Please note that this doesn’t account for ad revenue or expenses. Those are covered in detail in the income report.
You should take the time to read the post (over 5,000 words) because it goes into some pretty good detail about what is going on with each of my active blogs.
So why am I going to write about this stuff even more in this post?
Because you need to understand what people go through to build up this level of success.
The Hidden Work
I was talking to my brother (who works with me) the other day about how his friends are going to view him when he talks about what he does. What I said was that when they ask what you do and you explain the things that you do to help grow this blogging empire they might say things like “man, you’re so lucky”, “wow how easy is that?” and “I sure wish I could do that!”
This happens to all bloggers when they start to see success because people on the outside don’t understand what it takes to reach that level of success.
Compared to working in a coal mine blogging is definitely much easier. But just because you’re sitting down at a computer doesn’t mean you have it easy.
Is there a ton of physical labor involved? No.
But being able to create something that thousands of people enjoy isn’t the easiest thing in the world and that’s what you’re doing with your blog.
If you told someone to randomly create something and get 100,000 people a month to come and view it then would they think that it is easy? Definitely not.
Now imagine doing that many times over like I do with my blogs?
By no means do I ever complain about what I do or wish I was doing something else because I like how relaxing blogging is for me but it’s only relaxing because I was able to get to this point. It definitely wasn’t smooth sailing.
3 Months of Wasted Time
I have a background in web design and development so I have an inherent advantage over other people when it comes to some things. I’m not oblivious to this and I don’t try to hide it.
However, neither of those skills are necessary to succeed in blogging.
But I’m not going to pretend like it was just my writing that I was able to make my first 4 figures with Obstacle.co after 4 months.
Have an awesome design and decent content then all you need to do is sell some services and presto. Magic.
However, that doesn’t really work in other niches.
For example, we started Thrive/Strive at the exact same time and in the first 90 days it only received 1,600 pageviews.
I’m sorry if that’s the traffic you’re seeing now but that is simply not enough to get you by.
The problem with the idea of blogging is that it becomes your future escape. You read what others say about blogging and how you can make $X amount of money so you view yourself as blogging and making that money.
What you don’t view is the time it takes to ramp up to that level.
Imagine setting everything aside and working for 3 months to only feel like you have nothing to show.
That’s how it felt with Thrive/Strive.
Thankfully, I got a bit wise, threw some of my previous blogging misconceptions to the side and got things back on track.
The site did almost half a million pageviews in January and has been chugging along just fine for the past year.
It took a lot of experimentation, failure, pride swallowing and stress to get to that level, but we made it there and the lessons we learned are now applied to other blogs.
Okay, that’s a great story but what are the steps that I took to not only get Thrive/Strive up to the level it’s at, but my other blogs as well?
Keep in mind, that my blogs did over 2,000,000 pageviews combined in January. That’s insane!
That’s some big media type of traffic!
Let’s figure out what was done.
5 Steps Needed to Make $30,000 a Month Blogging
Before we being let’s get something clear. I don’t believe in blowing smoke up your ass or giving you false hopes. I’m going to tell you exactly what is on my mind and that’s just how it is.
Some people like that and others wish I could lie just a little bit to them. Go see the other bloggers if you want that.
What you will notice that these steps are nothing special.
There is nothing complicated about them but they are the things that consistently work over and over again. If your blog is failing then you aren’t stringing these 5 steps along. You’re missing one or many.
With all of that being said the first thing you need to do is…
1. Work With a Niche That Works
This is probably the most obvious advice in the world and yet so many bloggers don’t follow it.
Because the world has convinced them that they need to follow their passion.
The way I see it is that you can go down three routes:
- Follow your passion and make no money.
- Run with a popular niche and make money.
- Follow your passion and make good money.
Every blogger thinks they are going to go with #3 without fail. It doesn’t matter if I list 7 blog niches that you should work with. They will find a way to convince themselves that their niche/topic is going to work.
And it might. I’m not saying it won’t but the only time I gamble is when I hit the casino. Otherwise, I like my odds working in big and popular niches.
It lets me know that there is already success there to be had. It lets me know that there is an audience. It lets me know that people are willing to spend money.
I’m sure you can point me to examples of bloggers that have followed their passion and made a lot of money but you know what the difference usually is between those bloggers and everyone else? Those bloggers are REALLY good at what they do and odds are they are doing it in a popular niche.
So yeah, if you don’t even want to consider this step then you might not want to read the rest anyways.
Go on and do your thing.
Sidenote: This is also what facinates me about YouTube. Many people are following their passions but because they are delivering the experience over a different medium I think the rules change. Over video you’re able to showcase your brand (you) a lot more and tell a story. It’s not necessarily about solving problems all of the time. People become attached to you and therefore your audience grows.
2. Give Your Audience What They Want
This is such a basic concept that it’s amazing how many bloggers get it wrong. And I don’t mean kind of wrong, I mean completely wrong.
Sometimes a blogger will join the Billionaire Blog Club and come in with an idealist mentality.
They believe they are going to write this superbly unique content that nobody else is going to be able to touch. They have brand new post ideas that nobody has come up with before and their content is super intelligent.
However, nobody cares and this can be frustrating to a blogger because their world comes crashing down.
The good thing though is that you already know what your audience wants if you are willing to look. The reason I like to only work in popular niches is because other blogs have seen success in them.
This means that other bloggers have already done the hard stuff for me. They’ve tried content to see what works. I don’t have to figure out what is going to work for my audience because it’s already out there.
It’s up to me to take that content and make it better.
This is called the Skyscraper Technique.
For example, I know for a fact that the audience for Obstacle.co loves to see money figures in blog titles. They (you) love it.
That means I get to write a title like The Steps I Took to Make $29,903.62 in a Month with Blogging and a lot of people are going to click on it (assuming I promote it properly).
The difference though is what they get within the content itself.
I don’t talk like the other how to make money bloggers because I see things a bit differently.
That’s where you get to spread your wings and show your awesomeness.
I’m still tackling the same things that other bloggers are doing “how I make $XXXXXXXXXXXX a month with blogging” but I’m doing it in a way that is unique to me.
If you want to be unique with your blog, then take what works and throw your own spin on it. Don’t waste your time trying to think of completely unique things from scratch.
You won’t get very far.
3. Promote to the Right People
My whole promotion strategy revolves around Pinterest. That’s literally all I do to get traffic.
While it helps to boost my SEO rankings as well, my focus is solely on doing well with Pinterest. This is why I only work within niches that do well on Pinterest.
If they do well on Pinterest then I know I can use Pinterest to build an audience.
I bring this up because a lot of bloggers waste time on other platforms that just aren’t going to perform.
A new BBC member asked me why I don’t have a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram account and I said that they would be a waste of time for the current niches that I work in. I know other bloggers can share success stories on each of those platforms but I understand that I only have so much time in a day so I spend that time working with that platform that is going to net me the best results.
With that being said…
I am going to be entering some niches that excel at Instagram so it makes sense for me to get on that platform and that’s what I”ll do when the time arrives.
I’m not saying non-Pinterest platforms suck. I’m saying that you have to be picky about your time and make sure you’re utilizing the platform that is going to get you the most exposure to the RIGHT audience, not just any audience.
I do have a course on Pinterest but if you want to get up to speed quickly with Pinterest for your marketing efforts then check out my Pinterest book, The Billionaire Blogging Pinterest Manual.
4. Build an Audience
Okay, this is the same shit that every other blogger will tell you. If you want to make the level of money that you really want deep down inside (5-6 figures) then you need to start building an audience.
And by audience what I mean is work on your mailing list.
Because I interact with BBC Members every single day I know building up your mailing list is one of the biggest fears that they have. It’s scary knowing that people actually want to hear from you and even scarier to think that you might write something that will make them want to leave.
But that’s how it goes.
At the end of January, I decided that I was going to do something cool on BBC and run some 28-Day Blog Challenges where I gave myself 28 days to show the exact steps I do to accomplish a goal.
I didn’t spend months or weeks planning this out. It was literally thought up over a weekend and that was it. Then I presented the idea to my audience, told them when they could purchase it and guess what happened?
$4,000 in one day.
No crazy email sequence or launch.
Hell, even the landing page was crap but it didn’t matter because my audience trusted me to deliver something awesome.
Now things really get crazy when you do start to employ launch sequences and other techniques with your audience but I wanted to share this example with you because it shows something that you can’t do with cold traffic to your blog.
People can always buy my courses, books or a lifetime membership to BBC, but my biggest sales days are when I actually reach out to my audience.
5. Have Multiple Revenue Streams
Instead of asking how you’re going to make money with your blog, you should be asking how you’re not going to make money with your blog.
Seriously, you can easily incorporate ads, affiliate marketing, and your own products under one roof. Carly over at Mommy on Purpose has done this really well.
When you have multiple streams of revenue it means you aren’t reliant on one to carry you each month. You never want to see your Amazon revenue fall to $0 and there is nothing else around to support you.
During the good months you get to raise the revenue of all of your streams and in bad months 1 or 2 might drop. Either way, you’re making a nice level of income without the worry of the bottom falling out.
For most niches what I recommend is starting with affiliate marketing right off the bat because you don’t need much to get started with that. Then work on getting up to 25,000 sessions in 30 days so that you can apply to Mediavine. They are a great ad network with excellent performance for blogs.
As you’re working on these things you’re also building your audience which can lead to your first paid product. Before you know it you have 3 different revenue streams chugging along and everything is working well.
At some point, you might even be doing so well with your own product and affiliate marketing that you can remove ads from your site and just focus on your own stuff. Yes, this takes away from the idea of having multiple revenue streams but when you get to that level your multiple revenue streams actually become multiple products.
This kind of a sub-step to having multiple revenue streams. You have to sell to make money.
No shit, right?
However, I hate selling. At least I used to hate selling. Now I tolerate it because I know what the end result is.
For the longest time I wasn’t making the type of money that I expected and I looked at everything that I was doing and I swore I was doing everything right.
But then I realized I was never doing any selling. I was just kind of hoping that people would come across my products and buy them. While that does happen, it doesn’t happen enough to make you happy.
So what was my problem? Why was I hesitant to sell?
I think it’s because I wasn’t sure about the quality of my own products. When I create products I do it in multiple iterations meaning I pump the first version out quickly. It’s great but it’s also rough around the edges. It takes me a couple of iterations before I can get it to where I want so I usually hesitate selling until I’m 100% satisfied with it.
However, I’m not sure I ever get to 100% so that means I need to find a compromise and understand that I can still create something super awesome that people love that I’m still not content with.
For example, I think have hands down the best Pinterest Course around and I’ll happily sell you on it. However, it took me some time to get there. Before it was just one of the best around.
The same goes for the overall experience of the Billionaire Blog Club. I don’t think it can be matched by any other blog resource around. However, it didn’t start off that way. It took time to get there.
I have a feeling that you might be the same way with your product. You’ll create something but you aren’t sure it’s exactly where you want it to be. When that happens you have two options:
- Continue to work on it until it’s perfect to you. This may never happen.
- Get it out there and receive feedback to make sure you’re even on the right page.
I go with #2 every single time now. #1 isn’t making me any money.
Bonus: 6. Create Multiple Blogs
I’m just kidding.
I run multiple sites because I want to have as much knowledge about blogging as possible because I teach others how to succeed with blogging.
You can have awesome numbers with just one blog and in fact, I only recommend you work with one blog until you’ve gotten it to a level it can be put on auto-pilot.
YOU DON’T NEED MULTIPLE BLOGS TO MAKE THE GOOD MONEY.
People see that I run multiple blogs and they get excited and think about all of the cool ideas that they have for blogs and then quickly find out that they barely have time to successfully build one blog.
This shit takes time.
Remember, I’ve been a designer/developer for over 16 years so a lot of this stuff I can do much faster than you. Plus, this is my life so I can devote separate time to separate blogs.
I don’t have to worry about waking up to get ready for a 9-5 and then come home and hope that I have enough mental energy to work on my blog.
I’ve worked hard to get to this point and you can get to the same point with just one blog.
The Steps In-Between
Of course, these steps are pretty board and there are 100s of little steps under each one. However, you can’t focus on those tiny steps until you have a complete understanding of the big ones.
Too many bloggers get caught up in the tiny details before they perfect the bigger ones.
There is no point in learning how to write the perfect blog post if you aren’t in a niche that will excel.
There is no point in understanding how to build a successful affiliate marketing email campaign if you can’t even get an audience.
Blogging isn’t about learning everything at once. It’s about taking the baby steps, soaking up the knowledge you gain through experimentation, and continuing to push forward.
The very first thing you learn in BBC (if you’re a blog beginner) is how to get your first 100 pageviews. That’s the only focus.
Because until you get the first 100, nothing else matters. Once you achieve the first 100 then you can move on to other things.
Sidenote: If you’re a bit further along on your blog journey, the Billionaire Blog Club still has a ton for you.
It can be too easy to overwhelm yourself with too much info at the beginning. This leads to analysis paralysis and you get nowhere with your blog. I’ve been doing this for a long time.
It didn’t just happen.
I was not born with the natural talent of blogging and making money.
I tripped and fell many times but now I stand tall.
I know if you follow the basic steps I’ve outlined above, you can do the same.