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Make Money Blogging: Start the New Year by Increasing Your Income Streams

Posted By Stacey Roberts 6th of January 2015 General 0 Comments

It’s the aim of the majority of the readers of this site – make an income via your blog. Today we revisit the post where Darren outlined all the ways he diversified his streams and how after 10 years he was still going strong. We also have a look at the Ways to Make Money Map – make sure you also see the Make Money Page, if you haven’t already. It’s a great place to begin, or to refresh your memory.

make-money-advertising-blogs

Today I was speaking with a blogger (I’ll call her Alice for the sake of this post) who was feeling a little overwhelmed with the idea of monetizing her blog. She expressed that as she looked at other blogs in her niche, everyone seemed to be doing such amazing things. She said she felt she’d never be able to compete.

Other blogs in Alice’s niche were running online courses, selling out hundred people live events around the country, selling ads to fortune 500 companies, authoring best selling eBook and more. The thought of even beginning to monetize her blog in these ways was completely paralysing Alice!

It is so easy to be overwhelmed to the point of paralysis when you look at what other bloggers are doing. I know this from personal experience!

My advice to Alice was to keep in mind that all those other amazing blogs started in the same place that she was – without any income streams at all.

Often it is easy to forget this and see a successful blog as always being what it is today.

By way of illustration, I shared my own story

When I started blogging, I did it as a hobby. I had no intention of it ever being more than that and there were no examples of people directly monetizing blogs.

Over the coming year and a half, my blog grew in popularity and the hobby became something of a passion and obsession. It also began to cost me money to run for hosting, domain, design etc.

Phase 1

Blogging Income 6

I began to dabble in monetizing with the hope of simply covering my costs. My first experiments were with Google AdSense and the Amazon Affiliate Program. The results weren’t spectacular but they were encouraging enough for me to keep trying. A few dollars began to trickily in but more importantly – I was learning a lot!

Phase 2

Over the coming months I continued to experiment with AdSense and Amazon. I vastly improved how I was implementing the programs (better ad positioning, writing reviews for affiliate products). I also began to think about how to drive more traffic to my blog. I even started a second blog (and then more followed)!

The results were that my income began to grow. I began to see my blogging as a part-time job and even began to wonder if it could one day be full-time.

Over the coming year I also began to also look at other forms of monetization.

Blogging Income 6

During this time I started promoting affiliate programs with other online stores. I also did something that terrified me but which became a great income stream, I picked up the phone and began to sign up advertisers directly. This was a period where I had to bite the bullet and start to treat blogging not just as a hobby – but as a business.

Again – these new income streams started small and were experiments. My first ad sale was for $20 for a month long ad. It didn’t bring me overnight riches but securing the ad taught me a lot and contributed to my overall income.

It was around this time I realised that while none of my income streams were enough to sustain me alone, a blog could actually sustain multiple sources of small income that could add up to something significant.

My goal was to go full time as a blogger. To do that I knew I needed to grow multiple streams of income and my blog’s traffic.

Phase 3

It was around this time that other Advertising Networks began to appear. I experimented with quite a few but the one I had most success with was Chitika. At the time, AdSense was my #1 source of income but putting Chitika on my site almost doubled that income overnight and allowed me to go full time as a blogger!

Blogging Income 6

Of course it wasn’t just that Chitika worked well. I’d also been growing my traffic, building reader engagement/community etc – but the extra income stream helped a lot.

Phase 4

It was around this time that I’d started ProBlogger as a blog along with a whole new range of income streams. I did monetize ProBlogger in the early days, using all of the above income streams but I found that ProBlogger was actually better to monetize indirectly.

By ‘indirect monetization’ I mean that ProBlogger began to grow my own personal profile and authority on the topic of blogging and I began to be approached to provide products and services that I could sell. The blog itself didn’t necessarily make money – but it enabled ME to make money as a result of the blog.

Blogging Income 6

For example, it was through ProBlogger that I landed my first paid speaking opportunity. I was asked to fly to Washington DC to speak at a conference – (all expenses covered plus a small fee paid).

Around the same time, I was approached to write the ProBlogger Book (the hard cover one that is now in it’s 3rd edition). This only came off the back of the ProBlogger blog.

Similarly, around this time I began to offer my services as a consultant to help people with their blogging strategy (a service I don’t offer any more).

Once again, these income streams started small (in fact writing a Book isn’t generally a big income stream for most authors) but they each contributed to the overall revenue from my blogging, which was now adding up to be a lot more than I’d ever earned from any other job (keeping in mind that I’d been blogging now for 4-5 years).

Phase 5

Most of the above income streams have continued to grow but other opportunities have presented themselves as new technologies emerge. While I’d previously been approached to create a hard copy book, we began to see the emergence of eBooks. While people previously had asked me to speak at their live events we began to see people delivering content via virtual/online courses and conferences.

Blogging Income 6

I began to experiment with creating eBooks and membership areas to my sites. eBooks have gone on to become my main income stream (both with ProBlogger eBooks and Photography eBooks). The main income from eBooks tends to come in fits and starts, when we either launch a new eBook or run a sale/promotion on one but even when we don’t have these events happening they still steadily sell each day in small numbers. Again, contributing to the overall revenue.

I also added the Job board here at ProBlogger.

The job board is an interesting example of what I’m talking about today. It has never been a spectacularly huge income stream but it has actually been a pretty steady source of income over the years. We generally see 1-2 new blogger jobs advertised every day and that $50-$100 per day in income adds up over time. I’ve not got the exact figures but I’d estimate that over the last 5 years it has brought in over $100,000! I’m glad I started it!

By this stage my income was growing to the point where I was able to bring on others into my team. This started with some very part time outsourcing of small jobs but in more recent times has enabled me to hire a number of team members to help run different components of my business.

Phase 6

The final income stream has become a growing focus of my team and I (although I have to say it’s not a massive income stream at this point) has been running events and conferences.

Our annual ProBlogger Training Event here in Australia has grown in number each year and this year we think it’ll probably turn a small profit. Having said that, my intent with these events is not to make a lot of money. Rather, it is about giving something back to the Aussie Blogosphere (it is also great for branding and gives me a lot of personal satisfaction and fun).

We’ve also started to run some smaller more focused workshops (our Email Marketing workshop in Melbourne still has a handful of spots left).

Blogging Income 6

My suspicion is that events will be something we’ll see expand a little in the coming years.

Final Thoughts

Let me sum up with a few thoughts, disclaimers and words of encouragement:

Keep in mind that all of the above has happened over 10 years. While today there are obviously 12 or so income streams (although I’m sure I’m forgetting something) they all started quite small and as experiments.

There have been moments where it did seem like I had rushes of income, those rushes were usually the result of several years work and investment of time and money.

I also would say that in each case, I started each experiment not really knowing what I was doing (on at least some level) but really seeing the experiments as a chance to learn. For example, my first eBooks were taking previously published blog posts and updating, completing and adding to them to offer readers a more convenient way to access my content.

At the time I had no idea if that would work and the design and delivery of the eBooks was fairly basic. In time I learned what did and didn’t work and was able to grow the sophistication of my delivery systems, design, authoring and marketing to the point that it’s become a fairly well-oiled machine.

The key is to pick something to try and to see whether it connects with your readership and to learn as much as you can while you’re doing it. Often you end up evolving what you do to the point that it is a better fit for you and your blog – but you’ll never get to that point without starting.

Update: I’ve since published a followup to this post that gives a split of the different income streams.

About Stacey Roberts

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagramand Snapchat, listen to her 90s pop culture podcast, or be entertained on Facebook.

  • I deeply appreciate your share Stacey because so many bloggers need to realize that you can do the monetizing bit.

    I’d add that as a pro, full time blogger that I vibe with every one of your tips.

    Your best move was adding a stream or 2 at a time. Doing so helps one think both intuitively and analytically. That 1-2 combo is powerful in terms of prospering.

    Personal development is almost always where the monetizing bit starts on the blogging front.

    Many bloggers feel funny/weird/uncomfortable monetizing their blogs and never do it. Others simply quit after dipping their toes in the monetizing side of things.

    I jumped full bore into personal development because I knew that money responds to my thoughts, feelings and actions around money.

    After much time working on my mindset I changed my feelings about blog monetizing – lo and behold, it felt possible to me for the first time ever! – and moved into prospering actions which inspired me to blog from paradise.

    Ryan

  • I agree that each just needs to pick up one or a few things, try out and see which one works. There are huge possibilities of monetizing online but each person will make it differently. Also it’s quite interesting reading each phase you have been through. It really motivates me to work much harder and achieve the goal income from online businesses.

  • stacey this is so accurate and motivating. Right now I’m somewhere between phase 4 & 5… I so wish to complete phase 5 by the end of this year.

  • RD

    Great post!!

    I think a lot of new bloggers out there don’t realize that most of the really big blogs have been a work in progress for many years.

    You can’t really start a blog overnight and make money, but if you work hard at it for a year or even a couple you can generate amazing results.

    The other great thing is blogs like this one have information available that probably make it possible for new bloggers to do it quicker.

    When Darren started there probably wasn’t that much info on monetizing blogs etc.

    I think it is create to have multiple income streams coming from your blog in case something every happens that kills one out.

    I only started my blog last month and I am currently monetizing my blog with Chitika and some affiliate products. In the future once I build up some authority and trust I want to start creating my own products and maybe do consulting or something.

  • Thanks for this post – was having conversations about this exact topic today, so this is super timely and useful! Thanks.

  • Respected Stacey Roberts,
    Firstly wish you a Happy New Year 2015 again. Now we need to do something unique in this year. This article is a good example of it. Dear most of the bloggers are blogging for fun, experience, knowledge. And 90% bloggers are blogging only for money.
    Frankly speaking in this article lots of points are very superb. Now I will make a plan for money with the help of this article. Then I will target my dreams. Love you man :P
    Thanks from the heart for sharing this.
    Have A Nice Day
    :P Monu Kumar :P

  • Hi Stacey Roberts,

    I truly agreed to your thoughts here. Diversification is key to success for any venture “online or offline”. If you won’t diversify and will stick to one kind of business, you may be gone any time. I myself have explored few new avenues this year and few are in pipeline. Hope 2015 will turn out to be best year of my life.

    Regards
    Tauseef Alam

  • Problogger as a brand has come along way, and hence a long list of income streams. Would it be advisable if those streams be useful for site with relatively less traffic. This is just my suggestion, how about a post to suggest those sites as well. This would really be a boon.

  • Great breakdown of the step by step progress of the Problogger brand. It’s nice to remember that even huge websites and brands like Problogger started off with making a couple dollars of month just like everyone else!

  • Hey Stacey, nice article. Actually my story is pretty same with Alice’s. I never thought that I could make money with my blog. But recently I got it approved by adsense. So your story pretty much inspired me to go on with my journey. Thanks a lot for sharing :)

  • Great roundup as usual, really enjoyed your article. This make money blogging is very useful and helpful for the bloggers. The phases are so presented well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • This is an excellent “picture” of how long things can take, and the steps that need to be taken. I’m sure all of the “Alices” of the world will appreciate this post, as it can be intimidating for bloggers to simply look at your income stream map. They will think, “I’ll never be able to do all that!”

    I have earned money slowly through my blogs. Now, word seems to be getting around about my services, and I’m picking up new clients here and there! (Yay!)

    The thing most people need to remember is that everything takes time. Nothing happens overnight. And nothing is guaranteed.

    I’d like to know if you have used Infolinks to earn, though…

  • Your articles always help me, hope this new year brings you more happiness for you.

  • Very much informative article. Helpful for newbie blogger who wants to earn money through ads. I would like know about your 2nd preference other than adsense? I mean Affiliated marketing or sponsors reviews? Thank u!

  • I think in 2015 the best way to make money online is direct ads and google adsense. Last year i notice that blogger make a huge income with direct ads. Now it time to see what happen this year. Overall great post, quite interesting day read

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