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make money with your blog

Make Money From Your Blog!

Make Money with Your Blog

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great – Mark Twain

I started my first blog in 2008.  I think.

That was a long time ago, and I’m getting older, so pardon me if I don’t remember the exact year.

I started off blogging on a free Blogger platform, inspired by different internet marketing gurus.

I just read the first article I ever wrote.  (No, I’m not going to post it).  I made grammatical errors, the picture was terrible, and the blog design was terrible.

But I kept on learning, kept on reading, kept on listening to podcasts.

I work part-time on my blogs, but I think of them as long term sustainable businesses, so I’ve seen a steady increase in traffic, conversion, and income.

You, too, can make money with your blog.

Learn From My Mistakes

But before you do, please learn from some of my mistakes.

Fall seven times, stand up eight – Japanese Proverb

Expecting A Lot for a Little

I let myself get roped into some systems that promised to do all the hard work for me while I used their cookie cutter system.  I won’t name the names of those systems; in fact, I don’t even know if they’re in existence today.

But I expected to earn big bucks!  I probably earned some bucks for the “gurus,” but not a lot for myself.  On the other hand, I did learn a lot about the ins and outs of online marketing through their systems.  Maybe their “courses” were the price of admission.

Spreading Myself Too Thin

I bought into this shiny object, then that shiny object.  Then I’d read about this course.  And that course.

On the one hand, probably everyone needs to go through this phase.  But after a while, it’s time to settle down and focus.  Choose one trusted system/teacher and stick with it!

What I Wish I Had Known

Have a Plan

I wish I’d known who I could trust in those days.  Internet marketing was still somewhat new, and I was so excited that I didn’t slow down long enough to think!

It’s part of the maturing process, I suppose, but I had to learn the hard way that a good business plan is essential.

I’m not an affiliate for either of these guys, but I’d recommend Leslie from Become a Blogger and Mark Mason from Late Night Internet Marketing as two people who can help you get started.

I’m also not an affiliate for Jason and Jay from Internet Business Mastery, but I trust them, too.  All three of these places are where I’d start if I was beginning from scratch.

Work For Free

You might think I’m crazy.  But Pat Flynn has done many things for free.  He’s put together a Clickable Map resource for web designers; he’s shown you how to write an eBook, and he recently came up with a free module on how to start your own podcast.

Cliff Ravenscraft, the man behind the Podcast Answer Man, executed hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours before he started monetizing his blog and his podcasts.

If you work on your blog with the attitude that you’ll work to create true value for your readers, you’ll eventually reap what you sow.

Build A Business

You are building a business.  You’re not throwing up a few blog posts.  You’re not starting a hobby.

Larry Brauner, a mathematical and marketing mentor of sorts, showed me the analogy of the marathon as a way to treat my business.

Work slow, work steady, have a plan, and do something every day.  That’s the way to build a profitable internet business.

Think about traffic, product creation, conversion, and upselling.

Which of these aspects need the most work on your blog?  Perhaps you can spend one quarter on each of those aspects to improve your online business.

Learn How to Make Small Cash First

Unless you have a very strong business plan, plan on keeping your day job until you’re ready to transition to building your own business full-time.

Mark Mason from Late Night Internet Marketing is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs build their online businesses and make money one night at a time….after the day job is over for the day.

Having listened to many of his podcast episodes, I trust his recommendation of taking the Micro Site Profits course.  I’m not an affiliate for this course, but I trust Mark, and I trust Jeremy and Jason, owners of Internet Business Mastery, who designed this course.

Once You’re Earning “Small” Cash on a Consistent Basis, Start Building An Authority Site Business

This type of site and blog is one in which you’ll be in the business for the long haul.  It will take longer to start, longer to maintain, and possibly longer to profit from.   But your profits, in the long term, will be greater.

I recommend, based on people I respect, Jeremy and Jason’s Internet Business Mastery Academy (not an affiliate link).  If you take this course, you’ll learn a step by step approach to building a long-term, profitable business online.

Image credit: rukanoga / 123RF Stock Photo

Are there any other specific people or courses you recommend for learning how to make money with your blog?  Please share them with us!



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  1. says

    Hi Stephen! I didn’t even know what a blog was until a few years ago! I actually didn’t even know much about anything to do with internet marketing. Yes I have paid my dues and was roped into some systems as well as hopping from one shiny object to another. Wow I guess this is what it takes for some of us to finally settle down and get focused HUH?

    I am very grateful that I have finally found what I am passionate about and that I am on the right path.

    You have done an amazing job with this post and I am going to bookmark this page for future reference.. Thanks for sharing Chery :)
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…At Some Point In Life Everyone Needs HelpMy Profile

    • says

      Chery, thanks so much for the feedback. You’re so right, it often takes us a lot of time to settle down and FOCUS. I’m only now getting to the point where I am willing to let go of one blog, updating it only occasionally, so I can focus on my main blog.

  2. says

    I find (I even did) that people think that the internet is easy peasy when it comes to making money. After all you see all the infomercials or online ads telling you over and over how you can make money overnight using System X. But over time you find that its actually a lot of work and dedication to succeed. I love you tip to have a plan, implement that plan, and stick to that plan.
    Clint Butler recently posted…Make $7,500 A Month or More Selling on AmazonMy Profile

    • says

      Clint, very good points! There are aspects of internet marketing that make building a business easier. However, we often forget that it’s a business! Any business requires careful planning and committed, consistent execution.

  3. says

    That wonderful journey of experience, good memories, some maybe not so good, but all of them valuable in helping to shape the way my online business is now. Seems like we have had some similar experiences, and many of them were astonishingly valuable and I use what I learned still to this day.

    And some of them valuable because I can evaluate new things that come along filled with the same hyperbolic promises that used to beam so brightly. Thank you, Steve, this is a great post. I sincerely appreciate you being willing to share your experience with us.
    Michael Shook recently posted…Boston Marathon BombingMy Profile

  4. says

    You’ve learned a lot along the way!! I’m still taking things slowly. I will check out some of your suggestions to see if this is the direction I really want to go!! Great post. I’m sure you can help others too with this info..
    Holly recently posted…You Can Lengthen Your Health Span Part 4My Profile

    • says

      Holly, if you are like me, while examining whether this is the direction you want to go, you may find that you end up narrowing your niche. This is one thing I’ve learned from those wiser and more successful than myself. Make our niche narrow and deep.

  5. says

    Thank you for sharing your story Steve. I’ve heard from a lot of private groups that “courses” are the price of admission and access to the person you’ve purchased from. The best ones are when the person creating this knows and acts upon that fact – that creates advocates and they in turn market for you. It’s this system that the gurus should be teaching, and there’s me giving it away in a blog comment ;).

    You are absolutely right when you state we are building businesses – yes we are, but we have to be mindful of the person that building a business would scare the living daylights out of them… and that includes me.

    This post is one that’s dear to my heart as it outlines the route many of us take when learning to market online.
    Sarah Arrow recently posted…72 Places to promote your Kindle book when it’s freeMy Profile

    • says

      Sarah, what great words. Even though I haven’t purchased from the likes of Internet Business Mastery, Leslie Samuels, Mark Mason, and Cliff Ravenscraft, they are on my list to purchase from as I save up the money, because they’ve given me inside access through their podcasts and content already. And then I got to meet up with Jason VanOrten and Pat Flynn at a meetup they hosted (and paid for!) for all their listeners. There are some great people out there, and we have the privilege to learn from them.

      Thanks for the comment about designing a course with the intent of giving the buyers direct access and coaching. I’ll keep that in mind for the future. I’ve been told that Brandon Burchard models this aspect really well.

  6. says

    Fall seven times, stand up eight – love this and “You are building a business. You’re not throwing up a few blog posts. You’re not starting a hobby.” = such wise words Steve…Needed to read this to get focused today and it is a fine line to tread as I love writing and could write all day – but that isn’t going to pay the mortgage alone…or is it…? ;)
    Sarupa Shah recently posted…Heart Centered Entrepreneurs, let’s make a plan!My Profile

    • says

      Sarupa, you said something really important: You love to write! That’s fantastic! You can harness your love of writing and just make sure that you add the business components/strategies to complement your writing. And over time, you’ll be making a difference in the world with your blog!

  7. says

    A great article, I especially like the part towards the end about making “Small cash” first, It really does give you the basics from which you can scale up from. And I also agree with you that creating value is the key behind creating a functional, helpful website or blog. Thanks!
    Nicholas recently posted…5 Ways To Overcome ShynessMy Profile

    • says

      Nicholas, I appreciate you stopping by to give your input. Yes, small cash is great cash!

  8. says

    What wise words Stephen! I think we all probably fell into the same traps getting started – I know I did. “Shiny object syndrome” is so difficult to avoid, and I certainly didn’t start with a plan. I’m still overblogged – I have too many domains and attempt to keep too many blogs going, but I’ gradually fading out the less useful ones.
    Thanks for the timely reminders :)
    Alan Jenkin recently posted…5 Steps To Make Money With A ListMy Profile

    • says

      Fading out those extra blogs: that’s a tough lesson. I sat with Joel Comm from http://www.joelcomm.com recently. He gave me some very generous minutes out of his schedule and kindly told me to let one of my blogs die so that I can give my full attention to the one that’s gaining traction. I’m not going to totally abandon my other blog, but I am going to use something like the 70/30 rule (70% effort in the one gaining traction and 30% just to maintain the other one).

  9. says

    Hi Stephen,
    thank you for the helpful post with links to more information.

    You suggestion to ‘make small cash first’ makes a lot of sense.
    Success builds on success no matter how small.

    I have bookmarked this post to come back for another read.
    Yorinda recently posted…Social Media Tatoo or Shadow?My Profile

  10. says

    Hi Stephen, my first blog was about Scuba Diving, which was a lot of fun because I’m very passionate about it. I used to do reviews of Underwater cameras and put affiliate links back to Amazon. I also used Chitika ads which worked really well because I could make them specific to the camera I was reviewing. At that time, google adwords used to work well for me too.

    Great post Stephen, I agree that it’s best to learn how to market other people’s products before developing your own.
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted…How to get Organized When Creating A New BlogMy Profile

  11. says


    You write the most comprehensive blogs with so much substance. You keep saying “I am not an affiliate for this course and this course and this course. Why not? You are providing so much value. Maybe some of your readers do want to take those course and why shouldn’t you benefit from that since they may never have heard of these people or courses before hearing it from you.

    I am currently being mentored by Tom Antion, a hugely successful online and offline marketer. I also started blogging around 2008. After many years of blogging and article writing, I am now in the process of creating my authority site. I like what you said about making small amounts of money first. That I have done – but it has certainly not been enough to quit my daytime one on one counseling (which I enjoy doing so I wouldn’t want to completely stop that).

    It has been an ongoing learning by doing proposition.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Who’s Bullying You?My Profile

  12. says

    Hi Stephen,

    Many thanks for sharing your advice and experiences. I have heard of Pat Flynn but not the other people. It is so true being steady is so important for learning how to make money online with a blog. Offline we understand we have to put a lot of effort to learn skills to be able to use them with success Online many people seem to think it is click of a button. To earn money online skills need to be learnt and applied. A big thank for writing this post . Rosemary
    Rosemary O’Shaughnessy recently posted…Why Irish Businesses & SME’s Should Take Notice Of my Silver Surfer Pals Online ObservationsMy Profile

  13. says

    I remember the very day I started my first blog, because it was my daughter’s birthday… Dec. 1, 2003. It was a free Blogger blog, but I had help from my son James in customizing the design to a pleasing degree. That was a personal blog, to keep family and friends up to date on what was happening in my life. I started my business blog just a few years ago, and I’d have to look to see what date I started that one. :)

    Thank you for the tips on how to blog to make money.

    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Don’t Be the Reason Anyone QuitsMy Profile

  14. says

    I Like the idea of having a strategy that works for our blog and think before writing.
    If we want to grow we need to think of the growth and the value we give to our readers.
    I clicked on Pat Flynn’s site from your post and see how many interesting resources and ideas he is sharing!
    Thanks so much for this share and great tips.
    Patricia Gozlan recently posted…Love: How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone and Savor LifeMy Profile

  15. says

    Hey Stephen,

    Great post. I think the best tip for anyone just starting or maybe needs a reboot in blogging 101 is to start with small cash first. Once you see small results we then can realize that it is duplicatable and go for the big money!
    Kyle Nelson recently posted…How to Get EDU Backlink in the Most Convenient WayMy Profile

  16. says

    Blogging is a funny thing. I’ve made more money than most bloggers; I have a 6 figure transport blog. I have an internationally renowned women’s blog and I write about blog-centric social media stuff. And all of it starts as a tiny acorn, every single site has started earning just pennies and it’s grown from there.
    I’ve just started with a new client in the weightloss niche (one that I’m hopeless at) and we’ve applied a few marketing basics and in one week he’s gone from 76 visitors a month to a thousand in a week. It’s hard work for the both of us – and it has to be seen as that -work. As you become more skilled at blogging it becomes fun, and that’s what makes it so fabulous.
    Sarah Arrow recently posted…Ebook ToolkitMy Profile

  17. says

    I like your sugestion of learning how to make small cash first. Then moving on to expand your business. It’s a process and nothing happens overnight. It takes time to build a good business with a decent income online … Always wonderful to visit here … great tips :-)
    Lesly Federici recently posted…Guest: Lydia Brown May 2, 2013My Profile

  18. says

    Hi Steve,
    Congratulations on your journey, most don’t make it as far as you and certainly don’t take the lessons learned to apply to really making it. I also started in 2008 and I now view my 4 years online as a college course. I know just enough to work out that my original site ( clarekelway.com) needs major surgery to reflect my brand, and I am very shortly about to launch another site that I am proud to say is already generating revenues before I have officially launched it. I have learned so much and you are right, work out how to make a little money because the principle is the same, you just need to scale it for larger revenues. And outsourcing is key – don’t expect to become a Millionaire online alone. Thanks for the Postcast Answer Man – I have been seeking a podcast solution. I love Pat Flynn’s story – very inspirational.

    Clare recently posted…Network Marketing Success: How to Professionally Invite Someone?My Profile

  19. says

    This is such a great post that I, too, will bookmark it for later reference. I have found that making money with a blog is not as simple as most would like to believe, but if you find the right training program, it can be one of the quickest ways to make money.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted…Imagining Money Brings Money To YouMy Profile

  20. says

    Hello Stephen….I appreciate your ability to state the facts in such an understandable yet positive way…..I too went through many “Get rich overnight ” systems……..It seems the only ones getting rich were the ones that I was throwing money at to get rich myself…..lol…..You have re-affirmed what I have learned……and you have some very valuable advice that is well stated in your post!……Thanks Stephen ….Well done……Smokey
    Gregory Bowen recently posted…Memories Of Mr. Weller And Fishing The Lower Blue River (Third and last part)My Profile

  21. says

    Great advice for bloggers who want to make it online. I also started a while back and have taken a very long time to learn and get to where I am.

    You’re right when you said blogging is not an overnight success kind of thing. It takes dedication, hard work and time.
    Anne @ how to build confidence recently posted…Confidence building: You Can Do It!My Profile

  22. says

    Nice tips for people looking to monetize their blogs, Stephen.

    There are direct ways to monetize… like having ads right on your blog so people can make purchases (Adsense is the biggest method here).

    Then there are indirect methods, mainly listbuilding. In this case you don’t ask for purchases from your site or blog, but ask people to join your email list, get your emails, build a relationship, and become long-term customers and clients.

    Both methods work, but both are a lot of work, as you point out. But if you love the process, have a good plan and are ready to dedicate your time and effort (and some money)… no reason why you cannot make money blogging.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted…Lead Magnet Creation | Audio DownloadsMy Profile

  23. says

    Well I bet there’s no No for an answer in your question. That’s quite catchy huh. In fact that’s the first question which I thought of the first time I build my blog, how to make money from it. Great guide and tips.

  24. says

    Thank you for the great tips on how to start monetizing your blog. Not spreading yourself too thin is one of the more important ones I believe.

  25. says

    Stephen, You always have such informative posts on your site. I totally agree with everything you have discussed about making money with blogging. I especially liked when you said: Work slow, work steady, have a plan, and do something every day. That’s the way to build a profitable internet business. I really believe that you have to be persistent and patient in building your business and have faith that all your hard work will start to pay off. I’ve been blogging for 1 1/2 years now and it has been quite a learning experience for me. Thanks for all the wonderful tips!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted…Chipotle GuacamoleMy Profile

  26. says


    I’m not trying to monetize my blog, but I’m certainly looking for more readers! I think the biggest lesson I need to learn right in order to get anywhere with anything is to stop spreading myself too thin. As it is, I have too much on the go, just with life itself. Homeschooling is a job in itself, if I’m to do it right. And now we’re into gardening and yard work and all that goes with that. (Yes, I know it’s the last week in May, but here in northern Alberta spring has been even later than usual in arriving, and we are just now going to mow our lawn for the FIRST time this year!!) Focus is so important!

    Willena Flewelling recently posted…The Importance of Organized PlanningMy Profile

  27. says

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for sharing your blogging experience. I can relate. The strategies you described can be used to monetize a blog, and I think they can also be used in other ways. Although this information is mostly targeted to blogging, it can be useful for marketers who may be pursuing other marketing methods because the purpose of these strategies is to build a long term, sustainable business.

    It is a matter of taking the points, then implementing them. “Work slow, work steady, have a plan, and do something every day.” That’s the way to build a profitable internet business. There are a lot of systems out there, but having an effective system is very important. A good system along with the other factors needed to build a business will lead to success. Start out with small cash and build up from there. Yes, it can be done with blogging and other means. Thank Steve. Great guidelines.

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted…You just don’t have enough belief! Great Lie #6My Profile

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