How To Make A Blog For Money

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How To Make A Blog For Money

 

how to make a blog

How to Make a Blog – Step-By-Step

how to make money from your blog:

  1. Set up your blog
  2. Write content that gets lots of traffic
  3. Convert visitors into email subscribers
  4. Send those subscribers content that builds trust
  5. Sell products or services your audience wants

 

 

How To Make A Blog For Money

Lesson #1: Don’t Sell Advertising (or Use Google AdSense)

Ask your average beginner how they plan to make money blogging, and they’ll say they plan to sell ads on their site. After all, that’s how big newspapers and magazines monetize, so why not them?

When I was at Copyblogger, we ran a little experiment. Normally, we refused to sell any ads on the site, but just as a test, we decided to put three ad spots in the right sidebar. The site looked like this:Initially, we placed ads for our own products in each of the three spots, and we tracked all the sales resulting from someone clicking on the ad. I don’t remember the precise numbers, but we had something like $50,000 in product sales over 30 days. Not too shabby how to make a blog .

Well, out of curiosity, I shopped around to see how much advertisers would pay for the same ad space. The absolute highest rates I could negotiate would’ve brought in only $5,000 per month per ad spot, totaling $15,000 per month — 70% less than we made selling our own products.

 

Lesson #2: Start with Affiliate Marketing (or Services)

As I write this, it just so happens that I’m in the initial stages of starting a new blog (more details to be announced soon). It’s in a completely different space where I have no products, so I’ve been pondering the best way to monetize it, and here’s what I think…

Affiliate marketing is the smartest strategy.

If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a business model where you endorse other people’s products or services in exchange for a commission. On software and information products, affiliates typically earn a 50% commission or sometimes even more, so it can be quite lucrative.

Pat Flynn, for example, makes over $100,000 a month in affiliate commissions. Here at Smart Blogger, we mostly promote our own products, but we also make a tidy sum promoting LeadPages and SiteGround:

Granted, you won’t make that kind of money when your blog is small, but affiliate marketing is still a good way to start for several reasons:

  • It’s faster. Instead of investing months or even years creating a product, all you have to do is publish a link on your site. Assuming your audience is engaged, you could be earning commissions within hours or even minutes.
  • The income from affiliate marketing is almost entirely passive. You don’t have to worry about creating products, supporting customers, or any of the technical complexity of selling your own products or services. You can also invest the time you save into growing your traffic, leading to more revenue later.
  • It can guide future product creation. If one affiliate product sells 10X better than all the others you promote, you might want to think about developing your own version of the product, because you have proof your audience wants it.

Personally, I think the advantages are so enormous that no beginning blogger should consider any other business model… with one exception:

Service providers.

If you are a graphic designer, real estate agent, attorney, or any other type of service provider, you probably want to offer your services on your blog from day one. The profit you make will almost certainly outstrip anything else, at least in the beginning.

Lesson #3: Build the Funnel in Reverse

Even if you’re making fantastic money from affiliate marketing or selling services, chances are you’ll want to try your hand at developing your own product at some point. So, where should you start?

My answer: with blogs, the most profitable price is usually the end of the funnel. Here’s what I mean…

Build a sales funnel in reverse, starting with higher prices.

You’ve seen a sales funnel, right? A company entices you with a freebie, then they offer you something cheap but irresistible, and then they gradually sweet talk you into buying more and more expensive stuff. It’s a tried and true marketing tactic, and you should absolutely build a sales funnel for your blog.

What you might not know is you should build it in reverse.

A lot of bloggers launch a cheap e-book as their first product, and then they get frustrated when they don’t make much money. Here’s why: the real profit is at the end of the funnel, not the beginning.

Selling e-books is fine and dandy if you have half a dozen more expensive products to offer your customer afterwards, but it’s downright silly if you don’t. You’re much better off creating and selling the expensive product first, and then gradually building cheaper and cheaper products.

When you do have some less expensive products to sell, you can offer those to new people first, safe in the knowledge that you have something more profitable up your sleeve to sell them later.

Here at Smart Blogger, our products cost $9,997, $1,997, and $997, $497, $197, and $47.  We started on the expensive side first, and we gradually worked our way down. It’s been much, much more profitable this way.

Lesson #4: There’s No Such Thing As a “Cheap” Market

“But Jon,” I can hear you spluttering. “I can’t sell a $10,000 product! My customers don’t have that much money.”

My response: you’re 98% right. Unless you’re selling exclusively to multimillionaires, the vast majority of your customer base won’t be able to afford premium products, but what’s interesting is it doesn’t matter. Often, you can make more money selling to the 2% than you can to the entire 98% combined.

For instance, our $10,000 product is a year-long coaching program for bloggers — a group that’s not exactly known for their wealth, but I always fill all ten spots within minutes of opening the program. Here’s why: the last time we opened it, I notified 40,000 bloggers. 2% of 40,000 writers is 800 people. By only accepting 10, I’m creating a situation of extreme scarcity.

You can do the same thing, even if your list is much smaller. If you have 100 subscribers, chances are two of them might be willing to buy premium products or services from you, and those two will often pay you more money than the other 98 combined.

And let me be clear…

I’m not saying you have to charge $10,000. We actually make even more money from our $2000 product than we do the $10,000 one:

The point is, most people are afraid to charge more than $200 for a class, believing that’s all people can afford, but it’s just not true. Every market has customers who are and willing to pay for a premium experience. Give them one.

Just be aware… higher prices demand bigger promises. Let me explain.

Lesson #5: The Price Depends on the Promise

Let’s go back to the example of the $10,000 coaching program. How on earth did I get people to pay me that much money?

It’s not because they were stupid. They didn’t get one of my emails and say, “Oh, look honey, this is a fabulous opportunity to throw our money away. Let’s give this good-looking fellow $10,000 just for the hell of it.”

On the contrary, they expected a lot of me. In exchange for that $10,000, I promised to help them launch their blog from scratch and get their first 10,000 email subscribers in only 12 months.

That’s one hell of a promise. Just to put a dollar value on it, you could probably sell a blog with 10,000 subscribers for at least $100,000 in most markets. So, I was essentially promising them $100,000 of value in exchange for only $10,000.

This, my friend, is one of the fundamentals of business.

If you want to charge high prices, you absolutely can, but you must make big promises. Similarly, if you want to charge low prices, you absolutely can, but you must make small promises. In either case though, the value of the promise should be at least 10X the price.

The value of the promise should be at least 10X the price.

For instance, we have a guest blogging course that retails for $497. In exchange, we promise to help students get featured on a big blog or magazine like The Huffington Post or Forbes. I think it’s fair to say that exposure is worth $5,000 to the right person. So, the product sells easily and well.

Not to say everything is sunflowers and daffodils here, though. In fact, there are are two easy ways to screw up:

  1. Charging high prices but making small promises (result: the product doesn’t sell well, and you waste a ton of time).
  2. Charging low prices but making big promises (result: lots of customers, but you make no profit).

There’s a rumor floating around that I’ve made each of those mistakes on multiple occasions. Some people also say I have to be repeatedly reminded about the graph above, lest I slip up and nearly bankrupt the company (again).

But come on, who are you going to believe?

No, in all seriousness, I learned all of these lessons the hard way. If you’re wondering how to price your product or service, you’d be wise to heed my words.

Oh, and a few final points before we move on:

  • Needless to say, you should only make promises you can actually fulfill. Anything less is unethical.
  • If people immediately think you’re full of shit upon hearing your promise, then you’re in trouble. In my opinion, this is what marketing is really about: getting people to trust you when you say you can help them. The better you are at it, the more money you’ll make.
  • In the above graph, “value” refers to how much the customer values what you’re promising them, not your own personal value. For instance, I personally think my guacamole is worth $10,000 a bowl, but none of my friends agree with me, so I’m forced to give it to them for free. Bastards.

Also, I’m skipping a lot of other important topics like price testing, competition, and economics, but in my opinion, none of those things are even worth considering until you know the answer to this one simple question:

What can I offer people that’s worth 10X what I charge?

Answer that, and you’ll at least be headed in the right direction.

Lesson #6: Webinars Kick Butt

If you’ve been on our email list for long, you know that we do a lot of webinars. Here’s why:

On average, each webinar generates about $60,000 in sales. It’s by far the most profitable thing I do. Nothing else even comes close.

If you’re wondering how on earth we make that much money, part of it is how many people attend. For instance, here’s a webinar where we had over 3,000 people registered to attend:

But that’s only part of it.

The other part is just the skill of doing a really good webinar. If you want to know how we do it, all you have to do is attend one of our webinars to find out. Everything we do is on display, and you can study it, free of charge.

Lesson #7: Automated Funnels Are Even Better

You know what works even better than webinars for us?

Automated funnels. Take a look at this bad boy:

Use automated funnels to make more money.

Now, before I get into the nitty-gritty details, a word of warning: this is extremely advanced marketing. I don’t even recommend you think about this until you cross $100,000 per year in revenue.

But here’s the idea:

Through the magic of technology, we have sales happening every minute of every day. We can automate who gets discounts at what times, as well as when those discounts expire.

We can also chain together promotions. If you don’t respond to a $2000 offer, we might follow up with a $497 offer, which now seems cheap by comparison.

Oh, and did I mention we are tracking your every move?

For instance, you’re reading a post about how to make money blogging. If you’re a subscriber, what do you think the odds are that you’ll receive an email from us sometime soon offering you a product about how to make money blogging?

Hmm. Pretty good, I think.

And just to be clear, this is all automated. I’m not doing anything. No one is.

The computer is following rules we set up in advance, and it’s following them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Welcome to the future of marketing.

Lesson #8: Your Email List Is More Important Than Anything Else

Okay, enough flashy technology. Let’s get back to foundational principles.

In analytics, there is a principle called “the one metric that matters” (OMTM). The idea is that you find a single number that accurately predicts the success or failure of your project.

In the case of blogging, that number is the size of your email list. (Not RSS, mind you — it’s dying a slow but certain death.) In my experience, your email list is the most accurate predictor of how much money you’ll make.

Here at Smart Blogger, we strive for one dollar per subscriber per month in sales, and I think that’s a good place to start when you’re a beginner too. In other words, an email list of 1,000 subscribers should result in at least $1,000 per month in sales, 10,000 subscribers would result in $10,000 per month in sales, and so on.

The more subscribers you get, the more money you make. Granted, your relationship with your subscribers and the quality of your products or services and dozens of other factors still matter, but to drive revenue, focus on email list growth. To make money blogging, it’s absolutely essential.

Find out how much money your blog could be making – and how quickly you could grow your email list – with our free Blog Profit Calculator.

Lesson #9: Start Selling from Day One

How long should you wait before you begin selling? 1,000 subscribers? 10,000 subscribers? More?

Nope. Start selling from day one. Here’s why:

Motivation.

If you’re not making any money from your blog, it’s hard to stay motivated to continue. The opposite is also true. For instance, how do you think I feel when I see this number pop up on my dashboard every day?

It’s pretty easy to feel pumped with numbers like that.

And honestly, the numbers don’t have to be big.

I remember the first morning I woke to discover I’d made $100 overnight. It felt… magical. It also gave me the motivation to do the work necessary to make sure that happened every night.

It’ll be the same for you. When you have money being deposited into your account every day, it’s a whole lot easier to keep yourself motivated.

It will also give you the funds you need to build a team around you. You can hire an assistant, a tech person, a billing person. The faster you get rid of stuff you suck at doing, the faster you will grow.

Now, a caveat: don’t turn your blog into a gigantic sales pitch. Nobody likes that. You should, however, be offering something your audience wants and needs. Don’t push them on it, but do make it available, and do remind them from time to time that they can purchase it.

Lesson #10: Share What You Learned

Now, we come to the reason for this post.

Why on earth would the CEO of the company (me) work hours to write a post like this, sharing all our secrets? It’s nearly 4,000 words, for God sakes!

Simple:

It’s my responsibility. If people are ever going to respect blogging as a legitimate business model, those of us who are successful have to speak up and share what we’ve learned. None of us works in a vacuum. The only way we can advance our field as a whole is to collectively share what we’ve learned.

After all, isn’t that what we’re here to do? Help people?

In the end, that’s what I love most about blogging: every article we publish, every course we create, every coaching call we do can change somebody’s life. Maybe not always in a big way, but we touch thousands upon thousands of people, and we make their lives just a little bit better. We inform them, we inspire them, and we give them the roadmap for achieving their dreams.

 

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