You know everyone thinks we’re fools, right?
To most of the world, blogging is a joke.
It isn’t a career. It isn’t a way to make money. It isn’t a tool for changing the world.
It’s a hobby, a diversion, a fad that’ll come and go. Sure, you can start a blog, but don’t count on it to make you any money. That’s just silly.
Try telling your family or friends or coworkers you want to quit your job and make money blogging. They’ll smile politely and ask, “Does anybody really make money from that?”
Yes, they want you to have dreams. Yes, they want you to chase them. Yes, they want you to succeed.
But they also want you to be “realistic.”
If you really want to improve your life, you should get an advanced degree, write a book, or even start your own business, not hang all your hopes and dreams on some stupid little blog. Nobody can make money blogging.
Well, I’m hesitant to say this, but…
Granted, it was a good month. We don’t always make that much money.
But we almost always cross $100,000 in sales.
Well, I’ll tell you. Not because I want to brag (well, maybe a little), but because most of the advice out there about monetizing your blog is complete crap.
For instance, do you see any ads on this site?
No? How about e-books for sale?
None of those either, huh?
There’s a reason why.
How I Learned to Make Money Blogging
Over the past eight years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the smartest bloggers on the planet. I worked with Brian Clark as he built Copyblogger to a multimillion dollar brand. Neil Patel and Hiten Shah also hired me to help them launch the KISSmetrics blog, eventually creating a multimillion dollar SaaS company.
Combined, I wouldn’t be surprised if both blogs have earned more than $50 million. In comparison, the $100,000 per month I’ve managed to generate is a pittance.
Want to know how much money you could be making from your blog? Find out with our free Blog Profit Calculator.
I’ll also be straight up with you… that income is far from passive. For the first several years, I worked 80-100 hours a week, and even now I usually put in at least 60 hours.
The good news?
It’s paid off. If you’ll take some of these lessons to heart, it’ll pay off for you too.
How to Make Money Blogging – Step-By-Step
Here’s exactly how to make money from your blog:
Set up your blog
Write content that gets lots of traffic
Convert visitors into email subscribers
Send those subscribers content that builds trust
Sell products or services your audience wants
That’s it. Five steps.
It’s freaking hard to do. The process is simple on the surface, but each step is enormously complicated and requires extraordinary skill.
Especially the last one.
For instance, do you want to sell your own products or services? If so, which ones?
Here are just a few of the options:
Make money blogging by selling these things
Make money blogging by selling these types of things
Or… what if you don’t have any products and services to sell? What should you do then?
Well, you can also make money blogging by selling someone else’s products and services.
The most conventional (and least profitable) method is selling advertising, where you allow companies to promote their products and services to your audience in exchange for a fee. You can also form partnerships with other companies, promoting their products and services as an “affiliate” and earning a commission each time one of your readers purchases.
Which model should you choose? What should you do?
It’s up to you to decide, but before making your decision, there’s one crucial lesson you need to understand:
You’re Not Just a Blogger
The moment you decide to use your blog to make money, you’re no longer just a blogger. At that moment, you also become an entrepreneur, and your blog becomes a small business.
You’ve probably heard of financial planners giving free seminars to attract clients, right?
Well, blogging is a lot like those free seminars. You’re giving away your expertise and knowledge in the hopes of attracting customers and then gaining their trust.
How blogs make money.
In other words, if your goal is to make money, your blog is a lead generation mechanism. It also nurtures those leads until they are ready to purchase.
“But Jon,” you say. “This sounds too corporate. I just want an easy way to make money online.”
Don’t start a blog. In my opinion, it’s a terrible way to make a few bucks on the side.
For one, there’s the time investment. I’ve never seen anyone learn everything necessary to build a profitable blog in less than three years.
For two, there’s the chance of failure. Your first two or three blogs you start will probably fail because you make a fatal misstep.
In other words, it’s exactly like starting a business. Exactly.