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The Days of Making Money Blogging are Gone

This is a topic I have been thinking about writing for some time now and while it may ruffle a few feathers or sound depressing, it’s the truth! There was a time where you could make money simply by blogging (posting content), but those days are long gone. Years ago, all you needed to do was publish some content add a few advertising banners (I used mostly Google Adsense) and presto you made good money. Today, with the exception of authority blogs, it’s not that easy and unless you are selling something ‘You Will NOT Make Money Blogging‘.

To Make Money Blogging You Need To Sell Something

Don’t Fret; you can still make money with your blog

Unfortunately there are still people out there teaching ‘Newbies’ that all they need to do to make money online is be a successful Blogger. These teachings let people believe that by simply Blogging they will earn life-changing income and that they could be living the so called internet lifestyle.

Guys’ it’s Bullshit! There I said it… (excuse the language)

  • Blogging will help you build your brand;
  • Blogging may help you grow a following;
  • Blogging could showcase your expertise;
  • Blogging may earn you a few dollars in Ad Revenue
    BUT…
  • Blogging won’t make you any serious money unless you are selling something.

To make money online you need to Sell stuff

I know, for a lot of you, you don’t want to sell anything because you are not salesmen/women. I feel your pain, I too am NOT a salesman (at least, I wasn’t). We all have friends or family members that have the ability to go out there and sell stuff to people without any consideration of the comebacks or their reputation(s), so long as they made a few dollars from the sale. I’m not like that; my reputation and peoples opinion of me is of utmost importance and because of this I struggled in the beginning. I had to change my mindset and put on the salesman hat in a way that suits my personality and ability. In the beginning it was especially hard:

  1. I had no products to sell.
  2. I had no skills to sell (So I thought).
  3. I would not sell stuff I could not vouch for.

The first affiliate marketing training course I purchased taught me how to setup a website to sell Clickbank products. This course taught me how to find high selling products on Clickbank, how to search for existing online reviews of that product and then how to build a WordPress mini-site selling that product. The content of that site was devised using the reviews of others, written in my own words (spun content if you like).

I followed the training and setup the site, eager to make my first Affiliate Commission. I didn’t know the product I was marketing nor had I used it myself. The product was a premium SEO Plugin I couldn’t afford to buy and there was no way I’d qualify to get a review copy (Heck, I didn’t even know one could ask to get review copies back in the day).

I ran this site for about a month and while traffic was reasonable, mostly because I had a great domain name, I didn’t make any sales. I’d hoped to make at least one sale, but it didn’t happen. Now I can look back and smile, but at the time it was depressing. All I can tell you is that I felt horrible selling something I didn’t believe in or know anything about. It was in poor taste and after a few months I shut down the site.

Total earnings: $0

BUT – I had learned how to build WordPress Websites
(And a few tricks about SEO)

Sell a Service to Make Money Blogging

That one skill I’d learned (WordPress) is still one of my primary ways to make money online. Fact is the bulk of my online earnings is due to my learning how to build WordPress Websites. I sell WordPress Website Design as a service to local businesses in my home town (Cape Town, S.Africa). As my skills improved I added Web Hosting, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), WordPress Management and Security and other related Online Marketing services. I have faith and confidence in my ability and what I am selling.

Making Money Online selling services may not be for everyone! It can be a long road, especially if you still need to learn the skills you intend selling. In the beginning your income will be low, but as your skills and confidence grows, so will your income. In this scenario, each sale you make means more work and often this goes against why many turned to Make Money Blogging in the first place.

People generally turn to make money online, because they think it’s easy and that they can turn on their Computers for 10-minutes a day and make 1000’s of Dollars. Good luck with that; a very small percentage of people may strike it rich quickly, but as for the rest… It’s hard work and persistence.

A little about what I do…

Initially my income was purely based on selling a Website to a customer, building that website and moving on to the next client. Today my system includes additional services which are designed to add a recurring revenue stream to my bottom line, with minimal work required (eg. Web Hosting & WordPress Management). I choose my web hosting clients very carefully and currently only take on small businesses with minimal/basic requirements. Web Hosting can be technical support intensive, so where I feel a client will need ongoing support, I refer them to other providers (for a commission). WordPress Management is also a great service to offer for ongoing recurring income and with the right tools, it doesn’t take up too much additional time.

In the New Year I will be adding High-Ticket Sales items to my service offerings and I will start outsourcing a lot of what I am personally doing. The decision has always been to Outsource, but I wouldn’t outsource a service, without at least an intermediate knowledge on how to do the task(s) myself. If you don’t understand something, how will you know whether your Outsource partners are doing what they are meant to do correctly? Again, this has to do with protecting my reputation online and ensuring my customers get the best service possible.

If you do not want to sell WordPress related services you could sell other services that don’t require as much of your time. Another source of revenue for me is my accommodation directory website. On this site, I charge accommodation and tourism related businesses an annual fee to advertise their business on my directory website. Most of the processes are automated, so it’s a relatively hands-off business and one I intend replicating in other cities or niches when I have the time. Other than my annual listing fees, I also have a referral arrangement with local holiday accommodation booking agents, who pay me a commission for any referred bookings. I also have some affiliate banners and Google Ads on this site, which generate a little extra in passive income (See: http://southcoastaccommodation.co.za).

More popular is selling products on your blog

Selling your own services or skills is not always the solution, but can be very profitable. A better solution for many would be to sell products via your blog. As mentioned earlier, I don’t endorse selling products you are unfamiliar with.

A. Sell your own Physical Products

If you have a physical product to sell it’s relatively simple. Promote the product on your blog and sell it. However, you need to take into consideration the delivery of that product and how you will handle issues that arise. One of my ventures was to sell Notebooks and Notebook accessories online. I am a registered IT Hardware and Software Reseller and I thought that taking this online would be an awesome business opportunity. I outsourced the site build for this as it was beyond my ability at the time and pretty soon orders started coming in. Hooray!

Then; the complaints started coming in. Windows Operating System issues which meant doing FREE Remote Support. Out the Box Hardware issues meaning the items had to be shipped back to be repaired/replaced. The costs of support where mine to carry (my time) as were the courier fees. In the end the only people making money was the courier company and the IT Wholesalers I bought the products from; I was loosing money fast.

There is a lot of money to be made selling physical products via Blogging, but if they are your own products, be more careful with what you offer. I’d suggest something with minimal moving parts or stuff that cannot break. Also, keep in mind who your competition is…

One of the other reasons why my Online Notebook Business failed, was due to the fact that I had to keep my prices very low in order to compete with the bigger retailers and vendors. With such low profit margins a single return or extra courier charge would see me losing money immediately.

Drop Shipping is another way to sell your own products. Technically, these products aren’t yours but that of a wholesaler or manufacturer that offers drop shipping. The product is sold by you under your brand, via your website/blog. The product is packaged and shipped by the original wholesaler or manufacturer, directly to your buyer. The parcel that arrives at your customer is packaged with your branding and company details. Here the end-user receives ‘your product’ from ‘your company’ completely unaware that it is in fact from another source. Pending on the arrangement, your profit is usually the difference between what you paid for the product and the price you sold it for, less costs. Drop-shipping is another one of those topics that I can write an entire post on, but I think you get the idea…

B. Sell your own Digital Products

Another option is to sell your own Digital Product. Fact is that most BIG income earners in the online space make money from selling their own Digital Products. In an ideal world you can take what you know, write up an e-book, create a Video Series about everything and sell it from your blog or website for massive earnings. Easy-p easy!

It’s not that simple, if you take pride in what you do. In order to create your own product, not only do you need to know the topic well enough to create the product you either need to learn the skills on how to physically create the product or have the finances to outsource the product creation. I have done (still doing) training on product creation and I’m currently working on my first digital product. What I’ve learned (or learning) will help me in the future, but in my case it will take time to get the product to where I am happy with it. I still need to learn how to do the Video side of things and the membership site etc. On top of that, the nature of the product I’m creating requires me to do some case-studies, which I’m also working on. All this takes time!

If you are not held back by any technical abilities or have the resources to get your product setup quickly, this is most definitely the way to go. Not only do you get to sell your own digital product; that product can be sold over and over again, with no inventory or shipping to worry about. Yes, some people may try to steal the product or request refunds just to get the product for free and some people may distribute your product to their friends, but none of this costs you money. I cannot say from personal experience yet, but even if your product gets distributed illegally, this widens your reach and exposes your brand further. (TIP: Always have links in your product back to your blog or social profiles).

My mentor, claims; that in order to earn 6x figures online you need to sell your own products. From his experience he says one can get to a 4x figure income selling other peoples products via Affiliate Marketing, but to earn 6x figures plus… You need your own products!

Note: You could start off selling PLR Products, but that’s for a future post – look out for it!

C. Sell someone else’s Digital Products

If creating your own product is too intimidating, or you’re (like me), not ready… You can sell other peoples products for a commission. This, I would assume (by now) you know is called affiliate marketing. When done correctly (with integrity) affiliate marketing can help you build a truly hands off passive income. Using your blog, you can post reviews about products you are using or you can post tutorials on how to do certain task using the products you are marketing etc. As your blog, your brand and your reputation grows so will your income from affiliate sales grow. However, just promoting products from your blog articles has it’s limitations and while it can earn you a decent income, it will in all likelihood NOT bring in the 4x figures my mentor says is possible.

In order to make real money, life changing money, selling affiliate products via your blog, you need to have a system in place where you can send your readers through a sales funnel, selling various products with up-sells (upgrades). You need to sell top quality evergreen products that have proven sales funnels and include a recurring income (think membership site) or a high-ticket item in the funnel (eg. $495+ Coaching etc). An ideal product will include both a high-ticket item and a recurring income opportunity.

The correct setup or system should include your blog, a few social media platforms for traffic generation and an e-mail marketing strategy to get people into your sales funnel. You will also need to find a few top quality, niche related evergreen products to sell to the people that subscribe to your list. If you are looking for such a system, then check out: IM Affiliate Funnel

Note: Evergreen Products are products that have a long lifespan.

D. Sell someone elses Physical Products

You can also sell someone else’s Physical Products if you don’t want to sell digital products. Amazon.com and eBay.com are probably the most well know websites where people can sell Physical Products. The most common method to sell these physical products is also by referral or affiliate marketing, where you get a commission for referring the buyer.

I have an Amazon Affiliate site, which sells physical products in the ‘Baby Shower Gifts Niche‘ (see: BuyBabyShowerGifts.com). I tried it, didn’t enjoy the process and basically just left the site running with some automation in place, which pulls in new products automatically. To date; I have earned a whopping ZERO DOLLARS from my Amazon Store Website. I hope to one day sell the domain, or re-purpose it, but in the mean time, the site can simply run itself. The Amazon Affiliate business model simply doesn’t appeal to me, but if you are interested in following that route, I know it has massive potential.

Add a little cream on top

While you can’t really making money blogging in the old sense of the word, as described in my intro, you can still make a little extra money running Google Ads or other types of banner Ads on your blog. For the most part readers don’t click on banners as much as they used to, but it does occur occasionally. If you want to go this route, my recommendation is to place banners ads for affiliate products you can vouch for on your blog. If you can’t vouch for a product, then place some Google Adsense Ads. The clicks or sales generated by a banner will add a few dollars to your bank account and there’s nothing wrong with adding a little cream.

Conclusion: As you can see, I’ve been around and tried a few things in my time. Today, the bulk of my income is still from selling web-design and related marketing services. I am currently spending a lot of time setting up my new affiliate marketing system where I will use my blog to sell other peoples products until such time as I can release my own product. I haven’t even scratched the surface on everything you could sell via your blog, but the point is to let you know that you have to SELL Something, Somehow, in order to Make Money Blogging.

For me the whole process ‘HAS’ to be ethical or I’m not interested. What’s your opinion?

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 Posted on : - Last updated on Nov 16, 2015

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