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What Bloggers Can Learn From… Indirect Earners

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of April 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Today’s guest post is from Chris Garrett from

For many bloggers their income focus is based on direct methods. Most bloggers have at least tried some advertising, particularly Adsense. There is a massive potential though for earning money indirectly from blogging.

Direct methods would include

  • Advertising – Adsense, Banners, Chitika
  • Affiliates – Visitor buys through your link, you get a commission
  • Links – Paid for having their link on your blog
  • Paid Reviews – You pay me to review your site/product through PPP or ReviewMe
  • Sponsorships – Tends to work like a longer term advertising but can include the sponsor providing products and services rather than a purely financial arrangement.
  • Gifts – Visitors like your stuff so much they reward you with tips, or perhaps you have a donation drive to attract a certain figure for a particular purpose

These methods will involve your blog as the central driver of the transaction. In indirect methods the driver is usually you and in most cases the blog is absent from the transaction. The critical factor in indirect methods is your reputation. A reputation built completely or in part using blogs.

Let’s take a look at some ways bloggers have used their blogging reputation to earn money because of their blog but not necessarily using their blog.

  • Gina Trapani – Through having a successful blog with a large audience, lifehacker attracted a book deal. As well as being an income in itself, a blog deal further builds public awareness, reputation and credibility.
  • Aaron Wall – Aaron Wall funnels visitors to his ebook. While again his ebook is a great money-spinner, the advice it contains helps build trust in his expertise which leads to consulting gigs.
  • Joel Spolsky – Joel demonstrates his expertise through his blog but unlike those above earns his money from software. His techie audience, attracted by his software development tips and wisdom, are converted into customers of his FogCreek products.
  • David Krug – As well as being a means to earn money, blogs also have value as assets which can be sold. I think the best known person who makes money by buying and selling blogs has to be David. You can earn money by building up your own blog and selling it, or you can buy up under-valued blogs and selling them after giving them a little TLC.
  • David Hobby – While he is still a working Photo Journalist, through his “strobist” blog, David has become the web “Flash Photography” expert. He now runs successful workshops teaching all of his tricks of the trade. Even though it is possible to learn a great deal from his blog his customers know there is nothing that compares to being guided through the topic in person.

Take a good hard look at your blog and the audience it attracts. With a bit of creativity you could be sitting on a potential goldmine … Do you have any more examples of bloggers earning money through indirect methods? Add your thoughts in the comments.

Read more from Chris Garret at his blog

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.
  • How about Barry Schwartz of who probably gets most of his money through Rusty Brick. With seroundtable he affirms his guru status every day and monetizes it through his company.

  • Ali

    A great post. It would be a dream for any blogger to be able to make a steady income to support themselves and save up some on the side for retirement.

    But then the beautiful thing about blogging is there is no reason to retire from it. I see myself doing this well past my prime….hopefully.

  • That’s great advice, Darren. I’ve recently started my photography blog as a way to attract new leads in the Cincinnati photography market. Whatever income arrives purely from the blog is nice, but the side effects of ranking higher in the search engines pays off in the form of shoots and print sales.

    I think it’s a great idea for any small business owner who wants to climb the Google ladder!

  • Like Joel Spolsky, many software firms use blogs as a way to attract business. The thinking is, if you like when the employees have to say, you are more open to hiring them. The constant Thoughtworks is famous for this, encouraging all of their employees to blog:

  • Hi Darren, I remembered asking you about my blog thorough email, wonder if you did receive it but anyway, yea most people use adsense including me which i just started.

    Well, its not easy for my area of writing and its audience is a tough nut to crack too but i enjoy writing this.

    Till then,catch up soon.

  • I am still a small player (almost invisible player) in the recognizable blogging world, but the small following that I do have to my money making blog has helped improve my credibility as a whole on the internet, which, in part has led to move trust, credibility and ultimately, more sales elses. They also offer a an excellent negotiation tool when trying to get three-way link exchanges (especially since they rank high rather quickly.)

  • Great post. I’ve heard of other bloggers getting book deals from their blogs. It’s nice to see an even broader scope of just how blogging can open the doors of success.

    Great post Chris!

  • My blog earns me extra freelance graphic design projects even though I don’t advertise my services.. maybe I should but I don’t know how to do it without bugging my readers. Help Darren, please!?

  • Great post Chris.

    I have been approached by a publisher about rolling the past year of songwriting articles into a book. I have already constructed an outline for the book and have identified gaps I need to cover. These are my blog entries for the next month or so.

    It’s very preliminary, but I’m excited about the possibilities nonetheless – especially for cross promotion and a built-in audience of 800-1000 unique readers daily.


  • eve

    Great post as usual! You showed me some ideas I had not thought of before, thanks!

  • Definitely never heard of ReviewMe up until now. Has anyone used their service to get their site reviewed? The whole seems a little fishy to me (and possibly low ROI).

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  • What about yourself Darren? You earn indirect incomes from blog(s) as well right? Lets list at least some of them.

  • A few good reasons for blogging. Direct or indirect , I guess once you are good at it , you get noticed and money always follows.

  • Hmm… buying and selling blogs.. that indeed is an interesting concept. Perhaps you can elaborate on it further in future post Darren. :)

  • Very cool post, Chris. I love it that nowadays, because of blogging, people can basically invent a job around what their skills and passions are. David Krug stands out as a person who is particularly gifted at doing this, as you pointed out.

    And I’d like to add Andy Wibbels to the list. Last year I think it was, he was approached by a major publishing house asking him to write a book about blogging for small biz owners. The book is called “Blogwild” and has been a huge success for Andy. The offer for the book deal came after the publishers looked at his blog and his blogging course, Easy Bake Weblogs. So, definitely Andy’s blog played a huge part in him becoming an author. And because of his successful book, his classes (he teaches blogging, podcasting and related stuff to small biz owners), his classes are even more in demand.

    He now has oodles of major mainstream media appears, and is contacted all the time by any journalist wanting an opinion about blogging or internet related stuff.

  • I think blogging can work well as a business when you blog about something you are passionate about, with information that interests (or better yet is valuable to your readers).

    It then becomes easy to, as starleads put it, become “good at it , you get noticed and money always follows”.

  • @Techdeals: Visit John Chow’s blog.. he uses ReviewMe all the time and earns a lot from it.

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  • Extra-crispy thanks to Sharon for adding me to the list.

    I will say that the past 3 years of my business have been from my blog. I used a blog to road-test and create content that was then run in teleseminar format and then moved into an ebook and then sold to a publisher as a book (and then featured in major media, yadda). Of course I’d be remiss in not mentioning my delight in working witih Darren on Six Figure Blogging. All consulting gigs and customers have come from the combination of my blog, newsletter and feed working together. I think for folks that aren’t making blogging their occupation there are so many avenues for it to still feed their business and platform.

    I think a crucial ingredient is style/voice – you have to break through the noise.

    So many business bloggers have this milquetoast pusillanimous pantywaist mealy-mouth soggy attitude of non-offense or passion-zero in their blog. Whether break out by being passionate or provocative you have to break through the white noise of your competition and all the other ‘spheres out there. If you are trying to please everybody then you are marketing to nobody.

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  • I’ve had great success at using the blog to promote the monthly breakfast seminars that I hold which also helps to bring the community together on & offline.

  • Just this week I’ve begun to hear about “blog flipping.” I have to find out more about this, it sounds pretty cool. Maybe they’ll make a T.V. show called “Flip This Blog.” Reality blogging at its best!

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  • I’d disagree with affiliates. I, recently joined an affiliate program, and there were a tremendous amount of outclicks to the affiliate I chose, but no sales reports. And it’s easy for an online retailer to omit this information, or alter the sale stats on their end. I removed the affiliate.

    I do get a lot of proposals via email, and they often propose their affiliate programs, and I respond back stating my requirements: sponsored advertising. I pay for my site, whereas they earn direct cash from the sales. At the end of the day they’re approaching a blogger, and if a blogger pays to host their blog, it’s not too much to request a fee in return for advertising space.

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