Back in August 2005 I wrote a three part series of blog posts about how I have made money online. This was one of my first pillar article series and forms one of the foundation content pillars that this blog was built on (my business timeline and typical day in my life articles were other foundation pieces I wrote in 2005, during this blog’s early days). These article types are concepts that are crucial to a blog’s growth during the first few months and are part of the methodology I teach in Blog Traffic School (and yes, the course is still coming, the mentoring program will be released first though).
I thought it was about time I updated my how I make money online series since I now make a significant proportion of my income from blogging. I was asked in my last post were I revealed that I made $6549.52 from blogging in March to break down specifically how I did it, so in this post I will explain the particulars for you.
I’ve explained how I monetize this blog in a 23 minute screencast video. It’s a 60MB video or 10MB audio only download, so I recommend this only for my broadband readers. If you have problems with the video I suggest you wait for it to download completely rather than watch it streaming.
Click the graphic below to open the video in a new window.
If you like the video and want to see more screencast presentations like this, stay tuned for my blog mentoring program as I will be using screencasts throughout the program.
I maintain a monthly income spreadsheet, which lists revenues generated from my blogs and websites. Here is a snapshot from March, minus some private data that is not appropriate for release to the public.
The AdSense income of $875.46 does not come from my blogs. This money is generated from a network of mini bike site forum communities, which I purchased late last year and manage with a business partner, Robert Kingston. The sites were purchased using money I generated from blogging and my Internet business, which is one way I reinvest my profits and diversify my income streams. We plan to add blogs to the bike sites later in the year.
Buying and selling websites is a completely different topic, one I have discussed previously on this blog (see How To Buy A Website And Flip It For Profit). I will discuss what is going on with this project in a future post.
Text-Link-Ads, as many bloggers know, is a great service, especially when your blog is well established. My inventory is always sold out despite the fact that I have raised the price recently (I emailed Text-Link-Ads and asked them to increase the price). In March I made $560.02 from Text-Link-Ads. I also make on average around $75-$125 per month in affiliate referrals to the text-link-ads service ($25 per sign-up). In March the affiliate income was $75.
ReviewMe.com charges $250 per review on this blog and the other blog I operate, SmallBusinessBranding.com. I receive 50% of the income, so $125 per review. I don’t take every review offered, only the ones that I feel capable of writing something about of value to my readers and I have time to research and produce. I average about three reviews per month across the two blogs and in March the income was $375.
I make a large chunk of my monthly income from selling banners and text links directly to sponsors. In March I earned $750 for direct sales of text links on both blogs. Banner revenue was $300, however the main banner sponsor, GetResponse, is booked in for six months so I did not realize that income this month and received the money as a large payment at the end of last year.
Affiliate income is the most significant source of revenue I have for my blogs. In March I generated $3354.87 in affiliate commissions. This was larger than usual because a few big once off payments came through. Generally though because affiliate programs pay out erratically, I can count on around $1000 – $3000 in affiliate commissions each month.
Some affiliate income is recursive, which means the money comes in from sales I may have referred months or years ago because I referred people to subscription sites. Some of the continuity affiliate programs I promote include:
There’s one cheque I receive for $30 that I have no idea what it’s for. It just says “affiliate center” on it and so far it’s come through twice. If you have seen The Secret you know about the guy who intents cheques to come to him in the mail, and how he goes on to explain that they just started coming. Originally I was like “yeah, sure, random cheques in the mail hey” but now I know what he’s talking about :-).
You will note that every affiliate program listed above closely relates to the topic of this blog, I currently use or used previously and can blog about with some authority. They are all relevant, which is key in successful affiliate marketing.
Outside of the recursive programs, I also affiliate sell the following products:
Again, I own every product listed above and have either written reviews about them or mentioned them in blog posts. I know these products, they have directly or indirectly made me money, I can write about them with an honest opinion and some of the readers of this blog benefit from buying them too because they are in a similar situation to me.
When they were still available, I made sales of Stompernet and Pipeline Profits (a large chunk of March’s affiliate revenues came from Pipeline Profit commissions). Other significant Internet product launches contribute to my affiliate income as well.
There are some other products and services I promote that are not listed above, including conferences and seminars, ebooks and courses. Whenever I feel I can adequately review something, it’s relevant to an article I’m producing or something I am personally involved with, I will promote with my affiliate link.
As you can see, to make money from blogging you can dip into many different income streams. That’s a good thing because you diversify and reduce your risk. If one income source tanks in a month you don’t suddenly have no money coming in. The entire Internet would have to be down for your money to dry up completely.
The one downside is that you need to maintain different advertising systems, but as is the case with my situation, I focus on building recursive and low maintenance options and reduce my dependence on any income stream that requires significant ongoing labor. I could just use AdSense across all my sites but I’d probably earn about 10% of what I currently make, so it pays to take some time testing different money making techniques.
Of course it’s a good idea to keep blogging every month, that is a labor activity, but chances are you enjoy it (as I do) if you are in the blogging game to begin with. By testing different monetization methods I’ve been able to come up with methods that suit my blogging style and work well enough that I can earn a full time income working part time blogging.
If that sounds like something you would like to do, make sure you are on my early notification list for my blog mentoring program. You can sign up here:
Before I end this article I want to send some thanks to the sponsors of this blog since they are responsible for a significant proportion of the financial rewards I receive from blogging. In no particular order, a big shout out and thank you to:
Also thanks to all the past sponsors of my blogs. If you want to be like these sponsors please check out the advertising page.
That’s it for how I make money blogging. Bear in mind I only cover a small sampling of the entire world of blog monetization methods. There are MANY more ways you can make money and it’s important that you keep testing different methods AT THE SAME TIME as you focus on producing great content. Through testing you can make more money, but I recommend you avoid investing too much energy in monetization as you can become too focused on the dollar and your own ego, which is detrimental to your blog’s health (and can be to your own health too!). Balance is key here people!
Making Money Online