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Do Make Money Online Tips only Work on Blogs about Making Money Online?

One of the common critiques that I’ve seen about sites/books/information product/blogs/courses/e-book about making money online is that its only those teaching how to make money online who actually make money online.

‘He only has a six figure income because he charges people to learn how to make a six figure income!’

This was one comment that someone made about another blogger recently. It sparked a chorus of other similar comments – people like to use that argument.

I understand this critique on some levels – there are quite a few bloggers out there who do only make money from make money online blogs and have not really had success in any other niche. While there’s nothing wrong with this – it obviously raises the eyebrows of some and makes them wonder if it’s possible to do it any other way.

There are also a lot of make money online bloggers making big claims and hyping up their own success – trying to get credibility in what is a competitive niche. This can distort the prominence and success of this type of blog and make it seem like it’s the only type of blog that can make money.

Can you only make money online by starting a make money online site and charging for the information?

I think it’s pretty evident that this isn’t true. While there are a few prominent examples of success stories in the make money online niche there are more many more people making a great living from blogs in other niches.

However many times these stories go untold because:

  • the blogger behind the site doesn’t have an avenue to talk about their success
  • they don’t want to talk about it – for fear of competition
  • they simply don’t want to be seen to be boasting or ‘tooting their own horns’

I hear from many bloggers in a wide variety of niches who are making a good living from their blogs who for one reason or another have not talked publicly about their stories.

Side note: On the flip side I also hear from a lot of ‘make money online’ bloggers who struggle to make any money from their blogs (it is nowhere near as easy as it might seem).

My Own Experience

I first started making money from blogging on a blog that had nothing to do with blogging or making money from blogs. In fact the first blog I experimented with making money on was a personal blog that talked about a multitude of topics. In time that blog did start to talk about blogging but it was far from solely a ‘make money online’ blog.

I then started a photography blog that aggregated camera reviews from around the web (no longer active) on that original personal blog’s domain. That blog became the biggest source of my full time income in the next year or two (it was around this time I hit the ‘six figure income’ level).

Out of my experience with that blog (and others) I started ProBlogger.net to talk about what I was learning and share tips on how to make money blogging (in 2004). ProBlogger did end up growing to earn more than that original photography blog but it wasn’t for a year or so that it got established.

The original photography blog wasn’t a very satisfying blog to run and I ended up letting it die before starting my new Digital Photography School in 2006. DPS took a couple of years to really grow to a significant level – but today it is my main source of income. Traffic wise it does 5-6 times the traffic of ProBlogger on an average day and income wise it’s making significantly more than this site (I’d estimate that it’s 3-4 times as profitable as ProBlogger most months).

I share this story in an attempt to dispel the myth that to make money online you have to talk about making money online. Yes you can make money in this niche – but there are plenty of other niches where bloggers are making as much, if not more.

Do You Make a Secret Full Time Income from Your Blogs?

My story is not unique – there are many bloggers ‘out there’ who have built successful blogs that now sustain them full time financially. By no means are these bloggers in the majority (most bloggers make very little) but they are out there!

If you’re making a full time living from your blog I’d like to connect with you. In fact – I’d like to interview you.

I know for some full time bloggers the idea of sharing your story is something you’d rather not do (due to reasons I outlined above) – but if you are interested in sharing your story and have done so simply because you didn’t have an avenue to do it I’d really be interested to touch base with you to explore whether you’d be interested in being interviewed here on ProBlogger.

If you’re interested – please contact me through the ProBlogger contact form. Please include the word ‘interview’ in the first line of your email to help me make sure it gets my attention. It would also be helpful to have a link to your blog and a short description of it and your business model. I will keep these details private unless we mutually decide to do an interview.

I can’t guarantee to interview everyone who emails – but I hope to do as many as I can to highlight how blogs have become profitable in a variety of niches.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. My first blog was a make money blog. Unfortunaly, start a make money blog is not really easy as it may be. Many people trying to convince others to buy something to make money online. In my view, is a bad approach. Before to trying to earn yourself, is better to show off the methods through blog posts.

  2. Hi, i am working in the tattoo & bodyart niche and i can tell you it is such a hard task to monetize that niche.

    I have the 2 largest Fan Pages (total of 2 Million fans) about tattooing on Facebook, which is like a personal digg for that niche but i just cant find a good way to make more money. I mean, adsense is working, but it is only a really small piece of the cake.

    I could send my fan base to those dubious tattoo website that demand $30 dollars to have access to their tattoo templates, but i prefer to provide my readers with more quality.

    There is not much i havent tried yet. Affiliate, Advertising etc. but they dont work well.

    It seems tattoo lovers are interested in tattoo templates only but there must be more, that i havent found out yet.

    I might start a forum with a subscription fee, but there are so many free ones already.

    If you guys have any ideas how to monetize the tattoo niche without shady product offerings, i would love to hear them.

    Thx Rob

  3. People who complain about others success are just looking for excuses for their own failure.

    Providing solid value will provide you with solid income. That is all there is to it. And most people struggle with creating genuine value.

    It takes time and effort to create value, but it is worth it as eventually you will be truly helping other people out. There is a saying: Don’t Hate, Congratulate. Yet most people do the opposite

    Looking forward to those interviews!


  4. Definitely since people who want to make money online usually spend most of their time online reading blogs about making money online, they tend to think that is the only type of blog that can be successful, or they think it’s the easiest since they’ve seen people do it and they think they can paraphrase their content.

    Of course, as you said, nothing could be further from the truth. None of the REALLY top blogs (sorry Darren!) are about making money online or making money at all, but rather news sites. Since those are already established, though, it’s pretty difficult to make just a purely news site anymore. People also get the idea to start news sites, but obviously there’s no news on, let’s say social media, that Mashable wouldn’t have. They already have a large audience.

    Great post!

  5. I hope to someday become a FT blogger and well paid FT blogger. I currently manage 2 blogs, which I’m sure will get pretty popular within the next year or two. So I’ll be contacting you then for an interview! :-D

    Here are my blogs:

    KMP Blog – http://KMPBlog.com
    KMP Interviews – http://www.KMPInterviews.com

    Thanks and keep up the great work!!

    Arie Rich

  6. I am really looking forward to these interviews. Since I started my blog I could not believe how many blogs about blogging there are. it is actually ridiculous. I wonder if it is because they cannot really find anything else to write about. Sometimes I think that people are so desperate to make money online that forget that it actually is going to take a lot of hard work to get to that level. It is just let starting a business. Most businesses don’t even see a profit in their first 5 years. But for some reason when it comes to online work people want that instant gratification. But if you look at the blogs that are a success for example http://www.dooce.com. She has been blogging since the beginning. it took her a long time to get to the level she is at now. Again I look forward to reading these interviews. They are going to be very interesting.

  7. One tip – don’t follow the News.

    9 out of 10 bloggers follow what’s hot. Big mistake.

    Instead develop a site around a specific area (eg macro-photography) and sell digital products to your visitors.

  8. Wow, Darren you really have me thinking. I never thought about not talking about the details of my website for fear of competition or feeling like a brag.

    In fact, I tell everyone about my site, because it is a template for them. I advocated just how they too can earn full time income from a very niche site.

    My first, and primary blog (http://themastercleanse.org) has not made me rich, but it does earn me enough so that I am out of the “Rat Race”, allowing me to spend my time implementing new strategies so that one day, it will. The path is clear, and thanks very much in part to the vast amount of information and insights you share here at problogger.net.

    Please look for my email regarding an interview. I am definitely interested in discussing it further, since now you have me thinking about how much detail is appropriate to share :)


  9. Money can be made in many ways. Not just teaching people how to make money.

  10. I agreed with your articles. They probably subscribe to blogs about fashion but also are likely to subscribe to making money blogs.

  11. I had this mindset when I started to get into blogging. It seemed like the blogs that made a lot of money were the ones about making a lot of money.

    Of course over time I realized it seems this way because once I started looking into making money with a blog, I found all the successful bloggers in this niche.

    It wouldn’t make sense for me to find bloggers in the photography blog niche talking about making lots of money blogging.

    That and the points made in this post, like them just not wanting to talk about it.

    Thanks for the post, it raises a good point and eventually I’ll be emailing you to interview me. :D

  12. I will be most interested to read the interviews when they are published. I’m just entered into the blogging and would love to read the experiences of veterans on this field.

  13. hi Darren, I’m a big fan. I have no idea if one can make a living blogging but I started a blog about making passive income. It is not about making money blogging – and I choose the niche because I am passionate about business and arranging my life so that I can enjoy it. Spending time with my family is really important, and being able to travel without the business going to heck is also important.
    It will be a journey of discovery as I combine the business school knowledge and years of running a traditional business, with the Web 2.0 concepts of living online and earning online.

  14. in my view, I think it depends on the content of your blog.


  15. From my own experience, others niche give more money (at leas more potential to give money) than making money online niche.

  16. Making money online calls for a lot of hard work and devotion. Any new set up needs nurturing and patience. Blogging is no different.

  17. I’ve started (after 9 months) to get some money in from my personal travel blog, it just takes time.

    It’s obviously no way near 6 figures (not close to 4 either per month), but I’m happy with progress.

    Currently in Australia too (settled in Sydney for now), Melbourne is my favourite city in the country though ;-)

  18. Hi I have started a blog to help people around the world in making the right decision before buying any latest technology products.I have run some posts related to kindle,telecommunication products,nexus one and I want u darren could u please tell I am on the right way or not

  19. Definitely looking forward to seeing these interviews. I am constantly on the hunt for inspiring stories to keep that motivation going.

  20. Well when I first started blogging I certainly was suspicious about it and it certainly seemed to have truth. It was hard to find an example of someone making money who didn’t own a money making blog.

    However now that my own blog is starting to show rapid growth (i think I am almost at critical mass, and growth should start really taking off) I can actually see it making a six figure income by the end of this year.

    Though I make my main income from membership sites. They are by far more lucrative than blogging (in most niches).

  21. I also think that blog about make money can make good money than other niche blog.

    I can say the example of blog moneymakerinfo.blogspot.com, which is top ten for keyword “make money online”, this blog is on blogspot, but the blog is making good money.

  22. i have been know blogging to make money 4 month later. i am try and try to make good blogger, i am still studying to be a good blogger. from your post, i get more motivation to practice. thanks.

  23. Darren,

    Like you, I’ve decided to start a blog which will pass on what I am learning as a new blogger along the way. I’m hoping to also match people up in a buddy system so there can be accountability, motivation, inspiration, and encouragement to keep us all going. Yes, I hope to make money, but I’m going to take my time, do it right, try to add value to those who want to take this journey with me. I really believe what you, Eben Pagan, Steve Pavlina and others teach: create massive value and you’ll attract wealth. But persistence is key. I think having a buddy system will definitely help.
    Looking forward to your interviews! There’s always something to be learned from others…

  24. darren, contact the YARN HARLOT……here is her blog……
    a regular mother, housewife, who knit, who IS NOW FAMOUS……


    they were flat broke, she just wrote about her obsession with knitting and yarn. she is a much sought after lecturer, and has written at least six books that have been reprinted.

    classic blog that was written, about something she loved that took off big time!


  25. I have started a blog to help people around the world in making I am learning as a new blogger along the way. I’m hoping to also match people up in a buddy system so there can be accountability, motivation, inspiration, and encouragement to keep us all going.

  26. hello darren,

    i am really surprised that i am getting your blog as the result of my performed searches on Google. about this post…. this is quite interesting and i was not familiar with the 6 figure income strategy.


  27. I have just read the blog and it made me smile. I have a transport blog and I taught myself from scratch, I didn’t think about searching blogging techniques in search engines until September 2009, 18 months after I wrote my first blog. I had friends that blogged in niches and they suggested here.

    I make a reasonable income from the blogs through indirect monetisation, I also have a blog that has ebooks that sell, and adsense (transport again) so I guess that makes me a problogger :).

  28. That seems to be a real question with alot of new bloggers whether their is success with blogging on subjects other than making money online.

  29. I think it’s true that MMO websites are actually a more profitable niche. i have discovered that in some posts on my website. How to make money topics attract the greatest visitors

  30. haha, I bet you can make a billion if you teach people how to do plastic surgery in 3 days.

  31. Most of the bloggers are stuck at the blog-for-fun-and-use-AdSense-stage. Most people just blog about stuff they like and know.

    I guess only those who take it further and think about a blog that could create revenue with ads, affiliate products and own products can create a full time income.

  32. This’ll be a fascinating excercise (as was this post). I’ll be very interested to see who comes forward. Good luck, Darren! Best regards, P. :)

  33. Hi Darren, I like your blog and visited problogger.net many times and read many of your posts.

    I am a swing trader/ day trader and started blogging about six months or so ago. Just about few weeks ago I started thinking about making money with my blog and monitized it with google adsense and other affiliate program’s.

    I don’t know if I will be able to make full time income with my blog, simply becuase I don’t have that much time on my hand to make it possible, as I am busy with stock research and trading.

    Finally I like to thank you for a great blog that you have and like to wish good luck to every one who is trying to make living blogging.

  34. For the past few months, I also concluded that the only people who make a living blogging are the writers that blog about HOW to make money blogging and/or social media. Even though my blog is almost two years so, its still “only” an extension of my retail store. I wonder if it can grow as much as a single blog can – especially in my niche.

  35. Interesting post. I have no problem with bloggers who successfully monetized a blog charging money to teach others. That’s legitimate. What bothers me is someone who never made any money online starting a blog about how to make money online and selling his or her “secrets to make money online.” The poor sucker who pays for the course does the same thing, then so does the next blogger, etc, which is basically a pyramid scheme that, in my opinion, makes blogging seem tacky and full of shady characters.

    What I think is funny is that the real heavy hitters of the industry do so much to help aspiring bloggers for free while the wannabes charge for everything.

    I’m very new to blogging and I might some day offer online courses if I end up becoming a successful blogger and feel that I have something of value to share, but I’m nowhere near qualified to tell anyone how to make money as a blogger today.

    Thanks again for covering this topic!

  36. Many newbie people start make money online blogs without knowing much about the subject, and don’t know much about making money online at all.

    Also, these days, make money online blogs are in a very saturated niche, so much so that breaking out is utterly difficult or next to impossible. Things are not quite the same 2 years or 3 years ago. Back then, competition was less…but not now…And everyday it is growing.

  37. charlesbrooks says: 01/14/2010 at 12:39 am

    Every day more and more people are looking for alternative ways to make money, or to earn a living, both in the online and offline worlds people are starting realize that having a “job” and working 40 hours a week for 40 years is not the ideal way to live.

    So we have put this site together to outline some alternative ways, that people can go about generating an income, including affiliate marketing, selling ebooks, and even stock market investing. Feel free to explore the ideas on this site, join the discussions under each article or suggest an idea we haven’t thought of yet…

  38. Darren’s point about blogging a “journey” is valid. It may not be that people new to blogging are presenting themselves as an expert (though this certainly seems to happen!) but they need a sense of accountability.

    Not everyone can keep a commitment made to themselves, but can be pretty good about keeping a commitment made to strangers… so it can help people get on track.

    But making money online really has to be about more than blogging about how to do it, or affiliate links, or ebooks. I mean, there are a multitude of ways to make money online, not just by engaging in some multi-level marketing type ponzi scheme.

    I think an article that illustrates how someone is successful in any niche can be applied to something relevant in your own life, if you take the time to really think about how to apply it, instead of just copying it exactly and hoping it brings you the same benefit… and then being disappointed when it doesn’t.

  39. Evelyn says: 01/17/2010 at 4:38 am

    Great article. It seems to me that one should maximize the avenues through which they receive an income. You can blog for money and sell your stuff on sellbits

  40. Online marketing is not just for the latest product, creating a website or for allowing customers purchase items ongoing. Online marketing can likewise include how a business owner can employ a work team. The number of people who are taking computers, web design, and learning to host websites proves just how booming online marketing can make the employer, the employees, and the independent contractors. And with a sufficient Internet savvy team, your business earnings can increase too.

  41. there are a lot of different avenues one can take with online marketing. you just need to find the one that works best for you. there are tons of other ways to make money online also, a person just needs to do their research and find what fits for them.

  42. Maybe something like this often becomes a major problem, as I was not able to collect money from my web’s. Looking for fans is difficult and depends on the result of writing.

  43. Content is Still King, sure you can make alot of money on line but it takes alot of focused energy and alot of your time.The key is This:While you’re in the process of learning to make money online is learning about how to generate target traffic to a web site to sell what people are already buying.

  44. It’s a catch 22 of sorts, because the only way we know that a person made money online is if they make a blog to tell us they made money online. Maybe there are others out there that have made plenty of money online, but they haven’t made a how to guide blog yet, so we just don’t have the information.

  45. While this topic can be very challenging for most people, my opinion is that there has to be a middle or common ground that we all can find. I do appreciate that you’ve added relevant and rational commentary here though. Very much thanks to you!

  46. Darren ,Thanks for sharing your baground ,it shows that if you have attitude correct everything will come right to you in proper way .normally all succeed bloggers will not share their information of success but you did it as you are telling .I am a new baby on blogging ,your this post put me on a question mark ?I am thinking of utilizing my technical skills to a new blog .I was started and following some other blogs before ,Now i realized the importance of effective blogging .

  47. Hi – It’s good to find such topical stuff on the Internet as I have been able to discover here. I agree with most of what is written here and I’ll be coming back to this site again. Thanks again for posting such great reading material!!

  48. Good article and a nice summation of the problem. My only problem with the analysis is given that much of the population joined the chorus of deregulatory mythology, given vested interest is inclined toward perpetuation of the current system and given a lack of a popular cheerleader for your arguments, I’m not seeing much in the way of change.

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