The Cycle of Making Money Blogging Part I

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    Key Points

    • Preparation: Build your community, and your authority. You cannot sell a product without these two things.
    • Research: Once your community is built, you need to do some research. What kind of buyers do you have? How much could they spend? Etc.
    • Find a product: Once you have done some research about your community, it's time to take some time and think of the product you actually want to sell.

    Summary

    When it comes to making money blogging, there is a cycle you will want to follow in order to build consistent income. The key to earning money through your blog is by selling a product to your community. But how does the cycle tie into earning money through products?

    There are 6 parts to this cycle, and 3 of them are explained in part one: preparation, research and choosing your product.

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by Alex

Recently, I read an article over at ProBlogger that talked about making money blogging. David Risley, a successful 6-figure blogger talked about how bloggers need to find a product. As a blogger who has a product, I can vouch for the points David brought up in his article and can say that making money blogging is done through having a product, not through blogging articles.

Read Part II!

I highly recommend you read David’s article at ProBlogger, as a lot of the points I’m going to be making in this mini-series will be based on some of the points he made in that article.

In January, I launched a product of my own. This was the first product I have ever sold, and my first real attempt at making money from a blog. When I put the product up for sale, it occurred to me that this was the way I was going to make money through my blog.

If you read David’s article, he said that if you want to make money blogging – have a product. If you read this article, (and a past article on the subject), I will say the same thing. His exact words were:

Most bloggers today operate in a dream world of made-up business rules. They try to make money with their blogs when they have nothing to sell. They’ll try to monetize the eyeballs only by littering the blog up with banner ads to sell other people’s stuff. It doesn’t take long for most bloggers to realize what a freaking difficult way to monetize a blog that is!

So if developing a product “isn’t your thing” and making money through your blog isn’t your intention, then stop reading. Nothing I have to say will hold much value to you.

Oh yeah, and if you are impatient and don’t understand that success is achieved over time, click the “x” button at the top of your browser. Because what I have to say needs time to develop.

Now, I’m not a 6-figure blogger like David Risley is, or really earn enough online to support myself (I’m only 16, so whatever I make goes a long way). But, I have earned enough money from selling just one product in the past 41/2 months to tell you that there is hope for your very own product as well.

The Cycle of Making Money Blogging

I have created what I believe the process of making money through selling a product is. The good news is that because it’s a cycle, it repeats itself. So, once you go through the cycle once, you have the capability to go through it again and again and earn more and more each time you sell a new product.

This cycle will be explained over the course of two articles. The first 3 of the 6 steps will be explained in this article, and the other 3 will be explained in tomorrow’s post.

Making Money Blogging

I’m going to go over with you the first three steps of the process, prepare, research, and choosing your product. These are the three planning parts of the cycle, where you generally do more of the thinking and analyzing than actually doing anything else.

1. Preparation

You can’t approach something like this without a plan. It took me one year exactly to get my product ready for sale. I know that sounds like a lot of time, but there’s more to planning something like a product than the actual product itself.

What’s the one thing you need to sell something? People. You need readership; an audience who trusts and respects you. Think of the last time you bought something. You either bought it because:

  1. Someone you trust told you about it, and because you trust them so much and see value in the product, you bought it.
  2. You have read that persons blog or website for a while now, and you trust them enough to be willing to give them your money in exchange for whatever they have to sell.

So, in short: you need to have built some authority and have created a reputation for yourself.

Blog posts are not your product. They won’t get you paid.

As David said (and I agree with heavily), the articles you publish on your blog aren’t the things that get you paid. So many bloggers find different ways to monetize their blog articles, and if they are lucky – they will earn a few bucks doing it. The articles you publish onto your blog are NOT what makes you money.

They build your reputation, your readership, and really reflect the kind of blogger you are. The community you have on your blog is a result of the articles you publish, and how much you are going to earn from your product reflects the kind of community you have built.

So it took me about a year of consistent blogging to be able to build an audience that would look at my product, and buy it. For some, it takes longer. Some, not as long. But the most important thing, even more important than planning the actual product, is to have an audience to sell to.

2. Market Research

This isn’t the most enjoyable task, but it’s important nonetheless.

You are in complete control of what product you want to develop and sell. You have as much freedom to choose what you want to sell as you did when it came time to choose what you wanted to blog about. But unlike choosing your niche, you have to look at more than just your passion.

Once you have a pretty decent community built up (I had about 1,300 subscribers when I launched my product), you will be able to figure out what kind of people they are.

I can’t stress enough the importance of blog content for this step. Not only does the content you write bring your potential customers to your blog, but it reveals the kind of buyers they are. When I established my product, I knew these three things about my customer base:

  • I know that many readers in this community are new bloggers without much to spend. I had to take that into account with the product I developed, and I have to remember that for the future. I found this out by actually talking to them in the blog comments, and seeing what their reactions were when I mentioned a paid blogging tool.
  • I also know that a lot of users in this community use the Thesis Framework, which is what my product was built on. My reputation in the Thesis community helped sell the theme, and that reputation was established through all the work I have done on this blog.
  • The theme that Blogussion uses has always been well-received by nearly anyone who has ever talked about it. I have been asked multiple times in the past to sell it, and have had offers thrown at me already.

It’s often the tiniest bit of information you can find out about your community that will help you decide what to sell, how much to sell it for, and when to sell it.

3. Find your product

Once you have your community and know what kind of buyers you have in it, it’s time to figure out what you want to sell.

The product you choose has to be something you are totally committed to. Finding a product to sell and choosing your blog topic are so closely related because they tie into your ability and willingness to actually do it.

So, with your market research in hand and the same process(es) you used to pick your original blogging topic, you can come up with the best product for your community.

Tomorrow: Part II
Tomorrow I will explain the other half of the cycle. How do you think it will tie into the first half? What are your thoughts about the first half of the cycle? See you tomorrow.

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Patrick Toerner April 19, 2010 at 12:17 am

Awesome post! I actually never though of posts in the way you put them. They aren’t the way your blog makes money but really a way to build readership and authority. I see why blogussion has no ads.

This was a really cool post. Can’t wait for part II!
.-= Patrick Toerner´s last blog ..Picking a Product to Promote on Your Minisite =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Glad you agree Pat. It would be nice if people left ads out of their articles as they are missing out on building income long term.

Part II is a little shorter, but just as informative. You’ll like it man. :D

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Nick Tart April 19, 2010 at 1:30 am

Woohoo! That’s what I’m doing. I agree 100%, Alex, thus slightly disagreeing with my previous guest post here. Businesses sell things. Blogs should too.

Thanks for the RT earlier to day, by the way. See you around!
.-= Nick Tart´s last blog ..Interview: King Sidharth, The Outlaw Entrepreneur =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm

And you’re spending a lot of time on your product man. Hope it sells millions of copies. ;)

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Gautam Hans April 19, 2010 at 2:51 am

I was actually thinking of making a product to sell and this article has motivated me to make one. I think i am just selling cheap stuff.

With the product, I can definitely earn more and also appoint affiliates for my product
.-= Gautam Hans´s last blog ..How to Create and Monetize a Blog through Pay Per Click Advertising =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Good idea, a product is really the only solid way to earn from a blog anymore.

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Dave Doolin April 19, 2010 at 3:05 am

I have a couple of products coming out shortly, one of which will be a tightly focused membership site that gets a lot of my attention.

The key for me will be moving on past the “blogging” part and dig deeper into what people actually need to make money. Because in the end, we all have to eat. I have a couple of ideas, stuff I don’t see blogged about much but are important for small business web sites.
.-= Dave Doolin´s last blog ..Web Site Infrastructure — Required posts and pages for your WordPress blog =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 4:17 pm

That’s awesome you have a few ideas in development! Should pay off big for you man. Let me know what you come up with. :)

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Richard Scott April 19, 2010 at 4:33 am

This is something I need to think more about. Like looking at Alexa and finding out who my search traffic is. Then finding a product that they would buy. I think that will be this week’s goal. Because I’ve been hitting and missing on products. Plus I need a blog. That’s all coming soon… :)

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Sounds like you have a lot to do man. You definitely need some sort of audience before you actually do this, so a blog helps. You can just piggyback it off your website now for sure.

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Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog April 19, 2010 at 8:42 am

I would say that my article is my product currently but it is not the only product in near future. What I want to say that article is a product it self but a blogger should have another product other than article to increase their earning.
.-= Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog´s last blog ..BlogEngage Button is in Digg Digg WordPress Plugin Now! =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm

But articles don’t make you money. They can set you up for it one day, but an article itself isn’t actually a source of good income.

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Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog April 19, 2010 at 9:02 pm

It do make me money — but yeah, it is not much that’s why I need another product to offer for better money as I said.
.-= Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog´s last blog ..Lightened Your WordPress Security, Please! =-.

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Onibalusi Bamidele April 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Great! Great! Great! post, I am anxious to read tomorrows own. I am also in the process of creating a super product very soon.
BTW: Can you give an idea of how much you made with the blogussion theme in its first month.
Thanks a lot.
.-= Onibalusi Bamidele´s last blog ..The one lesson the Holy Spirit taught me about blogging =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Awesome man, what field are you going to get into?

The Blogussion Theme (in its first month) made over $5,000. That was the highest it has been, but it really rocked in opening. Still selling today, glad to admit. :)

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Onibalusi Bamidele April 20, 2010 at 9:11 am

Hi Alex,
I will be going into blogging and how to get traffic to a website, I will be creating an ebook and later a membership site.
I am very happy to hear that blogussion made you $5000 the first month, Pls like how many daily visitors were you getting when you first released the theme.
Thanks a lot,
Onibalusi
.-= Onibalusi Bamidele´s last blog ..The one lesson the Holy Spirit taught me about blogging =-.

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hospitalera@Irish Home and Garden April 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm

The main product I sell on my websites is information and I monetize this product according to the niches I target. That means Adsense, Chitika and Amazon mainly. Works well for me. IOne day I have to sit down and concentrate and write an ebook on how to make money using free tools and services available on the web. Making money online doesn’t have to cost money, but it costs time, commitment and dedication, SY
.-= hospitalera@Irish Home and Garden´s last blog ..What to Consider with Metal Carports for Sale =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I actually think that the products you make are the ones that sell the best, and benefit your site the most.

Definitely consider creating an eBook, or any sort of product for your blog. It pays off immensely!

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hospitalera@Home Garden Ireland April 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Yes, finishing and polishing up my ebook is on top of my list to do! ;-) SY
.-= hospitalera@Home Garden Ireland´s last blog ..Lawn and Garden Care =-.

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TheInfoPreneur April 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm

First time here Alex after David Risley sent me this way and brother I gotta tell you, the level headed business mind you have at 16 is outstanding!

Seriously at 16 I was joining the military to escape a life that would lead to jail and here you are making money online. Great job brother, very inspiring and re-tweeting now
.-= TheInfoPreneur´s last blog ..10 Ways To Stop Doubting Yourself =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Glad you like the blog bud. :D I definitely hope I’m doing a few things right business wise. ;)

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Alex Monroe April 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Great post Alex. Love your thinking. You’ve got a great product and I agree with what you mentioned about having a following before releasing a product. That is exactly what I am doing. I am really in the beginning stages of my blog and have ideas lingering for a product. Can’t wait to do the exciting market research that you’re talking about!
.-= Alex Monroe´s last blog ..Video Interview with Kelly Sutton, Founder of HackCollege =-.

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Alex April 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Nothing makes a blogger look or hurt as bad as having something they spend a lot of time and effort on flop. So it’s totally worth building your audience. I did, and I launched a pretty successful product.

The only real exciting thing about market research is the the end. ;) But I actually did figure out some pretty interesting things about my readers, so that’s a plus.

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Glen April 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I totally understand where you are coming from Alex.

I have been developing my own product but not really putting much attention into it. This post has gave me a kick up the bum and I will definitely put more focus onto it and to actually make it worth money.
.-= Glen´s last blog ..Ditch The Default Design! =-.

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Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing April 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

It’s bone pickin’ time. ;)

OK so, Affiliate marketing by product review articles via a blog does not make money, is essentially what Risley (and you?) are saying, yes?

Hmm, did someone fail miserably as an affiliate marketer perhaps? But I digress… I’ll simply continue following the true to life 6-7 figure affiliates I know.

YES having your own product is #1, if applicable. YES banner ads no longer being a very viable option is true. Both being rather OLD news.

Saying affiliate marketing via article writing, on or off a blog, is, well, to be nice…..silly. :)
.-= Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Do You Have 5 BURNING Questions? =-.

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Web Marketing Tips April 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Certainly those days are gone when your blog can bring money for you.

Yes John Chow is still doing that and recently launched its own book. So now he also have his own product.

Will you please write a post about different kind of products a blogger can use as his product, like ebook, or forums or skill like you have.
.-= Web Marketing Tips´s last blog ..Thesis Theme 1.7 and Thesis Bonus valued at $477 =-.

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King Sidharth April 21, 2010 at 5:21 am

Man! This was awesome. I am working on a product for one of my blogs and this has helped me get more ideas flowing and a clearer picture of what all I could to to make my product more ‘buyable’.

Thanks so much for writing this awesome series.
.-= King Sidharth´s last blog ..Why ‘King’ Sidharth – the Secret Behind ‘King’ =-.

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Shirley April 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Great great article, Alex. I think this is a real step-by-step guide for anyone who wants to make money through their blog by selling a product. You’ve really opened my eyes to some really great and new things today.

Thanks very much for that and God bless you :) .
.-= Shirley´s last blog ..An Ultimate Guide To Getting And Making Use Of Traffic From StumbleUpon =-.

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Reza Winandar April 22, 2010 at 6:00 am

Can we make money by just promoting affiliate link?
.-= Reza Winandar´s last blog ..5 Types of Comments That Attract Attention =-.

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WP Tricks April 25, 2010 at 4:25 am

Awesome… there are more than one idea and ways to make money trough blog.. and I agreed we need to research first
.-= WP Tricks´s last blog ..Tutorial Enable HTML markup in user profiles =-.

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Murlu May 3, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Fantastic explanation.

I thought I was getting a little fanatical about taking notes and researching when I first thought of my new blog but it’s already paid off. I love the idea of just jumping in and learning as you go but I already did that with my other blog.

Once I really started to get comfortable with blogging and networking, I began writing down ideas. It had been cycling through my head for over a year, I wanted to share my experiences with eCommerce (my main job).

Now, with a notepad with literally thousands of pages later, I finally put it to work.

I suggest anyone, before they jump right in, make sure you have the passion for what you’re going to be blogging about. The allure of money is a tough one to battle but the real payout is the people you meet along the way.
.-= Murlu´s last blog ..15 Wordpress Plugins To Install On A New Blog =-.

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Prasenjit @ Make Money Blogging September 4, 2010 at 10:02 am

I completely agree with you Alex. Well written post. Actually the way you write your posts is very different. I like it.

Thanks.

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Same day payday loans fast October 1, 2010 at 3:22 am

I want a copy of the book, but I don’t understand a complex English language.

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Macy Kol October 15, 2010 at 8:56 am
Your Name April 11, 2011 at 6:08 am

very good knowledge for me and for those who got only basic knowledqe on handling blogs.

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musa April 11, 2011 at 6:08 am

very good knowledge for me and for those who got only basic knowledqe on handling blogs.

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work online April 12, 2011 at 3:07 am

Well I have understood the first part of cycle and now I am giving it a try, I hope I will succeed one day.

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Sample Letters April 13, 2011 at 8:14 am

Going to read the next part…

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Hard Disk Errors April 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm

One thing that most of the webmasters including me, miss out in their initial days is market research.
I still think that if I had taken this single factor in mind, I would have been a better blogger now.

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catfishing April 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

Well its very simple to read but very hard to act. Sometimes things are not the way they suppose to be. I have spent lot of time in your blog and now I hope that I will be able to follow it.

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