What’s The Best Compliment You’ve Ever Received As A Blogger? Thumbnail

Blogging can sometimes be a real chore if you’re focused too much on the metrics and dollar signs. I did my best to ignore everything from Google Analytics to my Paypal account for the first two years until I finally had to start paying closer attention when I started planning to leave my job in Spring 2012. With so much more time nowadays, I can’t help but check the accounts everyday now.

I think most of us who’ve been around long enough have received a compliment over e-mail or through a comment about how our content has helped the reader in some way. This immediate, positive feedback is probably the #1 thing that keeps us going even when things get a little tough. Heck, I even pontificated on whether blogging is a form of charity to encourage myself to keep on going.

The transition from part-time blogger to full-time blogger has been pretty straightforward because I don’t rely on my blog income to live. That’s what my passive income streams are for. But as I focus a little more on the “pro” side of the “problogging” journey, I’ve become much more aware of how to do business online.


Most of us start off blogging for fun. If we build enough momentum we start receiving revenue opportunities. If our traffic starts growing tremendously, then perhaps one day we can focus on our blogs full-time. I’ve written about “How Much Income Do You Need To Make Online To Be Happy” with some various good feedback from all of you.

The trick is getting to the income happiness goal without blowing yourself up in the process by losing your readership and your soul. The concern of “selling out” is experienced by every single blogger I know who grows large enough to earn a livable online income. Do you really want to just publish product review post after product review post to earn money? Are you OK with writing about the latest credit card even though you don’t own the credit card and know that credit cards can do a lot of harm in the hands of the wrong consumer? I don’t, and hopefully neither do you.

I’ve been super sensitive with my content since I left Corporate America, careful not to overload my posts with affiliate links and other advertisements. Affiliate income is the best way to make a living online, but it has to be done with care. For example, consider adding the affiliate copy a week or two after a post is published to respect the existing readership. I also don’t accept any sponsored posts on Financial Samurai anymore unless they are totally relevant with mind blowing content. As a result, I’m probably missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue a year.

To make up for the lost revenue, I tell myself to focus on the long game. I blog because I want to have something stimulating to do after Corporate America. Money is just a bonus. If I lose the trust of my readership, then I’m probably not going to have as much to do since the site will go downhill. The other thing I tell myself is the old cliche, “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” So far it’s worked, but it’s taken a long time.


One evening a reader responded to a RSS e-mail on a post I wrote about “Getting Over The One More Year Syndrome.” We got to talking about life and how he was trying to plan his exit as well to do something else. He then asked me the best question a blogger could hear,

“Sam, do you actually make money from your site?”

Music to my ears! This reader has been a subscriber for over two years and was curious to know whether there’s any income coming from FS. As a blogger, it’s apparent when you visit Financial Samurai that I’ve optimized it in a way to generate revenue. But as all of us know, we’re not blogging for bloggers since we’re not in the teach others to make money and blog online business.

“Do you actually make money from your site?” is my favorite compliment because:

* It shows that your readers are not distract by your ads.

* Your affiliate links are helpful and highly relevant to the content and to the reader.

* Content doesn’t seem forced or salesy.

* Your site’s main purpose is not about making money online, unless of course that is your niche.


I’m a big proponent of Stealth Wealth when it comes to telling people how much you make and sharing your overall net worth if the numbers are at levels much higher than the median. Nothing good comes from showing off your wealth except for perhaps a temporary ego boast.

So perhaps the best way to grow your blog is to try and make all your revenue generators as invisible to the reader as possible. In other words, really command your writing and include affiliate links that are absolutely congruent with your content. The less your readers know that you’re making money, the more money you’re likely to make.

I’d love to hear from all of you what your best compliment has been in your blogging journey. Do you think you’ll generate more revenue with more overt advertisements that are hard to miss, or more covert advertisements which blend in better with your writing? Focus on retirement if you are retired.


It’s been over seven years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive and active income stream online now. My online presence has allowed me to pursue other things, such as consulting for various financial tech startups as well.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, learn how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes like this one. 

Leverage the 3+ billion internet users and build your brand online. There are professional bloggers now who make way more than bankers, doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs while having much more fun, much more freedom, and doing less work. Get started. You never know where the journey will take you! 

Updated for 2017 and beyond.