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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.

make-money-non-blogging-sources.png

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.

When Should I Put Advertising on My Blog?

In this post Daniel Scocco answers to a question by Warren:

I started a blog about Professional Lifestyle a little over a month ago. It already has gotten 16,000 visits, has almost 100 subscribers and has a google page rank of 4 (somehow). Should I put up advertisements at this early stage?

Ah, the ever controversial question of when should one start to monetize his blog. If you ask 100 bloggers what they think about it, I am sure you will get 101 different answers.

Instead of trying to come up with a definitive answer, or a fixed number of months that you should wait for before bringing up some ads, let’s just evaluate the Pros and Cons of monetizing a blog early in the game as opposed to waiting a longer period.

Before getting on with the arguments, though, we need to define what is early and what is not, right? I would say that an early monetization strategy is one that inserts ads on the blog from day 1, up to 6 months of its existence. That is, if you plan to insert ads after 5 months, that would still be considered an early monetization strategy for the sake of our discussion. Anything over than 6 months will be considered a long term monetization plan.

Pros of Monetizing Early

1. Your readers will know what to expect
If you bring ads early in the game, all the readers will know that apart from the joy of writing, you also expect to earn some money along the way.

2. Might contribute to the credibility
If you manage to get some respected companies as sponsors, or if your banner ads look really professional, the credibility of your blog might increase. All the major portals and mainstream websites have ads around, so a first time visitor might even think that your blog is more established that what it really is after seeing the ads.

3. Increased motivation
Different people get motivated by different factors, but you can’t deny that getting some money for expressing your ideas and sharing your knowledge on the Web is pretty exciting. Sitting in front of your computer day after day with the need of coming up with quality content might become a burden for some people, and the money factor might help them to stay consistent and engaged with the blog.

Cons of Monetizing Early

1. Some readers will get annoyed
Whether you like it or not, most Internet surfers hate ads. Sometimes they will bear with the annoyance: if the content is really good, and if they have been visiting a site for a long time. Guess what, with a new blog you probably don’t have that many loyal readers, so the ads could actually make you lose potential ones. Even if your content is top notch, some first time visitors will not give you the benefit of the doubt. As soon as they see the ads jammed around they will go somewhere else.

2. Might hinder your success with social media
Users of social media sites like Digg or StumbleUpon can sniffle a “let me load this with ads to make some bucks” websites from miles away. If you are planning to use social media to promote your website on the early stages, the presence of ads, especially too much of them, might hinder this strategy.

3. More difficult to find your voice
Blogs are all about conversations. Many people read blogs, as opposed to traditional mainstream media, because they want to see the facts from a different angle, with some clear opinions mixed once in a while. That is, they want to see the voice of the author of the blog. Defining your own voice is particularly important on the first few months, and bring advertisements might work against this objective. Some people, for example, might conclude (wrongly or not) that because you are running ads right from the start, your goal is mainly to make money, and that you will write whatever you need to in order to achieve this goal.

Pros of Monetizing in the Long Term

1. Focus on growing the blog exclusively
As soon as you bring sponsors or AdSense on your blog, you will start spending time and energy tweaking the ads, thinking about how to increase your earnings, managing the advertisers and so on. If you decide to go ad free for the first few months, on the other hand, you will be able to focus exclusively on the content of the blog and on its promotion.

2. More time to figure what monetization method will work better
If you start playing with advertising and sponsors after 6 months or so, you will be in a better position to evaluate which monetization methods will work, and which are not suitable for your audience or content type. Bloggers that start with ads early in the game, on the other hand, constantly switch between AdSense, CPM ads, direct sponsors and what not, mainly because they don’t know their audience well enough.

3. More monetization options
Apart from having more time to understand your audience, a long term plan will also open the doors to more and better monetization options. With a new blog that has small to average traffic levels, for instance, it would be difficult to find direct sponsors or to get accepted inside high paying ad networks.

Cons of of Monetizing in the Long Term

1. Some readers might react down the road
If you start your blog without ads and keep it that way for a long time, some readers might think that they finally found a pure soul that does not to want to get corrupted by the bloody moolah. Guess what, once the ads start popping in they might consider that you sold out, and some criticism will appear (Robert Scoble knows a thing or two about this…).

2. Money left on the table
If you decide to go without ads in the beginning, and after a while your traffic starts to grow consistently, you will inevitably wonder how much money you are leaving on the table.

3. Design problems down the road
Bloggers that start using ads from the beginning will probably design their blog or choose a template that is suitable for their monetization strategy. Bloggers that use a long term monetization strategy, on the other hand, might find down the road that their layout is not really compatible with ads. As a result they will either be forced to redesign or be limited in the monetization options.

Over to the readers

When do you think a blogger should start monetizing his blog? Is there a rule of thumb for all blogs, or it must be evaluated on a case by case basis?

Daniel Scocco is the author of Daily Blog Tips, and he is currently running a Blogging Idol contest. If you want to compete with fellow bloggers to increase your RSS count, check it out.

How Much Free Content Should I Put in My Blog?

In this article Daniel Scocco answers to a question by Jana:

Where does a blogger draw the line between putting up free content versus releasing an eBook? I’m all about an informative blog with great articles…but an eBook seems to be a good revenue point. So, should an eBook have exclusive information in it that you don’t share on your blog? Or is the value of an eBook found in it being an edited and formatted compendium of your blog?

Considering that Jana talks about revenues, in this article we will cover only paid books that are created (mainly) with the purpose of generating money for the author. In other words, we will not cover the cases where someone writes a free eBook to promote his website, to build an email list, to offer a bonus to RSS subscribers and so on.

The first question that one needs to answer is the following: is my blog established as an authority in its niche, or am I established as an expert in this niche?

Notice that the two parts of this question do not walk together necessarily. One can have an authority blog or website without being a well known expert. Consider Sitepoint.com for example, they are one of the most respected resources for webmasters on the Internet, and yet the site is not associated with any particular person (but rather with a group of authors).

The opposite can happen as well. Muhammad Saleem is a social media guru, and yet his personal blog is not very well known. This is because his strategy involves mostly guest appearances on high profile blogs, as well as on the direct interaction with the communities of the various social bookmarking sites on the web.

Now going back to our initial question, if you answer is no, you probably should keep putting free and quality content out there.

Do not think about this free content as money left on the table, but rather as an investment.

Whenever you create free and high quality content, and publish it on your blog (or on other blogs and websites), you are both building your credibility and making prospects enter your sales funnel. That is, they are getting in contact with your material and ideas, and over the time they will become more inclined to take that relationship to another level (by purchasing your eBook, for instance).

If, on the other hand, you think that your blog or your person already have enough credibility to get an eBook on the market, then you have three main possibilities as far as the origin of the content is concerned.

1. Blog into book

The first possibility is to use completely the content that is already published on the blog. As Jana correctly pointed out in her question, there are many people out there willing to spend money into freely available information that comes edited and formatted.

This editing and formating, and the fact that the information will be contained in a single, easily searcheable document, will probably save people time. And time, is money (sorry for the cliché).

The advantage of this method is obvious: the content is already written, so the author will just need to gather, edit and format it. The downside is that you won’t be able to charge a lot (else people would just go to the trouble of finding the information themselves).

Leo Babauta had a good success with this strategy. He turned his most popular articles into an eBook titled “Handbook for Life,” and started selling it for $6.95.

2. Almost unique

The second possibility is to use some of the free content on your blog, and then to build on top of that to create a more complete and appealing eBook. This is the strategy that I used on my eBook.

It was a natural process, and it all started with a single post. The post was titled “The 7 Characteristics of Good Domain Names,” and it attracted a large amount of comments, links and traffic.

The buzz that it generated was a signal that people were interested on the topic. After a small research on the web I discovered that there was no eBook focusing completely on “how to find domain names,” therefore I decided to write it.

That initial post became the first chapter of the eBook. The rest was unique.

3. Completely unique

Finally, you can also write an eBook from scratch. It might even cover points that you wrote about in the past, but you would need to rewrite them under the framework of an actual book and not of a blog post.

The obvious downside of this strategy is that it will take much more time than the other two. The advantage is that all your current readers and prospects are potential buyers. Even the ones that have been reading your blog for a long time will have a reason to the eBook. It comes with fresh content, after all.

Conclusion

There are no rules defining how much content you should give for free, and how much content you should charge for. The first corner-stone is to establish your blog or yourself as an authority in its niche, and from there, depending on your availability of time, you should decide what kind of eBook you want to publish, if at all.

Another interesting question is the following: are ongoing training programs the new eBooks? But this is for another article!

Daniel Scocco is the author of Daily Blog Tips. You can stay updated with his blog tips by subscribing to his RSS Feed.

How I Make Money Blogging – Top Income Streams Update

How I Make Money BloggingOnce every 3 months I update my Make Money Blogging page here at ProBlogger with my top income earners for that last quarter. Today I made the update for the last three months (March to May 2008).

My top income earners for the last quarter were:

  1. AdSense (previously #1)
  2. Chitika (previously #2)
  3. Private Ad Sales (previously #4)
  4. Amazon Associates (previously #3)
  5. Miscellaneous Affiliate Programs (previously #7)
  6. Shopzilla (previously not in the list)
  7. ProBlogger Job Board (previously #6)
  8. WidgetBucks (previously not in the list)
  9. Miscellaneous Ad Networks (previously #8)

I’ve included where it was previously ranked in my income streams so you can see how things have changed (and where they have not. AdSense and Chitika continue to dominate although Private Ad Sales have been making a move, as have affiliate programs.

You can read a complete description of each one and how I’ve used it in the Make Money Blogging post.

How Do I Make Money Fast Blogging?

Speed-Posting@eMarv asked – “how can one make 25K in 2 months by blogging? :) I know, I know… “

I think you know the answer to that question from your last few words. But when it comes to blogging it’s not a get rich quick thing. I don’t know too many (any) bloggers who made $25k in their first two months. Having said that – I did meet a blogger this week who started a blog and 2-3 weeks later sold it for $3k – so I guess there are some ways to build them quick and sell them off (but this is probably an exception rather than the rule).

My philosophy of building money through blogging is that the secret is in trending up over the long haul.

If you’re after fast money head to the casino – but don’t hold your breath there either!

What would you add to this? Is it possible to make fast money blogging? How would you try if you had to make money fast through blogging?

Read more on this topic at Make Fast Money Blogging Products – My Reaction.

How to Make Money Because of Your Blog – Book Deals

The New York Times has an article this week revealing that the advance of the book deal announced on the blog Stuff White People Like last week is worth $300,000.

We’ve seen a number of bloggers sign book deals over the last year but this kind of money is beyond what I’ve seen before.

Book deals are a perfect example of bloggers making money because of their blog (indirectly).

Other bloggers who’ve released books based upon their blogs include (from among many):

Of course there are many other examples (it seems I hear about more every week). Feel free to nominate others in comments below.

Speaking of book deals – expect to see a little more news on that front from ProBlogger in the coming days. No Six Figure advances but some fun news.

6 Steps to Making Money Because of Your Blog

Bloggers make money from blogging in an every increasing array of ways – but in general they can be broken down into:

 Users Darren Library Application-Support Ecto Attachments Make-Money-Blogging

Much has been written about making money directly from blogs – but the opportunity for blogs to be leveraged to make money indirectly is something that I think has great potential and which is largely ignored by most bloggers.

Whether it be by using your profile from a blot to sell yourself as a consultant, author, employee, blogger on other blogs, speaker, business partner or whether you use it to sell a product or service that you or your business has produced – blogs are ideally suited for this type of approach.

So how do you make money BECAUSE of your blog (indirectly)?

Let me suggest a few starting points (note: these six points made up a small part of my WordCamp Melbourne Presentation. You can see the full video here, although it’s a little sketchy on the audio at times):

1. Align Yourself with a Niche – one of the most powerful things that you can do is to pick the right topic to blog about and which is aligned with what you wish to ‘sell’ from the blog. If you want to become an author on a particular topic – you’ll want to blog on the same (or a related topic). If you wish to do consulting in an industry, your blog needs to cover that topic. If you have a product to sell – you’d better pick a topic that naturally fits with that product.

2. Establish Trust, Expertise and Authority – once you have your topic your primary objective needs to be to work hard at becoming a credible and authoritative voice in your niche. Your ultimate goal at this point is to align yourself so much with your niche that you become the first person that people think of when the topic is mentioned. This partly has to do with branding – but is also closely related to the content that you produce.

Perhaps the best example of this that I can give (best because I know it well) is this blog – ProBlogger. I chose the name ProBlogger on a whim one day (I think I was watching golf or tennis and wondered out loud if there could ever be a blogger that goes Pro). It wasn’t a strategic move – but in hindsight it was one of the best things that I ever did because ‘pro blogger’ has become a term that is now widely used to describe people who make money online. Whether the term would have been used if I didn’t start this blog I’m not sure – but the more the term is used the more happy I become as I know my brand is now aligned with the term.

3. Showcase what You Do - I discovered the power of showing people what you can do early in the life of ProBlogger when I decided to write a post about how A-list blogger Jeff Jarvis could better optimize his blog for AdSense. Looking at his blog today I’m not sure that Jeff really took a whole lot of notice of what I said – but that didn’t really matter because others did (and Jeff did link up). The power of showcasing what I could do paid off the next day when I had emails from 10 or so potential consulting clients wanting me to do what I’d done for Jeff – most of whom were willing to pay me for it. The take home lesson is to not only talk about what you can do – but to show how you can do it.

4. Give away the principles and Sell the Personalization – I spoke with an author and business coach recently who does a fair few Media appearances to promote his work and he told me that his strategy is to give away as much general advice as possible when he’s on TV or Radio in the hope that people will buy his books and come to him for coaching when they want to know how to apply it to their own lives. I think that this is a great strategy for bloggers also. A blog is a great place to spread the word of what you have to offer. Teach people the principles of what you know – but make yourself available to those who want to take it further and apply it to their own situation.

5. Sell Yourself Not Someone Else – a common mistake that bloggers make when they want to sell themselves or their own products from their blog is to also run advertising on their blogs. The problem is that those who will want to advertise on your blog are likely to be your competitors and instead of just selling yourself you’ll be selling them too. While it’s possible to do both – I find that it’s much better to choose to either make money directly or indirectly from your blog and not to mix your messages (having said this – I’ve managed to do both here at ProBlogger at different times with different levels of success).

6. Make Yourself Accessible – looking to pick up opportunities that come your way from blogging? You’ve got to make it easy for people to give them to you. While I understand a need for privacy – if you make it too difficult for people to get in touch – they won’t. In the early days of my blog I not only had an email contact form on my blog – but I also published my phone number and Instant Messaging contact details. While this did lead to a lot of disruptions to my days – it also brought in some truly amazing opportunities. Of course there’s a need to be smart on this and as my blog grew in popularity I also stopped publicizing my IM details (there are only so many hours in a day).

One last note

The above 6 steps do not just happen. They take time, they take effort, they take consistent work and they take a little luck. Step 2 is crucial and particularly takes time. Building trust, establishing an audience and being accepted as a credible source of information can take years.