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Secrets to Making Money Online

I recently had a conversation with a friend who has just started out with making money from blogging. He had been struggling to get over the initial hump of getting things going and wanted to pick my brain on the “secrets” of how to do it.

Of course I struggled to answer at first—there’s simply not a simple equation on how to blog that will guarantee results—however, I did put together some thoughts for him that he found helpful. In this video, I summarize what I said.

While it’s fairly general in nature, I hope it’s helpful as we enter into a new year.

Secrets to Making Money Online Transcription

I had a conversation earlier today with a new friend who’s just started to blog. He’s been going for a couple of months now, and he’s a little bit frustrated. He’s hit a couple of brick walls, and he wanted to sit down and just sort of pick my brain on the secrets to making money from blogging and making money on the Internet.

And, look, it’s question I get asked a lot—particularly in interviews. You know, “What’s your number one secret to making money online?” And I always struggle to answer it, because ultimately there is no secret and there’s no one way to do this. You can look at the variety of Internet marketers and see a whole heap of different methods to do it and approaches to do it.

But I began to share with this friend some of the things I guess that I’ve learned, particularly in the last year or two, about making money online. And I asked him for his notes, because he was writing everything down, so that I could share it in a video. And this is kind of the stuff that I said to him.

Number one, I talked about trying to do something online that you really love. Choose an area, a topic, a niche, an industry, that you have some resonance with, some appreciation for, some passion for. There’s a whole heap of reasons for doing this. One, it’s much easier to stick with it for the long term. Two, those who read what you produce and come across you will feel much more drawn to you if you are passionate about it yourself. And I just personally find it much easier to make money from something that I actually have a genuine interest in, because I’m able to produce products and blog posts and content that connects with people, because I know what turns those people on, and I know what will get them reading. I know what will get them purchasing.

So if you have an interest, if you have a passion, then try to center what you do online around that. That doesn’t mean you can’t make money from something you’re not interested in or that you don’t like; it’s just a lot easier to do it that way.

The second thing I’d say—and I repeat this over and over again on ProBlogger, but I think it just needs to be said—is be as useful as you possibly can. One of my most recent videos on ProBlogger was about my son telling me, “Tell the world something important.” And really, that is it. That is what it’s all about for me.

Again, you can make money online by doing things that aren’t useful, that aren’t important, that aren’t really enhancing people’s lives, by ripping people off, but it’s much more satisfying if you’re doing something that is actually useful, and it’s much more sustainable in the long term if you want to build a business, rather than just make a quick buck, if you actually make connections with people and be useful to them.

The third thing I said was that you need to be confident. Once you’ve chosen something to produce and to focus in on, and once you are starting to be useful, it’s much easier to be confident—but you still need to work on that confidence. Many people get online, and they feel that they’re not able to sell themselves, they’re not able to sell the things that they do. And, look, that’s difficult to do, but you need to learn how to do that.

You need to approach this confidently. You need to make offers confidently. You need to approach other potential partners confidently. If you are nervously doing those things all the time, people will sense that.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert and you need to hype things up. A quiet confidence will go a long way for you. So work on that aspect of things. Push yourself forward, if you aren’t one of those confident people. Get people around you to encourage you in that as well. So be as confident as you can.

The other thing I talked about with my friend today was diversifying what you do, and not just focusing upon one income stream. Now, this is a bit of a tricky one, because if you diversify too much you can end up not really doing anything very well. But what I’ve tried to do over the last eight or nine years now is diversify on a number of fronts.

One, diversify the topics that I write about. Now, I have four different main blogs that I produce content for, four different interests for me, and by doing that I’m diversifying, and if one doesn’t go so well I’ve got the three others to back it up.

But I’m also trying to diversify the income streams. And you’ll have seen, I’ve produced a breakdown of my income streams over the last couple of months. And you’ll see in that eight or nine different areas of income. I’m not just relying upon ad networks like AdSense, or I’m not just relying upon my own eBooks. I’m trying to build in different income streams so that if one falls over, or if one takes a little while to take off, there are other things there to supplement that income.

In the early days of my own blogging and making money online, I diversified by having a real job as well. When I first started I had three jobs, so I had this diversification, I guess, of the income streams, and that helped me to be much more sustainable in the long term.

Speaking of long term, the number five thing that I’d say is that you really need to take a long-term view of this. You can make money fast on the Internet, but it generally comes after years of building foundations. A number of times, I feel like I’ve made a lot of money really fast on the Internet, but as I look back on it there’s usually been two or three years of work, of building relationships with readers and producing content for free, that have led to these bursts of income. And so you do need to take a long-term view of things.

You need to see it as an investment. A lot of the times, when you make investments, you don’t get a return on those investments for a number of years, and the same is true on the Internet. See the time, the energy, and perhaps even some money that you’ve put into these things as an investment that hopefully, one day, will pay off.

The last thing I guess I said to my friend was that you really need to treat it as a business rather than just an event. Making money online … again, it can happen as an event, it can be these moments where you make money, but most online entrepreneurs actually see it as a business. It’s not just a one-off thing where they make money, and then they go and try something else. What I’ve tried to do is to build a business that has this diversity of income, but is also growing over time. As you release a new product, you need to think about ways of driving traffic back to that product over time. As you do affiliate marketing, you need to build systems that will continue to promote things to your readers using, say, an autoresponder.

You need to think a bit strategically, I guess is what I’m trying to say. A lot of people get online, and they produce content, and they think that it will make money by just getting readers. You need to think strategically about how you’re actually going to monetize it. So you need to think about it as a business, you need to think about it strategically, and probably one of the main things for me in terms of building a business rather than just having a job online is to actually build products into what you do. Don’t just rely upon advertising revenue, or marketing other people’s products. Whatever you do, try and work towards having some products that you can sell of your own, and then develop systems around those products to sell them, not just when you launch them, but in an ongoing way.

They’re some of the secrets of making money online that I guess I’ve been thinking about, particularly over the last year or two. There’s a whole heap more of course, but I’d love to hear some of your secrets to making money online. You can leave them in the comments below this video, and I’d love to connect with you there.

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. vince says:

    Every time the news comes on there is a story, unemployment long time high, workers underpaid and companies down sizing. These unfortunate economical times make it impossible for anyone to feel secure in there job. The way to protect your family is by creating a business that provides extra income.

  2. Sheetal says:

    Everytime I hear people talking about earning money online it always seems like a scam. How do you differentiate ? There are online job offers on free classifieds, there are conversion jobs, article writing etc etc on various Indian classified sites but most of them seem to be scam as it asks for a sign up fee. Does blogging also work the same way ??

  3. Thanks for sharing your video. I feel so passionate about my blog and offering tools, advice and much more to my readers. I think that one of the most important things is to treat your blog as a business which a lot of people don’t do. I know for me I did not start doing that for almost a year because I did not understand the meaning of that.

  4. barb g says:

    I guess I need to treat my blog more as a business so I can start making a little extra cash.
    It sounds like it’s just the natural next step to blogging.

    • Ya the main objective of the blog should be business and one should concentrate on the niche. Its very important to set up and goal and then go for the steps to achieve it. There are many who take blogs as part time job but significantly lack in determination and planning and hence are not able to earn much from the blog.

  5. Ahmarr says:

    I began blogging in August 2011 and one of the biggest roadblocks I have ran into so far is driving targeted traffic to my website. This post reassured me that I am doing the right thing by treating my blog like a business and not just a hobby.

  6. Darren –

    Thank you for the great insight. You give solid advice.

    Your point about, “you need to think about it as a business, you need to think about it strategically, and probably one of the main things for me in terms of building a business rather than just having a job online is to actually build products into what you do” is 100% on target.

    After 2 years of researching what others are doing with their online business I found my niche. It was only after I did exactly what you said that I felt really good about my plan – I finally had a direction. And it’s a whole lot easier to move forward when you know where you are going.

    Thank you for a great video – Theresa

  7. Gemma says:

    Darren,
    surely your biggest blogging secret is your generous spirit?
    Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Brad Maver says:

    Great post Darren!
    You really put things in perspective. I admire the knowledge you have when it comes to making your blog a success. Thanks for sharing these 5 points. Keep up the good work.

  9. Mike says:

    I think one of the things I’ve finally realized is the need and importance of having systems and processes. Doing things consistently, using the most effective tools allows us our business to grow and us to spend our time on the highest leverage activities.

  10. Thanks for the video, Darren. My blog is less than a year old and I’m getting new followers every day and I do have a product I sell, but I’m still pretty small and not making a living yet. I’ve recently been questioning if I’m going in the right direction or wasting my time. I love my blog though and I think I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I can do with it. This was a nice pep talk to re-commit to the idea that I’m in this for the long-haul. I hope in the coming years I’ll be able to someday post a comment saying that it all paid off. This is also a good reminder to pay more attention to my other blogs that I haven’t had much time for lately.

  11. Kevin Ocasio says:

    Hey Darren,

    Thanks for putting this video together and sharing. You’re right … it’s important to treat your blog like a business and take it serious. I like to plan everything out such as having a monthly publishing schedule. This allows me to stay organized and on top of what needs to get done and stick to deadlines. Again, thanks for sharing this video Darren… keep ‘em coming!

    - Kevin

  12. Laura says:

    Thank you Darren,

    I am a relatively new and have a lot to learn. Thank you for your ideas and words of encouragement.

    Have a wonderful day!
    Laura

  13. Kathy says:

    I am starting a new blog soon. The information was loaded with common sense and worth the read. I would like to hear more detail on each of the topics. I will bookmark your blog and look at your other articles. Thanks

  14. Shah says:

    If you are a blogger and running Adsense on it than Content is the secret to make money.

  15. Betty Miller says:

    Hi, Darren!

    Thank you so much for sharing! As always, I love your video! I am still to discover the secret of making money online… :) But I am not giving up!

    One of your biggest fans,
    Betty @ Craftsyble

  16. Guy Lawrence says:

    Hey everyone

    I notice that Darren gets his videos transcribed too. I’ve just put an exciting video of my own on my blog and was wondering has anyone got any suggestions for the best way I can go about doing this?

    Many thanks

    Guy

  17. Nigella says:

    Treating this like a business is crucial. It’s nice to get out of bed, walk down stairs and be at work. There’s no commute and no one to check you get in on time, but you have to be professional and treat it like work. Thanks for the video.

  18. iPhoneMY says:

    Thanks for all your tips. I’ve been following your facebook, blog and even add you as a friend in facebook but still pending approval. Your blog really tells me a lot and helps me on SEO so much! Thanks once again!

  19. Here is a similar story

    I would start now by getting yourself a blog if you don’t have one [if you need help contact us and we'll help] and then get writing. Start producing as much content as you can for your blog and when you start to see search engine traffic coming into your blog then begin another blog and do the same. As you build traffic on one blog and start earning money on it, find a writer for the blog and start to pay them for content and regular posting. Then all you have to do is write a post a week [based on the topic] and adminster the blog.

    Every time you reach this point of success then start a new blog. The writer you hire will continue to produce content for your blog while you build up the content on a new site. This way you do not have to spend any money you do not have. Over time the writer will put so much content on your blog you will not only be paying for their services but you will start making a profit. After you have built up a few blogs with lots of content, its time to ramp up the monetization.

  20. That “initial hump” sure is an SOB. I am DEEP into that initial hump right now. I’ve been putting a tremendous amount of time and energy into getting a few sites off the ground and making absolutely no progress traffic wise. But I’ll just keep plugging along. Thanks for posting this. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of traffic building and these “big picture” posts help to put things back into perspective.

  21. Infact, am so filled up with tips and information on getting my business up. Thanks, i really love this post. I have got a gist on how you can increase ur traffic…

  22. LV says:

    Beside blogs, do you think affiliate websites are ok?

    • Kate Kutny says:

      If you would like to do affiliate marketing, I would suggest using WordPress with a Review Theme. People trust reviews and WordPress is very easy to use. Plus you can still do blog posts which will get you on the top pages of Google for keywords, if you rank for them and write good articles.

      I know many affiliates that use Review Themes on WordPress and they make very good sales. Or you could also add reviews to your regular blog if you wanted as well. There are plugins you can add to your posts to rate different affiliate products. I think reviews are one of the best ways to earn money blogging!

  23. Darren, thank you for sharing the “secrets”. I am new to the world of blogging and I am beginning to really enjoy it. Your reminder about treating it as a business is a sound piece of advice. I have heard and seen others who start out and want to make it “Big” immediately. My area is media literacy and media education, particularly focusing on young people. I want them to learn think about the media messages and not be as I say “dragged around to do and buy things that are not good for their lives.
    Again Thank You!

    Juanita Richburg Seon

  24. Diane Bucka says:

    Hi Darren,
    I have only been blogging for a couple of months and my site currently does not have the capability to subscribe (I used a simple web-hosting template). I am now ready to convert to a WordPress blog/site; do you recommend a specific theme that is easy to use? Also, I hate to admit it, but I don’t really know how to begin with affiliate marketing or advertising, so I would welcome suggested resources to learn about it. How do you approach potential advertisers? Do you think it’s best to just start with Adsense?

    Thanks for sharing your expertise so generously! Other suggestions are welcomed, of course!

  25. The first person I’ve ever idolized when it comes to make money online is Sir Darren Rowse. I always remember what he wrote about the “18 LESSONS”, if you want to earn money, i suggest to always read and explore this precious PROFESSIONAL BLOG – do not search Mr. Google with therms “HOW TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE” because there are lots of money making programs around the web. What I am trying to say here is, if you want to earn some money in a particular way, you should ask only the expert. Those experts has proofs of success! I want to mention our beloved Pro Blogger (Sir Darren) because he knows everything about w.w.w.

    One of my favorite post is the “18Lessons” which can be found on
    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/12/20/18-lessons-ive-learnt-as-a-blogger/
    Believe me, these lessons from him can make you money from blogging.

    Cheers Pro!

  26. Dave says:

    Thankyou for an excellent video with all you points put so perfectly, I think you have a very valid point about your blog being a business and how it should be useful.

  27. Karen says:

    This was a valuable read. Thanks for sharing tips of the trade. I hope I can muster up the discipline to make the joy of blogging more than just a hobby. There’s an old saying: Do what you love and the money will follow. I believe that that to be true because when you do what you love you do not think about the time and the effort, you just do it!!

  28. Criton says:

    Thanks Darren, really great read and very interesting also. I’ve also idolized you for many a day, and this article has put a big smile on my face,

    thanks again
    Criton

  29. Dotcosecrets says:

    I have read many articles about making money online. For this article, what I get enlightened the most is that you give me a lot of confidence. Being conflident is very important when we live and work. So thank you again, I think I can do it well. :)

  30. Mike says:

    Darren, how long from starting up do you think it might take before, a dedicated blogger, can start to earn money from it? thanks

  31. Sam says:

    Thanks for this Darren,

    I’ve been reading posts on your site for a while now. Been running a blog about skateboarding for close on a year, but only made about $15. I’m starting to think it may be my niche, not very popular. Or just because I’m not getting enough traffic.

    I’ve done around 60 posts though, I will try my best to keep going. I don’t mind producing content for free because I love what I write about and am happy to help others, so I guess there isn’t a problem with that right?

    Though it would be nice to recieve something in return.. Oh well, the day will come hopefully :)

  32. Mark says:

    Darren,

    This was great, thanks for the post. I’m pretty new to all of this. An in-law of a friend led me here. According to you I’m on the right path. I’m a practicing veterinarian with a side behavior practice, and an online pharmacy. I started a Word Press blog and I’m looking forward to more posts. Thanks again.

    Mark

  33. OrbitWebs says:

    I think the only way is to have a passion for what you do best and do right. Making money online is not easy, but with right methods, thats a good way to go.

  34. Darren,
    Thanks For Sharing this with us.
    I’m completely agree with you.
    Bloging plays vital role in making money online.
    We just need to know, How to generate traffic..that’s it.
    Thanks again
    Keep it up!!!

  35. Thank you so much for the information Darren. I do love blogging but I feel sometimes I am just writing for myself. When do you know that the topic or content just won’t cut it? I guess what I’m asking is when do you know to just move on? Ta :)

  36. i like the advise you give here not many people have got a good heart like you do. i must say i am very passionate about this, and everything you said in this video i totally agree with you

  37. George BU says:

    I really get excited with what you are talking about because I never imagine that a blog can bring an income like what I had (http://www.nextwayout.wordpress.com)
    I don’t understand how a blog can be used to make money. You just write and post your article on your own website, how can it brings money to you because people just searching, look and read on articles on the websites and pay nothing for it.
    Do you ever write and sell your own e-book before become a blogger? Which do you prefer, become a seller of e-book or a blogger to grab income?

  38. Darren-Thanks for sharing this video. Although you say these aren’t “secrets,’ your words inspire and encourage and are very appreciated!

  39. Steve says:

    Very nice basic info Darren.
    I think we all kind of lose personal contact with ourselves while searching for the magic marketing pill.

    A little reality snaps back to the main reason we should be directing our internal marketing powers in the proper direction. If we cannot please ourselves we sure as heck will not please our customers and or visitors.

    I am a true believer in the old saying of; write drunk, edit sober. A natural flow of wording and ideas comes out after a beer or glass of wine. Tomorrow, click the spellchecker.

  40. ckata says:

    Hi,
    I am new into blogging and spent hours browsing through all the tips and tutorials. I find your articles very educational to help me get a clearer picture what blogging is all about.

    Thank you, enjoyed reading and trying to pick up as much possible so as to be part of the blogging community..

    Cheers

  41. marvin says:

    thanks for sharing this vid and giving out some tips. I’m a newbie and this definitely helps.

  42. Mehboob says:

    Thankyou for an excellent video with all you points
    I added adsense to my blog but it’s not working…

  43. thanks for the advice, gives me a little hope to keep writing about what I love most