Author Topic: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?  (Read 24400 times)

arebelspy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2016, 11:29:12 PM »
Oh, and for the record, I don't believe her.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. She's provided none. Therefore the default position should be skepticism.

I myself posted an outlandish claim about a side gig where you can earn $1000/hour, $20k-40k/yr while working an few hours a MONTH.

That is a stupid claim, and immediately everyone should call BS.  Realizing this, I explained it, backed it up with numbers, examples, and posted proof of my bank deposits.

Then other Mustachians started doing it, and now the proof is dozens of us confirming it is real, not a scam.

Cool, crazy claim, lots of evidence for it.

Hers?  Not so much.

But even if she gave me her affiliate logins and bank accounts today, and I verified it was all real, that's completely irrelevant to my above point.

While I don't believe her, even if she IS making what she claims, all of the above post is true--the readers aren't improving their lives, they're getting sold on a dream, wasting money and time on that dream, and ending disappointed.

I'm sure exceptions occur to this, but that's the average.

I'd be willing to wager good sums of money that the net profit of the median person who buys her course, one year later, is negative.
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arebelspy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #51 on: December 27, 2016, 11:33:58 PM »
Getting us back on topic, and to the more interesting one, let's look at a blog that makes plenty, and provides value, GCC.

He recently posted about why everyone should blog.

Some are monetary reasons, some not.

In this post:

He details their income:
http://www.gocurrycracker.com/accidental-income-blogging/

They made, per year, $0, $0, $2000, and then $25,000 for the first half of the 4th year.  Since it was scaling up, I'm sure the second half was much more, and since that was two years ago, I wouldn't be surprised if he's in the six-figure plus range.

There's a lot of quality content there, lots to learn and lots of value, and he's making good money.

Win-win.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

FrugalZony

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #52 on: December 27, 2016, 11:54:03 PM »
It's funny that this is coming up now in this context, as I have started to write a blog post about some of these "how to make money online" claims and then decided not to publish it as I did not want to sound like sour grapes.

A lot of these "sign up here" and "fill in a survey there" are indeed selling the "make easy money" dream to people.
And whereas the folks who are desperately seeking a little extra, spend a lot of time filling out these things and make peanuts,
the real money is made in the referral fees on the blog. Which is exactly what you guys are calling "selling the dream"
I have access to many of these survey links and such (I have accounts on several affiliate networks) and I only make pennies on my blog, because
I don't want to tout those links, because I'd feel I'd be knowingly exploiting someone's hope.

I at some point was thinking about posting an experiment where I have someone use all the links to sign up and compare their "income" to the
affiliate income associated with their signup. Then later donating the money made in the progress. But I ended up killing the idea, because I am pretty sure
it's against the operating agreement.

Knowing what I know about affiliate marketing, it often irks me, what I see on some blogs. But I usually just don't want to say anything because
I don't want to appear "just jealous" because I am not so successful myself.

Do I wish I'd make a bit more money blogging. Sure do, especially now that I started Trial Fire and really don't want to go back to my previous job, LOL.
But that was not the initial motivation of starting a blog.

financialfreedomsloth

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #53 on: December 28, 2016, 01:24:37 AM »
This content is really, really light.
I think there is actally a bigger audience for light content than there is for the more heavier, serious content. I mean, magazines about celebraties and such outsell serious business magazines by a 10 fold. Womens magazines - who are in my view nothing more then glorified add pages - are in my country one of the few paper magazines retaining most of their readers. It is not content for me, neither is makingsense of cents but so what? Lots of people do like it and to each his/her own.

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.

engaging to you, for others it will be to heavy, too complex, too philosophical, too whatever. Do I like that stuff? Hell yeah! Would my girlfriend? Probably not, she would probably like makingsense of cents better

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.

No she is not. She offers advice in a easy digestible format, aimed at the average joe who would like to be a bit more responsible with money, make a buck extra left or right. She is honest about her affiliated links and I can not see any way she is 'scamming' people in any way. If she can make money off it this way, great for her!

How about asking her questions and learn something instead of jumping to conclusions (and judging) after visiting her site for 5 minutes?

How did you start out? how did you grow your public? how is the income devided between advertising, affiliated links, ... how do you chose which affiliated links to put on your site? how much time a week do you devote to your blog? what are the most important lessons you have learned from blogging for a few years now? Hell, it might even be on her site allready ....

Tjat

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What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #54 on: December 28, 2016, 07:33:51 AM »
Sounds exactly like Trump University.... would people seriously argue that is not a scam?

Arebelspy and Walt are spot on here.


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skinnyindy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #55 on: December 28, 2016, 11:18:21 AM »
So is it possible to blog with higher level content and make the 50k MMM was talking about?  Does anyone here do that?

makinbutter

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #56 on: December 28, 2016, 03:21:10 PM »
So is it possible to blog with higher level content and make the 50k MMM was talking about?  Does anyone here do that?

I would argue that Financial Samurai and Go Curry Cracker likely fit that bill.  Both provide informative content beyond "if you want to make money blogging, take my course on how to make money blogging! And then you can tell other people how to make money blogging!".  I don't know for sure, but I would assume that MADFIentist likely makes a decent chunk of change from his blogging efforts. 

Granted, could some of those guys have made more if they just spend their time learning to code or becoming a plumber? Absolutely.  Blogging is not typically a linear scale for effort and income.

What irks me - and hit me with your best shot / call this a scarcity mindset / etc - is that *I PERSONALLY FEEL* there is little value to blogs that say ANY variation of "I am a successful blogger.  If you emulate me, you, too, can be a successful blogger, telling other people how to be successful bloggers."  Can those blogs make money selling the dream that blogging=lucrative to their readership?  ABSOLUTELY they can.  But will their readers ever see those kinds of returns, or are they buying a dream that mathematically can't pan out for everyone...?

Contrast this to someone like GCC or the folks over at millenial-revolution detailing their penny-pinching over the course of a ten+ year career, and then saying "well, we made enough to call it quits, so we called it quits," and then writing about it.  That drives eyeballs to their site, and there is some underlying content BEYOND the "follow me to the land of blogging milk and honey...!".  I don't know that "scam" is the right word, but something about the "follow meeeeeeeee" model doesn't sit right with me.  Obviously it's bringing in the big bucksssss for the authors (and not just the blog in question), but scalability is, as ARS pointed out, a concern.

When I see a new blog writing about "I quit my day job and became a freelancer!  I drove uber!  I rented out a spare room in my house on AirBNB!" on another listicle about "TEN NEW WAYS TO MAKE MONEY FROM HOME", I cringe.  Where's the value-add here?

Anyhow, you're free to disagree. This is the Internet where everyone is an expert in everything.  In fact, I KNOW JUST THIS ONE TRICK TO SLAY YOUR MORTGAGE AND BANKERS HATE ME, and if you'll just sign up for my newsletter, you can start getting rich rich rich and say good-bye to that boring 9-5!  ;)

arebelspy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #57 on: December 28, 2016, 03:37:03 PM »
Oh, and for the record, I don't believe her.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. She's provided none. Therefore the default position should be skepticism.

While I'm always skeptical about these claims, some quick research leads me to believe her. 

[Snip lots of interesting info.]

That was very informative (and some "good evidence" towards what I was talking about).  Thanks for taking the time to research and share that, Knaak.  :)
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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #58 on: December 28, 2016, 03:48:53 PM »
This thread is acting like financial blogs are the only way to make money.

You can have a cookie decorating blog, a fashion blog, a stamping blog, a mom blog, a shopping deal blog, a recipe blog, a nail polish blog, a pet blog, etc.

Most bloggers making money blogging pretend like they aren't. They just do this for the love of the topic...but you can almost always tell by post quality when it switched to sponsored post and referral links over actual content...

FIRE_at_45

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #59 on: December 28, 2016, 06:14:48 PM »
This thread is acting like financial blogs are the only way to make money.

You can have a cookie decorating blog, a fashion blog, a stamping blog, a mom blog, a shopping deal blog, a recipe blog, a nail polish blog, a pet blog, etc.

Most bloggers making money blogging pretend like they aren't. They just do this for the love of the topic...but you can almost always tell by post quality when it switched to sponsored post and referral links over actual content...

This is very true.  I have read several fashion blogs and they have a lot of affiliate links and they do sponsored posts. 

Like they say on the Shark Tank....people go nuts spending money on 2 things...weddings and babies.  I bet there are many bloggers in this sphere who are killing it.

arebelspy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #60 on: December 28, 2016, 07:58:04 PM »
This thread is acting like financial blogs are the only way to make money.

You can have a cookie decorating blog, a fashion blog, a stamping blog, a mom blog, a shopping deal blog, a recipe blog, a nail polish blog, a pet blog, etc.

Most bloggers making money blogging pretend like they aren't. They just do this for the love of the topic...but you can almost always tell by post quality when it switched to sponsored post and referral links over actual content...

This is very true.  I have read several fashion blogs and they have a lot of affiliate links and they do sponsored posts. 

Like they say on the Shark Tank....people go nuts spending money on 2 things...weddings and babies.  I bet there are many bloggers in this sphere who are killing it.

Oh yeah, mommy bloggers can rake in TONS with affiliate links for cribs, strollers, bottles, breast pumps, wipes warmers, car seats, etc. etc. etc.

The "make money by telling you how I make money telling people how to make money" crowd is a small (but vocal--that's how they get new clients) one in the larger scheme of things.

Great points, iowajes and FIRE_at_45.
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Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #61 on: December 28, 2016, 08:02:49 PM »
So is it possible to blog with higher level content and make the 50k MMM was talking about?  Does anyone here do that?

I'm pretty sure some people are doing that on technical content, but I think the bulk of that is YouTube based at this point.  Videos are radically more popular than text posts for a lot of stuff.

I've thought about branching out that way, but I just don't like video stuff, and my particular posting style is better suited to text.

Maybe in a few years I'll branch out and see what happens.  But I'd have to do more regular content, and that's tough.  There's a good reason why the popular video series are "stream of consciousness into a camera," and it's because an hour of content takes several hours to edit properly, at best.

I plan to post regularly for about 5 years, then see where I am and make decisions from there.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #62 on: December 28, 2016, 08:28:07 PM »
Syonyk, if you want to check out a guy who does YouTube well google Aaron Marino.  He's a style, men's health and fitness type with 2 million + subscribers and he is fantastic in front of the camera.  Personally I couldn't just kill it like he does on camera.  It's a skill.  He's also been on Shark Tank twice...my favourite show before I pulled the TV cord.

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #63 on: December 28, 2016, 09:09:11 PM »
Syonyk, if you want to check out a guy who does YouTube well google Aaron Marino.

I was thinking more "Big Clive."  I do random technical stuff on my blog.

I know it can be done well - I just don't have the time to devote to high quality video work at the moment.  Maybe in another few years...

I might try to do some time lapses of a few of my builds next spring.  But video is just such a pain to work with!

zazpowered

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2016, 02:41:59 AM »
A blog is just a form of content on a website so the potential of a blog to generate money is limitless. Looking at that one blog posted here I believe it. As someone who has done quite a bit of affiliate marketing, I've seen people make good money through just a little bit of traffic. Affiliate marketing is generally way more lucrative for bloggers than ads especially if you are in personal finance, shopping or web hosting because there are a ton of lucrative affiliate programs in these niches.

If you guys have heard of nerdwallet.com they started off as a blog and is now worth 500m+ and making over 100m a year through affiliate marketing of credit cards. CreditKarma is not a blog but it's a site that gives you free credit scores and provides recommendations for loans and credit cards. They are valued at 3.5B and make about 400m annually. WireCutter is a blog that recommends the best tech products. They were recently acquired by NYtimes for 30m. Their revenue was primarily affiliate marketing for Amazon.

Affiliate marketing is all over the place and it's so effective because the experience for the consumer is seamless. Consumers know when they see an ad but they can't really detect an affiliate link. It's not easy to do though. You basically can't scale it super quickly like most tech startups, like say Instagram which sold to FB for 1B after 4 years. Doing well in affiliate marketing is mostly about good content and then SEO which takes years and is why blogs you don't see too many VCs investing in blogs.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 02:47:25 AM by zazpowered »

iris lily

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2016, 11:35:17 AM »
So is it possible to blog with higher level content and make the 50k MMM was talking about?  Does anyone here do that?

I'm pretty sure some people are doing that on technical content, but I think the bulk of that is YouTube based at this point.  Videos are radically more popular than text posts for a lot of stuff.

I've thought about branching out that way, but I just don't like video stuff, and my particular posting style is better suited to text.

Maybe in a few years I'll branch out and see what happens.  But I'd have to do more regular content, and that's tough.  There's a good reason why the popular video series are "stream of consciousness into a camera," and it's because an hour of content takes several hours to edit properly, at best.

I plan to post regularly for about 5 years, then see where I am and make decisions from there.
I hate getting information via video. There is no ability to scan the info, as in text. There is reduced ability to re-visit sections of info multiples times, you have to take time to push the rewind buttons.

I do like all of the fast-forwarded DIY crafts and cooking videos showing up on Facebook these days, but the same thing could have been accomplished with 3 photographs. Video presentation of facts is linear and it takes my time to watch, and by the time i get to the end, it may not have been worth t. With text, I can scan and see if it is worth it. It is not the bst medium for everything. But for visual topics such as fashion, it is essential.

Still, video without

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #66 on: January 04, 2017, 11:09:16 PM »
This thread is acting like financial blogs are the only way to make money.

You can have a cookie decorating blog, a fashion blog, a stamping blog, a mom blog, a shopping deal blog, a recipe blog, a nail polish blog, a pet blog, etc.

Most bloggers making money blogging pretend like they aren't. They just do this for the love of the topic...but you can almost always tell by post quality when it switched to sponsored post and referral links over actual content...

I am one of those people who has a niche topic blog, and it is top rank when googled (and I didn't even try to promote it). I have about 30,000 visits a month but I am on the fence about the best way to get some income from it without harassing my readers.  I do Amazon affiliates which only brings in about 3-5 dollars a day.  I only post things I like and avoid any kind of advertising.  I do a lot of detailed research and even the national organization of my trade links to me.  I wish I knew where to focus my energy on getting a passive income from it.  Selling credit cards isn't really going to work since mine is business-arts theme.

FrugalZony

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #67 on: January 04, 2017, 11:44:44 PM »
This thread is acting like financial blogs are the only way to make money.

You can have a cookie decorating blog, a fashion blog, a stamping blog, a mom blog, a shopping deal blog, a recipe blog, a nail polish blog, a pet blog, etc.

Most bloggers making money blogging pretend like they aren't. They just do this for the love of the topic...but you can almost always tell by post quality when it switched to sponsored post and referral links over actual content...

I am one of those people who has a niche topic blog, and it is top rank when googled (and I didn't even try to promote it). I have about 30,000 visits a month but I am on the fence about the best way to get some income from it without harassing my readers.  I do Amazon affiliates which only brings in about 3-5 dollars a day.  I only post things I like and avoid any kind of advertising.  I do a lot of detailed research and even the national organization of my trade links to me.  I wish I knew where to focus my energy on getting a passive income from it.  Selling credit cards isn't really going to work since mine is business-arts theme.
It's hard to recommend something without knowing your niche, but there are so many affiliate programs out there, it's highly likely there's some that will fit.
REI has a program
There's links for travel resources
Links for various specialty products etc.
Most of the networks offer a huge variety of companies to pick from.

financialfreedomsloth

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #68 on: January 05, 2017, 02:01:35 AM »
I am one of those people who has a niche topic blog, and it is top rank when googled (and I didn't even try to promote it). I have about 30,000 visits a month but I am on the fence about the best way to get some income from it without harassing my readers.  I do Amazon affiliates which only brings in about 3-5 dollars a day.  I only post things I like and avoid any kind of advertising.  I do a lot of detailed research and even the national organization of my trade links to me.  I wish I knew where to focus my energy on getting a passive income from it.  Selling credit cards isn't really going to work since mine is business-arts theme.
30,000 visits a month is really good!! Even if you only get like 0.1 USD per visit that would net you 3,000 a month!

1) I would ask my visitors how thye feel about advertising. you migth want to explain that the blog does take lots of work but you are not actually making any money of it. And just ask. If most do not mind some advertising I would do it. Do not forget, you can decide how much advertising you want and where it will go on the site! Start with one advertisement, then two, … tinker with it. It will not be massive amounts of money but something.

2)Affiliates do not necessary have to be for the stuff on your site. It can be for stuff you actually use and like so you can in all honesty recommend it. Perhaps you are a big fan of republic wireless. Hell, http://jlcollinsnh.com/ has a mattress company as a sponsor! Look at products and services you are really pleased with in your life and check them one by one if they have an affiliated program. Make an affiliated page on your blog, explain why you recommend something and that you will get some money from them if they choose to make a purchase via the link.

arebelspy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #69 on: January 05, 2017, 03:27:06 AM »
Targeted company ads relevant and useful to your readers = win-win.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #70 on: January 05, 2017, 11:01:59 AM »
I am one of those people who has a niche topic blog, and it is top rank when googled (and I didn't even try to promote it). I have about 30,000 visits a month but I am on the fence about the best way to get some income from it without harassing my readers.  I do Amazon affiliates which only brings in about 3-5 dollars a day.  I only post things I like and avoid any kind of advertising.  I do a lot of detailed research and even the national organization of my trade links to me.  I wish I knew where to focus my energy on getting a passive income from it.  Selling credit cards isn't really going to work since mine is business-arts theme.

That's about the same traffic I get at this point - I've been pretty consistently getting 25k-30k views a month for the past six months or so.

I run Adsense content on my blog (not as much as I could, just some), and that's worth about $20/mo.  If I put more ads in, I could get more out of it, but... eh.  I just have one ad on the right column.  I will note that there's a huge difference between the number of pageviews I get and the number of ad impressions I serve - adblockers are pretty common.

I get another $5-$7/mo from my eBay affiliate links.

There's just not much to be had from that type of income.  For me, it's beer or toy money - nothing I'm relying on.  The bulk of my blog-related income is battery pack builds for people who come to me because my content, like yours, is my SEO.

30,000 visits a month is really good!! Even if you only get like 0.1 USD per visit that would net you 3,000 a month!

Mmhmm.  You do realize that's an insanely high revenue per visit, right?

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #71 on: January 05, 2017, 11:27:31 AM »
Getting us back on topic, and to the more interesting one, let's look at a blog that makes plenty, and provides value, GCC.

He recently posted about why everyone should blog.

Some are monetary reasons, some not.

In this post:

He details their income:
http://www.gocurrycracker.com/accidental-income-blogging/

They made, per year, $0, $0, $2000, and then $25,000 for the first half of the 4th year.  Since it was scaling up, I'm sure the second half was much more, and since that was two years ago, I wouldn't be surprised if he's in the six-figure plus range.

There's a lot of quality content there, lots to learn and lots of value, and he's making good money.

Win-win.

I agree.  GCC is a great example of a blog delivering both entertaining and helpful content, and making money while doing so.  I do think in recent months there have been more affiliate-y posts, but I get the sense that what he's doing is more about monetizing content he already wants to write about, rather than specifically designing posts in order to be profitable (for the most part).  Hopefully he continues to strike that balance well so the blog stays interesting and not overly spam-y.

Case

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #72 on: January 05, 2017, 11:45:39 AM »
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

I've read most of your response, and tend to agree with your viewpoints.  The problem is that what should be reality and are reality are different things.

The goal of the makingsenseofcents person was to make money, and she has definitely done that.  She did this making a superficial blog which is essentially clickbait.  The articles are mostly garbage.  This tactic has been used on a lot of blogs, for example The Food Babe.  Is this stuff really adding a net positive value to the world?  Probably not, it's probably mostly wasting people's time.  Mu hunch is that these blogs were specifically crafted in this way because it's an optimized way of getting people that are kinda dumb to waste their time on it, click links, and (worst case) sign up for courses that wont really help them.

This may not be 'fair', when you consider that there are people who have jobs (or sources of income) that result from things that actually benefit society.  But then again, there are some people with 'real' jobs that really have meaningless jobs, and many of them end up at MMM's blog, looking to find new meaning in their lives.  The answer to their misery (elucidated by MMM) is that they can have freedom by saving up their money, etc...  So given that, how do these people differ from MakingSenseOfCents?  (this is merely a question, not an accusation).

The test at the end of the day is whether or not you feel you live a meaningful life (or whatever makes you happy).  Could you/I be happy if we had MakingSenseOfCents blog?  The money would be nice because of the independence it would immediately provide, although I personally would find it a pretty vapid existence beyond that, to pump out that crap on a regular basis.  I would probably make enough money to retire and then shut the damn thing down.  However, the author of MakingSenseOfCents claims to have a very fulfilling existence from her blog's work. 

The reality of the world is that there are lots of people out there (perhaps they are 'morons') who like stupid blogs like hers and will click away, making her rich.  There is money to be made, and a lot of it comes from advertisers.  Is it morally wrong of her to take advantage of this?  I think not.  I say congrats to her on successfully gaming the system; I don't think I am talented enough of a writer to have been successful as well (though I've never tried a blog).  If I had a clear path to doing this, I might consider doing it.

At the same time, I see very little goodness coming from that blog (in the moral sense).  And it would absolutely provide me with not sense of accomplishment/satisfaction in my wife.  This is where MMM's blog shines.  He had provided probably millions of people with the necessary ammunition to choose their own life.  Once you have enough money for security, you can leave behind your past life and pursue the things that truly give you satisfaction. 

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #73 on: January 05, 2017, 12:07:50 PM »
0
At the same time, I see very little goodness coming from that blog (in the moral sense).

Oh, that blog actively promotes things that literally waste my time.

http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2016/12/seo-training-course.html

Quote
SEO is a group of tasks completed in order to improve a website’s ability to be indexed by search engines for inclusion in the search engine results page.  SEO tasks include the following on-site and off-site strategies: SEO website audits, keyword research, content audits, and content marketing.  You could use the umbrella term “digital marketing” to describe these services since the focus of all of these services is to drive traffic to a website.

I spend half an hour a week, at least, cleaning the shit that makes it through Google's spam filters from my blog, and I still don't catch everything.

Sometimes, someone gets really aggressive and spams 30 or 40 posts at once.

So... yeah.  I'm the #1 hit for a lot of Google searches, and on the first page for a lot of others, on nothing but my content.  Not because I spam my crap on other blogs.

Making money on SEO affiliate links?  Great, I'm sure she makes money from it.  But that falls into the "worthless crap posts," from my point of view.

lhamo

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #74 on: January 05, 2017, 12:30:34 PM »
I am one of those people who has a niche topic blog, and it is top rank when googled (and I didn't even try to promote it). I have about 30,000 visits a month but I am on the fence about the best way to get some income from it without harassing my readers.  I do Amazon affiliates which only brings in about 3-5 dollars a day.  I only post things I like and avoid any kind of advertising.  I do a lot of detailed research and even the national organization of my trade links to me.  I wish I knew where to focus my energy on getting a passive income from it.  Selling credit cards isn't really going to work since mine is business-arts theme.

Approaching the national organization to see if they would be interested in advertising on your blog for memberships/their journal or newsletter/conferences or other events they are sponsoring seems to be a natural place to start.  Have you tried that?

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #75 on: January 05, 2017, 11:16:23 PM »
I have got a ton of value from Jeremy's site.  And I don't have a problem with him monetizing his site or with any other early retirement/FI blogger monetizing their site.   But it does seem kind of sketchy to me when an early retirement/FI blogger expresses to his audience that the 4% rule is reliable, ironclad, and conservative and that if you've got 300X your expected future annual expenses and you're 100% invested in VTSAX, you're good to go and you can and should stop working unless the work gives you meaning and pleasure.  Maybe Jeremy doesn't fall into that category of blogger -- honestly, I don't care enough to go searching his archives -- but if you've been on enough of those sites, you know what I mean.   

If you already have 300X expenses and you truly believe that the 4% rule is so ironclad --and you communicate this to a huge audience of people who also trust your advice -- then do you really need to monetize the site?  These are the same folks who castigate other people who are scared that, even with 300X, they may not have enough money to stop working.  But if you're castigating a person for having doubts about the reliability of the 4% rule, then it seems hypocritical to then monetize your website so that you're making 40K a year on it.   It makes me think they don't believe in the product they are selling.   

If I'm overstating the case, so be it.  But I doubt I'm the only person who's felt cynical about this type of thing. And if you don't like what I'm writing, then -- what do they say with Trump? -- don't take me literally :)

I don't know of anyone who has said the 4% rule is ironclad. It's a guideline based on past performance, which can't be guaranteed in the future. On the expense side, emergencies can happen. MMM has a post listing all of his backup options for earning money. He only felt comfortable retiring from his day job with those in place.

You may be reading different sites than I am.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #76 on: January 06, 2017, 12:19:15 AM »
Also just because you don't need the money doesn't mean there's not a point to monetizing it.  Maybe that's extra that you donate to charity.

Sure, MMM had enough, and could have made the site and made $0 on it. 

But then he couldn't have given away $100k, because he'd need his whole stache to support him at 4%.

Just because you make money doesn't imply that you HAD to make the money, or you wouldn't have been fine without it.

Even if someone DID say the 4% rule was iron clad, if they see a $20 on the street, are you going to chastise them for picking it up because now they clearly don't believe in the 4% rule?
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financialfreedomsloth

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #77 on: January 06, 2017, 02:07:24 AM »
Also just because you don't need the money doesn't mean there's not a point to monetizing it.  Maybe that's extra that you donate to charity.

Sure, MMM had enough, and could have made the site and made $0 on it. 

But then he couldn't have given away $100k, because he'd need his whole stache to support him at 4%.

Just because you make money doesn't imply that you HAD to make the money, or you wouldn't have been fine without it.

Even if someone DID say the 4% rule was iron clad, if they see a $20 on the street, are you going to chastise them for picking it up because now they clearly don't believe in the 4% rule?
Nothing against monetizing a blog. If you like doing it and see a change to make some money from it, hell why not? I am even the type of person that likes to figure out how affeliated links and such work. Just like you like to figure out how selling tradelines on credit cards worked.

The thing is, some people seem to turn it into a job in itself. Most people who aspired financial independence and offered quality content on their journey, once they achieved FI and retired, they either stopped posting or post a lot less. The same hold true for MMM and I completely understand it.

I like blogging, I like writing about stuff like this and I like how it forces you to organize your thoughts into a coherent piece of information.
If I would ever achieve 30.000 visitors a month I certainly devote a few weeks in figuring out adsense, affiliated links and such because it would be fun to do it and a lot of it is: set up once and then forget about it. A fun project that perhaps would net me a few 100 euro extra a month!

But to actively start pushing out 3 posts a week, paying somebody to do a logo, paying to use a great theme for your blog, ... that is running a business. And perhaps you like running a business and more power to you if you do. But it does seem a bit strange to me.

It's saying 'hey, I build up a big stash so I could be financially independent and never have to work again. And now I run a business explaining how I did it to other people so I don't even have to touch the stash!'

It's just a bit, strange. I would love more content from MMM but I get why he posts less. He wanted FIRE to live his life the way he wants to and it doesn't involve 3 posts a week on his blog. It wouldn't for me either.


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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #78 on: January 06, 2017, 02:21:34 AM »
Mmhmm.  You do realize that's an insanely high revenue per visit, right?
Try something different. I see a lot of airb&b promotion: they seem to offer 30 USD travel credit for anybody signing up via your link. They get it, you get it, everybody wins.

if you feel ok with it, put a link on your page. Report back with the result. Or if you are not happy with the ebay affiliate, try the amazon one and see if it is better.

3.000 a month might have been a stretch, but 300 usd a month, that should be doable with that kind of traffic!
Root of good is pulling in some decent blog revenue (http://rootofgood.com/november-2016-financial-update/) and I think I remember his visitors being somewhere around 30.000 of 50.000. I do not know if he is active on these forums but it would love to get his input on this.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #79 on: January 06, 2017, 03:38:10 AM »
I do not know if he is active on these forums but it would love to get his input on this.

He is, on occasion.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/profile/?u=6258
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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #80 on: January 06, 2017, 04:57:27 AM »
I do not know if he is active on these forums but it would love to get his input on this.

He is, on occasion.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/profile/?u=6258

I miss seeing him and Frugalwoods around on the blog, now that they have successful sites it requires Twitter to find them...

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #81 on: January 06, 2017, 06:47:07 AM »
Also just because you don't need the money doesn't mean there's not a point to monetizing it.  Maybe that's extra that you donate to charity.

Sure, MMM had enough, and could have made the site and made $0 on it. 

But then he couldn't have given away $100k, because he'd need his whole stache to support him at 4%.

Just because you make money doesn't imply that you HAD to make the money, or you wouldn't have been fine without it.

Even if someone DID say the 4% rule was iron clad, if they see a $20 on the street, are you going to chastise them for picking it up because now they clearly don't believe in the 4% rule?

Bad analogy; finding $20 on the street is far different from having a 5 to 7 digit additional income per year.  Better analogy is finding $20,000 on the street every year. 

He isn't chastising the bloggers for monetizing.  He's chastising them for talking the talk but not walking the walk, per say.  Your income stream absolutely impacts how comfortable living on the 4% rule is.  Some people save a bigger stache to live more comfortably.  Others might have a blog for extra income.  But it's a lot easier to live on the 4% rule if you have a extra income or a larger stache.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #82 on: January 06, 2017, 06:54:23 AM »
Also just because you don't need the money doesn't mean there's not a point to monetizing it.  Maybe that's extra that you donate to charity.

Sure, MMM had enough, and could have made the site and made $0 on it. 

But then he couldn't have given away $100k, because he'd need his whole stache to support him at 4%.

Just because you make money doesn't imply that you HAD to make the money, or you wouldn't have been fine without it.

Even if someone DID say the 4% rule was iron clad, if they see a $20 on the street, are you going to chastise them for picking it up because now they clearly don't believe in the 4% rule?

Bad analogy; finding $20 on the street is far different from having a 5 to 7 digit additional income per year.  Better analogy is finding $20,000 on the street every year. 

Okay.

So they find 20k on the street, every year.

Should they not pick it up, because someone might chastise them for not blindly following the 4% rule and refusing all other income?  Even if they could live just fine on the 4% rule, they should therefore have to?

He's chastising them for talking the talk but not walking the walk, per say.

No.  If their talk was "You should never earn another dime," I'd agree that they weren't walking that talk.

I've never heard anyone say that.  It's "you probably won't have to earn any more."  Not "you shouldn't."

They'd be hypocrites and not walking the talk if they said it'd be immoral to earn money, and then they monetized.

But they're saying "Once you have 25x your assets, you likely never need to earn money again, and are set for life."  And this is true, they are.  They walk that walk.  They may end up earning more, and that's fine, too, but has nothing to do with them saying "I don't HAVE to earn money."  That remains true.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 06:56:44 AM by arebelspy »
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Case

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #83 on: January 06, 2017, 08:21:38 AM »
Also just because you don't need the money doesn't mean there's not a point to monetizing it.  Maybe that's extra that you donate to charity.

Sure, MMM had enough, and could have made the site and made $0 on it. 

But then he couldn't have given away $100k, because he'd need his whole stache to support him at 4%.

Just because you make money doesn't imply that you HAD to make the money, or you wouldn't have been fine without it.

Even if someone DID say the 4% rule was iron clad, if they see a $20 on the street, are you going to chastise them for picking it up because now they clearly don't believe in the 4% rule?

Bad analogy; finding $20 on the street is far different from having a 5 to 7 digit additional income per year.  Better analogy is finding $20,000 on the street every year. 

Okay.

So they find 20k on the street, every year.

Should they not pick it up, because someone might chastise them for not blindly following the 4% rule and refusing all other income?  Even if they could live just fine on the 4% rule, they should therefore have to?

He's chastising them for talking the talk but not walking the walk, per say.

No.  If their talk was "You should never earn another dime," I'd agree that they weren't walking that talk.

I've never heard anyone say that.  It's "you probably won't have to earn any more."  Not "you shouldn't."

They'd be hypocrites and not walking the talk if they said it'd be immoral to earn money, and then they monetized.

But they're saying "Once you have 25x your assets, you likely never need to earn money again, and are set for life."  And this is true, they are.  They walk that walk.  They may end up earning more, and that's fine, too, but has nothing to do with them saying "I don't HAVE to earn money."  That remains true.

I was specifically responding to you saying this:
"Even if someone DID say the 4% rule was iron clad, if they see a $20 on the street, are you going to chastise them for picking it up because now they clearly don't believe in the 4% rule?"

Specifically, I am targeting your use of a bad example ($20) because the quantity is not impactful.  Your argument with the other person becomes much more productive  if you use an example ($20,000 annual income) that actually has an impact on the 4% rule.

I do not disagree on the rationale of having additional income streams; I would pick up the $20 on the street, so to speak.  I do not disagree that the use of the 4% rule can be successfully argued even if you make significant additional money (beyond the 4%); the data based arguments stand true.  Of course, once you start bringing in additional revenue, you are no longer living by example (unless you give all of the additional money away).  But this is just a statement of what is.

Case

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #84 on: January 06, 2017, 09:30:29 AM »
Quote
Even if someone DID say the 4% rule was iron clad, if they see a $20 on the street, are you going to chastise them for picking it up because now they clearly don't believe in the 4% rule?


Depends on the reason why they picked up the $20.  If their goal is to devote the rest of their life to actions that give them joy or meaning, and they are telling other people on their blog that, once they have 25X, that they should make all their decisions w/out regard to money... well then yes, if they pick up the $20 bill, I would say they don't fully believe in what they are selling.  Unless they actually derive joy or meaning from picking up $20, then yeah, I would say they are hypocrites.


Now, you suggested using $20,000 instead.  Well, what if they moved very, very slowly such that it took them 200 days to pick up the $20 bill, and what if, during those 200 days, they missed out on a whole bunch of activities that would have given joy or meaning... does that change things for you?  Personally, I don't believe that changing magnitudes affects the nature of the question and answer: picking up the money is either in keeping with their own values and what they communicate on their blog, or it's not.


I've enjoyed the discussion on this.  Thanks.

See my response above.  I do feel that the amount of money makes a difference.  The amount of money has a greater or lesser impact of how much someone can resist mistakes in the 4% rule.

How in terms of the amount of effort necessary to get the extra revenue/$20:  I would argue that if you are missing out on important life activities to get your side revenue stream, then you are really not retired, or are missing the point of retirement.

lhamo

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #85 on: January 06, 2017, 09:38:09 AM »
Personally, I find the financial successes these FIRE folks have found with blogging and other related endeavors to be highly inspirational.  They appeal strongly to my Inner Bag Lady, because they show that if you are good at written expression of your ideas, and reasonably analytical/reflective about the process you went through/are going through, there is a potential to earn additional income from it while still having a pretty self-determined lifestyle.  You don't have to panic once the firehose of cash from your day job stops flowing.  Find something you love -- maybe blogging, maybe podcasting, maybe rebuilding cars in your garage -- and put some time and energy into it and you will probably have another stream of cash coming in soon on your own terms. 

Now, would it be cool to see one of these bloggers set up a long term experiment where any post-FIRE income gets put in a separate pot, and they do live strictly according to the 4% SWR and report back about how that part of their stash is doing independent of all other income?  Yes.  Better yet, have a FIRE superhero match off, where different people adopt different strategies and see how they compare in real life over time.  I would totally follow something like that.  But even in that kind of an experiment, I wouldn't begrudge any of them the right to earn income in other ways.  Just keep the accounts separate.  But monetize the experiment to your heart's content.  And more power to you. 

aschmidt2930

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #86 on: January 06, 2017, 10:05:02 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.

+1 to all of this.

In general, if you create a blog with the intention of making money, you probably won't. If you create a blog about something you're passionate about that provides tangible value to the reader, the money will follow.



Papa bear

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #87 on: January 06, 2017, 10:11:48 AM »
Good conversation so far and it gets me thinking.   I have toyed with starting a blog for my company with the sole intent of "monetizing" the blog.   I am a partner in a Staffing and Recruiting company and I would expect that the blog would only drive traffic to the website.  Does anyone with experience want to PM me so I can bounce ideas off of you? 

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #88 on: January 06, 2017, 11:38:48 AM »
One thing to keep in mind: when you head a business or run a solo shop,  you very visibly live your ethics everyday.  In good times, do you give the staff a raise—or keep the added money for yourself? Do you take the lowest bid for some tech work you need done—even though you’re pretty sure the provider is a tax dodge? And if you’re a blogger, do you optimize your site for monetization—or for content value?  You, and everyone else, can easily discern your ethics from your very visible choices.

In the end, biz folks align on an ethics continuum—we’ll admire some, and scorn others. We also need to remember that the same is true of workers—it’s just that their choices aren’t so widely visible. Ever know a worker who considers themselves hard working, yet often secretly goofs off? This worker could be called a hypocrite who chooses money over providing value, just like the over-monetizing early retirement blogger.  It’s just that an audience of 3,000, 30,000 or more isn’t watching.

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #89 on: January 06, 2017, 03:25:53 PM »


Your argument with the other person becomes much more productive  if you use an example ($20,000 annual income) that actually has an impact on the 4% rule.

Yes, in the response I said 20k. You maybe missed the k?

Unless they actually derive joy or meaning from picking up $20, then yeah, I would say they are hypocrites.

Sure, what if they derive joy/meaning from both picking up the 20 (or 20k) and from donating it?


I would argue that if you are missing out on important life activities to get your side revenue stream, then you are really not retired, or are missing the point of retirement.

And if you're doing it because you enjoy it?

I don't see Jeremy at GCC as missing out on any important life activities. He's traveling, spending time with family, raising his son, and has a meaningful hobby that he enjoys and helps people (see all the positive comments on his latest post about 4 years without taxes).

I can't see anything negative in any of that.
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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #90 on: January 06, 2017, 07:01:35 PM »
GCC provides value besides "let me show you how to make money online."

His blog isn't built around that premise, and it's a tiny fraction of his content.

I'd argue his main focus is tax, with travel being secondary.  ER might be in the top 5. I wouldn't put "how to make money online" in the top 5, and probably not even top 10, of his messages.

The cents blog has no other content or value besides "let me show you how to make money showing people how to make money."

Inevitably people reading cents, years later, will be disappointed, IMO, whereas the opposite is true of GCC, I believe.

That's why I assess them differently. It has nothing to do with using affiliate links or not. I specifically put GCC out there as an example of a blog that was making money doing it right. It has to do with the value and content and if you are enriching people's lives or providing them false hope and taking their money and time.
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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #91 on: January 06, 2017, 07:31:28 PM »
However, I'm kind of impressed by the sheer quantity of affiliate links in this "Start a Blog" guide. I count affiliate links for 8 different companies in this brief article.  In a feat of verbal dexterity, he's even able to work in an affiliate link for a credit card into a guide on how to start a blog. 

Thanks (I think you missed one.)


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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #92 on: January 06, 2017, 07:42:29 PM »
They made, per year, $0, $0, $2000, and then $25,000 for the first half of the 4th year.  Since it was scaling up, I'm sure the second half was much more, and since that was two years ago, I wouldn't be surprised if he's in the six-figure plus range.

I have yet to make 6 figures in total over the life of the blog. If I worked at it a little bit maybe I could do it this year, but... priorities. It is sunny today so Jr and I are off for a bike ride.

I plan to do a post with a detailed Schedule C this year, with detailed income and expenses info.

Thanks Joe

arebelspy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #93 on: January 06, 2017, 08:00:20 PM »
I plan to do a post with a detailed Schedule C this year, with detailed income and expenses info.

Neat!

That should help answer the question in the title! (n=1)  :)
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Case

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #94 on: January 06, 2017, 08:32:03 PM »


Your argument with the other person becomes much more productive  if you use an example ($20,000 annual income) that actually has an impact on the 4% rule.

Yes, in the response I said 20k. You maybe missed the k?

Unless they actually derive joy or meaning from picking up $20, then yeah, I would say they are hypocrites.

Sure, what if they derive joy/meaning from both picking up the 20 (or 20k) and from donating it?


I would argue that if you are missing out on important life activities to get your side revenue stream, then you are really not retired, or are missing the point of retirement.

And if you're doing it because you enjoy it?

I don't see Jeremy at GCC as missing out on any important life activities. He's traveling, spending time with family, raising his son, and has a meaningful hobby that he enjoys and helps people (see all the positive comments on his latest post about 4 years without taxes).

I can't see anything negative in any of that.

Oh, I saw you're k in the response, don't worry. 
Again, my point simply was to point out that your original example was a bad one.

On the other point you brought up:  again, I don't disagree.  I think you perhaps are over analyzing my response.  I am simply pointing out that the the $20 example is a bad one because it doesn't compare well, and that it is indeed important because the devil is in the details.

If you're trying to say that it doesn't matter if it's $20 or $20,000 (I'm really just guessing here), I simply don't agree.  The quantity of money earned in the blog/whatever is proportional to the amount to how much it affects the retiree.

If you're missing out on important things in life... because you enjoy your side hustle that makes good money beyond the 4% rule.... life is full of hard choices at that point.  If you're enjoying your side hustle during retirement, then you aren't detracting from retirement; you are fulfilling the goal of retiring to do what pleases you.  But if you don't enjoy the side hustle, then you're not doing.

Case

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #95 on: January 07, 2017, 01:40:08 PM »


Your argument with the other person becomes much more productive  if you use an example ($20,000 annual income) that actually has an impact on the 4% rule.

Yes, in the response I said 20k. You maybe missed the k?

Unless they actually derive joy or meaning from picking up $20, then yeah, I would say they are hypocrites.

Sure, what if they derive joy/meaning from both picking up the 20 (or 20k) and from donating it?


I would argue that if you are missing out on important life activities to get your side revenue stream, then you are really not retired, or are missing the point of retirement.

And if you're doing it because you enjoy it?

I don't see Jeremy at GCC as missing out on any important life activities. He's traveling, spending time with family, raising his son, and has a meaningful hobby that he enjoys and helps people (see all the positive comments on his latest post about 4 years without taxes).

I can't see anything negative in any of that.

Oh, I saw you're k in the response, don't worry. 
Again, my point simply was to point out that your original example was a bad one.

On the other point you brought up:  again, I don't disagree.  I think you perhaps are over analyzing my response.  I am simply pointing out that the the $20 example is a bad one because it doesn't compare well, and that it is indeed important because the devil is in the details.

If you're trying to say that it doesn't matter if it's $20 or $20,000 (I'm really just guessing here), I simply don't agree.  The quantity of money earned in the blog/whatever is proportional to the amount to how much it affects the retiree.

If you're missing out on important things in life... because you enjoy your side hustle that makes good money beyond the 4% rule.... life is full of hard choices at that point.  If you're enjoying your side hustle during retirement, then you aren't detracting from retirement; you are fulfilling the goal of retiring to do what pleases you.  But if you don't enjoy the side hustle, then you're not doing.

I guess i'm coming across as a DB; sorry bout that, not intended.
Anyways, all I mean is that I'm just making a small point and the other points of debate are nor things I was indicating I disagree with.

arebelspy

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #96 on: January 07, 2017, 03:25:18 PM »
No worries. :)

20k obviously has a bigger impact than $20. I agree with you.

My point in saying "okay, 20k" is that if you didn't like the first analogy, rewrite it with a K and I think it still holds.   Picking up $20k off the ground each year doesn't change one's ability nor willingness to live on 4%.

The bloggers are arguing that you can. Not that you HAVE to (and therefore can never earn money again).  If the latter was their argument, jumping on them is valid.

But just because they don't need money due to hitting 25x assets doesn't mean wasting money that is free due to a fun hobby and can be put to good uses like MMM's charitable donations is a good idea, even if they don't need it.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Txtriathlete

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #97 on: January 07, 2017, 04:47:50 PM »
So, back to the original topic - can you make it pay? The answer seems to be "yes", although there now seems to be second order effects (questions) related to the skeeziness of promotion (self, affiliate or otherwise) vice the "true and noble" purpose of the blog - writing to share *valuable* info and not just writing sh*t to make cash. 

This topic is quite relevant to me just now as my spouse, a functional medicine doc, has been looking to become more of a lecturer/teacher/communicator and less of a hands on clinician.

In the process of researching blogging as a communications form for her (my research) it quickly became abundantly clear that you need not take advantage of people to be profitable. Profit and ethics are not, necessarily, mutually exclusive. But yes, many opportunities exist to be sketchy in the interest of maximizing income.

To make money (ethically) from blogging my research basically says:
Pick a topic lots of people are interested in (self help health by a certified health professional - check)
Pick affiliates that will reimburse for traffic or sales (many referral health products, some of which also indeed offer reimbursement - check)
Market your own products (a few to include small group sessions and webinars - check)
And then beat the bushes to push word of mouth and viral marketing of the site (not yet).

I assume there are some significant pieces I am still missing. Search engine optimization, cross promotion through guest blogging, etc. Anyone have a roadmap on these?

My spouse's goal with this blog is to educate and inform people about their health. My goal is for her to get paid for doing so. We *think* there is a strong ethical check and balance process - she's not going to recommend something just to get paid, but then big pharma hasn't come calling (yet). (Insert sense of humor here).

We actively chose not to run Google Adsense because we didn't want inappropriate content or the hassle of vetting literally thousands of advertisers.  Plus they pay crap since we have like no views (yet).

How important is it to have an email group for the blog?
What do we email to the group every week?
How do we vet/manage the comment section?
How do we stop spamming and such?
We have an option for a contacts email, how hard is that to manage?

What other hints, tips and techniques from the group on making it pay (lessons learned)?

CanuckExpat

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #98 on: January 07, 2017, 08:06:07 PM »
I am one of those people who has a niche topic blog, and it is top rank when googled (and I didn't even try to promote it). I have about 30,000 visits a month but I am on the fence about the best way to get some income from it without harassing my readers.  I do Amazon affiliates which only brings in about 3-5 dollars a day.  I only post things I like and avoid any kind of advertising.  I do a lot of detailed research and even the national organization of my trade links to me.  I wish I knew where to focus my energy on getting a passive income from it.  Selling credit cards isn't really going to work since mine is business-arts theme.

How about selling a course or ebook: I'm an artist who makes money successfully online, you can too.. ;)

Many artists (webcomics) etc rely on free content with donations, or premium content for those who donate / become members (i.e. see tomorrow's comic today)

Otherwise, if your readership is big enough, there is always guest speaking, paid appearances, etc.

Do you have display ads, Google adsense, etc?

mynewchoice

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #99 on: January 07, 2017, 11:18:28 PM »
It has been interesting to read along here, as I used to blog in a previous life and made some small amounts of money--and still do get checks here and there from those blogs even though I think the last post I published was approximately 4+ years ago.  I did look back through some of the archives to try and refresh, or confirm, my memory and thought that I would share a brief summary.

I launched my first blog, which was about my desire to FIRE, back in August 2006.  A little over 6 months after starting that blog, I had created a personal blog that was intended to track my efforts of earning income from blogging and the first financial report I published was in March 2007 when my blogging had earned me $116.70 that month.  I haven't checked all of the monthly reports but a lot were in that range in 2007, and then in 2008 I was earning the most that I ever earned from my blogs with the record month being $762.26.  The earnings were predominantly made up of advertising--using things like AdSense, Kontera, LinkWorth and TextLinkAds as well as private ad sales that I had brokered with other site owners (these were more prevalent in the 2008 time period when my blog was earning $500-700 per month.  I did get into some sponsored posts and created some additional sites that were completely driven on affiliate links to Amazon, or using services like Datafeedr to pull in products from companies that I was an affiliate.  I never really did well with the affiliate sales, partly because the commissions were small and my traffic numbers were never huge.

On the highest month I mentioned, here are a few examples of my income sources: AdSense $89.76; TextLinkAds $276.53; LinkWorth $145.71; Private Ads $159; Affiliate Links $62.96.

As I mentioned, to this day I still receive checks here and there that add up to about $1000-1500 per year.  There are some affiliate checks, for services such as Aweber, and still some advertising money.  The other one, oddly enough is AdSense that can usually earn me $30-40 per month--which isn't too bad when you remember that I haven't actively written anything in about 4+ years.

You also have to keep in mind that a lot of bloggers report on their earnings, but not their profit.  I noticed that the blog that some have questioned here did provide some information there regarding the expenses.  However, I recall when I was actively blogging that there were plenty of sites that would highlight they earned $50,000 that month (purely an example) but didn't mention that they also spent $47,000 on advertising, etc.  I am sure there was still good money being made but the ridiculous amounts could easily be misleading.

Of course that led to a lot of "here buy the course I created to show you how I made x per month", and that is still there today even in non-blogging things that I have dabbled in, such as selling physical goods on Amazon via FBA.

Keep in mind that making money from a blog doesn't always mean you are only making money from the actual blog.  As an example, I had taken nuggets from what I was writing on a few of my blogs and self-published Kindle books.  That then became another source of income that could be advertised to new readers on the blog.  For some, that can then lead to speaking engagements or other offline deals.  The blog can be a springboard to many other opportunities.

With all of that said, I did stop actively blogging because I found that doing that on top of my FT job was sacrificing too much time with my family and putting a good deal of stress on my relationships.  I haven't been able to completely give up on those entrepreneurial dreams (as I mentioned the FBA, Merch, etc. that I still dabble) and I love the behind the scenes stuff with setting up blogs, and maybe someday will get back to writing as I did enjoy the process.

I don't know if any of the above will be useful or interesting to anyone, but I thought I would share my experiences from about 10 years ago now to show what someone that didn't really know what they were doing at the time could do. =)