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How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for May 2010

Last month I produced a video in which I walked readers through the split of my income over the month of April to show what different income streams brought in different percentages of my income.

In the video I shared how the split between income streams can vary a lot from month to month.

The feedback from the video was so positive that I’ve decided to keep producing monthly breakdowns. I’m not interested in getting into totals of income for the different areas but want to share the breakdown as a way of showing the variety of ways that a blogger can make money.

Here’s the breakdown for May 2010:

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In comparing the previous month (April) with May you’ll notice that there were not that many differences. The two months were remarkably similar in the order of the top 4 earners and then a bit different in the lower ones.

Next month you’ll notice a big difference in the eBook sales. I’m yet to do the calculations but I expect it to hit #1 as a result of the release of the Travel Photography eBook that we launched.

The only other main difference in May was the decrease in Direct Ad Sales as I had a couple of campaigns end and I’m transitioning my sales approach. It’s not a major area of income but I’ll be working to see that segment increase in the month or two ahead.

How to have a ‘Middle Road’ Mentality and Grow Your Online Business

My Dad’s Middle Road Mentality

My Dad always taught me an important lesson in life that still serves me well today…. “Learn from everyone you come across in life – whether they’re on the same path as you or not”.

He called it the ‘middle road’ and told me that in life you’ll come across all kinds of people with different views (in politics, in theology, in business). Many of them would write off everyone else’s experience or views as wrong and believe that their way was the best.

However he’d found that rather than writing those with different perspectives to you off, it was powerful to listen to everyone and to learn from them.

The key was not to just accept everything that they said as truth, but to take what was relevant to you from those on different paths to you and apply it to your own situation – and to leave behind what didn’t fit with your situation, values and approach.

Dad’s advice has continued to come back to me through life in different situations – but recently it’s been applying a lot to my business and approach to building an online presence.

The Middle Road and Online Entrepreneurship

You see in the online entrepreneurship space there are many approaches. Some of them are more extreme than others and often they rub people up the wrong way.

The temptation is to simply write off everyone who rubs you up the wrong way and to ignore their teaching completely – however the problem with this is that you could be throwing out some great teaching that is mixed in with a few bits that you don’t like.

I was a Purist Blogging Snob

I’ve been guilty of throwing out the baby with the bathwater in this space many times. I remember being asked to speak at an internet marketers conference in the USA 4-5 years ago and coming away from the experience feeling sick in my stomach. The hype, trickery and manipulation of some of those presenting turned me off completely.

In hindsight I should have taken my Dads advice to that conference because while there were things in it that I was right to feel sickened by – there was also a lot of good stuff that I should have taken on board.

You see at the time I believed that I simply had to build a great blog and people would come to it and I would make money – I didn’t need to market it, I didn’t need to develop products to sell, I could just build a great site and put some ads on it and I’d do well.

This ‘purist’ approach worked OK…. to a point, but I could (and should) have learned a lot from those internet marketers.

  • I should have listened to them talking about the importance of building an email list/newsletter
  • I should have taken note about what they said having my own product to sell
  • I should have listened to them talk about the process of launching those products

I should have learned a lot that week…. but I didn’t. I allowed the bad stuff that I saw to overshadow the gold that would have taken what I did to the next level.

How I got Back on the Middle Road and Doubled the Size of My Business in a Year

Of course, 3 years later I did learn those lessons. Those of you who read ProBlogger will know that I’ve changed my approach somewhat of late. While I still believe in building great blogs and I still make good money from advertising, I’ve begun to develop email lists along side my blog and have started to release my own products.

I’ve also started to read and learn from some of those ‘internet marketing’ people. I struggle with some of the more extreme ones, but there are a few good people in that camp who are starting to get the social media/blogging space too.

One I’ve mentioned here before is Jeff Walker. He’s known for his Product Launch Formula – something I enrolled in last year when he opened it up and which taught me a lot. In fact he was one of the main people who helped me to get back on the ‘middle road’ and to see that while I was having some success that I still had a lot to learn.

I’ve since launched 4 products which have done really well and this income stream has more than doubled what I was earning previously in just under a year (my accountant emailed me recently to ask me what I’m doing!).

Of course there are a few things in Jeff’s teaching that I’ve left out of my approach – but the stuff I’ve taken on board has been invaluable. The key is to not swallow everything whole but to take what resonates with you and to apply it to your situation and to calmly leave what doesn’t ‘fit’ aside.

Jeff has recently released a video that talks about big product launches and what he’s learned along the way. He reveals some great details (including income figures) on some massive launches. The video is well worth the opt in.

Whether you learn from Jeff or not, I guess the take home lesson that I’m trying to communicate is to have a ‘middle road’ mentality. There is great power in opening yourself up to learn from those on different paths who are trying different approaches to online entrepreneurship.

Learn what is working for others, filter it through your own situation and values and you might just find your business grows as a result.

How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Your eBook Written

Have you written your eBook yet?sticky-ebook-formula.png

One of the most common things I’m hearing back from bloggers who are looking to make money from their blogs is that they’re planning to write and sell an eBook off the back of their blog – the problem is that most bloggers don’t go much beyond planning to do it and never actually get going.

eBooks can be a very profitable way to monetize a blog – I discovered this for myself last year when I made over $72,000 in a week after the launch of one of my first ones.

However the problem that many bloggers face is that it just all seems way to overwhelming to actually get them written. To be honest – I was one of those bloggers myself. I didn’t know how to tackle it, it all seemed too big and so it remained an idea for well over a year before I did anything.

The Sticky eBook Formula (aff) is a fantastic little resource to help you get your eBook beyond the planning stage.

Update: I’ve just been told that this eBook is on sale at 37% off until midnight tonight (EST in the US). Sorry about the late notice but I only found this today.

Written by Kelly Kingman – this concise but comprehensive eBook will walk you through the steps of taking your eBook idea/s and actually getting it out of your head and into a form that will enable you to release it to your blog’s readers.
This eBook won’t tell you how to launch your eBook – it focuses just upon writing it… the main battle that we bloggers face. For the launch stuff there are other great resources that you can get later (like Naomi and Daves classic which is the perfect companion to Sticky eBook Formula) but for now – the key is to get it written!

If you’re planning to write an eBook – grab your copy of Sticky eBook Formula today and set some time aside this week to get it done!

9 Unsexy Truths about Making Money Online

Fast Luxury Cars, Parties with Sexy People, Dream Homes, Lavish Meals, World Travel, Book Deals and Pictures of massive Checks…. making money online is sexy!

Isn’t it?

As I sit here in my PJs alone in the front room of my house this morning – I wonder if perhaps the ‘sexy’ bit of what I do somehow bypassed me.

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I was at a conference last year listening to one ‘make money online’ guru talking about the possibilities of making money on the internet. The picture he painted was certainly sexy.

He showed some of the things he’d bought with the money he’d made online, shared some of the opportunities that his business had opened up for him and told some of the story of how he achieved it. The first line of this post pretty much summed up a lot of his presentation – it was sexy.

As he shared two things happened inside of me:

  1. I got inspired (and a little jealous) – ‘wow, I gotta have some of what this guy’s got’. I think that was a pretty common reaction in the room (based upon the type of comments I heard after the presentation). I guess that was partly the purpose of the presentation – showing the possibilities of what could be achieved can certainly be inspirational on some levels (and can motivate people to buy all kinds of products and systems – as they did that day).
  2. I realised I was only hearing part of the story – as I sat listening to the story the reaction that grew bigger and bigger (and ended up being the main feeling that I had) was that the guy was only sharing part of the story. At least he was sharing a quite different story to the one I’d had and the one I’d heard in the quiet conversations I’d had with many successful online entrepreneurs.

While I have no doubt that the riches and success that this man shared about were true and I know for a fact that the life that some internet entrepreneurs lead can at times be very ‘sexy’ – the reality is that for the vast majority of those who set out to make money online that the story is anything but sexy.

In fact even for me – as someone who has had a moderate level of success in this game – this guy’s story had only fleeting moments where it seemed even vaguely familiar to me.

Perhaps that’s partly to do with my own personality, style, values and taste (I’d rather put my kids through a good education than buy a Ferrari and would prefer to help set up a feeding program for starving kids than rent a yacht and cruse the Caribbean for 3 months a year) – but I also think that quite often in our game the ‘unsexy’ part of what we do is not talked about enough.

Perhaps common sense to many – here are some of the ‘unsexy’ truths about making money online (with a few tweet reflections form my Twitter followers):

1. It Takes ALOT of WORK

When I mentioned the topic of unsexy truths on Twitter earlier in the week and asked for people’s feedback the overwhelming response was about the amount of work that it takes to build a successful online business. Here’s just a few of the response on this front:

“I would say the #1 “unsexy” truth is that it takes W-O-R-K despite what almost every sales page will lead you to believe!” – @ElysiaBrooker

“Well there’s the whole “work” thing that no one bothers to mention.” – @CindyBidar

“some days I’m too busy to even think about showering. MMO is more work than people realize, esp when starting out.” – @Allison_Boyer

“It still takes a lot of really hard work…and pajamas don’t go over well on skype calls you want people to pay for.” – @JonathanFields

The reality is that there is no escaping having to put in a solid amount of work if you want to make a living online (or offline for that matter).

The amount of times that I’ve seen people start blogs with the expectation of striking it rich and generating a passive income amazes me. I guess people want to believe that there’s a short cut and want to jump straight to the end (and sexy) results before working for it.

2. It Takes Time and Starts Slow

I love what @SamMartino (smart guy) responded to me on Twitter with:

“I’ve discovered it takes longer to get momentum… much longer lead times… but higher margins.”

This type of comment was echoed by quite a few including:

“only the get rich slowly by putting in a lot of effort schemes work” – @KarenMarree

“it takes almost 6-8 months before you see any respectable money” – @SkoolofLife

6-8 months might seem like a long time – but in my experience even that could be an under estimation. There are certainly examples of people who do it quicker – however the reality is that it usually takes longer – and even after a long lead time there are no guarantees.

While there are certainly some upsides (like Sam says there is often some nice margins to be made if you’re selling something online) my own experience was that I was putting in a lot of hours for a couple of years before I made a full time income. That meant working other part time jobs during the day and blogging at night for well over a year – while wondering all along that time whether it was going to amount to anything.

3. The Sexy Moments Happen – but are Often Few and Far Between

I’m a very very fortunate person. I feel incredibly lucky to have had some success in this field and to have some amazing opportunities open up. While some of those things I mentioned in the first sentence of this post have not been my reality – I’ve certainly had a few ‘sexy’ moments.

A book deal, being flown around the world to speak at conferences, some fun parties at these conferences, the opportunity to meet and interact with some amazing people, the chance to buy a nice house and give my family a comfortable life, appearing in mainstream media…. all of these things are beyond what my wildest dreams of blogging ever were.

However the day to day of my life isn’t sexy. The above things are special (and I’m grateful for them) but they’re not what my life is all about. Rather they punctuate the sometimes mundane daily routine of sitting alone in an office, writing content, answering emails, making videos, responding to customer queries….. etc

I enjoy what I do – but I think it’s important to keep some perspective – most of the successful web entrepreneurs spend most of their lives doing normal and ordinary things – just like everyone else.

4. There are No Guarantees

If there’s one thing that disturbs me most about many sales pages for ‘make money online’ systems it is the guarantee element of them. ‘You WILL make money’ – ‘Make $10,000 in 30 days’…. the list of claims that are made at times goes on and on.

  • A + B doesn’t always = C
  • Processes and systems don’t always work.
  • What works for one doesn’t always work for others.

No two blogs that I’ve been involved with are the same in terms of building traffic or monetization. They have all been so unique and so to claim that you can apply a ‘system’ or ‘process’ that is guaranteed to work in every instance is just not realistic.

There is a lot that can be learned from some of the make money online systems and teachers on the web but don’t allow yourself to be sucked into any product that claims that it works for everybody – there are too many other elements at play (including your own dedication, natural ability, niche, levels of competition etc).

“What works for one blog, won’t work for another.” – @JewelrySecrets

5. You’ll Fail More than You Succeed

The other factor that comes into the ‘no guarantees’ point above is that in every successful entrepreneur’s journey there is a string of failures left in their wake.

I’ve started 30+ blogs over the last 8 years – 3 of them remain. I’ve started a long list of ventures, products, companies etc – only a few of them were profitable.

In time I’ve been able to increase the rate of success that I’ve been having and have learned to tell if an idea is failing and whether I should kill it early on – but in order to succeed you may very well need to fail a few times first.

6. Some People Just Won’t Make It

I hate to include this one as part of me does think it’s possible for almost anyone to have at least some amount of success in making money online…. however I have to take note of the stats that I’ve seen every time I survey my readers about this – some people just won’t make money online.

“Some people just aren’t going to make it. They’ll put in a lot of time and spend more than they earn.” – @SHerdegen

For some the reasons for not ‘making it’ are to do with elements I’ve mentioned above (not willing to take a long term approach, work hard etc) – however I guess there are other reasons. Some people just have a certain ‘mojo’, talent, skill level, set of experiences or circumstances that propel them forward faster than others. Conversely – some don’t.

Much of this can be overcome in time however I guess the reality is that for some people they find themselves in circumstances where it’s just too hard.

7. It can be Lonely

It’s funny how lonely ‘social’ media can be sometimes.

I was chatting with one blogger recently who quit what was a growing online business to get a ‘real job’ partly because she needed more face to face interaction. She put it down to her personality type and living in a reasonably remote location where she couldn’t meet those she worked with face to face – but in the end it just got too lonely for her.

For introverts like myself this might not be a massive problem (although I try to do some face to face stuff with a few others most weeks) but I know for quite a few people working alone in the front room of their house all day is enough to make them start to lose it.

8. Increased Success Can Bring Increased Critique

In Australia we’re known for suffering from Tall Poppy Syndrome. Something wikipedia defines as:

“a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.”

By no means is this just an Aussie thing, other cultures around the world share it. One of those ‘cultures’ I suspect is the web. I’ve seen it numerous times – as blogger begins to grow in their influence and reach only to find that closely trailing the rise in their own success comes a rise in ‘critique’.

Critique can be a helpful thing at times – however it can also move into a my sinister and destructive place where those that it is directed at often feel quite damaged.

In time I’ve had my share of negative attention. While I have learned to deal with it a little better than I once did – I do look back on periods in the last 8 years and see times where I think it led me to become quite depressed, stressed and once even to the brink of giving up on blogging.

I guess in time one gets thicker skin – however it’s a constant issue many bloggers have to work with.

9. Scaling it Sucks

If you do stick with things for the long haul, work hard and push through the tough times there is certainly potential for success in the online space. In fact some times get easier the bigger and more successful you become. Momentum grows and you can get to a point where the opportunities that keep coming your way are quite amazing.

However along with the opportunity and success comes the challenge of scaling up what you’re doing.

This can be particularly tricky when you’re basing your business around social media where there is a certain expectation that you be personal and interactive.

Tough choices need to be made around whether to stay smaller and keep being personal, whether to outsource some of what you do and how to manage the growing demands that you face.

These are the issues I’m seeing quite a few people dealing with right now – if you know the answer to it, please let me know. In the mean time, I’ll tell you it can be very unsexy :-)

Your Unsexy Truths

Earlier in the week when I tweeted on this topic quite a few other unsexy truths were suggested. You can read them here and here. Before inviting you to share yours… I’ll finish with this one from @BeyondBeeton:

” the “internet” doesn’t just spew out money. you need a good idea, a plan and an ability to deliver what people want to pay for.”

What would you add to this list of UnSexy Truths of making money online?

I think most people who’ve been at the business of making money online for even a few months know that the ‘sexy’ image of making money online is not a reality for most who attempt it.

How I Make Money Blogging [My Income Split in April 2010]

Today I’m updating the Make Money Blogging page here on ProBlogger – a page where I give a breakdown of how I make money from blogging.

This time I’ve decided to do a snapshot of last month (April 2010). I also thought that I’d put together a bit of a video as well as updating the page – to speak to the different parts of how I make money blogging as well as writing it up.

Here’s the video (created using ScreenFlow – please forgive the slight lag between audio and video).

How I Earn Money Blogging [April 2010 Stats] from Darren Rowse on Vimeo.

For more information you might also want to check up the updated Make Money Blogging page.

PS: Thanks to Tim Jack for the motion graphics intro/outro to the video.

How Small Victories Help You Create Big Products for Your Blog

A Guest Post by Paul Cunningham from Blogging Teacher.

Recently Darren blogged about how you can use small victories to build momentum in your blogging. This same technique can also be used for product creation for your online business.

Creating a product for sale is a goal for many bloggers, but some bloggers struggle to see a path from where they are now to where they want to be with their product. One of the biggest obstacles can be the reality that creating a product to sell involves a lot of hard work.

Instead of looking at your product idea as one giant project that you need to complete, build momentum by breaking it down into smaller steps that you can achieve with less effort. Here is an example of a process you can use to progress from running a blog to launching a paid membership site as a product.

Create a Free Report or Email Course

Take a look at your Google Analytics and see how many visitors in the last 30 days were new visitors to your blog. In other words, people who have never been to your blog before. Even if these visitors stick around for several minutes and read a few of your latest posts you still have an archive of older posts that they probably won’t see. And chances are they’ll never come back to your blog again.

By mining your archives for older, related blog posts you can bundle that content together and repurpose it into killer content to use to convert new visitors into subscribers.

For example, take a handful of related posts from one category and turn them into a free guide that visitors can sign up to your mailing list to receive.

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This method can increase the conversion rate for new visitors into subscribers because they see the free guide as an incentive to sign up to your mailing list immediately.

Another popular variation of this is to create a short email course instead of a downloadable guide. When the visitor signs up to your list they are put into an auto responder series that delivers them the information in a sequence.

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This is a great way to re-use a blog post series from your archives, and test out a product idea by measuring the response to your free offering.

An added advantage of this method is that it gets the subscriber used to opening your emails, which can improve your conversion rates later on if you choose to send marketing emails to them.

See also:

Create an Ebook to Sell

If you’ve been blogging for a while you’ve probably got most of an ebook already written in your archived blog posts. Even if you only blog once or twice each week that can easily add up to 50000-80000 words which is a massive amount of content that can be quickly edited down and put in sequence for an ebook.

You then only need to write an introduction, some interlinking material and do formatting and design for the ebook and you’ve got a product ready to sell to your audience.

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See also:

Create a Membership Site

The holy grail of products these days seems to be membership sites. These are usually training or mentoring programs run over several weeks or months and provide strong, recurring revenue for the owner.

The effort involved in launching a membership is much greater than other products, but don’t worry, if you use the techniques already mentioned in this post you can be on the way to your own membership site as well.

First you can test your ideas in the market by putting out free guides and short email courses to see what kind of response they get. Once you have established a viable product you can create the first iteration of it as an ebook. This is a low cost entry point for selling products and if successful will further confirm the viability of your membership site while also providing a stream of revenue that you can reinvest into the development costs for the site.

You can then take your existing content from your blog, guides, email courses and ebooks and complement it with richer content such as video tutorials and audio podcasts for the membership site.

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By the time you are ready to launch your membership site your content has been well tested and revised based on feedback, and you’ve got an established mailing list of potential customers and JV partners to market the site to.

Long Term Strategy

The techniques listed above are not a formula for overnight success, but they can be used to achieve your goal of creating products and building an income from your blogs.

Depending on where you are with your blog traffic and audience you may be able to skip over the free guides and email courses and jump straight to the paid product opportunities.

But if you’ve got a new blog or your monetization efforts for an established blog have not yet been started you can begin with the free content and build on that over a period of time to eventually reach the more lucrative stages of selling products and memberships.

Paul Cunningham writes articles, tips and tutorials at Blogging Teacher to help bloggers overcome the many challenges they face building a successful blog. Follow @paulcunningham on Twitter.

Poor Bloggers Focus Too Much On Blog Posts

Guest post by David Risley, of David Risley dot com.

What I’m about to share might be a little bit counter-intuitive for many, so I ask that you stick with me.

What if I were to tell you that blog posts really aren’t all that important?

OK, Mr. crazy man. Stop yanking my chain.

However, I’m quite serious and I’m saying this to you as a full-time, professional blogger who makes his living completely online.

The simple truth is this: Poor bloggers spend most of their time writing blog posts. PROBloggers spend most of their time on what actually matters – business.

Blogging Isn’t A Business

I’ve been quite direct about the fact that blogs are not businesses. I believe that so many bloggers get so hung up on their medium that they haven’t stepped back to look at the big picture. A blog is a promotional medium and a communications platform. And in order to really monetize a blog, you have to ask the question: To what end?

What is your real product? What is the thing that you can provide to others in exchange for some of their money?

See, what we do with blogs is nothing new. The platform is different, but it is essentially human communication and we’ve been doing that ever since the days men were writing on caves.

Then, people developed economies. Some people create things that others can use, and others buy it. Then, people learned how to use the art of writing to promote those products. Thus, people had the power to mobilize crowds of people into certain things. Economies got bigger. Media expanded the reach of promotions into TV, magazines, etc. The Internet then revolutionized the way we communicate. Now, any of us has the power to create and mobilize groups of people from the confines of our bedrooms.

All that being true, the rules haven’t changed. People still spend money on products that they need and want.

Want to Actually Make Money? Then, Answer This…

So, I ask you: What is your product, really?

Your product should be something which is valuable to your audience which they will be willing to fork over a little money for. When you have that, your blog is a promotional medium for an actual business.

Most bloggers today operate in a dream world of made-up business rules. They try to make money with their blogs when they have nothing to sell. They’ll try to monetize the eyeballs only by littering the blog up with banner ads to sell other people’s stuff. It doesn’t take long for most bloggers to realize what a freaking difficult way to monetize a blog that is!

So many bloggers seem to think of their blog as a newspaper. Newspapers are monetized by ads. Guess what? Newspapers are disappearing left and right last time I checked. The model is limited and broken. So, why try to perpetuate it in a completely different medium?

No, the REAL answer to full-time incomes from blogs is to answer that question: What is my product? And if you don’t have one, you need to create one.

In other words, build a real business, then slap a blog on top of it. :) Treat the blog, not as a newspaper, but as a promotional vehicle for an actual business. This isn’t to say all you do is pimp your products. On the contrary, you provide really great content in order to build the relationship up with your reader. However, you do it with the aim of converting into a sale of your own product.

So, Blog Posts Aren’t That Important?

Now, let’s come fill circle back to my original point. Blog posts aren’t really all that important?

Here’s my point: Blog posts are not your product. They won’t get you paid. So, spending all of your blogging time writing more posts isn’t getting you anywhere – IF you want to turn your blog into a revenue producer.

My suggestion is to regroup. Take whatever time you have available for your blog and divide it up. Spend part of the time thinking ahead by producing assets that will help you grow your business. Products to sell, content to use to build your email list, etc. Schedule this into your routine. Then, use the remaining time to write blog posts.

If you have a readership and still aren’t making much more than a few bucks per month from your blog, then something is wrong. And the answer is most likely to be found in the question, “What’s your product?”

David Risley is a professional blogger, which basically means he sits and types a lot and manages to earn a living at it. His blog is the Confessions Of a Six Figure Blogger, and you can follow his escapades on Twitter.

7 Tips for Profitable Niche Blogging

Guest post by Deb Ng from Freelance Writing Gigs.

While going over my stats last summer, I learned something important: If I stopped blogging each day, I would still earn enough each month from my content to draw a salary and pay the bloggers who write for my network. I’m no longer breaking even and I can tell you, after almost five years of trying to make this blog work out, the rewards go far beyond that of money. Success is a great motivator.

I would like to tell those who don’t feel niche bloggers can’t earn decent advertising revenue, they couldn’t be more wrong.

“Make money online” bloggers are always pimping affiliate links. Niche bloggers can’t necessarily do this. Our readers don’t want to receive pitches every day. Moreover, not all niche blog readers are buyers. For example, selling high end products via a frugal living blog probably isn’t the best idea. The same with my freelance writing blog; one thing I learned over the years is that writers don’t open their wallets for the next big thing. If they’re buying products through an affiliate link, it has to provide tremendous value. When I have sold it’s with conferences, books, ebooks, courses and other teaching products. The bulk of my income doesn’t come from affiliate links, however. They come from private ad sales and Adsense.

So, niche bloggers, here is my advice to you:

  1. Traffic and community come first: To truly earn money through advertising revenue on a niche blog, you have to build trust within your community. Sure, you can place ads on your blog from the very beginning, but they probably won’t earn. Don’t focus on monetization right off the bat. Take the time to build traffic and community. Establish trust among your readers. Once you have an active community and regular traffic with a pattern you can rely on, then you can deal with traffic.
  2. Know your readers: Before you sell anything, you have to know your market. Tech blogs and “make money online” blogs can enjoy a more diverse income stream because their readers will respond to a variety of products and services. Not so much with nichier topics. Knowing your community’s habits is essential to monetizing narrow niches. For example, my community is made up of clickers, not buyers. As mentioned above, when they do buy, they choose items that teach. They don’t invest in gadgets but they will invest in materials to help them further their careers.  I learned what they like by playing with the various revenue streams and also by conducting polls and reading every single one of their comments and emails.
  3. It won’t happen overnight: Don’t be frustrated if you don’t begin earning as soon as you place ads. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your community wants to trust you – and your advertisers.  Give each ad some time to earn, but if you don’t see any response at all after a month or two, explore other advertising possibilities.
  4. Good content continues to earn over time: Timeless or “evergreen” content has the ability to earn for a lifetime. Try posting advice that will be relevant five years from now. In addition to current news and events, discuss topics that will always appeal to web searchers.
  5. Find other forms of passive income: Advertising isn’t the only way you can earn through your blog. As Darren has proved here, you can also sell ebooks, courses, work books, webinars and even a membership forum.
  6. Don’t wait for advertisers to find you: For me, private ad sales are the most lucrative. Other than Adsense, my highest payers are advertisers who didn’t come from a particular advertising agency. I found many of them on my own. Advertisers won’t reach out to you if they don’t know about you. If you have enough traffic coming in, create a press kit. List stats such as bounce rate, pageviews, traffic and more. Market your blog much in the same way traditional media market to their advertisers. See if you can convince potential advertisers to come on board.
  7. Don’t rest on your laurels: OK, so you have a few ads. I can tell you now, it won’t last. You can’t expect every advertiser to stick with you for years. They come, advertise for a while, and go on their merry way after sales start to lag a bit. Always be on the lookout for new sponsors and advertising opportunities to ensure there are no dry periods.

Many niche blogs are difficult to monetize, but they don’t have to be. If you study your community and traffic patterns, you can find some profitable solutions. You might have to think outside the box or sell your own stuff, but once your blog hits, the sales will soar.

Are you monetizing your blog now? What methods are using and how is it working out for you?

Deb Ng is a freelance writer, professional blogger, social media consultant and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network of blogs. Follow Deb on Twitter @debng.

44% of Bloggers Sell a Product or Service Of Their Own From Their Blog

The last poll here on ProBlogger examined a growing trend among bloggers trying to monetize their sites – to sell their own products from their blogs rather than just relying upon advertising and affiliate revenue.

Whether it be by selling an E-Book, training program or some other kind of learning program or whether it is selling one self as a consultant or promoting a product from a business that the blogger owns – more and more bloggers do seem to be exploring this as a way to make money.

The poll results were as follows:

sell-products-blog.png

I’ve not run this poll previously so have nothing to compare it to – however my gut feeling on this one is that if conducted even just a year ago the percentages would have been further apart. I suspect in the year ahead we’ll see them grow even closer.

Out of interest I thought I’d compile a list of the types of products and services that people said that they sell in the comments of the poll post. You can see that there’s a lot of variation (it’s actually a really inspiring list to me that illustrates a little of what can be done with a blog!

  • Design work
  • Web/Plugin Development
  • Membership Site
  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • E-Books
  • Reports
  • Legal Services
  • Book (hard cover)
  • Software
  • Speaking/Training Services
  • Music Lessons
  • Copy Writing Services
  • SEO services
  • Tutoring
  • Screencast/Video Content
  • Scrapbook Supplies
  • Sewing Patterns
  • Photographic Prints
  • Excel Templates
  • Music/CD
  • Craft
  • Flowers/Florist
  • Bag Patterns
  • Marketing Services
  • Skincare products
  • Handmade Soap
  • Makeup Artist Services
  • Craft Kits
  • Calendars
  • Vintage Clothing
  • Gourmet Food Items
  • Toys
  • Website Templates
  • Paintings/Art
  • Diet Products
  • Real Estate Brokerage
  • Fitness Program
  • Scuba Diving Education Business
  • Personalised Spoof Newspaper Front Pages
  • T-Shirts
  • Jewellery

There are sure to be many many other examples of what can be sold off the back of a blog – feel free to add more of your experience in this in comments below.