The Internet is overflowing with boundless opportunities to make money. It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you live, because the global economy of the web opens up these opportunities to just about everyone. You can gain the knowledge you need along the way and you can develop your skills as you gain more experience. These are all good things.
And if you are reading these words right now, there’s a good chance that you are at least remotely interested in making money from blogging. Maybe you want to blog about Internet marketing. Maybe you want to blog about cars or fashion or food. The actual subject matter you want to cover can be almost anything, as long as there is an audience for it and a monetization model for making money from that audience, either directly or indirectly.
Ay. There’s the rub. Directly or indirectly.
I came across one of those blog income reports the other day, similar to the ones John used to make, posted by a reasonably successful “mommy blogger.” There were two very important take-home lessons that I got from that report, further solidifying ideas that many of us already had about making money from blogging. And these ideas have changed considerably from the time John first started monetizing this blog about ten years ago. Yes, it’s been that long already.
First, a sizable proportion of her blog income came from a range of sponsored opportunities. Either by working directly with an advertiser or through one of the many “influencer” platforms on the web, she earned nearly half of her blog income. This would come in the form of sponsored content, both on the blog and through her social channels. Native advertising is a very big deal today, far bigger than it was several years ago. She also makes money through affiliates.
Very notably, none of her blog income came from traditional display advertising or pay-per-click advertising. She doesn’t run Google AdSense. She doesn’t run the usual display banners that might pay on a CPC or CPM basis. Thanks to ad blocking and ad blindness, those aren’t nearly as effective as they once were. Your perspective on monetization needs to change with how the web works today.
That was the first point.
Secondly, and perhaps far more importantly, about half of her blog income wasn’t made from the blog itself at all. You might suspect that she makes more money from her mailing list, but the sponsored content and affiliate sales factor into that too. That’s not where the other half of her money was coming from.
Instead, right around 50% of her monthly income came from her associated consulting business. She earned about half of her income in consulting fees and consulting projects. It’s not that the consulting business is “on the side” or that it operates separately from the blog. They’re entangled. And one helps to grow the other in a perpetual symbiotic relationship.
I can personally vouch for and identify with such a relationship. I have a blog and you may have read it, but I’m perhaps better known as a freelance writer. My freelance writing business is far and away my primary source of income and not the blog. Does this mean you can’t make money blogging? Not at all. But if you focus entirely on how to make money from the blog itself and nothing else, you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table every month.
While I’ve been talking about making money from blogging for this post, the exact same philosophy and mentality can apply to any number of other endeavors you might consider. Think you can make a living writing e-books on the Amazon Kindle platform? Maybe. But the book itself will not make the same amount of money, both in the short term or the long run, than how you can leverage the book for other opportunities.
The money isn’t in the blog or in the book. The money is in the back end. The money is in the brand building. The money is in the exposure.
You use the blog to attract customers to your writing, design or consulting business. You use the book to grow your brand and attract paid speaking engagements or lucrative business partnerships. The blog and the book can make money, but they’re better thought of as tools that you can use to make even more money. And that’s the truth.