After seven years of blogging, I’ve decided to finally focus some energy writing about how to make money blogging. My online income is now greater than my passive income, which took 15 years to build. Meanwhile, 94% of the over 500 voters say they want to learn how to make their own money-making website in my latest poll. Therefore, I’m going to give my community what they want.
I’ve been reticent to build this portion of my online revenue income because I never got into blogging to write about blogging. It just sounds a little circular doesn’t it? Further, in order to write about blogging with authority it’s a good idea to actually have a lot of traffic and income from other sources BEFORE writing about making money blogging.
What I failed to realize over the years was that people really don’t care whether you have credibility or not when it comes to writing about SEO, online marketing, blogging, etc. Instead, people tend to want to be sold the dream of online riches. People visiting want so hard to believe in the ability to make lots of money online that they’ve already made up their mind once they get to your site!
THE WRONG & LONG WAYS TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING
I’d first like to share with you the wrong ways to try to make money blogging about making money blogging. All three items were what I thought were the right ways to go about this niche in the beginning of my blogging journey.
1) Wait for at least three years. The idea is that after three years or at 10,000 hours of work, you’ll gain the credibility to write about making money blogging. The problem is, you have to wait three years or 10,000 hours until you can start making money writing about blogging! Three years is an eternity in the online world.
2) Wait until you achieve at least 100,000 visitors a month. Receiving 100,000 visitors a month is a fantastic milestone writing about a topic other than blogging about blogging. However, most blogs will never get there, thereby negating their ability to make money blogging about blogging. A better way is to just establish yourself as an authority about blogging even if you have dismal traffic, and then work your way up to 100,000+ once everybody believes you are the authority. If you believe it, it might just happen.
3) Wait until you make at least $10,000 a month online (not freelancing). Making $10,000 a month from online advertising, your own products, or lead generation is legit. You’ll easily be able to convert people into signing up for your blogging products or blogging affiliate products if you really do make five figures a month. However, it might take you three years to make $10,000 a month, or you might never get there. What a shame it would be not to be able to make money blogging about blogging before then.
It’s honorable to try to hit these milestones, whichever comes first. But I’m here to tell you straight up that you are leaving tons of money on the table. If I had started blogging about how to make money blogging since my first year in 2009, I’d probably be at least $500,000 – $1,000,000 richer by now!
SECRETS TO MAKING MONEY BLOGGING ABOUT BLOGGING
I’ve talked to a number of bloggers who make money blogging about blogging and here are their strategies. I’ve paraphrased their words after their quotes.
“Credibility is overrated. Just start.”
I was only blogging for six months when I started positioning myself as an authority on how to make money online. This is the internet. Nobody really checks your background. Do you think Ramit was rich before he wrote a book on teaching people how to be rich? Of course not! He was a college graduate. But now he’s making well over $1M a year. Look at all the freelance writers out there writing for major magazines. They are 25 year old kids who have no idea what they are talking about writing for Forbes, Fortune, etc. The public can’t tell and these sites are huge. Why don’t I just do the same?
“Make money freelancing first, but make people believe the income is from your blog.”
A lot of people confuse making money freelancing with earning money from a blog. Freelance income is active income, blogging income is semi-passive income and much harder because you need traffic, a brand, business development skills, and good SEO rankings. What I did was make my readers believe that most of my blog income was from my blog, and not my freelance income, even though it was. Once I got to over $10,000 a month in income, readers started flocking because they believe in the relative passiveness of my income. But we all know that making money from blogging is way harder than working for someone else. Lots of people make $5,000 – $10,000 a month from their jobs.
“Make them envious of you by telling them how much you make every month.”
The average American household makes about $4,500 a month. I made my readers envious by starting off saying that I made at least $5,000 a month. Now I tell them I make over $25,000 a month to really make them jealous and sign up for my products. My income is in their face to make them so envious that they can’t help but follow me.
“Always highlight increasing earnings each month.”
It doesn’t matter if we’re in the middle of summer or the middle of winter when traffic is slow and budgets are down, I always highlight an increase in my monthly earnings. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not because none of my readers will ever know the real numbers. I’ve got to keep the momentum going to keep my audiences hungry so I can make more money off them. I admit that I blog about making money blogging because my primary love is money.
“I never clearly highlight the sources of my income unless there is a great affiliate offer.”
I’ll give a total income amount each month, and then highlight the products I make money off if they have an affiliate link. If there is no affiliate opportunity, then I keep the income in a general bucket. My readers will inquire, but I’ll just tell them it’s from freelancing or general advertising.
NO SKILLS REQUIRED
So there you have it. I’ve shared with you some great inside tips on how to make money blogging about blogging from bloggers who specifically derive most their income from blogging about blogging. The key is to make people believe they can do it too by starting with a small income and working your way up to ever larger income reports. Whether you actually make that much money is up to your moral compass to decide.
Anybody who is savvy enough will realize when you are not telling the truth because they understand seasonal online traffic patterns throughout the year. They can also easily look up your sites traffic to see if your income is within the realm of possibility. For example, it’s highly unlikely that a site with 50,000 visitors a month makes $15,000 a month. That would be a CPM of $300, when the top sites in the world at most get around a $30 – $60 CPM. Everybody in advertising knows this. I know this after consulting in the marketing departments of several companies who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on advertising. $100+ CPMs are either a lie, or the money is not made through blogging but through active freelance work.
The greatest thing about making money blogging about blogging is that you don’t need any deep knowledge about stocks, bonds, retirement, real estate, private equity, etc. That stuff takes many years of experience to get a handle on in the personal finance world. Just focus on the easy stuff, like budgeting and saving. Look at the content of sites who make most of their money blogging about blogging. The content is very thin outside of their income reports.
I don’t plan to manipulate my readers on Financial Samurai with the tips I’ve learned from others above. I do plan to be very upfront about all the make money online shenanigans, and the difficulties of growing a large enough audience to make a meaningful amount of income. I enjoy talking about my many failures anyway.
But as many website owners know, making money online is a real possibility. And now that my online income is significant, I might as well share my strategies and earn some shekels along the way. I just won’t be encouraging my readers to try and make money online by writing about how to make money online. Instead, I want them to build their websites around their greatest interests. That’s the only way sites can really build a big enough audience to thrive.
STARTING A MONEY MAKING BLOG
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.