How To Make Money Blogging Online: Facts, Stats, and Examples

Due to the many online scams, there’s huge misconceptions about what’s required to make money online blogging.  As a result, many people dabble in it; attempting to apply what they’ve heard on Youtube, by watching video ads, or by reading blog posts by people who are either:

  • Trying to get you to buy their course, product, or service
  • Are all around dishonest scammers
  • or, who are vomiting information they’ve heard from others (but, may not work)

how to make money blogging onlineEntrepreneurs Have Lots Of Misconceptions About Blogging

When I’m out networking with entrepreneurs, this huge misconception has been brought to my attention so many times.  Entrepreneurs will say things like:

  • I’ve been wanting to start a blog because I’ve heard it’s easy to get customers that way
  • I’ve been thinking about quitting this business and starting a blog business because it sounds much easier than what I’m doing now
  • Or, I can get you to write on my blog for commissions. Won’t that be a good deal?

Entrepreneurs think blogging as a business is:

  • Easy
  • Quick
  • And, something that can give lots of money with little time invested

Unfortunately, similar to any other business, a blogging business requires hard work.  There’s a difference between blogging as a marketing strategy and blogging as a business, and I want to disclose the differences here.  I’m writing this post to reveal some realistic expectations about blogging for business, to show to to make money blogging online, and to briefly introduce how you can make good deals with bloggers who are informed.

Let’s get started…

Blogging as a Business vs. Blogging as a Marketing Tactic

As confusing as this may be, there’s two separate schools of thought in the blogging circle: there’s people who teach the blog as a component of a marketing plan, and there’s people who teach blogging as a business.  I want to set one thing straight…

A blog is not a Business. A blog is a component of a Marketing Plan.

Regardless of the business, the blog is used to inform customers, answer questions, educate, or demonstrate authority.  Behind the blog, there has to be the 7 systems that are present in EVERY successful business: a lead generation system, a lead conversion system, a branding system, a client fulfillment system, a turnkey management system, a turnkey leadership system, and job prototypes.

Let me explain.  As an example, let’s use Dr. Axe…

(I’m a huge fan)

how to make money blogging online

Dr. Axe is a doctor who previously saw patients, but no longer practices with patients. Now, he’s become more like a Nutrition store (comparable to The Vitamin Store offline).  He uses his blog to educate, inform, and demonstrate authority to his audience.

Many onlookers see Dr.Axe the videos he does on many high-demand health topics like natural healing, leaky gut, and healthy recipes, but they wouldn’t know how much work it took him before he was able to have millions of views on his Youtube channel and lots of traffic on draxe.com, but here’s a glimpse…
how to make money blogging online

(Image Source: Spyfu)

Dr. Axe has been creating helpful content to encourage people to live healthier for 9 years very aggressively!  He’s ranking for over 90,000 keywords which translates into lots of articles and videos he’s created.  Added to that, he’s also paying for increased reach (in addition to his organic rankings from search engine optimization).

His 7 Systems look like:

Lead Generation System: Writing high demand useful content, Creating high demand useful videos, publishing on Youtube videos, using Search Engine Optimization on articles, and using PPC ads for the e-commerce store

Lead Conversion System: When cold traffic comes to Dr.Axe.com, he has great copy, videos, webinars, and an email newsletter to build trust

A Branding System: Dr. Axe is very focused on his message that food is medicine.  His color palette is consistent and most onlookers know what quality they can expect from the Dr. Axe brand.

Client Fulfillment: Certainly, Dr. Axe has more free clients than paid clients, but as free clients are satisfied with the content he delivers, they will be considerably more interested in buying his paid products.  For his paid clients, he does testing, sources the best ingredients, and ensures to deliver their nutrition products as expected

The Leadership System: You can tell Dr. Axe is still very involved in the decision-making, but I’d guess he has more components that help him expand, decide on new sales goals, and new financial projections.

The Management System: Dr. Axe had to put people and technology in place to ensure the content gets published once or twice per day, the customers get the right products, and the quality standards are achieved.

The Job Prototypes: In an interview he did with Kelsey Humphreys, Dr. Axe shared information about his operations and his team.  In order to scale from being an individual content creator into becoming a Nutrition business, Dr. Axe had to hire the write people. He had to create training and pass the information onto those who work for him in order to smoothly keep the enterprise running.

As a result of a super work ethic that enables him to create more content than most others in his niche, he earns high rankings in many high demand-high traffic topics: enabling him to get millions of visitors to his blog monthly.

This screenshot shows one of the thousands of articles he has and how much work he puts into acquiring his rankings…

how to make money blogging online

On his article “What is frankincense oil?”, he has written 4,964 words explaining frankincense oil.  His article is likely very thorough.  It probably answers most questions a reader would want to know about frankincense oil, so they don’t have to continue reading other places.  Added to writing an exhaustive article, Dr. Axe has lots of people who have shared his article with others, so he has 18,500 backlinks.

This is just one example of an authority blog that certainly generates a good income, and will probably stand the test of time.  The key takeaways from this blog are:

  • Do market research to see what your audience would want to see or read
  • Create high quality content
  • Continue creating high quality content
  • Authority grows with time and consistency
If you need help growing your blog and you’d like training and coaching, CLICK HERE.

Alternative Business Models

While Dr. Axe shows an e-commerce product based business, there are other business models that use blogging as a component of their marketing plan, and I want to go over a few…

Affiliate Marketing

 

how to make money blogging onlineAffiliate marketing is a method of monetizing a business.  Like Dr. Axe, there are other companies who aggressively publish content or who use blogging as a primary means to attract new customers, however, instead of focusing on selling products in their client fulfillment system, they focus on selling referrals.

Affiliate marketers are paid based on the sales they accumulate for others.  In exchange for referring customers to a product or service-based business, the affiliate marketer earns a commission.

In order for affiliate marketing to be a full-time income, the Affiliate marketer has to build the 7 systems just like Dr. Axe or any other business has to.  Unfortunately, many newbies get confused and don’t understand how affiliate marketing is a business.  It still requires a customer acquisition system, a lead conversion system, and all of the others.  What affiliate marketing offers (that’s different than other business models) is the affiliate is a client fulfillment system: a product or service that’s delivered by someone else.

Service-Based Business

A service based business can also use blogging to make money, however, they typically have a harder time because the client fulfillment system requires so much attention in a service-based business.  For the small business owner who wants to make money blogging in a service based business, they’ll experience a major balancing act.  They have to acquire customers, blog even before the blog traffic has picked up, and they’ll have to satisfy the customers–it can be very challenging.

Some Statistics About The Work Required to Make Money Blogging

1. Stats show there’s appriximately 30.6 million bloggers in 2018 and it’s growing steadily every year. More people blogging = more competition.  The more competition there is, the more content and quality will be required for Google rankings.  The first page only has about 10 results!

how to make money blogging online2. Most blogging mentors (like Wealthy Affiliate, Smart Blogger, Smart Passive Income, Making Sense of Cents, HubSpot, Darren Rowse, Neal Patel, or Backlinko) show that blogs really begin making money at 3-6 years (like any other business).  It takes awhile to build trust, earn authority, demonstrate high click thru rates from search results to your website, and build up a bank of quality content.

3. While 3-6 years may seem like alot if you were expecting it to take less than one year (like I was), it’s actually not a lot of time when you compare career paths.  Setting up a business is a career path, and regardless of which marketing strategy you use, it takes awhile for it to penetrate the market.  Ask radio hosts how long it took their show to be a hit, ask television experts how long it took their show to be a hit, or ask direct mail specialist how long he sent out mailings before generating consistent leads.  Penetrating a market and standing up a lead generation system takes time.  It takes about 3-6 years to penetrate a market (into a full time income plus enough to pay employees) with any marketing plan.

4. From Ahrefs study of one billion web pages, they found that nearly 90% of web pages get 0 traffic from Google!  The top reasons Ahrefs found for this huge problem with Google rankings is because page owners are not writing based on market demand, they’re choosing high competition topics, and their not helpful enough that people will want to share or cite them to give backlinks.

5. There are stats that show lots of content leads to more traffic. I shared the stats on publishing schedules previously HERE. Beyond publishing schedules is listening.  You can publish aggressively and still hear crickets. Instead, it’s more important to use the blog to address concerns of your potential customers and readers. Ask them what they want to read and inform them when you’ve published that.

A Good Deal for Collaborations with Bloggers

As a result of the common misconceptions, many people underestimate the work required to make a blog work, underestimate the price of getting a skilled website content writer, and underestimate the time required to get good outcomes.

If you’d like to start or grow a blog, paying for expertise is a no brainer.  I’ve done it and others who seriously want success in blogging need to do their due diligence to understand how it works.  A Marketing professional who can help someone starting with blogging in their marketing plan is likely to charge for:

  • Market research
  • Keyword research
  • Content Writing
  • Marketing strategy
  • Images
  • and Outreach

All of these components are required to operate a blog and grow it into a lead generation machine.  If you want to build a blog, you have to focus on writing what your readers want to see, and be consistent with it.

If you need help growing your blog and you’d like training and coaching, CLICK HERE.

Case Studies of Successful Bloggers

Statistics and an over-the-shoulder look at a successful blog are not complete without some case studies.  These case studies will show you how successful bloggers were able to make money by attracting new customers thru a blog.

A $5.3 Million Case Study by John Morrow

A $2+ Million/Year in 10 years Case Study by Pat Flynn

Over 1 Million/Year in 7 years Case Study by Michelle Shroeder-Gardner

A Video Case Study (from $0 to $5k/mo) in two years by Grace aka “LittleMama”

As you can, it’s possible to have exponential growth by attracting customers thru a blog.  The case studies I’ve enclosed above have used the blog as the primary means for attracting new customers, and have satisfied customers by referring them to products and services (affiliate marketing) or have sold their own course or products.  Check them out!

Final Words on How To Make Money Blogging Online

The goal of this article was to show you how to make money blogging online.  If you’d like to make money blogging online, it’s likely you’ve seen these misconceptions before, and you needed a realistic perspective on what it takes.  I’m hoping this post can give you a realistic perspective.

If you need more training, support, and encouragement to grow a profitable blog, CHECK OUT THIS FREE TRAINING.  Starting any business is hard work, and starting a blogging business is not a common startup you’ll find.  May people will be unfamiliar with what you’re trying to do and dout you as a result.  You can join a community of over 1 million entrepreneurs who are pursuing the same path (and many who are making money online).  CHECK OUT THE FREE TRAINING NOW.

If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!

Now, it’s Your Turn…

Have you tried to make money blogging online? Have you seen these common misconceptions? Which ones misled you the most? Share your experiences below.

18 thoughts on “How To Make Money Blogging Online: Facts, Stats, and Examples”

  1. Wow! You have seriously interesting information here on blogging and business versus marketing, I agree it’s hard to differentiate the two but they also go hand in hand in the world of business. I like the Dr. Ax info you wrote about too. I have seen a lot of bloggers go full bore into the whole affiliate marketing business but not really do a whole lot of research or training before diving in? Do you offer training in the program you offer? And does this cover affiliate marketing. Also how long did it take for you to finally see some results from all of your work? I found your post interesting and I like that someone finally explained the difference between blogging and marketing in business. A blog is not the business but rather a road that leads to the business. I guess that’s what I took away here. Great info, well written and informative.

    1. Thanks Dave for your feedback! I’m glad you found the article to be helpful. The blogging space can be very confusing to navigate because people make it sound like the actual act of publishing content on the WordPress site somehow generates the money. Instead, they may get paid from sponsored posting, affiliate marketing, services, products, or something around the blog.
      You asked about whether I offer training inside of Wealthy Affiliate, the training I recommend, and the answer is…Yes I do. I have more than one training course there, and I also respond to all of my messages and offer my coaching services to premium members there. When I started out on my blog, I was using paid advertising with Bing, so I was seeing traffic very early on (as early as my 1st month), however, I had to pay, which meant it was still an upfront investment.
      I decided that I wanted to perfect SEO because I believe it’s a better traffic course to stabilize, then go back to paid traffic after the SEO is where I want it. BEvery traffic source takes time and focus, so you want to choose the one that works best for you. SEO is my personal favorite.

  2. Awesome article on the whole blogging subject. I like how you let your readers know the difference between marketing and blogging in the industry. I think a whole lot of us get that confused, What came first, the blog or the marketing? I also like the stats you put up on Dr. Ax just to show how insane the traffic can get for one website. What do you suggest for those looking into affiliate marketing? Does your business you are promoting cover the training in affiliate marketing? Have you found success there and how long did it take you to see results. Your article is well written and explains blogging in a way I haven’t seen yet. You definitely took some of the guess work out. I appreciate you writing this. 

    1. Hi Dave! I’m glad you found the article useful. Wealthy Affiliate (my #1 recommended internet marketing training) does teach affiliate marketing.

      The stats on Dr. Axe are probably even more than what I’ve disclosed here because he’s got more traffic sources than SEO (like his insane YouTube channel). 

      Regarding my results with blogging and affiliate marketing… I’m climbing. The stats show that people don’t normally make money in their first year and I was able to make nearly $1000 in my first year from my blog while balancing a newborn, a homeschool pre-teen, a construction business, a husband, and offering marketing services to small businesses. If I’d had more time to concentrate, I probably could have pulled off more results.

      Despite that, I’m proud of the results I’ve achieved so far, however, I know I would have given up if I had listened to the misconceptions. My first year writing consistently on this blog will end February 25, 2019. Based on those who spread the misconceptions, I expected that I’d be making a full-time income from my blog (without my services business).

      Instead, the blog has served as a great attraction magnet for services clients and a great conversion tool for potential clients who are skeptical of what I’m saying. While the blog hasn’t served as “passive income”, on autopilot, or purely for affiliate sales, it still has improved my business. I don’t want people to give up on blogging due to misconceptions which is why I wrote this article. 

  3. coolbudgetfamilyholidays

    Thank you for your excellent informative article.

    As someone who has recently commenced blogging recently, I have found it quite a steep learning curve. I have recently embarked on the training programme at Wealthy Affiliate and am really enjoying learning how to utilise SEO’s, putting together in depth articles and develop my knowledge of affiliate marketing.

    I am aware that blogging is not a get rich quick scheme and your article reaffirms that the quality of your product is key to any future success.

  4. This is really great stuff. I have been blogging for quite some time and I have not really looked at it the way you just described it. When we see some people succeeding in the online world we don’t really have any idea about the work at was put into place before they could reach that level of success.

    For someone to work consistently for 9 years producing quality content is just amazing. No wonder he is able to get this much success. This post was really helpful and it was a eye opener for me. Thanks for sharing.

  5. You’ve provided a TON of great info on making money as a blogger. I learned to focus more on blogging as a marketing plan, and stop thinking about it as a business, this is a big mistake I’m making. It was interesting learning about Dr. Axe and his systems. You provided a great insight on Dr. Axe and how he can help progress my blogging. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad to hear your comment! It’s really my hope to help people have realistic expectations because I think these misconceptions lead to unnecessary failures. Best wishes for your achievements online!

  6. I am one of those that had this misunderstanding about blogging too. Maybe that’s probably why I never started or I tried a few free blogs but couldn’t continue.

    With this article I am more informed. You gave a factual and reasonable angle to blogging. The information here will come in handy.

    Thank you Tiffany for sharing.

  7. Hi Tiffany. You have correctly explained the difference between Blogging as a Business and Blogging as a marketing tool. Your example of Dr. Axe is absolutely pertinent. He has achieved the pinnacle of success in a relatively short period of time. Neil Patel, Anik Singhal are some more examples. 

    Personally speaking I think Wealthy Affiliates is an excellent community for new bloggers to shine their tools and try their hands on affiliate marketing. You mentioned that it takes 3-6 years to be successful in blogging. Does it take that much time? I wanted to start a blog but the time period required to be successful is making me little worried.

    1. Hello GeeEss! It doesn’t take 3-6 years to begin making money. You can make money before the 3 year mark, which is why I shared the case studies.

      Blogging is like a sport because you’re competing for readers with all of the other bloggers in your niche. With other forms of marketing (like direct mail), if you send out a letter, even if you’re the 20th letter in the pile, it’s likely you may be seen.

      Online, it’s a little different. You want to be on the first page for ideal keywords that would attract your target audience. If you’re not on the first page, it’s likely, you won’t be seen. Building the trust of Google by demonstrating high click-thru rates and growing an audience takes time.

      3-6 years is where you typically see predictability. You know what tasks you need to be doing to drive optimal results. You understand your audience better. Your income is stable and not fluctuating. 

      Building a sustainable business takes time (even when blogging is the marketing plan).

  8. Hey Tiffany,

    Excellent and truly in-depth and practical article with fact based evidences of Dr Axe. I have seen him through out because my niche is health and wellness. I was surprised why he has paid advertising for some awesome articles.

    I am starting out and published few blogs. I definitely need to learn how to write a better blog together. 

    I never have done market research what anyone is looking for except some Google search.

    I pretty much start out with low hanging keyword search, research and write it. 

    Your article is an eyeopener from many aspects about blogging. I enjoyed this article and have bookmarked it.

  9. Thanks for a thorough explanation on the difference between blogging as a business vs blogging as a marketing tactic. I am a new blogger with very high hopes of making blogging a full time job so I want to know everything that’s required to become successful in this field.

    But as you have correctly pointed out, there are a lot of misconceptions about making money with your blogs. To be completely honest, I used to think that making money blogging would be quick and easy. That all I have to do is write and publish relevant articles frequently about something I’m interested in and help people find the information they need, applying proper SEO techniques and that’s it. Apparently, I was wrong! So I would like to start over and apply the 7 System of Dr. Axe that you mentioned here. 

    If I may ask, how much time and effort do you put into this website? How long have you been doing this, and can you say that your efforts are starting to pay off?

    1. Hi Alice! Glad you found the article helpful. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this website. When I started out, I was watching people like Dr. Axe (whose been blogging for nearly 10 years) and comparing my results. His results didn’t happen overnight, but from continued effort and persistence, he created an enterprise.

      Once I understood blogging as a component of a marketing strategy, it helped me a great deal. I’ve done various marketing plans: mastermind marketing, live event marketing, direct mail, tradeshows, and others. No marketing strategy works easily. You have to commit and continue putting effort in.

      Blogging is no different. You will get a return on investment, but you have to give first, and then you’ll receive. I’ve been doing this blog since February 2017 and it is starting to pay off. It’s not bringing me enough customers to generate a full time income yet, but as I offer more value and do more outreach, it will continue growing. Right now, I get more income from offline efforts and marketing services, but with persistence here, that will change.

      Thanks for stopping by! Best wishes to your online success!

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