How tired are you of seeing headlines promising riches and wealth with blogging, only to find the same old tired platitudes and outdated information? How often have you heard lies by the blogging gurus who promise success but only offer fluff?
How disgusted are you by the cheesy online marketers using our desperation to trick us into reading their boilerplate content? These are the scam artists who prop up our hope and desire to make passive income from a blog when they know that, except for a few outliers, the only people making millions are the “authorities” teaching other people to make money by blogging about making money with a blog.
Phew! Sorry, I get a bit fired up. Sure, people are making some money, but there is nothing passive or easy about how they got there. The same old blogging formula that the blogging scammers are teaching isn’t going to get anyone to a point where they are making millions a month.
There are two ways to make millions blogging:
blogging success tip # 1:
Cheat. Yes, this happened a lot more back in Google’s salad days, when scummy marketers figured out you could make a lot of quick money by tricking the system. They set up many “shell” blogs, populated with plagiarized content, keyword-stuffed, and sealed with black hat SEO magic to reach the number one SERP.
Then, when you arrived on one of their blogs, faced with weak content and a wall of ads, they made it difficult for you to leave.
This scam went on until Google nipped it, but people are and will always be looking for ways to cheat the system. There are still black hat SEO specialists who make money by showing you how to trick Google and a dark web full of advice on how to steal content and profit from other people’s hard work by sprinkling SPAM all over it.
It doesn’t happen as often, but it does happen because there is a lot of money made from SPAM and scam.
blogging success tip # 2
I didn’t lie when I said five blogs make over $2 million per month in revenue. Courtesy of Forbes magazine and R.L. Adams:
(note: this information was released in 2017, and these numbers could either be much higher or much lower right now. The pandemic hurt everyone, but the big players are still out there earning. I will note the 2019 income numbers if I can source them)
- TechCrunch.com — $2.5 million per month — This blog was initially founded in 2005 by Michael Arrington and Keith Teare, but AOL acquired the site in 2010, and Verizon acquired AOL. They must still be going healthy and profitable if it is up and running.
- Mashable — $2 million per month — proving once again that clickbait pays the bills, Mashable continues to be on the list of the best blogs in the world. Owler still estimates their revenue at $30 million per year, so they bring in the cash. Interesting to see what the 2020 numbers will bring.
- MOZ — $4.25 million per month — SEO is a big business, and Rand Fishkin is a well-known authority. The blog and software are still going strong even though Rand left his company in 2018. MOZ still earned $70 million in revenue in 2019.
- Engadget — $5.5 Million per month — Another technology brand with humble roots continues to prove that people cannot get enough content about tech. Owler estimates yearly revenue to be between $25 and $100 million per year.
- Huffington Post (HuffPost) — $14 Million per month — The Pulitzer Prize-winning blog was another acquired by AOL, then gobbled up by Verizon Communications. They rebranded as HuffPost but still seem to have revenue between $500 Million and $1 Billion per year, so business is not bad. Again, I would like to see the 2020 numbers.
So, as you can see, it is possible to earn big, but it’s not likely. These blogs all started small before selling out to larger companies, so it is possible to create something that makes millions of dollars.
What do these blogs have in common, and how can you replicate their success, you ask?
a good blogging question — how can i make millions?
You might think the first thing I say you must have is a lot of money, but that is bullshit. The item you need most is luck. In combination with a few other things, these bloggers happened to occupy the right space at the right time.
It’s not a cop-out to say these bloggers had luck because that is what it was. They may not have had overnight success, but their success did come from filling the right space at precisely the right time.
How many companies offering the same product and content never saw a dime? They were correctly positioned and happened to do the following at the right time:
- They filled an unmet need — There were ten other companies with the same content, but these blogs presented it so that they filled a massive demand in the blogosphere. They solved a problem or filled a niche, for lack of a better term.
- They provided the right viral content — They used headlines that worked (and may or may not have been clickbait) and put out content that people wanted, from massive SEO guides to the listicles that people love to read with their morning coffee. They didn’t listen to the people who told them they were selling out and published content that the audience wanted.
- They had the right people and resources — Ariana Huffington and Rand Fishkin were two of the names behind these blogs’ successes. And they went on to hire other people and visionaries that would help them climb to the top. They would get bought out by giant corporations with unlimited budgets to hire and market, and the rest is history.
- They didn’t quit — The most significant thing they had going for them was the drive to succeed despite hurdles and failures. They kept riding in the rodeo when everyone else hung up their spurs. If you look at all those companies, they had longevity, and that should tell you something.
It was a combination of a thousand big and little things that caused them to be a success, and when you sprinkle a lot of luck on top, it’s the icing on the cake. It’s not easy, and that is why so few people and companies make money blogging.
Blogging is a cutthroat world, and if you aren’t ready to swim with the sharks, you shouldn’t ever go swimming.
how can you be a blogging success?
Honestly, the chance you or I have to make millions every month is slim. But, there is a massive list of blogs and bloggers who make great money that no one would turn down, but I guarantee they all had the same recipe:
- Luck, and something more
- They filled an unmet need
- They provided the right viral content at the right time
- They had the right person or people and had some resources to help them along
- They didn’t quit
But, these people didn’t just rely on luck to get them there. They had the drive and determination, and they put in the hard work to get them to the top. They wanted it more than everyone else, and that is why they earn when others fail.
who are they?
There is quite a big list of bloggers earning well, some even over $100k per year. Here are a few that stand out:
- Kat Kinsman of TastingTable — Kat used her passion and celebrity, along with the right kind of know-how, to fill a need as a hugely successful food blogger.
- Lindsay Ostrom of PinchofYum.com — Clearly, there was a need for content in the food industry, and Lindsey filled it with her superb visuals and engaging content.
- Abby of JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com — Abby combined her knowledge and passion for organizing, decorating, and helping others create online businesses to fill an unmet need with fantastic content.
- Michelle Gardner of MakingCentsofCents — Personal finance is a niche where people with experience and know-how, who can put out great content are doing very well. Michelle consistently delivers and has been helping people with their finances for over five years.
These are a few of the people who have proven that it is possible to be a successful blogger and earn from knowledge and expertise. Sure, they aren’t making millions, but they are earning.
Sadly, only a few outliers will ever make millions of dollars every month, but it is possible to make a living if you don’t quit.
Most don’t have what it takes to be a success, and those scam marketers are doing a disservice getting people’s hopes up with promises of easy, passive income.
I believe in blogging and continuing to learn every day, which will contribute to my success. If you do the same and follow the above recipe, you may earn your millions with blogging one day. Just don’t listen to the scam artists, and don’t be a cheater.
“How to Make $2000 a Month with a Small Blog.”
“How to Make $3000 a Month as a Newbie Blogger in Just 6 Months!”
“How I make over $12,000 in my 9th Month of Blogging.”
“How I made $16,430 Working from Home in February.”
“How We Made $144,166.18 in One Month Working from Home.”
The hype is how they get you.
I spent 5 minutes on Pinterest this morning searching for “how to make money blogging” and found these five headlines. There were the first headlines I saw.
The pinners know what colors to use, what fonts work best, and what pictures give us a feeling of ease.
They know what to promise to get you clicking because its easy to drop in a disclaimer somewhere in the post we aren’t likely to see.
Hey, it’s legal as long as it’s there.
And even the bloggers who do spell out that “these are our earnings and the results are not typical” know that they have the reader hooked by then because they were told they could make “X” dollars a month and do it quickly.
This dance has been happening for as long as bloggers have figured out they can sell on their blogs. When I decided I was going to take my experience blogging and try to make money all those years ago, I was drawn in my the promises of passive income with “authority sites,” “affiliate marketing,” and “blog monetization.”
I bought the courses and the ebooks from the guys who said they had it all figured out and I could easily follow in their footsteps. $3999 was not a lot to spend on a course because it was an investment in my future, and after all, I only had to pay $149 a month for a few years.
I ate up the fluff because I wanted to believe that I, too, could make the same money with little effort.
They appealed to me because I had an illness and couldn’t work, and making that kind of money working from home was like a dream to me.
That is how they get you.
If you lost your job to the virus, or got a taste for working from home, and you can’t see yourself going through that commute again and sitting in an office for 8+ hours a day. You like spending time with your family. If you live alone, you figured out it was better sitting at home in your underwear, eating Doritos, and only putting clothes on from the waist up for the daily Zoom meeting.
If your employer doesn’t let you have that, at least you know you can always make $12K a month blogging.
That is how they get you.
Don’t Fall for the Blogging Hype
Bloggers still know they can get you to click their link by wording their message a certain way and appealing to the person inside of you who wants and needs money, freedom, and a better environment.
Making thousands from home is a dream for many, and has been since Great Grandfather Jeb first put on overalls and went to work at the dairy. If only he had cows of his own, he could make enough money working from the farm to feed the family and buy a new wagon next fall!
If you spend enough time searching for the secret to making money from home on places like Google and Pinterest, you can bet you will come across the promises of easy, passive blogging riches.
Ánd, while some outliers are making $100K a month, its a very tiny percentage of the 600 million blogs on the web. Less than 2% make over 150K a year!
Whatever you have to do to thicken your skin against the onslaught of blog marketers trying to convince you to buy their book or course, do it.
It helps to know the truth that, according to the website Statista, the number of bloggers in the United States will reach 31.7 million users in 2020. 67.5% of bloggers blog to make money, but 50% earn less than $100.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a living blogging; after all, I still blog knowing the truth.
Why Should I Keep Blogging?
As I said, there is money to be made blogging. But, in all honesty, my blogs make very little right now– the only real money I make writing is on Medium.com.
So why do I still write for my blogs every day?
I do it because I know writing for a blog is like playing the long game. It takes time to tweak the SEO so Google ranks your posts. It takes time to build up domain authority. It also takes time to gain traction on social media, and you have to look at how it will be next month or even next year.
I know there is money in blogging if I think long term, and I am willing to continue running my blog and writing content that will be evergreen in the future.
How about you?
You should keep going because no matter how long you have been blogging, success can still be out there in the future, so you need to keep striving for it.
Why can’t you be one of the smaller percentages of people making money from blogging? What if all that separates the winners from the losers is that the losers quit too soon?
Here is what I mean. If you don’t quit and don’t just wait to hopefully make money, you take your success in your own hands.
Instead do this:
- Try new things. There is a ton of information on the web about what is working and what isn’t. Look past the hype, and you will find nuggets of gold.
- Keep gaining blogging experience.
- Find out what people are reading on the web. Use the free tool, Ubersuggest, to look for high-performing content ideas and keywords.
- Write more content. Develop a posting schedule.
- Write longer posts. Bloggers who write articles of 2,000 words or more are more likely to have better results.
- Learn advanced SEO. Read Backlinko and the Ahrefs Blog.
- Spend more time engaging with readers on social media. LinkedIn is proven the most effective social media platform for delivering content and securing audience engagement.
- Write a few guest blogs and ask other bloggers to write for you.
- Try also posting your content on Medium. Make sure you set a canonical link to the original post on your blog. You never know, you may make money with the Medium Partner Program.
Stop following the same formula to blogging success that the gurus keep pushing. You never know what will work until you try it.
Don’t wait for something to go viral; make it happen on your own.
So instead of getting jaded by the hype, keep doing what will get you to success: write, tweak, update, schedule, and engage.
Ignore the fluff, hype, and posturing, and keep doing what you know will get you to where you want to be.
Many people are searching for a way to earn money online right now. They have lost income, freelance clients, or were downsized by their employer because of the pandemic.
It’s inevitable that during the search for something to help them out of this rut, they will come across promises of unlimited passive income. Whether they are typing search terms into Google, or using Pinterest to find opportunities, promising passive income is a common scam.
Network marketing companies thrive on the dream of getting rich by doing nothing, and webinar and seminar promoters are laughing all the way to the bank because they can’t believe that suckers still think that you can get rich by doing nothing.
There are a lot of people willing to drink the Koolaid if promised they can make money while sitting on a beach somewhere warm and sunny.
They happily dive into the marketing funnels and swipe their credit cards for the chance at passive and easy income.
Passive Income is Attractive
Who doesn’t like the idea of doing a little work and making a lot of money?
Tim Ferris and Pat Flynn gained fame by making the idea of passive income possible. Their books and websites were slick enough to sell us on the idea, and many (including me) gladly paid for the pleasure of finding out how to turn nothing into something.
We learned we had to do all the hard work upfront — set up everything, like processes and funnels, in advance, and hire VAs from India or the Philippines to run the whole thing.
Then they told us it would run with a tiny bit of input from us (maybe 4 hours a week?), and frankly, for many, it worked for a while.
But it wasn’t realistic for the long term.
Tweaks needed to be made, products needed updating, and freelancers required direction. Not only that, but our customers also wanted personalized service, and tire of being stuck in a constant funnel when they dealt with us.
We were making sales, but not many, because others offering the same product were doing a better job with customer service.
How great could we be doing if we were rarely involved in the process? What kind of control did we have over our businesses if we never got our hands dirty?
Potential customers want unique and remarkable, and our 4-hour-workweek was only offering the same old vanilla flavor. But we never saw it because we were happy as long as we made some sales.
That formula is just not sustainable.
Now everyone is trying to apply the same concepts to blogging. Passive blogging is an unrealistic idea based on the standard formula for building and managing a blog.
They assure you that you can set up a blog in a weekend, which is achievable only for a simple blog using the standard formula (niche/hosting/ WordPress/content/monetization), but not smart because there is more to blogging than following a recipe.
For a long time, (a still sometimes now) scammers were pushing us to set up a simple blog, put a few pieces of “borrowed” content on the site, do some black-hat SEO magic, get the number one spot on the search results, and watch the traffic and money roll in. We should have been able to make enough from Google AdSense if we repeated this process a few times, setting up niche blogs over and over.
But Google is much smarter than that, and like anything black-hat, or even grey-hat, it only works for a short time before we are left with a bunch of useless blogs and hundreds of dollars in hosting fees.
Remarkable is Not Passive
Nowadays, people want to be WOW’d! They want specialized content, 24/7 access, and excellent service. They want personalization with a human touch — not funnels and processes.
It’s understandable that something like having a business that makes a lot of money, but runs by itself so you can sit on a beach and sip fruity drinks, is attractive.
But the truth is that if we want to make a living online, we can’t be chasing passive income because passive income still requires an active presence, and we might as well be active from the beginning.
If we want to make money online in this day and age, we need to create something remarkable, be an active participant in our businesses, and be ready to change with the times.
How to Make Money Online
It’s 2020; the world is being forged into something new by a pandemic that is creating a new kind of consumer. Nobody will be falling for the same old marketing mumbo-jumbo. People have gotten much more sophisticated.
Think about the direction everything is going: People will be working from home. Kids will be schooling online instead of sitting in a classroom with 30 other virus-bearers. Nobody wants to rub elbows in the mall anymore.
Everything is going online, and if we can try to make the process less painful our bottom line will be much better.
If we realize that a lot of the products and services we offered in the past have gone from nice to necessity, we can really appreciate how great of a position we are in right now.
Take blogs, for instance. Six months ago, I was predicting their downfall, and now that people are using the internet for every part of their lives, bloggers have suddenly become a hot commodity.
But people don’t want the same old generic information they can get everywhere else, packaged up to look new and improved. They want specialized content that changes with the trends and will come to us for help, if and when we are willing to give up the tried and true and give them unique and personalized.
Pick a niche, but not any old niche. Of the thousands of topics you could base your blog content around, you need to pick one that has three things:
- A problem you can address with content
- An audience
- A way to monetize
Forget the advice that you need to find a niche you are passionate about. In a perfect world, yes, but in the world of blogging, you find a niche with an audience that you have some special knowledge or experience with and learn to have passion for it.
If you want to make money, forget the passion, and follow the audience.
What are some of the best niches in which to start a blog? As always, the “how to make money” niche is still good, but it’s been done to death, and unless you have something groundbreaking to offer, skip it.
- Lifestyle – This is very hot right now. How many people do you know are talking about gardening, homesteading, and survival? Start a blog about your victory garden and how you planted it, or:
- How you fixed up your house
- Food – Food is always a good topic, but stay away from offering only recipes, because most people will take the recipe and ignore everything else.
- Baking – This is huge! Have you seen your Facebook timeline?
- Foodie – When the restaurants open again, people will be lining up to get your take on all the new places.
- Home Chef – Cook food, take pictures, and explain how you made the dish. Simple.
- Health and Fitness – Now that we have been stuck at home for a while, and not really watching what we eat, don’t you think people are going to start looking for information about how to get in shape and lose weight?
- Personal Finance – This is always a huge topic, but even more so now that people are struggling with common bills and expenses.
- Health and Beauty – Makeup tutorials, beard care, how to cut your own hair, how to dress for a Zoom meeting, how to give yourself a pedicure. Need I say more?
- Self-Help – People are as interested in how to fix their minds as they are their bodies. If you have something no one has ever seen and you could help people, this may be the niche for you.
- Gaming – This is not a niche most people mention, but it is huge! It meets all the criteria, and best of all, has an audience of all ages!
- Dating, Relationships, and Sex – Now that people are avoiding Tinder dates, we have to help people figure out new ways to get together and do their business. And if you don’t think sex is significant, take a look at Medium.com.
We have to be gearing our information to what people want, and you need to have a post-pandemic mindset. People may care less about concerts and festivals, but how many have vegetable seedlings starting on their patio this spring?
Take the Leap!
Active blogging involves taking that niche and your new audience and creating worthy content that is up-to-the-minute and unique. Focus on quality instead of quantity, because there is already too much noise out there.
Forget trying to make money in the first few months, just regularly feed your audience with great content and build an email list.
Be active in the community you build, whether it’s your own blog on WordPress, or content you create on Medium.com.
Don’t be passive about engaging with the people reading and commenting on your content.
Once you stop looking for an easy, passive answer, you will find a way to make money. Be patient, and give more than you receive.
A lot can happen when you are active instead of passive.
I’ve had enough.
I tried to follow the formula.
I tried to tell people they can make money blogging by following their passion and creating a niche around it, but it’s utter bullshit.
I’ve been doing this over 20 years, and while the blogging formula that most push in their courses and ebooks does work for a minority of new bloggers, the vast majority of people making money from blogging aren’t doing it by following their passion.
They are doing it by following the money.
The Real Way Bloggers Make Money with a Blog
In the beginning, we all pick something we are passionate about. I’ve blogged about personal finance, mental health, diet, food, and writing.
It doesn’t always happen at the same time in our blogging journey, but eventually, our focus changes.
Look at all the bloggers showing off their income reports and selling courses telling you to follow your passion and pick a niche. They keep telling you that you can have income reports like them.
But, how do they make their money?
They all make their money telling you how to make money blogging. Whether it’s “Pinterest Secrets” or “Passive Income Blogging,” they are creating their content to lure you in so you will do one of the following:
- Buy their eBook or course explaining how to make money blogging. While some of them do have successful blogs in niches like finance and fitness, their primary source of income comes from convincing people that they can make “income report kind of money” by doing what they did to get there.
- Click their affiliate links – Some of the best-paying companies and brands who participate in affiliate programs are in the blogging space: Bluehost, ConvertKit, Siteground, WP Engine, Tailwind, DIVI (I should know, I promoted some of the same). There is a reason why there are so many make money blogging posts on the internet – because it’s a great place to embed affiliate links and make thousands.
- Click their ads. Those of us who try to make money by telling others how to make money have a goal, and while I stopped putting ads on my websites some time ago, there are still people driving massive traffic to their blogs in the hopes you will click their links.
And while it may sound like I am throwing other bloggers under the bus, that is not my intent at all. I don’t think there is anything wrong with making money from ads or affiliate links. I love courses and ebooks and buy them for myself all the time.
What I don’t like is the lying and misdirection from the blogging community.
It’s time we stopped tricking people into lining our pockets with misbegotten gain.
My Conscience Won’t Allow Me to Do it Anymore
I’ve been blogging for some time. I’ve had my share of successes and failures. Many of my successes were short-lived because I ruined them myself. I’ve been battling severe mental illness my whole life, and its part of the reason I don’t have flashy income reports and an influencer lifestyle.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t.
The other part of why I am not a financial success yet is I am a dabbler. Except for one blog I sold back in the 2000s, much of my life in business follows the same pattern. I get excited about a new idea (I get plenty of ideas), I work hard on the plan for a few months, and then when I don’t make any money overnight, I start looking for something else.
The perfect storm of being severely mentally ill and a multipotentialite wantrepreneur has left me with plenty of battle-scars from doing what I shouldn’t do to be a success, and at 52, I don’t have much to show for my lifetime of knowledge and experience with blogging.
Finally, in 2018, I stumbled across Medium and have been publishing and earning ever since. I’ve stuck with it through the ups and downs, and while I don’t make a lot of money, I make enough to keep me going strong.
I credit Medium with giving me the motivation to start another blog to share my experience blogging and maybe make a bit more money.
I started on fire, intending to place affiliate links, and eventually create a course based on my experience. And while I wasn’t lying, and I was revealing both sides of the coin, I was still playing on a person’s emotional response with my content:
I was careful not to mislead, but was what I was doing any better than anyone else?
I woke myself in the middle of the night from a dream where I was a rich man, an authority, an influencer, and internet-famous. I had everything I wanted in life. The reality hit me when I looked in the mirror, and Jeff Bezos was looking back at me.
Yes, I want to make money, but no, I don’t want to be a sleazeball who takes advantage of others to make my billions.
So yesterday I wrote something of a manifesto: Stop Telling Everyone They Can Make Money with a Blog! I didn’t hold back, and I said what I felt. I not only posted it on my blog but on Medium as well.
I mostly got positive responses, and it inspired me to start looking around for others who think like me.
With the publishing of this post today, I’m saying that from now on, I will tell it like it is. Even if what I say hurts my chances at blogging stardom, I am going to be honest and thorough about how to make money by blogging.
Because there is money to be made with blogging, and I am going to find every way possible.
You don’t need to create junk content, stuff it with keywords, and use fake backlinks to trick the SEO gods at Google into giving you that number one spot on the search results.
You don’t have to start blogging about your passion, and then switch over and start lying to people about how to make money so YOU can make some money yourself.
There is a way to make money using a formula. I can’t promise it will be passive, or easy, or that you will get a 4-hour-workweek, but I will promise that the method will be honest and straightforward.
What is the Plan, Sta… Uh, Jason?
There are a few blogging niches that perform better than others, and I am going to start creating small niche blogs to test the money-making potential of each.
I have a few ideas for earning in other niches that I want to try out as well. I have the process down pat for starting a blog, and hosting is so ridiculously cheap that I can afford to have a few more blogs, even on the pittance I make.
I may not have income reports to WOW you, but I have the tenacity to stick with something and use the knowledge and experience in blogging to figure out the things that truly work, and what doesn’t.
The first experiment is a travel blog I started before the pandemic. It’s called Frightened Traveler, and it’s slowly changing to meet the times and the fact that no one can travel right now. It’s a horrible time to have a travel blog, but that will change, and I am going to be there when it does.
From there, even though I am strictly anti-self-help-guru, I am going to start a personal development blog. My lifetime of dealing with my illness and improving over time has taught me a few things about how to make decisions and hurdle challenges. I know how I was able to make positive changes in my life, and I want to share that information with others.
From there, I have an idea for a gaming blog. And while not being one of the standard niches that make money, I want to try a few ideas I’ve come up with for monetization that will help bloggers and vloggers alike who want to make money creating content about gaming.
There is a Blogging Formula That Works, and I Will Find it!
I thought after 20 years that I knew everything there was to know about blogging. But, after kicking my ego in the ass, I decided that I wanted to break new ground and figure out what works in the new internet age we live in.
I say “new internet age” because after we figure out how to beat this pandemic, the way we work and do business will change completely. The internet has evolved from a utility that some people paid for to a necessity that people need to work, shop, socialize, date, parent, and learn.
The internet will be what everyone turns to when we can’t work in an office, or send our kids to school, or go to Walmart, or do anything that will cause us to infect ourselves with whatever new potential virus is out there.
A few months ago, I predicted the downfall of blogging, but I now see that it will become a new and essential part of all our lives.
We need to be ready for it, and we can’t continue to do things the way we always have.
We can’t continue being dishonest to make a few dollars.
My blog contains links to products and services I promote, and if you buy, I receive a commission. It’s not enough for an iPad, but I can get a large Caffè Americano every day if I want. These links don’t cost you anything, but they mean the world to me because they allow me to continue running this blog and provide free content to my readers. See the Affiliate Disclosure.
Type “how to make money blogging” into the Google search bar.
- “How I Made 100K in My First 6 Months Blogging!”
- “How to Make $200 a day with a Blog!”
- “How to Make Thousands in Passive Income Every Month with Blogging!”
Here are my income reports. You can trust me. Here is how you can make as much money as me:
Find a niche. Purchase hosting (affiliate link). Install WordPress. Buy a theme (affiliate link). Install plugins (affiliate link). Write five blog posts. Place ads in the posts. Add affiliate links (affiliate link).
We are all saying the same thing; some of us are just holding out a bigger and prettier carrot.
How do I know? Because I’ve done it myself many times over the years. Because we have been hawking the same formula for blogging success since Google started allowing us to run ads, and someone added their first affiliate link to a post.
Look at the headlines of some the posts on my blog:
Why do I, and thousands of others like me, continue to write the same old advice over and over again?
To be honest, this formula we all use (niche/hosting/theme/plugins/5 blog posts/monetize/drive traffic) works!
Yes, it does!
So Why am I Complaining?
The problem is not giving away the formula for creating a successful blog. This process has been proven time and time again to work.
None of us are cheating anyone by sharing what works.
The problem is the carrot. The problem is what happens after our users finish our seven-day course, build their blog, add content, and wait.
The problem is we are getting them excited to make thousands the easy way, because how else are we going to get them to break out the credit card? Do you think people would be willing to buy a $999 course if we told them the truth from the beginning?
Well, some would, but not enough to support the thousands of bloggers offering courses to the same group of people.
This has gotten out of hand.
Let’s Step Back for a Moment on This Blogging Thing
Let look at the stats for a minute (from optinmonster):
- The number of bloggers in the USA is expected to grow to 31.7 million in 2020.
- There are more than 500 million blogs that exist in 2019.
- As of 2019, there are roughly 1.9 billion web pages
- Each month, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages.
Good news, right? Let look at a few more facts about blogging from LifeHacker:
A survey of 1,000 bloggers by Blogging.com in 2012 found that 17% are able to sustain their lifestyle or support their family with their blogs, while 81% never make even $100 from blogging. The other 2% spend less than 2 hours a day blogging but make more than $150K.
Sure, that is only a sample of 1000 bloggers, but it gives you insight into what I am trying to tell you.
We Need to Be Honest About Blogging
Yes, I understand that there is only a small amount of pie for a big group of bloggers. I appreciate that Marketing 101 tells you that you have to make your offer attractive.
But do we have to lie by omission?
- Most of us don’t tell these people that blogging is a competitive industry, and there is a lot of time and hard work involved to get to even making $100 a month.
- Most of us try to act like anyone can be a blogger. Yes, anyone can write and publish, but only a few people are successful, internet famous, or outliers. Blogging, like vlogging, takes a special person with a unique look, writing voice, personality, life experience, motivation, drive, and talent. It’s not true that anyone can be a financially successful blogger just by force of will or want.
- We don’t explain that nothing about blogging is passive. Sure, once you have everything set up, your workload decreases sometimes, but how many of the outliers would truthfully say that they are earning passive income?
- We don’t prepare people for the investment of time and especially money they have to put into running a blog. Yes, there are some free things available, but I’ve been trying for 20 years to start and manage a blog that is totally free of investment, and it is not possible. People need to know that. Because some people go into this without being able to pay for their own internet, expecting to pull themselves out of poverty in a short time with blogging. I know I did.
- We don’t tell everyone that 80% of people who get into blogging to make money will fail to make over $100.
In a rush to show off our income reports, and promising people that they will make $$$ by following our formula, we have millions of dead blogs lying fallow, millions of angry people with a bad taste in their mouth about blogging, and a reputation for being liars and cheats looking to separate people from their hard-earned money.
In a rush to sell courses and subscriptions, we inspired the real crooks and cheaters to use our formulas to dupe the innocent with big claims and pie-in-the-sky earnings.
We aren’t picky about who takes our courses as long as the credit card isn’t declined.
I Will Ease Up, I am Sorry
Why am I so passionate? Why would I feel so strongly about this that I would risk ridicule from my friends in the blogging industry to say my peace?
I am just like all of you. I have expertise in blogging and writing, and I want to share what I’ve learned and make money in the process. My formula for building a successful blog is the same as yours out there.
Because it works!
But I’ve grown dissatisfied and disillusioned with pushing the same game to a new generation of bloggers.
I thought maybe the life changes forced upon me by the pandemic were what changed my mind, but looking back on my writing over the past year showed me that this is a long time coming.
I don’t want to sell the same old snake oil. I want people to know what they are getting into so they can make rational and realistic decisions about whether they want to buy my courses or ebooks, or click my affiliate links.
I want to lay out all my cards from the beginning and stop using questionable marketing tactics to trick people into swiping their credit cards.
And I want you to join me.
Because if we are all on the same page, and we are honest from the start, the real crooks will flush out. Yes, our sales may decline for a while, but if we are above-board, the tricksters will fail.
Look at these new generations! Look at what is going on in politics. They tire of Trump and the republicans lying and cheating. They tire of being told to take what they are given. They tire of working their asses off and the Bezos’s of the world getting rich.
They no longer want smoke and mirrors. They don’t want the hard sell and the funnels. They don’t want ads flashing pizzazz in their faces promising them the world in exchange for their hard-earned money.
They want us to be honest.
After the blogger’s armageddon, when the criminals are flushed out and run out of town, the new generation of consumers will come to us because we were honest and straightforward with them from the beginning.
When the shock of Covid-19 has lessened, and people start spending again, they won’t be looking for the old-school capitalists and shady marketers to buy from—they will be looking for you and me.
Let’s be ready for them.
What We Have to Do Right Now
I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that things need to change
- We can tell them that blogging is a great way to make money for some, but it’s not for everyone. Not everyone will be a success.
- We can stop using questionable words to describe blogging like: passive, easy, guaranteed, and free.
- We can stop wowing people with our income reports, because, while there is nothing wrong with giving people hope, we need to stop convincing people who will never put in the time, money, and work that they will be successful. We always come out looking worse than they do.
- We need to realize that some of us have the benefit of things that others don’t– like a good education, money, good health, and skin-color that no one finds objectionable. It’s harsh I know, but many are trying to act like they are self-made when their parents paid for college and the trip around the world that they write about on their blog, and they have never struggled to make ends meet or put food on the table.
- We can stop making decisions based on the almighty dollar and start benefiting the people who are scraping by and the planet some of us are trying to save. Start giving more than we are receiving and see how it changes you as a person.
I don’t want to speak from a high horse like I am better than everyone else. I’ve been blogging for 20+ years, and I am one of the reasons that the blogging industry is what it is today. People like me are the reason blogging turned into such a big business, and our journey paved the way for the crooks and cheaters to come in and turn this into a shitshow.
So, blame me, but take my advice and change the way you make your money with blogging.
Stop telling everyone they can be a successful blogger– you know there is more to it than want, need, and passion. Stop telling people they don’t need money to get started because some investment is required.
And, stop telling people they can be just like you when only a tiny percentage will.
Change what needs to be changed, but don’t change who you are. I love the blogging community and look forward every day to be interacting with all of you.
You are good people, but it’s time to change business as usual.
My blog contains links to products and services I promote, and if you buy, I receive a commission. It’s not enough for an iPad, but I can get a large Caffè Americano every day if I want. These links don’t cost you anything, but they mean the world to me because they allow me to continue running this blog and provide free content to my readers. See the Affiliate Disclosure.
Have you lost your job or livelihood because of the Coronavirus, and you are wondering how you can survive? Are you worried that your life has changed so much in such a short period, that things will never be the same again? Are you wondering how to make it through the storm in a world gone mad?
If you are scared about the future, are you crazy, desperate, or courageous enough to do whatever it takes to become a famous blogger, vlogger, influencer, or podcaster?
I am because I know it is my way to succeed in the time of the Coronavirus.
My need to be professionally successful and financially stable far outweigh any fear of putting my face and reputation online for the world to see. I’m past the point where my need for privacy and fear of embarrassment is enough of a concern that I will not be creating content for the web and pulling myself up by the bootstraps.
Does this sound like you, or have you not gotten to that point yet?
It’s become clear to me that if a person wants to be well-known, well-paid, and internet-famous, we need to be doing a whole lot more than we are doing– like putting words on a page, our image on social media, and our personality on video.
Some of you may have already started with a blog, but if you only write in a blog because you want to improve, explore, and expand your writing skills, I get it — you shouldn’t have to do more than write and publish whenever you want. Some of you are saying you don’t want to do anything else.
That is fine, and I applaud you for your restraint.
But, if you want to make money out of blogging, vlogging, or being an influencer, there’s a hell of a lot to be doing if you’re going to get somewhere. I know you are saying you already post on Facebook and Twitter, but that’s not what we are talking about here. We’re talking about taking our personality— which we all have — and creating content around it.
I Have Ideas For You!
What if we took videos of ourselves throughout the day? What if we were constantly snapping pictures? How much content do you think we could create for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, a blog, a book, a podcast, or whatever else we wanted to explore if we were always creating?
I know what you are saying: Why would anybody want to watch or follow you? I thought the same thing for a long time but changed my mind.
Hear me out.
These days, many are searching the internet looking for entertainment and snapshots of real people in real life. Everybody is tired of the polished and airbrushed Instagram influencers. Nobody wants to watch scripted “reality” shows. People want a look at your private life, pimples and all. People want to watch your everyday activities and what you do when you wake up every morning.
People especially want to know about you now that everyone is in lockdown mode.
“But I have bad teeth, and I’m fat!”
Who cares? People want to see you!
“But, I’m boring!”
That’s what you think! People want to know about your life — the more real, the better.
But I don’t have the time, you idiot!
Let me ask you something—how hard would it be to put your phone on a tripod and film your everyday life? Memory cards are cheap—don’t give me that excuse! How many photos could you take a day if you set a reminder to snap yourself every 15 minutes?
I know not every picture you take or minute of video will be pure gold. But, if you recorded 4 hours of video and snapped 50 pictures, could you get one hour of content a day? How about 10 minutes? That’s all you need for a YouTube video.
I bet you could.
But let’s be realistic. None of us have video editors and graphic designers on staff. What if we created an hour of content or ten images and graphics a week?
Isn’t that more than you’re doing now? Couldn’t you manage your busy schedule and still create excellent content?
Oh, wait! Many of us aren’t going to work anymore.
Is That You, Rona?
Now that most of us are home because of the virus, what are we doing with our quarantine time? You and your family or friends are going to be keeping yourselves busy in your house, why aren’t you documenting it?
If you are worried that you have no income coming in because you lost your job, why aren’t you creating content and posting to a blog and social media?
What if you could make a Youtube channel of just you and your family being stupid during the lockdowns?
I don’t know about you, but I would love to see a bunch of video content by all my friends on YouTube and Facebook.
“But, I’m an introvert, and I don’t know if I want my private life displayed for all to see!”
That is a decision we all have to make, but if you are out of a job, don’t the excuses seem silly right now? How would you like people to know you for something more? How would you like to make an unbelievable amount of money from putting yourself out there for all to see?
There is a vast audience all sitting out there at home—a captive audience—waiting to have a peek into your life.
Doesn’t it sound like fun?
Let’s Do This!
I’m ready to do what it takes to be a famous, highly-paid blogger, vlogger, or influencer. I’m 51 years old and have all this time on my hands in the age of the Coronavirus, and if it doesn’t happen now, it never will.
- Who thinks they could create some unique content and be a creator and influencer?
- Who wants to be famous and rich? (Am I pushing it?) Okay, how would you just like to replace the income you lost because of the Coronavirus?
- Who wants people to read their blog, see their pictures, or watch their videos?
- Who wants to achieve what you would consider success starting in 2020?
Wouldn’t you like this year to be known for more than a time when all our lives changed for the worst? What if we made it about changing our lives for the better!
I can’t wait to see what you create!