Author Topic: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?  (Read 24259 times)

meteor

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What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« on: December 23, 2016, 04:05:08 PM »
In one article MMM recommends starting a blog if you want to make $50,000.  He says he makes 6 figures from this one.  I had a blog once with over 30,000 visitors a month -- but I don't have the slightest clue how I could have made money from it. Sure, I made some pocket change from Amazon links, but it was in no way an income.  Whenever I research the topic of blogging as a business, it's mostly all the scam get-rich-quick-by-blogging articles who are trying to sell me a package.

Is the main income from blogs from advertising? Anyone have experience on generating income from a blog?

mozar

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2016, 05:09:31 PM »
MMM himself does credit card referrals.

k_mcsparin

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2016, 05:24:06 PM »
MMM himself does credit card referrals.

Yipes.  That hurts to hear.  Don't want to encourage people to acquire debt. :(

chasesfish

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2016, 07:58:37 AM »
MMM himself does credit card referrals.

Yipes.  That hurts to hear.  Don't want to encourage people to acquire debt. :(

Reward Cards only...There's also a nice article on churning rewards cards for travel

I'm a red panda

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2016, 09:18:07 AM »
The friend I have with 6 figure blog income does it through referral links and sponsored posts.

Her blog used to be interesting content, now it is only a dressed up ad.

ender

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2016, 09:21:54 AM »
Her blog used to be interesting content, now it is only a dressed up ad.

That's kind of how a lot of MMM posts the last few years have felt.

Anyways, there are TONS of ads on the forum/main site that generate small amounts of revenue (not to mention referral stuff). If you use an adblocker you probably don't see them.

Tjat

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2016, 12:36:09 PM »
Her blog used to be interesting content, now it is only a dressed up ad.

That's kind of how a lot of MMM posts the last few years have felt.

Anyways, there are TONS of ads on the forum/main site that generate small amounts of revenue (not to mention referral stuff). If you use an adblocker you probably don't see them.

I agree. The only useful articles are in the early archives.  Now there is one article a month about either recycling, fancy plane trips where bloggers pat themselves on the back, and other Non financial topics. I think the blog is only active for residual income

FIRE_at_45

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2016, 12:41:20 PM »
There is a blogger who is a member of this site who claims to make over $900 k per annum blogging.  I find it hard to believe. 

Here is the link:

http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/

Maybe she will respond to the thread and explain.  Basically it says she makes it all from affiliate links. 

FIRE me

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2016, 05:16:42 PM »
The friend I have with 6 figure blog income does it through referral links and sponsored posts.

Her blog used to be interesting content, now it is only a dressed up ad.

I like the Popehat approach to sponsored posts:

https://popehat.com/2012/03/13/like-spam-for-ponies/

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2016, 07:51:33 PM »
In one article MMM recommends starting a blog if you want to make $50,000.  He says he makes 6 figures from this one.

"I made a successful blog!" is the mother of all sampling biases...

Quote
Is the main income from blogs from advertising? Anyone have experience on generating income from a blog?

I generate beer money from mine on advertising, and some actual real income in the summer, through battery pack rebuilds (my blog serves as advertisement and SEO for that side business of mine).

The friend I have with 6 figure blog income does it through referral links and sponsored posts.

Her blog used to be interesting content, now it is only a dressed up ad.

Mmhmm.  They do end up that way.

Really, a blog is an inefficient way to earn radically less than minimum wage, unless you make it big, or have other purposes for it.  "Blogging to make money" is very, very tricky to break into.

I run mine to document projects, to force me to write more, and to drive battery pack rebuilds and other similar work my way.

The Money Monk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2016, 08:09:04 PM »
There are only 2 ways to make money: you have to convince people to give you money, or you have to sell something.
That something can be advertising, but to really make serious money it normally needs to be a product.

The internet makes it easy to sell somebody else's products, with affiliate programs, and that is how many people make money on their blogs (ads and affiliate sales). But a good portion also sell their own products (ebooks, shirts and merchandise, or something similar).

Regardless of what your blog is about, there is going to be at least a few products associated with the topics you cover. Amazon is the easiest way, but the percentages are low. If possible you want to be making 15 to 20% on your affiliate sales. (Amazon is 4-7 usually).

Some content creators earn exclusively through donations (Patreon, or something similar).

MakingSenseofCents

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2016, 09:27:51 PM »
There is a blogger who is a member of this site who claims to make over $900 k per annum blogging.  I find it hard to believe. 

Here is the link:

http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/

Maybe she will respond to the thread and explain.  Basically it says she makes it all from affiliate links.

Yes, I earn around $100,000 from my business, which consists mainly of blogging. I share everything on my site in very thorough detail - I don't hide anything and I have no secrets.

waltworks

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2016, 12:49:50 PM »
There is a blogger who is a member of this site who claims to make over $900 k per annum blogging.  I find it hard to believe. 

Here is the link:

http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/

Maybe she will respond to the thread and explain.  Basically it says she makes it all from affiliate links.

Yes, I earn around $100,000 from my business, which consists mainly of blogging. I share everything on my site in very thorough detail - I don't hide anything and I have no secrets.

A quick read of the "blog":
-Lots of boilerplate repetition and "income reports".
-Lots of MLM-esque (ok, just MLM) "affiliate marketing" stuff.
-Many ads.

There is basically no context whatsoever that is not self-referential or promoting the "affiliate marketing" angle.

Just FYI for everyone. Don't waste your time.

-W

FIRE_at_45

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2016, 01:11:52 PM »
^ The point of this thread was not to identify blogs that you find interesting.  The point was about how to make money from blogging. 

I am curious from the author of the blog just how the affiliate marketing works.  I don't have a blog but I read blogs like most people on this this forum.  When I go on your site I look at the comments sections as a barometer on how many people are reading your blog.  When I see an article there are about 25 comments.  On the other hand when I read a MMM after maybe a day after release there are literally hundreds of comments.  His posts seem to top out at 300.  I get it.  There are a lot of people that post to MMM because they want to promote their own blogs.  However, there are still a tun of comments from random people.

So the question is simple.  How does affiliate marketing work if you aren't getting eyeballs to your site?  Are people coming to the site and just not commenting.  I know I rarely comment but there has to be some kind of correlation between readers and comments. 
 

makinbutter

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2016, 01:18:36 PM »
There is a blogger who is a member of this site who claims to make over $900 k per annum blogging.  I find it hard to believe. 

Here is the link:

http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/

Maybe she will respond to the thread and explain.  Basically it says she makes it all from affiliate links.

Yes, I earn around $100,000 from my business, which consists mainly of blogging. I share everything on my site in very thorough detail - I don't hide anything and I have no secrets.

A quick read of the "blog":
-Lots of boilerplate repetition and "income reports".
-Lots of MLM-esque (ok, just MLM) "affiliate marketing" stuff.
-Many ads.

There is basically no context whatsoever that is not self-referential or promoting the "affiliate marketing" angle.

Just FYI for everyone. Don't waste your time.

-W

Ok, I've always wondered about the economics on this - I'll take it at face value that the author of the blog is not blowing smoke and that she truly does gross 100k per month.  Based on her income reports, she has to drive a massive amount of traffic to her little corner of the internet to get the advertising fees and (likely-expensive-although-in-fairness-I-didn't-check) sales on her affiliate marketing course.

If she had rich, engaging content, created over the span of years (see: Financial Samurai? Go Curry Cracker?) I could see someone getting those page views.  And those two have been writing for literally multiple years, producing well-researched, data-intensive, illuminating content.

But explain this to me - recent titles on the makingcents blog include "the best way to set goals in 2017" and "I still wear shirts that have holes in them."  WT actual F? 

Are people merely going to the blog (and driving up advertising revenue and course sales) purely because of the income reports?  I am reminded of a term I read on the comments section here a long time ago - the fictive dream.  People go to the MMM site (and, presumably, the makingcents site), because it has a shit-ton of revenue, and they have this dream that they, too, can get a shit-ton of revenue if only they emulate successful blog content (or, presumably, wear shirts with holes in them?).  But how does one get from, say, $0 in monthly revenue (where nobody will listen to what you're saying about monthly income reports) up to 100k in monthly revenue (at which point people start buying the dream you're selling)?  The comment section there is one person after another thanking the author for proving that it can be done, for giving them inspiration, for living the dream.

Someone explain this to me like I'm five - off the top of my head, the most-highly-compensated bloggers seem to just be shills for marketing courses or they gradually evolve their blogs into "here is how to make money blogging! be like me!".  I am reminded of the old saw about selling shovels during a gold rush.

Is there something more to this that I am missing?  I just can't grok that someone can sell 30k worth of affiliate marketing courses in a month UNLESS what they're really selling is the dream that the reader, too, can hit the jackpot.

I think I'll start a blog and just claim that I have 50k in monthly revenue from side projects, and if you pay me $19.99 you'll get the secrets, too!  In no time at all, I'll have 50k in customers, ne?

If the author truly is stacking 100 large each month, hot damn, well done, you have somehow tapped into the motherlode, and congrats.  I just don't get it - someone please explain in words that a five year old would understand what exactly those blogs provide.

waltworks

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2016, 01:27:37 PM »
Affiliate marketing just means you are signing people up for your "make money like me" class who will... sign people up for the "make money like me" class.

It's just a semi-pyramid scheme multilevel marketing thing. So you're not trying to generate interesting context (ie MMM blog), you're just getting money from suckers by "teaching" them how to... get money from other suckers. You know the "real estate investor seeks trainee $100k!" hand-written signs you see on the corner? Same idea. Get people to call in, pay for the "class", and then... they put up more signs trying to get other people.

Look, if you want to make money from blogging you are basically going to do it by being really popular (generating interesting original content) and then selling ads or directly promoting products/services for pay (ie credit card referral links). The MMM blog does both to some extent.

That's it. It's not complicated and anyone trying to sell you a class on how to do it/the magic formula is probably full of shit unless what they're teaching is creative writing/photo editing or some other actual skill that could be relevant.

If you have something interesting or useful to say, and you're good at writing/photography, you can probably make some money with a blog. How much will depend on how interesting you are and of course how lucky. If you are basically a normal person without any special skills/interests... probably not.

-W

meteor

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2016, 01:39:01 PM »
Yes, I earn around $100,000 from my business, which consists mainly of blogging. I share everything on my site in very thorough detail - I don't hide anything and I have no secrets.

But is the income from affiliate links to Amazon?  Advertising?  I'm just curious of how a person really generates income.  Is there a struggle with the ethics of promoting products?

waltworks

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2016, 01:41:27 PM »
Ok, I've always wondered about the economics on this - I'll take it at face value that the author of the blog is not blowing smoke and that she truly does gross 100k per month.

I think this claim is probably rubbish - Occam's razor, and all. There is literally no content worth reading on the entire thing.

Besides, this MLM stuff just has no style. It's embarrassing to anyone who has ever watched The Sting or is a fan of The Music Man. If you're going to scam, scam with some style!

I'm going to just issue a good old-fashioned chain letter with a few minor modern updates (the last guy who didn't forward this letter had his credit card numbers all stolen by ISIS!) and watch the cash roll in!

A semi-serious aside - in the really wild early days of FTP-only internet in the 80s/90s there were actually email chain letter scams for a while. They didn't tend to work well because most of the people on the internet were PhD physicists and such, but now that everyone and their dog is online all day... plenty of suckers.

-W

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2016, 01:52:40 PM »
Sadly I have to agree with you Waltworks on the content.  I went on it and read some stuff and I could not for the life of me put two and two together. 

I am relatively new to MMM.  I started reading his stuff in May and finished it all in about 3 weeks.  His stuff on the other hand I was like 'holy shit, this is fantastic'.  I guess the people who have read since the beginning has seen a gradual decline in his slant toward financial information.  I don't really care.  I still enjoy his writing style and I learned something about fitness from his recent article. 

I also need this explained like a 5 year old.  I thought an affiliate link meant that once you clicked through then the blogger gets paid.  If you actually buy they get paid more.  I think what you are referencing are eBooks where I show you how and you pay for it. 

Maybe I am just confused.

csprof

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2016, 02:19:54 PM »

I also need this explained like a 5 year old.  I thought an affiliate link meant that once you clicked through then the blogger gets paid.  If you actually buy they get paid more.  I think what you are referencing are eBooks where I show you how and you pay for it. 

Maybe I am just confused.

No, you're close to correct. The key thing about affiliate marketing is that the content publisher usually only gets paid if the user buys something. Display advertising , in contrast, is more likely to pay on a per-impression or per-click basis.

One unsavory sub-catrgory of affiliate marketing is the multi-level schemes, which are what was described above, in which people get a cut of the sales generated by people they recruit to being advertisers. Yucky stuff in general.

Posting interesting content with links to amazon products, for example, is standard affiliate marketing, as are MMM's credit card referrals. The ads that apparently appear on this forum are display advertising, typically done through Google/DoubleClick/etc.


The Money Monk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2016, 02:22:04 PM »
Sadly I have to agree with you Waltworks on the content.  I went on it and read some stuff and I could not for the life of me put two and two together. 

I am relatively new to MMM.  I started reading his stuff in May and finished it all in about 3 weeks.  His stuff on the other hand I was like 'holy shit, this is fantastic'.  I guess the people who have read since the beginning has seen a gradual decline in his slant toward financial information.  I don't really care. 

You're missing the point. It doesn't really matter how good your content is, that isn't what makes you money. MMM's content is great, but until he started selling something he wasn't making very much money, no matter how many people read it and thought it was great.

there was an article not long ago about a guy who gave up on blogging because he was "only" making like 1000 bucks a month, even though his website was getting over a million views in that time period. He as making money ONLY from advertising.

People who dont think its possible to make a lot of money from a blog typically rely only on adsense, and MAYBE some low percentage affiliate sales like amazon.

The sites that make a ton of money are all selling high-precentage affiliate products - things that give them dozens or even hundreds of dollars PER SALE.

Credit cards giving $40 to $150 per person you get signed up
Hosting companies like blue host or Hostgator that pay $50 per person you sign up
Marketing courses and seminars that sometimes pay even more than that
software, etc.

So the aforementioned blogger got $1000 from 1.4 million viewers - while the 'salesman' might make that from successfully selling his affiliate product to less than a dozen people. Which even with a 1% conversion rate you could do with monthly audience of a measly 1200 readers

So the TL;DR version - the ones that make money are selling products that pay surprisingly high affiliate bonuses, they aren't necessarily producing content that is "better" than sites making less money.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 02:25:27 PM by The Money Monk »

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2016, 02:30:11 PM »
Yes, I earn around $100,000 from my business, which consists mainly of blogging. I share everything on my site in very thorough detail - I don't hide anything and I have no secrets.

But is the income from affiliate links to Amazon?  Advertising?  I'm just curious of how a person really generates income.  Is there a struggle with the ethics of promoting products?

I'm not sure about Amazon, but some affiliate programs (like rstyle or like it) there is a cookie from the click through and you get credit if they buy anything, not just the linked product.

csprof

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2016, 02:33:39 PM »
One way to paraphrase that: different blog topics have different monetization potential. It turns out that personal finance blogging can be fairly lucrative for popular authors, in large part because of CC referrals.

I blog about topics of interest to computer scientists, mostly PhDs. I let Google show display ads on my blog for the heck of it. I think that in a usual month, I make $2.  Grin. (needless to say, I don't blog for profit. I view it as part of my day job of communicating research results and advancing knowledge about my area of work.  The ads are mostly for kicks, as a way to understand first-hand the process.).

If you want to make money blogging, you should research in advance your monetization strategy. For many people/businesses, for example, a blog is a form of advertising - "hey, we're experts in this, and here's proof ."

[edited to correct silly typos from posting from mobile]
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 09:07:25 PM by csprof »

The Money Monk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2016, 02:37:53 PM »
Yes, I earn around $100,000 from my business, which consists mainly of blogging. I share everything on my site in very thorough detail - I don't hide anything and I have no secrets.

But is the income from affiliate links to Amazon?  Advertising?  I'm just curious of how a person really generates income.  Is there a struggle with the ethics of promoting products?





I'm not sure about Amazon, but some affiliate programs (like rstyle or like it) there is a cookie from the click through and you get credit if they buy anything, not just the linked product.

Yes, Amazon is like this, and so are many other affiliate programs. Also, many have 30 days cookies, so even if the person you referred doesn't buy something right away, if they return to the site within 15 or 30 days you still get credit for the sale.

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2016, 02:45:36 PM »
If you want to make money blogging, you should research in advance your monetization strategy. For many people/businesses, for example, a blog is a form of advertising - "hey, we're experts in this, and here's proof ."

^^ Definitely my case.  I've made several thousand dollars worth of ebike battery rebuild sales based on my blog, which radically exceeds even my best month for advertising (about 80% of my blog's traffic so far came in one week).

I've tried to do a bit of affiliate linking on eBay, and that tosses some coin my way on product teardowns I do as well.  I may work on doing more of those in the future, since they're interesting.

But, really, my "monetization" plan for my blog is about 5 years of high quality content, then start selling ebooks and such.  I'm generally making more each month than I did the previous month (I've been getting 20k-30k views a month), so things are headed in the right direction, but I have zero interest in trying to "cash out" at this point, or anything remotely related to that.  It's beer money, for now, and pays for the occasional bit of office hardware.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2016, 03:39:36 PM »
Thanks The Money Monk!  It was a bit of an exaggeration that I didn't get it.  What I wasn't putting together, and still may not be is the lack of content.  The content IMHO drives page views, which drives the affiliate links which drives the income.  When I click on a site like the one we are discussing I read a couple things and move on.  I don't share stories.  I don't click on affiliate links. 

I get the credit card conversion links.  Here in Canada we don't have the rewards you get in the US but we still have a site that pays $50 - $100 for you to sign up for a card so they must be making another $50 on that arrangement. 

The last I read MMM makes about $400 K per annum.  I am sure if he was into selling this could easily be double or triple. 

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2016, 03:44:34 PM »
^ The point of this thread was not to identify blogs that you find interesting.  The point was about how to make money from blogging. 

I am curious from the author of the blog just how the affiliate marketing works.  I don't have a blog but I read blogs like most people on this this forum.  When I go on your site I look at the comments sections as a barometer on how many people are reading your blog.  When I see an article there are about 25 comments.  On the other hand when I read a MMM after maybe a day after release there are literally hundreds of comments.  His posts seem to top out at 300.  I get it.  There are a lot of people that post to MMM because they want to promote their own blogs.  However, there are still a tun of comments from random people.

So the question is simple.  How does affiliate marketing work if you aren't getting eyeballs to your site?  Are people coming to the site and just not commenting.  I know I rarely comment but there has to be some kind of correlation between readers and comments.

Comments don't always translate to page views - I know many blogs who receive less than 100,000 page views and get tons of comments. On the other end, I know of many blogs who receive millions of page views a month and receive hardly no comments. I don't receive anywhere near as many page views as MMM, but I do get a "good" amount. I do receive a good amount of emails from readers after each blog post is published - mainly those without blogs who would rather email me.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2016, 03:47:03 PM »
What I wasn't putting together, and still may not be is the lack of content.  The content IMHO drives page views, which drives the affiliate links which drives the income.

SEO drives page views.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2016, 04:00:57 PM »
What I wasn't putting together, and still may not be is the lack of content.  The content IMHO drives page views, which drives the affiliate links which drives the income.

SEO drives page views.

Thanks for this acronym.  Had to google it to refresh what it meant.  I found the blog we are discussing from the bottom of her signature here on the forum so I didn't fall into this category.  It seems in this world of personal finance blogs there is also a lot of spin off traffic where bloggers promote one another. It's how I found many other blogs I read with some frequency.  I'm sure this is a topic/strategy that's discussed at the blogger's conference.

Thanks also the MakingSenseofCents for your reply.   

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2016, 04:03:28 PM »
What I wasn't putting together, and still may not be is the lack of content.  The content IMHO drives page views, which drives the affiliate links which drives the income.

SEO drives page views.

Thanks for this acronym.  Had to google it to refresh what it meant.  I found the blog we are discussing from the bottom of her signature here on the forum so I didn't fall into this category.  It seems in this world of personal finance blogs there is also a lot of spin off traffic where bloggers promote one another. It's how I found many other blogs I read with some frequency.  I'm sure this is a topic/strategy that's discussed at the blogger's conference.

Thanks also the MakingSenseofCents for your reply.

No problem. Always looking to improve my content so thanks everyone for your feedback. I do help many people with my content and blog, but I know there's always room for improvement.

makinbutter

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2016, 04:56:45 PM »
Here's my concern with basically ALL of the financial independence / early retirement blogosphere (and apologies to Michelle, who has taken an audacious step out of anonymity to blog - it is much easier to destroy than create, etc. etc. - as the exemplar I am using for this criticism, but her blog's name has come up in this thread).

MMM was, arguably and to my knowledge, one of the first FI/FIRE blogs out there, and when he posted articles like "here are 50 ways to earn 50k without a degree," that was novel content.  His earlier stuff was excellent, too - I have the "stupidly simple math to early retirement" bookmarked around here.  Newer blogs tend to rehash the same material in a boring and derivative way.  There are only so many times you can write "here are 50 side hustles you can do from home!".

In my mind, newer blogs have to distinguish themselves from what already exists by providing one of the following things:

1) saying the same thing but saying it in a more interesting way;
2) crushing data that other bloggers would shy away from;
3) totally new, engaging content;
4) a personal story that hooks their readership.

So, when I see articles like Michelle's "10 ways I've made extra money" (http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2014/10/10-things-ive-done-to-make-extra-money.html), I have to take a second and say... what the ffffffffuuuuuuck?  Sold soft drinks in high school? Entered giveaways?  This content is really, really light.

Contrast that to someone like MadFIentist or GoCurryCracker, who dig elbows deep into the tax code and crank out statistical analysis that would make a mathematics prof proud.  That is engaging, useful content. 

What still baffles me about this is that despite the level of light content, makingcents is - per the author's public claim - making nearly $1MM a year gross.  That is bat-shit high level of money, and the only conclusion I can come up with is that the author sells a dream.  "Be like me, and you, too, can bring in the big bucks!"  But kudos to her, because people are apparently buying what she is selling.


MakingSenseofCents

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2016, 06:08:16 PM »
Here's my concern with basically ALL of the financial independence / early retirement blogosphere (and apologies to Michelle, who has taken an audacious step out of anonymity to blog - it is much easier to destroy than create, etc. etc. - as the exemplar I am using for this criticism, but her blog's name has come up in this thread).

MMM was, arguably and to my knowledge, one of the first FI/FIRE blogs out there, and when he posted articles like "here are 50 ways to earn 50k without a degree," that was novel content.  His earlier stuff was excellent, too - I have the "stupidly simple math to early retirement" bookmarked around here.  Newer blogs tend to rehash the same material in a boring and derivative way.  There are only so many times you can write "here are 50 side hustles you can do from home!".

In my mind, newer blogs have to distinguish themselves from what already exists by providing one of the following things:

1) saying the same thing but saying it in a more interesting way;
2) crushing data that other bloggers would shy away from;
3) totally new, engaging content;
4) a personal story that hooks their readership.

So, when I see articles like Michelle's "10 ways I've made extra money" (http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2014/10/10-things-ive-done-to-make-extra-money.html), I have to take a second and say... what the ffffffffuuuuuuck?  Sold soft drinks in high school? Entered giveaways?  This content is really, really light.

Contrast that to someone like MadFIentist or GoCurryCracker, who dig elbows deep into the tax code and crank out statistical analysis that would make a mathematics prof proud.  That is engaging, useful content. 

What still baffles me about this is that despite the level of light content, makingcents is - per the author's public claim - making nearly $1MM a year gross.  That is bat-shit high level of money, and the only conclusion I can come up with is that the author sells a dream.  "Be like me, and you, too, can bring in the big bucks!"  But kudos to her, because people are apparently buying what she is selling.

This will be my last comment on this thread, but I do want to say that there are many types of blogs and blog posts that exist. I've been blogging for 5.5 years, and I have all sorts of content with varying lengths and topics. I have helped many people improve their financial situation with my blog, and my main readership base is not FI/early retirement -it's people who are looking to take charge of their financial situation, finally get out of debt, and learn how to manage their money. While some may see the content as "light," others see it as overwhelming. I'm trying to help the average person figure out their money problem.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2016, 06:14:18 PM »
Posting to follow. 

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2016, 08:01:57 PM »
Ok, MakingCents - why not post a link (or just the text) of the post you feel is most useful or that you're most proud of on your site? I couldn't find anything vaguely interesting or useful but I only spent a few minutes clicking around, maybe I didn't find it. It certainly wouldn't be the first time (ask my wife!) I couldn't find something in plain view.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2016, 08:13:37 PM »
Here's my concern with basically ALL of the financial independence / early retirement blogosphere (and apologies to Michelle, who has taken an audacious step out of anonymity to blog - it is much easier to destroy than create, etc. etc. - as the exemplar I am using for this criticism, but her blog's name has come up in this thread).

MMM was, arguably and to my knowledge, one of the first FI/FIRE blogs out there, and when he posted articles like "here are 50 ways to earn 50k without a degree," that was novel content.  His earlier stuff was excellent, too - I have the "stupidly simple math to early retirement" bookmarked around here.  Newer blogs tend to rehash the same material in a boring and derivative way.  There are only so many times you can write "here are 50 side hustles you can do from home!".

In my mind, newer blogs have to distinguish themselves from what already exists by providing one of the following things:

1) saying the same thing but saying it in a more interesting way;
2) crushing data that other bloggers would shy away from;
3) totally new, engaging content;
4) a personal story that hooks their readership.

So, when I see articles like Michelle's "10 ways I've made extra money" (http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2014/10/10-things-ive-done-to-make-extra-money.html), I have to take a second and say... what the ffffffffuuuuuuck?  Sold soft drinks in high school? Entered giveaways?  This content is really, really light.

Contrast that to someone like MadFIentist or GoCurryCracker, who dig elbows deep into the tax code and crank out statistical analysis that would make a mathematics prof proud.  That is engaging, useful content. 

What still baffles me about this is that despite the level of light content, makingcents is - per the author's public claim - making nearly $1MM a year gross.  That is bat-shit high level of money, and the only conclusion I can come up with is that the author sells a dream.  "Be like me, and you, too, can bring in the big bucks!"  But kudos to her, because people are apparently buying what she is selling.

This will be my last comment on this thread, but I do want to say that there are many types of blogs and blog posts that exist. I've been blogging for 5.5 years, and I have all sorts of content with varying lengths and topics. I have helped many people improve their financial situation with my blog, and my main readership base is not FI/early retirement -it's people who are looking to take charge of their financial situation, finally get out of debt, and learn how to manage their money. While some may see the content as "light," others see it as overwhelming. I'm trying to help the average person figure out their money problem.

I don't undestand the hostility for your site. Seems like sour grapes to me. They don't think you 'deserve' to be making that much money because in their opinion your content isn't better than sites making less. Pathetic, scarcity mindset.

If somebody makes 10 million a year writing about lighting their own farts, who gives a fuck? Obviously its creating value for somebody.
Unless a blogger is actually being deceptive (scamming or lying) who cares what they are writing about or selling?

And this idea that a blogger shouldn't write unless it is better than all previous attempts or totally original, gimme a break. What if someboy just wants to write something? They shouldn't because YOU don't approve? get over yourselves.

More power to you makingsense, I wish I was making a tenth of that from my online efforts.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2016, 08:15:11 PM »
Ok, MakingCents - why not post a link (or just the text) of the post you feel is most useful or that you're most proud of on your site? I couldn't find anything vaguely interesting or useful but I only spent a few minutes clicking around, maybe I didn't find it. It certainly wouldn't be the first time (ask my wife!) I couldn't find something in plain view.

-W

Why? so you can tear it apart and explain how she doesn't deserve to make so much money with something YOU don't personally get value out of? get over yourself and your sour grapes.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2016, 08:35:51 PM »
Ok, MakingCents - why not post a link (or just the text) of the post you feel is most useful or that you're most proud of on your site? I couldn't find anything vaguely interesting or useful but I only spent a few minutes clicking around, maybe I didn't find it. It certainly wouldn't be the first time (ask my wife!) I couldn't find something in plain view.

-W

What would be the point of this? It has already been explained that uber frugal savers aren't the target of the blog. Possibly NONE of the content would be interesting to you. Clearly it is interestingr to someone else or it wouldn't be earning income.

« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 06:10:54 AM by iowajes »

pbkmaine

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2016, 08:47:24 PM »
It does sound like sour grapes to me. It's a great accomplishment to build a successful enterprise. Kudos to Makingsenseofcents.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #38 on: December 26, 2016, 08:52:55 PM »
Not sour grapes at all, good on you if you're making money. My complaint is not that I don't *like* the content - it's that there basically does not appear to *be* content. Most of the links just go in circles between near-identical pages or regurgitate the same information (ie, "how can I get rich" leads to "how to make a blog" which leads to "how to get rich with a blog" leads to "how to make a blog" sort of stuff). There are plenty of reminders to use affiliate links, though.

As I said, I may just not get it. But it seems like the empty shell of a website with a TON of ads and big promises and some very vaguely worded motivational-speaker boilerplate about self-actualization.

Then again, maybe I am giving the human race too much credit here.

-W

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #39 on: December 26, 2016, 09:34:58 PM »
Actually several of the well-known personal finance blogs that predated MMM went down a similar path -- this is what I observed as a common path with JD Roth (Get Rich SLowly), Jim Wang (Bargaineering) and Trent Hamm (The Simple Dollar):

1)  Person with a knack for writing starts PF blog mainly to track their own progress toward a goal.  (Of the three above, JD Roth is probably the best writer)

2)  Blog develops a following based on the strength of the writing.  Starts to draw a crowd.

3)  Blogger learns a bit about monetizing, blog starts to become more of a full time job

4) To keep growing the blog/maintaining the site under growing pressure on the servers/dealing with spam and such, the blogger either hires on help, including writing help, and/or sells out to someone offering big bucks in order to have more support for the back-end functions of the site. 

5)  Once the blogger is no longer in 100% control, editorial and other decisions start being made that decrease the quality of the blog.  This was most notable at Get Rich Slowly.  When JD was still writing/involved in editorial decisions the blog still "sounded" like him, even with other writers on staff, but as he pulled back the content shifted to more click-baity, weaker pieces.   I stopped reading at that point.  With Jim and Trent, I actually stopped reading pretty much as soon as they sold out, because the click bait started and the interesting content dropped off almost immediately.

I think MMM is purposefully avoiding this trajectory, because he doesn't really NEED the money.  He is probably going to do what Jakob did with ERE -- continue to put out the occasional blog post every couple of months when the mood strikes him, and eventually stop posting new content.   I just hope he doesn't pull the plug on the forums.  Went through that painful process with the Simple Living Network several years ago, and the community was really decimated -- the forums still exist in another format, and I visit occasionally, but without the larger site to feed new members, it has become a sad shadow of its former robust self. 

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #40 on: December 26, 2016, 09:54:33 PM »
It does sound like sour grapes to me. It's a great accomplishment to build a successful enterprise. Kudos to Makingsenseofcents.

I am also impressed with Michelle's business acumen to make a killing on her blog.  This is a tough crowd on content because we are really small subset who actually care enough to learn.  I think she explained it succinctly.  We are not her target audience. 

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #41 on: December 26, 2016, 10:21:57 PM »
I think MMM is purposefully avoiding this trajectory, because he doesn't really NEED the money.  He is probably going to do what Jakob did with ERE -- continue to put out the occasional blog post every couple of months when the mood strikes him, and eventually stop posting new content.   I just hope he doesn't pull the plug on the forums.  Went through that painful process with the Simple Living Network several years ago, and the community was really decimated -- the forums still exist in another format, and I visit occasionally, but without the larger site to feed new members, it has become a sad shadow of its former robust self.

All the more reason for people to participate in the Official MJ Disaster Recovery Plan! :)

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #42 on: December 27, 2016, 12:30:41 AM »
I don't believe the $1.2m/year claim. Come on, how credible would it be for a self-proclaimed expert on getting rich online with blogging to only a make $20k/year? Some people really have no scruples -- they have a "fake it till you make it" mentality and wil lie through their teeth in the name of "marketing". My guess is that this lie increases their revenue from 20k/year to 22k, so they do it. Simple as that.

arebelspy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #43 on: December 27, 2016, 03:24:06 AM »
Scamming people is not business acumen.

A business plan of "a fool and his money are soon parted" is not to be lauded, IMO.

So let's bifricate it:
Can you earn money telling others how they can earn money, in a way that will never actually scale, such that the majority of your readers lose way more value than they gain?

Yes. Definitely.

BUT, the more important question, IMO: Can you make money from blogging while providing quality content such that your readers get more in value?  Absolutely.

Someone learning about a product they didn't know existed and buying it via an Amazon affiliate link is a value added proposition.  Someone getting a reward card they wouldn't have known about, and avoiding debt but making money on the proposition while the blogger gets a referral fee is a win-win.

Blogs CAN make money, and in ethical ways.

That's the more interesting discussion, IMO. That's hopefully where this conversation will steer, away from an unsustainable business model where people end up disappointed and towards a path of providing lots of value in the long run.
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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #44 on: December 27, 2016, 09:03:06 AM »
I don't believe the $1.2m/year claim. Come on, how credible would it be for a self-proclaimed expert on getting rich online with blogging to only a make $20k/year? Some people really have no scruples -- they have a "fake it till you make it" mentality and wil lie through their teeth in the name of "marketing". My guess is that this lie increases their revenue from 20k/year to 22k, so they do it. Simple as that.
I agree that the numbers are likely exagerated.

On this site a couple of years ago there was a thread on the Anti-Mustachian Wall of
Shame board

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/this-blog-entry-oh-boy/

...that featured a blogger who was  more of a "business coach" but who really just sold her programs about how to sell business coaching programs. I signed up for her social media accounts and watched/listened to her for 6 months. I never saw evidence of the big money she claimed to make, but granted, I dont have the tools to evaluate that.

When she wrote a book and said it was a "bestseller" along within her other "bestseller" titles, that is easy to evaluate. There was no legitimate measure that showed her to be a bestselling author. . There are, apparently (what I learned from reading her posts on social media)  schemes involving giveaways to propel digital books into onto the top of self-published book lists on a specific topic for a day or two, and hence the "bestseller" status.

What I liked about this particular social media millionaire is her love of travel. She liked to travel the world, so that kept me interested.

And a $20,000 income in Missouri where the MakingSense blog is based is like $100,000 in
Mannattan. So maybe we are just seeing income reports that are "normalized." Haha.

« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 09:25:29 AM by iris lily »

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2016, 09:13:49 AM »
Those who can do, those who can't, talk about it ad nauseum on forums.  Good job on the blogger for the beacoup bucks.


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iris lily

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #46 on: December 27, 2016, 09:24:40 AM »
Those who can do, those who can't, talk about it ad nauseum on forums.  Good job on the blogger for the beacoup bucks.


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Haha, that is true as well.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #47 on: December 27, 2016, 09:34:44 AM »
I have a client who makes a fairly variable income - anywhere from $100k to $400k one year - selling online courses about how to get rich from day trading. But when I asked him where his 1099s were for his investment accounts, he said he didn't trust the stock market and felt investing was a "scam." No taxable, no retirement accounts, nothing. He's a total cash-under-the-mattress type of guy.

My mind still reels at how much people are willing pay to an internet personality who has 0 real life credibility.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #48 on: December 27, 2016, 11:00:25 PM »
Scamming people is not business acumen.

A business plan of "a fool and his money are soon parted" is not to be lauded, IMO.

So let's bifricate it:
Can you earn money telling others how they can earn money, in a way that will never actually scale, such that the majority of your readers lose way more value than they gain?

Yes. Definitely.

BUT, the more important question, IMO: Can you make money from blogging while providing quality content such that your readers get more in value?  Absolutely.

Someone learning about a product they didn't know existed and buying it via an Amazon affiliate link is a value added proposition.  Someone getting a reward card they wouldn't have known about, and avoiding debt but making money on the proposition while the blogger gets a referral fee is a win-win.

Blogs CAN make money, and in ethical ways.

That's the more interesting discussion, IMO. That's hopefully where this conversation will steer, away from an unsustainable business model where people end up disappointed and towards a path of providing lots of value in the long run.

the biggest chunk of her revenue is affilate sales from bluehost - a web hosting company. That's a real product/service - hardly a scam. Various others are softwares, uber referrals, etc. The second biggest revenue source is her course on how she makes money with affiliate sales. Since she obvious does - something like like 60k a month NOT including her course, i would say she could charge for teaching people how to do what she does. Where is the scam?

saying somebody is a scammer is significant accusation, and I think you should either  post proof that she is lying, or shut your mouthMOD NOTE: The above quote does not target a specific person. Let's keep the discussion civil and productive.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 12:12:04 PM by swick »

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2016, 11:20:12 PM »
Plenty of multilevel marketing pyramid schemes have an actual product they sell. That doesn't make them ethical.

Just because the affiliate link is to a product doesn't make it not a scam.

If I tell people "You can make $100,000 a month blogging, sign up for Bluehost here (affiliate link)," I'm not selling a product, like you claim. I'm selling a hope. A dream.

Like I said:
Can you earn money telling others how they can earn money, in a way that will never actually scale, such that the majority of your readers lose way more value than they gain?

Yes. Definitely.

If I sell all these people on the dream of passive income, but the reality is that it doesn't scale, and literally isn't possible for all these people to do it, such that the vast majority are guaranteed to be disappointed and it's a value reduced proposition, that, in my mind, is a scam.

Maybe you wouldn't use that word.

I don't care to quibble over semantics of the word scam, I think I've sufficiently explained what I mean by the word. Substitute in a different word that better fits the above explanation if you want.  Shilling, maybe?  How about a tout, instead of a scammer?  Whatever.

My point is that you aren't helping people, you're hurting them. And that's lose-lose, even if it does fatten your bank account.

Plenty of bloggers exist who provide value.  Plenty that don't.

Both can make money. Sometimes wildly so.

The easier path is to shill. The harder path is to provide content, and value, and help people.

I'm interested in the ones that do this, and more hoping this thread goes in that direction, rather than discussing how to make money by telling people how to make money telling people how to make money.

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