How To Make Money Blogging: What We Can Learn From 23 Successful Bloggers

Featured Download: The list of the monetisation methods used by 23 top bloggers to generate $905,722 per month to double your blog revenue (Click here to download).

How to make money blogging?

Many people jump into this industry after reading some over hyped content that tells them they can earn thousands of dollars each month with very little work. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Here at Authority Hacker, we are big fans of cold hard facts. We hate fluffy, vague, unproven points. 

That is why, in order to answer this question, we've gone out and collected income statistics from 23 successful and profitable bloggers.

More...

This post is a (very) long case study which looks at the success of other bloggers. We compare all the stats and try to understand what are the real drivers of success. It's not a step-by-step guide; rather, it's a collection of case studies.

Fair warning: All of the stats we used here were self reported from bloggers who regularly publish income reports. We can't verify the authenticity of all of them, however we expect these to be fairly accurate. 

What you will learn on this page​

  • ​Who the highest earning blogger is and exactly how he does it
  • The exact ways 22 other successful bloggers make their money monthly.
  • What the most profitable business models in blogging are.
  • What metrics correlate the most with high blogging revenue.
  • Who earns more between males and females
  • The 9 lessons these 23 bloggers teach us on building more profitable blogs

Our Sample of Bloggers

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Bloggers
$ 0
Total monthly earnings
0
Twitter Followers

*All the income figures presented are march 2015's figures.

Top 5 Earners

$696,384 in march 2015

John Lee Dumas

Podcaster & Teacher

$232,761

Read the analysis

Jon Dykstra

Magazine Site Builder

$176,619

Read the analysis

Pat Flynn

Podcaster & Blogger

$153,397

Read the analysis

Eric James

CPA Marketer & Coach

$101,301

Read the analysis

Lindsay Ostrom

Food blogger

$32,306

Read the analysis

Becky Mansfield

DIY Blogger

$28,200

Read the analysis

Matt Woodward

SEO Blogger

$18,839

Read the analysis

Deby

Mommy Blogger

$18,376

Read the analysis

Michelle Gardner

Frugal lifestyle blogger

$17,051

Read the analysis

Regina A

Blogging / Social Blogger

$16,382

Read the analysis

Daniel Johannes

Ecommerce owner

$16,069

Read the analysis

Harsh Argwal

Tech Blogger

$15,313

Read the analysis

Abby

DIY Blogger

$13,887

Read the analysis

Justin Weinger

Marketing Blogger

$9,612

Read the analysis

Kirsty

Travel Blogger

$7,159

Read the analysis

Gina Horkey

Freelance Writer

$6,595

Read the analysis

Dom Wells

Website builder

$6,347

Read the analysis

Matthew

Video game creator

$4,820

Read the analysis

Sharon Gourlay

Freelance writer

$4,085

Read the analysis

Daniele Besana

Niche Site Builder

$3,187

Read the analysis

Nathan

Marketing blogger

$2,697

Read the analysis

Will Tang

Travel Blogger

$1,717

Read the analysis

Spencer Haws

Kindle & Amazon seller

$1,462

Read the analysis

Let's start the analysis with the most basic question...

Where does the money come from?

When non internet marketing people first hear about bloggers making thousands of dollars monthly, their first reaction usually "huh? Really? How??".

We took the 23 income reports for March 2015 and tried to split the income into 3 categories:

  1. Affiliate earnings (via affiliate links) - Money bloggers own for referring sales to another company​ through blog posts
  2. Advertising - Money bloggers get paid for to show ads on their site or get clicks on these ads (CPM vs CPC).
  3. Products & Services - Money bloggers get for selling their own products and services to their blog audience.

Here is what the breakdown looked like when we added it all up across all income reports:

<img src="https://www.authorityhacker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/where-does-the-money-come-from.png"> Source: <a href="https://www.authorityhacker.com/make-money-blogging/">Authority Hacker</a>

Interestingly, the split was very even between all 3 business models which probably explains why many bloggers run 2 or 3 of these models in parallel: they are complementary.

Where does the profit come from?

<img src="https://www.authorityhacker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/income-expenses-profit.png"> Source: <a href="https://www.authorityhacker.com/make-money-blogging/">Authority Hacker</a>

If there is one thing Mark and I learned, it's that revenue does not mean much if you're spending all the money back into the business and are left with very little profit.

That's why I was interested in finding out just how profitable building authority sites and online businesses was. As you can see from the graph above, they tend to be VERY profitable compared to most brick and mortar businesses.

For the bloggers analysed, $1 spent on their business yields $3​.02 on average. That's 202% gross profit margin. To give you a comparison point, normal Brick and mortar businesses have an average gross profit margin of 10-53% according to smallbusiness.cron.com.

For every $1 invested in their business, top bloggers earn $3.02 back.

Click to Tweet

That means that if a food processing company (around 10% gross margin) wants to make as much gross profit as John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire, they need to sell roughly 1.3 million dollars/month of products (almost $16 million/year).​

​Now because I've realised that services and products were very different in terms of scale, sales and profitability, I have decided to split those 2 for the rest of the analysis. The 4 categories we will be analysing from this point are:

These business models are drastically different, I think it's only fair that we split up their profitability to get an idea of what business models are the most lucrative, regardless of the size of these blogger's businesses.

Because the costs are usually not broken down per area in most income reports and because most bloggers run multiple business models on top of each other, we've grouped them depending on their main source of income and looked at their profitability.

Here are the results:​

Business Model

Total Income

Total Expenses

Profit

Profit Margin

Services

$21,508

$2,805

$18,703

666%

Ad selling

$235,977

$135,041

$100,936

74%

Affiliate marketing

$214,232

$47,664

$166,568

349%

Own product sales

$434,004

$113,767

$320,237

281%

A word of caution about these numbers. While services look awesomely profitable, it's important to remember that most of these numbers come from solopreneurs not accounting for their own costs.

Services allows them to make a good living but if they had to actually pay someone to do most of the work​, I expect they would drop in the lowest position.

Another interesting ​stat out of this analysis is that affiliate marketing is on average more profitable than creating and selling your own product. So why would you bother?

If you also look at the total profits, you will also see that own products generates 2x more revenue than affiliate marketing.

One of the reasons for that is that selling your own products opens up a lot of new marketing channels that are not opened to affiliate marketers (learn more about this in this podcast).

Ad selling is a bit of an UFO in the middle but is highly skewed by Jon Dykstra who spends a lot of money on PPC to generate his traffic.

If your traffic is organic like Lindsay from ​PinchOfYum.com, the profit margins can be as high as the other mediums but you will need a lot of traffic to make it worth it.

What metrics correlate the most with higher revenue?

Before we venture into correlation, let me remind you that correlation do not equal to causation. It's not because high earnings bloggers have a lot of Twitter followers that buying Twitter followers will help you earn more money.

​This study simply highlights the characteristics of highly profitable blogs. If you want to learn more about correlation vs causation, check this video out.

Correlation: Alexa rank against earnings

-0.22

Correlation: weak positive

<img src="https://www.authorityhacker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/alexa-rank-vs-earnings.png"> Source: <a href="https://www.authorityhacker.com/make-money-blogging/">Authority Hacker</a>

In this case, the correlation is a negative number because Alexa rank is a reversed metric (lower = more popular). Alexa rank is supposed to measure the traffic of a website and it seems logical that with more traffic, websites should be more lucrative.

But the weak correlation​ shows that traffic is not everything and many lower traffic bloggers make a lot more than high traffic bloggers (Lindsay Ostrom with 17,789 Alexa makes $25,364 while Harsh Agarwal with 2,101 Alexa makes $9,576.

Overall, while Alexa does a pretty good job at knowing which sites get traffic, it's not a metric you can rely on when it comes to assessing revenue generated.​

Correlation: Linking root domains against earnings

0.26

Correlation: weak positive

<img src="https://www.authorityhacker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/revenue-vs-backlinks.png"> Source: <a href="https://www.authorityhacker.com/make-money-blogging/">Authority Hacker</a>

Most bloggers focus a lot on SEO in the hope that their blog will earn more because of increased rankings. Yet, if we look at the correlation data from those who do make bank, linking root domains actually has a low correlation with earnings.

Meaning that either those who share their earnings are not big on SEO or that there's more to making money online than building links.​

​However, most bloggers take advantage of other platforms such as iTunes (John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn), Pinterest (Lindsay Ostrom), Amazon (Daniel) or others. Consider going beyond Google and backlinks if you want to do well.

Another important nuance to bring up is that a lot of these bloggers make money on sites other than the sites they blog on, therefore the correlation could simply mean that people earning more money get more attention.​

Learn more: Outreach Link Building Tutorial​ with Buzzstream

Correlation: Twitter followers​ against earnings

0.53

Correlation: moderate positive

<img src="https://www.authorityhacker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/revenue-vs-twitter-followers.png"> Source: <a href="https://www.authorityhacker.com/make-money-blogging/">Authority Hacker</a>

That one made me raise an eyebrow. I always expected Twitter and social media fans to not be very good at monetising and obviously I was wrong.

There is a fairly strong ​correlation between blogging revenue and Twitter followers.

Once again, the correlation could be reversed meaning that high earning bloggers attract a lot of followers because they earn a lot but ​it is also possible that social media is a better indicator of audience than backlinks or alexa rank.

​Most importantly it's a better indicator of ENGAGED audience since they took the time to follow the blogger on social media.

This goes towards pointing out that a smaller engaged crowd is much more profitable than a large unengaged audience and traffic really is not the most important thing in an online business.​

The amount of Twitter followers for your blog directly correlates with your blog's earnings.

Click to Tweet

Learn more: How To Get More Twitter Followers And “Automate” Relationship Building

Male Vs. Females - Who earns the most?

Given that 8 of our 23 bloggers are female, we thought it would be interesting to see how their income compares.

In the real world, women earn on average $0.77 when a man earns $1. Is the world of blogging more or less discriminating than the real world?

​Here is what came out of the numbers:

<img src="https://www.authorityhacker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/malevsfemale.png"> Source: <a href="https://www.authorityhacker.com/make-money-blogging/">Authority Hacker</a>

That one was very interesting. On average, men earn 227% of the money women make online. At least in the sample we analysed. That seems hugely unfair and the difference is massive compared to the real world.

So should feminists get out and protest?

Well, not really. When we ran the median of earnings, we actually found that women were earning 62% more than men​. Meaning that while the average is higher for men, they also suffer from a much greater spread of income.

A few very successful outliers push the average very high while the crowd of men largely tends to make less than $10,000/month as opposed to women where most of them makes over $15,000/month.

Not bad and great come back for women!​

Let's now look into the outliers to understand the spread of income...

The 1% of the blogging world

As seen in the previous section, spread of income (and somehow low sample number) shows that there are huge spreads of income across bloggers.

I thought it would be interesting to see how wide that spread is and if the parrot principle verified in this industry as well.​

So we took the top 5 bloggers (John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, Eric James, Jon Dykstra and Daniel) and compared their income against the rest of the crowd.

Here is what this looks like:​

<img src="https://www.authorityhacker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Top-20.png"> Source: <a href="https://www.authorityhacker.com/make-money-blogging/">Authority Hacker</a>

It was interesting to see that the Pareto principle verifies itself in the blogging world as well. The top 20% of our sample group earned 78.2% of all the revenues.

This means that if you're looking to get into this industry, realistic expectations should be set with the ​median income (see section above) not the average income because the outliers push it up really hard.

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Zooming into each blogger's business

#1 - John Lee Dumas

Website: EntrepreneurOnFire.com

Site age: 3

Niche: Entrepreneurship, online business and podcasting

Total March Revenue: $232,761​

Total March Expenses: $103,267

Net Income: $129,494​

John's entrepreneurship focused website, 'EntrepreneurOnFire' has lived up to its name - within 3 years of launching, it has grossed over $3.7M with $2.8M in pure profits. That the site made just $69k within the first 365 days, but $232k in March alone is a testament to John's hustle and content quality.

​John also deserves credit for being one of champions of the podcast movement among entrepreneurs. With over 900 episodes, he has interviewed everyone from Tim Ferriss to Michael Port. Along the way, he has inspired thousands to take the entrepreneurship leap and run better businesses.

Podcasting remains his biggest source of revenue. Between sponsorship for the EOFire podcast and his "Podcaster's Paradise" course, ​John made over $200k in March revenue alone!

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

26,967

Twitter Followers

32.4k

Linking Domains

1.8k

'John Lee Dumas' and 'Entrepreneur on Fire' are big brands in the entrepreneurship niche.

Because of the strength of the brand name, John's websites get a lot of traffic through direct type-ins.

Referrals from his podcast guests' websites also land him a lot of traffic, especially when compounded over 920 odd interviews.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$20,591/m

John's primary affiliate earnings come from recommending business tools/services

Advertising

$75,442/m

Nearly all of John's ad earnings are from EOFire podcast sponsorship.

Products / Services

$136,588/m

A bulk of product earnings come from "Podcasters Paradise"

EntrepreneurOnFire is proof that you don't need big traffic to make big money online - you just need to position yourself as a premium provider and sell high quality, high-ticket products.

John brought in over $130k from his three courses - Podcasters Paradise, WebinarOnFire and Firenation Elite Mastermind.

Sponsorship brought in another $75k in earnings, thanks to the sheer brand strength and quality of the podcast.

Top 3 Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Podcasters Paradise (own product)
  2. WebinarOnFire (own product)
  3. Firenation Elite Mastermind (own product)

@johnleedumas earns $136,000/month selling courses. Find out how much 22 other top bloggers make on this post:

Click to Tweet

Top Expenses for John Lee Dumas

John is a huge proponent of smart outsourcing on his podcasts and blog. This shows in his expenses as well - John spent $7,657 in March on virtual assistants. Since he also made over $100k in profit, this was obviously money well spent.

What we can learn from John

1. Try podcasting: John Lee Dumas pretty much started the recent podcasting phenomenon among entrepreneurs. It's still his biggest source of traffic and revenue. Podcasts are not only fun to create, they also help you connect with leading figures in your field. The sponsorship money isn't bad either!

2. Brand yourself: EntrepreneurOnFire.com is an exercise in self-branding. John's face is all over the website and he uses the same colors/graphical elements everywhere. Based on the strength of his brand, John is able to command a premium on ads/sponsorship for his podcast.

#2 - Jon Dykstra

Website: FatStacksBlog.com

Site age: 6 months

Niche: High traffic online magazine

Total March Revenues: $176,619.81

Total March Expenses: $127,217.60

Net Income: 49,402​

Jon runs the 'Fat Stacks Entrepreneur' blog where he shares his lessons in, well, making 'fat stacks' through niche sites.

Jon doesn't share detailed reports on different income channels for his website, except that he makes his money through display ads (over $169k in March) and drives traffic to his sites through paid Facebook/Outbrain ads ($117k in expenses).

Jon also runs a smaller affiliate-focused website which he uses to test new ideas and ad networks (such as Bing ads). 

In addition, he teaches others how to follow in his footsteps through his own site, sharing valuable lessons on ​ROI focused blogging, content marketing case studies, and ad format case studies. This is one blog you need to follow if you're interesting in making money through advertising.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

133,799

Twitter Followers

15

Linking Domains

30

Jon's website - FatStacksBlog.com - is largely inconsequential to his online money making efforts. He uses it as a teaching tool, and to share his own income reports.

His real source of traffic to his niche websites is Facebook and Outbrain ads. Collectively, he spends nearly $120k/month driving traffic to his websites through these ad networks, generating millions of visitors and earning serious cash in display ad revenues.​

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$8,482/m

Jon promotes affiliate products through a standalone targeted niche site.

Advertising

$168,137/m

Jon's advertising income comes from AdSense and Media.net ads.

Products / Services

$0/m

Jon does not have any products to sell on his site.

Display ads through Media.net and AdSense are Jon's two main monetization methods. Altogether, these two sources brought in $168k in revenue. He made another $8k in affiliate income.

Jon's biggest expense in March was Facebook and Outbrain ads ($117k total). ​To support such huge traffic volume, he also spent $2k on an Amazon S3 server, plus $5,200 on outsourcing through LongerDays.com.

Top 3 Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Adsense together with Ezoic
  2. BlueHost

@fatstacksblog earns $169,000/month through display ads. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Jon

1. Spend money to make money: Sure, Jon makes over $50k in profits every month, but he also spends an enormous amount to get that kind of traffic. This is an idea bloggers must understand: you have to spend money to make money.

2. Build a proven system, then scale it up: For every dollar Jon spends on ads, he gets $1.5 in return. This is why he can spend $100k on Facebook ads every month - he knows he can earn back the money, and then some more. It's amazing what you can do when you have a proven, scalable system in place.

#3 - Pat Flynn

Website: SmartPassiveIncome.com

Site age: 6.5 years

Niche: Internet Marketing / Blogging

Total March Revenues: $153,397

Total March Expenses: $38,249

Net Income: $115,147​

As the founder of SmartPassiveIncome.com, Pat is easily the most recognizable name on this list. For the last 6.5 years, Pat has been sharing his entrepreneurial journey with the world.

It started with him declaring that he will quit his job with passive income in October 2008, to making over $150,000 in revenue in March 2015.

By all means, that is one really impressive journey!

Pat writes at least once a week about marketing, blogging and building businesses on the SmartPassiveIncome blog.​ He also runs the highly rated Ask Pat podcast, a popular YouTube channel (43k subscribers and counting!) and the wonderful Smart Podcast Player

Additionally, Pat runs a handful of web properties such as GreenExamAcademy.com​, FoodTruckr.com and SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com

Full though his hands may be, Pat still publicly shares every aspect of his buinsess with his readers through his detailed monthly income reports. ​The earliest report from October 2008 had revenues of $7,906.55.

For the latest report from March 2015, Pat had revenues of $152,397.47 - an increase of 1800%!​

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

7,139

Twitter Followers

112,000+

Linking Domains

5.1k

Pat's website is one of the most linked-to money making blogs online. As such, he generates a majority of traffic through referrals and social media. Search forms a smaller portion of his traffic profile, though with thousands of backlinks, it is by no means inconsequential.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$117,435/m

Pat primarily promotes web hosting and email products

Advertising

$22,020/m

​Pat's advertising income comes through AskPat podcast sponsorships

Products / Services

$10,778/m

Pat sells eBooks on his niche websites, plus a web player for podcasters.

Pat makes a majority (70-80%) of his money with affiliate marketing on SmartPassiveIncome.com. Additionally, he also earns a full-time income with websites like SecurityGuardTrainingHQ and SmartPodcastPlayer through digital product sales.

His best performing affiliate products fall under the 'make online blogging' niche. This includes hosting, lead gen, SEO and email marketing products.

Top 3 Products / Services He Promotes

  1. BlueHost
  2. Create Awesome Online Courses
  3. Lead Pages

@patflynn earns $117,000/month with affiliate marketing. Find out how much 22 other top bloggers make

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Top Expenses for Pat Flynn

Besides revenue, Pat also shares a detailed breakdown of his monthly business expenses.

The biggest expense for Pat is hiring developers and virtual assistants. In March 2015, Pat spent ​$32,224 on freelance developers/assistants. He also spends over $3,000 each month on video production, plus over $1,000 on Aweber for his 100,000+ email subscribers list.

What we can learn from Pat

1. Consistency is crucial: Pat has been blogging regularly for 6.5 years. Thanks to this consistency, the SmartPassiveIncome (SPI) blog has developed tremendous clout with readers, other bloggers and search engines. This shows in the income as well: in October 2008, Pat earned barely a few dollars from SPI. Today, he makes well over $100,000/month from it.

2. Diversify your income sources: Blogs, SPI TV, Ask Pat podcast, software, websites, eBooks - Pat has his fingers in many different pies. Each of these contributes to his personal brand and brings him increasingly higher traffic and revenues. I can think of the old adage: never put all your eggs in one basket.

3. Personal branding: Pat's face is everywhere on his website. He once even wrote about how a reader recognized him on a flight (a 'celebrity' moment few entrepreneurs will ever have). Today, the Pat Flynn personal brand is arguably bigger than all his blogs combined. Thanks to this brand, Pat could start from scratch and still build an enviable following within months.​

#4 - Eric James

Website: EricJamesConsulting.com

Site age: < 1 year

Niche: Sales, copywriting, consulting

Total March Revenue: $101,301.69

Total March Expenses: ​$4000

Net Income: ​$97,301.69

Eric James runs a high-end consulting service where he helps startups, small businesses and other entrepreneurs perfect their sales funnels, copy and PPC ads.

Although he doesn't share a lot of income reports, what he does share tends to be impressive. In March, for instance, he made over $100k in various consulting services and product sales.

Eric's earnings are ample proof that by pricing & promoting yourself, you can attract a high-end, niche clientele that's willing to pay top dollar for quality services.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

319,778

Twitter Followers

27

Linking Domains

5

Eric's website gets little in the way of traffic or backlinks. It serves largely as a placeholder for his larger business, which includes a variety of monetization methods (see below).

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$54,206/m

Eric promotes his own niche websites through various means.

Advertising

$7,137/m

Eric sells ad space on some of his sites, bringing in $7k/month.

Products / Services

$39,958/m

Eric promotes his own coaching program and products (Control Conquer).

Eric's biggest earning source is affiliate income through various websites and training programs. Additionally, he sells ad space on some of his sites to make around $7k in advertising earnings.

Eric also sells a product, Control Conquer, and a coaching program. These two bring in nearly $40,000 in income every month!​

Top Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Coaching (consulting service)
  2. Control Conquer (own product)

@eric_jamesIM earns $54,000/month with affiliate marketing. Find out how much 23 other bloggers make on this post:

Click to Tweet

What we can learn from Eric

1. Consulting means big money: There is a widely held perception that you need a Harvard MBA and a job at McKinsey to make money as a consultant. Not true. Eric's consulting success proves that you can earn big by helping businesses grow their revenues.

2. Give businesses what they want: Eric's consulting business does not focus on "growing traffic" or "building backlinks". Instead, he focuses on what businesses really care about: increasing revenue. It's important to keep this in mind when promoting consulting services - businesses pay you to increase their revenues, not to increase their social shares or backlinks.

#5 - Lindsay Ostrom

Website: PinchOfYum.com

Site age: 5

Niche: Food Photography / Cooking

​Total March Revenue: $32,306.94

Total March Expenses: $6942.43

Net Income: $25,364.51

Lindsay Ostrom is easily the most recognizable face in food blogging. The founder of PinchOfYum, Lindsay has been whipping up delicious fare and photographing them for close to 5 years.

In the course of these years, ​she has grown the blog from a mere $21/month to an industry behemoth that earns over $25,000 every month.

The most interesting part about Lindsay's journey is that she has managed to build a six figure business in a niche most don't think about - food photography and blogging.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

17,789

Twitter Followers

7,920

Linking Domains

4.2k

Lindsay has an established presence on Pinterest and Instagram. Between these two social networks, she has over 100k followers (43k for Pinterest, 65k for Instagram). Naturally, these followers send massive traffic to her posts every day.

As one of the biggest brands in food blogging, she also gets a lot of referral traffic. This is pretty clear when you look at the number of incoming links to the blog - 4.2k domains and counting. 

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$10,070/m

Lindsay's biggest affiliate earner is BlueHost

Advertising

$16,460/m

Lindsay's advertising income comes from food display ads

Products / Services

$5,776/m

Lindsay makes over $4k/month teaching others how to take better food photographs

Lindsay most of her money with advertising, though affiliate marketing and digital product sales also make up a big share of her earnings. Given the size of her audience and brand positioning, she can command a premium on advertising rates. This helps her earn $16,000+ with advertising. 

Lindsay also has a bunch of products of her own that teach others how to take better food photographs. She also promotes affiliate products, mostly hosting offers as part of her 'how to make money blogging' course.​

Top 3 Products / Services She Promotes

  1. BlueHost
  2. Sovm Ads
  3. Tasty Food Photography (own product)

@pinchofyum earns $25,000/month blogging about food. Find out how much 22 other top bloggers make:

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Top Expenses for Lindsay

Lindsay's biggest expense last month was travel. As per her March earnings report, Lindsay spent nearly $1,504 on travel alone. This is atypical of most bloggers as they usually tend to work from home.

What we can learn from Lindsay

1. Age matters: Lindsay has been blogging on PinchOfYum for over 5 years. This amounts to hundreds of posts with thousands of pictures. Every new post you create has a compounding effect on your traffic and income potential. 

2. Focus on visuals: Lindsay's website traffic shot up substantially after she started taking better pictures of her creations. Even her best-selling course is on taking better food pictures. In our image-dominated social age, it is crucial that you focus on better visuals on your blog.

3. Don't ignore Pinterest: Unlike a lot of other bloggers on this list, Lindsay gets a substantial chunk of her traffic from Pinterest. This is one social network many bloggers tend to miss, even though it can drive a huge amount of traffic. If you have an image-focused blog, it might be wise to shift focus from Twitter/Google+ to Pinterest.

 #6 - Becky Mansfield

Website: YourModernFamily.com

Site age: 2.5 years

Niche: DIY,  family, home decor/organization

Total March Revenue: $28,200

Total March Expenses: $6,500

Net Income: $21,700​

Becky wrote her first post on the YourModernFamily blog on January 8, 2013. Within 2.5 years, it has grown into one of the leading mommy blogs online with over 1,000 posts and a readership that measures in the hundreds of thousands.

Oh, and it also earned a whopping $28,200 in earnings last month.

How's that for 2.5 years of effort?​!

Becky shares tips on running a house and raising kids on her blog. Her post are less about keywords, and more about what it means to raise children and run a family. She also offers practical advice to her readers, such as teaching them how to potty train kids and come up with tasty treats.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

84,087

Twitter Followers

3,734

Linking Domains

481

YourModernFamily is a popular blog among mommybloggers and gets a lot of referral traffic. Her DIY, image-heavy posts also get a ton of shares on Pinterest, where she has 24,000 followers and 10,000 pins.

Plus, with 1,000+ in-depth posts, you can bet she gets plenty of love from search engines as well.​

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$7,890/m

Becky promotes everything from Jane.com to ABCMouse.com through ShareASale links.

Advertising

$10,074/m

Becky sells ad space through AdThrive, Tap Influence and Izea.

Products / Services

$10,500/m

Becky sells her own eBook and paperback books.

Becky's income is very well divided across the three categories. She earns nearly the same amount from her own products (includes both physical and eBook sales) as she does from selling ad space. She also promotes affiliate products from Jane.com, Amazon.com, etc. 

If you want to make money blogging in 2015, this is the kind of equal revenue split you should try to achieve.

Top Products / Services Becky Promotes

  1. Potty Train in a Weekend (own product)
  2. You Can Be a Stay at Home Mom on One Income (own product)
  3. Izea

@urmodernfamily earns $28,000/month as a mommy blogger. Find out how much 23 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Becky

1. Be all about your readers: Becky doesn't write about sales funnels and the latest tech gadgets. No, she tailors her content to her audience: moms who want to run better families. By helping her readers manage kids, homes and relationships, Becky is able to forge a deep connection with them.

2. It's not all about how-to's: A lot of bloggers tend to forget that a blog isn't just about how-tos and listicles. It's also about relating to your readers. Becky does this wonderfully by writing posts such as 'Mommy, will you lay with me?'. These essay-like posts don't offer any tangible solution. Instead, they connect with the reader at an emotional level. Incidentally, these are also some of the best performing posts on her blog!

 #7 -Matthew Woodward

Website: MatthewWoodward.co.uk

Site age: 3 years

Niche: SEO / Internet Marketing

Total March Revenue: ​$18839.12

Total March Expenses: ​$2,063.22

Net Income: ​$16,775.90

Matthew Woodward is one of the foremost SEO bloggers online. His nearly 3 year old blog deals with various aspects of making money online with blogging. This is the site you want to be on if you want to learn more about private blog networks (PBNs), link building, and white-hat SEO.

Matthew has shared his income reports publicly since August 2012​. From just $605 in August, he has grown the blog's income to over $26k today. Over the course of 3 years, his lifetime earnings through the blog and consulting work total over $400k.

Matthew's primary monetization method is affiliate marketing. However, he also takes on consulting work on the side and has even started a web marketing agency. However, he doesn't share the revenue from these businesses, so we can only speculate how much he earns from them​

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

7,592

Twitter Followers

8,378

Linking Domains

2.4k

Although Matthew's blog deals primarily with SEO, he built up MatthewWoodward.co.uk without any external link building (even cataloging the experience in his 'zero link building experiment'). That is to say, he focused on creating high quality content and letting the blogosphere do the rest.

Today, a bulk of Matthew's traffic comes through referrals and social media. These natural links have also given his sites significant search engine authority.

Matthew recently shared his entire journey to a six figure blog in this post.​ 

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$17,177/m

Matthew makes most of his affiliate earnings through SEO products

Advertising

$1,662/m

AdSense forms the bulk of Matthew's ad revenue

Products / Services

$0/m

Matthew does not have any products

Matthew makes nearly all of his money with affiliate marketing. As a SEO blogger, his primary choice of products are SEO tools. He also promotes a handful of social media marketing tools. Matthew does not have any products of his own, though you might consider his consulting services as a product in itself.

Top 3 Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Ahrefs
  2. Link Emperor
  3. Source Phoenix

@mattwoodwarduk earns $17,000/month with affiliate marketing. Find out how much 22 other top bloggers make on this post:

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Top Expenses for Matthew

The biggest expense for Matthew is Facebook ads. Last month, he spent $1,762.63 buying ads on Facebook. This was, however, part of an experiment and he does not routinely drive traffic to his site through Facebook.

Other expenses include hosting and marketing tools. 

What we can learn from Matthew

1. Focus on one topic: Instead of blogging about every topic under the sun, Matthew writes mostly about SEO. This not only gives his blog a hyper-targeted audience, but also helps establish him as a leading authority in the industry. This has led to speaking and consulting gigs.

2. Consulting can be lucrative: Although it's important to create passive income streams, you shouldn't ignore consulting. It can give you a much needed income boost, especially when you're starting out.

3. Diversify affiliate products: Matthew promotes a whole range of products to make his $17k monthly affiliate earnings. This means that even if one product fails in the near future, his income won't be affected much.

#8 - Deby

Website: Moms-Make-Money.com

Site age: 2 years

Niche: Blogging, making money, savings

Total January Revenues: $18,376

Total January Expenses: ​$541

Net Income: ​$17,835

Deby has been teaching moms how to make money online for over two years on her appropriately named blog, Moms-Make-Money.com. You will find everything from advice on pricing services to in-depth guides on selling digital products on the site. 

Over two years, Deby has made a habit of sharing her income openly with her readers. Her earliest report from December 2012 shows her income as just $45.11. In the next 2.5 years, this has grown to a whopping $18,000!

Deby's success is even more incredible when you consider her story. She originally started the site to share her tips on sewing. A stray question on 'blog advertising' led her down the make money online path. The rest, as they say, is history.

The best part? Deby still makes a substantial amount selling sewing patterns online!

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

211,946

Twitter Followers

786

Linking Domains

158

Deby gets a bulk of her traffic through search engines. Over the years, she has written in-depth articles on every aspect of the 'make money online with blogging' niche. She writes mostly keyword focuses topics, but the strength of her content has helped her site stay afloat even after Penguin and Panda.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$13,019/m

Deby made most of her affiliate income through ShareASale.

Advertising

$2,832/m

Deby's advertising income is from AdSense and private ad sales.

Products / Services

$2,472/m

Deby sells sewing patterns online

Deby makes most of her earnings through affiliate marketing via ShareASale. In January, this contributed $11,000+ to her revenues. She also advertises heavily through blog ad networks and Adsense.

Among products, Deby still sells sewing patterns. This is a lucrative market for her, bringing in nearly $2.5k in earnings in January.​

As far as expenses go, Deby's biggest cost is virtual assistants. This accounted for $351.50 in total costs in January.​

Top 3 Products / Services Deby Promotes

  1. ShareASale
  2. Sewing Pattern Sales

@momsmakemoney1 earns $18,000/month through her blog. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Deby

1. Focus on one topic: Deby's blog is very clear about its target audience - moms who want to make more money. Her blog is appropriately packed with tips on how busy moms can make extra money online. By reducing fluff and irrelevant topics, she is able to attract better converting, targeted traffic.

2. Spread your income: Affiliate programs, sponsored posts, display ads, Adsense...Deby gets her income from a number of sources. Even if one source were to dry up, she would still maintain a healthy monthly average.

#9 - Michelle Gardner

Website: MakingSenseOfCents.com

Site age: 4 years

Niche: Frugal lifestyle, savings

​Total March Income: $17,051

Total March Expenses: ​$1900

Net Income: $15,151

Michelle runs the popular MakingSenseOfCents blog where she teaches her readers how to save money, get organized and live a better life. She's been blogging for more than four years now, and in that period, she has grown her 'side income' blog into a $15k/month money making machine.

Michelle's blog is devoted to finding answers to problems we all understand: controlling emotional spending, earning extra income, and making better financial decisions. This is a trillion dollar industry globally and people buried under debt are desperate for solutions. Michelle herself proudly talks about paying off $40k in student loan debt within 7 months!

Michelle updates her blog around 8-12 times a month, usually with in-depth guides on everything from product reviews to renting out rooms. Along the way, she also teaches her readers how to make money from their 'side hustle'.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

71,276

Twitter Followers

9,796

Linking Domains

873

Michelle gets over 120,000 readers/month, mostly from other financial advice/entrepreneurship blogs and search engines. She tries to stay away from the linkbait, 'viral traffic' trap, and instead, focuses on providing real value to readers. This has helped her earn a substantial amount with only only 100,000 visitors.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$5,910/m

Michelle primarily promotes blog hosting products.

Advertising

$6,826/m

Michelle sells nearly $7k worth of advertising space on her site(s).

Products / Services

$4,315/m

Michelle's primary earnings source is her own writing services

Michelle's income is well-divided into all three broad categories. Given her website traffic, she makes good money through advertising (nearly $7k) and affiliate income (mostly by teaching others how to start their own blogs). She also sells her own eBooks and services, which brings in an additional $4.8k every month.

As befitting a blog about frugal living, Michelle's expenses are quite low - she paid $1,900 in transaction fees and hosting to run the blog in March.

Top 3 Products / Services She Promotes

  1. Bluehost
  2. Republic Wireless
  3. Writing services

@SenseOfCents earns $17,000/month teaching others about money. Find out how much other 22 top bloggers make:

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What we can learn from Michelle

1. Simplify complex topics: The biggest reason for Michelle's success is her ability to explain complex topics in layman language. Debt reduction, credit cards, insurance - these are subjects few people understand. By simplifying them, Michelle has been able to carve a niche for herself in a competitive vertical. 

2. Target one demographic: Instead of creating generic financial advice pieces, Michelle carefully targets a narrow audience - millennials who want to reduce debt, earn a side income, and travel the world. This makes her blog so much more relatable than your average finance website. 

#10 - Regina Anaejionu

Website: ByRegina.com

Site age: 2.5

Niche: Blogging, branding and online business

Total January Income: $16,382.91​

Regina is a social media and blogging expert who shares lessons in social media marketing, branding and entrepreneurship on her blog, byRegina.com.

Regina hasn't shared a lot of income reports, but suffice to say, she makes more than six figures from her blog through affiliate marketing, product sales and consulting work. Her primary income source is her own courses, all produced under the 'EPIC' brand name. 

If you are interested in becoming an infopreneur and making your own courses, byRegina.com should be at the very top of your reading list. Not only will you pick up valuable advice on how to create courses, but will also learn the subtle rules of branding that help you stand out from the competition (and give value to your readers).​ Regina practices what she preaches, and her site is easily among the best branded blogs I have ever seen.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

50,005

Twitter Followers

5,232

Linking Domains

3.9k

Regina's website draws a bulk of its traffic from social media. Thanks to her gorgeous design and visuals, she has a lot of followers on Pinterest - over 7,400 and counting.  

She also gets a lot of referral traffic, as evinced by the over 3.9k domains linking to her site.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$2,318/m

Regina primarily promotes hosting and email products

Advertising

$0/m

Regina does not use any ads on her site.

Products / Services

$14,064/m

Regina sells a number of eBooks as well as physical products

Unlike a number of bloggers on this list, Regina makes almost all her money through product sales. She promotes both physical and digital products, mostly under the 'EPIC' brand name. 

Regina also promotes a handful of affiliate products as part of her 'make money online with blogging' course.​

Top 3 Products / Services She Promotes

  1. #50WORKDAYS - Zero to Blog (own product)
  2. EPICBLOG - Editorial Planner (own product - physical)
  3. BlueHost

@byReginaTV earns $14,000/month selling her own products. Find out how much 22 other top bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Regina

1. Branding: Regina's blog is an exercise in brand building. Nearly every element on her blog, from the font to the blog header images, forms a cohesive brand experience. Not only does it make you blog instantly recognizable, but also opens up lucrative consulting opportunities.

2. Put yourself out there: Hop onto Regina's blog and you will see her face on everywhere. This helps in establishing credibility with the readers. It also makes her instantly recognizable.

3. Be everywhere: In her blog sidebar, Regina asks you to follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. By maintaining an active presence on virtually all major social networks, she dramatically increases her reach and traffic potential.

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#11 - Daniel Johannes

Website: ALittleSliceOfThePie.com

Site age: 1.5

Niche: eCommerce and Amazon

Total March Income: $16,069.05

Daniel sells physical products through Amazon and eBay and shares his lessons on his website, ALittleSliceOfThePie.com. A former pizza-delivery guy, Daniel now makes nearly $200k/year selling his own private label products through various eCommerce channels.

Impressive achievement, indeed!​

Daniel does not publicly share what kind of products he sells, but based on 35% margins, it is suffice to say that it is wildly profitable (especially for physical products).

Besides eCommerce, Daniel also makes a small amount of money (under $1,000) through affiliate and infoproduct sales.

For anyone looking to grab 'a little slice' of the $1 trillion eCommerce pie, Daniel's website is one of the best places to start.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

408,717

Twitter Followers

37

Linking Domains

32

Since Daniel makes the bulk of his income off Amazon, his entire strategy is focused on driving traffic to his Amazon store. Here, he relies on Amazon's brand name, delivery and sales oriented pages to make over $45k in total revenues each month.

Daniel drives traffic to his Amazon store through a variety of means. Some of it is from Amazon itself (i.e. from people searching for his products on Amazon), but a lot of it is through search engines.​

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$781/m

Daniel makes most of his affiliate income through eCommerce products.

Advertising

$0/m

Daniel does not sell any advertising on his website(s).

Products / Services

$43,679/m

Daniel sells physical products on Amazon and eBay

Daniel's website contributes very little to his total earnings - between affiliate and infoproduct sales, he makes under $1,000 from his site every month. His primary monetization method remains Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and to a smaller extent, eBay.

Top 3 Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Physical Products on Amazon
  2. Nanacast
  3. Six Step Six Figure System (own product)

@mysliceofpie earns $43,000/month selling products on Amazon. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Daniel

1. Think outside the box: Who would've thought you can make tens of thousands of dollars selling physical products on Amazon? Daniel's success is an eye opener for bloggers who believe selling info products is the only way to make money. Once you think outside the box, you'll realize there are many, many was to skin the make money cat!

2. Pick a big market: As Daniel himself says, all he really wants is to carve a little slice out of the eCommerce pie. Fortunately, this market is big enough to accommodate his ambitions. In contrast, the digital products market is much smaller, which leads to increased competition and decreased earning potential. 

#12 - Harsh Agarwal

Website: ShoutMeLoud.com

Site age: 6

Niche: Tech tips, make money online and blogging

Total March Revenues: ​$15,313.41

Total March Expenses: ​$5,736.7

Net Income: ​$9,576.7

In terms of sheer traffic, Harsh's website, ShoutMeLoud sits at the very top of our list of blogs. With an Alexa rank of 2,101, ShoutMeLoud gets hundreds of thousands of page views every month. Part of the reason is the broad nature of the website - ShoutMeLoud shares tips on everything from blogging to making your phone work faster. Another reason is Harsh's prowess as a blogger which has helped his site thrive even when other similar sites sank under Panda and Penguin.

Harsh has been publicly sharing his site earnings since February 2009. That month, he made $434. Within 6 years, he has grown this to over $15,000 - an increase of over 3400%!

Harsh is a prolific blogger. Over the course of 6 years, he has written well over 3,000 posts, which averages out to around 2 posts per day!

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

2,101

Twitter Followers

7,937

Linking Domains

3.1k

With nearly 3,000 posts, ShoutMeLoud has covered nearly every keyword imaginable in the make money, blogging, and internet tips niche. Since it is an aged domain with quality content, Google gives it a lot of love as well. Consequently, search makes up a large part of ShoutMeLoud's traffic.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$7851/m

Harsh primarily promotes hosting and social media tools

Advertising

$4,033/m

Harsh's ad earnings come from AdSense as well as sponsored posts.

Products / Services

$3,408.9m

Harsh sells eBooks and domains to his readers.

Harsh's earnings are well divided between the three broad categories - affiliate, advertising and products. He makes money through affiliate marketing by promoting SEO and social media software. He also earns good money (over $4k) with AdSense and direct ads. In addition, he also sells his own eBooks and domains.

Top 3 Products / Services He Promotes

  1. TweetAdder Pro
  2. Hostgator
  3. SocialOomph

@denharsh earns $15,00/month with blogging. Find out how much 22 other top bloggers make on this post:

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Top Expenses for Harsh

Harsh's spent $1,607 on ResellerClub last month, which is a platform for domain resellers. Since he also sold a substantial amount of domains through "ShoutMeDomains", you can call this money well spent.

What we can learn from Harsh

1. Long tail matters: ShoutMeLoud began as a how-to blog covering tech and internet tips. Over the years, Harsh has written hundreds of articles targeting long-tail how-to keywords. This is one reason why search forms more than 28% of his traffic (vs. just 15% for Pat Flynn).

2. Try out alternative income sources: Instead of putting all his blogs in the affiliate/product basket, Harsh has radically diversified his income sources. Besides the usual affiliates, he also sells domain names through the 'ShoutMeDomains' brand. This contributes a couple of thousand dollars to his bottom line, and gives his readers access to a much needed commodity - domain names.

#13 - Abby

Website: JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Site age: 2

Niche: Home organization, DIY, and home decor

​Total March Income: $13,887

Total March Expenses: $1,031

Net Income: $12,856

Abby teaches her readers how to turn houses into homes, and in the process, makes over $10,000 every month. That she managed to reach this figure in a tough niche with minimum spend on advertising shows what's possible if you just focus on creating high quality content.

Abby shared her first income report in February 2014. In that report, Abby had total income of $2,446 with expenses of $272. Within one year, this figure was up four times to $13,887 - well over publicly shared goal of earning $10k/month by April 2015 (proof that you need to set hard goals for yourself!).

Abby writes 2-4 posts every week on her blog. This includes detailed DIY projects as well as listicles and roundups from social media. This kind of content isn't easy to create, but Abby does a smashing job with her write-ups as well as the quality of her pictures.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

86,113

Twitter Followers

3,506

Linking Domains

978

Abby's blog is well loved within the 'mommy bloggers' niche and gets a lot of referral traffic. Her presence on social media is strong as well - she has 18k followers on Pinterest, which makes up a bulk of her social media traffic.

Of course, with hundreds of posts and strong domain authority (DA: 47), Abby gets a ton of search engine traffic as well.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$7,528/m

Abby's biggest earner is BlueHost, making her nearly $5.5k/month.

Advertising

$2,301/m

Abby sells display ads on her blog through AdThrive and private ads.

Products / Services

$4,058/m

Abby sells multiple products on her blog for making and managing homes.

Abby's biggest earner is BlueHost, thanks to a well-received post on 'how to stat a blog'. This, however, accounts for less than half of her total earnings. She also makes money selling eBooks ('Simplify' and 'Framework') as well as ad space on her well-trafficked blog.

Her biggest expense by far is affiliate payouts (amounting to $269 in march)​, followed by MailChimp ($165), Gumroad transaction fees ($148) and hosting ($67).

Top 3 Products / Services Abby Promotes

  1. BlueHost
  2. Framework eBook (own product)
  3. Simplify eBook (own product)

@JustAGirlAbby earns $5,500/month just from BlueHost. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Abby

1. Brand yourself according to your niche: Abby's readers are largely other moms. This reflects in her brand as well. She uses plenty of pastel shades and a friendly, feminine theme, which works perfectly with her audience.

2. Mix it up: Abby writes in-depth posts on DIY topics and follows them up with listicles and roundups from across the internet. By writing a mix of authoritative and link bait content, she is able to get the best of both worlds - rankings and social media traffic.

3. Add pictures wherever possible: Instead of simply writing long posts, Abby uses a lot of pictures to create visual DIY guides. These are easier to follow and bring in additional traffic through social shares.

#14 - Justin Weinger

Website: SoOverThis.com

Site age: 4 years

Niche: Internet marketing

Total April Revenue: $9,612

Total April Expenses: $1,406

Net Income: $8,206

Want to get 'over' the rat race, debt and financial responsibility? Then Justin Weinger of SoOverThis.com is your friend and sherpa.

The site started in February 2011 as 'So Over Debt', a blogger's journey to getting out of debt. Justin purchased the site in 2013, chronicling his own journey to financial freedom and making a promise to be as transparent and 'non-guru' like as possible. In the last two years, he's made a remarkable habit of sticking to that promise.

Today, Justin is well on his way to complete financial freedom, making over $8,000 in profit through his many sites. In fact, he's been so successful making money blogging that he quit his job earlier in April - surely something many readers of this blog would love to do!

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

719,846

Twitter Followers

788

Linking Domains

256

SoOverThis.com contributes very little to Justin's total earnings. He doesn't sell any products, nor does he promote any affiliate programs heavily. The traffic he does get is largely organic (search engines love aged websites) or through referrals.

For his money making sites, Justin relies on search engines and social media to drive the bulk of his traffic.​

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$124/m

Justin promotes a few web hosting offers.

Advertising

$9,198/m

A majority of Justin's earnings come from display ad sales.

Products / Services

$0/m

Justin does not sell any products or services.

Justin makes almost all his income through ad sales, primarily display ads. He runs high traffic, high quality niche sites with targeted traffic. Selling advertising on such sites is a legit way to make money online in 2015. He also sells a few affiliate products, though it contributes only ~ $100 to his income.

Top Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Private ad sales
  2. BuySellAds
  3. AdSense

Justin Weiger earns $9,000/month selling ads. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Justin

1. Don't forget about ads: Bloggers are often so fixated on affiliate marketing and info products that they forget about the oldest legit money making method online: advertising. If you have a high traffic, authoritative website, you can easily make thousands of dollars every month through ad sales.

2. Private ad sales > AdSense: AdSense is the easiest way to make money from a site. But because it is easy, it is also hardly lucrative. If you go down the advertising path, make sure that you maximize display ad (e.g. banner ads) and private ad revenues. Use AdSense only to fill up unsold inventory on the site.

#15 - Kirsty

Website: NerdyNomad.com

Site age: 8 years

Niche: Travel

Total March Revenue: $7,159

Kirsty is the perfect example of what it mean to lead an 'internet lifestyle'. As the 'Nerdy Nomad', Kirsty has been living all around the world for nearly a decade. In these years, she has done everything from volunteering to teaching, all of which have helped her immensely with her internet business.

Currently, Kirsty runs a number of city/region focused websites, usually in under-served markets. Her current top website, for example, is about Kigali, the largest city in Rwanda. She sells everything from infoproducts to physical maps about this city, all of which brings in several thousand dollars in revenue.

Kirsty is a great example of what's possible if you choose your niche wisely and create high quality content in a non-competitive market. That you can do all this while still traveling and doing what you can love is exactly what the internet lifestyle is all about.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

446,856

Twitter Followers

3,115

Linking Domains

235

The NerdyNomad is only one of Kirsty's several websites. Over the years, it has become the best site online for those who want to volunteer and travel while making money for free. This has helped it attract a ton of quality links and not inconsiderable traffic, mostly through referrals.

For a full list of Kirsty's websites, check out this post.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$703/m

Kirsty promotes a variety of affiliate products through her various websites.

Advertising

$165/m

Kristy's top advertising income source is AdSense.

Products / Services

$6,456/m

Kirsty sells a physical map of Kigali as well as an eBook on volunteering.

Kirsty's biggest earner last month was a physical map of Kigali, Rwanda. This was not only a much needed product in a fast growing city, but also a wonderful source of revenue. Besides physical products, she also sold ad space on her websites and earned a decent $23/day with affiliate marketing.

Top Products / Services She Promotes

  1. The Map Kigali (own product - physical)
  2. Living in Kigali (website)
  3. Volunteering eBook (own product)

@travoholic earns $7,00/month while traveling. Find out how much 23 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Kirsty

1. Target under-served markets: Kirsty's biggest earner is a website about Kigali, the capital of Uganda. Despite a population of over 1 million, there are few websites serving the city. By creating a high quality resource, Kristy is able to dominate an under-served market.

2. Sell physical products: Kirsty made over $5,000 last month selling physical maps of the city of Kigali. This is an important reminder for infopreneurs: sometimes, the best way to make money is through physical, not digital products.

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#16 - Gina Horkey

Website: HorkeyHandbook.com

Site age: 1 year

Niche: Freelance writing

Total March Revenue: $6,595

Total March Expenses: $1,084

Net Income: $5,511

Gina Horkey is proof that you don't need to be a marketer or seller to make money online. If you can provide a service people want, you will make a decent income, even if you don't have experience or references.

Gina embarked on a freelance writing career nearly an year ago. In that one year, she has grown her income from $0 to a healthy $6.5k/month. In the process, she has also sold her own product and written for some of the top publishers online.

This is a great way for someone to get started in online business - sell a service before you sell a product. This way, you will not only have regular cash flow, but will also understand the fundamentals of running a business online, without any financial risks. 

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

668,805

Twitter Followers

788

Linking Domains

68

Gina's blog, the HorkeyHandbook is one of the most promising blogs in the freelance writing niche (itself a part of the larger writing vertical). It might not have the traffic figures of WriteToDone.com or TheWriteLife.com, but it does have a loyal following and highly engaged audience (as can be seen in her blog comments). It also gets a lot of link love from other industry blogs, as Ahrefs data shows.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

NA

Gina promotes affiliate products on her resource page and inside her course but hasn't made any real money from it yet.

Advertising

NA

Gina does not sell any ad space on her site.

Products / Services

$6,595/m

Gina sells writing, VA services and her own self paced email courses.

Gina's offers her own writing and administrative services to make up the bulk of her earnings. Although she doesn't share exact income breakdowns, it is suffice to say that she makes more than 60% of her earnings through various services.

The rest of her earnings are made up of product sales, specifically, an eBook that promises to teach new writers how to start their freelance writing careers.​

Top Products / Services Gina Promotes

  1. 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success (own product)
  2. Virtual Assistance Work (service)
  3. Writing (service)

@HorkeyHandBook earns $6,000/m with freelance writing. Find out how much xx other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Gina

1. Give freelancing a shot: Freelancing is seriously underrated as a way to make money in 2015. Gina was able to grow from $0 to $6,000/month within a few months, all through freelancing. Not only does it earn you a guaranteed income, but you also learn a lot helping others run successful blogs.

2. Branch out: Until a couple of months ago, Gina was making almost all her income through freelancing. Now, she's added product sales to the mix. This is the ideal path for a freelancer - earn money through services, then branch out into products.

#17 - Dom Wells

Website: HumanProofDesigns.com

Site age: 2 years

Niche: Internet marketing, web design

Total March Income: $6,347​

Dom Wells of HumanProofDesigns.com is the quintessential internet marketing hustler. He started the site in August 2013, writing about WordPress themes and product reviews. Within the next few months, he transformed himself into a service provider for other internet entrepreneurs, selling them ready-to-market websites and keyword packs. 

Now, Dom is treading on the teacher/coach/mentor path, teaching others how to run successful affiliate websites. His blog covers everything from maximizing Amazon affiliate earnings to building white-hat backlinks.

Given his record, it's very easy to imagine Dom landing a spot alongside the likes of Pat Flynn and other top infopreneurs within the next couple of years!

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

147,065

Twitter Followers

1,027

Linking Domains

85

HumanProofDesigns does not get a lot of traffic - it received 5,323 unique users in March 2015. This is normal, given the hyper-focused nature of his site. He also gets a lot of traffic through referrals. This includes links from EmpireFlippers, AuthorityWebsiteIncome and NicheHacks.

With the kind of backlinks he's been building (including a mention in Entrepreneur.com), it's easy to see Dom getting a lot more search engine love in the next few months.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$1,375/m

Dom promotes TheHoth, Amazon and BlueHost.

Advertising

$52/m

All of Dom's advertising income is from AdSense.

Products / Services

$4,638/m

Dom sells custom made websites, articles and keyword packs to other entrepreneurs.

Dom's biggest source of earnings in March 2015 was his own products - ready-made and custom websites ($3,653 in total sales). He also sold $853 worth of articles and $150 worth of keyword packs. 

As far as affiliate income is concerned, Dom earned over $1k with BlueHost, TheHoth and WealthyAffiliate programs. 

Top 3 Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Custom Websites (service)
  2. Articles (service)
  3. The Hoth

@human_proof earns $6,347,/month selling services. Find out how much 23 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Dom

1. Don't forget about services: Dom's biggest source of online income is not affiliate marketing or Adsense, but services. Bloggers often forget that they can make a very healthy living offering in-demand services to other entrepreneurs. It might not be passive, but you are guaranteed an income, regardless of marketing performance.

2. Always be hustling: Dom started 2015 with a promise to make $5,000/month by the end of the year. He reached that figure within 3 months. His success is proof that you can achieve a lot when you start hustling and networking with other entrepreneurs.

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#18 - Matthew

Website: TrueValhalla.com

Site age: 3 years

Niche: Making video games

Total March Revenue: $4,820

Matthew's blog is proof that you don't need to sell eBooks or courses to make money - you can just do what you love and the money will follow.

For three years, Matthew has been sharing his journey making a passive income from creating HTML5 games. He designs these games from scratch then sells the rights to various gaming portals, pocketing the royalties.​ Altogether, this amounts to just over $4.8k in earnings each month.

Matthew's success furthers my view that there are many, many ways to earn a living online. Some create niche websites, some offer writing services, while some do what they love - make games - and live the internet lifestyle.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

233,153

Twitter Followers

9,755

Linking Domains

126

Matthew's blog is one of the few sites devoted to making and selling HTML5 games online. As such, it has a small but highly engaged readership. This has helped it earn strong referral traffic and an authoritative position in search engines, both of which contribute heavily to its traffic.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$0/m

Matthew does not make any money through affiliate channels.

Advertising

$3,745/m

Matthew sells HTML5 sponsorship for his games.

Products / Services

$1,075/m

Matthew teaches people how to make HTML5 games, along with a game engine.

Matthew's biggest source of earnings is sponsorship and ads on his HTML5 games. This makes up for nearly 75% of his income. He also makes a respectable $1,000+ each month teaching others how to make money with HTML5 and selling his own mobile gaming engine.

Top Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Make Money With HTML5 (own product)
  2. Mobility Engine (own product)
  3. HTML5 Sponsorships

@TrueValhalla earns $4,800 making video games. Find out how much 23 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Matthew

1. Tiny niche, big profits: Matthew makes HTML5 video games, then sells them to gaming websites. This is a very small niche compared to 'make money', 'fitness' and 'finance', but it also has much less competition. This helps Matthew earn big profits with less effort.

2. Dominate one niche: Matthew is a recognized authority on making and selling HTML5 games. He's been able to achieve this despite a very relaxed posting schedule. This is another advantage of narrow niches - you don't need tons of content to establish yourself in non-competitive markets.

#19 - Sharon Gourlay

Website: DigitalNomadWannabe.com

Site age: 1 year

Niche: Freelance writing, niche sites

Total March Revenue: $4,085

Total March Expenses: $251.6

Net Income: $3,833.4​

Sharon is an up and coming blogger sharing her journey to the 'digital lifestyle' through internet marketing and freelance writing. Even though her blog is less than a year old, it has a lot of quality guides on starting a blog from scratch to getting more traffic from Pinterest.

Sharon's blog serves as a 'digital resume' for her freelance writing career. This has helped her make over $100/day ($3k/month) writing for other publishers. The cash has also helped her build out a growing portfolio of niche sites which she promotes through referral and search traffic.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

230,415

Twitter Followers

1,232

Linking Domains

44

Sharon's blog is small, but growing, thanks to the quality of her how-to guides and niche site case studies. She has a strong presence on social media (>1,000 followers on Twitter alone) which also sends her a decent amount of traffic every month.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$612/m

Sharon promotes different hotel affiliates on her niche travel site(s).

Advertising

$898/m

Sharon writes sponsored reviews and sells private ad space on her niche sites.

Products / Services

$1,872/m

Sharon offers writing services to different publishers.

Sharon's income is well-divided between our three broad categories. She earns just over $1,500/month through HotelsCombined affiliate program and sponsored posts on her various niche websites. To make extra side cash, she offers freelance content services, which brings in another $1,800 every month.

Her biggest expense is outsourcing content for her niche sites. In March, she spent around $120 buying  articles.​

Top Products / Services She Promotes

  1. HotelsCombined (Hotel Affiliate)
  2. Sponsored Reviews
  3. Amazon affiliate

@digitalnomadwan earns $4,000/month while traveling the world. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Sharon

1. Freelancing pays: While Sharon's affiliate income is steadily increasing every month, freelancing is still her most stable income source. If your aim is to travel (like Sharon), freelancing might be your best option. 

2. Try off-beat affiliate programs: Most bloggers stick to the tried and tested affiliate programs - hosting, marketing tools, domains, etc. Sharon, on the other hand, makes a lot of money through hotel affiliates. Few people know about them, but in the right niche, such off-beat affiliate programs can be wildly lucrative.

#20 - Daniele Besana

Website: DanieleBesana

Site age: 11 years

Niche: Internet marketing

Total March Revenue: $3,187

Total March Expenses: $1,470.84

Net Income: $1,724.29

As far as blogs go, you can't really beat Daniele Besana's for longevity. It's been online in one form or the other for nearly 14 years. It has existed in its current avatar for close to 11!

In these 11 years, Daniele has shared countless posts on traveling and living the digital nomad lifestyle. An engineer by training, Daniele has been living abroad for several years, traveling from one exotic location to another (51 countries and counting). All this has been possible thanks to his money making websites and frugal travel hacks.

Daniele's sheer numbers might not be anywhere near John Lee Dumas or Pat Flynn's, but it's difficult to top him in terms of experiences. For anyone looking to build a life of travel, DanieleBesana.com remains a must-read blog.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

2,043,835

Twitter Followers

298

Linking Domains

49

Daniele's website is largely an online diary of sorts of his experiences and income reports. He doesn't promote it heavily, which shows in his site traffic. However, despite the lack of search engine optimized content, he still gets a lot of organic traffic thanks to his site's age.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$605/m

Daniele's earns affiliate income by promoting WordPress related products.

Advertising

$894/m

The majority of Daniele's ad income comes from AdSense.

Products / Services

$992/m

Daniele sells WordPress themes + services on oDesk

Daniele's income streams are as diverse as his travel experiences. He sells a WordPress theme (WP Tube), consults on oDesk and runs affiliate/AdSense websites. Much of this income is passive, which allows him to travel the world without worrying about a full-time job.

His major expenses are paying for content. In ​March, for instance, he spent $1,233 on articles.

Top Products / Services He Promotes

  1. AdSense
  2. WP Tube Theme
  3. Amazon affiliate

@danielebesana earns $3,000/month while traveling the globe. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Daniele

1. Longevity matters: Daniele has been blogging for over 10 years. Even though he does little link building or social promotion, he is still able to attract a healthy audience based on the age of his website alone. Keep this in mind when you start - each extra year that your blog stays online, it grows in authority.

2. Themes can be lucrative: One of Daniele's best earners is a WordPress theme. If you have a blogging focused readership, you can easily make tons of cash promoting WordPress themes to them.

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#21 - Nathan

Website: IncomeBully.com

Site age: 4 months

Niche: Internet marketing

Total March Revenue: $2,697

Nathan's blog is the youngest on this list, but it still boasts some extraordinary posts on blogging, entrepreneurship and local SEO. It's also one of the most frequently updated blogs around - Nathan has written 4 posts in the first 4 days of May alone.

Nathan is hardly a newbie blogger, however. He's a seasoned internet marketer with extensive experience running an offline web agency. He even has over 6,000 posts to his credit on WarriorForum. Thanks to this experience, he's tasted significant success within a few months on his new blog.

IncomeBully is Nathan's journey to creating a passive income stream while slowly folding his web agency business. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to replicate his success and make a passive living online.

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

806,532

Twitter Followers

397

Linking Domains

22

As a young website, IncomeBully doesn't have a lot of traction in search engines or the blogosphere - yet. Whatever traffic it does have comes largely through social shares and referrals. Given Nathan's web agency experience and content quality, he should see a big traffic bump in the coming few months.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$71/m

Nathan promotes a few SEO products on his blog.

Advertising

$0/m

Nathan does not sell any ad space on his blog.

Products / Services

$2,627/m

Nathan sells a course on starting a web agency on WarriorForum.

Nathan's biggest source of earnings is one product - a course on running an offline web agency. He sells the course on WarriorForum and pockets close to $2,600 from it every month. He also makes money with affiliate marketing, though its small change compared to his product sales.

Top Products / Services He Promotes

  1. "My Ultimate Blueprint to Start a Web Agency" (own product)
  2. Mobile Renegade
  3. Clicks Magazine

@incomebully earns $2,500/month selling infoproducts online. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Nathan

1. Sell your own product(s): Despite little traffic or search engine authority, Nathan is able to pull in nearly $3k every month, all thanks to his products. It's amazing what you can do with just a few hundred visitors when you own the entire sales funnel, from lead generation to actual product.

#22 - Will Tang

Website: TravelBlog Breakthrough.com

Site age: < 1 year

Niche: Internet marketing, travel blogging

Total March Revenue: $1,717.40

Total March Expenses: $217.18

Net Income: $1,500.22​

Will is an up and coming blogger in the lucrative travel blog niche. He runs TravelBlogBreakthrough.com where he helps others to get started with their own travel blogs.

Will's blog is young - the ​first post dates back to October 17, 2014 - but in its short life, it has played home to dozens of high quality posts on building an online business while traveling full-time. You can learn everything from automating Twitter to taking better photographs.

Will also publicly shares his income with his readers. His first detailed monthly income report for November stood at $499.79. Within four months, he had increased it to $1500 and counting!

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

183,039

Twitter Followers

1,567

Linking Domains

28

Since this is a relatively new blog, it doesn't have quite the search engine authority of an older property. It does get a lot of traffic from social media, thanks in no small part to Will's strong Twitter following and blog design. 

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$204/m

Will's affiliate income comes mostly from hosting offers.

Advertising

$881/m

Will makes most of his advertising income from private ad sales and 'ambassadorship'.

Products / Services

$631/m

Will makes $600+ each month through freelance writing services.

Will's has a well-diversified income stream. This includes services (freelance writing), sponsored posts, and affiliate income through web hosting offers. He also sells a course on Udemy and private links/ads on the blog.

His biggest expense​ last month was Facebook ads. He spent $104.18 testing out different ads for driving traffic to his sites. He also spent $89 on a WordPress plugin + podcasting.

Top Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Writing services
  2. Ebz.io
  3. BlueHost

@travelblogbreak earns $1,500/month in passive income. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Will

1. Start earning from day one: Lots of bloggers wait for months to build up traffic before making money from their websites. Not Will. He's been monetizing his website through freelance gigs and affiliate programs right from day one. This has helped him learn the ropes much faster than most bloggers.

#23 - Spencer Haws

Website: NichePursuits.com

Site age: 4 years

Niche: Niche websites, internet marketing

Total March Revenue: $1462.46

Spencer Haws is a name familiar to most internet marketing veteran. He's one of the most successful IMers around with multiple six-figure websites under his belt. With NichePursuits, Spencer is taking a new route - he is building niche websites from scratch and sharing the results with everyone.

His income figures are ONLY reporting earnings from just 1 new niche website. He owns many other websites that he does not report the earnings from. Spencer is a partner in a number of thriving businesses such as long tail pro and his own development agency.

On NichePursuits.com, readers will find a treasure trove of case studies and advice on building, buying, and monetizing websites. 

Spencer also hosts a fast growing podcast with other internet marketers and entrepreneurs about building online businesses. Over the last few months, he's had guests like Chris Gutherie and Jock Purtle sharing their wisdom on Amazon marketing and website flipping.​

Whether you want to sell physical products, create content or hire freelancers, this is a must-read blog (in addition to AuthorityHacker, of course!).

Blog Stats

Alexa Rank

17,075

Twitter Followers

4,632

Linking Domains

866

NichePursuits benefits immensely from Spencer's extensive marketing experience. Within a few months, it has grown into a top-tier property with thousands of monthly readers, tons of incoming links and a growing social media profile. It ranks highly in search engines, and also gets referral traffic from podcast guests linking back to his site.

Main monetization methods

Affiliate Marketing

$0/m

Spencer doesn't promote any affiliate products.

Advertising

$146/m

Spencer's ad income comes from AdSense

Products / Services

$1,315/m

Spencer sells Kindle eBooks on his niche websites

Although Spencer runs a lot of websites, the method he publicly shares on NichePursuits is building niche websites, then monetizing them through Kindle eBooks. Hence, all his reported earnings are from AdSense and the Kindle store alone. 

This method allows Spencer to let Amazon do all the heavy lifting of selling and delivering the eBook, while he focuses on creating and marketing the content. It's a great alternative to selling infoproducts on your own website(s).​

Recently, Spencer also started selling physical products on Amazon and it's looking good!​

Top Products / Services He Promotes

  1. Kindle Books
  2. Long Tail Pro (Own Product)
  3. Physical products on Amazon (FBA)

@nichepursuits earns $1,400/month selling Kindle books. Find out how much 22 other bloggers make on this post:

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What we can learn from Spencer

1. Kindle makes things easy: Want to sell eBooks but don't want the hassle of creating landing pages, establishing author reputation and dealing with payment/delivery issues? Then do what Spencer does and sell your eBooks on Kindle. Yes, you will lose 30% to Amazon, but you will also gain in credibility and Amazon's fine-tuned sales engine.

2. Get help: Spencer spreads his attention across dozens of niche websites and projects. Obviously, he can't do all this on his own. He's made a habit of outsourcing the bulk of content creation work so he can focus on what he does best: marketing.

Back to navigation

9 Lessons The Numbers Teach Us

#1 - Services are great if you need quick money, but they don't scale well

Services only account for 2.4% of the total earnings. This is very low, and the bloggers offering services are those with the lowest income (but highest profit margin). It's too bad Matthew Woodward does not share his service income figures.

I think an explanation for this is that service providing bloggers have to split their time between working with their clients and working on their own business (that is a very difficult thing to do).

As a result their own site grows slower, picks up fewer clients and earns less. Plus, if they do get successful, their business stagnates because they spend all their time on clients.

Business Model

Total Income

Total Expenses

Profit

Profit Margin

Services

$21,508

$2,805

$18,703

666%

Ad selling

$235,977

$135,041

$100,936

74%

Affiliate marketing

$214,232

$47,664

$166,568

349%

Own product sales

$434,004

$113,767

$320,237

281%

There is a case to be made for fully outsourced services, but it didn't seem like any of these bloggers were offering this. Their margins would have been much lower, but it would give them time to work on growth.

#2 - Start by being an affiliate for products with recurring commissions before you launch your own products

While selling your own products can bring (much) more money and opens a lot of very scalable promotion avenues (PPC, JV's, etc), Affiliate marketing still yields a higher returns on investment.

It's also much easier and faster to get going as an affiliate than it is to create and sell your own information or physical products.

For that reason, starting with affiliate marketing for monetisation and THEN moving on to selling your own products when your audience is big and engaged enough looks like the best way to scale revenue for online media properties.

It's interesting to note as well that the biggest earners by FAR in the affiliate world focus on recurring revenue commissions.​ This means that they make the sale once and get paid every month as long as the referral remains a client.

It's great way to build ​a monthly income that pays the bills and business expenses allowing you to take more risks with other parts of your business as you don't rely on their success to keeps things going.

Learn more: How To Make Money From ClickBank in 2015 : No Nonsense Guide

#3 - Advertising requires LOTS of traffic

If you count on making money from advertising, your site really needs a LOT of traffic. Those who are making bank from ads are in the millions of visits per month.

Don't bother with it unless you are either in a really high paying niche or have at least 100,000 visits/month.​

#4 - Focus on building an audience rather than metrics

When we studied correlation between metrics and revenue, the closest one to real people (Twitter followers) had a much higher correlation with revenue than more abstract and SEO metrics such as Alexa rank or linking root domains.

This conclusion may be a bit far stretched, but I am sure that if these bloggers shared their email list size, the correlation would have been very high.

The reason for that is that a lot of the more "abstract" metrics we rely on such as Alexa or Backlinks are somewhat outdated in the social media world we live in.

So stop building backlinks and start building loyal followers to increase your blog income.​

#5 - Spend a large chunk of your money back​

While the idea of passive income only requiring you to pay for your hosting sounds sexy, those successful bloggers actually spend 1/3 of their income back into their business in order to stay competitive and improve it.

Expenses range from assistants helping them with technical tasks and content to tools that improve their productivity.

Once you start making money online, you'll have to spend back a large chunk of it if you want to keep making money, it works that way for most offline businesses and blogging is no different.

#6 - Be transparent​ for more visibility

here is an interesting one: most bloggers who report their income seem to earn way more than the average of the industry.

The excellent Problogger ran a survey a few years ago asking his readers how much they earned and here is a graph representing the answers of people:​

Source

Now these figures are way lower than most of the income reports we can read about in this post, so one of two things should explain this:

  1. Mostly successful bloggers report their income because they know they're on top of the ladder.
  2. Reporting your income gets you attention that allows you to grow an audience you can monetize. This ends up making you more money.​

Companies like Buffer, WPCurve and Empire flippers also report their income and all of them have earned a significant amount of exposure doing so.

​All of this leads to believe that transparency is great marketing (should we start doing income reports?) and that people are eager to see real business numbers.

So if you're starting a business and need more attention: consider transparency as an option.​

#7 - Push hard for big paydays

As with most industries and jobs in the world, the top 20% of the profession make most of the money so don't aim to be "average". If you want a real payday, you need to make it into the top 20% of the industry at least.

This means you should invest in things like branding, relationships and overall superior content.

#8 - Don't just focus on SEO

Almost all of these bloggers rely on multiple platforms to drive traffic or sales. John Lee Dumas is focusing on itunes, Lindsay Ostrom drives most of her traffic from Pinterest, Daniel makes sales from Amazon and the list goes on.

The point is, most people see SEO as the holy grail of traffic and sales when they get started but looking at these guys, while they do get traffic from Google, it almost always is their secondary source of traffic, not their main focus.

So while thinking about SEO is a good idea​, it's not enough to JUST focus on SEO and if your plan is just to rank on Google you may be left behind. Pick 2 or 3 platforms where your audience hangs out and focus on them while having SEO in the back of your mind, you will do better for yourself.

#9 - Girls power!

The fact that the median income for girls is higher than men is great news in the battle for sex equality. While the average certainly is lower, in our sample test, girls have more chances than guys to get over $10,000/month which is awesome.

If you are a girl and you are looking to get into an industry where you have the same chances as guys, get into blogging!​

Wrapping it up

​if you have made it this far into the post (over 11,000 words!) then you must really be interested in building a successful blog.

You now know everything there is to know about 23 5-7 figures/year bloggers and exactly how they make money blogging, what business models are the most profitable, the product they promote, their sales pages, their domain metrics etc.

Are You Looking To Double Your Blog Earnings?

Download the list of all the affiliate programs, product publishing platforms and ad networks the bloggers in this case study use to generate $905,722 per month!

It's 100% Free

Is there something you would have covered or analysed differently? Let us know in the comment section!

Gael Breton
 

Hey I'm Gael, one of the guys behind Authority Hacker. I make a living working from my laptop in various places in the world and I will use this website to teach you how you could do the same.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 143 comments
Matt Hagens - May 19, 2015

Great stuff Gael – congrats!

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 19, 2015

    Thanks Matt, looks like your name got swapped I’ll look into this 😡

    Reply
    Shop-boy - April 7, 2016

    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!

    Reply
    Smithg736 - May 2, 2016

    Regards for helping out, superb information. kkekbaefgkddadeg

    Reply
LaMont - May 19, 2015

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!

Reply
Enstine Muki - May 19, 2015

Wow! This is a huge dose of encouragement
My income in March stood at $1397 as I detailed on this post: http://enstinemuki.com/march-2015-income-report/

Hope to make it bigger next time so as to be on the list 😉

Thanks for publishing this post to encourage us buddy

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 19, 2015

    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!

    Reply
Paulina Mielczarek - May 19, 2015

Thanks Gael!

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

Reply
Jake - May 19, 2015

Gael you should include numbers for health ambition.

Reply
tung tran - May 19, 2015

Great job Gael!

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

Reply
Daniele - May 19, 2015

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!

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 19, 2015

    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

    Reply
Mike Bradford - May 19, 2015

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!

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 19, 2015

    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.

    Reply
Pedro Pereira - May 19, 2015

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

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 19, 2015

    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.

    Reply
John Lee Dumas - May 19, 2015

Wow, what a great article! Thanks for the mention, it’s an honor 🙂

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 19, 2015

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

    Reply
Matt Wolfe - May 19, 2015

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?

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 19, 2015

    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 :).

    Reply
RitaSpäni - May 20, 2015

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. 🙂

Reply
Justin Cooke - May 20, 2015

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.)

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 20, 2015

    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.

    Reply
John McKenzie - May 20, 2015

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

Reply
    Gael Breton - May 20, 2015

    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!

    Reply
George Bailey - May 20, 2015

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?

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Dominic Wells - May 20, 2015

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 😉

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    Gael Breton - May 20, 2015

    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!

    Reply
Donnie - May 20, 2015

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.

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Yisroel Reiss - May 20, 2015

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

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    Gael Breton - May 20, 2015

    Hey Yisroel,

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

    Reply
    Loz James - May 20, 2015

    “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 🙂

    Reply
    diane @smartmoneysimplelife - May 24, 2015

    “… readers love TACTICS and CASE STUDIES”

    My new mantra.

    Thank you, Yisroel. 🙂

    Reply
Loz James - May 20, 2015

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

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Cathy - May 20, 2015

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.

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Michael - May 20, 2015

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

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    Gael Breton - May 20, 2015

    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.

    Reply
Alin Vlad - May 20, 2015

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. 😀 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

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    Gael Breton - May 20, 2015

    Hey Alin,

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

    Reply
Will Tang - May 21, 2015

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 🙂

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    Gael Breton - May 21, 2015

    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.

    Reply
Stuart Walker - May 21, 2015

What an incredible post. Everything about it is just amazing from the design to the content.

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Dude - May 21, 2015

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.

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    Gael Breton - May 21, 2015

    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.

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stephane - May 21, 2015

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

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stephane - May 21, 2015

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

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    Gael Breton - May 22, 2015

    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 :).

    Reply
Dima - May 21, 2015

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.

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    Gael Breton - May 22, 2015

    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 :).

    Reply
Mario - May 22, 2015

This is the best post I ever seen! Thanks i have learnt a lot, one day I will be on that list

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Gaurav - May 22, 2015

E.P.I.C.

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

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Sharon - May 22, 2015

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.

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Ashik - May 22, 2015

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….

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Kevin - May 23, 2015

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

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Bamdad Sky - May 23, 2015

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.

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suresh - May 24, 2015

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

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diane @smartmoneysimplelife - May 24, 2015

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,

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Justin Weinger - May 25, 2015

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!

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Jon - May 28, 2015

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.

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Keith Breseé - May 30, 2015

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

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Kristie Hill - June 6, 2015

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.

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    Gael Breton - June 6, 2015

    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!

    Reply
    YASMINE - July 20, 2015

    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/

    Reply
Luisa - June 8, 2015

Great article! I love the 9 lessons in the end. It´s very motivating

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Ankita - June 11, 2015

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!:)

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Shashank Gupta - July 2, 2015

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 🙂

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Chinedu - July 23, 2015

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

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Robert Nash - August 3, 2015

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!

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Tariq - August 9, 2015

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

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    Gael Breton - August 12, 2015

    Hey Tariq,

    Glad you like the post! Just read the rest of the site there’s plenty of monetisation advice :).

    Reply
Jeramey - August 15, 2015

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.

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Tom Scherff - September 12, 2015

Thanks for this, so informative. I even took down notes 😛

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!

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Rob - September 16, 2015

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

Thanks,
Rob

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Tammi Roberts - September 23, 2015

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!

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Justin K - September 30, 2015

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

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    Gael Breton - October 4, 2015

    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

    Reply
Oussama - October 3, 2015

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! 😉

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Stephen Esketzis - October 6, 2015

What an epic post, great breakdown Gael.

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Evan - October 26, 2015

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!

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Elise Xavier - October 31, 2015

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!

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sarita - November 3, 2015

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.

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    Gael Breton - November 5, 2015

    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.

    Reply
Bharath Bhushan Naidu - November 5, 2015

What about Gael,
How much is he earning?

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Veronika - December 6, 2015

Oh my, this is so detailed, I love it! Thanks Gael! Lots of inspiration to keep going and hustling 🙂

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Pabitra - December 8, 2015

Great job. its motivate newbie bloggers like me

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Max Alvarado - December 18, 2015

Nice report and post How i wish i can reach that income in some of my blogs someday Keep posting Gael 🙂

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Ryan Ostrove - January 26, 2016

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!

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Tony Hsieh - February 15, 2016

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.

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James Jean-Pierre - April 2, 2016

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.

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Fernando - April 18, 2016

AWesome post, Gael! Well done! So many references, thank you!

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Aman - May 2, 2016

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.

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Christy A - June 2, 2016

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

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Viral talks - June 13, 2016

Motivational post for new bloggers

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Rajiv Singha - June 26, 2016

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 😀

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Jejak Maya - June 27, 2016

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.

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Mukesh - July 27, 2016

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.

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Thomas - August 7, 2016

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

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Maria A. Zambrana - August 15, 2016

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.

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Dweepayan Das - August 31, 2016

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

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