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Become a Blogger Video Training – Closing Doors to New Members Next Week

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I’ve just had word that the popular Become a Blogger training series for bloggers is closing its doors to new members in 1 week.

On 6 February they’ll stop taking on new members to their program. They already have 800 signed up members so seem to feel its best to close to new members to focus upon the community they’ve already grown.

This largely video based training has been helping a lot of bloggers. I know many ProBlogger readers signed up when it first was released in December and I’ve been getting great reports.

The training is video based (and a closed forum) and is centered around a series of 9 modules over six months (each month you get 8 videos):

  1. Get Your Blog Up And Running Fast And FREE
  2. How To Optimize Your Blog For Maximum Search Engine Performance
  3. How To Use Images On Your Blog To Make You Stand Out From The Crowd
  4. How To Create A Different Dimension To Your Blog By Adding Audio
  5. How To Breathe Life Into Your Blog Using Online Video
  6. How To Create Powerful Content For Your Blog, Consistently and Without Fail
  7. How To Create Multiple Streams of High Quality Traffic To Your Blog
  8. How To Use The “X-Factor” Strategies To Put Your Blog Into Super Drive!
  9. How To Make Money From Your Blog

For a taster check out these 10 free videos and their free Roadmap Report which are great resources on their own and a great way to work out if Yaro and Gideon (the guys behind this training) are your cup of tea.

This is not a course for advanced bloggers but as you can see from the list of topics covered it is geared towards those who are about to start out, who have just started out and who want to up their skill set and knowledge on many of the things you need to be able to do to take a blog to the next level.

If those fit with your situation you should check it out and consider the investment going forward into 2009.

PS: Yaro and Gideon offer a 60 day money back guarantee on this course. I’ve had a lot of interaction with both of them and this is actually a genuine offer. If you’re not satisfied in that time – just ask for your money back.

How Much Money Do Bloggers Make Blogging?

Over the last two months I’ve had a sidebar poll running here at ProBlogger that asked readers to tell us how much their blog earned in October of 2008.

This is an annual poll that we’ve run for a number of years now so it is always interesting to see the results.

As usual – the poll revealed that most bloggers either don’t try to make money blogging or earn very little from their blogs but also that a smaller (but still significant) number of bloggers are making at least a part time living from the medium and a few bloggers beyond what most of us would consider ‘full time’.

Of course this is not a scientific poll and it relies upon people interpreting the question correctly and voting honestly – I’m certain that there are inaccuracies in it (particularly with some voting in the top category just for ‘fun’) but the results are actually quite similar to previous years which does make me think that there is at least some level of truth to them.

Take it or leave it – here are the results of this year’s earning poll:

  • 37% of those who voted said that they do not make money from their blogs. This category would include both those who don’t want to make money blogging, those who didn’t realize that it was possible, those who don’t have a blog and those who have tried but failed to make money blogging.

While this is a significant and important result I’ve removed category from the charts below so that we can concentrate just on those who make at least some money from their blog.

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  • 1162 people said that they make under $10 a month. This is a total of 29% of those who make money blogging. This category was 26% in 2007 and 30% in 2006.
  • 477 people made between $10-$29 in the month (12%)
  • 505 people made between $30-$99 (12%)
  • 686 made $100 – $499 over the month (17%)

So to this point we can say 70% of those who make money from their blogs make less than $500 a month and 30% make $500 or more.

  • 262 made $500 – $999 (6%)
  • 150 made $1,000 – $1,499 (4%)
  • 128 made $1,500 – $2,499 (3%)
  • 130 made $2,500 – $4,999 (3%)
  • 95 made $5,000 – $9,999 (2%)
  • 45 made $10,000 – $14,999 (1%)
  • 35 made $15,000 – $19,999 (1)
  • 373 made $20,000 or more (9%).

The top category probably has some skewing but has always been in this vicinity (9% in 2007 and 7% in 2006 – although in these years the top category was $15,000+). While I’m sure there is some skewing here it is an open ended category so we could expect it to have people earning not only $20,000 a month but also those earning quite a bit more (of which I’m aware of quite a few).

Here’s another chart with the same information:

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Once again these figures hammer home to anyone wanting to get into blogging for money that it is not a foregone conclusion that you’ll make a lot of money from the medium. It is possible to make at least a part time income from blogging and for some to make quite a bit of money from it – but over half are earning less than $3 a day (or $100 a month).

For those interested in the comparisons to previous years – let me finish with charts from 2006 and 2007. First here are the 2006 results:

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And now the 2007 results:

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As you’ll see the results are remarkably similar from year to year although each year we’ve done it the sample size has grown.

Increase Amazon Sales with Best Seller and Popular Product Lists

This week we’ve been looking at a variety of techniques to help you increase your blogs earnings in the lead up to Christmas.

Today I want to share 2 similar techniques that I’ve used in the last week that is a big part of tripling my Amazon earnings for the month of December – best seller and popular products lists.

These are two techniques that I’ve used semi regularly on my photography tips site – let me explain, with examples, how I do them.

Best Seller Lists

This technique is used in retail stores everywhere. Head into your local bookstore and you’re bound to find a ‘best seller’ list or even a full display showing what the best selling books of the month are.

Books that sell well and get on these lists often go to the next level – simply because they are on the list. People see that they’re popular and so when they are looking for a book – they’re more likely to go for them because obviously others like them. It’s partly about using the wisdom of the crowd to identify quality and make decisions but it is also partly about ‘social proof’.

Here’s an example of how I use this same concept to create my own best seller list on my blog.

You can see the list at my Popular Digital Cameras and Gear page. On this page you’ll see a number of lists of best selling photography books, DSLR cameras, lenses and point and shoot cameras. The lists were compiled simply through my Amazon Affiliate program statistics.

Amazon gives you quite detailed reports of what products have sold through your affiliate links. You can arrange them by the number of items sold and it isn’t hard to take that information and put it into a list of your own.

Of course this works best if you have an audience who has been making purchases – but if you don’t all is not lost. Go to any Amazon category page (for example this Small Business and Entrepreneurship Books page) and you can see the products there arranged in order of ‘best selling’.

There’s your best selling books on that topic. Simply find a category that relates to your topic and you can create a relevant post on your blog that taps into the social proof idea.

Popular Product Lists

Another similar technique that I’ve found to be very effective is to create ‘popular product lists’. This is similar in that it creates a list of products that are popular for your readers to interact with – but the difference is that you don’t use Amazon stats to put the list together – you use your readers own feedback to create the list.

Here’s how it worked for me recently:

The result was really good. The post didn’t generate a lot of comments – but it did generate quite good sales at Amazon over the coming week. Interestingly the post was also very very popular when I linked to it in the following week’s email newsletter – it was the most clicked upon link in that email with over 5000 people viewing the post.

This resulted in some good sales of the lenses mentioned in the post – but also considerably secondary sales of other products when people continued to surf around Amazon.

Again – this technique relies upon your blog having readers and readers who leave comments – but even with a small group of readers I’m sure it could be done.

Good luck creating your best seller and popular products lists!

PS: One more type of List that I’m experimenting with on DPS today is a compilation of reviews that I’ve published on the blog previously. You can see this in action in a post titled 12 Great Digital Photography Books for Your Christmas Stocking.

In short it is a list of books on the topic of photography, with links to Amazon and the reviews that I’ve previously written on the books plus short quotes from those reviews. I’ve not done this type of list before but suspect it’ll do well.

Can you REALLY Make Money Blogging?

Every now and again I get an email from a ProBlogger reader excitedly telling me that they’re about quit their jobs to become full time bloggers. More often than not they are new bloggers who for one reason or another have it in their minds that blogging for money is a quick and easy thing to do.

This post is yet another attempt (I’ve done this 2-3 times a year since 2004) to help bloggers thinking about blogging for money to get a realistic picture of what is possible.

I always struggle a little with responding to these emails. On the one hand I love the enthusiasm that new bloggers often have and don’t want to be responsible for squashing it and leaving them despondent.

Blogging is an exciting medium, it is filled with many possibilities (one of which is profit), it is a lot of fun and it is possible to make a full time living from doing it. In fact it’s possible to go beyond making a living from blogging – (stories like this one about a 1 man blog being sold for $15 million illustrate this).

HOWEVER…..

The reality is that most bloggers never sell their blog for millions…. in fact most bloggers don’t even come close to a full time living from blogging. Every time I’ve surveyed my readers on how much they earn the majority report that they’re earning less than $100 a month with most of those earning less than $10 a month.

Can you REALLY Make Money Blogging?

The simple answer to this question is – yes.

It is possible to make money blogging. In fact it’s quite likely that if you try to make money blogging and stick with it for the long haul that you will make at least some money blogging – however ‘some’ money is different to ‘much’ money.

Can you Make MUCH Money Blogging?

Again – the simple answer is yes. You can make a lot of money blogging. The example of the $15m blogger above is one example. My own experience is less spectacular but is another story of a blogger making a good living from the medium (I’ve been earning well into the ‘six figures’ range for a number of years now.

It is possible – but every statistic I’ve ever read shows that it’s not likely, at least for the majority of bloggers, to make ALOT of money blogging.

As mentioned above – I’ve surveyed my readers a number of times on their earnings. One of these surveys was back in May 2006 (I did one with very similar results in November 2007 and things seem similar in the current poll I’m running on this same topic) where I found that my readers were earning a large spread of income levels from blogging:

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While 7% reported earning over $15,000 a month (I suspect this is a little inflated – some people tend to pick extreme results in polls just because) 57% report earning less than $100 a month. 30% reported earning less than 30 cents a day.

I don’t know about you – but that chart is both sobering and inspiring all in one. It shows quite clearly that most bloggers are not making much – but does also seem to indicate that there are some bloggers out there who are at least making at least a part time supplementary income from blogging.

Getting Your Expectations about Earning Money from Blogging Right

OK – some of you are possibly quite depressed by this stage. Should you give up on your dreams of making a living from blogging? Is it all too hard? Is it worth it?

Don’t give up but be Realistic.

My encouragement to all bloggers with the dream of building a blog that makes money is simple. Get into the game – but do so with realistic expectations. A few thoughts and tips to help you get those expectations right:

Aim for the sky but set your sights on the next step

There’s nothing wrong with having big dreams. Very early on in my own blogging for money story I began to see the possibilities of earning a good living from blogs. Dreams are great for motivating and inspiring you – but they can also be a distraction and set you up for disappointment. Allow yourself time to think about ‘what could be’ but then get yourself focused upon the next step you need to take to take yourself in the direction you want to end up.

For me this was about setting realistic goals of what I could achieve in the next month. Each month I had the goal of increasing monthly traffic to my blogs by 10% on the previous month. This meant that over time I would see exponential growth to my blogs. With a goal of 10% growth in mind I then set myself ‘tasks’ – concrete things that I could do to achieve the goal (writing certain amounts of posts, networking with other bloggers etc).

Don’t give up your day job

There may one day come a time when you can give up that job and focus upon blogging full time – but that time is not likely to be now for most people reading this. My own experience of this (I share an extended version of my story of taking blogging from a hobby to a full time thing in the ProBlogger book by the way) was that I worked a number of part time jobs and was studying part time in my early days of blogging. As my blog income grew I slowly decreased the time I was working other jobs.

I actually was working a part time job even after I was earning a full time income from blogging. I wanted to have a backup in case things went pear shaped (in fact this was smart because at one point Google reindexed my blogs and my blogging income largely disappeared for a couple of months).

It’s really important to be responsible with cutting off other income sources in order to ‘go Pro’ as a blogger – particularly if you have a family relying upon your as the main income earner. I’ve seen a number of very sad stories of people taking this drastic action only to leave their family without income.

I’ve previously written about this in a post about Monkey Bar Blogging.

Take a Long Term View

Most successful blogs take years to build to their potential. It takes up time to:

  • build a large enough archive of posts
  • to build up loyal readers and subscriber numbers
  • to become known in your niche, to ‘get blogging’
  • to find your voice
  • to get authority in the eyes of the search engines…. etc

None of this just happens. It takes years to grow a blog.

It’s NOT Passive Income

Another common misconception about blogging for money is that it becomes ‘passive income’ – that you can sit back and let your blog earn you big dollars while you enjoy your lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong – there are a few ‘passive’ elements to the income that a blog can generate. For example:

  • I could go away for a week today and not post anything on my blog and it would still earn me money
  • posts that I wrote 4 years ago continue to generate income for me

Yes it could be argued on these fronts that the income is somewhat passive. However blogging for money is a lot of hard work. Most bloggers whose blogs make it big time put a lot of time and energy into building their blogs. Most that I’ve met have worked beyond full time hours on their blogs over years.

This isn’t to say that it’s not fun – one of the things I’ve discovered in the last few years is that hard work can be a lot of fun (who would have thought) – but there are days when it is very time consuming and challenging work.

Not all Blogs are Created Equal

I am often asked – ‘how many visitors a month do I need to earn $XXX?’

While I’d love to be able to give people a formula for working out the answer to this question the reality is that every blog is so different from every other blog. I’ve worked with hundreds of bloggers over the years and each time I do I relearn the lesson that no two blogs are alike.

Blogs vary from niche to niche (ie a finance blog will earn differently to a craft blog which will earn differently to a tech blog) – but even within niches they will perform very differently (I’ve had two photography blogs over the years and they couldn’t be more different).

I bring this up because quite often I come across bloggers who model their blogs after other blogs – sometimes to the point of copying every aspect of them. Unfortunately this isn’t a great way forward. Most successful blogs cut new ground, have their own voice, blog in their own style and tackle a topic with their own perspective. As a result they grow differently, attract their own audience and monetize differently.

Do learn from other blogs and bloggers – but also attempt to find your own way.

Further Reading:

I’ve talked about these issues numerous times in the past here at ProBlogger. One post that you might want to look at if you’d like a few tips on how to build a blog is a post I wrote some time ago outlining 18 Lessons I’ve learned about Blogging.

How Much Money Did You Earn from Blogging in October 2008?

It’s time for another annual poll here at ProBlogger – this one asking readers how much they earned in October 2008? I’ve run this poll a number of times over the last couple of years and the results are always interesting.

Just to qualify it – I’m asking about ALL blogging revenue that you can tie to your actual blog. Advertising, affiliate revenue, revenue that your blog might have brought in in terms of consulting etc. As long as you feel your blog drew the money in then I’m happy for it to be included.

In October, How Much Did You Earn from Blogging?
View Results


Looking forward to seeing your results.

How to Find Advertisers for Your Blog

In this video Gary Vaynerchuk answers how to monetize your blog or video blog with a practical illustration.

Of course you need to have at least some traffic to pull in advertisers – but once you do, if the advertisers are not coming to you yet – go to them.

PS: this actually works. When I started my first camera blog I couldn’t attract big advertisers like Canon and Nikon – so even in the early days when I just had a few hundred readers a day I began to contact local and online small businesses with a photography focus. I was amazed at how many of them were willing to buy advertising. The money wasn’t massive but land a few of them and it adds up.

The beauty of this is that as your traffic grows you’re able to charge more to these advertisers (give them traffic and many of them will stick with you). It also shows other advertisers that you’re attracting advertisers (which can stimulate new advertising).

Read more about Finding Advertisers for your Blog

How Bloggers Make Money Online without Blogging [POLL RESULTS]

Last month I ran a poll here at ProBlogger which asked readers if they make money online from sources other than blogging.

The result was almost completely split with 1022 of the 2053 people who responded saying Yes and 1031 saying no.

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Some of the comments on the launch post of this poll revealed some of the ways people are making money online from sources other than blogging. They include:

  • Website Design
  • Flipping (selling) Websites
  • Selling ebooks
  • Youtube Partnership program
  • Freelance writing, graphic design
  • Teaching and Consulting
  • Owning other types of websites (directories, forums etc)
  • Business Documentation site
  • Developing web applications
  • Online Surveys
  • Paid to Click Sites
  • Selling Products and Merchandise
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Writing on User Generated Content (Revenue Sharing) Sites
  • Make Online Games
  • Online Store – Selling Products
  • eBay
  • Selling Art
  • Business Referrals
  • Market Research
  • Software Development
  • Working as a Transcriptionist
  • Membership Sites
  • Generating Sales for Off-line Business from Websites

Lots of good ideas there and a nice reminder that there’s plenty to explore outside of blogging.

My own list of online money making sources that are not directly blogging include running a forum (advertising revenue), newsletter lists (affiliate marketing and some advertising), consulting (limited), selling a course, job boards, working at b5media (very part time)… and that’s about all I can think of.

10 Ways to Make Money BECAUSE of Your Blog

What if I told you that there’s a way to make money as a result of your blog where you don’t need to have a single ad on your blog, where you don’t have to run any affiliate programs and where you don’t have to write any paid reviews?

Would you be interested?

Make-Money-Because-Of-Your-BlogImage by iDream_in_Infrared

Much is written about how bloggers make money through selling advertising space or running affiliate programs on their blogs. However there’s a second, somewhat hidden, group of bloggers who make a great living not directly from their blogs – but indirectly as a result of them.

Instead of using their traffic to sell advertising or promote products to earn commissions from – they leverage the traffic to their blog in another way – usually to sell themselves.

Today I want to highlight 10 ways of making money BECAUSE of your blog – as opposed to making money directly from it via advertising, paid reviews or affiliate programs.

1. Consulting

The blogger consultant model is simple. You give away information generously on your given topic and then sell your services to help people apply your teaching to their personal situation with some personal attention from you.

Bloggers who also act as consultants generally charge for their time by the hour, but I’ve also come across some who have landed ongoing consulting work in their field of expertise and have been signed up on retainer by companies.

Some might think that it’s just bloggers who blog about blogging who pick up consulting work (I’ve done my fair share) but it’s not the case. I’ve met dating bloggers, marketing bloggers, photography bloggers, craft bloggers and more who all offer their services in coaching, mentoring and training their readers one on one.

2. Book Authorship

It is becoming more and more common for bloggers to be approached by book publishers to write books. Chris and I were approached to write ProBlogger the Book by Wiley, Gina from Lifehacker landed a 2 book deal, Frank from Post Secret has done numerous books, Steve Pavlina has one coming out soon…. the list goes on and on. Sometimes book are heavily based upon the blog itself – other times the book is completely new.

3. Speaking

Bloggers spend day in and day out writing content for their blogs and so for many it is not too much of a stretch to translate the principles that they are writing about into verbal sessions at conferences or other public speaking opportunities.

Often these sorts of speaking engagements are not for any kind of payment but once you build your profile in a niche the paid opportunities do come along for many – particularly when you’re asked to speak in-house for companies or organizations.

4. Training

There’s some overlap here with ‘speaking’ as in many instances speakers are engaged in a training capacity – but some bloggers also take the ‘training’ that they do in another direction and run their own training courses for readers. They leverage the traffic that they have do direct people to training either online (membership sites) or even offline into real life training events.

One blogger who I’ve seen do this really well is David Hobby from Strobist who has successfully run a variety of real life training events on his niche (photography lighting). He’s also done spin off DVDs of the training which he sells.

5. Freelance Writing

I’ve had many approaches for this myself and see quite a few other bloggers land this type of work. Their profile and expertise on a blog leads other websites, blogs, magazines, newspapers etc to ask them to contribute in a paid capacity.

This might be a newspaper column, a regular staff writer role or even a one off paid contribution.

6. Selling Services

Once you establish a readership on a topic other opportunities can arise to sell a variety of services from your blog. Here at ProBlogger I added a job board (something many blogs have done), Blogger Timothy Sykes makes tens of thousands a month with an ‘stock market alerts’ service, Shoemoney is introducing ‘Shoemoney Tools‘ (a great resource for bloggers actually – I’ve been playing with it the last few days).

Another example is Kevin from Real Lawyers have blogs who offers lawyers and law firms a blogging solution.

7. Selling E-Resources

Again – there’s some cross over here with some of the above but it’s something that we’ve seen a lot of bloggers doing (or attempting to do) of late with the creation of ebooks, membership sites, tools and software that relate to their niche.

8. Landing ‘Real’ Jobs

One of the great things about starting a blog that builds your profile and perceived expertise in an industry is that others in that industry begin to see you as an attractive addition to their staff.

I’ve seen a number of bloggers write about this over the years – Steve Rubel is one that comes to mind as someone who became very well known in the PR industry and was head hunted by a PR firm as a result of his blogging.

9. Finding Business Customers and Clients

Another indirect income earner that many bloggers tap into is leveraging their blog’s profile to send find new clients and send new business to their offline companies.

In a sense their blog becomes like an advertisement to their company’s products and services.

There are literally thousands of ‘business blogs’ who do this. The key is not to make the blog purely a sales pitch or marketing device but to make it a destination of value to readers and to let this sell you and your business.

What’s Number 10?

Every week I ‘meet’ (virtually) bloggers who are making money from their blogs in ways that I’d never considered before. There are certainly some creative people out there coming up with some innovative ways to build blogs into income streams.

So I’m leaving #10 in this list up to you. What other ‘indirect’ ways of making money from blogs do you do or see others doing? I’d love to see examples of any of the methods above or any other that I might have missed. Can’t wait to read your number 10s!

8 Jobs for Bloggers

If you’re looking for a job as a blogger then the ProBlogger Blog Job Boards have seen 8 new jobs advertised in just the last 3 days. Actually there’s more than that – because some of the ads are for more than one blogger and one has already been filled.

Here’s the latest batch:

There are also quote a few other jobs still open from the last few weeks here. Jobs like these are being filled very fast so to get notified of them within minutes of them being posted subscribe to the blogger job board RSS feed.

If you’re looking for bloggers….

If you’re looking to hire a blogger for your blog the job board is a wonderful place to find them. The RSS feed is subscribed to by thousands of bloggers, jobs appear in the ProBlogger Twitter feed (subscribed to by over 9000 people) as well as appearing on the front page of ProBlogger.net (seen by hundreds of thousands of people every month). Jobs also get picked up on a number of other job sites that track and aggregate our jobs! That’s pretty amazing exposure for your job considering it only costs $50 for 30 days.