How to Make Money from Your Blog: 11 Powerful Case Studies
In 2005 a Greek American woman started a political blog. As the traffic grew more funding was required. This meant that in August 2006 the venture fund SoftBank Capital was called upon to invest $5 million into the site to hire more staff and to provide the resources needed to make the updates to feed the news cycle 24/7 as the site grew in popularity.
Two years later in November 2008, another $15 million was raised to maintain the momentum as the blog added more journalism resources and local reporting was ramped up across the USA.
The power of celebrity was embraced with politicians, academics and famous power brokers in all areas of business and industry contributing articles to the blog.
It was in June 2011 that the blog’s website traffic passed the doyen of traditional media, the “New York Times” for the first time.
“In just six years new media had disrupted 100 years of traditional media”
Seven years after the first post was published, it was sold to AOL for $315 million to add to its other online blog assets including Engadget, TechCrunch and MovieFone.
Today it’s website traffic is measured at over 77 million visitors per month.
That blog is Huffington Post.
In the blogging world this was a watershed moment. Never before had so much money been paid for a blog.
New media is replacing and disrupting old media.
The old business model that made many media moguls billionaires and king makers was based upon the rivers of gold which were generated from classified ads. Today it is the website traffic that is creating the cash and the influence is moving online.
Huffington Post was purchased by AOL because of three key elements.
- Its online and global influence
- Advertising revenue
In one sense this new media is just a variation of old media except that it is online. It is still traffic, eyeballs and advertising.
It just happens to be digital.
The new media models
The new models are not so simple but multifaceted and convoluted. Making money from new media is not a singular approach but often a matrix of multiple opportunities and tactics.
Blogging has evolved rapidly because of the social web and in the past was driven by building email lists which took a lot of time. With the advent of social media their marketing and growth have been supercharged.
Global reach and influence at the speed of a tweet, a Facebook share or a viral video.
To make money from a blog in 2013 you do not have to be a Huffington Post. There are many ways to make a living out of blogging that can enhance your current business and lifestyle that are within everyone’s reach.
Let’s have a look at some of them.
Just to show that the Huffington Post is not a one off, there are many blogs that generate significant revenue in then millions. One of those is Mashable.
Mashable’s model is based almost exclusively on building huge amounts of traffic that makes it an attractive platform for advertising. Current page views per month total approximately 50 million. This also means producing a lot of content. To put that in perspective Mashable publishes dozens of articles a day to feed the content beast.
They work hard at optimizing their advertising and have developed technology for:
- Infinite ad scrolling
- Story telling ads unit
- Content velocity algorithm
This blogging business model is becoming harder as advertising rates fall. But the rewards can be great with some reports that Peter Cashmore is worth nearly $100 Million US and the blog has been valued at over $200 million.
Suzi Dafnis is the clever business brain behind a very successful blog that targets business women in Australia. It is called the Australian Business Women’s Network. She must be doing something right! It has just won “Best Australian Blogs Competition” in the business Category.
Sponsorship is the main revenue source with sponsors including American Express, Optus and GoToWebinar.
3. Webinars and Seminars
Social Media Examiner was only started 4 years ago by Mike Stelzner and made its first million dollars within 12 months through paid online webinars. Mike (who by the way is one of the true gentlemen of the blogging world) has used his attention to detail, process and savvy business acumen to create a blog that is now ranked in the top 60 blogs in the world in just 48 months.
Mike knows how to shine the spotlight on others and hence they have returned the favour.
Prior to starting the Social Media Examiner blog Mike had run other blogs and businesses including one on how to “Write White Papers”. Mike has moved into producing conferences, with the recent success of the inaugural “Social Media Marketing World” in San Diego.
If you want an insight into how he made his blog such a success I would recommend you read his book “Launch – How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition”
Blogs can be the platform that makes you visible. This includes being invited to speak at conferences, workshops and seminars. Guy Kawasaki uses his blog as an online platform to promote his speaking and his books.
Guy understands the importance of an online platform for building credibility and marketing his personal brand. He also understands the power of social media and has nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers
Tim Ferriss is the author of the New York Times best seller “The Four Hour Work Week”, which was about creating a success lifestyle in a web world. He has used his blog to launch not just one but three books after the huge success of his first book.
Tim uses his blog as his promotion platform for his books and for engaging and sharing his inspiration for experiments in lifestyle design.
Affiliate marketing is the art of either selling other people’s products on your blog or getting affiliates to sell your products. Brendon Burchard is one of many who have perfected this art and science.
One of the the key secrets to succeeding in this is building promotional partnerships with powerful online influencers and other bloggers who have significant followings online. Some of the pioneers in this space include Frank Kerns and Jeff Walker.
It can supercharge your revenue. For a further insight into how Brendon achieved success his book “Millionaire Messenger” is worth a read.
Another blogger and podcaster that understands how to use affiliate marketing to create revenue and is worth checking out is Pat Flynn, who is the force behind the blog “Smart Passive Income”
Mark Schaefer is the force behind the awesome blog “Grow“. He uses his blog as his front door and shingle to his consulting, educating and training business that helps businesses grow by tapping into the marketing power of social media.
He is also the author of several books including ”Return on Influence” and “The Tao of Twitter”
8. Online Courses
Amy Porterfield is a blogger and a professional Facebook expert who has created and developed online training which is her main revenue stream. Her flagship course is Facebook Training 101 – FB Influence.
She understood the importance of her blog as the online portal to her online courses.
Darren Rowse is the genius behind Problogger. Not only has he made that blog a business success but also started a Photography Blog called “Digital Photography School” with over 1 million subscribers . His eBooks on “blogging” and “photography” have become his main source of income
Darren makes money from his blog in 12 different ways. So making money from your blog is not just limited to one revenue stream. The challenge is working out how you can monetize with multiple channel sources.
10. Premium content – Paid Membership
Timothy Sykes blog is about how to make money on the stock market and his main source of revenue is by selling premium content which is accessed through paying to be a member on his site.
Premium content that is only accessible via monthly membership is a proven model and another one worth checking out is Psd.Tutsplus.com which is a resource and learning site for those who want to learn photoshop.
11. Sell Products
Tucker Max is a blog and brand that is memorable but maybe for all the wrong reasons. If hedonism is your thing then Tucker Max is is your man. He makes money from the blog in a variety of ways. The main source of income is selling his products on Amazon.
It highlights that even a bad image can be monetised. The creativity is up to you!
What about you?
As we have seen, blogging can be both a business and an online portal to to express yourself. The challenge is deciding what you want it to be and how can you make it into a business and lifestyle that works for you.
So how do you make money from your blog? What types of revenue models attract you?
Look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.
Want to learn how to create and market a successful global blog?
My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.
It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.
I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 149,000.
Download and read it now.
Image by Shutterstock