If you blog, you’ve most likely heard stories of how A-list bloggers are pulling down a six figure income. Reading those stories is one reason many are attracted to blogging. They, too, would love to quit their day job, stay home, blog in their pajamas, and watch the dollars roll in.

Making money fast on the internet is often glamorized as an easy thing to do. But, if we do our homework, we realize there’s more to making money with a blog than just throwing up some ads and waiting for our readers to click and/or buy.

Part of doing research on making money on line is asking an expert their viewpoint. So, in part four of my A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series with Darren Rowse, author of Problogger and co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

I asked

My readers would be very disappointed is I didn’t ask you about making money with a blog. Realizing many things have changed in blogosphere since you started, if a new blogger approached you today, and asked how they too, could become a “six figure” professional blogger, what advice would you give them?

Darren answered

The first thing I’d say is to get a ‘real job’ to sustain yourself while you build your blog. It doesn’t happen over night. For me I had a number of part time jobs that I slowly gave up over a couple of years while my blogging income grew.

Secondly I’d say build a blog on a niche topic that you think advertisers would pay to align themselves with. You want to build a destination on the web with authority, influence and reach on a specific topic.

Lastly – build trust with readers. This means building relationships, being relatable and making personal connections. When you do this people are more likely to become loyal to your blog but also to respond when you promote affiliate products.

Reflecting On The Answer

Thank you Darren for sharing your answer with us. Contrary to what others write, it’s refreshing to hear making a quick buck on the internet is not as easy as it sounds. As in real life, it takes hard work, time, and a “stick to it” personality.

As I reread Darren’s answer, what stands out (for me) is the part where he says we need to “build a destination on the web ….”. How I understand his answer is our blog(s) must become the “to go” and possibly a “how to” place for answers. Just like in business, we are building our reputation; a feat that does not happen overnight.

Today’s Assignment

Having read Darren’s answer, what part resonated with you?

Will his answer change how you blog?

If so, how?

Let’s continue this discussion of making money with our blogs in the comment section. Having heard Darren’s answer, I’m anxious to hear your response.


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Read other answers in the A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series.
A.S.K. Darren Rowse of Problogger – When Do We Know Our Blog Is A “Winner”
A.S.K. Darren Rowse – How Does A Problogger Deal With Comments

A.S.K. Darren Rowse of Problogger – How Do We Increase Our Readership
A.S.K. Andy Bailey – What Was The Inspiration Behind The CommentLuv Plugin
A.S.K. Liz Strauss – How Do You Inspire Readers To Join Your Community
A.S.K. Liz Strauss – How To Format Blog Comments To Maximize Comments


Photo Credit: Darren Rowse/Problogger

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    This is another welcome slice of blog reality from Darren, Barbara.

    I’m sure many bloggers have unrealistic expectations of how much money they’ll make through blogging.

    Maybe that’s why many give up.

    Darren’s point about building trust with readers is the one that interests me most.

    A loyal following of readers is more likely to support a blogger when they explore income-generating opportunities on their blog. It’s almost like a ‘thank you’ for the quality of content.

    On the other hand, I personally do not stay around blogs which try to ‘sell, sell, sell’ to me. In these cases, quality content is scarce or else the ads take up more space than the posts!

    Once again, the combination of quality content and a vibrant community seems to be the winning formula when it comes to a money-successful blog.

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Scott – Well said, “…another welcome slice of blog reality from Darren”. I think anyone who has followed Problogger knows that Darren spent an immeasurable amount of time before he was able to quit all of his paying jobs. Although a few (bloggers) may be the exception to the rule, I’m guessing Darren’s answer sums up the reality of making money with a blog.

  3. You know Barbara, most probably by the time my blog starts making money I would have to quit. The thing is that I’m trying to get a job in the public sector that requires I don’t run any private business.

    Should I quit blogging?
    No, I love it.
    But I’m limiting myself to three posts per week, forgetting the catchy titles “68343 ways to be funny” and commenting only when I feel the post deserves it.

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..Oliver Twist lives! (part 1)

  4. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Miguel – Having read your great work I hope you never have to give up on blogging, so maybe by the time your public sector position becomes a reality, “they” will categorize your blog as a hobby and not a business. Then you could have the best of both worlds. How sweet would that be? :)

  5. Hi Barbara,

    I have abandoned the idea of making money through my blog with advertisements. I like the clean, simple look of my blog. However, I am still open to the idea of selling relative products my readers might want to purchase, like books about creativity.

    ~Mark

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafe´s last blog post..Pain and Art

  6. This resonates: Secondly I’d say build a blog on a niche topic that you think advertisers would pay to align themselves with.

    That’s the trick isn’t it? What is out there that hasn’t already been done seven ways to Sunday? And when you don’t write a technical blog, it becomes even more challenging.

    Will it change the way I blog? Well, only if I can find that golden niche topic. My problem is, I’m not very niche-like.

    Urban Panther´s last blog post..The Lion versus the Call Centre

  7. He used a few keywords (not the SEO keywords :lol:) to success – trust, personal, relationships being some of them… I guess the trust level that you establish with your readers is the key… As he said, people will easily sign up under your referral if they feel that the blogger is trustworthy!

    cheers,
    Ajith

    Ajith Edassery´s last blog post..Blogging Idol 2 competition starts today! Please support DollarShower.com!!

  8. Eric HammNo Gravatar says:

    “…build a blog on a niche topic that you think advertisers would pay to align themselves with.”

    I think that this point can often times be discouraging for many, as they feel their blog does not meet this requirement. There’s no doubt that the idea way to monetize a blog is to focus on ‘what makes you the most money through blogging’. Unfortunately, this is rarely going to align itself to the idea of ‘what’s your favorite subject to blog about’.

    So I think the key for many of us is to find the best balance between money making opportunities and content we enjoy writing. Because if the words we write bring boredom to the table, our blog is doomed from the beginning.

    Another great question/answer, Barbara! Eric.

    Eric Hamm´s last blog post..M2A! November Week1: The Soy Controversy Continues

  9. BetsyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – It’s good to emphasize that anything good takes time to build. Pete and I didn’t set out to be a flash in the pan, what we’d rather have is a slow, steady flame that burns brighter over time.

    Like Urban Panther, I’m finding it difficult to niche what we cover. Life’s journeys take many forms, so that’s it for now. We’ve done fairly well with our side businesses that are linked in the blog, so we’re going to do more of the same in that regard. So, I guess that would be indirect income from the blog, but we’re not relying upon the blog solely to send traffic to them.

    I’ve never been as much a fan of advertising as I have been of marketing. So perhaps our efforts reflect that at the moment. I’ll be thinking about Darren’s advice to build something in whih advertisers would want to have a presence.

    Betsy´s last blog post..COMPASS

  10. Very sweet Barbara, but don’t worry, I will keep blogging :)

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..Oliver Twist lives! (part 1)

  11. NeilNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been following Darren for the past few months as I researched and prepared to launch my blog. His book was my blogging bible and I still reach for it when I wonder where to start with certain topics.

    The item that resonated with me is building trust with your readers. While I’m hoping to one day earn an income from my blog I’ve put it out there for my readers. Without them it’s just a waste of cyberspace.

  12. Avani-MehtaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, completely agree with point 1 – “get a real job”. Blogging is not going to pay for quite some time.

    Avani-Mehta´s last blog post..Top 8 Motivation Hacks – #1

  13. Lol. The answer about going for a niche that advertisers would pay for is exactly the trick.

    That’s what I’m going for in my 3rd blog. :)

    For now, I’m gonna like focus on being confident in writing, and have tons of fun getting to know more people in the blogosphere. :)

    Daniel Richard´s last blog post..120+ Participants Of Blogging Idol 2 (2008)

  14. Writing in a niche advertisers will pay for is where I get stuck.

    There are too many unethical people in the adoption business, so I would never run adsense ads on Vintage Mommy. I have some other ideas to explore, but in the meantime, I have to do the hard work of writing to attract readers – don’t we all?

    Thanks Barbara and thanks to Darren too.

    PS I see he’s launching a new blog about twitter today.

    Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..Infertility & My Espresso Machine

  15. What resonated with me most was “blogging for a niche market.” I guess my niche would be quirky folks who like reading the same. For me I’m not looking to rely on my average $3.50 a week in Google ads to sustain my life, let alone my raging coffee addiction. (Yet!)

    But, I’m having so much fun and will be blogging until I die.

    My favorite part if the friendships I’m making with so many wonderful wonderful bloggers.

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Globally Recognized Ass-Kicking

  16. Ari KoinumaNo Gravatar says:

    Well, I am actually trying to figure out a way to ignore the #1.

    I did a growth projection with the business plan I’m preparing. By working full-time, I project I’ll be making $379 the first YEAR. The second is better, though not even close to being enough, at around $17k.

    But in the third year, I am projecting to reach six-figure.

    But that’s all by going full-time. If I did it part-time, it’ll take much longer.

    It’s certainly not an ambition to aim for casually.

    ari

    Ari Koinuma´s last blog post..Why Passion Can Feel Like a Burden

  17. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I think a lot of folks start an online business thinking it’s going to be easier than it is offline. A lot of years ago, that may have been the case but it’s a lot harder to get your blog/website found now.

    How to make money on a blog like the A listers do: Pretend you’re making six figures on a blog.

    Cath Lawson´s last blog post..Competition: Show Your Ass On My Blog

  18. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Mark – I think your site would be well suited for books and even your art work. If you created another “page”, you could keep the products off of your landing page, and then in your posts (or some where else) you could directed your readers to your sales page.

    Hi Urban Panther – That’s right. Finding a specific niche advertisers would be interested in can be difficult, but I’m guessing even though others may be in the same niche, it’s how the author approaches it that may attract different advertisers.

    It does make me wonder if advertisers would be interested in a blog even though it’s not a tight niche. If it had the traffic and page views, it seems like the advertiser would still have a good chance to make money.

    Hi Ajith – Those are non SEO keywords, aren’t they? If a blog author can be trusted, they’re more apt to have their readers follow their recommendations.

    Hi Eric – Well said. I’m also thinking if we write about that which we’re passionate about, we can expand out and start publishing ebooks. Although it’s not your “typical” ad dollars, it could produce a decent income.

    Hi Betsy – What you’re doing by using a slow, steady growth also builds a more solid foundation. Although advertisers may not come to us to advertise, there are other choices (such as Linkshare or Commission Junction) where WE can pick who we want to advertise for. Although the commissions may not be as high as what a direct advertiser would pay, it could still be a way of making a little bit of money.

    Personally speaking, I’m using Commission Junction on my other blog, but don’t use it heavily enough to make a difference. I do see where a person could make money using these services if they have the time to invest.

    Hi again Miguel – That’s good to know. :)

    Hi Neil – Isn’t that the truth? Without our readers we are just an online journal. Time builds trust and it sounds like you’re in it for the long haul.

    Hi Avani – Yes, I laughed at that …”get a real job”. You’re right, making money with blogging does not happen overnight.

    Hi Daniel – You’re busy, aren’t you. Three blogs could be a huge time commitment. You’ll have to share with us the names of your second and third sites.

    Hi Vintage Mommy – Absolutely. We do have to put our efforts in our writing. In time, the rest will fall into place.

    Yes, I noticed Darren is starting another blog. He’s a busy man, isn’t he?

    Hi Jannie – Isn’t that the truth? We blog and THINK we might make a few coins, but then we start meeting people, building community on our blogs, and soon it doesn’t matter if we even make a dime. :)

    Hi Ari – Wow! It sounds like you have a great plan. If you can go from $379 in the first year to six figures in year three, that would be awesome. You can then teach the rest of us how you did it. Maybe an ebook?

    Hi Catherine – You’ve brought up an excellent point. In reality it may be easier to make six figures off line. Plus, like you said, years ago there were a lot less blogs and competition.

    LOL at your last sentence.

  19. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I thank you Barbara for asking a simpler question of Darren, as I am still working through his Problogger book and I often get confused by what he is describing. I am not planning to make a six figure income right away, but I am attempting to not work 6 jobs at the same time anymore. I am dependent on my honey’s income right now and that gives me some space to flap my wings and learn how to do this.

    I think I am writing my book of days on my blog as my niche and I just so love writing that I am hoping that is what I am doing and that it is my niche.

    I just appreciate Cath’s info on setting up a business and Vered’s suggestions, and Darren’s book, and Liz’s ebook, and I don’t believe I could do any of this without all the great folks I am getting connect to through your site and blogging…

    Thank you each and every one – again

    Patricia´s last blog post..Hats Off to The Ladies of The Club

  20. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: I definitely think that in order to make money blogging you have to build a relationship with your readers so that they trust you. Why else would they buy something that you promote? Since blogging has such a low cost of entry there’s a lot of people attracted to it. However, precisely because there’s such a low entry cost there’s a lot of competition and you have to work hard to stand out. It would be interesting to ask Darren for how long he was blogging before he began to make a profit from his blog.

    Marelisa´s last blog post..10 Snazzy Ideas on Simplicity

  21. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Patricia – You’re welcome. One thing I also learned was blogging took time to learn; not the writing part, but everything that goes with it. Bloggers have an opportunity to make money from their blogs in many ways. It’s just not by advertising, but also by public speaking engagements, writing books, etc. Blogging can be a great way to open new doors for us.

    Hi Marelisa – Yes, a recommendation from the author holds a lot of weight if they are promoting a product. However, many people who land on our blogs don’t realize it’s a blog, and not a website so in that instance we have to hope the presentation of the ad(s) is professional looking and aligns with the essence of our blog.

  22. Darren said … ” You want to build a destination on the web with authority, influence and reach on a specific topic. Lastly – build trust with readers.”

    I believe that it’s more than possible to make money blogging when we bring our authentic selves to the table and do so in a very focused intentional way. Of course selecting a niche is hard work but when we do so through the filter of who we really are it gets much easier.

    I’m with Ari. If you intend it and go after it and meet the requirements that Darren talked about it’s more than likely that you’ll succeed. I do think that it’s easier though to use a blog as a vehicle to stimulate conversation around your passion and as an invitation to attract clients to your services.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Do It Your Way

  23. Having read Darrin’s book, the thing I like most about his comments is that it’s all about time. He talks about investing 14 hours a day at time, plus he’s built up multiple sites.

    It’s good to know all that so that when I don’t pull down six figures I know why. That I choose not to rather than me being an internet weenie.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Destuckifying Your Life: Havi Brooks Interview

  24. Eric said “‘what makes you the most money through blogging’. Unfortunately, this is rarely going to align itself to the idea of ‘what’s your favorite subject to blog about’.” I agree. I can’t limit myself to a niche. It would bore me so much that I would stop blogging altogether.

    I also agree with Cath, that it’s at least as hard to build an online business as it is to build an offline business.

    So I guess Ido and I will continue to make our real money in the real world. :)

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

  25. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i’m not looking to monetize my blog, yet, maybe the right advertiser will come alone, but I do like how he approached the idea realistically. he said to get a job. a lot of people do it the other way around, they quit their current job and go into business for themselves. i think it’s important to keep your current job and ease you way into being self employed or making money through blogging.

    right now, nothing will change for me with advertising, but never say never. i do have other blogs where i put advertisements on and i still have to go to work everyday.

    Natural´s last blog post..Finger Clicking Good’gaud That Hurts!

  26. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. Definitely the part about it not happening overnight! Helps me to keep things in perspective and not push too hard. It’s real hard to enjoy something when you are too focused on the outcome and skipping steps to try get to the “finish line” quickly.

    Davina´s last blog post..A Ghostly Life Experience

  27. Hi Barbara. Interestingly enough, today I submitted a possible guest post for Problogger.net. We’ll see, probably little chance Darren will even see it.

    His words here really hit home with me. I recently emailed Catherine some ideas I have about refocusing our company. What resonates with me was how he mentions to build a brand that people will want to align themselves with – that’s totally where my headlights are pointing. When people think insert my ideas here, I want them to think of my company.

    This is not only for blogs, but products and services as well.

    I’m enjoying this series. Let me ask you, how did you score the interview?

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz´s last blog post..30.1 Web Tools For Online Success And To Make Your Life Easier At The Same Time

  28. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Tom – I like how you put that, “it’s easier though to use a blog as a vehicle to stimulate conversation around your passion and as an invitation to attract clients to your services.”. It’s by doing that we also build trust as our clients get to know more about us.

    Hi Alex – LOL, an internet weenie? You are so right. Darren chooses to do what he does and his success is the result of his efforts. Working on blogs 14 hours a day is a huge time commitment, but for some, the end result may be worth it.

    Hi Vered – Yes, if we need to be tied to a niche to be successful, for some of us, making money in the real world is probably easier. However, I’m guessing there may be some exceptions to the rule and money can be made with a non niche blog, although it may not be as much.

    Hi Natural – That is being realistic, isn’t it? Darren worked a lot of jobs before he was able to quit them all and blog full time. Even then, if I remember right, he gave himself six months to make it, or not. He definitely made the right decision and determination and passion saw him through.

    Hi Davina – That is reassuring, isn’t it? When we know not to expect overnight success it gives us time to learn about blogging and enjoy the journey.

    Hi John – Good luck with your guest post submission. I’m not surprised that part resonated with you as I know you’re working hard on getting a part of the market share. With the right direction, I’ve no doubt you’ll accomplish that.

    Re: the interview. It started with an email asking if he would be interested in being interview.

  29. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I’m so glad that you are doing this interview series with Darren. I find that although they may be points that I already know, I like the idea of having the same points drummed into me. There is no easy magic formula. To be a six figure blogger requires passion, dedication, hard work (which does not seem like much work if we enjoy what we do), and a true willingness to serve others in the niche we pick.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..My Out-of-Body Experiences

  30. I’ve really been more inclined to read and digest more of what Darren Rose has to say as compared to the other blogging gurus out there.

    He has this realistic and practical no-hype way of breaking out things for us bloggers that are still starting out.

    archondigital´s last blog post..Quality Comments and Giving Back Some Love

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Evelyn – Yes, sometimes we do need to have the information “drummed” into us. Like you, I like having that reminder that success does not happen overnight. Hard work and dedication are necessary, and like you said, “a true willingness to serve others”.

    Hi Archondigtal – Welcome to the BWAB community. I agree, Darren is very realistic and tells it like it is. I’m happy he doesn’t “sugar coat” what it really takes to blog.

  32. […] Read other answers in the A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series. A.S.K. Darren Rowse – Problogger – How To Become A Six Figure Blogger A.S.K. Darren Rowse of Problogger – When Do We Know Our Blog Is A “Winner” A.S.K. […]

  33. […] the most famous Blogger and purported to make the most money online. Learn more in this excellent Problogger interview from BloggingWithoutaBlog. Darren offers a ProBlogger community forum, the book ProBlogger: […]