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Do Bloggers Really Make Money Blogging?

Keller Hawthorne | March 11, 2010 | 17 Comments
Blogging 101
Do Bloggers Really Make Money Blogging?

I was reading a fantastic interview of David Risley over at yesterday and this question popped into my head. So many top bloggers seems to make most of their income through offering their own membership course, ebooks or other training materials. So, do any bloggers actually make money from blogging alone?

To answer this question, we first need to be clear on what blogging for income is.

What Is Blogging for Income?

Selling Advertising Space

In the most traditional sense, I would say blogging for income represents bloggers who make money selling advertising space on their blog. They don’t sell any products of their own, and perhaps they don’t even have an email list to promote to. They just blog – and people pay to advertise on their blogs.

In order to really make a killing with this form of monetization, a blogger needs traffic – loads and loads of traffic. The more traffic you have, the more advertisers you’ll have knocking on your door. PageRank, Alexa Ranking and Technorati authority can also play roles in the success of selling ad space.

In a more modern sense, blogging for income includes several other payment steams, including affiliate marketing and promoting one’s own products.

Affiliate Marketing

Bloggers can use their content to promote other peoples’ products (affiliate marketing). This can be quite a lucrative income source, especially when supplemented with an email list to market to.

By simply writing product reviews or comparisons, a blogger can earn hundreds of dollars each month off of a single blog post!

Traffic is always important for a website, but in this case the most important factor for earning money through affiliate marketing will be the blogger’s reputation, email list and quality of content.

There are hundreds of product reviews written every day. The ones that stand out are the ones that work. Even if you receive only a small number of visitors each month, you may be able to make a strong income by selling to those visitors – if you’ve built a good relationship with them and your product reviews are honest.

Selling Your Own Products

Many top bloggers have created their own products to sell – and many Internet marketing gurus will tell you this is the BEST way to earn an income online. In this case, a blogger receives 100% of the revenue earned from their sales.

Again, you can use this method of income generation even with a small, targeted audience. The key is reputation and relevance.

A blogger’s product launch and success relies on a blogger’s reputation. With a strong one, a blogger can recruit big names to help promote their products, easily sell to their existing audience and earn the title of being an “expert” in their field.

However, a blogger won’t sell many of their products if the product isn’t relevant to his/her audience. You must create a product people want or need. You have to help fix a dilemma, solve a problem and offer a solution.

What Do They All Have In Common?

monetization of content

It’s that simple – bloggers make money by monetizing their content.

You may think of someone who sells affiliate products as an affiliate marketer and not a blogger. You may think of someone who sells their own information products as a guru, expert or company and not a blogger. But both of these people have the ability to use a blog in order to earn an income through their chosen fields. They simply monetize their blog content.

What About Earning Money JUST From Blogging?

If we stick with the definition that blogging for income includes selling advertising space, affiliate marketing and selling one’s own products, then we can certainly say that there are hundreds or thousands of bloggers who make money from blogging. But what about making money strictly from blogging – the income generation occurs ON YOUR BLOG?

Without affiliate marketing and selling information products, what we have left is selling ad space – the traditional money maker for a blogger. So, how many bloggers actually earn a full-time income through selling ad space? Why don’t we take a look at three of today’s top bloggers and see if any of them earn through this channel alone…

Darren Rowse –

Darren is certainly the quintessential blogger of our generation. He started in 2004 as a way to teach other bloggers how to blog successfully. So, is his blog his only source of income?

How Darren Rowse Blogs for Income:

  • Darren generates revenue by selling ad space on his blogs.
  • Darren uses product reviews to earn money through affiliate marketing.
  • Darren earns an income through selling his own information products (31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook).
  • Darren earns an income by running his membership site,

John Chow –

John Chow is known for being a full-time, income generating blogger. So, just how does John earn an income through blogging?

How John Chow Blogs for Income:

  • John generates revenue by selling ad space on his blogs.
  • John uses product reviews to earn money through affiliate marketing.
  • John promotes affiliate products to his email list, which he captures on his blog.
  • John earns an income through Sponsored Tweets.
  • John created an income generating advertising company, TTZ Media – his own product, which he promotes on his blogs.

Yaro Starak –

Yaro is by far my FAVORITE top blogger! He’s an incredible writer and has an honest and real approach to blogging.

How Yaro Starak Blogs for Income:

  • Yaro generates revenue by selling ad space on his blogs.
  • Yaro uses product reviews to earn money through affiliate marketing.
  • Yaro promotes affiliate products to his email list, which he captures on his blog.
  • Yaro earns an income through his membership courses – Blog Mastermind, Become a Blogger and Membership Site Mastermind.


As you can see, none of these top bloggers earn money through selling ad space alone – they each earn income through a multitude of channels. However, if you ever take a look at what they charge for ad space, you can be sure that income generated through that channel alone could earn each of them a full-time income.

But what came first? Did their traffic increase so much as a result of blogging that they were able to charge that much money for ad space? Or, did they increase their traffic by diving into other channels of income generation first?

From my experience with these and other successful blogs (Mashable, TechCrunch), bloggers absolutely can make money from blogging alone, without the help of an information or membership product. It does, however, take time to build the audience and traffic. Affiliate marketing seems to be a corner stone of blogging and is, what could be considered today, an act of blogging.

What Do You Think?

Do you think it’s possible to make a full-time income through blogging alone? How do you make money through your own blog? What would you suggest other bloggers do to earn money? Take my poll and leave me a comment on your thoughts!

How Do You PRIMARILY Make Money Through Your Blog?

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