A lot of bloggers try to make money online but most of them fail because they don’t know what a real strategy for monetizing a blog looks like. They try to ‘monetize’ their blogs when in fact they should be building businesses around their blogs that will get monetized naturally.
This article is going to reveal a simple and effective step-by-step system for making money with your blog.
This system works simply because it’s based on proven business fundamentals that existed even before the internet.
So, if you’re done being one of over 90 percent of bloggers who only make a few dollars each day blogging, or those who spend all their time playing around with Adsense tags and looking for new places to cram affiliate links on their blog, then read on to find out how to start making some real money with your blog.
So How do You Make (Real) Money from a Blog?
The following is a road map to help you start to make money from your blog, or if you’re already seeing some blog profits, to increase your revenue significantly.
The method described here is powerful yet deceptively simple. It’s based on tried and tested principles and has proven to be efficient.
Countless people are using this business system to make money online and create lives of time and money freedom for themselves, and you can do it too. Just remember one simple truth:
Blogging doesn’t make money, but building a business around your blog does.
Businesses make money when they solve people’s problems or fill demands in the market. They accomplish this via products or services.
Here’s how the business system works:
- You make money by gaining customers.
- You gain customers by selling stuff to them.
- To sell them something, first, you have to gain their attention.
Now that you understand that, let’s find out why most bloggers fail to make money from their blogs.
Why Most Bloggers Fail to Make Money
A lot of bloggers monetize their blogs by using banner ads, affiliate marketing, and other such methods. If you’ve ever tried these yourself, then I don’t have to tell you that they don’t really work that well.
Take banner ads, for instance. With banner ads, you can only make any real money if you can attract massive amounts of traffic.
After putting all that time and effort into bringing traffic to your site, you then proceed to send them to someone else’s website for a few pennies? If you sold something directly to those people you could make multiple times the amount of revenue.
Next on the list is affiliate marketing. A lot of marketers just stick a few affiliate links on their blog and then hope for the best.
While that does work (sort of), they don’t make much money.
The marketers who make the most from affiliate marketing are the ones who are well aware of the business system that we are discussing in this article.
Even though the product isn’t theirs, they use it to maximize their profits.
It’s also important to remember that when you make an affiliate sale, you’re basically giving someone else a customer – one that you could have sold to directly and made more from.
On its own, affiliate marketing isn’t a business and it isn’t very sustainable. It’s more of a profit maximizer.
The way to make money from your blog is to turn it into a real business platform. And the way to do this is simple.
According to Jay Abraham, a noted author and business executive, there are only three ways to grow a business:
1. Get more customers
2. Increase the sales made by each customer
3. Increase the average value of each sale
To do this the blog needs an efficient business machine behind it intended to sell.
The design of the business system discussed here has each of those three growth levers built right into it. While the blog is the public face tasked with attracting people and segmenting them into groups based on interests, the actual business machine has to do the selling.
Bloggers spend most their time (if not all) working on the ‘blog’ stuff and not nearly enough time working on the ‘business’ part.
Internet marketers who make real money from their blogs tend to work more on the business part of their blog.
What it really comes down to is there’s no line between blogging and marketing, they are one and the same.
Time to see how it all works
There are tons of things to learn about internet marketing: Various strategies and clever tactics for making money online. But if you don’t know how these things fit together to create a successful business then you will find little value in knowing them.
There’s absolutely no profit in learning about SEO, Social media, WordPress, Content marketing, or whatever other internet marketing skill you believe is important.
By themselves, each of those skills is an island of knowledge, but when you understand how those strategies, tactics, and processes come together into one overall effective method, then you will start to see enormous profits in your business.
There are three sections to this business system and it’s important to keep in mind starting right now that different strategies and tools will come into play at various parts of the system.
The business system step-by-step:
- Find a solid product-market fit
- Get Targeted Traffic
- Home Base: Your Blog
- The Business Machine – Your funnel
- Regular Community Engagement
Solid Product-Market Fit
This is absolutely crucial and will be a major determining factor in the success or failure of your blog as a business. Most bloggers skip this step and jump right into setting up the blog, and that’s one of the main reasons they fail.
When the overall concept of the blog isn’t based on a proven product-market fit (but rather just on passion or interest) then trying to make money using traditional ways of monetizing a blog is just a waste of time.
There is no amount of work that can create a great income for you if you are in a lousy market.
People don’t buy products or services, they buy outcomes.
For example, women don’t buy makeup and cosmetics because they want them, they buy them because they want to look good. The basis of any successful business is to deliver an outcome.
When you are clear on the outcome you deliver, then everything else aligns easily.
Blog content, product ideas, and everything else begin to fall in place. So, the important part of this product-market fit phase is to find a group of people who are actively looking for a solution or outcome, find out what product they are searching for so you can create an offer they want.
The entire business system hinges on having exactly what your target audience wants.
Get Targeted Traffic
Once you have your product or market fit, it forms the foundation for everything else.
The next phase of this business system is getting the traffic to fuel the business machine that you’re building. You’re going to be getting this traffic from a number of different sources such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Google, and so on.
It’s not really important where it comes from. Getting traffic, in the beginning, can be a bit of a challenge but once you get some momentum going, you’ll start to see incremental results and it will become easier.
A great thing about this business system is that it actually solves your traffic problem.
While a lot of bloggers rely on SEO, guest posting, social sharing and so on, when you’re just getting started, these kinds of tactics won’t work for you.
SEO is more of a long-term strategy, and these days you have to pay to get your posts seen on social media.
This means that when you’re just starting out, the best way to get reliable traffic is to pay for it.
If you want to be able to pay to reach your ideal audience and continue to spend on traffic without going broke, then you’re going to have to make money on the other end, and this business system provides that.
It’s designed to fuel itself.
As long as your funnel has products or services that customers will buy then you can continue to pay to acquire the leads.
So, the best way to get started is to focus on both free and paid strategies to get traffic and point them to your blog – which happens to be the next step.
Home Base: Your Blog
Your blog is going to be at the center of the entire business system. It should be specifically set up for conversions and not just a bunch of articles that are full of your musings and rantings or pictures of what you had for lunch.
Create a simple funnel where you attract your ideal audience with amazing content that is helpful and focused around what they are looking for, and get the visitors into your funnel. Build a strategic content marketing environment where each post you create has a purpose.
All design elements on your blog should have a specific marketing goal.
Your blog is your business platform and everything on your blog should be done with intention. Don’t write and post content on your site simply for the reason of fulfilling the spot on your content calendar.
Your goal with each post is to get whoever is reading it to become a lead, an actual subscriber on your email list that you can further engage with as opposed to a random person online.
The Business Machine
This refers to your blog’s money-making back end. This is the part of your blog that makes sales.
Most readers on your blog won’t see this part as it only becomes relevant after they become leads.
The business machine is basically a sales funnel which presents a series of offers to your leads at the appropriate time.
While your business may offer various products, the goal is to offer the one best suited for the particular person seeing it. After your back end is fully developed, it will have three levels of offers, each with increasing prices.
These offers will be presented in this way:
- Front-end offer
This is an irresistible offer that is designed to turn a lead into a customer.
- The core offer
This is the main offer such as a membership site.
- High-end offer
This is more expensive (eg coaching) and increases overall customer value.
These broad classifications are not meant to be a strict template. Some businesses don’t need all three but rather use cross-sells to increase conversions.
Just remember the three ways to grow your business mentioned above and design your funnel around them.
Regular Community Engagement
A simple truth of online business is that not everyone is going to buy your product.
Most of the people that you make your offers to aren’t going to buy from you, but some may buy at a later time (whether it’s days, weeks, months, or even years later).
But if you don’t maintain that line of communication by regularly following up with your potential customers, then you may lose out on a lot of sales.
That’s why ongoing community engagement is so important. Strengthen relationships with your leads over time. Keep providing them with value and reengaging them with your brand.
Make sure they continue to come back to your site.
There are many ways to do this effectively including posting new, well crafted blog content, sending email newsletters, podcasting, posting videos, through social media updates, live video and so on.
Do all this while keeping your business system in mind. You want to go back to the start and re-engage your audience into your funnels.
For example, you could send them to a landing page for a lead magnet that they haven’t got or an offer they haven’t seen yet.
The bottom line is that if you want to start making some serious money with your blog, the method described here is the only real way to do it.
If you’re spending all your time working on your blog instead of the business side of things then you won’t see much in the way of monetary rewards.
Use this article as your guide and start building a more reliable and sustainable online marketing business around your blog.
Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!
Updated: Originally published May 20th 2018
This Post Has 10 Comments
Hi there! I just finished reading your article on making money online and just wanted to drop you a quick comment to say thanks.
I never get tired of reading other peoples views when it comes to online marketing and making money online. You are quite right in what you are saying in this article. I started out quite a few years ago and as you say in this post, I started out trying to make money with Adsense and banner ads without having a clue what targeted traffic was.
After a few years I now consider myself as being one of the lucky ones who found the secret to making money online, but it wasn’t easy. There is a lot of misinformation out there. I totally agree with you that Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to learn how to build a successful online business.
Your article offers a great starting point for your readers to get involved with online marketing. And I for one vouch for what you are saying here!
Online marketing is simple in concept but complex in practice. It does take time and some study to get it right. This isn’t a bad thing though. Only those of us willing to undertake this journey will be successful. This keeps our competition down right?
Good to hear you stuck with it and have experienced some success.
Thanks for the input Andrew!
You have some solid information on Blogging. I would like to make contact with you and pick your brain a bit. I know marketing and sales but I am not the best blogger and the information here will help out allot. Lets definitely connect so I can become a better blogger.
I write down everything I know and post it here. To be honest, many of my articles say a lot of the same things but from different perspectives. Keep reading what I post and you’ll know what I know pretty quickly.
Thanks for the comment Tim!
You actually give me a good perspective on it. At first, I thought you were a bit pessimistic because pointing out that SEO or affiliate marketing won’t make you a good amount of profit on the internet. But then I realize when I keep reading that you are absolutely right and that if you offer what exactly are looking for and creating a sort of a funnel which is another step for me to learn then eventually I will bring something to the table especially to the niche that I am targeting. Thanks for this perspective of yours.
Many believe all they have to do is put up some articles and the traffic comes rolling in. This is one of the main reasons so many fail at content marketing.
This business is frustrating to get started in, but if you stick to a plan and keep the faith, it’s actually a difficult business to fail at. You do have to be patient and willing to experiment a bit at first, don’t give up!
Thanks for the comment Erick!
Really awesome post I totally agree with you when it comes to the sustainability of affiliate marketing.
Either you put leads on your email list and increase their Life time value or go for Affiliate programs with recurring commissions such as Wealthy Affiliate after you put them on your list to increase life time value 😛
I’m happy you got some good information from the article.
Thanks for the comment Rogier!
I started my online marketing at a time when squeeze page was quite popular. Spent a lot of money on ads, but never really got a good return. I always find the setup to be annoying because it’s like pushing people to buy something.
Blogging came in after I read an article about keyword research and that lead me to discover a whole new world of content marketing. Yes, there’s a lot more work, but I like the idea that my offer is more relevant to the consumers and that I can scale better with paid ads using that skill.
Content marketing is a subtle, gentle way of selling. You also get to provide value to your readers, so, it’s like you’re not selling at all. I prefer this approach because I have always found the ‘hard sell’ repugnant and a tactic used by the desperate. No one really likes to be subjected to pushy sales tactics.
The enlightened marketer knows that the olden days of blatant squeeze pages, scarcity tactics and up-selling are past. Content marketing is the way to go and likely will be for some time to come.
Thanks for the comment Cathy!