Welcome our ‘Creating and Selling Products’ Week – a week of content here on ProBlogger completely dedicated to helping you to create and launch profitable products on your blog.
Over the past few months we’ve done a number of theme based weeks that take a more intense dive into topics relevant to bloggers. Most recently we’ve had Beginner Week, and Content Week, but this week we wanted to turn our attention to monetization – specifically through creating and selling products.
My Journey With Creating Products (and why this week is important)
While I’ve been blogging for just short of 12 years, my own journey with creating products to help monetize my blogs only goes back five years since launching the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog eBook and creating my first Portraits eBook on dPS.
Before that time I had collaborated with someone on a product but never monetized my blogs with one a product of my own.
Previous to these first experimentations with eBooks, the income generated from my blogs was almost all from advertising revenue (from ad networks like AdSense and also a few ad sales direct with brands) and affiliate revenue (like Amazon and a few smaller programs). I also did a little speaking, consulting and had written a hard cover book.
In 2007 I was making a comfortable living from the above income streams but was a little worried about the economy and relying so heavily upon advertising income (which comprised more than 80% of what I was making).
I also had been watching the growth in popularity of eBooks and had for a year or so been dreaming of creating one myself.
My big issue was a severe lack of time. Between juggling two growing blogs and a growing family (we had just had our first child), I wasn’t sure how I’d ever write an eBook. I also had a long long list of other excuses to put it off.
I’d never written, designed, marketed a product of my own before… I didn’t have a shopping cart system… I didn’t know if my readers would buy…
In short – the dream of creating and selling an eBook of my own stayed in my head for two years until 2009. Ironically by that point I’d become even busier (we’d just had our second son and my blogs had continued to grow) but I knew if I didn’t bite the bullet and do it that I never would.
In 2009 I created my first eBooks – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (which I’ve since updated into it’s second edition). That eBook generated $80,772.01 in 2009.
Later in the year I created and launched my first Portrait eBook over at dPS. That eBook generated $87,088.21 in sales in 2009.
As I regularly say when speaking at conferences about this experience – on the launch of these eBooks I was obviously very excited but also couldn’t believe how I’d put off creating this new income stream on my blogs for two years!
While obviously these two eBooks were financially profitable that immediate monetary reward wasn’t the best part – what was most valuable to me was that it sparked a whole new side to my business.
Since 2009 I’ve published 17 eBooks and 1 Printables set on Digital Photography School, and 6 eBooks and kits here on ProBlogger.
While I still sell advertising and do some affiliate campaigns on Digital Photography School, eBook sales now make up over 50% of my business today. Since that time we’ve also added two other income streams – membership (for ProBlogger.com) and Events.
I tell this story because many times I come across bloggers who are a little stuck in the mindset that the only way to generate an income from blogging is to sell advertising.
While it’s certainly possible to build profitable blogs through a variety of types of advertising and affiliate promotions, it’s not the only way.
There are a few other benefits of creating a product for your blog other than the obvious income stream that they provide.
For starters by using your blog to sell your own product rather than sending your readers to buy other people’s products (through advertising) you’re keeping your readers on your own site and within your own community.
Secondly when you create a quality product that your reader loves – you’re going to make a much bigger impact upon your reader. I’ve personally found that when I meet readers face to face at conferences that the ones who’ve bought and read my book or eBooks seem to feel a lot stronger connection with me. They often talk to me as if we’ve had a shared experience already.
Lastly – I find that when you’ve created a product of some kind that it seems to help in the authority that people seem to perceive you as having. I guess there’s something about having intentionally sat down to create something of note that people seem to admire. While having an eBook or course doesn’t mean you ARE an authority – it all goes to help build your profile.
Creating Product Week
This week on ProBlogger we want to walk you through a number of posts that will help you to work out:
- what you need to do before developing a product for your blog
- work out what kind of product might be best for your blog
- how to create your product
- how to launch your product
To walk us through this process I’ve asked one of my core team (and author of one of the ProBlogger eBooks) – Shayne Tilley – to lead us. He’s prepared four posts that will come in the following days that will tackle these topics.
I’m also going to chime in on each post to give my perspective and as always am keen to hear your perspective also, as I know many ProBlogger readers have created their own products too.
Have You Created a Product?
My story is just one of many many in the blogosphere. While I’ve majored on creating eBooks there are certainly many other directions to take (and much of this week will be relevant to them all). I’d love to hear your experiences.
Have you created some kind of product on your blog? What kind is it? How did it go? What did you learn?
Read More the Rest of this Series on Creating and Selling Products
Below we’ll share the rest of this series of posts as they’re published.
This is great… I can speak truth to what Ishan was saying… 2 jobs, a family, keeping up with a blog, and trying to develop an e-book, online continuing education courses, and constantly maintaining a presence within my niche can be quite overwhelming at times. Would be nice to be able to do this full-time for income! really thanks….:)
Thanx for sharing this. Its a great article to help bloggers because I always thought the only and best way to earn money from your blog is through adsense but after reading this pot, many misconceptions have been cleared. But since I am just in initial phase of my blog, I have more more to do and bloggers like you have been of great great help. thank you again.
Hey Darren, A product of which one owns is an investment which pays you time and again. It is certainly something bloggers and content platforms should look at. I do not have a product of my own and but will look at it once I spend some years on blogging and SEO.
Thanks for sharing… I desperately was searching for this…. Really helpful. I am just in the initial phase of my blog and hope I make it better in stand following the tips you discussed.
Thanks Darren for such a detail post. Its been months I visited to your blog but now looking forward to your new launch of new problogger. Congrats for that!
btw I am planning to lauch a book next month and this will a breakthrough for my website and my blogging career. Thanks for the inspiration and the lesson of hardworking.
Thanks Darren for making this week as product week. Eagerly looking forward for the posts to create products for blogs. I have some ideas to create products and your input will certainly guide my thought process.
This just might be the final push for me to write my first ever eBook. I’ve had it planned since I started my blog and I’ve also done research and I know it solves a problem which I already charge for as a private service so for sure it will sell. Like you I do feel so busy and I’m always making excuses for not writing it. I should sit down this April and start writing it.
YES – do it DJ!
A number of years ago I created an online shopping directory magazine for children. I am looking to re create a new one in the next few weeks.
I will be tuned in all week to these posts about developing products. Is there a right or wrong time in regards to the size of your audience and developing a product? I wouldn’t say I have a huge audience, but I have had suggestions and requests from readers about developing an app. But with three kids 5y, 3y and 7 months old, I am slightly freaked about time to develop products.
Trudie – thanks for tuning in. I don’t think there is a wrong or right time, however as your blog’s audience size and more importantly trust/relationship grows you’ll find products do do better. So some groundwork is important (which is what tomorrow’s post is about) but I do see sense in at least getting the product development underway sooner than later while you do grow your audience.
very nice article. iam planning to lauch a book next month
We have created two about hiking related topics. One about how to plan a menu for a multiday hike, dehydrate food etc, the second one on how to hike the Overland Track in Tasmania.
It has been a terrific process and a good earner (although no where near the heights of your publications.
We will release our third one How to trek to Everest Base camp independently this weekend.
They are a lot of work and a lot of learning but worth it!
Lots of work isn’t it Frank. I do think it’s worth it though – once you’ve created it you’ve got it to promote forever too so it can pay off many times over the coming years.
We update one every year with new prices and information . Takes a day or so but it is a good opportunity to “re-release” it.
The second one just ticks along sending a small payment every day!
The goal is to have a suite of them, all outdoor related , all helping people get into the outdoors.
I hope you do a break down of the pricing of these products, especially blogger e-books.
As an author who writes novels, our biggest issue is getting the pricing right and we all circulate between .99c and $9.99. It would be interesting to see the big difference between authors who write novels and bloggers who produce e-books.
This might be helpful. https://problogger.com/the-dark-art-of-product-pricing/
I’ve created autoresponder courses…considering starting white papers (intimidating). I’m still at a point where I’m trying to find out exactly what people in my niche need and respond to.
Although you have directed this to bloggers, this post is applicable across many other businesses as well. Looking at how we can create new income sources in our businesses, regardless of whether we are ‘bricks and mortar’ or virtual, is an important pursuit.
Hey Darren ,
Thanks for sharing your journey and some secrets which I don’t know before. I really enjoyed such types of articles . I get some more clear vision .
Thanks & Regrads
I’m so looking forward to this series. I’m in the process of creating my first eBook :)
Great article. I was thinking about my own product for a vile now but I think it’s a bit too early for me. All I have is just about 15 posts on my blog. I am still looking forward to see this week’s posts to put some more thought to it. :)
Very value able post, I read the whole story when I start reading it.
I don’t want to miss the four posts from Shayne Tilley .
What is the schedule for these posts to be published?
If I sign up for the Problogging Tips by email, will that notify me about these posts?
yes David – either the email our our Facebook/Twitter accounts will get them to you.
Hi Darren, I’m actually in the process of launching my first ever ebook thanks to inspiration from your blog and Viperchill
It’s going OK, had some sales, some great feedback and results (I know the content is AMAZING and no-one has published anything like this online before) My issue is outreach, getting more people to find my book in a cost-effective fashion.
Other than Adwords, Facebook ads (obviously judging on ebook title) I’m a little stuck. I’m making a profit with those but want to expand asap.
I’m only 2 full-selling days in to my project (which you can see at dannychapman.co.uk/ebook-usa), its about a few ‘golden nuggets’ that I have found that really drive insane metrics on Facebook ads.
Would you mind me asking what you would class a success in terms of volumes of sales for a complete newbie with no IM following, subscribers etc to sell within a few days?
Thanks for the inspiring article. Looks like I have a lot of work to do. Will try some things and report back.
Hi. First time commenter. Just subscribed.
This is ironically timely, as I’ve been publishing an online magazine since 2009, have months of educational programming collecting dust in Google Drive, and want to use this stuff – and do more of it – so I can finally quit the day job. It’s to the point where I could do the magazine full-time, but until it pays the bills, that’s going to be impossible.
Looking forward to this series. Thanks.
Thanks for sharing this amazing article. By reading this article I have come to know about many new ways to sell products on my blog. I have been searching for useful tips for a very long time and now I have come to the right place.
I was not aware that as much as %50 of your income can come from the products you sell. What a good incentive to create products to sell through your blog. Any good ideas for coming up with ideas for ebooks?
Pretty hard to create your own product, a product that actually full fill a demand not some ramblings of tips.
Really useful content as always. I’ve really been thinking through the e-book path for both my professional blog and hobby blog. I’m not sure my content design skills have reached the level where I want to create something so permanent but I feel like even an above-average product would help add value to the bigger picture, as you suggest here.
I published my eBook, 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block, on Kindle and I average three sales per month. I’m working on programs to sell more books. Also, I’m working on a print version of the book which should be published by the end of this month. This is the book that your site and book are featured in. I think I’ve been stagnant because I know I can sell more books with the print version than I can online until I grow the audience on my site.
Oh, and thanks for sharing this series at this time of my writing life because I’ll be launching my eBooklet tomorrow.
Perfect timing yet one again! I have 2 blogs that I run that I am at the point of wanting to expand my revenue sources on. I’ve just started planning an eBook for each one so I’m really looking forward to the coming posts for “Creating a Product Week”. Thanks again and again!
I think this can surely Help me to Sell Products on My website but i need some information regarding how to get top place in Search engines based on keywords
All this time i was curious how you can manage to your 2 growing blogs and family plus creating your ebooks? You must be some kind of genius freak or you bless with it.
I’m glad you tell your story today. Such an eye opening and an inspiration for me to really seriously look in longer term. It’s time to get my feet wet and start a blog for the future.
I’ve been building small niches sites for 5 years and making good money but like you said, it might not last another ten years and all my incomes gone. Google might shoot down all this small niches blog. You never know.
I am taking your advice. Thanks a lot for this post.
Wow! Very inspiring! I don’t know how you did it! Imagine having 2 kids and still continuing to write your E-book. I’m sure others would love to hear your story. Good job Darren! Hoping someday I could do the same and create as many E-books as you have. Really appreciate the advice!
Decision made, time for me to get writting, thanks for the inspiration I had been toying with the idea for several months.
I’ve started using Easy Digital Downloads to sell some products that I use as a consultant. So far the process has been relatively straightforward using PayPal to take payment.
Next project is an eBook although I’ve not dedicated the time to get it started.
WOW! Very inspiring piece! When it comes to own my website/blog I have written sold anything from eBooks to coffee mugs. And I am not joking at all!
I really love how you share your story and passion in this post. It is amazing how many newbies still do not know this information.
Congrats to your Darren and to all your success!
Freelance Writer and Blogger
Good stuff, Darren. I’m launching my membership site in about 2 months. I’ve been knee deep in developing the site, so I haven’t given much thought to diversifying – something I’ll have to do once the product launch is behind me.
Thanks for sharing!
Enjoying reading the articles on your website. Considering options for the future. Not sure how much time to put in as initially part time is what I am looking at, or would you recommend diving in and throwing yourself into your blog from the offset?
I think I have to write an e book instead of getting late, inspiring article.