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5 Reasons Your Employees Probably Hate You

5 Reasons Your Employees Probably Hate You

Many years ago I worked for a company whose CEO was a stickler for how many hours employees worked. He made a point to note who came early and who stayed late. He considered anyone who didn’t a slacker.

As far as I know, nobody ever told him how shortsighted his approach was. Instead of rewarding results, he rewarded butt-in-chair time. Instead of focusing on output, he focused on input. Most hated the practice, but nobody told him.

How many of your behaviors drive your employees silently crazy that you don’t know about? Here are five leadership missteps to look out for:

1. You reward the wrong things.
What gets rewarded gets done. It is such a familiar axiom of management that it is nearly cliché. It is, however, completely true. Where you focus your attention focuses your employees’ attention. What you notice, note and reward will get done more frequently.

Identify and focus on the results that matter. And don’t be like the executive above who confused activity with accomplishment.

2. You don’t listen.
Even if your employees told you about a qualm of theirs, you might not really hear them. It is too easy to be distracted and pre-occupied.

Becoming a better listener is actually quite easy. When an employee is in your workspace to talk, turn off your email alerts, close your door and let your monitor go into sleep mode. Give your undivided attention to the person in front of you. They will feel you value them, and you’ll likely increase the quality and speed of the interaction.

3. You don’t notice what your employees are doing.
Brittney was a financial manager at a client firm. She was bubbly and outgoing. She also had the ability to draw attention to her “contributions,” though many weren’t that significant. Employees hated her self-aggrandizement. But they also disliked that management noted Brittney’s efforts because they were easily observed. Leaders didn’t pay attention to the good and often better work others were doing.

Great work is often done backstage, out of the spotlight. The glitter of self-promotion doesn’t blind great entrepreneurs. They seek out those people doing good work and make it a point to notice. Pay attention to people who do good work and let them know. And don’t get suckered by people who are better at promoting themselves than producing results.


4. Your attitude sucks.
Bill is an entrepreneur who constantly complains about how terrible his employees are at delivering customer service. He berates and belittles even their best efforts. And yet he’s puzzled why those same employees treat customers poorly. The irony escapes him.

Attitudes are contagious. Mirror neurons pick up on and are affected by the moods of those around us. Leaders are especially powerful in influencing the mood of those on their team.

Don’t expect others to be more upbeat than you or treat customers better than you treat them. There are a few entrepreneurs who might have dodged this bullet, but not enough to be statistically significant. Your attitude is contagious, so pay attention to how you act at work each day.

5. You can’t keep your mouth shut.
A young entrepreneur we will call Bob loved to share insider information about others. At one after-work beer session, he shared something HR told him confidentially about a coworker who was not at the gathering. It was less than flattering and was instantly off-putting to those in the group. The employee, a valued and productive member of the team, learned of the betrayal of confidence and was outraged. She left the company soon after.

Don’t think that trust can be effectively compartmentalized. If you’re known to be untrustworthy in your personal life, few will trust you in your professional dealings. If people don’t trust you, they will follow, but out of compliance instead of commitment.

No one is a mind-reader. If you want to find out why your team is dissatisfied to be a better leader, work on building trust and being equally open to both good and bad news. Ask them what they really think. And most importantly: listen.

6 Ways to Build a Rabid Following on Social Media

6 Ways to Build a Rabid Following on Social Media

The days of build it and they will come are behind us. Content is king and all businesses, whether they like it or not, are in the content business. The smart companies know this and are setting themselves up for long-term success in their markets.

That’s all fine, but how can a business get started? I have had the pleasure of interviewing more than 100 smart entrepreneurs. During those conversations, I have noticed a trend in how they built their audiences and then turned those audiences into profitable businesses.

Before you can turn a website visitor into an active and engaged part of your audience or community, you first need to attract them. These steps along the path to building an online audience will enable you to attract your perfect audience member, grow and nourish that relationship, and then monetize it over time.

Here are the six steps along the path to building an audience of rabid fans:

1. Blogging, blogging, and more blogging.

If your business is not blogging, you need to start today. Blogging is no longer about writing thinly veiled sales pitches about your products and services. In fact, don’t pitch — teach, empower and be transparent.

Blogging is your direct line to your audience and a way for you to simply and easily transform passive customers into raving fans. Raving fans are the greatest marketing tool that your business can acquire and you need to make this your focus.

It is no coincidence that more than 90 percent of the guests on Hack the Entrepreneur have been blogging in one place or another for years. It is not surprising that they all concede that a certain level of their success has been attained through their blogs and writing.


2. Podcasting for business.

In just nine months, I have built a massive audience with a single podcast. A single podcast recorded in my basement office in a small town in Canada. In 2015, I can think of no faster way to grow an engaged audience.

Podcasting, like blogging, is a way to reach your potential audience and then build a relationship with them. Due to the personal nature of listening to podcasts via headphones or during commutes, podcasting is a powerful tool that can quickly build a relationship between you and your audience.

One out of three Americans have listened to a podcast. The medium is gaining in popularity and is only just beginning to hit the mainstream. If you haven’t started podcasting yet, right now is the perfect time to start podcasting.

3. Upping the ante with webinars.

Like podcasts, webinars are receiving a lot of buzz these days, and for good reason. They work. Webinars are a powerful tool for building email lists and for making sales. Yes, it takes a lot of work to master the art, but so does everything that’s worth doing.

A webinar is exactly what the name implies, it is a seminar that is held via the web. You as the host put together a presentation on a topic of your expertise and you get guests to give you your email address to join and watch your presentation. You provide value and knowledge, and your audience learns to know, like and trust you.

If you haven’t yet participated in a webinar, either as a host or as part of the audience, it is bound to happen sooner or later. With the software that is available today, technology is no longer a barrier to entry, for anyone to begin harnessing the power of webinars in their business.

4. Building an email list.

Now that you have decided to blog or podcast in your business, you need a way to keep your readers and listeners coming back. Over the years, and with the rise of social media, many people have falsely predicted the demise of email marketing. Yes, marketing online has changed in a lot of ways, but one way that has consistently stayed effective in reaching your audience and turning them into customers, is email.

Email lists are the recurring revenue of audience building. Meaning, you put out great content once, bring your ideal visitor to your site, and then get their email address. Having this email address now allows you to reach out to that visitor repeatedly as you work to turn them from a visitor to part of your audience.

Capturing emails and staying in contact with your prospects is relatively inexpensive or even free to get started. It takes some work to get started, but your email list will become one of your most valuable assets, so it is worth the effort.

5. Using social media to be social.

Most businesses using social media get it wrong. They forget to be social. Social media is the cocktail party of the Internet. You cannot walk into a cocktail party shouting about your product and services, then be surprised when people are turned off by your presence.

Social media is a place to tell the story of your company and how it fits into the lives of your customers. As Gary Vaynerchuk said in his bestselling book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, “A story is at its best when it’s not intrusive, when it brings value to a platform’s consumers, and when it fits in as a natural step along the customer’s path to making a purchase.”

A few years ago, social media was considered the Holy Grail of online marketing. Although, it definitely still holds value in a well-planned marketing plan, social media is also a potential time-suck for a lot of time and resources.

Social media is great if you find the two channels that work best for your business goals. Some businesses will find their audience’s on Pinterest and Instagram, while others will only find them on Twitter and Facebook. When you know your audience well enough to know where they are, you will only need to focus on the top two platforms and execute.

For a business to be effective social media it needs to be active and present. By focusing your efforts on just two platforms for now, you will avoid spreading yourself too thin.

6. Being human.

When we are always looking for tips and tricks, we forget how relationships are created. We claim that we want to build relationships with our audiences, yet we typically mean we want them to follow us, but not bother us. This is a recipe for disaster and failed relationships.

How do I introduce myself and talk to other people at a conference when I’m an introvert? Be human, and say “hi.” Be more interested than interesting.

We all want to build massive platforms and audiences, yet we get caught up in the tactics that we simply forget to be human. You can’t build a relationship or an audience with a tactic.

Choose wisely, but choose.

These are the six pillars that have recurred during my interviewing of outstanding entrepreneurs and they are proven and effective in building audiences and businesses. Most businesses will not have the resources to implement all six pillars immediately, so choose those that are best for you.

For maximum benefit, you will need all six, but to get started you need to choose where to focus your energy and resources.

7 Lesser-Known Tips for Growing a More Loyal, Engaged Online Following

7 Lesser-Known Tips for Growing a More Loyal, Engaged Online Following

Some 150 million blogs exist, but the majority are failures that stick around for only a few months. Meanwhile, nine out of 10 startups fail. Figuring out how to grow an online following, whether you’re trying to build an audience for your blog, product or service, is no easy feat. But content without promotion is just content. No one is there to read it or engage with it, let alone spread the word.

If you’ve already tried the usual suggestions, like guest blogging, with mixed results, it’s time to dive into some lesser-known tactics. Here are seven ways to get started.

1. Turn your followers into partners.

Are you writing in a vacuum and talking to an invisible audience? To grow a loyal following, you need to give its members a reason to stay engaged. Recruit your followers’ opinions on everything from what type of content they want to see, to product launches and market research.

Turning followers into beta testers is also a way to build up some loyalty and intrigue among your followers. As they test your product or service, ask them to generate a little buzz to get the word out about your upcoming launch. The more your following feels like an integral part of your brand, the more engaged they’ll be in your success.

2. Position yourself as an authority.

Position yourself as an authority in your market by creating content and original resources to drive sales. Wouldn’t you buy from someone whose opinion you completely trusted? Whether you’re in a hot market like a travel startup in Bali, or running an association for manufacturers, leveraging your authority can attract legions of fans.

Stand out in your niche by offering something unique like Moz’s Whiteboard Friday videos. Videos can also show off your personality and help you stay visible to your audience. Epic content with expert interviews, charts, graphs and detailed research is always a winner. That’s how Ramit Sethi continually stands out in a crowded personal finance market.

3. Write less content.

It’s true that I just got finished explaining how writing novel-length content can help you stand out in your field. But that doesn’t mean you should stuff your blog and social media channels with a nonstop stream of content. If you’re going to go big, then make that your thing that your fans come to expect.

Give them a juicy piece of content every few weeks, or even once a month, and let them digest it and share it generously. Spend the rest of your time promoting your content, reaching out to influencers who are interested in your topic and engaging with your fans on social media.

4. Buy leads.

Normally, buying leads doesn’t lead to a loyal and engaged following, and isn’t necessarily a best practice. But done correctly, and with value behind it, buying leads can actually help you establish your online presence with rapid-fire success. Blog Tyrant featured a case study of how to launch a blog and get 17,800 email subscribers in six weeks.

He featured a reader, Marina, who reported how she’d managed to amass a large and engaged following for her fashion blog through highly-targeted Facebook ads, fun product giveaways and a Lead Page.

5. Offer content upgrades.

Engagement is about more than leaving comments and talking over Twitter. It’s also about creating incentives for your followers to share their email, read more of your content and ask for more insights. Give your readers a reason to stick around, and offer a content upgrade at the end of your posts or videos.

Ask them to subscribe or tweet a shout-out, to unlock freebies such as a list of resources, a video that goes into greater depth or a roundup of links and tools you mention in your content.

6. Target the enthusiastic.

Everyone talks about targeting a niche, but there’s more to do than just narrowing down your audience. You need to connect with a niche group that’s enthusiastic and hungry for content. This is especially true in “boring” industries like the death-care profession. I wrote about how LA-based mortician Caitlin Doughty found industry fame with her “Ask a Mortician” video series, and attracted more than 60,000 subscribers.

Now, imagine what her following must feel like. They’re interested in death care for whatever reason, and normally stumble across nothing but industry statistics, best practices and somber websites about bereavement. But thanks to Doughty, her following instead gets an interesting look at how the industry works, as well as some kooky videos on such topics as “Is It Legal? Viking Funerals.”

7. Send a personal ‘thank you.’

To turn your followers into loyal fans, there are still some old-school tactics to turn your followers into loyal fans. Send a personal thank you, for instance, to your customers, leads, fans and blog readers (we do this all the time at When I Work, the company I work for).

You might include a hand-written thank you note, a mention in a blog post or an effort to follow up with them out of the blue, by email or on social media. Take this tactic a step further and mention a personal detail to show you’re listening. The more you prove you really care, and remember to say thanks, the more your following will engage with you.

Ways To Make Money From Your Blog

Ways To Make Money From Your Blog

Blogging can be a fulfilling hobby – a great way to express your passion for a particular subject. But make no mistake: it can also be a great way to make money, either as a side hustle or as a full-time career.

Don’t believe me?

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income made over $2 million last year through his blog.

Matthew of True Valhalla is a 20-year old game developer who is on track to make $500,000 this year from his blog.

And Anil Agarwal of Bloggers Passion isn’t getting rich, but takes in around $70,000 a year from his blog.

So whether you want to make an extra $1,000/month from your blog or are looking to quit your day job to blog full time, this post will help.

Following are 25 ways you can start making money from your blog today.

1. Create a business directory

What types of product or services does your audience frequently ask for recommendations on? Compile a list, and then approach relevant businesses to sign up for your business directory. A tool like Business Directory Plugin makes it easy to get started.

2. Promote an affiliate product

Affiliate sales comprise a large chunk of revenue for most big-name bloggers. For instance, Pat Flynn made $53K last month from affiliate sales, compared to “just” $9,500 from book sales. In general, look for affiliate products with higher price points; web hosting companies are a great choice if it makes sense in your niche, with payouts of anywhere from $60-$130+ per signup.

Hostgator affiliate screenshot

3. Sell ad space

This is the strategy that most bloggers start with when looking to monetize their blog. However, keep in mind you’re not limited to selling banner ad spots (which is generally an ineffective strategy these days). Consider other areas you could rent out: space on your pop-up box, social media headers, the “P.S.” on your email newsletters…think outside the box (quite literally).

4. Offer services

While selling your services may not make you rich (look to passive income to do that!), it’s a great way to make some extra cash and to build up your reputation. Sell services directly related to the topic of your blog (e.g., catering for a food blog), or freelance blogging services like writing or graphic design.

5. Offer consulting services

There’s a need for consultants in nearly every niche. Charge by the hour for the phone, email or Skype advice you’re probably already giving away for free.

6. Write sponsored posts

Sponsored blog post example

As you build up your blog, expect to receive multiple sponsored post requests each day. These native ads can be a highly effective way for businesses to reach your audience in a non-threatening way – and they can be a highly effective way for you to make a lot of money. Just make sure the posts are actually interesting and relevant to your audience, and that you fully disclose the sponsored nature of the post.

7. Offer coaching services

Similar to consulting, coaching is usually more a one-on-one service (while consulting is generally provided to organizations or teams). Put together a range of packages you can offer: hourly consults, DIY packages, or unlimited email advice packages.

8. Host webinars

While many businesses use them to generate leads, hosting paid webinars is also an option. Just make sure you’re providing exceptional value – with so many free webinars out there, you need to be offering something pretty special if you want to charge for it.

9. Host sponsored contests or giveaways

Approach businesses in your niche and offer to host a giveaway or contest on your blog or on social media. This can increase awareness of their business among your followers; and when done right, can also generate a ton of leads for their business.

10. Teach an online course

Want to design and host an online course entirely on your blog? WordPress plugins like LearnDash and Zippy Courses make it easy to get started. Of, if you’d prefer to host your course through an established online education site, look at Udemy or Skillshare.

With Zippy Courses, you can get an online course set up quickly, with no coding skills required

11. Create a private community

Build a virtual community on your blog using a free plugin like bbPress, or host it on Facebook using Facebook groups. With so many free groups out there, just be sure you’re offering amazing value to make the monthly fee worthwhile.

12. Write an ebook

Have in-depth knowledge in your niche? Package it up into an ebook and sell it on your blog. I’d generally advise against selling it (at least exclusively) on Amazon or Kobo, as you’ll probably be able to charge much less. If you’ve already built up a solid audience, you can probably change anywhere from $5 for a very short one, all the way up to $39+.

13. Sponsored social content

Give businesses some airtime on your Facebook page, or post sponsored tweets or Instagram pics. These are ridiculously quick and easy to post, and you can charge anywhere from $25-$500+ per post depending on the size of your audience.

14. Premium gated content

Premium content can mean any type of content you charge for – an ebook, whitepaper, downloadable guide, etc. But what I’m referring to here is pay-gated content. Basically you just put some awesome content up behind a paywall, which means visitors pay to access it. You can get your own paywall set up in 10 minutes or less using a plugin like MemberPress or Paid Memberships Pro.

Paid memberships pro screenshot

A plugin like Paid Memberships Pro lets you set up and charge for different membership levels

15. Site sponsorship

Some advertisers aren’t content to just have a banner ad or sponsored post; they want the full meal deal. A site sponsorship is where an advertiser basically has full reign of your site (at least in terms of adverting exclusivity). This could mean they get banner ads, mentions in your pop-up, their logo in your blog banner, etc.

16. Sell merchandise

Adding a shop page to your blog is easy (and free) with a plugin like Woocommerce. Whether you sell handmade goods, your own digital products (E-junkie is a great low-cost option for this), or other relevant products, this can be a great way to make some extra cash from your blog.

17. Sell templates

A good template can save your audience time and money. Templates can work in almost any niche: Business – new client contract template; Fitness – 30-day workout template; Health – 3 month clean eating template, etc.

18. Job board

Creating a job board on your site is a great way to make your blog “sticky” – meaning you get visitors returning again and again. It’s also a great way to earn some extra cash while also providing a valuable service. Darren Rowse from ProBlogger runs a hugely popular job board where he charges $70 for a 30-day listing. With around 70 listings per month, he’s bringing in some solid earnings with relatively little investment of time or money.

Problogger job board screenshot

19. Private bootcamp

Host a bootcamp for your audience to help them accomplish a specific goal. This works well in the fitness niche (30-day “get in shape” bootcamp), business (“Launch your website bootcamp”), home and lifestyle (“Make over your living room for just $200”), and many other niches.

20. Write tutorials

In-depth tutorials are great for getting links and social shares. However, they can also be a great way to earn money on your blog. There are a number of ways you can make this happen – include affiliate links for the products you use in your tutorial; promote your own products in the tutorial; write a tutorial to promote an advertiser’s product (just be clear that it’s a sponsored post), etc.

How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online

How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online

Ever thought about launching your own blog? Ever wondered what it takes, not only to start up that blog, but also to successfully build it over time to make money online or generate a passive income? Clearly, you’re not alone. Millions of people try their hand at blogging, but so few actually ever generate a substantial income from their efforts.

However, if you’re starting a blog for the purposes of making money, and you’re not actually passionate about writing in the first place, then you’re largely wasting your time. The art of blogging isn’t simply scientific or formulaic. Without a deep-seated passion for your craft, you’ll face a tide of frustration and upset.

Why? While it’s relatively straightforward to begin a blog, it’s a monumental undertaking to generate any semblance of traffic and profit from your arduous efforts. You need laser-focus and persistence to build an audience or reach mass saturation with your prose. It takes time and it takes long and drawn out evenings burning the proverbial midnight oil.

Take it from me. As a blogger who’s built a substantial platform with hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors, I can bask in the warm glow of success. However, I can’t sit around for too long enjoying the freedom and passive income that my blog has created. Without constantly adding insatiable content, any blog can die off.

So, what does it take to start a successful blog and actually make money online? I suppose that depends on what you consider successful and what you consider making money. If, like millions of other potential bloggers out there, you’re looking to rake it in, you’ll have a long road ahead.

But if you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, and you can stay persistent over the years (and yes, I said years), then you can most certainly generate a substantial income online. In fact, your blog is quite possibly one of the best hubs of passive income generation, and if done the right way, it can attract the right clients and customers no matter what industry or niche you might be in.


How to Start a Blog: Step-by-Step

Okay, if I haven’t dissuaded you just yet, and you’re serious about launching the next Mashable or TechCrunch or whatever other blog you might think is wildly successful in your eyes, then here’s what you need to do in a step-by-step fashion. The more you prepare and plan, the more likely you’ll be to succeed in the long term.

1. Pick a Topic

Get clear on what you’ll write about. Define a topic or niche, and design all your content around those things. This will help you to not only laser-focus your writing, but also to build digital products and services that compliment your content.

This allows you to attract customers in, enticing them with your highly-informative posts, then tempting them with a lead magnet before dropping them into your sales funnel (more on that shortly).

2. Select a Platform

While WordPress is the most popular platform for blogging by far, there are others out there that can be leveraged such as a micro-blogging platform like and even Medium. However, if you’re serious about your blogging efforts, you’ll likely want to go with a self-hosted WordPress installation on a custom domain.

While you could setup a blog at with a subdomain such as, you’ll get more traction with a self-hosted solution, and then be able to use subdomains on popular platforms for your content-marketing efforts.


3. Pick a Domain Name

Custom domain names are important if you’re serious about making money from the blog you start. Rather than relying on a third-party-hosted subdomain, find a short but relevant keyword-rich (if possible) domain name that’s descriptive of your intended topic, industry or niche. Use BlueHost, HostGator, 1&1 Hosting or any other number of domain name providers to source your domain.

If you’re at all concerned about things like SEO, when selecting your domain name, you should adhere to the following suggestions:

  • Use a known top-level domain (TLD) such as .com or .net
  • Keep the domain short, no more than 15 characters or so
  • Try not to purchase a domain name with hyphens, since they’re more often associated with spammers
  • Avoid using self-hosted subdomains to rank or categorize posts


4. Find a Good Web Hosting Company

There are loads of good hosting companies out there. If you’re starting a WordPress, self-hosted blog, there are a near-endless amount of options. The important thing is to do your due diligence and pick the right one that’s suitable to your budget and to ensure that the service-level and up-time guarantee is there.

At the beginning, you’ll likely want to start out with either a Managed WordPress solution or a Virtual Private Server (VPS), and scale from there. Eventually, you’ll probably need a dedicated-hosting solution with a CDN (below) once you break through a few thousand visitors per day.

5. Caching and Content-Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Use a system like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache and turn on browser caching to ensure that you speed up the delivery of your webpages. In the beginning, this might not seem as important. But as you grow and your traffic increases to thousands of visitors per day, this will be critical. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights to test things before and after the installation.

It’s also important that you setup a CDN, which will speed up the global delivery of your content. For example, your page might load relatively quickly in the United States, but what happens when someone in Australia tries to load your content? CDNs replicate data across multiple repositories around the world, and make content delivery ultra-fast.

This is important for the user’s experience because most people who are foced to wait even a few seconds for a page to load, often abandon the website and go to the next one in the search results. W3 Total Cache integrates with Amazon’s AWS and MaxCDN, two very good options when it comes to CDNs.

6. Enable Permalinks

In WordPress, you should enable permalinks before getting things off the ground, which will give you nice canonical URLs that are SEO-friendly. Permalinks are located within the settings > permalinks section of your WordPress admin and select the post name option.


7. Install the AMP plugin

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an initiative by Google to speed up mobile accessibility to a large degree of their content. The AMP specification, which you can read more about here, helps to thin down a webpage to its basic structural components with scaled-back JS and minified CSS code, makes for lightning-fast page speeds.

8. Install Google Analytics

Install Google Analytics so that you can keep track of your efforts while building out your blog. This is a great way to keep track of your results while using the URL campaign builder when dropping links in social media and other places so that you can effectively determine where your traffic is coming from.

9. Setup Google’s Webmaster Tools

Anyone who’s serious about building a blog and making money, needs to leverage Google’s webmaster tools to see what keywords they’re ranking for and any messages that would impact their ability to rank. This will also allow you to submit an XML sitemap and track keyword impressions along with click-through rates. This is one of the most useful tools for growing your site or blog through constant analysis of your efforts.

10. Learn SEO the Right Way

Although you shouldn’t start a blog with the intention of optimizing it to oblivion, you most certainly should understand the fundamental principles of search engine optimization so that you pay attention to the key aspects that will impact your ability to rank on search engines like Google. Begin with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and digest and implement that information. Learning SEO is a long and drawn out journey. You should always be increasing your knowledge and expanding your skill set.

Help your ads find the people who will love your business.

Help your ads find the people who will love your business.


Advertise in the cities, communities and countries where you want to do business.


Choose your audience based on age, gender, education, job title and more. You can keep track of the types of people your ads are reaching, but Facebook will never share personally-identifiable information about them.


Add interests and hobbies of the people you want your ad to reach – from organic food to action films – and make your targeted ads more relevant.


Target your ads based on consumer behaviours such as prior purchases and device usage.


Choose to include people who are connected to your Facebook Page or event, or exclude them to find new audiences.

Ways to Make Money Online Blogging with WordPress

Ways to Make Money Online Blogging with WordPress

Are you looking for the top ways to make money online that are NOT scams? WordPress is the largest publishing platform on the planet, and it powers over 30% of all websites.

You can use WordPress and blogging to earn money online by doing what you love. You can work from home, at your own time, and there is no limit on how much money you can make.

In this article, we will share top “proven” ways to make money online blogging with WordPress.

First, a word of warning: these aren’t ‘Get rich quick’ schemes. If you are looking for a way to get rich quick by making money online, then you’re in the wrong place.

Don’t be fooled by the pictures of expensive cars, mansions, or working from the beach. Every single one of them is a scam, and you will waste your time and money paying for any courses or training that you buy from those guys.

Unlike other “make money online” articles, this is a comprehensive guide on how to make money at home legitimately, using blogging and WordPress.

Many of these methods require some investment of time and/or money to get started. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll reap the reward.

Before you can start using any of these methods, you’ll need to have your own self-hosted WordPress blog. We have a step by step guide on how to start a WordPress blog for beginners.

The process is really easy to follow whether you are 20 years or 60 years old. However, if you need help, our expert team can help you set up your blog for free. → Click Here to Get Your Free WordPress Blog Setup! ←

Once you have set up your blog, then you are ready to follow this guide.

Since this is a lengthy article, we created a table of contents below for easy navigation.

8 Powerful Ways to Monetize a Blog That Generates Under 1,000 Visitors Per Day

8 Powerful Ways to Monetize a Blog That Generates Under 1,000 Visitors Per Day

Can you really make money from blogging?

If your blog gets over 10,000 monthly unique visitors, then yes – it’s relatively easy to monetize and create a nice revenue stream with it.

The real challenge is making money from a blog that generates fewer than 1,000 visitors per day.

I know that most of my readers have blogs that fall into this category. When I speak to an audience, I usually ask them how much traffic their blogs generate.

The answers aren’t always impressive.

Just as in life, there are different stages to a blog’s life cycle. You can’t compare your new blog to one that’s been around for years.

Truth be told: “It takes time to build an income from blogging.” No matter what stories you’ve read on different blogs, no true success ever happened overnight. It only happens that way in the movies.

Identify the stage you’re in, and work from there. There’s no shortcut to getting blog traffic. Yes, I can show you how to drive traffic to your blog, but you have to be patient and consistent, and you have to work really hard.

That said, this in-depth article will guide you on monetizing your new blog. There are still opportunities to make money with your blog, even though it’s not as popular as QuickSprout.

I’m honored to have you as a reader. And I want to help you start making money from your blogging efforts. Because when you’re earning enough money to care for yourself and family, then hopefully you’ll tell others how my blog helped you change your life.

So without further ado, here are 8 proven ways to monetize a blog that generates fewer than 1,000 visitors per day: 

1. Offer a coaching service to motivated clients

If you’re looking for a way to start making money within the shortest period of time, become a coach. Giving prospects and customers direct access to products and expertise is where it’s at.

Data from Disc Insights found that “as a whole, the life coaching industry takes in a yearly revenue of $2 billion.”

Jenni Elliot, founder of, makes $397 on a one-to-one blogging intensive coaching session. And her students are excited about it, because of the results she helps them achieve.


It doesn’t matter when you started blogging or how much experience you’ve gained in that time — offering a coaching service to motivated clients can bring you money.

Inevitably, your readers will face challenges in life. A coach’s responsibility is to help people manage their challenges, and react in a positive way instead of getting frustrated and giving up.


You can use your blog as a platform to create awareness and nurture a loyal audience.

A lot of bloggers I know started out as online coaches. Initially, they struggled to attract regular clients, but they overcame the challenge by reaching out through social media engagement.

The major reason why becoming a coach in your industry can help you earn extra income is because people want to learn new skills, or improve in certain areas.

Coaching services are in demand because of the dramatic results the process can bring.

As an example, after working with Walk of Life Consulting, 98% of clients reported that they thought their CV was more compelling using achievement statements, and 87% said their LinkedIn profile became 5X more effective. Here’s the rest of the statistics:


You can venture into lots of areas as a coach. Life coaching is just one such area, and it’s increasingly popular these days. As a coach, you’ll help people deal constructively with challenges in their personal or professional lives.

For example, if someone is a web developer, he may need a business or personal coach to help him adjust to changes in the web development industry, get the best rates regardless of the recession, and retain clients who will in turn refer others through word of mouth.

Why coaching? Well, the benefits are enormous. Take a look:


So how can you use your blog to promote your coaching services business?

First and foremost, create useful and interesting content on subjects that matter to those clients and prospects. For example, if you offer coaching services to freelance writers, the topics you can cover in your blog posts include:

  • Attracting new clients
  • Nurturing prospects
  • Generating and capturing leads
  • Retaining existing clients
  • Setting and raising rates
  • Weeding out difficult or “problem” clients
  • Branding
  • Content creation and copywriting case studies

When offering coaching services, you need a strong value proposition, because the market is already saturated. Having a strong reason “why” people should prefer you instead of your competitors will give you a necessary edge.

As an example, Tim Brownson, founder of, positioned himself as “the life coach who gets people unstuck.” With his 10 years of life coaching experience, clients trust him for his ingenuity and knowledge.


If you’re driven to succeed as a coach, you don’t need to follow dozens and dozens of other coaches in an effort to “learn.” Instead, what you need is to pay more attention to your blog and create high-value content.

After all, you’re the coach. And the only way to prove your expertise is through the content you create on a regular basis. Use blogging to increase your prospects’ success, preferably by including case studies wherever possible.

According to Jeff Molander,

Blogging is most useful when you strive to help [your prospects] believe what they want (what you sell) can actually happen for them on time, on budget and without pain. It removes the fear from buying.

When you become a life, personal, or business coach, you have 3 key jobs:

  1. Teach prospects how to set and attain goals, overcome challenges, or avoid risks in ways they can put to work instantly;
  2. Improve the prospect’s perception about their business and create confidence in them to trust your recommendations and reach their goals; and
  3. Lead customers to constructive, proven processes, encouraging them to ask questions and increase their drive to succeed.

No matter what industry you’re in or cater to, offering a coaching service to motivated clients can help them reach their goals and make you moneyPeter James Sinclair benefitted from Yaro Starak’s coaching program, and he’s more organized and effective now.

Through investment coaching, Todd R. Tresidder helped Gary Craig, an entrepreneur and former hedge fund owner, to grow his monthly cash flow from $5,000 to $50,000 per month.


Before you rush in and start offering coaching services to motivated clients, you have to understand that a coach is an entrepreneur. You’ve got to have that mindset because that’s what you need to thrive.

Mediocre coaches give up in the face of unfavorable circumstances, but coaches who’ve focused on improving their entrepreneurial skills thrive. When you think like the entrepreneur you truly are, you’ll command higher rates.

For example, Julia struggled to make a living as a yoga coach. However, by approaching her coaching services business like an entrepreneur, she went from $8 to $125 per hour.

2. Become an in-demand freelance blogger

If you’re a blogger, then you already have the skills to become an on-demand freelance blogger. In 2010, Carol Tice frequently made $5,000 or more each month as a paid blogger. You can imagine how much she makes in 2016.

Linda Formichelli makes $250 per hour, and Elna Cain makes a full-time income as a professional freelance writer.


Brands are desperately looking for bloggers with the relevant skillsets. And becoming a freelance blogger can transform your financial life.

65% of freelancers believe their life as a freelancer has improved over the last year. About 19% of freelancers made more than $50,000 last year, including about 5% who earned six figures. And 62.5% of freelancers do it full time, with no side project (e.g., a job).


A freelance writer is a professional who writes articles on different topics for sites, emails, landing pages, etc.

But a freelance blogger is especially skilled at understanding the audience of a particular blog, and creating content that will spur them into action.

Skilled freelance bloggers make a living from their efforts. And more money is yet to be made, as B2B and B2C companies increasingly recognize content as the ultimate tool for attracting leads and nurturing a loyal audience.

Data from B2C found that “54% of B2B marketers will increase their spend on content marketing over the next 12 months.” In fact, it’s estimated that marketers are now spending $44 billion on content marketing.


Content marketing is, of course, primarily powered by content.

Believe it or not, the market for freelance blogging is still virgin territory. Yes, I know what you’re probably thinking – “but there are so many writers already!”

That’s true. But professional freelance bloggers who have WordPress, SEO, social media, and persuasive skills are much harder to find. So if you can add these skills to your writing, you’ll become an in-demand freelance blogger.

Initially, you’ll have to market your freelance blogging services through guest blogging on high-traffic blogs, consistent in-house blogging, social media marketing, and even Facebook PPC. But eventually, your happy clients will refer more clients to you.

3. Create and sell online courses

Another profitable way to monetize a blog that generates fewer than 1,000 visitors per day is to create and sell online courses. You don’t need many leads or customers to make money with your first online course.


Start from where you are and scale from there.

If your blog receives at least 50 visitors per day, find out exactly what those visitors want and create a course from there. The truth is that your first course may not be that “awesome” — but that’s okay.

You can always improve. But avoid the excuses and just get started.

People like buying online courses, even when they can find the same information for free. People like “convenience.”

Online courses are focused on a specific subject or topic. They’re organized and ready to be put into action.

Online courses have a higher perceived value than blog posts alone. That’s because your target audience can tell how much time you spent creating it. Consequently, they conclude that it must offer some form of value to them.


So don’t be afraid to create an online course – even on a topic that’s been thoroughly covered online. Bryan Harris launched his second online course to 22,000 email subscribers and generated $511,466 in invoiced sales.


Blogging positions you as an expert. It doesn’t matter when you started – the fact that you have a WordPress blog with helpful content eliminates the question of experience.

Through your blog, you can earn a living. In fact, it’s estimated that 14% of bloggers earn a salary through blogging.


Creating an online course is a great way to upgrade your blogging career. Instead of writing for everyone, you create a platform that delivers your best content exclusively to customers.

Online courses are incredibly popular. That’s why there are so many platforms to create and sell online courses.

But keep in mind that the online course market is evolving on a daily basis. Sites like Udemy, Teachable, and Course Merchant have become popular with marketers and technical instructors. And more platforms are coming.

Phil Ebiner makes $100,000 per year selling on Udemy. Even though he doesn’t own or control the platform, he does quite well for himself simply using the popular platform. He also uses his blogs and social media to promote his Udemy courses.

And then there’s Corbett Carr, who shared a video case study on 10 merchants who earned $1.6 million on Udemy in one year.


In fact, the average instructor brings in $7,000 from Udemy courses, though there is a wide range of outcomes.

But beyond leveraging third-party online learning platforms, you can actually create and sell your own online course at your blog.

Or you could use a premium online course plugin for WordPress, such as Zippy CoursesCoursePressWP CourseWareWoothemes Sensei, and so on.

As a blogger, you can create an online course on any topic that people are struggling with. It doesn’t have to be a complex topic like A/B testing – it could be as simple as “how to use Google Docs.”

Are you surprised? Well, here’s proof that this works: Joseph Michael Nicoletti created an online course that helps novelists write their novel with Scrivener and he makes about $20,000 – $30,000 per month.

You want your course to be engaging, useful, and unique. If you follow these four tips for creating an engaging online course, you’ll succeed:


It’s time to get down to business. Start with your best blog posts. If I were to create an online course on SEO, I’d probably start with my Advanced Guide To SEO – because people like it and will be happy to get an updated version. A few tweaks would make that guide another home run as an online course.


4. Write and make money from Kindle books

Want to make money writing short ebooks?

Well, people are doing just that with Amazon Kindle publishing.

U.S. ebook sales revenue has experienced an impressive upward growth trend. There’s no doubt that the growth will continue. And when it comes to reading ebooks, there are many mobile devices you can use, but Amazon Kindle is used by 47% of ebook readers.


The good thing about writing and making money from Kindle books is that there are already millions of buyers who are ready to buy from Amazon.

You already know that Amazon is a trusted online shopping site – and you don’t have to work that hard to convince people to buy your Kindle book. People believe Amazon passes its credibility to your product, in a sense.

At the age of 21, Stefan Pylarinos started his Kindle publishing career. As a blogger, the bulk of his income comes from his Kindle books and an online course on how to create and make money with Kindle books.

Specifically, he made over $1.1 million in 2015 from his online business, which is actually based on Kindle publishing.

Stefan makes a decent income from his KMoney Mastery 2.0 course, which teaches people how to profit with Kindle publishing.


However, in order to make a living from Kindle books, you need to work extra hard and publish books regularly. The more quality books you have, the more money you’ll make. Stefan Pylarinos has over 20 Kindle books and still counting.

You’ll need to offer several short Kindle books because individually, they’re priced pretty cheap – usually from $0.99 to $4.00. Probably doesn’t sound too encouraging, right?

But if you price your Kindle book at $1.99 and sell 200 copies per month, your total income will be $398. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And many authors make more.

Chris Guthrie estimated the earnings of one Kindle book in one year at $377.87 per month, which adds up to $4,534.41 per year at a price of $2.99


Get started right away if you feel that Kindle publishing is the right monetization model for your blog. Kindle books are sold at Amazon, but your blog can be used to pre-sell your titles and then redirect buyers to your Kindle book store.

You can use your blog to promote your Kindle books, give discounts, and give away free copies of your book in order to generate honest reviews (which are essential for boosting your Kindle book rankings & sales).

You don’t have to spend money to promote your Kindle books. With your blog, you’ve got the influence, authority, audience, and platform to make it work. Through blogging, you can launch and make your first $1,000 from Kindle books.

As an example, Steve J. Scott uses his blog to promote his books and generates more money from Amazon Kindle compared to other platforms.


There are even some smart marketers out there who make a decent income from Kindle Books without writing. They simply outsource the content creation, then use their blogs to drive sales.

One of those smart marketers is Arman Assadi. According to him, his first ebook cost him $375 – $350 to get the book written, and $25 for a professional cover design.

At the time of writing this, he makes $2,500 per month by publishing Kindle books he didn’t write.


Whether it’s Kindle books or PDF ebooks that people can read on their mobile devices, average authors and bloggers are pulling over $1,000,000 from it. You can, too.

To learn more about Kindle publishing and how to make money from it, see the resource guides below:

The Ultimate Guide to Making Money Publishing Kindle Books

16 Kindle Book Marketing Strategies (Dissected and Graded)

How to Increase Your Amazon Kindle Book Sales by 600% in a Week

5. Make money from private label rights

As a marketer, you can benefit from over 50 ways to make money with private label rights (PLR) products. But you have to pay attention to the details.

First, don’t use the product word-for-word. Tweak it and make it at least 65% unique. Once you understand your PLR usage rights, you can repackage and make money from it.

Before Panda struck in February 2011, PLR products were popular, and many marketers and bloggers used it to generate content for their sites.

So what are private label rights?

Here’s how Wikipedia defined it:

… private label rights is a license where the author sells most or all of the intellectual property rights to their work. The license is defined by the author of the work and has no legal definition. Private label rights is derived from private labeling.

In other words, PLR products are pre-written content that you can claim as your own without incurring any legal action.

In the past, you could start a new site, download a few PLR articles and publish them for your audience. But the game has changed. Duplicate content is a serious violation of Google’s terms, and could get your site penalized.

However, you can still make money from private label rights as a blogger. If you’re a new/beginner blogger, you can leverage other people’s products.

Creating an information product (e.g., ebooks) from scratch is difficult. If you’re new to blogging you may not have the experience required. Worse, imagine after all the hard work creating the product, no one buys it.

Here are some reasons why product creation from scratch is tiring:


With a PLR product, you don’t need all of that.

Even if you’re not particularly knowledgeable about a certain topic, you can become an author in that field. For example, you can use PLR articles to write a Kindle book related to “plastic surgery” even if you didn’t study that in school.

You can also generate content for your blog using PLR content. When evaluating PLR products, look for these 3 factors:

  • recently developed
  • written by a reputable author
  • published in limited circulation

Most bloggers and internet marketers struggle to make money with PLR products because they’re lazy. They use the content word-for-word on their blogs. Even when they create ebooks, most people don’t change anything.

If you find a valuable PLR product, you need to rewrite it and make it at least 30 – 40% unique. You can get quality PLR ebooks, articles, videos, and audio content from sites such as InDigitalWorksPLRWholesaler, and so on.


Aside from rewriting the PLR articles or ebooks, you can do so much more with a PLR product. Typically, PLR content is based around profitable niche keywords and information that that the target audience is looking for.

You can use the insights of PLR products as research sources, and then create your own high-value ebook based on the information they provide.

Note: To retain your credibility and build a cognitive brand, I don’t recommend you use PLR articles on your own blog.

Yes, you can learn from the author’s wealth of knowledge about a particular subject/topic, but do your best to always write your own content from scratch.

You can also use PLR products indirectly. For example, you could rewrite a PLR ebook and give it away to build your email list. Then you can make money from your list.

6. Create a high-converting funnel and recommend products at the backend

When people join your email list, what happens next?

Do you feel excited that you have email subscribers and then ignore them?

Follow-up and relationship building is vital. According to Marketing Donut, “44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up, and the average sales person only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect.”


Following up on prospects to convert them into buyers is where the majority of sales will come from. Through follow-up emails, you connect with motivated buyers and sell at the backend.

In fact, persistently sending follow-up emails helped this entrepreneur connect easily with 27+ CEOs from companies like Amazon, Imgur, Pandora, and Twitter.

Relationship is the easiest way to establish trust with blog readers and sell a product. It sounds so simple, but a lot of people aren’t doing it.

Relationship begins when you create awareness about your primary business. You then lead your prospects through a funnel, while delivering immense value with your content in every phase.


First, understand this: there’s nothing wrong with selling to your readers. As long as that product is valuable, you’re actually doing the right thing – making the world a better place.

So don’t feel bad about selling useful products to your blog readers.

However, forget about the product and build a relationship with them. That’s where the funnel comes in.

The purpose of a marketing funnel is to attract strangers, convert them into leads, close the deal by turning them into customers and delight them after they have purchased your product.


The moment you drive potential customers to your funnel, they opt in to your list and they’re added into your follow-up autoresponder. Then you can start building the relationship.

You nurture them through your blog posts, video, infographics, ebooks, and so on. Ideally, you can ask them exactly what they’re struggling with, then use the questions to create relevant and high-value content for them.

Converting visitors into customers should become your ultimate focus as a blogger. You may not always blog, but if you can take care of your email list of potential customers, you can still make money.


Along the way, recommend affiliate programs and products, your own ebooks or software.

Any product that will help them after you have established a level of trust with them should be shared with them. Help them achieve their goals by recommending the same products and services that helped you.

As bloggers who simply started out to share their experiences with readers on their journey of building profitable niche sites, Gael Breton & Mark Webster used a relationship funnel to make money.

After creating their first product, they gave away a part of it to collect leads. Altogether, they collected 301 emails, nurtured the leads, recommended their own quality product and generated $2,684 in 30 days.


7. Build relationships & partner with influencers in product creation/launch

Do you know why so many product launches fail?

Joan Schneider and Julie Hall from Harvard Business Review had this to say:

The biggest problem we’ve encountered is lack of preparation: Companies are so focused on designing and manufacturing new products that they postpone the hard work of getting ready to market them until too late in the game. Here are five other frequent, and frequently fatal, flaws.

If you think that making money online boils down to driving traffic to your blog and generating email leads, you’re making a mistake.

Leads are only the beginning. One recent study found that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.

You need to generate the right leads. The truth is that you may not have this type of leads as a beginning blogger out to monetize a blog. But you can leverage influencers’ audiences.

Do you have an idea for a product? Most people struggle to launch their products because they go about it all by themselves. It’s reported that 70% of all new product launches fail in the first year. The question is, why do some succeed when others fail?

There are several aspects of a successful product launch that you may not be able to handle all by yourself. If you try to go it alone, you’re bound to waste more time

and there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed.


You have to understand that your efforts can only lead you far. To make a real impact in the lives of people, you need to build relationships with influencers and leverage their influence to create and launch your product.

Of course, generating leads is important when launching your product. Even before you release the product (e.g., ebook, software, plugin) for sale, you should start pre-selling and communicating with prospects.

Ideally, you should build a landing page to collect emails prior to launching your product. According to MarketingSherpa, “61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified.”


Leveraging the efforts of influencers could turn out to be the most powerful marketing tool in your arsenal.

As an example, Sujan Patel connected and built relationship with influencers and expert growth hackers before launching an ebook, 100 Days of Growth.

And in 6 months, Patel and his partner Rob Wormley sold 10,000 copies of the book, which costs $27 per copy.


8. Launch a virtual summit

No matter where you’re as a blogger, you can monetize your blog by launching virtual summits, which are growing in popularity these days.

Many bloggers are using summits to connect and build relationship with influencers. Influencers can bring you credibility, reach, and engagement.


Virtual summits or conferences are powerful. According to Kristen Matthews of Convince and Convert,

Virtual conferences are the most underrated marketing tactic at our fingertips.

Many success stories keep pouring in from bloggers building their lists and income through virtual summits. For one, Aj Amyx earned $16,000 (and 2,300+ subscribers) with a virtual summit.


Here are some of the results of a virtual summit by Navid Moazzez:


There are bloggers and digital marketers making a six-figure income from virtual summits. But you may be wondering whether a virtual summit is the same thing as podcasting. Well, here’s a clear description from Entrepreneur:


Navid Moazzez is regarded as one of the most influential branding summit experts. When his younger brother suddenly passed away in 2013, that year was depressing for him, but Navid went on to create his first virtual summit and pulled $60,000 in sales from a small email list of around 1,500 people.

When Jan Koch launched his first virtual summit, he grew his email list by 600%, got featured on major industry websites, and become the go-to expert in his field.


Of course, to get the most out of your virtual summits, you should conduct A/B tests to be certain about your landing page.

To truly succeed at a virtual summit launch, you need to make it a win/win for the experts who will share their knowledge.

Choose a topic that will inspire people to action, and make sure you have a product to sell at the backend.


At the heart of a blogging is a deep-seated desire to build and nurture an audience (a tribe).

The harsh truth is this: As a practical matter, you can’t make money bloggingBut you can make money by using your blog to promote a product or service.

Most beginning bloggers struggle to make a living from their blogging efforts, because they believed that blogging alone was enough to make them money.

Honestly, internet marketing blogs may be difficult to make money from. Because your target audience are bloggers also – and want to make money as well. But you can easily make money in other industries.

As an example, I generated over $17,000 from my food and nutrition blog in December. I think that’s an achievement because when I started my content marketing blog, I didn’t make that much within 6 months.

The majority of successful bloggers make the bulk of their money from industries outside internet marketing.

For example, Darren Rowse makes more money from his Digital Photography School, and Ryan Deiss generates over six figure income annually from SurvivalLife. There are countless success stories in this regard.

In a nutshell, if you can’t compete with other players in your industry, you may want to switch to other industries where you can establish influence, and use minimal effort to build links, get organic traffic and monetize your blog.

That said, you have to be consistent. No real success happens overnight.

As usual, I would like to hear from you. Which of these methods is the best way to make money as a blogger when your blog generates fewer than 1,000 visitors per day?

How I can profit from publishing blog articles

How I can profit from publishing blog articles

There are lots of guides about how to make money blogging, but here’s what makes this one different:

I’ve taken three different blogs to over $1 million per year. In fact, the blog you’re reading right now has made a total of $6.7 million.

And in this post, I’m going to give you a step-by-step case study showing you exactly how I did it, starting from nothing, along with my step-by-step guide for beginners trying to get started.

Let’s jump in.

In a moment, I’m going to show you a general framework you can follow to start a profitable blog from scratch.

But first, let’s jump into the specifics of how to make money blogging, including real-world examples you can study and learn from.

Here are the top 7 awesome ways to make good money blogging:

1. Online Courses and Workshops

Here at Smart Blogger, we make most of our income from online courses and workshops — over $1 million per year — but we are far from the only ones. Most of the people making a lot of money from their blogs are doing it through online courses.

Ramit Sethi reportedly crossed $10 million dollars in annual revenue with his suite of premium courses:

Ramit Sethi - Premium Courses

And it’s not only business or wealth focused topics that are doing well. You can find successful blogs on just about any topic monetizing with online courses. For instance, the popular interior designer Maria Killam has quite a few courses and workshops in her catalog:

Maria Killam - Courses and Workshops

Online courses and workshops can bring in one-time payments or, depending on your model, recurring payments via subscriptions.

2. Books and Ebooks

Quite a few writers have parlayed their blogging success into a major publishing deal. Mark Manson, for instance, published a post called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck in 2015. Millions of readers later, he got a book deal with Harper Collins and went on to sell over 3,000,000 copies in the US alone.

Mark Manson - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Self-published books have also been successful. The most notable success story among bloggers is probably James Altucher’s Choose Yourself, which is now sold over 500,000 copies:

James Altucher - Choose Yourself

3. Affiliate Marketing

If you’d like to create some passive income streams from your blog, one of the best choices is affiliate marketing — recommending the services, digital products, and physical products of other companies in exchange for a commission.

Here at Smart Blogger, we make more than $100,000 per year promoting affiliate products, most of that coming from casually recommending products we love like SiteGround (affiliate link) and Elementor (affiliate link).

But there are lots of other examples too. For instance, John Lee Dumas of EOFire made $710,835 in affiliate income last year. Digital Photography School has reportedly made over $500,000 in Amazon Associates commissions from promoting photography equipment:

Digital Photography School - Amazon Affiliates

With so many companies offering referral programs to help spread the word about their product or service, the number of different affiliate marketing opportunities is enormous.

4. Advertising

Normally, we’re not big fans of selling ads on your site. You need roughly a million visitors per year for the large ad networks to take you seriously, and affiliate marketing is almost always more profitable and just as passive.

That being said, some niches like recipes, fashion, and news are hard to monetize through many of the other methods mentioned here, and they get LOTS of page views. In that case, putting a few ads on your site can make sense as a supplementary income source.

For example, here’s a screenshot of a 2016 income report from Share the Yummy:

Share the Yummy - Income Report

Normally, you make money by joining a network. Nearly anyone can join Google AdSense, for example, and you can later grow into more selective networks like Mediavine and AdThrive.

5. Speaking Gigs

If your blog takes off, and you start being recognized as an authority in your space, you might be surprised by how many invitations you get to speak at conferences. And it’s amazingly profitable. I typically make a minimum of $10,000 per speech and it can go as high as $100,000 when you count product sales resulting from the speech.

Not bad for a 60-90 minute talk. 🙂

Ryan Deiss Testimonial

6. Consulting/Coaching

While this certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, doing a bit of coaching or consulting is an online job that can earn you a surprisingly nice living, even when your audience is small. I don’t do consulting anymore, but the last time I did, I charged $1,000 an hour with a six-month waiting list.

But I’m not the only one. Going back to Maria, again, she’s been quite innovative coming up with ways to do design consultations by photo and email, currently charging $1,275 per room:

Maria Killam - Consultations

You can make this work in almost any space. You just need to know what you’re doing and be confident in the value you are providing to clients.

7. Selling Freelance Services

The next step up from consulting is to actually do it for them.

Typically, you’ll make more money freelancing than with anything else, but it’s also the most draining and time intensive. That being said, I’ve seen bloggers make six-figure incomes with no more than a few thousand readers on their blog, essentially using their blog as a lead mechanism to get clients.

It’s so profitable, even if successful bloggers continue to do it. For example, Elna Cain continues to sell her freelance writing services:

Elna Cain - Freelance writing services

If you’re a freelance writer, designer, photographer, programmer, or other service provider where your skills can be sold digitally instead of you having to be there in person, you might want to consider it from day one. All you really need to get started is a contact form for clients to reach out to you.

Okay, now for the fun part. Let me show you the framework I used to become an honest-to-goodness millionaire…

How I can increase my website traffic with SEO optimized content

How I can increase my website traffic with SEO optimized content

Feeling overwhelmed by the infinite options for driving traffic to your website? You’re not alone.

This article doesn’t list every traffic strategy under the sun.

Instead, it lists the tactics we use at Ahrefs. These are tactics that have helped us grow our revenue by +65% year over year.

In other words, they’re proven to work.


The Ahrefs blog gets over ~230,000 organic visitors per month:

ahrefs blog traffic

Besides word of mouth, this is our second best marketing channel, sending us hundreds of new users every month.

Without a doubt, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to achieve consistent, long-term results. For as long as you rank highly in Google, you’ll be able to generate passive organic traffic to your site.

To do this, you need to write about topics people are searching for. In other words: topics with search traffic potential.

Here are two quick ways to get started.

A. Find high-volume, low-competition keywords

Enter one (or a few) relevant words or phrases into Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, then choose one of the keywords ideas reports to see hundreds or thousands of ideas.

pasted image 0 6

Filter this list by two metrics:

  1. Search volume—the overall search demand for this keyword, or how many times this keyword is searched for in Google each month, in a specific country;
  2. Keyword Difficulty—the ranking difficulty of a keyword, represented as a numerical value between zero and a hundred.

pasted image 0 8

This gives you a manageable list of low-competition topics with decent search volumes.

For more ideas, play around with the filters until you get a list you’re satisfied with.

IMPORTANT. Filtering for Keyword Difficulty (KD) only gives a rough sense of difficulty. You should always analyze the search results manually to judge real-world difficulty and search intent before targeting a keyword.

But don’t stop there. Further prioritize your list of topics by focusing on those with high business value (i.e., the topics where your product or service is crucial for solving a particular problem).

In the end, traffic is a vanity metric. There is no point in driving a lot of traffic to your site unless that traffic somehow translates into revenue.

This is the simple scale we use at Ahrefs to determine the business value of topics:

  • 3: our product is an irreplaceable solution for the problem;
  • 2: our product helps quite a bit, but it’s not essential to solving the problem;
  • 1: our product can only be mentioned fleetingly;
  • 0: there’s absolutely no way to mention our product.

The very best topics strike a balance between high traffic potential, low competition, and high business value.

how to find the best topics 1 1

B. Use the Content Explorer ‘hack’

Content Explorer is a searchable database of over a billion web pages.

To find low-hanging content ideas that are easy to rank for, search for a broad topic and apply two filters:

  • Referring domains < 5
  • Organic traffic filter > 1,000

This will give you a list of relevant pages that get lots of organic traffic while having few or no backlinks.

beard content explorer

Scroll through these pages and look for topics with business value that make sense to cover.

For example, if we were Beardbrand, we could easily create content about “grey beard styles” and “how to shape and maintain a square beard”.

Learn more about content creation in our step-by-step guide to writing a blog post that ranks.

Guest blogging is a tactic where you write for other blogs. In return, the editor/site owner will usually allow you to link back to your site.

The benefits include:

Here’s an example of a guest post that I recently did for SmartBlogger:

smart blogger guest post

The biggest challenge with guest blogging is finding blogs that are willing to accept your guest posts.

To circumvent this issue, most SEOs use Google search operators to find sites with “write for us” or “become a contributor” pages.

write for us google

The problem? This is tedious and time-consuming. Plus, if everyone follows the same process, then everyone finds the same opportunities. As a result, editors of these sites often receive more pitches than they can handle and so ignore many of them.

How can you solve this problem? Don’t limit yourself to only sites with a “write for us” page. Most sites are willing to accept guest posts, even if they don’t advertise for it.

After all, who doesn’t want free content?!

If you can find websites that have written about a particular topic before, then chances are they’ll be interested in a guest post about a similar topic.

The easiest way to do this is with Content Explorer.

Enter any word or phrase and then toggle the “one article per domain” switch to make sure you don’t contact the same sites twice.

parenting content explorer guest blogging

Voila! 26,000+ potential guest blogging opportunities!

Too many? Use the Domain Rating filter to focus on the caliber of sites that you’re comfortable writing for.

pasted image 0

To learn more about guest blogging, read our guide on how to do guest blogging at scale.


Most people write guest posts solely for links. It often doesn’t matter to them whether the topic of the post is relevant to their blog, or whether the links they build are likely to send referral traffic their way.

I’ve also made this mistake in the past:

While trying to promote a customer-loyalty SaaS, I wrote a post about Reddit marketing that linked back to a post about Instagram. No business value whatsoever.

Luckily, Tim showed me that to get traffic from your guest posts, you have to write about relevant topics and pitch your product or service in the post itself.

You don’t have to give the hard sell. Just mention your product or service where relevant. In my experience, most site owners allow this as long as it’s not too pushy.

Here’s an example from the SmartBlogger guest post:

ahrefs mention in smartblogger

Relevant online communities are places where your target audience hangs out on the Web.

You can find these communities everywhere:

Recently, we launched Content Explorer 2.0, which is rebuilt from scratch and has tons of new features.

As part of the launch, I did a few videos for SEO-related Facebook groups, where I explained how to take advantage of these new features.

content explorer video dan ray fb group

Judging by the comments, it was pretty well-received.

Sounds easy right?

It is. Just don’t seek out a few Facebook groups and start spamming the heck out of them. There is no quicker and better way to get booted and banned.

What’s missing in this example is the effort required to be active in the group, build trust in the community and cultivate your relationship with the group admin.

Do this, and they’ll be more inclined to say yes on the rare occasion you ask permission to self-promote.

Nathan Collier, the admin of the Facebook group Content Marketing Lounge, says this is the reason why he was able to “turn the other cheek” when I posted something self-promotional in his group:
nathan comment

Quora is a Q&A site where anyone can ask questions or answer them.

That means you can respond to existing questions in your niche, establish your authority, and generate some traffic for your website along the way.

Since July 2018, I’ve been active on Quora, answering at least 5 questions a week on topics related to AhrefsSEO and digital marketing. Since then, we’ve accumulated hundreds of thousands of views.

si quan quora views

But, Quora views are a vanity metric. The real question is: does it send traffic and sales to your website?

Short answer: yes.

We’ve been getting consistent sign-ups from Quora every month (and that’s from people who have indicated they knew us from Quora):

quora registrations 2

So, how do you market on Quora?

There are two parts to this equation:


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