I’m always interested to see what other people are doing online in the internet marketing / make money online sphere.
Who doesn’t want to know how someone makes money online. It’s almost a magical thing having money come in out of seemingly nowhere. Making money without actually going to an office was something unthinkable for the average person just 10 or 15 years ago.
But these days, it’s a reality for a select few. That few is growing each day, but it’s still fairly rare to find someone who’s successfully making a full time income online.
When it comes to blogging about making money online, it’s a bit of a minefield out there trying to sort the legit from the bullshit.
The reason is that the Internet Marketing / Make Money Online niche is a popular and highly sought-after vertical by many marketers because there is a serious demand to which you can sell your own digital products to.
It can be lucrative in some cases.
It’s also a niche that’s rife with bullshit and fraud on the part of the marketers running these websites.
And because of that, be skeptical guys — always be skeptical.
A significant number of the ‘how to make money online’ websites offer various expensive digital courses and ebooks telling you how to make money online. These sites often post ludicrously high income reports every month as proof of how much money they make. And in some cases, these websites and the owners DO make that money (and sometimes they fake it).
There’s a significant difference between making money online by teaching OTHERS how to make money online AND actually making money online OUTSIDE of your make money online blog.
This is a significant difference.
And that difference, for you, can mean wasting your time, your energy, and potentially hundreds to thousands of dollars chasing rainbows when you could be actually building something real.
So before you start getting exciting about the latest ‘how to EASILY make money online through [insert your own phrase here] secret method’, read what I have to say about the topic because it could just save you thousands and a pile of broken dreams.
Only Follow Make Money Online Strategies that…
a) are actionable and repeatable on your part
What’s the point of general advice that you can’t specifically put into practice yourself directly? It’s great to hear Neil Patel from QuickSprout.com tell you that he made 200k+ in a month through marketing a make money webinar on Instagram, but do YOU as the average person have 75k to spend to employ such a scheme and do you have the powerful reputation that Neil has?
And this means many of those strategies Neil blogs about on his sites are NOT repeatable by the average person because they those same strategies take significant investment in money, experience, and being able to leverage a well-known name.
One of his recent case studies showcased how he managed to take a new blog in a sphere he has no influence in (the health sphere) and generate 30-50k in revenues per month after 1 year. And the guy pulled it off.
It’s great to see someone actually prove this is possible in such a short period of time. So I take my hat off for the effort and the success.
But about 99.9 percent of the people reading that case study would not be able to pull that sort of thing off because they don’t have the unlimited funds that Neil can throw into the project (he spent thousands of dollars a month in advertising on Amazon, buying product to sell, and hiring a team of people to promote his site through link outreach). On top of that, he had create an Amazon FBA product (fish oil) and spend 30k-50k buying inventory.
Again, great. But do you, the average person who is tinkering with the idea of trying your hand at making money online, have 30k-100k to blow on a potential website idea? The answer is probably no for the majority of you.
b) gives you a clear strategy to follow
It’s one thing to tell people good advice about how to make money online, but it’s another thing to give CLEAR strategy for people to follow. I can tell you to go do link outreach and only focus on white hat links. But if I don’t give you specific, step by step instructions on how to best achieve this, the advice is pretty damn pointless.
I would lump in quite a few of Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome podcasts and blog posts into this category. It’s good advice, but I feel that specifically telling your audience over and over to focus on quality content is pretty much just repeating platitudes.
I’m not saying all of Pat’s content is like this; I actually find his site useful and some of his case studies with people who actually make money through unique methods are interesting, but a significant portion of the Pat Fynn train is mostly just a repeat of everything other people have already said about the topic and not an actual strategy you can run with.
Patt has only ever made about 95% of his income from his make money online blog NOT from his actual websites outside out of this sphere. If Patt was generating 30,000 from actual niche websites (or any website other than his make money site), then I’d be more keen to hear how he runs those sites and makes money. But he doesn’t.
So forgive me if I don’t feel Patt Fynn is going to be able to offer you, the average person who want’s to make an authority site / niche site in 2016, the information you need to make that happen. You’ll get good general advice, but not anything actionable that you can follow outside of ‘build quality content’ sort of advice.
Again, some good info there, but for most people, not actionable content.
c) helps you build a sustainable income
There’s some good advice out there that may give you a few ideas and tricks for making some quick but UNSUSTAINABLE income.
I myself followed these strategies years ago. I made money and I learned something about marketing online, but I also wasted years of my life going down paths that did not build anything that lasted. I would have been better focusing on a couple quality sites that would still be here earning me something today rather than the 400 or 500 sites that know longer make me a penny.
I don’t like to focus on these methods anymore because you almost always end up at a deficit in time and effort by the end of it (you would have been better off spending the time and resources building a sustainable business).
d) are a method that the blogger himself / herself currently uses to generate a successful income
It should be pretty obvious that people who promote a specific method of making an income should actually be making significant money with that method themselves, if they are in any position to teach others how to do the same thing.
Alas, this is NOT usually true when it comes to make money online blogs.
The Four Types of Make Money Online Blogs
I break these into FOUR types of blogs. There may be minor variations, but these are the usual ones you’ll see.
Pay attention here, especially if you are the type of person who will actually part with money buying courses or products that claim they will teach you how to make money.
1. The Blog That Makes Money By Teaching Others to Make Money Online
This is pretty much JUST a pyramid scheme.
The basic format of these blogs is the blog sells a course about how to make money and make all their money from pimping that course to their readers. Quite often, the blog offers huge commissions to the students who buy the package who are then convinced to promote that course to new people.
And so the chain continues over and over.
The problem is, no one is actually making any money outside of teaching people how to make money. It’s a snake eating its own tail — and if you are somewhere near the tail, you are pretty much fucked.
This is the worst sort of blog and it preys upon the new readers who actually buy into the product. Quite often, these ‘how to make money online’ courses are just repackaged material from someone else’s course. These sites are often flashy and the can look legit while promising great things and secret strategies.
But those strategies just happen to be the regular run of the mill, re-packaged internet marketing crap that you can find for free pretty much everyone on any marketing blog. There is no new information, no real strategies, no effective methods — its all just repackaged crap you can find for free with a single google search.
These so called strategies and methods are so general in nature that you learn absolutely nothing about how to make a proper business online, nor do you learn any tricks or methods that will specifically help you (other than in the broadest of unhelpful directions such as ‘create a website, find a product on amazon and promote it then make money).
A particularly insidious version of this type of blog is one that creates a make money online product that only teaches you how to make money online by promoting that same product. The blog then boosts of huge monthly earnings ‘making money online’ but all that ONLY comes from teaching people who to teach other people how to make money. There is not even an attempt to teach you how to make money outside of SELLING that same course. But at the end of the day, NO ONE IS MAKING MONEY outside of promoting the course.
These types of blogs are big scams and through clever marketing, they prey on the desperate.
2. The Blog That Blogs About Making Money OUTSIDE of their Internet Marketing Blog
These are interesting blogs quite often, especially if the person writing the content is not lying about their success.
I like to count my blog among these few that do this. What happens here is the marketer has a number of real sites and projects that generate most of his or her revenue (all of them OUTSIDE of the marketing sphere) and they share the strategies on how they did it.
Sometimes these are brand new blogs, but the person behind that blog is an experienced marketer who is making money with his websites, even if his make money blog is fairly new.
I feel these are the most useful sites for the average person because they give real strategies on how to make money through websites.
Many of these blogs that blog about making money online eventually open their own digital courses and sell a specific method on how to achieve success OUTSIDE of the make money online sphere.
If these methods are about a specific strategy the blogger has mastered and made money with — and a strategy that’s directly repeatable by the average person given time and work on that person’s part — then these type of courses can be a worthy buy. These are the ONLY courses or ebooks I’d recommend people who are actually trying to make money should spend on — and even then, you need to do some DUE DILIGENCE to make sure the blogger actually makes MONEY using those same methods.
Here are some things these types of sites can teach you
- How to Create a Successful Drop Shopping Niche Website Business
- How to Create Successful Amazon Niche Sites
- How to Make Money with Adsense
- How to Create a Thriving Ecommerce Store
- How to Set Up A Killer Amazon FBA business
These are usually very focused products that teach you a specific strategy in a specific area. If the blogger is using these methods himself and able to create NEW websites using this with a live case study, then it may be worth buying an ebook or spending a little bit for a course that teaches you how to do this from ground up.
But you need to make sure
a) the method currently works and can be repeated NOW
b) the blogger selling the course is currently making money from this model himself
c) the information is UNIQUE and not some repackaged crap taken from a PLA source.
d) the methods have a unique twist or technique you can use to repeat some of the success (a link buiding tactic, a marketing tactic, or something you can follow via this method that you can’t easily accomplish just using general free information about that strategy elsewhere).
If the digital product has a, b, c, and d, then it may be worth spending the money, provided you are willing to actually put the time into those methods.
The problem with some of these strategies is that while they may be effective, especially if it’s a specific way to make money that takes advantage of some loophole, they may not continue to be effective. This is even more the case if the method is particularly effective and becomes popular.
I saw this way back in 2010 with the popularity of the old Google Sniper course. This course because so popular that thousands and thousands of websites cropped up, looking exactly the same, and doing the same thing. What eventually happened? Google closed the loop hole (exact domain name ranking bonus removed, increased sandbox time for new sites, links with exact anchor text penalized, PBN crackdowns, etc) and deindexed all sites that followed this method.
So IF the method is so narrow and does NOT teach you to create something that offers real value — and something that looks like it will be sustainable over years — then avoid it.
You need to be very careful when looking at income reports here. All income reports posted by these bloggers should reflect earnings made outside of the marketing blog or any promotions about how to make money.
For example, I recently found some guy’s blog a few weeks ago where he talks about living in Thailand and making money each month online. I thought this was cool because I’ve been doing something similar for 5 years now.
This same blogger posts income reports each month. And his blogs and his articles are interesting and inspiring. Many of his income reports range between 12 to 16 thousands dollars a month. These are pretty good earning reports.
But when you break down the reports and look at what this blogger makes OUTSIDE of promoting a course that teaches people how to make money via dropshipping, this blogger actually only earns about 3k -4k a month from the methods he promotes, while the other 8-12k per month comes from selling a course about making money online.
Now to be fair here, the blogger does not try to hide this fact.
But the point remains that when you read reports showing a blogger is making 16k a month, you have a tendency to automatically assume the blogger has blanket authority about how to be successful at the methods he’s promoting.
Tell me, who should you be listening to:
a blogger who makes 2-4k a month with a couple dropshipping stores while making 10k a month promoting a course that teaches you how to dropship?
a blogger who makes 16k a month via droppshipping and blogs about it?
I think you can probably guess who knows more about the topic.
The point is NOT to blast this blogger, who looks like he has a very good blog and seems like a nice enough chap as things go.
But the point is to heighlight the fact that you shouldn’t just look at how much a blogger makes per month and give your trust based on that amount — especially if you are considering buying a course or product promoted by that blogger. You need to see if that blogger is actually making serious money using those SAME method’s being sold or promoted.
3. The Blog That Blog About Making Money with That Blog
Another ‘take’ on the make money blog are authority sites about a topic posting income reports about how much that same site made. The blogger will usually post a monthly income report showing how much that site has made during the month, with usually pretty impressive figures.
Sometimes, the site may promote their own digital product or course offering to teach you how to make money too.
These are usually older, established websites that have been around for years and have a track record to prove it.
I often see this occur in the following niches:
- travel niche
- wordpress niche (tutorials)
- blogging niche
- food niche
Now, the bloggers who own authority sites that make money can teach you something valuable about that specific niche and how to make money in that niche.
I do find these sites useful to read as the blogger usually has a pretty good handle on marketing, running a large blog, and offering a product or service to an audience. These are essential skills that you’ll eventually want to master too at some point, should you grow a blog large enough one day.
If say a wordpress tutorial blog posts income reports about making 15k to 20k a month, it’s something to pay attention to if you want to make a similar type of blog in the same space. Often the blogger behind a successful website is a legit authority about a specific topic and type of site. If you want to make a similar type of site or follow a similar model, then you should probably pay close attention to what that blogger has to say.
I see this sort of blog often in the Travel niche. There are a million travel websites (probably because it’s one of those dream niches where you can do your work and have fun writing about it — not to mention potentially get free trips and paid travel if your website becomes successful).
If you want to make a good travel blog, you may want to look at what some of the successful travel blogs say about the topic. But if that travel blogger is telling you how to make money via niche websites while they make their money from their travel blog, well then, what do they know about Amazon niche marketing?
However, if that blogger is promoting a money making method that does NOT generate them any real money, then watch out.
I’m a bit leery of those big successful blogs like SmartPassiveIncome that are considered the reigning authority by the public regarding how to make money online. These sites are often good sources for finding tips on how to optimize an existing (successful blog); you often get some good tips on how to improve your marketing, build more list subscribers, and generally make a good thing a better thing.
But they offer very little in the way of actual advice on how to make money from the start. For all Pat’s knowledge, he’s making about 99 percent of his income NOT by creating any new sites at the point, but by earning from his successful make money online blog via podcast advertising and various affiliate products he pumps.
If you look at what he makes outside of the make money online blog, it’s a fraction of a fraction of what his make money blog makes.
Is someone like Pat a reigning authority on how to make a successful full time income via Amazon Affiliates or how to make ludicrous money via Amazon FBA, or how to make a killing in 2016 via Adsense or how to quite your job through eCommerce?
I say absolutely not because Pat does not make any money in these areas.
Mind you, he does interview experts who do make money doing these, so I’m not dissing Pat in anyway here.
I just mean that while most of the advice is good, it’s absolutely cliche: advice like ‘Write Quality Content’ and ‘Promote Your Site with WhiteHat Methods’ and ‘Do Link Out Reach the Natural Way’ isn’t something actionable on your part RIGHT now.
How does that help you start a brand new blog and make money.
It’s a good rule of thumb to follow, but not an actual strategy.
4. The Newbie Make Money Online Blog
All money / marketing blogs start here at some point.
The key point here is that the person starting the blog is NOT making any money online…yet.
I see quite a lot of these blogs cropping up from time to time. It’s usually someone who’s new to internet marketing that starts blogging about their journey to make money online — either as a journal to help keep them motivated or as an attempt to build an income with that blog over time.
These newbie blogs are entertaining to read. In a few cases, these blogs actually can turn into a legit money making blog that will sell products to other bloggers (especially if the blogger managess to put together a digital course and successfully sell it to people).
Occasionally, the blogger finds success with his various niche websites outside of the Make Money Blog and becomes an authority about the topics he blogs about.
Quite often, however, these newbie blogs turn into a version of the ‘Blog Teaching Others How to Make Money Online’ with the blogger hopping they can fake it until they make it. And usually, these bloggers just spout off whatever other advice they’ve read on SmartPassiveIncome or parrot whatever banal advice is floated around other blogs.
Again, be careful when it comes to following any advice about how to make money. Look at how much money that blogger is making using those methods. Chances are if the blogger does not post income reports or can’t back up those stats on demand, then he or she is faking it or is NOT making any actual money.
And that’s fine, but those people shouldn’t be telling other people how to do something they are not themselves.
Or even worse, SELLING their own product that teaches people something they are not successful with.
The Final Word
Well there is is, my breakdown of the internet marketing sphere.
If you have spotted any blogs that fit into the four categories, please share them in the comments!