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ProBlogger’s First Tipping Point

In May I ran a series of one question interviews here on ProBlogger that asked a number of successful bloggers what their blog’s Tipping Points were.

During the series a number of readers asked me what my own blog’s tipping points were. It is a good question to ponder but not always an easy one to come up with something definitive to write about as most blogs have a series of tipping points (as many of those who participated in the series pointed out).

However from the many smaller tipping points there has been one fairly significant one on ProBlogger.

Revealing that I was Earning Six Figures from Blogging

The day I mentioned that I was earning a six figure income from blogging all hell broke loose here on ProBlogger (and around the blogosphere).

To that point (this was back early in 2005) I’d been steadily building a good readership however the day that news broke things really took off. I was linked to from Slashdot and many other blogs and suddenly found myself with an immediate rise in readers. Why the extra readers?

1. Controversy - back in 2005 when this story broke there was quite a bit of controversy around the idea of making money from blogs. Some believed that it was wrong to try to make money blogging, others believed it wasn’t possible and others were beginning to do it. So when a story broke that some guy Down Under was actually making over $100k a year blogging there was a lot of debate.

2. Credibility - writing about how to do something is one thing, but actually showing that you have done it yourself brings a certain level of credibility and perceived expertise. While I’ve never presented myself as the ultimate source of information and knowledge on the topic (there is so much that I don’t know) having some ‘runs on the board’ certainly doesn’t hurt.

3. A Gathering Point for Like Minded Bloggers was born - at the point that this story broke there was a scattered number of bloggers who were experimenting with making money from blogs – but there was no place that they really gathered to learn and share what they were doing. There were many people making money online in other mediums (and forums and discussion groups for them) but nothing with a make money blogging focus.

So when this story broke one of the things that happened was that ProBlogger became a gathering point for other bloggers who had been quietly doing what I was doing. By no means was I the first blogger to make money blogging (or even to make six figures). The day that story broke on Slashdot I heard from 10-20 others who were also doing similar things. A community began to emerge – something that added to the credibility of ProBlogger as a site.

4. A Niche was born - In the wider blogosphere there was a general lack of awareness among bloggers that it was even possible to make money blogging. While there were millions of blogs the vast majority of them had never considered that they could become an income stream – so when the story broke a switch was flicked that triggered many thousands of bloggers to ask whether they might also be able to make money blogging

Luck or Strategy?

As much as I’d like to claim credit for thinking this all through strategically it wasn’t the case. I started ProBlogger more out of a desire to record my journey and to attempt to connect with other bloggers like me rather than for it to be a niche leader – there was definitely an element (a big one) of being in the right place at the right time.

Having said that – once my lucky break happened – I moved quickly to use it as a springboard (writing more content on the topic of how I did it, promoting ways to stay in touch with me, starting Six Figure Blogging etc). I believe that this is a key characteristic of many successful entrepreneurs. The lucky breaks do come most people’s ways at different times (to different degrees) but many simply enjoy the ride and then find that things return to normal.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ryan McLean says:

    You go Darren!
    Thanks for sharing your tipping point.
    My financial blog hasn’t reached its tipping point yet…but you are stirring me on to get there day by day one step at a time.

  2. I was looking at getting into the six figure blogging course but don’t have the resources currently available.

    I’m still waiting for my tipping point. Maybe someday within the next year my site will be featured here.

  3. Del Sauzo says:

    Wow. Interesting. I guess the news about how much you made simply had all the ingredients to cause “all hell to break loose”.
    I’ll make sure to do the same when iI start earning $xxx,xxx.xx – LOL.
    Thanks for sharing your ‘secret’.

  4. Noobpreneur says:

    Darren,

    That’s great move, capitalising on your luck! Many people stop at being lucky.

    You use the ‘blessing’ to leverage you success – Doing so, you are an avid problogger, as well as entrepreneur.

    Thanks for setting the real example of tipping point :) I’m still looking for one tipping point for my blog – a feature on your ProBlogger would be a good start? LOL

  5. Interesting account. 2 years is a long time in blogging and it’s interesting to see how many people are now trying to the same. But, there’s something good about being the first (or one of the first)

  6. Muscle Post says:

    It’s great to hear about your blog’s first tipping point! My blog is 2 months old now so I haven’t reached mine yet, but I’m being proactive about it!

    I was wondering, could you give us a breakdown of your income sources on your way to this milestone? When you realized you were making six figures, how much of your income was coming from each source? Thanks Darren!

  7. Sounds much like the actor “waiting to be discovered.” Many bloggers probably get “tipping points” and don’t take full advantage of them or know how to.

    I am still waiting on mine! Hard work pays off over time, but experimenting, adapting and taking advantage of breaks will separate you from the others in the pack.

    Great article.

  8. godoctor2010 says:

    what is your traffic sources?

  9. After seeing all these tipping points, I’m starting to get excited about when my point will reach its own!

  10. Karito says:

    Darren:
    I was among those readers who find you at that time. I was so impress about it that I told everyone in the office about it. And they told me I was so “naive” to believe everything I read on Internet…hehehe! But I visited Problogger site and read your posts and I new I have found gold! I have been a daily reader since.

  11. Darren I appreciate your candor and your informative posts — thanks!

    One other writer and I have a niche blog related to Japan, Worship and the Arts. We average around forty hits a day, bounce rate is pretty high (around 75%). For some reason we don’t get very many comments.

    Our goal is to connect with people (make new friends), be informative, and to be a positive influence in our niche.

    Many of your strategies for increasing income applies to our blog…. But, I wonder if you have any specifics for those of us who don’t have the goal of making money (nonprofits) on how to build our blogs into something that is very significant in the lives of our readers.

  12. Andre Kibbe says:

    I certain wasn’t aware in 2005 that it was possible. I think it was from Steve Pavlina that I read the first mention of making a five-figure monthly income blogging, but that was though AdSense, which hasn’t exactly been the royal road to riches since then, but was still a solid option back in the day.

    If mentioning a six-figure income from blogging was your tipping point, I’d like to know that the tipping point to the tipping point was!

  13. Nice article Darren,
    i like it!

  14. Jerry says:

    I look forward to the day when I can reveal that I’m a one-figure blogger.

  15. Edward Lomax says:

    I’m just getting started with blogging, after being on the Internet for a while now. I’m looking at is a long term project, but hopefully can reach one of these tipping points. Thanks for sharing yours!

  16. There had to be an earlier tipping point in order to get to the point of earning over $100,000…..

    It just could NOT have been after that success was revealed.

    That just does not seem logical

  17. Barry Hurd says:

    I agree with your observations Darren. The lucky strike is actually a very strange mixture of community acceptance and social change. I think you did a good job “riding the wave”, as one wrong step could have meant a complete wipeout.

    I’ve been consistently impressed by the amount of persistence you have in your blogging, both tactically and strategically. Putting half of the stuff into writing, podcast, or video is simply impossible on a daily basis- yet the 10% of brain power you share with the world on this topic is almost always on-target.

    I believe the credibility portion probably was one of the biggest assets you developed, keeping your esteem/ego in check until you factually knew you weren’t stumbling onto success by accident.

  18. Results attract attention. My guess is that the explosion of traffic happened as part of a process that was building up over time. It wasn’t an isolated event. You were putting forth good information, following all the good advice you give us, and when you reached a milestone worth shouting about, people were there to listen.

    I agree with Andre regarding Adsense. It seems like a waste of valuable blog real estate to get precious little in return? Any other thoughts out there on Adsense?

  19. Terence says:

    When you first start a blog or indeed any type of website you have such high expectations for it but when the traffic doesn’t come you start to think that you have gone down a dead-end.

    I felt that way myself about my very first website after watching only 2-3 people a day visit and disappear quickly. Nothing really happened for the first year until Google started to take notice of the content I was adding to it.

    But this website is now a couple of years old and I am glad to say it is currently at #1 on Google, and has been for some time. It has nothing to do with making huge amounts of money as I created it to help people with personal problems. It has lots of content, some of which I wrote myself and some by experts on the subject.

    I can’t honestly say it had a tipping point though, it was more a gradual process. Persistence and hard work usually pays off but you definitely need good content and a bit of luck never hurts.

  20. Ben Barden says:

    Thanks for the post Darren. Taking the element of luck and multiplying it several times, it sounds so simple but I hadn’t even thought of it before. I think a lot of bloggers are so focused on becoming well-known in the first place, they haven’t quite figured out what they’ll do if it happens. Maybe they don’t believe it’ll happen, or maybe they think “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it”, but it seems like you stand to do a lot better if you’re prepared for the exposure if/when it comes.

  21. Susan says:

    Thanks for sharing your ‘tipping point’!

  22. Michael says:

    It’s funny to me that earning money from blogging can only make you earn more money from blogging.

  23. Mark says:

    My tipping point is coming I can feel it I’m up to $0.15 cents in Adsense revenue after only a few months. Watch out Darren here I come. LOL

  24. Carla says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Wayne Tully says:

    A tipping point is and sounds quite great to have happen on your blog, small or minor the fact of any tipping point is good to think about.

    Right now I’m having a debate (with myself…?) on whether I should launch into a fantasy art drawing blog as this is my main passion in life, so this in itself could be a tipping point, realising that I should follow my drawing and see where it takes me…On a blogging journey of discovery, I have other blogs, but I certainly don’t want to shelve them or let them die.

    Tipping points could be points where you change your direction your path is not always certain in this life, so just follow what ever you like and you will get there!

  26. Hi Darren

    Nice site with loads to read and hints and tips can be very revealing and helpful when you sometimes get ‘blogged’ oops sorry bogged down.

    Keep up the good work.

    Sue

  27. Todd says:

    I feel like I’m climbing a mountain…there are small tipping points that feel like small accomplishments. What I want to know is how many “near” misses did you have before the big tipping point? I write a home improvement site and it’s gaining traffic each and every day and I get emails daily from advertisers and similar sites but nothing yet that can help me get up that mountain.

  28. SEO Genius says:

    Great article, i like the site its greeaat too keep it up

  29. Rosh says:

    Once we found a few solid places to post information about our blog on regular bases and stayed consistent, we found solid growth.

    It is true, you will have multiple points of discovery that lead to multiple tipping points

    Rosh
    http://www.prosperousartists.com

  30. Dave Starr says:

    That’s certainly the tipping point I would have picked, Darren.. As you said, the /. seemed to do it all. I’m not even an avid slash dotter … but my wife (who also blogs for income) read an article about you and mentioned that you were making 6 figures a year from blogging. I googled your name the , /. came up and the rest was history. Up until that point I had consciously avoided blogs because all the (limited) number I had sampled were spending all their time arguing should or should not, not ‘can’ and ‘how’.

    Thank you for your unfailing help and your constant demonstration of politeness and good will … may the figures just keep climbing.

  31. Tony says:

    Man, I just need some time and direction, and hopefully I can get there, thanks for the info