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Secrets to Making Money Online

Posted By Darren Rowse 18th of January 2011 Video Posts 0 Comments

I recently had a conversation with a friend who has just started out with making money from blogging. He had been struggling to get over the initial hump of getting things going and wanted to pick my brain on the “secrets” of how to do it.

Of course I struggled to answer at first—there’s simply not a simple equation on how to blog that will guarantee results—however, I did put together some thoughts for him that he found helpful. In this video, I summarize what I said.

While it’s fairly general in nature, I hope it’s helpful as we enter into a new year.

Secrets to Making Money Online Transcription

I had a conversation earlier today with a new friend who’s just started to blog. He’s been going for a couple of months now, and he’s a little bit frustrated. He’s hit a couple of brick walls, and he wanted to sit down and just sort of pick my brain on the secrets to making money from blogging and making money on the Internet.

And, look, it’s question I get asked a lot—particularly in interviews. You know, “What’s your number one secret to making money online?” And I always struggle to answer it, because ultimately there is no secret and there’s no one way to do this. You can look at the variety of Internet marketers and see a whole heap of different methods to do it and approaches to do it.

But I began to share with this friend some of the things I guess that I’ve learned, particularly in the last year or two, about making money online. And I asked him for his notes, because he was writing everything down, so that I could share it in a video. And this is kind of the stuff that I said to him.

Number one, I talked about trying to do something online that you really love. Choose an area, a topic, a niche, an industry, that you have some resonance with, some appreciation for, some passion for. There’s a whole heap of reasons for doing this. One, it’s much easier to stick with it for the long term. Two, those who read what you produce and come across you will feel much more drawn to you if you are passionate about it yourself. And I just personally find it much easier to make money from something that I actually have a genuine interest in, because I’m able to produce products and blog posts and content that connects with people, because I know what turns those people on, and I know what will get them reading. I know what will get them purchasing.

So if you have an interest, if you have a passion, then try to center what you do online around that. That doesn’t mean you can’t make money from something you’re not interested in or that you don’t like; it’s just a lot easier to do it that way.

The second thing I’d say—and I repeat this over and over again on ProBlogger, but I think it just needs to be said—is be as useful as you possibly can. One of my most recent videos on ProBlogger was about my son telling me, “Tell the world something important.” And really, that is it. That is what it’s all about for me.

Again, you can make money online by doing things that aren’t useful, that aren’t important, that aren’t really enhancing people’s lives, by ripping people off, but it’s much more satisfying if you’re doing something that is actually useful, and it’s much more sustainable in the long term if you want to build a business, rather than just make a quick buck, if you actually make connections with people and be useful to them.

The third thing I said was that you need to be confident. Once you’ve chosen something to produce and to focus in on, and once you are starting to be useful, it’s much easier to be confident—but you still need to work on that confidence. Many people get online, and they feel that they’re not able to sell themselves, they’re not able to sell the things that they do. And, look, that’s difficult to do, but you need to learn how to do that.

You need to approach this confidently. You need to make offers confidently. You need to approach other potential partners confidently. If you are nervously doing those things all the time, people will sense that.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert and you need to hype things up. A quiet confidence will go a long way for you. So work on that aspect of things. Push yourself forward, if you aren’t one of those confident people. Get people around you to encourage you in that as well. So be as confident as you can.

The other thing I talked about with my friend today was diversifying what you do, and not just focusing upon one income stream. Now, this is a bit of a tricky one, because if you diversify too much you can end up not really doing anything very well. But what I’ve tried to do over the last eight or nine years now is diversify on a number of fronts.

One, diversify the topics that I write about. Now, I have four different main blogs that I produce content for, four different interests for me, and by doing that I’m diversifying, and if one doesn’t go so well I’ve got the three others to back it up.

But I’m also trying to diversify the income streams. And you’ll have seen, I’ve produced a breakdown of my income streams over the last couple of months. And you’ll see in that eight or nine different areas of income. I’m not just relying upon ad networks like AdSense, or I’m not just relying upon my own eBooks. I’m trying to build in different income streams so that if one falls over, or if one takes a little while to take off, there are other things there to supplement that income.

In the early days of my own blogging and making money online, I diversified by having a real job as well. When I first started I had three jobs, so I had this diversification, I guess, of the income streams, and that helped me to be much more sustainable in the long term.

Speaking of long term, the number five thing that I’d say is that you really need to take a long-term view of this. You can make money fast on the Internet, but it generally comes after years of building foundations. A number of times, I feel like I’ve made a lot of money really fast on the Internet, but as I look back on it there’s usually been two or three years of work, of building relationships with readers and producing content for free, that have led to these bursts of income. And so you do need to take a long-term view of things.

You need to see it as an investment. A lot of the times, when you make investments, you don’t get a return on those investments for a number of years, and the same is true on the Internet. See the time, the energy, and perhaps even some money that you’ve put into these things as an investment that hopefully, one day, will pay off.

The last thing I guess I said to my friend was that you really need to treat it as a business rather than just an event. Making money online … again, it can happen as an event, it can be these moments where you make money, but most online entrepreneurs actually see it as a business. It’s not just a one-off thing where they make money, and then they go and try something else. What I’ve tried to do is to build a business that has this diversity of income, but is also growing over time. As you release a new product, you need to think about ways of driving traffic back to that product over time. As you do affiliate marketing, you need to build systems that will continue to promote things to your readers using, say, an autoresponder.

You need to think a bit strategically, I guess is what I’m trying to say. A lot of people get online, and they produce content, and they think that it will make money by just getting readers. You need to think strategically about how you’re actually going to monetize it. So you need to think about it as a business, you need to think about it strategically, and probably one of the main things for me in terms of building a business rather than just having a job online is to actually build products into what you do. Don’t just rely upon advertising revenue, or marketing other people’s products. Whatever you do, try and work towards having some products that you can sell of your own, and then develop systems around those products to sell them, not just when you launch them, but in an ongoing way.

They’re some of the secrets of making money online that I guess I’ve been thinking about, particularly over the last year or two. There’s a whole heap more of course, but I’d love to hear some of your secrets to making money online. You can leave them in the comments below this video, and I’d love to connect with you there.

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. Hey Darren and fellow readers,

    As a new ‘pro blogger’ on the block here is my secret to making money.

    Don’t have making money as your driving primary motive. If you are blogging and using blogging as a sales funnel people see through it. We are smarter than you think.

    Sure charge for good quality content or products, but your profit should be driven by the value you offer. Not the other way around.

    My blog http://www.graphicdesignboss.com is a blog for graphic designers who are runnning their own business or want to start their own business. I’m sure I’ll eventually make some money from it (I have a strategy in place), but first and foremost I want to add value to people’s lives and coach them to do what they love doing even better.

    I’m writing at a million miles an hour, one post per day at the moment, commenting and connecting on other outposts – doing everything Darren advises to generate traffic, but again I want to generate traffic because I want people to discover the value that I can offer, NOT because I see them as potential analytics proof to develop and advertising strategy.

  2. “because I know what turns those people on”

    Darren, Would your wife agree with that quote? haha
    Kidding. great video. some really nice ‘meat’ in it :)

  3. Hi Darren,

    Although I couldn’t watch the video (work computer!), I did enjoy reading the transcript. I think you raise an interesting point for bloggers looking to start out – keep it simple and concentrate on what matters. much like the above comment – its important to make sure you’re bringing value to readers, the making money bit is a benefit that I feel comes later!


  4. Wow. That read was something else.

    Darren, you always deliver, time after time, so I think I’ll take onboard what you said here :-)

  5. Just stumbled across your site recently and it is very helpful thank you. I am at the point where my blog which I started last August is just starting to get some affiliate sales which is very encouraging. I hear your point about diversifying but when I added adsense into my blog – my affiliate sales stopped completely for 3 days and prior to this I had been getting some sales every day. So I’ve removed adsense for now to see if the affiliate sales hopefully start up again! I guess it is trial and error but it does concern me if I can only ever make money from one thing!

  6. The “web marketing ninja” and Darren Rowse are one and the same, right? Otherwise you both share an affinity for photography as seen in the screen shots on the Google Analytics post.

  7. Thanks for these great tips Darren. I agree with you. Whether you are doing online business or offline, whether you are a professional or a creative person, you have to enjoy what you are doing. It keeps you going – especially at a time when your banker is looking for you. I have been an internet entrepreneur since 2004 and believe that making money online is hard work, but it’s worth every effort. For the first time, people have the freedom to choose their vocation, work-time and location.

  8. I don’t believe in fairy tales,nor do I believe in secrets, but I strongly believe that one can make at least a six figure income from blogging, but simultaneously he should always have a back up plan ready. Business over the internet is a bit risky. What you things guys ?

    • @Sumit — Yes, you can make a living from blogging. Do you need a back up plan? In a sense, no. Darren talked about having different streams of incomes coming in, and being diversified. This is also called “multiple streams of income”. What this means is this: first you pay your dues by producing and writing a good blog, full of great content. If you hang in there, other streams of income will come from the blogging you are doing. It could be from doing afilliate sales for others, than creating products of your own, then having others do afilliate sales for you, then having a site where you teach other things. You could also do speaking engagements, teach classes on what you know, speak at workshops, write books and ebooks. You could produce both electronic and physical products. There is a lot you could do. My point is this. After putting in a certain amount of time, perhaps you don’t need a back up plan, provided you are diversifying yourself, and finding many ways to make income in the online industry, provided you are creative and are able to think of a new way of making money (a new product or service) if one of yours goes out of demand at some point. Hope that makes sense!

  9. Thank you! Great information!

  10. Currently running two websites http://www.6laughs.com/ and http://www.ittmo.com/ I think they key to making money from your sites and blogs is read, read, and read. Read what other people think, and how other people did it. Just like each of one of us are here reading this post by Darren. I have read so many ebook’s and blog posts, that I literally have learned more than I can remember. I even have read three Money Making Blogs like Darren’s in entirety, every single blog post. I really think doing research and being patient is key. Just my 2 cents.

  11. Personally, I think the key to making money online is by simply helping people solve problems. Find an area where people struggle, or have questions, or even keen interests, and then scratch their itch. If you do that, it’s a win-win situation. Sure you’re making money, but they’re getting the help they need, so you’re both winning. Plus as a bonus, besides the paycheck, you get the satisfaction of really contributing and helping others. And we all know how awesome that feels.

  12. I like the points you made about having different income streams. That makes sense. I’ve inculcated this as well. No matter where the money comes from, it all adds up. Blogging is not a get rich quick scam. It takes hard work and dedication. One must be willing to post meaningful content. Not just write something quick and walk away. Then wonder why no one is reading it. I’ve been on blogs and have asked myself, “What is the purpose of this blog?” “Why am I reading this?” I don’t want to know what color shoes a person likes. That’s not benefiting me in any way. I read to learn from others. Hopefully what I read will make me a better person in some sort of way. This all goes back to your comments about having good content. We want to enhance the lives of others by our writing….

    Thanks for all the tips. I’ll be back for more!

    ~To Better People~

  13. Really awesome tips for making money included in this video. I have never heard of making money online without doing much effort.

  14. Darren, is there any time measurement to measure whether we are successful or not? I mean, it takes 3 years for me just to get my first Adsense payment. Did I fail then? Or it still considers as something normal.

  15. I believe making money online and seeing it as a business can be a primary motivator. Very few hesitate to buy something just because the goal of the seller is earning money. The key point is to provide something useful and do not just try to get rich quick (which universally means try to earn a lot without giving a lot).

    Many do not see how time consuming to provide good content (quality product) and spend time to open it to the market (marketing and sales).

  16. Darren,
    Great reminders, personally I have found that it is a great idea to ask your dedicated newsletter readers what do they think of a product your are thinking of creating or are in the process of making.

    I just did and got some very insightful responses including some new ideas for other services people thought I should offer.

    I believe I might have got this idea of asking readers from you Darren. Thank you!


  17. I recently started my Health Blog http://happyscience.us/ and i enjoy every bit of the Blogging industry as i learn more and more. Never heard of Blogging before, until my friend suggested i learn about it. Once i started looking into it – I not only understood that i will have a precious time writing it, I also understood that messing with it is a whole lot of fun, it can bring frustration – and that is one of the secrets to success in almost anything you discover. Frustration makes you grow abundantly.

    I felt the same thing – If you don’t have passion for what you really Blogging about + no Passion for all the “mess” that is involved along the way – it shall be really hard for you to reach really anything. But if you do have both – it will bring you Joy along with income.

    *Secret: before you reach outside – make sure your within is not really looking for anything, make sure within is home already :)


  18. that makes a whole lot of sense ! One could just write everything that they are passionate about and
    then find out if there is a market for it and if so you will really be coming from the heart and not just the pocket. Great post

  19. Thank you SO much for this Darren!

    I struggle with confidence. I struggle with the idea that I DESERVE to make money blogging. I still have this society thing in my head that says: “Blogging’s just a waste of time, your goofing off, and you want to make money off of it?”

    But I know I create great content that my readers love and it helps to improve their lives.

    I also worry about scaring readers away, once I become a blog that is asking for money. Help, write a post about how to BOOST YOUR BLOGGING CONFIDENCE! :)

  20. Darren you have given great tips from your blog.This is also one the article which says ‘Don’t give up’. ypur blog inspires me a lot.

  21. I’m new to this stuff. How do I start blogging????????I don’t even have a website yet. And how does one get paid??? I’ve followed it for a while on other sites but they don’t talk about how one gets paid.

  22. Very useful video. Great tips!!
    You inspire me very much, Darren. You are my blogging hero. :)

  23. Since I’m still new to trying to make money, the only thing I can say is keep going. It’s been 2 years, the visitors are here but I’m working on conversion so this video really helped me. Can’t wait to learn more for you! thanks.

  24. Thanks for the video Darren. You know, what you said about loving what you’re doing really resonates with me. I can’t imagine being as inspired as I am about my blog if it was something I didn’t care about. For me, the money is secondary. My blog is all about personal growth and being accountable to myself and my readers. People mean more than money!

  25. You make a good point in saying a good blog is when the topic is close to your heart and something you are passionate about. People are gonna notice and they would feel it through your blog.

  26. Hi, as a new person here, your video regarding Secrets to Making Money Online was just what I was looking for to clear all those questions smoking out of my head. Tks for the good work, and hopefully I can catch up with more of your “guru” advises.
    Waiting anxiously for more and keep up the good work

  27. Hello Darren, your first three points really reinforce each other, don’t they. I found that I build confidence as I begin to do things, do something I am passionate about, something that is useful. And this is why I think that beginners need to have some good, simple working tools and training that get them started without having to overcome technical hurdles. Your new blogging course will be a great tool for doing that.
    Thanks for sharing your insights on this much discussed topic.


  28. Thank you Darren this great info. I just started a blog this month and it helped me stay focused on what’s important – my readership. Making money will come in time, but building trust with my readers and adding great content is what its all about right now.

    Looking forward to more of your wisdom in the days ahead!

  29. I enjoyed your laid back but informative approach.
    I’ll try to think about what you taught me here.

  30. Anthony says: 01/29/2011 at 5:46 am

    HOly crap wut great secrets!!! NOBODY KNEW these things! It’s just talked about incessantly every day all over the internet. If you are going to make a post called “secrets to making money online” please actually make it content that not many people know, or you are just lying to your readers.

    You already have a bunch of fans now, think about how great you’d be after you start giving REAL secrets.

    I can get this same info from a guy like gary vaynerchuk and be alot more entertained in the process. And he doesn’t have to use the word “secret” to get a better click through.

  31. Thanks for a great post Darren!

    One thing I am a big believer in in making money online is to give. I don’t mean to the burn out point, but if you give to others, it will return. Engage with your readers, they will want to buy your products. Give them something for free at times such as an ebook. Help them with something when you can. If you do, you will get a very good response. I am not saying to give to get. I am saying to give to give. But in doing so you WILL get in return. It is just the way things work! To me, that is one of the “secrets” of making money online!

    I also loved what you said about diversifying. I am learning about having “multiple streams of income.” I am also learning about marketing myself as well as marketing my products. I don’t have products yet, but I have ideas! I’m just learning. But if you market products, as you know, you will eventually be able to market yourself — ie, speaking, consulting, guest posting, creating blogs for others, writing, doing workshops, writing ebooks as well as books, doing conferences, etc. There are a myriad of things a blogger can do, but only after he has put in his years of sweat and tears. He must work at it and see where it leads, unafraid to take the path.

  32. StuartFoot says: 02/02/2011 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the video Darren. You know, what you said about loving what you’re doing really resonates with me. I can’t imagine being as inspired as I am about my blog if it was something I didn’t care about.


  33. The secrets to making money is treat your site as your business. It would not be successful if you only focus on how to make profit without delivering the services that your readers/consumers wanted. In the end, the kind of what you give them spells the results of your marketing efforts.

  34. Thank you for the great advice, I really can use what I learned from your video. I am quite new in the blogging scene, and most definitely need to learn more. So, I appreciate your take on it.

    Thanks again,

  35. Good points. I think a good/useful topic, diversification and long term commitment are main things in making money online.

  36. Thank you for share your video. But you know one easy method is tasks workers You can use tasks workers. You can money unlimited. Sign up your personal account & start your work now. You can easier earn lots of money.

  37. Nice Video! Thank’s for the info.

  38. Great Video Post! i agree with you, the basic step which everybody forgets while trying to make online is the ‘Knowledge of the product you are selling’. there are people who see one Mr.X making money online, so they also jump into it. one should always start slowly with the a product that you have little knowledge of. it helps you in learning quickly and it puts you in a position where you can answer the questions. after your experience with one product you can venture into whole lot of other products available on net.

  39. With out a doubt, the key for me has been to follow what you believe in and are passionate about. My internet business came first and then the blog followed.

    I had no idea when I started the blog how much I would enjoy it, it’s an absolute blast!

    So my input would be, focus on what you can give and that little bit of difference you can make, have fun and the income will come.

    Thanks for the great resource Darren


  40. I’m agree with you, some people choose some topics just because they think they can earn more money with those topics, but most of the time they fail because they have no knowledge about the subject, its always better to go with a topic that we almost know.

  41. I’ve made a lot of blogs and there’s no doubt… the ones that were on a topic I was passionate about performed much better than the ones I set up because I was motivated by money. You will get burnt out and people will see through your blog if you go down that road.

    Don’t waste your time.. focus on your passions and the money will follow. Man, that sounds corny.

  42. I think that making products is the best way of making money online as compare with adsense and other ads revenue. Its fast, easy and reliable for every one and you can apply this method in any part of the work in any form.

  43. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and advice…superbly useful for first time bloggers like me. I am embarking on a long term investment with an abundant love of what I do, good news to spread and creative opportunities ahead…building a network of support is proving invaluable too.

  44. It’s hard to call them secrets, but yes, writing about something you like can help you a lot in the long term. Diversity on the same blog might hurt your regular readers so you’d better do it on different blogs even if it means starting from 0. My point.

  45. Thanks for the advice. I’ve just started reading and I can see how your problogger site is a good example of what you preach.

    However, what would you say about competiting for keyword in google?

    It is worth starting a blog with intensions of optimizing in google? It seems it is more profitable and enjoyable to blog for something I love than to blog for a good keyword in google like I have done recently.

    I’m actually really tired of blogging on my blog because I know that the value I can provide my market is really half assed. Unless I was a parent I could only empathize so much with what parents want to hear. And I can only enjoy it so much.

  46. I’ve been “stalking” your blog for a little while now…but sad to say I’ve lost a little motivation. *NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR BLOGS…THEY FLICK MY BEAN* I’ve noticed that “personal blogs” have no kind of earning potential. Is it possible to earn money with a “personal blog” or am I just a Debbie Downer who has no clue what she’s doing?

  47. Very informative. Simply the best resources available on the internet. Thanks a lot Darren

  48. Great video Darren. It’s always inspiring to watch your videos. I just recently quit my job to focus on my own home-based ventures and it has been super satisfying – money is a lot higher and stress a lot lower. You’ve got lots of great content on this site and a some nice tricks I didn’t really know about. Keep up the good work man!

  49. Thanks for all the great tips Darren. I think the best tip of all though is to keep testing to see what options work the best. This is absolutely crucial and it extends into most other aspects of running your business.

  50. Hi Darren so true I very much believe in diversifying I have many things in the go I run a busy rich media production outfit that brings in one income stream and when we aren’t filming on green screen or doing studio photography for our own needs or clients we rent it out. I have also developed a product geared to the boating and rv industry which is pretty much a niche and only going to be sold online, but best of all I am also about to be paid to blog and the list never stops… It’s about not being adverse to risk to try your best and work from the heart if you don’t love what you are doing even a little bit …time to move on or its going to reflect in your approach, motivation and self-worth. Just wanted to chime in. Great Blog by the way!!!

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