78 Comments / last updated May 11, 2020

A Blog is Not Enough

A blog is not enough. You can be doing more.

A few years ago it actually wasn’t that uncommon to make a decent income from a simple series of blog posts and a revenue stream like advertising or Adsense ads.

These days, however, the competition is such that you need to be doing a lot more if you want to take it to that professional level. And if you are doing well from just a plain old blog then there might be a lot of further opportunities that you are missing out on.

In this post I want to talk about a few things that me and my online friends are doing in order to take advantage of the modern-day gold rush that is the world wide web.

I hope this gives you some ideas!

BONUS: Here is a post about making money when your blog is brand new that might be good to read after this one.

The two opportunities your blog has going for it

Sometimes I get the feeling that many bloggers think that a blog is a kind of standalone entity that exists by itself and has only one fixed purpose.

In reality, a blog should be part of a bigger picture that you create in order to promote a business, product or profile. Tweet this.

Broadly speaking a blog gives you two types of opportunities: the direct ones that happen on your site, and the indirect ones that can happen elsewhere.

Sometimes there is crossover but here’s a rough graphical representation of what I mean:

blogging opportunities

If you are just focusing on writing great content and earning money directly there is a chance that you are missing out on a big chunk of opportunities that could be coming your way.

And if you are an entrepreneurial type of person you might start to think that maybe a blog by itself is just not enough.

Some examples of bloggers who do more

What I’d like to do now is show you a few cool examples that I have found of people who have great blogs but also take advantage of additional opportunities that are either created by, or promoted on, their blogs.

This post isn’t designed to give you a step-by-step guide on what to do with your blog. Rather, I’m hoping to give you a few ideas on how you might take things further in the future.

1. Darren Rowse and his ProBlogger Events

Darren Rowse is the perfect example of someone who uses his blog not directly as a huge earner, but more as a profile builder. While I’m sure ProBlogger does make a great income, Darren has been open in the past about the fact that Digital Photography School is his main revenue stream and ProBlogger is perhaps more a “tool” for other opportunities.

ProBlogger initially started off as a very simple blog but has now expanded out to a whole brand that includes a paid forum, eBook sales and the ProBlogger Events. These conferences sell out every year within minutes and attract some really huge speakers (like Dooce…).

problogger events

What a powerful way to network and elevate one’s own status within the niche. You hear so much positive feedback after the conferences finish and the buzz about ProBlogger really spreads wide while solidifying some very important relationships. If you want to start a joint venture with someone it’s always nice to have met them first.

2. Pat Flynn’s niche sites

Pat Flynn is in an interesting position whereby his main website is about earning a Smart Passive Income. That kind of means that he is “forced” into using alternate methods to make money on the Internet.

And alternate he does. Pat is a serial entrepreneur and has a series of famous podcasts, books and even a podcast plugin.

But the thing that really interests me is the fact that Pat still experiments with niche sites like his security guard training. These sites really diversify his income, give him new experiment-based skills and provide a fallback in case he ever needs to move away from the SPI brand which, incidentally, can promote these other websites quite nicely.

3. Chris Ducker and his Virtual Assistant companies

For me, Chris Ducker is one of the ultimate brands on the web. And he does it by being a transparent gentleman seeping generosity, honesty and value.

If you don’t know him already, Chris owns a bunch of companies that focus on matching up Virtual Assistants and call center staff with companies who need a good solution. He then promotes these companies via his own personal blog which mostly focuses on how he uses VAs and so on to grow his business.

This is a great example of how to use a blog to promote something outside and separate from the blog itself. It’s an incredible use of content strategy.

4. Glen and his plugins and services

ViperChill is a really interesting example because it has gone through quite a few different iterations and methods of making money.

First of all Glen focused on blogging and marketing, but then moved towards promoting his paid plugins that he developed. Now he’s firmly rooted in the SEO industry and is making an absolute killing by selling SEO services to premium clients.

The sexy thing about this is that all of those clients come from posts on ViperChill where Glen shares his methods for ranking on Google. All of his clients are thus advocates of the way he does things and super excited to get on board.

5. Zoella and her now famous book

Zoella is a fascinating case of someone who has absolutely killed it using video blogging. Her YouTube channel now has over seven million subscribers.

Recently Zoe launched a book and promoted it to her online subscribers. It made headlines for beating JK Rowling’s record for the most sales in opening week.

There was some controversy over the fact that Zoe didn’t fully write her book but instead had the help of a ghost writer. That doesn’t really bother me, however, and I am wildly impressed at how an online video blogger can break such incredible records.

6. Amy Porterfield and her Facebook empire

Amy has one of the slickest approaches to online marketing in a very specific niche. She is the prime example of someone who was smart enough to ride the growing popularity of Facebook and tapped into all the individuals and businesses who needed help using the platform.

Amy runs a popular blog which is used, in my opinion, almost more like a trust-building landing page that gets people interested in all of her other offerings.

Once you land on her Facebook Page or blog you’ll instantly get attracted to her courses and other offerings which are laser targeted to the exact audience that she has been going after.

7. Unbounce and their conversion optimization software

A company blog could seem like a pretty boring example but the folks over at Unbounce run one of the best IM blogs on the web.

I rarely read these types of technical blogs anymore, but I find myself getting stuck for a good hour at Unbounce at least once a month. The subject matter is tight and the ideas and editing of the posts are remarkable.

Their blog makes them no money. It’s all a tool to get people to look at their split testing software – each post giving you more ideas about what you could be doing and how their product might grow your own business.

Got it… What do I do next?

If you are conscious of the fact that you want to be doing more with your blog then there are a few little things I think it is good to consider:

  • Think verticals
    Verticals are a fancy marketing word for related and cross-pollenating products. For example, if you have a pool safety blog you might eventually think about getting into the swimming lessons or safety fence market.
  • Remember that it’s all circular
    The blogs mentioned above all seem to be very circular. That is, the blog promotes the product and the product is so good that it promotes the blog. It all works in a big circle; feeding into each element and growing the whole.
  • Try the new mediums
    If you want to expand on your blog’s existing presence it isn’t always a good idea just to launch another website. That’s more written content. It can work but often it’s better to tap into related markets like plugins, videos, podcasts, etc. because they have different audiences that can then get all circular on your existing blog.
  • As per usual, copy
    I’m not saying go out and plagarize people, don’t do that. But there is nothing wrong with looking at what the competition is doing and then trying to do it better. This is called research and it is a very wise thing indeed.
  • Stay passionate
    A lot of the time I see people start up new projects because they feel like they should be doing it. And they often fail because the owner gets bored. Try and think about areas that you love, and ways that you can help people, because it will help you maintain that energy that you need to make it work.

Remember, there are lots of opportunities out there for you to expand your blog but you really don’t have to be too stressed about it. Take your time (not too long!) and make sure you get the right fit.

Do you have plans to expand your blog?

I’d be really interested to know whether your blog is a standalone entity and, if so, whether or not you plan to make something else that compliments or expands on it. Also, if you know of anyone who is doing something cool with their blog like the above please let me know. As always, I love getting your comments.


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  1. Philip Kleudgen on February 25, 2015


    I really think going beyond the blog is the way to go. I’m about to start publishing on Udemy and Kindle as well as my own self-hosted course down the road.

    Thanks for the inspiration again 🙂

    1. I’ve heard a lot about Udemy lately. Please let me know how it works out for you.

  2. Roland Kopp-Wichmann on February 25, 2015

    I’m a blogger of Germany and I blog for over eight years.
    There are no ads on my blog besides sometimes ads for Amazon for book and the Kindle.
    But i offer some eMail-courses and also coaching-sessions and seminars. That’s a good mix and generates a very good income because I sell that only by my blog.
    That’s far better than affiliate, paid ads etc.
    PS: By the way, I’m not a young nerd, I’m a 66 years old psychologist.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Roland.

  3. Cathy Mayhue on February 25, 2015

    Hi Ramsay,

    Infact the myriad business activities built around your blog not only enhances your brand value but also drives more traffic to the blog.You are right, if you have a successful blog then you can not just afford to be content with the regular income coming through advertising.

    1. Yeah I really think it takes a bit more these days.

  4. It’s my beginning phase in blogosphere. I am learning different things in this process. Every day is a learning day. Thanks for this wonderful info. I never thought of blogging in this manner. I love your ‘think vertical’ point.
    Ya, I also think that blog is not simply a blog. It has lots of scope.
    I invite you to visit my blog . Your thoughts and suggestions are always welcome, buddy.

    1. Thanks Yatin!

  5. Paula McInerney on February 25, 2015

    I could not agree more. A travel blog is no longer enough if you want to take it to the professional and business level, which we do. As Baby Boomers we believe that we are a market that the travel industry struggles with. They want our money, but don’t know how to get it. As more and more of us are ‘doing it for ourselves’ we are proving to be a headache for them.

    This is where I believe that we can step it up and continue to provide tools and inspiration to others, to not accept compromise. So yes, we are launching our new book on this soon and we are looking at other areas outside of just our blog, to do this. I love reading your articles as it just reinforces that our heads are in the right place. Thanks …again.

    1. Sounds like your head is perfectly in place! Thanks for sharing, Paula.

  6. I think you nailed it with indirect opportunities. Since starting my blog with the vision of becoming a ‘blogger’ multiple partnerships and businesses have fored via these indirect channels.

    I’d go as far as to say that my blog has had a high direct impact on my business trajectory.

    – Lewis

    1. Awesome to hear! Any things you can share?

  7. Finally somebody reveals this TRUTH! Yes you got to have more going on and one I recommend is quickly set up your affiliate program with JVZoo, Zaxxa, or the like because if you got something worthy to blog about then you got something worthy for affiliates to promote which in turn gets them to send you massive traffic and sales thus building your business to higher levels.

    1. Thanks for the tip Caleb.

  8. Michael D Gorman on February 25, 2015

    Hey Ramsay, this is something I have always thought, a blog can be a good earner but most often it is not – but expanding your range of interests in a methodical manner can really lead to the fabled land of ‘multiple streams of income’ that used to be the mantra of IM. It seems to me that the possibilities are so huge that it can have the effect of stopping you in your tracks – I am always reminded of the gold rush days where the people selling the picks, shovels, groceries, tents were the ones that made the money – miners most often lucked out!

    1. Hi Michael.

      This is an interesting comment. There are a lot of websites making really good money these days. I really think it’s just a matter of figuring out to get the traffic, even if you pay for it.

      Compared to the work that went into finding gold I think we’re all in a pretty sweet position.

      Thanks for sharing!

      1. Would you suggest paying for traffic using ads etc in the beginning stages? and I am guessing along side guest posting and commenting on related blogs correct?

  9. Sarah Norris on February 25, 2015

    Hi Ramsey,
    I have to say how much I love your posts and how useful they have been to me.
    I am writing a book about babycare and need to build a platform so built my own website and blog which took 3 weeks of swearing, desk thumping and tension headaches because I am so bad with computers I didn’t even know what a header was !!! (and because I was working 24/6 with a baby!)
    In my research I found your blog and have used it as my anchor point and go-to resource the whole way through because of your clear explanations, great ideas and enthusiasm, and also because your posts ground me in the business side of things which doesn’t come naturally for me. I struggle with the ethics of how to be successful without conning or short changing people and, yet again, your posts seem to understand and reflect this.
    I am still overwhelmed with the sheer amount of time needed to build my blog, FB page and Twitter so am not yet ready for affiliates etc but have saved this post, along with all your others, for the time when I am.
    Thank you,
    Sarah xxx (Babyfriend.net)
    P.s if you could develop a magic cream that thickens skin and makes you less sensitive to blog critisisms I’ll buy ahundred cases !!! x

    1. Sarah thank you so much for this. That is really why I keep writing this blog, so that kind of feedback means a lot. Let me know if you have any direct questions or ways I could help. Sorry, no such cream is known.

      1. Sarah Norris on February 25, 2015

        Thanks Ramsey, there is something I could do with an opinion on. How can I ask you direct ?
        Sarah x

        1. Hey Sareh. 😉

          Email is in the contact page.

  10. Suzanne Fluhr on February 25, 2015

    One of our sons (with a college degree in exercise physiology(?)) started with a simple travel blog (which he still has), but he quickly realized he had to be an entrepreneurial innovator to be a self-supporting digital nomad. He may already read Blog Tyrant in which case I will be receiving an “eye rolling” email when he sees this comment, but I’m sharing this post with him anyway. Then I’m going to reread it for myself.

    1. Ha ha! Love it!

  11. As a freelancer, I’ve set up a blog to help grow my professional profile. I hope to connect with future clients in doing so, as well as helping other freelance writers to learn how to break into the market and make a living by finding job writing on the internet.

    It’s definitely true that a blog offers a versatile range of benefits… every business or person can benefit from a blog in one form or another!

    1. Completely agree! Thanks for sharing, Yolanda.

  12. Corey Hinde on February 25, 2015

    Dude I’m really early in my blogging life, but I have 100% faith in my content. Thank you for your awesome posts, it’s great stuff.

    1. Thank you.

  13. A Blog is Not Enough | Digital Marketing Blog on February 25, 2015

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  14. Kate Worner on February 25, 2015

    This is a really interesting article Ramsey thanks. I have just started a small business and am seriously considering blogging as a way to promote my site, I considered affiliate blogging in the past but wasn’t sure I had the passion to commit to making it work. For me a blog that promotes my business (and maybe make a little affiliate money on the side) is the way to keep the commitment and have a bit of fun blogging.
    Also, I think blogs associated with products/ online shops tend to gain more trust among buyers as they get the personal feel to the transaction that you get in a ‘real world’ shop.

    1. Yeah it’s a really good way to show the “behind the scenes” of the business – the people, process, etc. – and increase trust that way.

  15. Stephanie Martel on February 25, 2015

    This is exactly what I was talking about with my comment from your last blog–creating the soft sell. I’ve been meaning to link my art supplies to a page for affiliate links and this is the motivation to get cracking! There are so many opportunities to create streams of income, I just have to use my imagination a little more

    1. Hi Steph.

      Yeah, this post is a bit more about the other stuff we can be doing other than the direct blog sales type thing like affiliates. I’m talking about totally new projects away from the blog, but still related.

      Wasn’t sure if I got that very clear in the post! Eek.

      1. Stephanie Martel on February 25, 2015

        Sorry, it’s early morning here and I have a million thoughts running through my brain

        1. Stephanie Martel on February 25, 2015

          My comment was shortened, but what I said was the linking of supplies leads people to my art + hopefully my etsy shop which creates the circular flow you were talking about. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Nikolay Topalov on February 25, 2015

    I really love Blog Tyrant , always a nice articles and valuable information to follow! As a new blogger I’m trying to do same and also I’m implementing few types of stuff that’s bringing passive income. Ads, affiliate marketing, reviews . Also I’ve just opened a forum which to bring me more information about my subscribers (what they want to learn and the niche, or business ideas their goals are in), so I could find them a valuable and quality information! That even makes me more passionate about blogging! you can check my website and even give some ideas about it! Thanks in advance.

    1. Hey Nikolay. What’s your website?

    2. Nikolay Topalov on February 25, 2015

      My website is http://wealthcreating.net and I guess it shouldn’t be typed before you read the comment , because it would be kind a spam!
      Thanks for the interest.
      Looking forward to hear more from you and your blog I really like it!

  17. Very inspiring article!

    1. Thanks mate.

  18. When I first went full-time as a blogger my blog was my business. That lasted for a few years, and although it did pretty well in order to take it to the next level I had to move beyond selling ads and making money from AdSense. A few years later my approach is to use blogging as one aspect of my business similar to the approaches that you mentioned in this post. With my current sites most of my income is from selling products and the blog is a way to drive traffic to the site.

    1. Was your sale from Adsense income?

      1. It was kind of a split between ad revenue (including AdSense) and product sales. Income plateaued on ad revenue alone but adding another income stream helped it to keep growing.

  19. Kulwant Nagi on February 25, 2015

    True words.

    You know I also keep analyzing big bloggers and see what’s common among them.

    Here’s what I found
    1. They all are running multiple blogs.
    2. They are damn passionate about their core niche.
    3. More than 95% of them have their own products (eBook, Premium forum, video training etc.)
    4. All have very good relations with other industry experts.
    5. They keep trying new things.
    6. More than 50% of them are doing paid advertisement.

    One thing which amazed me most is, having own product to promote on your blog.

    When I started in 2011 I had only one blog where I used to write about MLM and network marketing, but soon I learned more about blogging and started new blogs.

    I have listed all my blogs on my personal blog and I feel proud to have them. 🙂

    Your article boosted me to think again about my blogging and look forward what’s coming in the future.

    Have a great day. 🙂

    1. I think those 6 points are absolutely spot on. You’ve summarized that really well.

  20. Renard Moreau on February 25, 2015

    [ Smiles ] Ramsay, this is an impressive post.

    I agree that bloggers can do so much more with their blogs.

    A blogging expert once recommended that we do a free ebook format of our posts; one that can be available on the Kindle for free as a way of boosting the popularity of our blog.

    1. Absolutely!

  21. A blog (web site) is a front door. And to that, I say EXPERIMENT. Look at the restaurant industry that’s trying new menu items. What works stays, what doesn’t comes off the menu.

    I am working on expanding my biz. And I’m starting this year by completely changing out my ebook giveaway to new subscribers. Originally, I created what I thought would be helpful. Now I’m creating what THEY see as helpful.

    I’m on allergy med’s so I’m ending this now before I really start rambling. By the way, great post Ram.

    1. …say.

      1. Ha ha ha. Chris your comments are becoming more and more esoteric as the months progress. Are you sure that medicine is good for you?

  22. Brian (@bbrian017) on February 25, 2015

    I agree that a blog is not enough. You need to be doing more to make a decent living online. I also like the direct and indirect opportunities that you pointed out. Indirect opportunities provide diversified income which is necessary because if one of the revenue stream suddenly stops, you have a backup.

    Thanks for sharing these great tips and for using successful bloggers as an example which gave more clarity.

    1. Yeah that is so true. The back up plan is really important. It’s something I always kind of forget and then remember to start up again.

  23. Nikolay Topalov on February 25, 2015

    Ramsay I really appreciate the way you rule your blog always with valuable stuff. But I was searching almost all the web and probably I didn’t know how to make that , but I really want to know how you set up the name of whoever post the comment is leading to his website?
    It’s awesome!

    1. Hi mate.

      I’m not sure what you mean. My comment field is just a default WordPress.org structure.

  24. You are very correct in saying that a blog is not enough. However, it could take some time for the blog to reach to that position where it can be branched out, and monetized.

    1. Yes that is also very true. Good point.

  25. Andrew M. Warner on February 25, 2015

    Hey Ramsay,

    Excellent post here.

    A blog is really a tool, a gateway for far more opportunities. And that’s exactly the angle that I’m taking for my blog.

    Blogging alone won’t do it, you have to look and think outside of the box at times .. and that may be doing what Glen, or Chris, or Amy does. Using your blog as a place to build trust in order to promote and offer other opportunities is what it’s all about.

    As a person that’s been blogging for a year and a half and is now looking into monetizing opportunities, this post gave me a lot to think about. Certainly more than the traditional e-Book, e-course route.

    Thanks for this, Ramsay.

    – Andrew

    1. Thanks for sharing, Andrew. As always, please let me know what you come up with. I’m always interested to see.

  26. Lewis LaLanne on February 26, 2015

    I don’t remember if you said it or not in this piece, but something I’ve found helpful when thinking in terms of Verticals is thinking about what my perfect prospect has to do before and after they’ve bought something from me.

    At the end of your post you ask what things we want to do to expand our blog and when I think of this, I think about this before and after line of thought.

    After someone has bought a report from us, they need to consume it. And one thing I know gets in the way of people consuming written content they buy, is that reading isn’t their favored way of consuming content.

    So the one upgrade I want to make is having an audio version of our notes available as well as written so that the people who love learning, but hate reading, can download and listen to their report while driving, shaving, exercising, etc. and feel good about having bought because they’re at bare minimum consuming the content they bought… and at best, taking what they hear and doing something constructive with it.

    My blog posts seem like they average over 5,000 words a piece so this might be something that I want to test there as well – giving the option to have download an audio recording of the post.

    Thank you Ramsay for reminding me of what I should be doing. I can’t have too many of those people in my life. 🙂

    1. Dude I love your comments. These types of moments really make writing the articles worthwhile. Sounds like you’re on a winner.

  27. DIversification is the key to staying secure in the longer run. Blogging is great but if you can add a few more things to your repertoire, that’s even better. I find it hard to get time because of my full time job (which pays well), but those who are full timers should always look to grow. Maybe someday, I will also have such plans if I manage to take up blogging as a full time profession. For now, I am sticking to blogging only. I want to give quality content to my readers. That’s my aim for now.


    1. Thanks Neil. Good thoughts.

  28. It is very important for all bloggers. You described all things in very well manner. I loved your way how you present this. I would love to see some more such interesting article from your side 😀

    1. Thanks.

  29. Hey Ramsay,
    Thank you for the information. For someone who has just ventured into the world of blogging, the article good be a real moral-booster. I would really appreciate if you guys have a look at my blog and suggest some reforms. 🙂

    1. I would really try to focus on getting the load time down. Make your logo a lot smaller and just focus on getting good content in front of your reader. Thanks for stopping by.

  30. Thank you for writing all these really helpful articles! It’s given me the confidence to start a blog myself. Even though I have not yet written anything yet, I now have a much clearer idea of what I want to do and write and how to approach it.
    Of course I subscribed so I won’t miss anything interesting.

    1. Thanks Sarah. Appreciate it.

  31. Rachel Hyde on March 2, 2015

    It’s hard to make blog become popular, but it’s harder to make money from it. It’s advantage if you have other channels like youtube because it’s can access to thousand million people and can lead them to your blog.

    1. Yeah YouTube is something I continually ignore but really should work harder on.

  32. Dewald Swart on March 4, 2015

    I understand that having a blog as a standalone entity is not enough and that you should do more in order to promote your blog.

    However the same can be said for a web site. Just having a web site for your business floating out there hoping to catch a few customers is also not enough. I believe that a blog is an esential marketing tool that you can use to promote your business and its products or services as well as engaging with your customers.

    Not only can a blog promote your business it can also help in driving traffic to your business and improve the SEO of your web site.

    1. Yep that’s the real beauty of the content, I agree.

  33. Ramsay you have got it right, A blog is never enough. It should be the part of your business, if you have got a business or product then a blog can get you highly targeted prospects and get your product infront of targeted people in the industry. Without a product a blog is useless.

    1. Perfect!

  34. Don Purdum on March 5, 2015

    Hi Ramsay,

    I’m coming to your site from Ryan Biddulph’s and this was a packed article.

    I have always seen my blog and website as being at the center of a bicycle wheel. Each spoke rotates around to other tools and platforms to drive the traffic and prospects back into the blog and website.

    My blog is the number 1 driver of my traffic and when done well it ought to be. So long as we are talking to one reader and helping answer one specific problem; just like this article.

    I support my blog on my site (and offsite) through my podcast, video blog, speaking and the press.

    Then there are at least five guest blog posts I contribute to monthly; one of which is SEMrush. I’ve also been approached to write for a few major business journals that will drive more traffic back to my blog.

    The point you make is one that cannot be overlooked. The one problem many businesses and entrepreneurs have is the trap of writing too much about themselves and their products or services; followed by a lack clarity and strategy. That’s where I love to excel!

    Great post Ramsay. It’s nice to connect with you and I will become a regular follower!

    Off to share now. Have a great finish to your week!

    ~ Don Purdum

    1. Hey Don.

      Thanks for the excellent comment.

      What’s it like writing for SEMRush? The social media team seem really cool over there. Love that product.

  35. I am also new to blogging and looking for ways to increase traffic on my blog. Fortunately I landed on your blog and I must say you have wrote some brilliant tips. I have bookmarked your blog. Thanks

    1. Glad you enjoyed it!

  36. kksilvery on March 25, 2015

    To be honest, I’m new to blogging. My question is There are too many blogs out there related to tech,blogging niche. Is it possible that blogging niche has less readers with huge amount of blogs out there?

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