8 Bloggers Prove You Can Start a $100k+ Blog All By Yourself

Although most bloggers use their blogs as a platform to share their creative thoughts with a niche audience, there is no denying the fact that owning and maintaining a successful blog can be a lucrative business.

Eight bloggers have managed to not only start an amazing blog, but they have found the all-elusive secret to blogging success in terms of having a loyal and successful fan base, but they have also turned this very time consuming hobby into a full time career.

By taking a look at what they do to earn money, you can also turn blogging into an actual money making endeavor.

Free PDF Checklist: Download a free checklist that lists the top ways $100k bloggers are making money and how you can sign up for them. Here’s a link where you can download the PDF

Abby makes $31,000/Month

Website: Justagirlandherblog.com

Site Age: 3 years

Niche: Home organization, DIY, and home decor

Total February Income: $36,234

Total February Expenses: $4,942

Net Income: $31,292

As a home decor blogger, Abby certainly knows how to be crafty. Her wildly successful DIY website has helped her earn over $31,000 per month! This not only makes her the highest paid female on this list, but the highest paid person as well.

After taking a look at her February 2016 Income Report, we can begin to assess how her earnings and expenses are broken down.

The majority of this month’s income (a whopping $10,000) comes from her Framework e-book and course. Basically, she is successful enough in her own right that she is able to sell her blogging tips and tutorials at a price that people will purchase them for.

Her second most successful business venture this month comes from her Webinar bundle, which earned her nearly $8,700! And her third most successful venture, earning her over $8,600 this month, is her affiliation with Bluehost.

Sites like Blue Host, which offer referral programs for bloggers, are actually quite popular. You, as the referrer, will earn a whopping $65 for every person to join the site with your referral code. Crazy, isn’t it?

Another popular site among bloggers, which also works off of a referral program, is an automated email delivery service called Aweber. Should you successfully refer anyone to them, you will earn a recurring 30% commission.

To round out our discussion on referral programs, we will finish with Lead Pages. For every person that you refer to their landing page building software, you will receive 30%. You must, however, be a pro member yourself — which means that you must spend money (the membership is $67 per month) to make money.

The main problem that bloggers run into when they want to get involved in referral programs is not actually signing up for them. Instead, the main problem is actually how to promote them. Each program we just discussed has a different promotional tactic that will work best.

How you can make money referring users to affiliate programs:

No two affiliate programs are exactly alike. Therefore, you are going to have a hard time promoting all of them in the same manner.

Blue Host

Because the main focus of this website is to create a blog, it is important that you promote the program accordingly. As a blogger yourself, you have a platform to speak directly to your audience.

The people who will be most likely to join Blue Host under your referral are people who want to start a blog for themselves. Bingo! There is your in. After you join Blue Host’s referral program, the fun begins. To get people to join Blue Host, you must teach them how to start a blog with the site.

  1. Choose your method. Some bloggers prefer a more personal approach and will make a YouTube video. Others prefer to stick to what they do best — blogging. This choice is completely up to you.
  2. Create a detailed tutorial that caters to your targeted audience. Title it something similar to “How To Create Your Own Blog”, and make sure to suggest that they sign up to Blue Host and use your referral code.
  3. Profit! This is a win/win situation for the blogger and their readers. You teach your readers how to do what you do, and you profit at the same time.

Aweber

Much like Blue Host’s referral program, we are promoting a product — the Aweber automated emailing service. Obviously, this program does not necessarily work for any person who wants to start a blog. Bloggers may not see the initial need for automated emails, so it’s your job to explain their importance.

As the promoter, you must sell the product to your audience. What valuable service could Aweber possibly offer to your audience? Newsletters, duh!

Much like you did with Blue Host, you are going to have to sell your product and explain why Aweber is the only option for your blog’s newsletters and email lists.

Different than Blue Host, however, is your approach. With Aweber, because of their unique e-book option (they offer instant delivery of ebooks to your email list), you essentially have three options:

  1. Make a YouTube video explaining why Aweber is the best choice for everyone’s automated email needs.
  2. Create a blog post that teaches your audience how to use the product, and be sure to link them to your affiliate id.
  3. Use that unique e-book perk to your advantage. You can easily write a ‘how to’ e-book regarding the use of Aweber and send it out to all of your email followers.

LeadPages

Now remember, for this one you must be a Pro member and pay a pretty sizeable monthly fee. Is it worth it? Most bloggers who use this referral program say that it is because the earning margins are so high.

Many website owners, however, are willing to pay a premium for good service. Because LeadPages promises an increase to your site’s leads and opt-ins, it just may be worth the hefty price.

Another bonus? You can use LeadPages in conjunction with Aweber, which means double the promotion and commission for you!

  1. Make a YouTube video explaining what LeadPages is, how to work it, and how it will benefit your audience.
  2. Write a review of the product. The reason this one is particularly interesting to me is because the author actually includes a “tutorial” of sorts at the end, and promises a gift to any person who signs up for LeadPages using their referral code. It’s like you read the whole review, then realize they’ve actually been selling the product this whole time. Genius.

All three of these referral programs, as well as many others that you can find with a simple Google search, have a similar formula: Find an angle to sell it to your audience, and use that angle in either a YouTube video or a blog post. It should take you no more than a few hours to do,  and it is extremely useful way to make some extra cash — and to help your audience out with some pretty nifty software while you’re at it.

A few helpful tutorials:

How Much Money Can You Actually Earn From Blue Host?

How To Earn $100 As An Aweber Email Affiliate

LeadPages Affiliate Program- How To Get Access

Justin makes $28,000/Month

Website: SoOverThis.com

Site Age: 5 years

Niche: Internet Marketing

Total February Income: $28,636

Total February Expenses: $700

Net Income: $27,936

Justin’s website, So Over This, differs dramatically from Abby’s in terms of content. Instead of focusing on home decor and DIY projects, Justin’s equally successful blog focuses primarily on internet marketing and financial freedom.

Much like Abby, however, Justin makes an exorbitant amount of money each month. With an income of over $28,000 and a monthly expense of only $700, he’s clearly doing something right. He doesn’t sell any products on his website, though, so what gives?

By taking a look at his February Income Report, we can clearly see that the vast majority (nearly all) of his earnings come from direct ad revenue. Justin himself explains that these ads are “direct advertisements from various media companies”.

How you can make money from direct ads:

If you want to take a tip from Justin and start selling space for ads on your website, it’s easier than you might think. Basically, advertisers will pay you good money for a little bit of ad space on your site. Sound good to you? Here’s how:

  1. Make it easy for advertisers to reach out to you. A simple “Advertise with us!” Tab somewhere on your website may do the trick. If you aren’t getting any bites, you may want to consider publishing a blog post to let people know you are looking for advertisers, or even sending an email to your subscribers.
  1. Set your prices. Depending on the success of your blog, your prices may vary. Here is a little piece of advice, though: above the fold should always be more expensive than below the fold. You can also charge advertisers for some space on your newsletter, too!
  1. Find your advertisers. You can join an ad network. Google’s AdSense is a particularly popular choice among bloggers, and you can find out more about it here.
  1. Set up the technology. A particularly popular software among website owners is OIOpublisher, which is a plugin that costs around $50. It not only allows you to add the ads on your site, but to track which ones are successes and which are failures.

A few helpful tutorials:

5 Tips To Find Direct Advertising

How To Sell Direct Advertising

How To Get Started Selling Advertising On Your Blog

Dom makes $17,000/Month

Website: HumanProofDesigns.com

Site Age: 3 years

Niche: Internet Marketing and Web design

Total February Income: $32,032

Total February Expenses: $14,524

Net Income: $17,508

Dom, of Human Proof Designs, is a successful web designer and internet marketer who has found and maintained quite a following on his website. He started his website almost 3 years ago and has quickly become a top earner in the blogging business.

Focused primarily on affiliate websites, Dom is equal parts blogger and how-to guru. If we take a look at his February Income Report, we can see that the vast majority of his monthly income comes from the services he provides.

His ready-made sites can be purchased directly from his website in a bundle package with tutorial videos, and now make up nearly $24,000 of his $32,000 monthly income.

How you can make money selling product on your site:

If you have goods or services that you would like to offer your audience, it can and should be done. This is especially useful if you are a web designer, content writer, or another expert in a given “cyber” field.

  1. Make sure your product matches your blog. If your blog is centered primarily around healthy eating and recipes, it may not be the best idea to sell ready-made websites about fast food and junk food hot-spots.
  1. Be honest with your clients. If you are trying to sell your web design content, don’t fool your audience into thinking that they are getting it for free. Additionally, don’t shove it down their throats. If we look at Dom, he has a clear tab that reads “Buy Sites” at the top of his page. If someone is interested in purchasing, they will click to find out more.
  1. Offer special deals for your readers. They deserve a little discount every now and again for sticking with you, after all. You don’t want your blog to turn into a money-grabbing scheme, but you also want them to know that the offer to buy your product is there should they want it.
  1. Listen to your audience. If they are into the idea, keep doing it! There is nothing wrong with offering “premium” services for a charge so long as you don’t go overboard.
  1. If you need some tips, check out this post from Design Sponge that offers up some more advice on advertising your products and services on your own sites.

A few helpful tutorials:

How To Sell Products On Your Blog

8 Ways to Do It Right

How To Create and Sell Products on Your Blog

Matthew makes $20,000/Month

Website: TrueValhalla.com

Site Age: 4 years

Niche: Video game developer

Total January Income: $20,834

A video game developer and blogger, Matthew is different than any other blogger we’ve seen so far. He isn’t trying to teach or sell you anything — he simply does what he loves and profits greatly from it.

The majority of his posts are regarding his various video game making endeavors. He then sells the games (he specializes in HTML5 games), receives royalties, and earns a large amount of money for it.

Because he was so successful in the month of January, Matthew chose to take a good majority of February off to recuperate. So, for the purposes of this discussion, we will look at his January Income Report.

$19,000 out of his $20,000 earned comes from the HTML5 video games he creates. His second highest earnings, which he notes are the highest to date, come from his e-books. This e-book approach also worked well for Abby, so we will focus on that.

How you can make money writing an e-book:

Matthew found his niche in HTML5 games — a place that may not necessarily have the largest audience, but a dedicated one all the same. The plus side to this sort of niche is that Matthew, a seeming authority member in this area, can serve as a ‘teacher’ of sorts to his audience. You can do this too!

Matthew isn’t the only one dipping his hand into this lucrative business, either. Lisa, the owner of Niche Website Success, has made an entire career out of it. She is one person in a long-but-growing list of bloggers who have turned to writing books.

Are you intrigued? Good. You should be.

  1. Find unique content that doesn’t already have an abundance of attention in the e-book market. Matthew, for example, has written a book on HTML5 video games, which is something that many people are not aware of.
  1. Produce your work in a space that can easily be saved to .pdf file. I recommend Open Office, as it allows you to save to .pdf automatically whereas Microsoft Word does not.
  1. Once your book is written, edit, edit, and edit some more. Perhaps even spring for a professional editing service, because no one is going to pay for your content if it’s riddled with typos.
  1. Get a book cover! There are several websites out there willing to provide this service for a reasonable choice. Consider Elance to find the freelancer who’s right for you.
  1. Promote and market. You wrote a book, for God’s sake, so there’s no use in letting all your hard work go to waste. If you need some help with the marketing aspect of things, MoneyCrashers has a few great tips.

A few helpful tutorials:

21 Dumb Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Your First E-Book

How To Make Money On E-Books

How To Write An E-Book

Sharon makes $8,700/Month

Website: DigitalNomadWannabe.com

Site Age: 2 years

Niche: Freelance writing and niche

Total December Income: $8,700

Total December Expenses: $363

Net Income: $8,337

Digital Nomad, written by Sharon, is a part blog/part freelance writing/part digital niche site. For all intents and purposes, this site mainly serves as a resume of sorts for Sharon. She posts the articles she writes and even goes as far as to post ‘how-to’ guides for starting your own blog.

The information in her website is immensely helpful to blogging newbies, and has generated quite a bit of traffic to her site over the last 2 years. For personal reasons, Sharon has decided to stop posting her annual income report after December of 2015. For this reason, we will be focused primarily on that report as we look over her earnings.

In December, her income report easily breaks down just how much she earned, and how. The majority of her earnings are from “affiliates”, at $6,350 this month alone. When she breaks down who her affiliates are and how much she has earned from each, it is clear that the majority affiliate this month was Amazon.

How you can make money becoming an affiliate:

Affiliate programs are nothing new. As a matter of fact, there is plenty to choose from! You just need to know where to work and what fits best with you and your blog.

If you want to be an Amazon affiliate, it’s easier than you’d think. In a blog post Sharon made just last week, she claimed that becoming an affiliate was, “one of the best things that has ever happened to me.” Whether that is true or not has yet to be determined, but there is absolutely no denying the monetary impact that becoming an Amazon affiliate has had on Sharon, and that it can have on you as well if you choose to try it out.

  1. Sign up on the Amazon website. You will need an Amazon account and a blog/website URL before you are able to sign up to become an affiliate.
  1. Find products that you feel your readers will want to purchase. If your blog is centered around home decor, you will want to share home decor items with them. If you need some pointers, feel free to check out the Associates Blog for a few beginners tips. This site also has a few great tips for optimal use.
  1. Stick those product links into your blog posts! Sharon suggests the use of Easy Table, so you can compare the prices of items on your Amazon affiliate list.

A few helpful tutorials:

The Ultimate Guide To Making Money With the Amazon Affiliate Program

Amazon Affiliate Program – A Beginner’s Guide

5 Ways to Make More Money With Amazon Associates

Daniele makes $4,500/Month

Website: DanieleBasana.com

Site Age: 12 years

Niche: Internet marketing

Total February Income: $ 8,151

Total February Expenses: $3,582

Net Income: $4,568

Daniele is proof that if you enjoy doing something and you’re good at it, nothing can stop you. The longest-lasting blog on this list by far, Daniele’s website has been going strong for over a decade.

Equal parts travel blog and internet marketing niche site, Daniele teaches his readers how they can afford to live the lavish, traveling lifestyle he does with a few “life” hacks. The proof is in the pudding, too. Daniele’s travels are always documented on his site, leaving his readers both in awe and a little bit jealous.

Taking a look at his February Income Report, we can deduce a few important things. For starters, his two highest earnings by far come from direct ads and from his personal WordPress management and support website. For all intents and purposes, the majority of Daniele’s monthly income has been from two resources we’ve already discussed in depth: direct ads, like Justin did, and offering services, like Dom did.

Unlike Dom, however, Daniele did not merely offer his services on his blog. He created an entirely new website, and used his blog to promote it.

How you can make money selling product on its own website:

Your goal is the same as it was when we discussed this with Dom: you want people to buy your product. Because you are a blog owner and it is assumed you already have a dedicated fan base, you are a step ahead of most entrepreneurs already. This is a great thing!

  1. Find the host that works best for you. Different hosts have different pros and cons, so choose carefully.
  1. Find a web designer, unless web design is your forte, in which case have at it! Try to keep the product you are selling in mind and base your website’s design off of that. Obviously, if you are trying to sell healthy recipe tips, your website shouldn’t have pictures of candy in it.
  1. Be specific as to what you are selling, and explain your product thoroughly. If you are offering consultation services and you charge by the hour, explain that. If there are various pricing options a customer can choose from, clearly state what the difference between them is. As you can see here, Daniele clearly states how it works and how much it costs so there is little left to the imagination.
  1. Promote your own website and services both on your blog and network your butt off.

A few helpful tutorials:

Creating A Website for Your Service Business

11 Smart Ways to Sell Services Online

How To Create A Website to Sell Your Products and/or Services

Nathan makes $3,200/Month

Website: IncomeBully.com

Site Age: A little over 1 year

Niche: Internet marketing

Total February Income: $ 3,219

Nathan, the direct opposite of Daniele in terms of blogging experience, is the newbie of the group. His website, Income Bully, has quickly risen to internet fame as a go-to spot if you’re looking for some good, accurate information on entrepreneurship, SEO, blogging, and marketing.

His rapid success rate proves that he is someone who knows what he’s talking about — he writes, and the people listen. His February Income Report, while it lacks details on expenses, shows that he has his hands in various ventures. His most profitable, however, are his “self created courses” and his affiliate marketing on sites like Mobile Renegade, Name Hero, and Clicks Magazine.

Because nearly $2,000 of his $3,000 monthly earnings come from his online course, we will focus on that.

How you can make money by selling an online course:

It’s easy, really. Online courses are becoming increasingly popular in today’s online world, and although someone could easily get this information for free on a website, there’s something about paying for an ‘expert’ teacher that makes people feel more comfortable.

Tom, from Leaving Work Behind, actually offered his very first online course to his followers free of charge — This is a great tip to garnering some attention and maybe even a few more viewers who will be willing to pay next time.

Once you have an idea of what you’d like your course to be about (keep in mind that it should somehow relate to your blog niche), follow these simple steps.

  1. Choose a platform to host your online course on. Nathan chose Gumroad.com, but ultimately the choice is yours and depends entirely on what works best for you.
  1. Identify your goal and gather content. What is the purpose of your course? Once you are able to answer that one question, everything else will fall into place. If your course is made to help people understand everything they need to know about SEO, you’re going to have to gather information about various techniques, collect data, and make infographics.
  1. Create your course. This will take a great deal of time and patience, but it’s well worth it in the end.
  1. Get your course out there! Make sure to promote it on your website, too.

A few helpful tutorials:

How To Create An Awesome Online Course

7 Tips On How To Create And Sell Online Courses

How To Create An Online Class That Sells

Will makes $2,900/Month

Website: TravelBlogBreakthrough.com

Site Age: A little over 1 year

Niche: Travel blogger and Internet marketing

Total December Income: $ 3,030

Total December Expenses: $46.98

Net Income: $2,983

I can’t lie to you, Will’s website is just plain cool looking. Its image heavy look is easy on the eyes and makes browsing fun from the audience’s point of view. The content is pretty cool, too. Ranging from tech support to travel tips, Will’s website has a little bit of everything.

His December 2015  Income Report has a little bit of everything also. The majority of his income, however, comes from something he calls “Ambassadorship”. The term itself isn’t quite clear, so fortunately Will describes it for us as, “this is when a brand reaches out to you to work on larger campaigns that span multiple channels and weeks/months where they are leaning on you to represent their brand.  You essentially become their digital spokesperson.”

So, basically, Will became the temporary name and face for a brand as opposed to simply sharing an advertisement on his website.

How you can make money becoming a sponsor/brand ambassador:

Will isn’t alone in this. As a matter of fact, Kenny from Brand Ambassador World earns upwards of $700 per WEEK just from being an ambassador. A WEEK!!!!!!

It’s not easy, though. In most situations, it’s all about who you know — and, more importantly, who knows you. There isn’t really a set of rules that a person can follow, because most of it is left up to luck and perseverance, but there are a few things that successful bloggers suggest doing to optimize your chances.

Additionally, every situation is different. What happens with one company may not be what happens with another. Still, there are a few things you can try to do to optimize your chances of connecting with the company/companies you want.

  1. A public relations manager may reach out to you after seeing your blog. You can, of course, reach out to a public relations manager on your own and pitch yourself to them, too.
  1. Get noticed! Post on their Facebook page, Tweet them, and link them to articles you’ve written about their product(s).
  1. Once you’ve been asked to become a brand ambassador, it’s time to promote. You may be asked to include an ad on your website and e-mails, or you may be asked to review products and post about them on your social media accounts.

A few helpful tutorials:

The Ultimate Guide to Being a Brand Ambassador

How To Become A Brand Ambassador

The Path to Becoming A Brand Ambassador

5 Comments

What's your opinion?

Clef two-factor authentication