How Do You Really Want to Make Money With a Blog?

make money with a blogWhy do you write for your blog?

You might say that you’re doing it all for fun.  You might say that you just like to write or that you’re helping people.  But you can be honest … you were probably hoping to make money with a blog, right?

Perhaps you were only hoping for a few bucks.  Perhaps you were hoping for a whole LOT more (like how Pat Flynn made over $58,000 last month)!

But no matter what your goal is (or will be), I think we can all agree that we were hoping to at least make some amount of money with our blogs.

And so how will we do that?  By writing awesome stuff and earning more traffic of course!

Or is it? ….


Do You Want to Just Blog or Make Money With a Blog?

So you write amazing posts …

So your blog gets 100 or 1,000 or even 10,000 visitors per day …

Maybe you comment on 5 or 50 posts a day?

What is any of that really doing for your bottom line?  Are you making any money from it at all?  Or are you just spinning your wheels?

Have you ever really thought about it?

Let me tell you something: For a long time I wasn’t really thinking it through as much as I should!

I would work on My Money Design every week.  I also worked on several other websites as well.  I’d write great posts every week.  I’d network with other bloggers.  I’d even outsource some of my link building, social media, and post writing to VA’s and freelancers.

All of those steps are great.

But when I finally did get those visitors or that traffic, what is it that I want to happen?  How does it all fit together with my master plan?  Is there even really a master plan?


Do You Know What Your “Most Wanted Response” Is?

make money blogging ebook
Where this is all coming from is from an Ebook I read recently called My Traffic Sucks by Steve Scott.  There’s a lot of good advice he has in it.  But the section I’ve decided to highlight here is something he calls the MWR – the “most wanted response”.

Simply put: The MWR is what you want to happen when that traffic comes.

That could mean:

  • More clicks on affiliate links, Google Adsense, or Amazon
  • More attention from direct advertisers or other potential  clients (such as freelance writing opportunities)
  • More sign-ups to your email list
  • More returning visitors / longer page duration
  • More social media followers or links
  • More networking opportunities or links from blogger friends
  • More attention to a specific product or service you are promoting (like my buddy Matt from Dumb Passive Income is doing here with his Keyword Research packages – brilliant!)
  • Etc.

Any one of these things would be great outcomes we’d all like to have come from blogging.  All of them can lead to other opportunities.

So what is it that you want to happen?

Or the bigger question to ask:

Is what you’re doing with your blog helping to make that happen?


Are You Helping Yourself Achieve What You’re After?

This is a question that I’m not sure if most of us are really thinking about when we thinking about when we put together our blog posts or think of things to write.  And that’s what can separate the men from the boys when it comes to understanding how to make money with a blog.

For example:

1)      If making money from your blog is your biggest concern, then how is your website optimized for it?

Are you focusing on Adsense, Amazon, or some other type of affiliate product?  Are you using the most popular ad sizes in all the ideal locations to attract clicks?  Are you trying to get people to click on specific banners that pay high commissions?

You may not think that this would be so much of a big factor, but I noticed a substantial difference in income once I changed to ad format of my first niche site around.

2)      When you guest post on one your friend’s blogs, what are you really doing?

Are you showing those readers how much of an authority you are in this area by delivering high value content?  What about SEO?  Are you linking back to key posts you want to promote or build authority to?  If so, did you check Google Webmaster Tools to see which anchor text you should be using for your links?

3)      Suppose you’d like to get more freelance writing gigs from your blog.

If so, how are you advertising your writing in a way that appeals to people who need to hire writers?  Do you have a “bragging” badge that says what popular websites you’ve been featured on?  Do you have a page that collects your best and most highly engaged posts?  Do you even have a tab that says “Hire Me”?

make money bloggingWhen I read this part of the Ebook and thought about it for a moment, I had to pause.

How do I want to use My Money Design to make more money?

I’ve been very focused on my niche website projects which will clearly use Google Adsense.  The process there is simple:  More traffic equals more potential for income.

Even though my latest niche website effort is going to built using Amazon, the goal will still be the same.

But what about this blog here?

For years I’ve been lazy in this department.  Every morning I’d wake up hoping to find big-deal emails from direct advertisers.   Though that can be really easy money, this is in no way a long term sustainable business model.

Ideally what I’d like to do differently for My Money Design is:

  • Network with other key bloggers
  • Focus more on promoting quality affiliate products
  • Develop some sort of service that I can sell to my audience
  • Write an Ebook that I can market to my readers

Perhaps you’re in the same situation.   If you wake up every day and are upset when there are no emails from advertisers, then you don’t have a business.  Just like I was, you’re a “want-trepreneur”.

Businesses aren’t created by accident.  Businesses are the product of planning and strategy.

Knowing how you will make money with a blog is no different.  If you aren’t making any money from your website or as much money as you’d like to, then perhaps it’s time to sit down and ask yourself “why not?

Your traffic is gold.  Your visitors are the tool.  But a tool is only as good as the person who uses it.  So how will you use your traffic to make money blogging?  What is it that you want to get out or your blog?  Are you doing anything to help yourself get there?


Related Posts:

1) Niche Website Update 15 – A Slow Start for NS4 and $935 in Passive Income!

2) Using a Pro for Your Blog or Side Business Taxes Can Be a Great Investment

3) Getting Serious About Building Up My Multiple Streams of Income in 2014

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    • says

      I know what you mean – there’s a lot of times where I take a step back from blogging and ask myself “where is this going?”

  1. says

    Good post MMD! I think it can be easy to fall into the trap of not knowing what that response you want and sort of get lost. Pat Flynn sort of spoke about this at FinCon when he brought up how we can distract readers with different things we do on our sites that take away from what our goal is. I’ve been putting a lot of thought in to that as I work on my redesign so I can funnel readers appropriately.
    John @ Frugal Rules recently posted..When is Lifestyle Inflation Ok?My Profile

    • says

      Wise words from Mr Pat Flynn. I’m pretty sure I’ve written a lot of posts that didn’t do a darn thing to increase my conversions or help me attain my goals. The problem I think is that sometimes we get ourselves into these ruts where we just want to write whatever we want because it’s “our blog” and that becomes a crutch that we never get off of.

  2. says

    You pose some great questions here. I like the idea of thinking about a “most wanted response”. Personally, I would love to have a niche site to focus on trying to make some income from but I have a lot to learn before I get there. With my current blog, I’m not going to say that I wouldn’t want to make money from it, but I view it as a learning experience. I had no idea what WordPress was or how to run a blog when I started it so I’m enjoying the process. But I do think its time for me to start to focus on what I really want from it.
    Kay recently posted..Saturday Morning Personal Finance MusingsMy Profile

    • says

      If you’ve enjoyed it this much so far, then you’ll love where it goes when you try to actively start making some money from it. I was surprised at how much more there was to learn about SEO and getting traffic when I started trying to increase my overall income.

  3. says

    I have some sites that I have monetized through affiliate income, Adsense, etc, and I also offer services and get exposure for those through my blog(s), but when I first started blogging I had NO idea what I was doing. I did want to make money but I was definitely more of a “wantepreneur”. I didn’t have a set plan in place and I didn’t have a vision.

    Now that I have a few years of experience under my belt I have been able to define it a lot better. I know what I want to do, and how.
    Daisy recently posted..How To Use Credit Cards ResponsiblyMy Profile

  4. says

    At first I wanted my blog to bring in freelance writing clients. (And it did.) Now I have enough writing jobs so I took down my “hire me” page. But I’ve been trying to come up with a long term plan for my blog.

    You’re absolutely right – direct advertising is not a long term solution. This has been on my mind a lot lately. I recently went through my webmaster tools and found my three top pages. I put AdSense ads on those three posts and have consistently brought around $200/month just from that. I’ve also had another eBook in the works for quite some time. I just need to layout a strategy and stick to it!!
    Alexa recently posted..A Day in the Life: Working from Home with KidsMy Profile

    • says

      There’s the proof – strategy, strategy, strategy! I had a similar experience when I rearranged the Adsense ads on my niche site and saw a big improvement in income.

  5. says

    Yes, these are some great questions. This is the first website that I’ve actually owned and to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing when I started. I still struggle when it comes to nailing down what I want from my blog and where exactly I want to go with it. All I know is that I enjoy being part of the personal finance community and I love writing.
    Liz recently posted..My Career as an AccountantMy Profile

  6. says

    I’d add that it really depends what stage you’re at. If you’re just starting out and learning the ropes, then focusing on writing, networking, and getting traffic should be the goals over spending too much time planning on monetization. Otherwise, you could get bogged down in details and essentially be putting the “cart before the horse.” As your site(s) mature though, then you most definitely need to evaluate what you want to do and focus on getting there. Otherwise you’ll most likely be drifting about or spinning your wheels. This is a good reminder to do just that.
    Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia recently posted..Check Out My Guest Post at Retire by 40!My Profile

    • says

      I agree. The last thing you want to do is find yourself the owner of 5 years worth of blog posts that no one cares about, ever reads, and makes absolutely no money. After the initial honeymoon if money is a priority then its time to roll up the sleeves and get down to business.

  7. says

    I honestly didn’t even know you could make money from a blog when I started. It was definitely a hobby. Now I’m thinking of it as a side hustle and something I’m interested in. These are some great, provocative questions for me to think about going forward.
    Dear Debt recently posted..Don’t Give Up HopeMy Profile

    • says

      I don’t think a lot of people understand how easy it is to make a few hundred dollars per month. Looking at it as more of a side hustle will only result in escalating that income level up even further.

  8. says

    Personally I’m working on a “lead magnet” right now. While Adsense makes me a few dollars each day on my blogs, my biggest results have come from affiliate promotions. However I don’t necessarily want people to click links from my blogs – the goal is to convert visitors into email subscribers. That way I can contact my readers regularly – not just to promote affiliate products but also to share my latest content with them.

    My new lead magnet launches at the end of this month – I just need a tiny bit more design work done and I’m ready to go :-) recently posted..SocialAdr Review & Case Study: Easy Social Media Links Or Waste Of Time?My Profile

    • says

      I’ve read so many things about how we all need to work on our email lists because they can help steer people towards your affiliate products. What’s even funnier is that I’m a total sucker for them when it comes to blogs I love. I’m sure that I’ll move on to this after I’m satisfied with my niche site progress.

  9. says

    I really love the idea of the “most wanted response”. It’s definitely something I need to think about and make sure that I’m driving my readers to take the action I want. For the longest time, I just wanted readers (what new blogger doesn’t) and increasing readership is still a top priority for me, but I also need to look beyond that as it’s too broad of a goal for me at this stage. Who do I specifically want to target and what do I want they take away from my site? Those are the questions I need to answer. Thanks for giving me lots of food for thought!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..Myth: Kids Don’t Care about MoneyMy Profile

    • says

      I’m asking the same sorts of questions now. Getting lots of traffic to your blog? Great! But what does that accomplish? Now I’m more focused on what’s actually going to happen when those people get there …

  10. says


    Great thought piece. It seems that many of us have some work to do in terms of setting a strategy for where we’re taking our blogs. I too, like many, started out as just a hobby to help people. It is clear that there is quite a bit of money to be made, and people to be helped, if a good strategy for monetization can be developed and executed against!
    MoneyAhoy recently posted..Money Saving Idea – PiratingMy Profile

    • says

      I think we could all use a little time and reflection on this topic. It’s not enough to run a blog and hope for traffic. We should be looking ahead and trying to maximize the value of our MWR.

  11. says

    As you know, I’ve been trying to get my hits up by using Long Tail Pro Platinum to do some research. I’ve been pinning my hopes of pay per click advertising. I’d really like to get some money out of my blog, ideally up to $500 a month.

    Unfortunately, like many other bloggers, for some reason Adsense has banned my account for invalid activity. I have a bad feeling it’s because of bot traffic due to a social media plugin that I’m using.

    Now I’m looking at affiliate advertising, using ipage and Amazon, but I’m not getting many clicks and certainly no “buys”, so I’m struggling with how to monetize my traffic.

    I wish there was a decent alternative to AdSense. :(

  12. says

    I think it really depends on the type of blog you have. For example Pat Flynn’s experimental project with the Security Guard Training HQ made a nice amount of money using AdSense because it’s an informational website. With a blog that has personal opinions I think affiliate programs are better. There are also having mailing lists and stuff so first I think we need to reflect what our blog is about.
    Suburban Finance recently posted..How To Stop Spending So Much MoneyMy Profile


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