If you browse some of the internet marketing forums, you’ll often see new bloggers asking how long it takes to make X amount of money.
While there’s really no hard and fast answer to that question, I thought I’d give my own perspective.
The ‘unicorn’ goal for many bloggers who start out with some intention of trying to make a living online (at some point) is to pull in a six-figure salary. This means you need roughly 8,300 USD per month to reach $100,000 per year in earnings.
One popular income ‘target’ bloggers seem to have is to make $10,000 per month, probably because the figure is bandied about as a marketing tactic by internet marketers trying to hawk some affiliate program about making money online.
Regardless, people can and do make more than $10,000 per month and, having reached that figure, I thought I’d share some general thoughts on how to reach this goal.
I’ve been doing this…job since early 2009.
And I’ve been in the position of having reached the $10,000 from scratch twice.
Yes, that’s right. I’m qualified to write a bit about this topic since I’ve reached past the $10,000 USD a month threshold twice, both times having to work my way up from nearly 0.
The First Time I reached $10,000+
The first time was when I started back in 2009. By about mid-2010, I was making over 10,000. Most of this came from my Adsense account what was pulling in $10,000 a month checks. The rest came from Amazon Associates and a couple other affiliate programs (CJ.com, Clickbank, and NeverBlue, primarily).
Alas, the good times did not continue. I only maintained my $10,000 per month income from 2010 to early 2012, for less than 2 years.
A couple big Google Updates (EMD Update and Penguin) killed me.
After the updates were finished with me in 2012, I was knocked out of the $10,000 a month club back to the about $4000 to $5000 a month. Then I had both my Adsense accounts banned in 2013, which knocked me down to only my Amazon Associate income, which was around $1200-$1600 a month. I managed to bring in a little bit extra by selling some ads on my site in 2014 and Media.net started kicking in 2014. But for a good year, I was sitting at under $2000 a month at least.
How Long Did The First Time Take Me?
In total, the first time took me about a year and a bit to go from 0 to about $10,000+ per month (you can, in fact, read the early history of this blog to see my very first posts, back when was starting to actually make my first few bucks online).
Now, that sort of effort is not as repeatable anymore. Not with brand new sites. I took advantage of some Google Search loopholes and exploited the whole Minisite craze, where I could leverage minimal work and shitty content to quickly rank for google search terms by using Exact Match Domains. It was possible to churn out mini sites (I used to do 1 a day) and rank for the same terms in your domain within about 2 to 4 weeks.
Such things are no longer possible with brand new domains, alas.
The Second Time I reached $10,000
Despite losing my $10,000 a month income, I managed to claw my way back up again roughly around the first quarter of 2016.
Prior to that, I had worked my way up from $2000 a month in 2013 to $4000-$5000 in 2014. 2015 I was able to bring things up to about $6000 – $7000. Finally, in 2016, a bunch of projects came to fruition and I was able to not only reach $10,000, but blow past it (October, for example, I did $20,000 online).
How Long Did The Second Time Take Me?
The second time longer because I didn’t have any ‘loopholes’ to work with. And this time, I was determined to build up a more stable income with quality authority sites. Diversifying my income was also important to me.
It took me from early 2014 to mid-2016 to move from $2000 to $10000+ a month.
That’s what it took me, working my ass off.
How To Make $10,000 per Month
So I did it.
How can YOU do it too?
There’s a few things I’ve learned that, I feel, are useful. I can’t promise this advice will guarantee you make $10k a month, but it will certainly put you on the right road.
And that’s more than most bloggers will ever achieve.
I don’t want to give an exact data-driven breakdown on how many sites you need to create, how many articles you need per site, and what type of niches to pursue.
Rather, I want to give some general guidelines that I have used to make 10,000+ a month twice, with both times requiring me to start from 0 again.
There are NO shortcuts here for hard work, but some smart strategies on your part can make it possible to make $10,000 or more a month in only a couple years.
1. Find a Niche with High Commerical Intent…Avoid The Rest
The best way NOT to make it to $10,000 a month is to start a bunch of sites in niches where you can’t easily make money.
I call these ‘Quicksand’ niches. No matter how much work you do, once you’re ‘stuck’ in that niche, you can never quite claw yourself out and make decent money. They are an endless time sink.
Not only do you not make money in a Quicksand niche, you waste your valuable time that could be spent working on better niches that actually EARN you.
Yes, even a so-called expert can get stuck in these niches.
I’ve had a fair amount of these niches over time. Some of the niches looked good. Good enough in fact that I excitedly threw down money on content building the sites out for months…even years only to find out that a) the niches were too competitive to rank given the amount of promotion I was willing to do (not a lot) or b) no one was spending anything once the traffic came.
Truth be told, the niches were good. But they were too competitive to easily rank in and I was unwilling to put the effort into promoting the site.
The best niches, the ones that have potential to really earn big — hundreds of dollars a day or more — are those niches that have a lot of inherent commercial intent to them.
“Commerical Intent” is simply the intent to buy. Find a niche that when people who land on your site from the search engines have a strong intent to buy, and you can make a lot of money.
In fact, in my own case it’s been my ability to find and exploit niches where people are desperately looking for a solution to a problem has been one of the ways I have been able to earn lots of money quickly.
So don’t ignore the importance of finding a good niche. Quite often, your ability to make lots of money or little money depends entirely on your niche choice.
2. Outsource Lots of Targeted Content
Content is the lifeblood of your website. You need lots of it.
Don’t think you can create a site, post a couple dozen articles on it and expect to get serious traffic.
You need a steady stream of targeted content rolling out.
When I see a new niche site, I don’t think dozens of posts. I think hundreds of posts…at least.
This is how you build an authority site: Tremendous amounts of content.
How do you get that content done? You write it yourself, or better yet, you outsource it.
I’ve been doing this for years now and in the 7 years, I have not been able to write most of my own content. No matter how hard I try, there’s always something else for me to do, other than writing content.
I know it’s impossible for me to write 50 articles for a new niche site I’m planning. I know I won’t get around to writing the product review for my older niche site, even though I know that product can make commission.
But what I can do is pay someone else to write that for me.
And by paying for that content, I guarantee that content will be created, rapidly.
It’s better to pay $1000 for a bunch of quality articles that will be written to spec within a month and ready to be used than to hem and haw and try to write that content yourself.
Except that you never end up writing the content or it takes you seven months to get it done.
Let’s say you did get the content done in seven months (rather than giving up on the project entirely).
That’s an extra SIX months you’ve lost because you didn’t get that content and put it up. It could be that within six months, that content starts ranking enough that it makes money and starts PAYING you back the full amount within a couple months after!
When you take a look at the ROI that content can bring, you’ll see that outsourcing is in fact cheap.
Say you take a blog with 100 articles. 20 of those articles have affiliate links. You paid $1000 dollars for those 20 articles. Yet if each one of those articles just makes 50 dollars, the content is paid for and it’s profit after this! So content is not an unnecessary expense, it’s what you have to do to make money.
As a blogger, you ARE a content marketer…a content producer.
Your job, such as it is, is to produce content for the public.
As such, your focus should be on producing as much content as you can and, within reason, as good as you can make it.
If you are not churning out content like no tomorrow, you’ll find it difficult to quickly scale up and make a lot money with niche sites.
Creating a lot of content means:
- Lots of quality content increase your chance that you may gain natural links (more topics on your site mean more chances you get a link to some of it)
- More content means more rankable terms
- More money making opportunities
A lot of people don’t want to invest in content. But if you want to make 10,000 a month in only a couple years without an incredible amount of good luck, you are going to need a lot of content. Hundreds and maybe thousands of articles.
Can you write this content yourself, quickly?
I thought not.
3. Gain Authority…Quickly
If your site starts to gain search ranking authority, you’ve hit a gold mine.
There are two types of authority — social and search.
Search authority is the most lucrative. Once you have authority, your content starts ranking like crazy and you can pretty much just print money from your site, if your monetization is strong.
This means you can start to target high-paying keyword phrases, for ads or for affiliate sales. You need to do whatever you can to gain that search authority.
And one method of gaining search authority (besides outreach and link building) is to build up social authority. I’ve outlined how to build social authority here.
Social Authority, in time, can lead to Search Authority. Getting your content out there in front of a lot of people (via your popular facebook page) can bring links as other bloggers see your content. It can also improve your user experience metrics (time on site, bounce rate, page views) which CAN help you rank better in the search engines. It’s also a powerful signal to readers that your site is legit and to be trusted. This can help you improve your conversion rate since people TRUST you.
Social authority often leads to search authority.
So don’t ignore it! And even better, use social authority to jump start your search authority.
In my experience, it takes about a year to start search building authority with a new site. There’s a good 3-4 month period all new sites go through where you get no traffic. But if you continue to build content — lots of it, and gain some links — you can start to see decent traffic after about a year. The first year you can focus on building up your SOCIAL authority. Hopefully, after a full year or year and a half, you will then have both search and social authority.
It’s my experience that you can go from 0 visitors to about 1000 visitors a day (from search) in about a year with a lot of content and *some* links.
In the right niche, 500 to 1000 visitors a day can earn you anything from $30 to $100 USD a day.
How to gain authority?
- Build a useful facebook page for your site that you post to once or twice or three times a day
- Advertise your facebook page to build likes. Expect to spend 1000 to 2000 dollars to build up 20,000+ likes.
- Post your content on your page to build up social shares and gain consistent traffic from facebook to your site
- Keep adding lots of awesome content to your site
- Promote your blog — look to make connections with other blogs
Do 1-5 over a one to two-year period and you’ll find you have a very strong authority site. It’s a lot of work, but the results are worth it.
4. Promote Your Site
Look, I hate promoting sites. I’m more of a content guy. But I acknowledge you can drastically cut down how long it takes to make money online by promoting your site.
I almost NEVER, EVER promote my posts or my blogs.
And while, yes, I have found success without hustling for links, I would be making a lot more money now than I do, if I did.
Perhaps this is ‘do as I say not as I do’ hypocrisy, but if you are trying to optimize your timeframe and make $10,000 per month fast, then you can’t ignore link building. And the best way to get powerful links is to do link outreach and promote your content.
If you spend 80 percent of your time promoting your content and 20 percent creating that content, you’ll quickly start building real authority fast.
5. Test Different Monetization Strategies
You don’t know how much you may or may not earn with a monetization method unless you test it.
Test everything. This includes (where applicable)
- Affiliate Offers
- Your Own Digital Product
Most niches do best with ONE monetization.
- Product niches, unsurprisingly work fantastic with Amazon. Products are MADE for Amazon in fact.
- Adsense and Media.net do well in desperation niches. Financial, work from home, travel, home improvement, and sometimes, products.
- Affiliate offers can work well with most niches if the offer is strong and there’s a high demand. Affiliate offers don’t usually do well in product niches.
- Your own Product — for any niche
To find what works, you need to try them all.
For example, I have one niche that does amazing with Amazon. It regularly pulls in 150-200 dollar days (even a few 300+ days). Surprisingly, it also does well with Media.net, pulling anywhere from 25 to 55 dollars a day. It also does decent with Adsense, generating 10 to 20 dollars.
This site makes money with
All on the same page!
I didn’t know this until I tested out all of these and found that I actually made MORE money by combining them.
I have another niche that does HORRIBLE with Adsense. 4000 visitors a day generates 5 bucks with Adsense. But with Amazon it can do 50 to 100 a day!
6. Start More Than One Site
I’ve talked about the benefits of owning multiple sites versus one site already.
But in my experience, it’s easier to make $10,000 a month with a handful of sites than one single site.
In fact, I don’t own a single site that makes me $10,000 a month. My earnings are split between 8 to 9 different sites. Some earn a lot more than others, but all of these sites contribute solid amounts of money every month to the pile. And together, it all adds up.
Of course, there are exceptions. If you build out a real traffic generating site you can make crazy amounts of money. Usually, though, you need at least 5,000 visitors a month in the right niche and the right method of monetizing that traffic. Realistically, you might need more like 10k+ visitors.
But for the average ‘blogger’ building out a site that brings in 10k+ people a day is difficult. Possible, but difficult.
It’s far easier to build out a plethora of smaller niche authority sites that are highly targeted in their niche.
If each site can generate $50 to $100 a day, then you only need 10 to 15 of these sites. Some of the sites might do even more money, reducing the number of sites you need to ‘achieve’ the 10,000 figure.
In my experience, it’s faster to create 10 smaller authority sites than 1 massive authority site.
The key here is to build out Amazon Niche sites. With Amazon, it’s possible to make hundreds of dollars a day with a highly focused site in the right niche that does well with Amazon.
7. Target Amazon
There are many ways to make money.
- I’ve made money with Adsense (10,000+ a month at one point)
- I make money with Media.net (7,000 a month)
- I make lots of money with Amazon (10k+ a month)
- I’ve made a bit of money with dedicated affiliate offers (~2500 a month in the past)
So far, I’ve found it’s way, way easier to make a lot of money with an Amazon focused site. There are, like everything in life, exceptions to this. You might have a niche and site that’s ideally suited to affiliate offers or adsense…and you might be able to make crazy amounts of money with those programs.
But the easiest way when starting out from scratch is to target Amazon niches.
The reason is that affiliate sales earn a lot more than ad clicks do, usually.
You might get paid .25, .50 or 1-2 bucks depending on the vagaries of Adsense or Media.net and their often nebulous payouts per click.
Affiliate sales, though, especially products, can earn a lot more. Sell a vacuum cleaner, say, and you earn up to 8.5 percent. If the vacuum is $100 bucks, that’s 8 bucks!
If you’ve set your site up properly and it’s ranking in the search engines for product niche terms, you are getting people with a very HIGH COMMERCIAL INTENT coming to your site.
In other words, these people are LOOKING TO BUY SOMETHING ALREADY. You just need to point them in the right direction (i.e. Amazon).
In the right niches, it’s EASY to get people to buy Amazon products.
Why? Because Amazon is so damn good at converting people. Once people land on Amazon page, they may buy something! And you get a cut!
Because Amazon is so damn good at converting people. Once people land on Amazon page, they may buy something! And you get a cut!
Even if people completely ignore your recommended products, as long as they click on your link and end up on Amazon, there is a significant chance they will buy something.
It’s also quite a bit easier to rank for (some) product related niches as opposed to niche that do well with Adsense or Media.net (these tend to be high ad click value niches…hosting, work from home, financial terms, travel, etc).
I’ve written quite specifically about how to earn with Amazon. I suggest you read all of these posts. I give out what I do to make over 10,000 a month with Amazon (the month of Nov 2016, for example earned me $12,500 with Amazon Associates).
8. Focus on What Works
You’ll find there’s a lot of different things you can do when trying to create websites for money making. However, sometimes you find some specific strategy that works for you.
If you are fortunate to find something that works, then devote at least 80% of your time into that.
Just doing work is not good enough. Your work needs achieve results.
Some examples might be:
- creating a niche site, finding success, and creating related niche sites to repeat this
- creating viral-style content that’s been effective at bringing links to your site
- creating a digital product, finding it’s making a good return, and putting more efforts into creating more products to sell
The point is that by finding something that works (some area that you’ve found you excell at and see tangible results in) and devoting your full energy and resources to it, means you’ll see greater success, faster.
This is one area that I’ve been working on in 2016. I saw success with Amazon near the end of 2015 and decided that in 2016 I would devote most of my energy into expanding my Amazon earnings. And as you see, it’s been my greatest success of 2016.
Had I devoted my efforts into Adsense or even Media.net alone, I would not have earned as much money this year!
9. Work Relentlessly
My final point is probably the most important. And it’s guided me right every time.
Work fucking hard.
All the time.
This is not so much of a strategy, but a mindset.
I sometimes read these posts by digital nomads who claim they’ve made their six figure blog income by sitting around on a beach in Thailand doing only four hours of work a day drinking beer.
Sounds great, but that’s nothing but pure bullshit.
This has not been my experience at all.
I’m a workaholic. And while I know it’s possible to achieve a more work-life balance, right now, I want to grow my business.
And that takes my focus and my time. I’m not here to sit around and linger beaches, passing my time by.
I want to make fucking money. A lot of fucking money.
And that requires me to create new sites, optimize existing sites, manage writers, hire new writers, fire old writers, think up new website ideas, come up with product ideas, get those products made.
None of this is going to get done by working a couple hours a day, sitting around on a beach in Thailand (where, by the way, I actually do live now).
Every increase in earning I’ve achieved has been because of my hard work.
Not all work yields an increase in income. But some of it will.
But you STILL need to put in the work to find what works!
I don’t want to tell you guys that you have to be a slave to your online business to find success and make a lot of money. I know everyone has this dream of working hard now to work less in the future.
And that’s possible, especially if you’ve built up a sustainable business.
But if you are TRYING to build up a sustainable business from scratch, you are going to have to work really extra fucking hard to get your online business up to the point of sustainability.
But don’t go into this with a mentality that you can put in a couple hours here and there and make a full-time income.
You’re dreaming if that’s the case.
If you are not willing to work longer and harder on your online business — especially the first couple years — than you are at your 9 to 5, you are wasting your time. Stick with your 9 to 5.
But if you dare to dream and are willing to put the elbow grease in to achieve your dream of a location independent business online — one that can make you 5 figures (even 6 figures) a MONTH, you can!
10. Consider Moving to a Cheaper Country to Bootstrap Your Business
The concept of bootstrapping a business is simple: you stretch out your resources as far as possible.
Once way to do this is to move to a cheap country to give your new business the time (and resources) it needs to becomes sustainable.
This could mean moving to somewhere like Thailand, living on 1/3 or 1/4 the cost you do in your home country so you can focus on your new business FULL time for a few years, rather than just devoting a couple hours a day to your side business.
You might also use the extra savings to pump extra money back into your business (for example, spending the money you ‘save’ by living in a cheap country on outsourcing content for your sites).
This is what I’ve done myself by moving to Thailand. Read my guide on why you should move to Thailand to bootstrap your online business.
11. Keep Running the Race
I like to repeat that quote that Rome wasn’t built in a year.
The same goes for your online business. You are NOT going to make $10,000 as a beginner in a single year.
Is it possible? Yes.
Is it likely? No.
If you are an experienced internet marketer with huge resources, connections and sites to leverage, it’s possible you can. But for most new bloggers, it’s not going to be possible.
However, if you work really hard and build the right type of sites, it’s possible you can reach 10,000 a month in 2 to 3 years.
From what I’ve read online, this seems to be the case for a lot of other people who find something that works and scale it. It usually takes a couple years.
The bottom line is that results take time! Website creation, traffic building, monetization testing & optimization all take TIME.
So if you don’t see huge results within the first year and a half, don’t despair. This is not unusual!
Just don’t throw in the towel. The payoff often comes after two years.
The Final Word
If you want to make six figures a year (or about 10,000 a month), you can. But, you have a couple hard years of work ahead of you.
Put that work in though and things will happen. Build multiple sites. Work relentlessly on your sites. Outsource all your content, even if it means budgeting to do so. Promote your content. Build social authority. Test monetization strategies once you get traffic. Repeat.
I’ll throw out a final guide: my general template to make 10,000 in two years:
- Get a list of every unique keyword phrase related to a niche, something that you can write a solid article about. You should have 100 to 300 topics.
- Outsource ALL the content, fast. You may need 3-4 writers. Make sure it’s deep content that’s at least 2000 words per article.
- Make sure 10 percent of that content is ‘hero’ content. Outstanding articles that cover the MAIN topics. This content can have affiliate links, but the goal should be primarily to help the reader..and then some. 5,000, 10,000, 15,000-word articles that blow every other article about that topic out of the water. 20-30 percent of your content can be affiliate related — the content that makes you the money. The rest (50-60 percent) of the content is general informational, non-affiliate content to build up your authority.
- Promote that hero content (your site will be something to be proud of and it will be easier to get links to)
- Build up your facebook page, paying for advertising and drive traffic every day to your site from it
- Test monetization strategies on the facebook traffic and the increase search traffic
- Repeat steps for 3-6 sites over 2 years.
- Make a shit load of money.
Now go make your 10,000 a month!