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How To Grow Your Blog Income To $10,000+ A Month As Fast As Possible Graphic © WealthPowerBoost. Background photo – Shutterstock (under license)
Please note of course for legal reasons I have to say that although I have actually done this, none of this post is financial advice nor a guarantee of future earnings. Full disclaimer at the foot of page.
This post is a deep dive into what it takes to build a 5-figure-a-month blog (written by someone who has done it 😉 ) – with details on what it takes and how to get there in the fastest possible time. 🙂
Blogging is typically seen as a long game. Even some of the top blogs that earn 6 or even 7 figures a month very often had 1 to 3 years of grind with very small “peanuts” income, before things started snowballing.
However I’ve proved that while this slow growth is “pretty normal”, big success can happen a LOT quicker if you do everything right! My first WordPress blog hit $10,000+ per month in just over 6 months (and I made $90,000+ in one month in month 12 – this is very unusual but I proved it can be done!) I have now made well over $1.95 million online in total – mostly through blogging.
Many bloggers, even successful ones, are “one trick ponies”. They might have one really successful blog, but that’s all. They don’t have much comparative data. They might not even really know why their blog did so well! But a method is not really valid until it can be replicated.
I have created a huge number of websites in all sorts of niches and currently own around 20 blogs plus about 30 more “non-blog websites” of other kinds! I’ve also studied tons of other blogs in depth – data mining thousands of posts and reviewing their statistics. Success happens for a reason! and comparing what worked to what didn’t work gave key insights!
Ok, let’s dive in deep. Here are the main factors that will influence the “pickup” of income from a blog, together with my key insights for shortening the curve to success. Get these handled asap! 🙂
1) Don’t Procrastinate. Just Do It
It’s vital not to get stuck in “analysis paralysis”. Just ****ing do it! 🙂 Seriously, begin it now. So many people wait until “the time is perfect” or hesitate and create all kinds of “stories” and elaborate excuses as to why they are hesitating. Things will never be more perfect than they are now (this may not be exactly true but it’s a good approach). Back in the day, whenever I had an idea for a website, I just built the darn thing. Not all of these ideas were great ideas, but as the saying goes, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Do. It. Now. The quicker you get stuck in and try something, the quicker you learn. This is why they say “fail fast”! You can only learn so much by theory and when it comes to internet business, just getting stuck right in is the way to go. Take shots. Come up against the hurdles faster and commit to getting over them because it’s the only way.
2) Choose The Right Niche
The most lucrative niches are in sectors which have both large audience appeal and large consumer spending. For example the tech reviews niche, which is enormously popular and has some of the biggest ad revenues. Millions of households drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars on tech every single year.
On the other hand, some niches are more difficult and less profitable in general “per thousand visitors” and some niches are HIGHLY problematic, potentially even very risky and should absolutely be avoided – especially by beginners! See my full tutorial on Top 26 HIGHLY PROFITABLE Blog Niches (Plus 11 You Should AVOID At All Costs!) .
3) You Need Content Volume
Looking at my in-depth analysis of 45 Of The World’s Most Successful Blogs – you can see that they pretty much all of them have hundreds if not thousands of posts. I doubt there is anything on that list with less than 500 posts – and there are some with several thousand.
If each of your blog posts generates a few thousand page views then it’s obvious why a blog with 500 posts is going to do better than a blog with 50. It’s simply a matter of scale – you have more pages out there for people to discover. More keywords in the Google search engine, more pins to be discovered in the Pinterest search engine, more posts on Facebook and so on.
However, there is a further “snowball effect” that happens when a blog gets bigger. More posts equals more overall link volume (internal and external) which pushes the overall “site authority” higher in search engine rankings. Also people who look at one post and like it, have a lot more to explore – so with more pages to choose from, you will get more “pageviews per visitor” – and so on.
There are numerous of these factors that work like “compound interest” on a blog and cause it to pick up traction when it gets bigger.
So you are going to have to spend some time simply attacking the rock face and putting in the grind – there’s no way round it! Blogging is a lifestyle: See if you can commit to putting in a few hours per day, every day – at least – and make the commitment to the long haul.
4) You Need Content Quality
⭐ Pro Tip: Don’t make 1000 pages of crappy content just for the sake of “getting big”. This WILL cause the blog to fail. Keep the content quality as high as possible and always be seeking ways to push it higher, while continuing to grow the overall content volume. If your content is mediocre, the success simply will not happen.
When you look at your stats and notice that at 50 pages you make x income, you might find that you say to yourself: Well hey now! All I need is 500 pages and I can make 10x income. Logical? Yes… but no. If you build lower quality content so that you can make more posts – you are going to KILL your chances of success – because if the content creates the “meh” reaction, and people are underwhelmed, they will not stick. They will hit the back button after one pageview… and then you lost them. If you have 1000 pages of fluff and filler, the whole blog becomes a morass of mediocrity and poor signals. The kind of blog that people leave and don’t come back to; the kind of blog that tanks on social media and the kind of blog that search engines regard as worthless.
I learned this the painful way and it serves me right… After my first super successful blog (which was squarely focused on high-value content), I tried to replicate this success “faster” by creating several brand new blogs and outsourcing the creation of all the content. I hired a bunch of writers and VAs…. I had so many new five-dollar-articles flying in that I didn’t even proof read some of them; I just slapped them on the blogs and called it good. I cringe now… what a spectacular waste of time and money that was!
It’s tempting to attempt to scale this way because it’s cheap, fast and easy but it doesn’t work out, ever. So don’t outsource your content creation to the lowest bidder, because you will be compromising on the overall awesomeness of your blog in ways that WILL come back to bite you. For similar reasons, don’t turn your blog into a guest post farm. I would avoid all offers of guest posts for this reason – seriously – guest posts are typically the cheapest, fastest low-value article they can crank out that has their link in it – and you don’t want their mediocrity on your blog in return for 25 bucks or whatever, it’s just not worth it because the hidden costs are huge!
Instead, ALWAYS make it your goal to Create Value! Set the bar high and keep it there. Earn your rank and your following! Make quality posts right out of the gate, don’t make fluff or filler posts or lazy posts. This is not just me trying to tell you to “be good kids”. I’m saying this purely for strategic reasons, not moralistic ones! 😉 To win at blogging, you need to create the WOW reaction. That should be your focus. Of course, don’t go to the absolute extreme and spend a month working on one post. But you should always keep it focused solidly on high value content. You want people to be thinking “This post was actually really brilliant. Wonder what else they’ve got.” That’s how you win at blogging. Never fluff out a blog with low grade posts just to bump up your numbers. Make it “all killer no filler”! Ok, I think you get the point. 🙂
5) Avoid Poor / Irrelevant Content Choices
It’s vital to research before starting to create content, and to figure out what people actually want.
You can make the best post in the world on the topic of growth patterns of ant colonies in neighbouring anthills… and about 3 people in the world will get excited. Don’t do that. 🙂 Choose topics that solve common problems and help lots of people. (If you really love anthills, by all means make a blog on it but always bear in mind that it will probably make very little money indeed.)
This is something of an exaggerated illustration – but the point is that you need a content strategy. A classic beginner mistake is to write about “whatever you feel like writing about”. If you do this, you will quite likely create all kinds of posts that “seem like a good idea at the time”, and most of these probably won’t do very well.
Don’t feel bad – we have all been there! 🙂 But to be fair, it has to be said that at some point, if you keep chucking enough darts at the wall, you will eventually create a post that blows all the others out of the water in terms of its success. To begin with, this “outlier post” will catch you completely by surprise – but it will give you massive insight. It will show you what people respond to and what your audience wants. You will see why it was a success and then you can do more like that.
The other part about having a content strategy is that the posts “dovetail” into each other. Your blog ends up with “clusters” of related content and the posts connect to each other naturally as part of the same overall “meta picture”.
⭐ Pro Tip: The best way to short-cut this process that I know of is through data mining to see what already works. First you must of course choose your niche. With that decided, one of the simplest and best ways to make GREAT content choices is to look at other successful blogs and comb through their social media counts to see which of their posts did best. Typically this is because the headline was a slammer, and then the content was great too and “worth the click”. They got clicks and those clicks turned into shares. Model those posts. Make a similar (not identical) headline, use slightly different “power words” and headline format to make it original, then set your goal to “build a better biscuit” – make a unique (never steal content!) article that is higher quality and adds more value than the example.
“The data is out there”! You can already see what topics work well, if you look – and so rather than trying to be massively unique and find something to write about that nobody else has written about (there is probably a reason for that!), seek to do what you know will be popular and just do it very well. You are already unique, you don’t need to try to be 😉 and when it comes to building a successful blog, you can see that most of the big ones focus around common interests and the predominant needs that a large number of people have.
Even with content research, individual post performance is not totally predictable, it’s just “much more predictable” than chucking random darts until you finally hit a bullseye. The process of content refinement will always be ongoing. After you have made tens and then hundreds of posts, your data gives you great insight. You can then become more consistent. But you will find that even after years of blogging, most of your posts perform “somewhere in the middle” relative to each other, a few will completely flop and a few will absolutely destroy the others. This is the case for almost all blogs, Youtube channels and so on. Keep going, and at some point you will get that “unicorn” that is by far the most successful post.
I got my first real “unicorn” blog post after 9 months and it made $8000+ in 3 days on the ad revenue and has now had over 2 million social media shares!! This post was insane. It completely killed my hosting from the massive traffic volume and still managed to make bank. At the time I literally had no idea it was going to do that – but now I completely see why.
And I know someone who made over $50,000 from one viral Facebook post in one weekend… and he had no idea it was going to happen either… true story…
6) Focus Strongly On Growing A Social Media Following – The Right Way
As the saying goes, “You need an audience” – and if you wait for them to discover you, it could happen with agonizing slowness (years). I’ve tried that too – it does not work.
Be aware that the strategy of “build it and they will come” does not work on the internet. Making something awesome and then putting it in front of people is what works. You absolutely NEED visibility. Super vital! Mission critical!
When I had my mega-successful blog that generated $233,000+ in its first year, with $90,000+ of that in month 12, I didn’t “just start blogging”. I focused a lot of effort (and some investment) into building a strong social media following. This was absolutely key. At the outset, I spent a few hundred dollars “buying likes” on Facebook, testing ads and posts. One of my ads started getting the fan page likes for about 5 cents each. I tracked the revenue my pages were generating realized I was going to end up in the black, earning more than my ad spend… so I took a big plunge and borrowed $5,000 to buy Facebook ads, which enabled me to pick up 50,000 Facebook fans each on two pages. This turned out to be the best financial move I ever made in my life – it hugely kickstarted the page growth and the viral traffic snowball. By the end of that year, I had 2 million Facebook fans. An initial monetary investment isn’t essential – there are a lot of ways to start growing a social media audience for free – but it sure was a mega power boost and a key reason why I made such rapid income!
Most of my blog traffic has come from social media and the same goes for most bloggers. And all social media followings start with 0 followers, even the biggest. So at the beginning, one of your main goals is to just “gangbuster it” and give full focus to building that following.
The first 1,000 followers are the hardest. Check out my full tutorial on How To Get You First 1,000 Pinterest Followers (tried and tested, I have done this many times!)
You also want to focus on the right social media sites as some are way better suited to blogging than others! For bloggers, I would rate the best being Pinterest, Facebook and to some extent Twitter. Youtube can also be used to drive traffic to a blog very successfully. The worst being Instagram. Why? Images on Instagram are not clickable, meaning that there is only one place on Instagram you can use to drive traffic – your profile link – and that can only send people to one place! So Instagram works best with a single ‘silver bullet’ special offer, which is promoted using “link in bio” posts. Instagram can be used to make money, but it is not best suited to blogger traffic.
7) Essential Skills Not Mastered Yet
To begin with, especially if it is your first time out of the gate, it’s to be expected that you will make some errors and there are some things you just won’t know yet. There are 3 main ways these will affect you to begin with:
a) Technical mistakes. While you are a beginner, it’s natural that you will encounter things like images being the wrong size, code errors that mean things end up being in the wrong place on the page, and errors such as choosing non-optimal hosting, plugin conflicts etc. It’s normal and you simply have to learn this stuff by diving in and figuring it out as you go along. Don’t be afraid of it – because you can nearly always fix this stuff through research (you are almost certainly not the only person who has had any particular technical problem and so you can almost always find people talking about it and solutions). If a technical situation is really whacked, you also have the possibility to hire a specialist from Fiverr or similar and pay them a few bucks per hour to help you out.
b) Overall flair. You just get way better at something the more you do it. Headlines, image choices, writing skills… on my first blog, the one that has now made 7 figures, I look back at my early posts and I cringe a bit. Some of those posts I even ended up deleting because I simply have way better stuff now. But it goes to show that even a super-successful blog started out as a beginner and I still managed to rock it – so you can too!
c) Revenue optimization. The skills to maximize your “revenue per visitor” are difficult to master in the early days; partly because you don’t have much traffic – and so testing is difficult. Whereas once you have thousands of visitors per day, it becomes a lot easier to test things like different ad positions, headlines etc – because you can see rapidly what works. This enables you to run more tests, faster. This sort of fine tuning of the blog can make a massive difference to your revenue.
8) Study Numerous Top Bloggers But Carefully Choose The Right Mentor(s).
As the saying goes, “An investment in learning pays the best interest”. I would highly advise to find someone who has an actual track record of success doing what you are seeking to do, and to study all of their materials. As a quick rule of thumb, ignore the ones posing with a sports car and using emotionally manipulative sales tactics, for example saying “you’re getting left behind unless you follow me”.
Look for the ones who have an actual breakdown of their stats, how long it took them to achieve them etc. Also, watch out for mentors who have only had one successful blog. They might not even really understand everything about why they were successful; whereas someone who has had multiple profitable blogs is more likely to have really gotten to the core of what it actually takes. One success is luck; repeated success is success.
In addition to choosing one “main mentor”, research and pick let’s say 3 to 5 of the top blogs, especially but not exclusively in your niche, and just dive super deep into them. Study everything you can about them. Look at their social media, about how many posts they made, about which were their top posts. Learn everything you possibly can about them. What themes they used. What plugins they use. What affiliate programs they run and if possible, (some publish this) a breakdown of exactly where their money came from. Try to figure out the “secret sauce” of how they were successful.
I’ve done this and literally copied every single URL of the top blogs in a niche into a database, together with the social media scores of their posts, number of comments and so on. You can learn tons this way.
Be wary also of the “all sizzle and no steak marketers” throwing sparkle at you to get you to forget what you were doing and buy their stuff. If you hear someone boasting they are making 5 figures a month and only working one hour per day… they are probably BSing you. Sorry but it’s true. You gotta put the hours in, especially at the beginning.
9) Avoid “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome”
This is where you start something, then get distracted by the next sparkly thing and decide you want to do that, and end up starting all sorts of projects and not seeing them through. Ask me how I know! 😉
10) Stay Organized
Definitely do this. Golden tip right here. I create a folder for each blog post and in that folder, all the “bits and pieces” go. The article, the images including the “layered files” of the graphics. I will also have a text file in there called “sources” where I will list where images came from, which fonts were used, and so on. Keep ALL this stuff. You WILL need it later and you will thank me for insisting that you do this!! Keep the graphic design “working documents” because sometimes, social media sites change their ideal image sizes. And sometimes in future you want to go back to a post and make changes, updates etc. Having all the original bits in one place, rather than having to hunt them down, streamlines this process rather than it being a headache. Also, it gives you a valuable backup so that if any major problem happened you have all the materials safe.
11) Go The Distance
If you are doing everything the right way, you will achieve success. Make the commitment and see it through. Continue to learn and to keep taking your best shot, day after day – and you will get there. You can do this. The money is there on the table waiting for you. Blogging is still HOT and is likely to be for many years. I can’t see any signs of it going away. I’m still doing it and still think it is one of the absolute BEST ways to make money online. Start now!
12) Monetize The Blog Correctly
You should test various ad providers and keep the ones that work best. It’s also nice to have some backup ads that can be placed if anything goes weird with the other ones.
Which ads to use? There are tons of options. See my List Of 20 Best Ad Networks And Affiliate Programs For Blogs.
The next factor you should look at is ad placement. Ad placement can make an absolutely HUGE difference to your earnings. I remember once in the old days doubling my income overnight by a change in my ad layout! In my case I can confidently state that in my case ad layout optimization has added literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to my total income.
Poor monetization can literally cause a blog to fail: I know someone who has an amazing, beautiful, well-written blog…. and she has made peanuts from it. Looking at it, I could immediately see why. The ad placements were all over the place – totally in the wrong places – and she was not using high paying ad systems. It’s no wonder she was only making a few bucks per day but it’s tragic because she could have been making a living and possibly even a small fortune; her content was amazing. I tried to get her to make the changes but for whatever reason, she wouldn’t do it… and the blog still sits there out in the digital wasteland with the chirping crickets… earning peanuts…
⭐ Pro Tip: When you apply to an ad network, you ought to be assigned a rep to help you get set up – ask them to advise you on where to place the ads. It’s in their interests to help you optimize this! So do that first; then try a few variations and run them for a few days, taking careful notes of the earnings per visitor (CPM) and the click through rate (CTR). The stats ebb and flow a bit naturally but if you do this well you will be able to spot the winning ad placements.
13) ⭐ Ultimate Pro Tip: Skyscraper Posts
As a “reward” for making it this far, here’s the golden nugget. This is one of the best “pro tips” in my war chest. If you REALLY want to get the party started, do this:
a) Make a “Skyscraper Post” – a super high quality, massive post – perhaps a “Top 100 List” of something that is a known popular topic. Go all out. Make it super amazing. Like this one I made: 80+ Ways To Make Extra Money. Expect that making one of these posts will be 1 to 2 full days of work.
b) Make images for the post that contain the headline in big letters and make tall (600×900), square (800×800) and flat (1200×628) versions of the image. You can see how I do it.
c) Contact some of the top bloggers / businesses in your niche and ask them what their fee is to make a post on their Facebook page. Be sure that they have a large Facebook following (perhaps 500K followers or more). Don’t overpay. $25 to $50 should be ok – perhaps a little more if it’s a really big page – and if they won’t, find someone who will. For the Facebook post, use the square image and make an “image post”, putting your headline, link, simple “call to action” and a heart emoji in the text box.
d) Make sure your monetization is set up correctly on your blog before you do this. Depending on the amount of traction the post gets, you will find that you get some ad revenue back, which recoups some of your promo spend.
e) Follow up on your campaign by pinning your tall image – on your most popular Pinterest board. Make a similar pitch to big board owners. You could probably get it pinned to a big board for $10!
f) Notice the results! If your skyscraper post is really great, you will get shares, repins and so on. These posts also attract organic links like crazy when done well. You will notice a bump in your social media following! Congratulations.
g) RINSE AND REPEAT. Now go build a blog full of beautiful, super high quality skyscraper posts and watch your blog fly! This is how it’s done! This is how you win at blogging! Note how this is completely the opposite tactic to “just make 100 posts as fast as you can”. Forget that, seriously.
You want a blog full of wow. When people hit that blog, you made their day. Make that your goal… to make posts that make people feel like you made their day when they land on it. And then they think “I gotta tell someone about this blog!” (YOU WIN) and “Wonder what else they’ve got” (YOU WIN)!
See you at the top!
[full tutorial on Skyscraper Content coming very soon!]