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Why isn’t my blog profitable?

Jim Blogger loves fitness. He was a jock growing up and he never gained his “freshman 15” in college, where he majored in journalism and minored in sports medicine. Now he teaches weightlifting classes at the local gym, and writes a fitness blog with really good articles. But he has a problem: Even though he has great articles, he doesn’t make that much money from his blog.

Sound like anyone we know?

Like Jim, most bloggers are like come from writing backgrounds or were interested in their niche before they started blogging. This means that even though many bloggers make great content and know a lot about what they write about, few have the business know-how to make money off their writing.

I’ve worked in online marketing for over a decade so I know a thing or two about how to make money with a blog. I want to help other bloggers succeed, so I’m sharing a few ways that you can make money blogging:

Affiliate marketing

Merchants (also confusingly called advertisers) will pay bloggers money to get people to sign up as leads (a lead is someone who’s either signed up for a trial or registered their personal information, such as their email address, to a merchant) and/or buy products. Usually, you will get a percentage of the product sold if you’re getting paid to sell products. You get paid a flat amount for each lead you sign up.


The most common way bloggers run affiliate programs is by placing banner ads on their site. However, it’s also common for blogs to allow people to sign up for their mailing list, and send out a newsletter each week. Instead of selling people’s email addresses to spammers (which decreases the value of the blog) or sending them spam yourself, email them relevant information that they’ll actually read. This will increase the value of your blog to your readers, make them tell their friends about you, and gives you an excellent opportunity to place some affiliate links. Make sure to choose high quality products: Readers won’t want to read your blog anymore (and certainly won’t click on any of your affiliate links) if your newsletter points they feel like they are being pointed to products that are rip-offs.

Pay per click ads

Pay per click ads don’t work well in newsletters because you’re not being paid that much per click. As a result, many of the people clicking on your ads need to be people new to your blog, not your hardcore readers who’ve signed up for your newsletter. That’s why pay per click ads don’t work in newsletters but they work great as banner ads on your site. Pay per click banner ads on a website are usually less targeted than affiliate ads for a hand-picked product in a newsletter to a very narrow niche (such as people who like weightlifting, as opposed to people who like fitness in general) audience, so you need a lot more clicks to make the same amount of money. However, Google AdSense tailors ads based on an individual reader’s search history, so AdSense pay per click banner ads can be more profitable than affiliate banner ads.

Don’t stop here!

I’ve shared a few ways to make more money on your blog, but this article’s by no means the end-all be-all of content monetization. To make even more money, you should look for more articles online and watch webinars about content monetization, like mine on Friday the 27th of January. Space is limited so register ASAP!

This is a guest post by Murray Newlands. Murray and his company Influence People do blogger outreach for a variety of clients, such as INTENTclick.

About the author: This post was contributed by a guest author or interviewee. If you’re interested in writing a blog post yourself or being interviewed, please let us know via the contact page. All guest authors receive a bio paragraph, including links to author website and two social links, within the blog post as reciprocation for participation.

36 comments… add one

  • Christina January 19, 2012, 6:12 am

    Great post, always a good refresher on what different avenues there are for us bloggers. Gotta think smart about those options too. Thanks Christian!

    • Steve Sims January 19, 2012, 11:06 am

      Yeah, it was definitely a great post by Murray. I’m looking forward to his webinar next Friday. Are you going to that, Christina?

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 19, 2012, 5:04 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Anna January 19, 2012, 10:09 am

    I couldn’t help but reading that! I sincerely hope that after this article I will be a millionaire! xoxoxox

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 19, 2012, 5:06 pm

      You will, you will! Especially if that’s important to you. You craft that life you believe in.

  • Tim Gillette January 19, 2012, 11:20 am

    Thanks for the info. As I am always working to improve my blog and generate income from its many readers. You put is so simple, thanks again and Rock on.

  • Jeevanjacobjohn January 19, 2012, 2:50 pm

    Hey Murray,

    Great Article!

    The last time I heard the name Jim was in the Princeton SAT practice book (like 1 year ago). The guys at Princeton use Jim to stand for the ordinary guy who wants to write SAT. Likewise, you have used a great example (Jim Blogger to introduce your article :D).

    These are great ways to make money online. But it is getting harder to make money through these ways especially because we have a lot of competition.

    Anyways, thanks for the article!

    Jeevan Jacob John

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 19, 2012, 5:09 pm

      Very true. Those who have websites that are already high in the search engines, have found that if they continually produce content, will more than likely stay there.

      It’s becoming more difficult to produce something that gets to the top.

      That’s why in this age, it might be best to collaborate with other bloggers. Get to the top by working together.

      • Jeevanjacobjohn January 19, 2012, 5:13 pm

        Yeah. And I can also find that many popular blogs are churning out lesser posts – per month with lesser quality.

        And there are a lot of “middle-class” bloggers who really write great stuff (but, they find it really hard to break through the “cloud” of popular blogs).

        Yeah, I have planned to do just that :D Hopefully it will happen in a few weeks :D

        • Christian Hollingsworth January 19, 2012, 5:40 pm

          Love your thoughts here. Just goes to show that if you have some determination, heart and effort – you can make it huge!

          • Jeevanjacobjohn January 21, 2012, 10:41 am

            Don’t forget consistency!

            The main reason I didn’t succeed with my old blog (And why I started a new blog) is because of consistency. I worked hard, but I didn’t put efforts consistently. If I had, I would have had better results.

            Thanks for the reply, Christian!

            Jeevan Jacob John

      • Jim Traister January 22, 2012, 11:24 am

        Christian, you mention above that “it is becoming more difficult to produce something that gets to the top.”

        Question for you and your community: do you believe there is still a significant amount of opportunities for niche blogs (e.g. from jewelry, model cars, ice cream to niche business blgos)?

        Hope this reply finds you doing well!

        • Christian Hollingsworth January 25, 2012, 11:01 am

          I still believe, that there are many untapped niches. Many aren’t covered adequately. And even the ones that may “seem” competitive really aren’t. With a blog/website with strong community backing, good content often, some quality SEO work, etc…it can and WILL jump to the top quickly.

  • Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer January 19, 2012, 8:57 pm

    Loved your tips as always Christian!

    I surely do need to learn a lot, as I can see from the awesome links and ways you have provided on top. Guess I haven’t really ever thought about making money from my blogs- seriously enough. But your post sure does motivate me to start doing so :)

    Thanks so much for sharing :)

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 25, 2012, 11:04 am

      Quality posts, in a niche, almost daily – can easily provide a decent income. It really works if someone is willing to put in the time. And choosing a niche they’re passionate about! That’s so important, but always forgotten!!!

  • Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer January 19, 2012, 9:00 pm

    Oh- I need to thank Murray as well for the great post :)

  • Eddie Gear January 20, 2012, 5:22 am

    I’ve tried INTENTclick., its not very good with WP I guess. It just did not work for me. I was never able to configure it nor was the support team able to understand the issue. With that said, the post title is a little misdirect ional, its as though Smart boy designs is not profitable. With all that said, I think the article is neat and has some good info, worth the read.

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 25, 2012, 11:06 am

      I haven’t tried INTENTclick before. Interesting to hear your feedback and thoughts on the product.

      As for blog posts – I’m experimenting with different ways to highlight the biography lines of authors who post guest posts. There needs to be a better way to extinguish between guest posts, and those written by me! lol

  • Tim Ryan@naples park January 20, 2012, 6:34 am

    Great tips on how to make profitable blogs! I find the affiliate marketing as the most commonly used by bloggers. Well, it’s not that it is the easiest but there are more business owners who pay for bloggers to sell their products and write reviews for them. I am very interested with PPC and the others so that’s where I’ll be trying out my luck next.

  • custom items January 21, 2012, 4:51 am

    Hi Christian,

    Do you consider PPC to be profitable? I mean they said if it’s not target, and you not putting your ads in a relevant site then you are waiting money. Yes, being an affiliate and do reviews on your blog is really going to help.

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 25, 2012, 11:09 am

      You would only know if you’re wasting money depending on your conversion rates, what’s working, etc…To really produce a great PPC campaign it often takes a little money in the beginning to back the project. Why? You’ll want to identify the best audiences and methods for buying your PPC campaign, but then it will take some time and testing.

      It’s recommended try across different networks, as sometimes there are hidden demographics/audiences of people who convert rather well – of which you never expected to work well in the beginning!

  • Mattias Gronborg January 21, 2012, 7:44 am

    Thanks for delivering great content and your endevour to always help people to the next level. I have a question; please help me to understand the purpose of those green links in your articles?


    • Christian Hollingsworth January 25, 2012, 11:13 am

      The green links are Infolinks. Just another way to provide advertising on your websites or blogs. You might want to look into it.

  • Jens P. Berget January 21, 2012, 9:20 am

    Hi Murray,

    Interesting post. I have been trying various ways to make my blog profitable, but I’m still not quite there yet. To me, experience is what matters. And it all depends on the niche what you should do to make your blog profitable. For instance, it’s a lot easier to sell anything on your blog if you’ve built a following and created strong relationships… that’s something that works great for me.

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 25, 2012, 11:20 am

      Great thoughts here, Jens. Very true. If you build that strong following first, you can sell just about anything. lol

  • Hajra January 21, 2012, 10:00 am


    Making money online is probably one of the most discussed things for bloggers and probably one of the most vague also. I think it depends on many things, one the nature of your blog, how well you use marketing skills to have people come to your blog and related factors. Some say community building has to be worked on before anything works but many claim to have a hundred comments and not earning much.

    This definitely shall provide a sense of direction! Thanks! :)

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 25, 2012, 11:29 am

      Very true.

      There are some blogs that have very little to no interaction in the comments section, but are also making more money than anyone else. Usually the low comments are due to new blog posts being published at a rapid rate.

      Not enough time for everyone to leave lots of comments, but producing so many posts that search engines love the blog.

  • BuySellWordpress January 24, 2012, 3:16 am

    That’s great that you decided to mention all the ways that can help bloggers to earn money) I guess that all your readers will take it into consideration

  • Cat Alexandra@Internet Marketing Success January 25, 2012, 6:13 pm

    Hi Murray,

    These are some really great tips here!

    I am relatively new to blogging and was sort of curious about how to make money with my blog but have found that it’s not difficult to do if we know how to generate some predictable traffic and aim an affiliate deals with good call to action.

    I’m looking to diversify how I do things and think that some of these tips will help me shake it up a bit!

    Cat Alexandra

    • Christian Hollingsworth January 30, 2012, 2:32 pm

      There are so many ways to make money while blogging. Just keep your eyes and ears open, read a lot, and you’ll be well on your way to knowing a whole bunch about the topic!

  • figuretech March 26, 2012, 2:28 pm

    I believe that not being consistent can make a blogger unsuccessful.

  • Christian Hollingsworth January 25, 2012, 11:32 am

    And it’s often helpful to have another form of income while you’re working on your other projects. Or, have a large some of money that will allow you to pursue your various efforts in income creation.


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