Will Your Blog Ever Be Profitable Enough to Support Your Family?

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profitable blog

Although I prefer to write about blogging experiments and conversion strategies, I can’t deny that a lot of the readers of this site want to know how to build a profitable blog.

And one of the bigger concerns is whether or not their blog will ever be profitable enough to support a spouse, kids, bills, etc. I know a lot of stay at home moms who run blogs think about this because I receive the emails.

Not everyone wants to make money from their blog, but if you do then you would have inevitably thought about whether you’ll ever earn enough to make the whole thing worth while.

Let’s take a look at a few issues about building a profitable blog.

How do blogs make money, amigo?

The first thing we should do is examine the different ways in which blogs make money.

This is important as it shows you different methods that might be suitable to your current or future strategy.

The main ways include:

  • Promoting affiliate programs
    This is where you find the affiliate program for a service that you like and promote it on your blog. Every time someone purchases through your unique link you earn a commission of that sale. These commissions can range from 20% anywhere up to 100% of the sale price. For example, if you sign up for a BlueHost account through one of my start a blog tutorials I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
  • Selling digital information products
    Digital information products have always been very popular amongst bloggers. This is where you develop an eBook, course, membership site or some other form of educational platform. There is nothing tangible sold but your customers will pay a once off fee or an ongoing membership in order to access certain premium content. Yaro has done extremely well with his courses.
  • Developing a tool, widget or plugin
    Another popular form of monetizing a blog is to team up with a developer to build something that is useful to either your readers, or a market that you want to eventually target through blogging. For example, Glen from ViperChill developed OptinSkin after realizing that people needed a plugin that made it easier to add opt-in forms to their blogs and websites.
  • Consulting and advice
    This is much like the information product except you do it “live” with your customers directly. Your blog might position you as an expert and then you offer a premium service where you help a reader diagnose and solve problems that they are having in whatever niche you operate in. Yoast, for example, has a popular SEO analysis package.
  • Adsense and other similar programs
    Adsense is the user side of Google Adwords where you get paid a tiny fee every time someone clicks on an advert that you place on your site. Depending on your niche and blog quality you will earn anywhere between $0.01 and $10 per click. The highest I ever had was around $5 for one click but I don’t really use these type of programs anymore.
  • Advertising banners and promotions
    Many bloggers think that selling advertising is a good way to make money online. To be honest, I feel like it is one of the worst. You essentially rent out some space in your sidebar where another website places an image advert in order to get clicks. So you potentially lose a lot of visitors to those other sites for not a lot of reward.
  • Using the blog to promote another business
    If you own another physical business it is often a really good idea to have a blog as a way of sharing the things your company does and giving examples of different clients, services, jobs, etc. In this respect, a blog is not really directly earning the income but helping to get traffic and attention to the other business. I talked about this approach in my article on how to get more photography clients.
  • Paid reviews
    One other method of making money from a blog that I wanted to mention is paid reviews. This is where a company approaches you and gives you money to write a review of their product or service. I personally don’t do these and don’t recommend that other bloggers do them either as it can impact on the perceived trust and authority of the blog. Even if you are being impartial with your reviews it is very hard to appear that way if you are getting paid for it.
  • Selling the blog itself
    The last thing I thought I should mention is the fact that if you make some consistent income from your blog you can sell the blog itself. I did this when I was in uni and it really was the start of it all for me as I realised that you could do some pretty cool things with the blogging platform.

Of course there are other methods but I just wanted to give a brief overview for anyone that might be new to the blogging scene.

With all that in mind we can move on to the issue of whether or not you can make any of these work well enough for you and your family.

Will your blog ever be profitable enough?

Here are a few issues that I thought might be worth bringing up in terms of whether or not a blog might ever reach the level of profitability that you’d intended.

1. Do you have a solid set of goals that you’ve written down?

A few years back my sister and my uncle (both successful in real estate) encouraged me to be deliberate with my goals. I always sort of just had general ideas about where I wanted my online business to go but they made me write it down.

Since doing so I’ve really felt my business taking on new life because I feel like it has direction. It’s more deliberate.

If you don’t have a set of goals for your blog or business I’d really suggest that you might struggle to take it to the next level in the long term. Try to develop some short, medium and long term goals and always carry out your blogging in a way that aims to achieve those goals.

2. Are you taking risks or mitigating them?

The business people who are most successful in the short term take big risks. Glen is an example of someone who does things that I wouldn’t be brave enough to do and as a result he earns a lot more than I do.

It’s important to recognize what kind of business you want at the outset. If it’s something that is long term and stable you want to make sure you balance your risk taking with some risk mitigation. Protecting yourself from Google is one example.

One profitable blog is like a chair with two legs – it’s not stable. See if you can add a few more and make it firm and long lasting.

3. Is your brand different from the rest?

Every year literally tens of millions of new blogs get created. If you don’t find some way to be different from all of them you will not last very long.

One of the best books I’ve read about this is called How Brands Grow (not aff). This marketing science team analyse marketing ideas based on data and one of the things they found was that it’s not that important to be original or first, but you do need to be distinctive.

If you look at your blog and can’t see how it’s different from your competitor then it’s not good enough. Click to Tweet this.

4. Is your niche defined enough?

A few years ago I was chatting to my buddy Steve Kamb on Skype and he mentioned that one of the things he did with Nerd Fitness was make it as exclusive as possible. Sure, he could have made another fitness site that included everyone but then it would be exactly like all the other fitness websites out there.

This point is very similar to the one above but, instead of focusing on your site’s brand, it focus more outwardly on the niche that you go after. Steve went after Nerds who also wanted to get fit.

The great thing about the web is that there is enough traffic in (almost) every niche. Do a little bit of keyword research and then make sure you’re going after something less general.

5. Is your income diverse enough?

Earlier in the year a huge portion of my income was coming from one source. I’d had a nice Google update and was getting some pretty decent traffic to one set of keywords that were paying out nicely.

And that worried me. If that one source dried up then I’d be in a little bit of trouble. The same is true of any blog – it’s a risk you don’t want to take if you are supporting a family.

Make sure you are getting income from multiple sources and in many different ways. Think eCourses, affiliates, membership sites, ads, etc. Make sure you have something to fall back on should the other stuff fall through.

6. Is your traffic in a ‘buy ready’ frame of mind?

One of the big concerns marketing experts had when Facebook first launched their advertising program was whether or not people were in a ‘buy ready’ frame of mind when they were browsing pictures of their friends cooking exploits and Alex from Target.

Of course, Facebook ads do very well for some things but the same concern should be applied to your own blog. Are you in a niche/topic where people are interested in pulling out their credit card and making a purchase? Or are they just after some quick information?

One example of this is my post on how to speed up your internet. It gets around 1,000 unique visitors per day (yes, just to that one post) but makes me almost no money as it is all very general information that has little to do with blogging or my overarching profit strategy. Whoops.

7. Are you collecting useful email subscribers?

As I’ve said before, your email subscribers are your protection from Google. Your email subscribers are the safety net that allow you to keep moving on if something goes wrong. It’s also your email subscribers that allow you to build a long term sustainable business.

Every time I send an email out to my list about a new post on Blog Tyrant I get at least 200 visitors on-site within the first five minutes. Over a day it’s thousands. There is no other medium that allows you to do this. Not Facebook. Not Twitter.

If you’re not already growing a mailing list a I highly encourage you to get started as soon as possible. Make it one of your short term goals and then work your mailing list into your monetization strategy. I’d be happy to write more on this if anyone is interested.

8. Are you an authority on a subject that has longterm appeal?

One of the saddest things that we see in the blogging world is someone trying to crack into a market without any real experience in the niche. It’s sort of like getting medical advice from a mechanic.

If you want to make a long term, sustainable income from your blog then you need to be somewhat of an authority in that niche. And if you’re not an authority then you need to hire writers that are. The absolute worst thing you can do is put your energy into a blog that you really don’t know much about.

The second element of this point is that you want to be going after a topic that has evergreen appeal. This includes your individual articles but is also about your subject matter. For example, people are always going to want to learn how to lose weight but they aren’t always going to be interested in a specific machine like the ab cruncher.

9. Are you working on the right numbers?

There is absolutely no point in growing a blog if you don’t know whether that blog’s product is going to convert. First of all, I think, you need to work on conversions.

For example, I’ve been able to dramatically boost my income by working on landing pages and studying techniques for how to make sure people go from random visitor to paying customer. My initial rates were dismal but now I get some conversions at around 10% of search traffic which I’m super happy about.

If you want to have a profitable blog that supports your family you really want to make sure that it is actually physically capable of earning an income. Make sure you do lots of testing and work out what is working and what isn’t and then go about lowering your attrition and things like that.

10. Clean toilets

When I first started my online business I used to clean a gym from 6am to 10am in the morning so that I’d have enough money to pay my rent. I’d then come home and have the whole day to work on blogs. (You can read more about this story in my article on how to start a blog)

If you really want to have an online business (blog) that supports your family then you need to be willing to make it happen, even if it takes a bit longer than your would have hoped. You need to even be prepared to work in the offline, regular world until you get enough knowledge behind you to make a go of it.

This blog has the reputation of being somewhat of an overnight success but I can assure you there was a lot of hard work and failures before it happened. I promise. Stick at it.

Does your blog support you and your family?

I am actually really curious to know whether any of the Tyrant Troops are supporting a family (or even just themselves) with their blogs. How long did it take you to get it to this position? Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting out?

Please leave a comment. Your insights might really help someone.

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  • susie t. gibbs

    Ramsay, I really dig what your write. You’re very clear and concise and don’t just dazzle with bs, you deliver with supporting information within each post.

    I’ve got quite a to-do list thanks to this last post. Off to hunt for appropriate affiliate programs!

    Thanks again!

    Susie


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks so much. I really hope it helps.


  • Phil

    Hey, I thought about this topic for a while now and decided to give it a try. I launched my blog yesterday and I think it’s doing great!

    Hope it will make Money in the long run though. Quality counts!


    1. Ramsay

      Good luck Phil! Thanks for stopping by.


  • Diana Marinova

    What a nice post, Ramsay – I am bookmarking it for future reference! For me, it actually started the other way around. I started freelancing, succeeded in i pretty quickly, then I started blogging about it to help others (in my native language) and only a year ago, I also started to blog about freelance in English to reach more people (duh, most people nowadays speak English). I have never blogged to support myself with my blog – I have always blogged to help others.

    Today, I slowly move away from working with clients more into launching a couple of products, writing a couple of books, coaching, training courses, etc. – so I think my blog will start supporting me as soon as I start paying attention to it and treat it as an income source πŸ™‚

    As to advice for someone who is just starting our – setting goals is super important. May be a cliche, but – make those goals S.M.A.R.T., and stick to it. If you put your mind to it and are persistent, no matter what, you will succeed. elieve you can do it – and you will.

    Thanks for another great post, Ramsay! πŸ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome! Sounds like you know EXACTLY what you’re doing. Thanks for sharing.


    2. Yolanda

      Hi Diana,

      I found your blog via another comment on a post here at Blog Tyrant, and have to say I think I might take a similar route to you. I’ve been interested in blogging for a while but am always a little half hearted about it because it’s hard to see the long-term rewards now.

      I recently signed up to Elance and am having great success writing about my area of expertise. It’s great because I’m getting recognition for my work now and gaining experience and skills to develop my writing in the meantime. It’s also motivating me to start blogging more myself about topics I’m writing for my clients and is a lot of fun. Hopefully, like you, I can transition more into the blogging side of things in terms of income over the coming months/years.

      I’m also considering starting my own freelancer blog, but that’s still an idea at the moment. For now, I’ll continue enjoying your blog, freelancing and a bit of blogging myself.

      Yolanda


      1. Diana Marinova

        Thanks for your feedback, Yolanda – I am glad you found me here and liked me enough to follow – and maybe we should also thank Ramsay for introducing us through his blog πŸ˜‰

        If you are half-hearted about anything, don’t do it – blogging, like freelancing, takes a lot of work and if you don’t see the point or feel the rewarding effect of doing whatever you are doing, you have a great chance of failing at it – not necessarily because you were bad at it, but because you didn’t go all in with it.

        I hope Ramsey’s blog will keep on inspiring you about blogging (isn’t he great?!) and my blog will keep on inspiring you about freelancing. When you are ready to commit to either of them, just believe in yourself and dive in, the rest will follow and fall in its place sooner or later.

        Stay in touch!
        ~Diana


  • Johanna

    You’ve outlined so many great ways of making money from blogging Ramsay, how can we fail? πŸ˜‰ I think in there somewhere is a magic ingredient, maybe it’s as you say being ‘distinctive’, but really it all boils down to traffic and engagement as you say, because without that you don’t have an audience to monetise. I would love more advice on growing an email list as mine grows slowly but steadily but I still spend far too much time trying to keep my troops entertained on Facebook for little reward.


    1. Ramsay

      To be honest I really think FB is a waste of time unless you’re paying. I know a lot of people disagree but that’s been my experience across a few niches. I think more mailing list posts are in order!


  • Nida

    The first half of your blog post is eerily similar to this one here: http://wplift.com/monetize-wordpress-blog (published April this year). While I can understand that there really are only so many ways to monetize a blog, I would have hoped that your post would have added value beyond what was already available online.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Nida.

      Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen that site (I don’t really read many blogs anymore) but the methods mentioned are similar. Unfortunately there really are only a finite number of “popular” ways that people make money with blogs.

      That being said, the crux of my article was the bit that follow – the points about whether or not a blog is set up for that long term success. Less about the methods of making money, more about whether or not a blog might actually be able to get there.

      Anyway, thanks again. I’ll be careful about repeating that type of information. Actually, I think I’ve written similar sets of dot points on here at least four or five times now!

      Ramsay


      1. Nida

        Hey Ramsay,

        No, I agree that the crux of your article is the second half. It was just weird to me because I read that article I mentioned yesterday (it had been tweeted out using old-post retweet or something). πŸ™‚

        Cheers!


        1. Ramsay

          Hi Nida.

          Thanks for clearing that up. I do appreciate you pointing out to me when I get a little bit repetitive. It’s so hard to write articles for both new readers and old ones alike.

          Rest assured I’ve never copied an article from anyone, ever in my career. I really try to base the stuff I write here on things I’ve tried for myself.

          Thanks again!


          1. Cathy

            LOL. It’s called inadvertent self-plagiarism. It happens to just about all experts after they’ve written about a topic for a few years.

            It used to be called the writer finding his (or her) voice. And if something was repeated, then that’s because the writer obviously thought it needed repeating.


  • Gary Toth

    Ramsay,

    I like how you kept things really simple and organized on this topic. Anyone, no matter what field or niche they are in, should get value out of this concise post.

    “3. Is your brand different from the rest?” I would say if someone is having difficulty with this, first find out what makes YOU different as a person and make sure those things shine through on your blog. Your unique personality alone can make you different and stand out!

    -Gary


    1. Ramsay

      That’s a really good point. I hadn’t thought of it like that! Thanks Gary.


  • Rachelle

    As someone for whom blogging is the main source of advertising for her business that supports her entire family including a sick husband, I think I am well qualified to discuss this subject a bit further.

    First I think the important thing for a service business like mine is to be your authentic self online, it will screen your clients and save you lots of time and money. Not everyone is your client.

    My customers often comment how “they think they know me” because they’ve read what I wrote and in a sense that is true. In a world full of fakery and facade and “professionalism” I think customers crave transparency and honesty and ethics. People want to know that you stand for something and have some backbone to stand behind what you say or have the courage to admit your mistakes.

    Having said that, being on the internet and being myself has caused me to be a target for some lawsuits and problems, but in fact working through those problems gave me an opportunity to demonstrate my ethics, my personality and my resolve. Many clients who are calling me now are lawyers who own property and were following the saga of the Ponzi schemer that sued me for defamation. They followed me because it was so unusual to have someone stand up and make public the unravelling of the companies.

    I was also in the newspaper many times during that time over that affair so while it was a very difficult time for me because I am myself it played out online and I reached a lot of people I would never have reached otherwise.

    I’m not really sure where I’m going with this…

    Anyhow another piece of advice I have is to write, write, write. You never know what is going to be your best bit of “evergreen content” I have posts that are now years old that keep getting comments and they are not the ones I wanted to get people to read. I have one on Smoking Issues and another on why I hate basement apartments that consistently get more traffic than anything else.

    I am also adding places I have rented and managed to my sidebar, something that I have been working on for years. I now rank for those addresses and people are calling me because they googled for their address and found a property I had put in my sidebar and rented.

    The internet can be a cool and fun place to be with the law of unintended consequences working both for and against you. Your mileage may vary.


    1. Ramsay

      I don’t know how I feel after reading this… ha.


    2. Stacey

      Hi Rachel:

      All I know is that, after reading your entry, I must click on your link. Ha.

      Stacey


  • Cameron

    Great article. Just started my own blog in the last weeks, TheFilmBox.org, a movie news and review site. Right now I’m trying to focus on content and just get started, but I’ve also been struggling with how to monetize the site. I’ve got adsense up and have become an Amazon associate to link relevant products to my articles. Beyond that I’m struggling and looking at your list I can’t see many alternative options for me. But like you said, patience and trial and error I think are best.

    Good stuff! Keep it up!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Cameron.

      There are some other alternatives. I know there have been some film bloggers who have gone on to become critics on TV and write books and so on.


  • Kulwant

    Well crafted article with a great headline. πŸ™‚

    I know this the question of every human being who wants to start their online career. Even I get too many mails asking the same question, “Can I really make money with my blog?”

    And most of the times I reply them, “First start, then you will know what you can do.”

    Once you start writing and helping people, you will start getting tons of new ideas to monetize your blog. And this will happen only when you START.

    I loved your point about making goals.

    I have started noting down all the things in my notebook and my business has changed drematically in the recent few months.

    Thanks for compiling such an awesome things in a single post.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for sharing. Really nice to see you around here.


  • shenandoah kepler

    Ramsay, You asked from your Tyrant Troops: here goes:
    I started my blog “Fleeting Architecture” in August 2012. It is about aging in place in my garden, about an ancient gardener trying to not just live at home as she becomes more frail and less able to get around, but also keep up her garden outside. For some people, it is an inevitability that they don’t want to face, and so might be seen as a bit of a downer. Fortunately, I am retired and living on a pension, because I would have starved to death if I had to depend on the blog for financial support. Last year, I earned $50 in kind from reviewing a garden tool that the manufacturer sent me. This year so far, I earned $400 from sponsored posts and $50 from sales from an ebook about meditation in the garden. I hope to complete another ebook about accessible (wheelchair and walker) travel in the Everglades before the end of the year. I am also partnering with a vertical garden system manufacturer and will be combining my blog with his sales site. I have a business plan and long term objectives (if I live long enough), and am still enthusiastic and committed. But financially flush? No, but I hope IRS still accepts this as a true business, not a hobby, because it is intended as a service to the gardening community and aging baby boomers with a gardening and landscaping hobby that they want to maintain. Too long a response, but I hope my experience helps others be realistic about what they can accomplish in an area outside of blogging to help others succeed at blogging. Best to you!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks so much for sharing. Just FYI your comment went to the spam folder. You may want to look into that as I almost deleted this awesome comment that you wrote.


  • beata redzimska

    I m’a polish bligger thank you i read your blog with intetest


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks!


  • santanu

    I have started my first WordPress blog this week and I am really desparate to make it big. I am spending huge time to make the content useful like yours. Hope I will see some result soon.


    1. Ramsay

      Best of luck to you Santanu.


  • Fiona

    I have a website rather than a blog but it does make me a full time income. I found that like you said you need to have several streams of revenue. When I only had one stream I struggled to make a part time wage.

    I have to say I do find adverts work well for me, I vet them and only allow companies that I know and trust and which are relevant to the content of my site (sewing). I also limit the number so there aren’t loads of adverts and some visitors have told me how much they like the adverts. It might be because they are visually appealing – colourful fabrics etc. But I can see it doesn’t work for all sites and blogs, my other site has no adverts but I’m considering trying affiliate marketing on that one instead.


    1. Ramsay

      Do you find you lose traffic to those adverts?


  • Busayo

    Ramsay,
    I read your blog posts with expectations and I never get disappointed. Kudos.
    My blog is a month old, I post literary essays,writing contests alerts and insightful writing tips.
    I am still trying to cement my feet. I average sixty visitors daily and I promote an affiliate program.
    I hope to make it to the top someday.
    How can one implement google adsense?


    1. Ramsay

      Just sign up for an Adsense account (google.com/adsense) and paste the code where you want the ads to appear.


  • Free Spirit

    I have found in my experience writing too many blogs repels money and attracts freeloaders. I used to blog a lot and struggle. Now I blog very infrequently and sell high-end courses/products and income has increased five-fold. Just three of four blogs pointing at what you do is enough. If you blog for a hobby – by all means write loads – but if you blog for money – the ballgame is different. Three or four blogs is enough to enable people to make a buying decision.


    1. Ramsay

      Very interesting. Did your post length change too?


      1. Free Spirit

        Post length around 750 words. So no post length did not change. I just stopped creating new blogs for subscribers and more people on my list made a buying decision sooner. You see, 90-95% of people sign up for a list just for the free-updates. If you want to make serious money – that is no good as you have a 95% freeloader rate in your energy field. So write say four or five blogs and then point them to a book or other product. Then send a new list to those who take the book or product offering more expensive product and service that provides more value. At the end of it you have 5-10 times more money and 5-10 times more time.


        1. Ramsay

          Nicely done!


  • Marc

    I used to make all of my income, and supported my family, from blogging. I still work online but some of my current income would fall more into the category of e-commerce than blogging, although blogging is one of the ways that I promote the products that I sell.

    My advice for people who are looking to make the jump from part-time to full-time is:

    – Diversify your sources of income. When I first left my full-time job I made at least half of my income each month from freelance blogging for other blogs. I also made some money from my own blogs, but not enough at that point, so I supplemented it by writing for other blogs until mine grew a little more. Maybe you don’t want to offer services for the long term, but doing so may help you to increase your income for now.

    – If you have a full-time job and you blog part-time don’t get used to living on both incomes. Put everything you earn from your blog in a separate checking or savings account. Use it to re-invest in your business if you want, but don’t use it for normal living expenses or else you will be adjusting to a really high income (your full-time job plus your blogging income). When you go to quit your full-time job you will have quite an adjustment to make because it will feel like you are taking a big pay cut.

    – Focus on the most productive uses of your time. There are tons of things that you can do as a blogger to attempt to grow your blog, but when you’re working with limited time and you need to increase your income you’ll want to focus on what gets results. Ramsay, your advice to build an email list is obviously an important one. If you’re monetization approach includes selling products, dedicate most of your time to creating and promoting your product. Don’t get caught up spending countless hours on social media sites and leaving a million blog comments if there are other things you can do with your time that will help you to increase your income faster.

    – Treat it like a business or a job even when you are just blogging part-time. If you only work on the blog when you feel like it, it will take forever. Set regular hours that will work with your schedule and stick to it.


    1. Ramsay

      Re-investing in the business is such an important thing. I can’t believe I forgot to mention that. Even if it’s only small amounts to start with for advertising or hiring a writer it can make a huge difference.


  • Paul Back

    Hey Ramsay

    I am not sure if I am qualified to comment.

    I have had an online business before, and helped with the marketing of others businesses and blogs but right now I am in the prelaunch phase of my own blog.

    I think you have to build your blog from the ground up to give you the best chance of a.) making it popular enough to have potential and b.) in the right niche which you could make it profitable.

    You need to plan ahead and choose the right topic and audience ( although with a lot of areas you could shift that later or do a bit of a re-brand, if you made a mistake) saying that, sometimes making the wrong choice in the beginning will kill your chances of success from the get go.

    You also have to have the mindset of making your blog “into a business” and there are many, many ways of doing that and you made a great list of most of the best ones in your post.

    A large part of that is embracing marketing, learning it and applying it. It also takes a mental shift for some to pitch their own products – bloggers are in a tough spot. The ones that really care about their audiences often struggle to monetize and they feel “guilty” and the ones that want sell, sell, sell usually don’t have a large audience as they only saw dollar signs and didn’t build a strong enough bond with their audience – obviously theses are generalizations and there are plenty of exceptions, but this is a common occurrence.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is try to pre plan the actual products or courses, that isn’t the smartest idea. You need to know what your audience wants not what you want to create – and this means actually having and audience before trying to create any products.

    You talk about diversification of products, and this is also a really important part. If you are just selling a cheap ebook, you will probably never make enough steady income to live off. It is just too cheap of a price point. You need a wide range of products selling at different prices, some with a very high entry point ( hundreds to thousands) and others much much cheaper ( hundred or less)

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

    This post really got me thinking, I really think this one could be a wake-up call in a good way to many people.

    If there is a take away message from this it’s to at least think hard about your blog, and what you want to achieve and then plan out and actually take the steps that will start getting you there.

    It is about progress not perfection, but some people imagine one thing and do nothing to bring that goal closer to reality.

    Thanks Ramsay,

    See you around!

    Paul


    1. Ramsay

      Progress, not perfection. Love it. My mantra for 2014 was “be prolific, not perfect” and it’s made such a huge difference.

      Thanks for your awesome comment.


      1. Paul Back

        I like that πŸ™‚ by all means it has paid off for you.

        I never quite know what to expect from your posts but they always deliver something thought provoking.

        Kevin Duncan recently wrote a post about not becoming too predictable and I think you are a great example of how to keep it fresh and relevant Ramsay.

        Paul


        1. Ramsay

          Thanks mate. Appreciate it.


  • Lessie

    After subscribing to your site I’ve been following your posts for several months now and appreciate the valuable information you provide on blogging. I have begun to work on my blog which needs lots of attention and your post does encourage me to improve on it to make it profitable.

    Actually being a boomer there is so much to learn about blogging and because I now have the time to work on my blog, my goal is to see greater improvement.
    Traffic to say the least is my concern although most recently I have acquired good research on SEO. Again thanks for providing the encouragement and giving so much needed info, and I will continue to visit.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for the kind words Lessie. Glad the site is of some use.


  • Rodney Robinson

    Thanks for sharing this truth, Ramsay! I think one of the most useful values of a blog is that it makes you an expert, and primes you for consulting others. Not enough people consider that blog monetization, but we should. Thanks for the tips on making it work.


    1. Ramsay

      Totally agree. Thanks Rodney.


  • Tor Refsland

    Thanks for another great post, Ramsay.

    I really like that you are not recommending people to sell adveritising on your website, since you are renting out your prime real estate on your website – which should of course be used to build YOUR own business (get emails), not other peoples business πŸ˜‰

    I have the same opinion about Google adsense. Basically the reason why bloggers do have a blog (from a business perspective) is to get people on their email list. So all your hard effort on your blog is of course to get targeted traffic to your website, so you can convert them to your email list.

    Why on earth would people do do Google adsesne? You are basically sending your potential customers away. It`s like owning an Italian restaurant, and you spend a lot of money advertising to get customers. When people finally get to your restaurant, you greet them and say, I think you should visit the Mexican place down the street. That is insane. People, for your own business sake, please don`t do that.

    When you write about to have solid goals written down – you are hitting my passion button. My big passion is goal setting, time management and productivity – and to help people work smarter, not harder – so they can achieve more by doing less.

    Setting and reaching your correct goal is an important success factor in any business (yeah, blogs too). Did you see that I wrote the words correct goals? I did that intentionally.

    The most important thing is not that you set and reach your goal, but that the goal that you set is important for your business. That means that the task you perform actually is an income generating activity.

    The SMART goals system is great system.
    The cons. about a SMART goal system, is that the goals are going to be realistic, which means that you would probably not push yourself to set hairy goals. This is of course the intention behind the SMART goals system (to set realistic goals), but in most cases it will procrastinate your goal setting – not pushing you out of your comfort zone.

    I have created a goal setting system to aim for hairy goals – DUMB goals. Recently I applied the DUMB goals system to my online business, and the result?

    As a total newbie on Twitter I managed to get 2000 targeted Twitter followers in 38 days – all organic (free) traffic.

    Tor Refsland


    1. Ramsay

      Loving your big long comments lately mate! Thanks so much for participating in this way. Really appreciate it.


  • Maggie

    Thank you for the list. I would love to start being more profitable on my blog.


    1. Ramsay

      Hope it helps!


  • Tejas Datta

    Always a delight to read your posts.

    I did dream up a pro-blogging career once. Demands high levels of self-discipline, is all I can start to whine about.

    What did trigger the dream is this post I read a while ago…
    http://www.incomediary.com/top-earning-blogs

    Would love to start a blogging career someday. Have some topics I’d absolutely love to write about.

    Bests,
    T


    1. Ramsay

      I remember this post. Thanks for sharing!


  • Slavko Desik

    It’s been almost three years now, and though the first one and a half I went by counting dimes, this year was more profitable than I ever imagined when starting this whole thing. With around one thousand dollars of monthly income (which is a boatload of money where I live), I thought it cannot get any better.

    Here is the flipside though- once you consider doing this on the long run, and play around with the thought of starting a family (as I do these days rather lot), doubt creeps in.

    After all, though Ramsay mentioned some great models of income, you cannot ever be sure with this type of a business model. The ones that can, usually end up putting hours upon hours of work every day, before they can even mention the word passive. Either that, or we are talking about luck (cannot believe I’m saying this) or off-the-charts genius.

    Been pushing the affiliate model for a while now (actually it’s been our only model of income), and I realize, if I want to make this a long term thing, something along the lines of a product must be build in the near future. Either that, or grow a mailing list and continue with affiliate marketing offers to a targeted audience. The mix of the two sounds more reassuring though.

    Know this- it’s possible πŸ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Hey bro.

      I watched my best mate go from doing Pay Per Post gigs for $5 at a time to support his first child to now doing millions per year and supporting 5 children. The skills you learn keep adapting. You just gotta keep taking smart risks, I think.

      Good luck!


  • Deborah Harper

    I read your article and very much appreciate your valuable tips.I also read the comments and gained something there too. I’ve been blogging for 5 years, still haven’t monetized because I started the blog while in real estate and only wanted to service my clients. I never advertised houses for sale it was always about news and information.
    Last year I lost 50% hearing and had to give up real estate. (I have hearing aids now after an operation in May).
    Since I had always written about healthy homes and healthy living also I dumped about 70% of what was on my blog which is not relevant anymore.It has made no difference to the number of daily registrations. I wrote a book, (The Number # 1 Rule for a Long and Healthy Life), last month I published it on Amazon sold 3 copies to family. Invested in aweber converted part of (about 300 or so) 6000 followers to aweber last month and got 1 subscriber which was me, I wanted to check that everything was working. Should I continue to convert these subscribers over? I was told by someone that I am spamming them? But I thought that was what I was supposed to do?
    I’ve picked myself up a few times and persisted with blogging because I love the research I do for posts, but I am wondering now if I should pursue other avenues to promote and market my book? In the 5 years of blogging I have never really got much feedback, even though my following has grown. I’m happy to persist, but I seem to be going in circles not getting far. I would love your advice.


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Deb.

      Sorry to hear about your hearing.

      What do you mean by converting over to AWeber? Where are these subscribers coming from?


  • Stacey McCall

    Hi Ramsay:

    Thank you for the information. I’m going to attempt to put together a free ebook that will lead to a landing page.

    Stacey


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome! Let me know when you finish.


  • Genna

    Hi Ramsey

    As a complete rookie, I’ve found this very interesting.

    I am looking to start up a blog but not sure which blogging platform to use. And will a blogging platform be able to collect email addresses for me, or will I need to build that into a website (with a teaser/giveaway)?

    I’d really appreciate your advice.

    Thanks Ramsay.

    Genna


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Genna.

      Here is both of my recommendations for those things: http://www.blogtyrant.com/start-a-new-blog/


      1. Genna

        Thank you Ramsay!


  • Brittany

    I actually just spent almost two hours reading through your website. I was on the page about the thank you page and I couldn’t leave a comment soooo I’m leaving one here (not that I didn’t read this page too). Anyway, thanks for all of the advice.

    Brittany
    http://www.BrittanyJefferson.com


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed it!


  • Danish Khan

    Yes my blogging career is supporting my family as i am a event based blogger and make worth money…


    1. Ramsay

      Well done! Happy to hear that.


  • Tim

    Building communities through email lists is a good way to protect your business because the tribe will always protect their own. For example “My 5 step process to profitable blogging” on this page is one way, so get creative. I am currently experimenting with social media on the same will let you know how that goes :-).


    1. Ramsay

      Look forward to hearing your results, Tim. Thanks for stopping by.


  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Ramsay,

    Awesome! I haven’t supported a whole fam but me and my partner Kelli have retired to become full-time, professional island hoppers through blogging. We’re doing well, paying da bills and socking away some scratch in savings too, so I’d have to agree fully with these tips. If 1 idea jumps out at me, it’s creating a one in a kind brand.

    Before I created Blogging from Paradise 4 months ago I thought about doing something different from anything I’d seen. I have met many travel bloggers, and many blogging tips themed bloggers yet no blogger offered blogging tips for folks who wanted to retire to a life of island hopping. That’s where I come in.

    So Blogging from Paradise was born. I help folks retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging, and my blog screams me, with a bunch of selfie travel pics along my sidebar and with my Wikipedia style About Me page, which I adopted from Neil Patel. I felt, if I could make my brand one of a kind, my products, services, eBooks and all those income channels would prosper me nicely, and I’ve been blessed to be doing this travel and blogging thing full time.

    If you brand you, and write like crazy to establish your writing voice, the sky is the absolute limit. You’ll have few issues supporting your fam through your blog but like you did Ramsay, no need to quit the day job until you’re covering bills while putting away a significant amount of money each month. Be smart….and of course, you will have to take some risks – i.e., give yourself chances – to make this thing work because boldness is a prospering quality.

    Thanks Ramsay, great tips!! Tweeting and Pinning from Bali πŸ™‚

    Ryan


    1. Ramsay

      Nice work man! Love your comments here. Going to shoot you an email about an upcoming post I have which I’d like you to be part of.


  • Rando

    Setting goals for your blog and your business is certainly important otherwise you don’t get anything done. I also agree that if you really want to make some decent money then you must start from the bottom and work yourself up from there. There is no shortcut and everyone must put in the work.

    Good blog post!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Rando!


  • Ely

    Hi Ramsay,

    I just started blogging again and I can say that I am making progress. I really agree with your points. When you have goals, you are more guided in the path that you choose. Thank you for sharing these ideas. πŸ™‚

    Ely


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for sharing Ely!


  • Arbaz K

    Hey Ramsay,
    That’s a really amazing post.
    I have been working on creating a passive income source for a while now and this time I might be able to establish it as I have pre-defined my goals and am working hard in order to achieve it.
    If everything goes as planned, I might be able to make my blog profitable by early 2015, enough to support my family and invest in other properties, online and offline both!


    1. Ramsay

      Good luck mate! Hope you get there.


  • Dennis Seymour

    Hey Ramsay,

    I used to run a lot of niche sites back in the day but things turned for the worse for a lot of them (hence, your suggestion of “protecting yourself from Google” lol)

    Now I’ve been focusing on bigger niche authority sites that perform consistently. That part can actually raise a family, though we’re just 2 (almost 3 soon!) at the moment.

    I’ve seen ad networks lower their payouts so I also removed adsense and networks now.

    I’m restarting with blogging now, as myself…about time I did it without an alias. One of the bigger mistakes I made..that’s 8+ years down the drain LOL. Hopefully, my new blog will be able to perform well enough to support more family members in the future.

    I love your content man, I linked to you on my latest post simply because your blog is amazing. You are ProBlogger 2.0 in my book. πŸ˜€


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks so much for the link. That was a great piece of content. I’m glad you’re still going after all those mistakes – I feel the same about my own journey online.


      1. Dennis Seymour

        Thanks! Still working and learning to improve my writing.

        I think you are already in a good spot to completely forget about those mistakes now! Haha! πŸ™‚

        I look forward to learning more from you Ramsay.


        1. Ramsay

          Ha. Not at all. I am constantly making mistakes.


  • Kelly

    Awesome post – lots of great info there! One thing I want to comment on – getting paid for reviews, or sponsored posts. I know several lifestyle and “mommy bloggers” who are getting lots of page views and making pretty good bank from sponsored posts. They work with big brands, like Target, Kraft and Sharpie.

    There’s definitely a skill to creating posts that look natural while promoting a product. But moms love reading other mom’s opinions of products – they trust a fellow mom’s blog more than they trust traditional advertising, even when the post is clearly marked as sponsored.


    1. Ramsay

      I think if you can do it and still be brave enough to point out a product’s flaws then it is probably alright. As long as readers know what’s going on.


  • Anshul mathur

    Thats an amazing informative post.
    I am really curious to know whether a blog can support family or not.
    But if you are serious for your blog, and want to make it large, then I am sure you can earn a huge money out of it.
    There are many bloggers who are earning huge cash out of blogging.


    1. Ramsay

      Yep. Just gotta keep trying new things.


  • Yunar

    Hi Ramsay, awesome post. My blog is just about 5 months old, how many post to be considered enough to generate 200-300 visitors per day according to your experience? Thanks.


    1. Ramsay

      I think usually around 20, perhaps.


  • Nate Brunner

    Great list and great blog.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Nate.


  • Pete

    I have just come across your blog and read several articles now and finding it very interesting.
    As a novice blogger I had no idea how to increase (or rather get) any traffic to my site.
    I found using google plus has worked well but I want people to stay on my site longer and visit more pages as I notice on analytics the bounce rate is high and only one or two page visits.
    I guess as my writing gets better so too will the traffic, the bounce rate and eventually start making some money.
    My goal is to have the blog profitable within 12-18months.
    Thanks for the information.
    Regards
    Pete


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Pete. I have a feeling you’ll get there.


  • somya smith

    This is really amazing article. According to me Blog is a best way to help your family. I am agree with your tips and suggestions.


  • Terri E.

    I appreciate this post so much because these are the very things that I have been pondering and researching in effort to build my blog up so that it will become profitable. Initially, I was really intimidated by the whole process of just creating the blog in terms of look and feel and providing good content.

    I actually do have a niche market that my blog and online store focus on & I’m trying to find a way to not just be different but also relevant for our potential customers. So your advice is well received but I just need to figure out how to execute what you’ve suggested. So for me, the struggle is not getting overwhelmed with it all. Again, thanks for this post!


  • Andrew Park

    Saving this for later. Excellent breakdown here, thanks.


  • Faiz khan

    Yeah my blogging career supporting my family. I’v faced so many problems in my blogging career but i never give up. I tried again n again and Pro bloggers like you gave me so much inspiration to work harder and now i’m here as a successful event blogger. Thank you sir for inspiring me.


  • Ruth

    Great post Ramsay!. Very helpful especially to people who’s into a blogging business! I really appreciate it. Very inspiring!


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