Pat Flynn, for example, makes over 0,000 a month in affiliate commissions.
On software and information products, affiliates typically earn a 50% commission or sometimes even more, so it can be quite lucrative.
It’s a hobby, a diversion, a fad that’ll come and go. But they also want you to be “realistic.” If you really want to improve your life, you should get an advanced degree, write a book, or even start your own business, not hang all your hopes and dreams on some stupid little blog. The next most profitable strategy would have been to partner with other companies, collecting a commission on each sale as an affiliate.
The absolute highest rates I could negotiate would’ve brought in only $5,000 per month per ad spot, totaling $15,000 per month — 70% less than we made selling our own products. Imagine the pitiful rates a beginning blogger would get. With your own products, you have to consider the cost of development, support, and other miscellaneous expenses, but even factoring those in, advertising our products was still more profitable by far.
I don’t remember the precise numbers, but we had something like $50,000 in product sales over 30 days. Well, out of curiosity, I shopped around to see how much advertisers would pay for the same ad space.
In fact, here’s a screenshot of our sales from January 2016: Granted, it was a good month. The site looked like this: Initially, we placed ads for our own products in each of the three spots, and we tracked all the sales resulting from someone clicking on the ad.
Normally, we refused to sell any ads on the site, but just as a test, we decided to put three ad spots in the right sidebar.
After all, that’s how big newspapers and magazines monetize, so why not them? When I was at Copyblogger, we ran a little experiment.
Not because I want to brag (well, maybe a little), but because most of the advice out there about monetizing your blog is complete crap. In comparison, the 0,000 per month I’ve managed to generate is a pittance. Also, every day I get emails from people telling me how I changed their lives for the better. Ask your average beginner how they plan to make money blogging, and they’ll say they plan to sell ads on their site.
Combined, I wouldn’t be surprised if both blogs have earned more than million. For the first several years, I worked 80-100 hours a week, and even now I usually put in at least 60 hours. Because here’s the thing: So, you want to make a living teaching other people what you know? During that time, I started four different blogs, working on them at night and on the weekends. Despite investing hundreds of hours into each one, I made too many mistakes, and I eventually had to shut the blogs down. Eventually though, I felt the itch to go out on my own again, so I left and started this blog. In total, it took me about eight years to get here, but in exchange for investing those eight years, I now have enough money to support me until the day I die. Below, I’ve recorded a few of those lessons, and I believe some of them might surprise you…
Neil Patel and Hiten Shah also hired me to help them launch the KISSmetrics blog, eventually creating a multimillion dollar Saa S company. If you’ll take some of these lessons to heart, it’ll pay off for you too. It’s a high risk/high reward lifestyle, and it requires more skill, smarts, and good old-fashioned work than most people can fathom. I’m just trying to make sure you have reasonable expectations. It took me about five years to earn my first dollar. I felt like I was putting in all that time and energy for nothing. So, while those first four blogs were all “failures,” each one was also closer to success than the last. I was getting 1000 visitors a day within about two months, and I sold it for ,000. From there, I went to work for other big blogs for a few years, helping grow Copyblogger and KISSmetrics into what they are today. I did learn a thing or two that might speed along the process for others, though.
I worked with Brian Clark as he built Copyblogger to a multimillion dollar brand. Hell, consulting is a 5 billion industry, and what are all those consultants doing? It also nurtures those leads until they are ready to purchase. In other words, it’s exactly like starting a business. If you start and grow a successful business, you can make millions or even billions of dollars. For every entrepreneur who makes millions, there are dozens who invest years of their life into companies that ultimately fail, sometimes bankrupting them in the process. Each time a blog failed, I seriously thought about quitting. Yes, I made a lot of mistakes, but I didn’t repeat them. It was just as hard as starting any other business.
Over the past eight years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the smartest bloggers on the planet. It’s just the same old models with some rocket fuel thrown in, courtesy of social media. In other words, if your goal is to make money, your blog is a lead generation mechanism. I just want to make a few bucks on the side teaching people what I know.” My response? In my opinion, it’s a terrible way to make a few bucks on the side. I’ve never seen anyone learn everything necessary to build a profitable blog in less than three years. Your first two or three blogs you start will probably fail because you make a fatal misstep. Sure, that’s why many people are attracted to entrepreneurship.