts blog A Beautiful Mess?

In a sea of IM blogs, they make money blogging about handcrafts and DIY stuff.

That’s $1.5 million dollars per year…from a single blog.

They represent a huge level of success in the world of blogging.

In fact, it’s so huge it might tempt you to quit while you’re ahead…because avoiding failure is easier than failing, right?

But you should look at the other bloggers who earn anywhere from $2k to $10k per month.

How would you feel right now if you had a blog that earned $2,000 per month?

What would that extra money do to your quality of life?

You would most likely view that as a massive success, and you’d be right.

So, what I’m trying to say here is:

  • Spend less time focusing on how much money you can make from blogging,
  • Spend more time focusing on what your “freedom” number is

That number is how much you need to earn each month to comfortably quit your job.

And then go live your life as you see fit.

That Sounds Great…But What About Expenses?

The good news is that running a blog – even a large one – can cost almost nothing.

You’re basically paying for hosting costs, domain renewal, content, and one or two tools.

If you’re writing all the content yourself at first, then you’re not even paying for that.

But let’s take a look at some typical annual expenses:

  • Domain name: $12
  • Website hosting: $100
  • Keyword tool: $358 (KW Finder)
  • Email marketing tool: $120

That gives you a grand total of $590 per year to run a barebones blog.

As your blog becomes more successful you’ll be able to outsource some of the work you don’t enjoy, to focus on what you do enjoy.

How many other businesses could you start for less than six hundred bucks a year?

And with nothing more than an email address and an idea.

5 Lessons From Massively Successful Bloggers

This information is a mash-up of tips and advice from some of the biggest names in the blogosphere.

1. Brand yourself

Become the face of your blog, literally.

This might feel weird at first, but visitors will identify more with your blog if you put a human face to it.

Would you prefer to buy from a complete stranger or somebody you “know”?

Exactly.

2. Be Consistent

Oh God, does this mean you have to blog every single day?

Nope.

But you do need to choose a publishing schedule and stick to it like Gorilla Glue.

This applies to writing blog posts, recording your podcast, making YouTube videos, etc.

Even if you can only manage to publish once per month, stick to that schedule as if your life depends on it.

3. Have multiple income streams

Never, ever, ever, put all your income eggs in one basket.

Making any money at all from blogging is always mind-blowing when you first start out.

My first ever check was for $67 – I still have a photo of it here somewhere.

But don’t get complacent.

Once you have a stable full-time income from one source, then start investigating others. If you’re making money as an Amazon affiliate, start looking at selling ad space on your site, for example.

Or think about what type of digital product, premium content or course you could launch.

4. Target one niche. Dominate it

Don’t try to be all things to all people, because you can’t.

You’ll make far more money running a blog about helping students deal with their debt problems than a general blog about finance issues.

Specialists always outearn generalists in pretty much every aspect of life.

5. Invest in yourself

The biggest mistake you’ll see new bloggers make is that they forget to invest money back into their small business.

This is usually because they’re afraid their blog won’t last, so they pocket as much cash as they can.

But if you don’t reinvest in your blog (content, paid ads, or whatever) then your blogging business can’t grow.

How much reinvestment is enough?

30% is what the really successful bloggers reinvest in their business, but even 10% is a hell of a lot better than nothing.

But…I Don’t Have The Time

Sure you do.

The average person spends 2.14 hours per week brainwashing themselves via social media.

They then spend at least another 4 hours watching TV/Netflix/Amazon Prime.

Trivia: I once worked with a guy who played World of Warcraft for 6 – 8 hours after work each day…but didn’t have free time to learn how to make money blogging.

You need to decide what is more important to you – idle entertainment or building a better future for you and your loved ones.

And you can create the time to work on your blog by simply reducing (not eliminating) the amount of time you spend binging Netflix shows, etc.

All you need is 30 minutes per day, every day.

If you only publish one blog post per week, in a year’s time you’ll have 52 pages of content. In two years 104 pages, etc.

Making money blogging doesn’t need to be hard work, but it definitely does require you to actually work.

Summary

There you have it, your complete blueprint on how to make money blogging.

Two years from now you could be making money from a profitable blog.

Or you can stick to binging on Netflix and social media for the next 24 months, and end up wishing you’d made the effort to start two years ago.

As the saying goes, the best time to start a blog was last year, but the next best time to start building one is right now.

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191 Comments

  1. Some of these numbers are huge :) Most of the income is from teaching and coaching I guess?
    Not in any of these niches, but climbing in my venture steadily.
    Anyway, great post as always.

  2. such a great informative post man.. you cant get money just after your 1st blog, it always take time. well yes, blogging money is not like a normal 9-5 job. blogging is a mind mapping game which needs more efforts and time.

  3. This monster article was so inspiring. Good to see that if you really put your heart into building your blog, the results will come. The hard work and time put into it, is certainly worth it. Lastly, more power to the girls!

  4. Thanks for sharing, Gael. I have read many articles about how to make money online from your blog and this is another wonderful article.

  5. Thanks for the post, this really inspires me. I didn’t know that people can make so much money only blogging I have read a lot of articles about it but never see the money earned doing this activity.

  6. Amazing and compelling information/data!! Thank you so much for the time and effort it took you to gather and share this incredible information with us. A truly outstanding job, I am definitely going to follow you. Thank you so much.

    Craig Barnes

  7. Thanks for sharing this list. It is extremely useful for people who want to make some $$$ through blogging

  8. Hello, first of all I would like to thank you for the great contents of the blog !! So I have some doubts.

    1 – My problem in digital marketing is that I do not want to have just one blog. Do you guys advise me to focus on just one niche or can I have other authority blogs in other niches? Remembering that I work alone !!

    2 – Here in Brazil as all over the world, most people position affiliate articles using black hat. Is it possible with white hat to outdo these people?

    Last doubt kkkk
    3 – Do you think it’s worth investing in the gaming niche? Blog with tips and guides and not with news on the area of ​​games ….

    A big hug from Brazil !!! Thank you !

  9. Some of those blogs are scoring so poor results with PingDom and PageSpeed Insights for example, yet it doesn’t seem to affect their traffic in a slightest way. Google should pay more attention to user experience and how speed affects it – especially on high-traffic sites, yet it doesn’t seem to be happening. Anyway, great list of sites! We can all only learn from those guys and good luck to them. Those really all some impressive numbers! Well deserved! ;)

  10. thietbisukiengiare.vn

    Hi Gael,

    Great article. I am a student on AHP. The one blogger I think you left off the list ;-) – You! I know myself and some of your students would be interested to know where you fit on the list.

    Thanks and great as always.

    David

  11. That’s a lot to digest. Very clear case study(s). A big motive for newcomers like me. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Alexander Polyakh

    Guys, tell me please, and how do you deal with spam comments?
    Do you read comments every time and those that are similar to spam delete or apply some plug-ins?

    1. We’re not great at dealing with comments. Case in point, I’m approving this 8 months after it was posted! However, if you have Akismet set up, you should be good. It’s worth while to manually go through your comments to engage readers.

  13. Thanks for sharing this list. It is extremely useful for people who want to make some $$$ through blogging

  14. Hi Gael – Fascinating post, and amazing piece of analysis. Enormous help for both beginner and experienced bloggers combined.
    From my experience of the UK environment, I was interested that you divide the income areas into affiliate earnings, advertising and products & services, but don’t pull out sponsored posts as a separate category.
    Many bloggers over here earn substantial sums from collaborative posts with companies. Appreciate you mention a few bloggers include sponsored content within their advertising revenue, but is is a less significant income driver for US bloggers?
    Best wishes
    Faith

  15. Hi Gael,

    I’m trying to expand my business towards affiliate marketing as well. I’m on a gaming niche, so I’m trying for PC hardware and also mobile phones which could be related to my gaming niche.

    Thanks a lot for taking your time and putting in so much effort to write this up. This really made things much easier to think for me. Keep up the great work! :)

  16. Hello Gael and thanks for the great article like allways! There is something I ask me each day and wanted to ask you: how do you make your checkout page?? I can’t believe you did this with membermouse… It looks good like a samcart checkout page, but it’s not one. I don’t think that you did it with clickfunnels too. It’s not infusionsoft. So it have to be membermouse, but I can’t understand how it could look like this…

  17. Hi Gael,

    Great article. I am a student on AHP. The one blogger I think you left off the list ;-) – You! I know myself and some of your students would be interested to know where you fit on the list.

    Thanks and great as always.

    Matt

    1. Hey Matt,

      The reason we don’t share our income is because it brings the kind of people we don’t want here, but to give you a vague idea, we’re in the mid to high 5 figures per month.

  18. Gael, great analysis putting this altogether. But have you noticed that hardly any of these are from Asia, despite the fact the traffic is much higher. You know the reason as do I, it has to do with the CPMs earned on these blogs. Advertisers pay more for US/UK/AU/NZ traffic than they do for the rest of the world. I do believe that’s going to change soon… as more and more people are coming online in India & China, and even the Middle East.

    1. Yep, I agree, I’d say these markets are 10-15 years behind but they will catch up, it’s probably a good time to build massive presence there now so you get the benefits later.

  19. Oh My goodness , Epic piece of information

    First of all thanks for making a collection of this great information and putting all your efforts in it.

    This is insane amazing work

  20. Siddharth Rajsekar

    What an amazing post Gael! It must have taken you days to collate all this data from all the top bloggers. I’m definitely going to bookmark this and come back for inspiration.

    So from what I can see subscription based Affiliate Marketing products like Hosting, etc seems to be on the top of the list.

    As far as selling own products are concerned, I guess the bloggers have spent a lot of time in building their audience first and then launching their information product.

    Advertising revenues seem to be the simplest way, provided there are high-value content and organic traffic on the blogs.

    All in all… a super epic post! I’m inspired. I’m going to share this to a lot of people who still feel blogging is a hobby. :)

  21. Vishwajeet Kumar

    Hello Gael,

    Thanks for this great list of bloggers. I am a big fan of Pat and Harsh. They always inspire me a lot. This post is really so motivating and inspirational too. Thanks gain for this great list.

    Regards,
    Vishwajeet

  22. Hi Gael,
    I just came into blogging after reading this post. I feel so good.Thanks for the article man.
    Made my day :D

  23. Really amazing post! I was encouraged by the twitter findings especially, too often it can feel pointless. I also appreciated in your post bringing up the fact the usual income reports postings do not figure in their costs. It’s an overlooked point many times that brings skewed assumptions. Thanks!

  24. Excellent post, i am very happy and inspired because you are giving us a clue that afilliate program is the best source of income. Thanks

  25. This is pretty encouraging. I thought a site had to be “perfect” before bringing in an income. No ill to these sites, but some of them I wouldn’t have spent two minutes on with unrelated ads and glitchy posts. Very enjoyable article.

  26. Hello Gael, this is a massive dose of encouragement for little beginners like me. Just getting started and I can say I needed this.

    Have been reading it over and over since I landed on this site.

    I hope to feature here soon.
    Thanks brother.

  27. Wow! what a loong post. I am still reading it and trying to understand the models used by some of the bloggers features (most of them are new to me). Anyway, what I have learnt from this post is that you have to work harder in order to outdo your competitors

  28. Great post. I wanted to know what software do you use to make these graphs ? It looks awesome. I love graphs but i’m not able to find any software i can use. Can You please let me know ?

  29. Great post with awful analysis. LOVE this. I saw some individuals elsewhere had mentioned different blogs that actually create extra money, however, I perceive what you were doing here. instead of speculating, you went with those who were (already/willing) to share their info publically. There are, of course, lots of bloggers creating considerably additional that simply don’t name it publically just like the remainder of US. Thanks most for the Empire Flippers mention, btw! I’d like to see a follow-up to the current with firms rather than bloggers

  30. Maria A. Zambrana

    Truly cool post. Much obliged to you for making this. This has spared me hours of online examination to perceive how these top performing folks are profiting on the web. Likewise presented my, somebody, I have not run over some time recently.

  31. Holy cow! This is a crazy overview into what the folks are doing these days. And 11,000 words! That’s more than the regular modules we put out on a regular basis (and in math even)!

    Regardless, here’s what I’ve learnt.

    1) Services is probably one of the easiest way to start, but doesn’t scale well. So not good if you’re in for the long haul.
    2) Advertising can significantly reduces the perceived quality of the site, and usually has relatively lower ROI.
    3) Affiliate marketing is probably here to stay for authority sites, as one can leverage it to earn from products they can’t possibly create.
    4) Product creation is probably the ultimate holy grail. As you have much more control over monetisation. However, the learning curve is steep.

    Tom

  32. Well this is really inspirational post for a new blogger like me. I wanted to be a blogger but due to my some obligations I couldn’t post much on my blog. This post kicks within to do something. Hope I will earn something by the end of this year.

  33. Thanks for the helpful information. I have been doing a lot of research on how to make money blogging, and this is one of the most helpful articles I’ve come across.

  34. Hey Gael! Brilliant post! It is surprising that so many of these top blogs are not that old. In fact Jon Dykstra’s income statistics are pretty amazing. I wonder where Backlinko, Copywriter, Copyhacker and similar giants stand :D

  35. Great article Gael! I’m kinda new to blogging and these IM stuffs. Will try out the methods you listed here. Thanks mate :)

  36. Thanks for this ultimate guide.
    It will help many newbies who are thinking to make their career in Blogging.
    Keep posting such informative articles Gael.

  37. James Jean-Pierre

    This is a fantastic post. I’ve found some new blogs to interact with as well as get a better understanding on how to better my own website. I think anyone who wants to start blogging should come here. It’s Posts like this that’ll inspire and remind bloggers that it is possible to make a living off blogging, so thanks again Gael. I will definitely do a post linking back to this one.

  38. Really cool post. Thank you for creating this. This has saved me hours of online research to see how these top performing guys are making money online. Also introduceded me someone I have not come across before.

  39. This is one of the best websites out there for quality and detailed content. If it is true that content is “king” I want to go on record right now predicting this site to be an absolute monster in a couple years. Keep up the great work and all the best to you!

  40. I find this site is very beneficial and helpful. I am thinking to start a mathematics blog where i am intended to show some basic mathematical topics in an intuitive and insightful way however i would also like to earn part time payment from it but many folk have said to me that educational blog like this one will n’t be paid or can’t make any money . How much is it true and how can i proceed further ? I am extremely gratitude for response.

    1. Well the blog itself is separate from the Business so it depends on what you plan on selling on your blog. You could imagine doing tuition over Skype, or sell courses that teach parents how to teach their kids ect. It’s possible but you need to tie a business to the blog.

  41. I remember having read this for the first time and having immediately bookmarked it for future reference. Well back now for a refresher and honestly wanted to thank you for the post! Favourite section was definitely the “What we can learn from [blogger name here]” section. Could honestly have been an entire blog post with the amount of goodies found in these sections of the article alone!

  42. Great article!

    People do not realize the true power of blogging. Especially because it can be monetized in so many different ways.

    Keep the content coming!

  43. This is just an AWESOME post Gael! I was thinking about doing a report like that, but I found that you have said it all and in a very good manner. Congrats!

    I feel inspired now to go get back to work. Thank you!

    Keep doing the great work! ;)

  44. Excellent read. Started making money online about a year ago. I own over a dozen sites for affiliate use. To me there is a big difference between being a full time blogger rather than an affiliate/information blogger. You either write straight to the point content. Or you write content to actually gain readers. I know many feel creating a blog post that roughly the size of Texas is the route but it doesn’t havto be ;) thanks again

    1. The type of content you should create really depends on the kind of people you want to bring on :). Obviously long content worked with you in that case ;).

      Gael

  45. I thoroughly enjoyed this article! I’m so inspired now and feel so much more educated about what I can do. Thank you SO much!

  46. Hi Gael,
    this is fantastic post and I love it!
    Please tell mi, how it is created this “Quick Navigation” in post?

    Thanks,
    Rob

  47. Thanks for this, so informative. I even took down notes :P

    The only site websites I know that actually pay you to write for them are seosf.com and beforeitsnews.com

    Thanks again Gael, I’m going to go study for the rest of the night!

  48. Gael,

    Thanks for this great post. It’s truly inspiring to see how well some bloggers are doing! I could only hope to join this elite group one day.

  49. Dear Breton,
    I really like this post as it gives motivation to those who are blogging but can’t monetize it due to lack of knowledge and skills.I will appreciate if you can share some actionable tips or at least resources for new bloggers and freelancers so they can use that knowledge to monetize their blogs.

    Thanks

  50. Thanks so much for sharing this information! There are so many great posts on this blog, I will be reading them all for the rest of the week!

  51. Great article. it has positioned my way of reasoning about monetizing my blog. am glad you share this awesome piece of knowledge.

  52. Great post Gael. Very inspiring read, and loved the way you have drawn out what we can learn from each blogger. Got lots of stuff to mull over. Thanks for putting the metrics data. Its great to know that lower Alexa rank is not detrimental to earnings. Have to work on my Twitter followers :)

  53. Hi Gael,

    Of all the posts I have read till date about monetizing blogs, this one totally stands out. This post is EPIC! I am new to the world of blogging and I’m launching two websites this month. One is an online lifestyle magazine which will primarily focus on health, well-being and personal development, and the other is a travel blog focusing on offbeat experiential travel. I would be happy if you throw some light on getting started with direct advertising.

    Thanks!:)

  54. I actually find this post more depressing than encouraging. Almost every single one of these bloggers talk about making money online. That’s where the bulk of their income comes from. I’m starting to wonder if it is possible to make money without talking about making money or online businesses.

    1. Hey Kristie, actually our case study site healthambition.com makes a healthy amount of money and does not mention making money online at all :) So yeah it’s possible!

    2. Actually there are tons of people who are doing well without talking about making money, here are some examples

      1. Emmy Wu – emmywu.com she does video editing services and teaches business owners how to use video
      2. Weight Loss – sarahjenks.com/ has a problem live more, weigh loss
      3. Love – kavitajpatel.com/

  55. Hey Gael!

    I love how you added things we can learn from each of these people.

    Specifically #13 – Abby, when you said, “Brand yourself according to your niche”.

    If you look at each of the people you mentioned in this post, most of them did that in some way. :)

    Great post dude! :)

    Be awesome!
    Keith Breseé

  56. Hey Gael,
    Jon from Fat Stacks Entrepreneur here. Thanks for the mention and incredible article. I agree with Justin from Empire Flippers – there are bloggers and other type of website owners earning far more who don’t report and they operate in all kinds of niches. It’s safe to say the top 10 blogs/sites in any significant niche are doing very, very well. I know that’s the case in my niches.

    I love your blog and will be back. You guys are putting out epic content. Thanks again.

  57. Excellent post! One of the most impressive articles I’ve read, especially in regards to online income. I appreciate the detailed and well thought out mention!

  58. diane @smartmoneysimplelife

    Sheesh!!! This is awesome. One doesn’t have to look too far to find the ‘authority’ in AuthorityHacker!

    I’ve already read this article twice and expect to revisit it often. So much invaluable information for newbies, like me.

    My blog is still in its infancy but I’m about to take a serious run at developing it as a business so this article is a timely gift from the blogger gods!

    Cheers,

  59. An excellent article and the more in-depth approach certainly adds a lot more value than other income reports I’ve read elsewhere.

  60. Hi

    Thank you for making this super valuable post available. I really enjoyed this since I have started to work on my blog more effectively recently. I also have an income report section on my site and so far I have published two income reports. In March I made $657 and in April I made almost 5k since I had my first product released in the market. I sold over 1500+ copies and it was a great month fro me. So my income report for May won’t be even close to what I hit in April but I’m going to work hard to hit better numbers via affiliate marketing for upcoming months as I grow my followers and at the same time face with ups and downs of this business.

    Again thank you for making this informative post available.

  61. Definitely an amazing job Gael :)
    Mentioned it already during our quick chat via Twitter, but this is just WOW.
    Started my blog just a few months ago after making good money in the pharma niches, and this is very inspiring, as well as full of good stuff to pick and study.
    One last time, great stuff, thanks for that and looking forward to more.
    Cheers

  62. Great, Work try keep motivating the young bloggers with these kind of Blog posts.
    If all works fine Even I’ll be one among them with a Year….

  63. Someone just sent me this article – I am flattered to be featured. Thanks!!

    I do have to make some corrections though. I do not do any freelance writing. My husband has done a little bit of freelance programming which is where that section of money came from that month. I work primarily on growing my passive income – a lot of my income comes from Amazon.

  64. E.P.I.C.

    Very inspirational & has some amazing take-aways. You & team must have worked really hard for this. Respect to you guys!

  65. Hello, Gael!

    It’s very interesting data post, but it’s very hard to finish reading it with 11k words:). I had to approach this post twice:). I haven’t heard about most of these bloggers. I’m listening and reading only the top bloggers (because it’s easy to find them), but as I see there are a lot of other successful bloggers under radar. Be careful, that you placed Spencer on the last place:). And what about Authorityhacker income reports?

    Thanks,
    Dima.

    1. Hey Dima,

      Thanks for dropping by! Yep it’s long but I don’t think there’s much fluff in it :). I replied on our income in the other comments check it out :).

  66. please don’t, nobody noticed. Every post should have an Easter egg like that ;)
    On a more serious note, have you fact checked the numbers reported? I’ve checked some in the mid-to-low bracket and based on content depth and quality, I cant help but wonder if they really achieve the numbers published.
    Finally a private question, would you mind sharing how your blog performs compare to the ones listed. I hope I’m not putting you on the spot :)
    A+
    S

    1. Haha sorry I’m a perfectionist ;o. I have fact checked as much as I could, I can’t go into people’s businesses and make sure these are 100% true that’s why there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the post. I’ve said it a bit earlier but AH makes around 3k/month, HA makes around 15k. It varies a lot and HA has been stagnant for a while now but we’re launching monetisation 2.0 on it so I hope to push it up :).

  67. Thanks Gael,
    I’m surprised no one asked about the ovni reference.
    Objet Volant Non-Identifie = UFO. Is that correct?
    Merci!
    S

  68. Personally, I find it kind of annoying that the niche blogger community has decided that posting income stats is a “verification” of success. Sorry to be negative, but this is probably the third post I’ve read this month listing “top bloggers” and how much money they make.

    1. Well if you consider these blogs are businesses (which they are for most of them) then it’s pretty normal to benchmark them against revenue. It doesn’t mean all blogs need to be businesses though.

  69. AMAZEBALLS that I made this list. Seriously Gael, super honoured to be considered in this company considering how newbie I am. Flabbergasted is I all I gotta say :)

    1. Haha thanks Will, you’re doing a great job with transparency and I think it will pay off :) Plus I didn’t just want to include 6 figures/year bloggers in here, I wanted it to reflect the diversity in the profession.

  70. Awesome article. One of the best i read in a while.

    Quick off topic question. I see that you’re using Thrive Leads. I’m using it also. Amazing plugin. I’ve purchased it, based on your referral. :D I’ve noticed some customisations in this post, like the lightbox progress bar animation (similar to Leadpages) or the animated counters. How did you do that? Didn’t find those options in the Thrive Leads Editor.

    Thanks

    1. Hey Alin,

      Glad you liked the post! These elements are actually shortcodes of the theme, they’re not built into thrive leads :).

  71. Hi Gael,
    What an amazing post. It’ll take me a week
    to digest all the useful information it contains.

    I have to admit monetization is the most difficult
    part of the ‘online success’ equation for me.

    Many thanks,
    Michael

    1. Yep, we found that part to be true as well. Traffic is not much of a problem anymore bug strong monetisation is still something we are working on.

  72. I enjoyed reading what’s possible out there.

    I do want to mention that Jon Dykstra actually does have a product. Several of them in fact. If you look at the bottom of his home page, there’s a link to one of them. I took his course and it’s very good.

    1. Hey Cathy,

      Yep, I bought one of them and it’s great :). But he does not report these earnings :x.

  73. Hi Gael

    This is a GREAT post – so many takeaways I don’t know where to start (well actually I do!).

    AH is fast becoming one of my favourite blogs online so thanks for all the hard work on this :-)

    Cheers!

    Loz

  74. Hey, Gael.

    Okay, they say to write Epic shit. This is epic, man. I love, love, love what you have done here.

    In general, us readers love TACTICS and CASE STUDIES. Your blog is excellent at providing both.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this.

    Yisroel

    1. Hey Yisroel,

      Thanks for dropping by, happy to see the litters of sweat that post generated were not in vain! :D

    2. “In general, us readers love TACTICS and CASE STUDIES. Your blog is excellent at providing both.”

      And that right there is a great blueprint for any blogger who wants to know how to build their blog!

      Thanks Yisroel :-)

    3. diane @smartmoneysimplelife

      “… readers love TACTICS and CASE STUDIES”

      My new mantra.

      Thank you, Yisroel. :-)

  75. Wow! This is the most detailed blogging income roundup and analysis I’ve ever seen! I learned a lot! Thanks for including my wife Abby in this report.

  76. Thanks for including me in this Gael, it’s a great post, with great company. Nice to read about myself in more depth than people usually go into as well.

    I totally agree about services. Outsourcing them is the only way to scale, as I’m finding now. March and April were so good for me that May has stagnated as I’m too busy dealing with customers. It’s like you read my mind :)

    Anyway, I better get back to “the hustle”.

    Dom

    P.S Watch out Pat ;)

    1. I’ve been there Dom :) We had an agency at the time too, we’re now trying to build something more “scalable” with Authority Hacker using our IM knowledge. Good luck with the clients and thanks for dropping by!

  77. I had a questions regarding your authority site in the health niche. When you were starting off, how did you get the pictures for the juice recipe? Did you just find a picture off the net and post it? I ask because with product based niches you can get the images from the manufacturer/amazon but with hobby/health based niches, do you get the picture off the net or do you have your author prepare the juice before photographing it?

  78. Hi Gael,

    An excellent article and the more in-depth approach certainly adds a lot more value than other income reports I’ve read elsewhere.

    I notice the majority of the list are ‘personal brands’ and would be really interested in a similar article that focuses on authority sites which are not ‘personal brands’. I find your feedback on Health Ambition incredibly useful and you also mention Buffer do income reports which I didn’t realise up until now.

    Keep up the great work.

    John

    1. Hey John,

      Noted on the non personal brands, it’s the 2nd request of that type so I’ll clearly add it to the list :). Thanks for dropping by!

  79. Great post with awesome analysis. LOVE this.

    I saw some people elsewhere had mentioned other blogs that certainly make more money, but I understand what you were doing here. Rather than speculating, you went with those that were (already/willing) to share their information publicly.

    There are, of course, PLENTY of bloggers making significantly more that just don’t talk about it publicly like the rest of us.

    Thanks so much for the Empire Flippers mention, btw! I’d love to see a follow-up to this with companies instead of bloggers. (Buffer, WPCurve, etc.)

    1. Hey Justin,

      Thanks for dropping by, good idea with businesses! Yeah I know a bunch of people making 6 figures monthly from their blogs but if I wanted to do some proper analysis I had to have the breakdown of expenses, income sources etc which is not the kind of info most people are happy to share. That’s why we went for income reports.

  80. Hey Gael, great Post. And special thanx for the girl-power encouragement. I am just starting a blog beside my Webdesign-Business. Authorityhacker is one of my favorite model. :-)

  81. Holy wow! You put a lot of time and research in to this. This is amazing. I’m super impressed and learning a ton! Where does your site fall among the rest?

    1. Hey Matt,

      Thanks for dropping by, glad you like the research. Authority Hacker has modest revenues, around $3,000/month atm (but ramping it up as you can see ;)). Our health site though is around $15,000/month :).

    1. You are welcome sir. Congrats on the success :). I remember talking to you after EOF #5 you’ve come a lonnnnng way!

  82. Hello Gael,

    Awesome article I must say!

    Still Im amazed about the link building part. Basicly it doesnt count anymore?

    Blown Away!

    Regards,

    Pedro Pereira

    1. Hey Pedro,

      Well it seems like most people who are killing it are rarely relying on just SEO to make money which explains the low correlation. Basically the learning is that if your plan is just to try and rank in Google you probably won’t go very far.

  83. Epic post, Gael. This must have taken you an eternity to write.

    Very inspiring to see so many people making money online, and in so many different ways.

    Personally I’m thinking of getting into the “products & services” space after I grow out my blog a bit more, and this has me very encouraged!

    1. Hey Mike,

      Thanks for dropping by. Yep one of the goals of this post was to show that there’s not just IM bloggers making bank and that business models can vary a lot. Although some are more profitable than others.

  84. Hi Gael,

    Thanks a lot for including me here! I’m flattered to be next (well, actually far below) my heroes.
    I swear I did change my avatar in 11 years :)

    But I’d like to clarify that I’m not making any money from the blog itself. My earnings are coming from other websites I’m running: job boards, niche websites, affiliates and the WordPress theme you mentioned.
    I’ve been doing that since 3 years now and really like it :)

    Cheers!

    1. Hey Daniele,

      Thanks for dropping by, Yep, most bloggers don’t reveal all their income in their income report but we’ve worked with what we had, I’m sure you do a lot better than what is shared in the reports but due to the sensitivity of the information we did not feel like going in and asking unshared business data.

      I hope you enjoyed the analysis nonetheless.

      Gael

  85. Great job Gael!

    We chat a lot via Skype so I just comment to get a backlink and hopefully a bit of traffic :P

  86. Paulina Mielczarek

    Thanks Gael!

    I’ve just started building my new site in DIY niche. $0 income for now but the post is a huge encouragement!

    1. Hey Enstine, thanks for dropping by, $1,397 is a great start, if you made it this far you can clearly make it into the list next time!

  87. This is good…really good. This took a lot of time and effort. You’re one of the few blogs I follow now. Great job!

    1. I have read many how to make money from your blogs and such articles and online posts . Never felt they were complete or were honest. Your this entire series of posts on blogging A to Z is like a bible for aspiring and seasoned bloggers. Keep up the good work and god bless you!

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