Think You Can’t Make Money Blogging? Think Again: The First Annual Traffic and Income Report

  • March 29, 2011 by Corbett Barr
  • 96 Comments

Don’t listen to that enthusiastic woman’s shirt in the image above. You can get people to care about your blog. In this post I’m going to show you how I built a full business around this blog in less than a year.

If someone had told me in its first year this blog would:

  • Attract over 138,000 unique visits
  • Lead over 20 awesome clientsto work with me
  • Help me convince 15 of the world’s most successful online entrepreneursto contribute to a flagship product that sold out in 36 hours
  • And, directly earn just over $103,500 in revenue

… I might have thought that person was crazy. Now I think I could have done much more.

A lot of marketers like to take shots at blogging as a business model. They like to tell you how difficult it is to earn money blogging and that there are other easier ways to earn a living online.

I’m here to tell you they’re wrong… and that they’re right at the same time.

Nothing you try to do to earn a living online will be “easy.” If it was easy, everyone with an online business would be making a killing.

I’m actually glad that it takes a lot of hard work to earn a living online because it means most people won’t try hard enough. That leaves room for dedicated people like me (and you?) to build something significant online that will last for years to come.

But to say that you can’t earn money blogging is just dumb. Look at people like Chris Guillebeau, Leo Babauta, Darren Rowse, Brett McKay, Ree Drummond, Brian Clark, Adam Baker, Karol Gajda, Everett Bogue and Naomi Dunford and you’ll see that each of them earn more than a comfortable living, each primarily by being bloggers.

No, a blog isn’t a business exactly, but a blog is an excellent way to reach people and find customers for whatever your underlying business is.

And hey, if you don’t like the word “blog,” call it something else. How about independent content publishers or content marketers, or just people who publish content online?

Perhaps the concept of a blog (as a chronological journal of content entries) is becoming outdated, but the act of publishing free content to attract leads to ultimately sell products or services continues to thrive, no matter what you call it.

Note that some of the people in the list above are professional marketers (partly that’s because I pay attention to what marketers are doing), but many of them aren’t.

You don’t have to be a professional marketer to earn a living as a blogger. A close friend of mine has a neighbor who earns a living by blogging about sewing and crocheting. It’s most important that you address a problem, need or desire your readers have with killer content.

The particular topic doesn’t matter as long as there is a need and some people will be willing to pay you to solve that need.

Last week was the one year anniversary of launching this blog, and I want to say thanks to everyone who has helped make it such a fun and successful project.

Let’s dissect the growth of this site over the past year in this special annual report. I’m going to share some of what I’ve learned from this first year and exactly how I managed to surprise myself with this year’s accomplishments and income, and how you can do the same with your blog.

First, a little background.

I officially launched Think Traffic back on March 16, 2010, but the idea first came to me in December of 2009.

At the time, I was running a fairly popular site called Free Pursuits (now CorbettBarr.com), which started as a journey of self exploration while on a six-month-long road trip throughout Mexico with my wife.

That was my first attempt at blogging, although I had been building other kinds of websites for nearly a decade by that point, mostly as a consultant to Fortune 500 businesses and as a vc-backed startup founder.

As far as being a first attempt at blogging is concerned, the project was a success. I had attracted well over 200,000 visitors to that site by that point and was having a great time with the project. It was opening up a lot of opportunities.

There was just one problem.

The site itself wasn’t earning much direct revenue. I hadn’t really created a business plan for the site from the beginning, and I figured that as it grew I would be able to earn an income from it.

But that income wasn’t coming and I was starting to wonder if the topic I was writing about and the audience I was building would ever lead to a significant income. I did know one thing for sure: I was committed to building a lifestyle business to support my newly found habit of spending every winter in Mexico.

I started to listen to the advice of other people who were earning a living as bloggers. Chris Guillebeau’s excellent free 279 Days to Overnight Success became a bible of sorts as I started exploring new ideas. In it, Chris talks about the concept of finding the intersection of:

  1. something you’re good at
  2. something you’re passionate about
  3. something people will pay you to do

As I thought through those three categories I kept coming back to how much I enjoyed building online audiences, how much success I had in doing it and how much people needed it (and might be willing to pay me for extra help with).

Side note: it turns out that (like most entrepreneurs), my decision to start this blog was also driven by my desire to constantly start new projects. I’m very happy that I did start this project, but my worry over whether I could earn a living at my other site was unfounded. Today I’m able to generate income there in much the same way as I can here. I just took much more learning and hard work to make it possible. Keep that in mind if you’re starting to worry about your own project. It could very well be you just need to have more patience.

Lesson #1 from Think Traffic’s first year: a little business planning can go a long way towards earning a living from your website or blog.

Chris’s magic formula I mentioned above turned out to be gold. I launched this site knowing very specifically what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to help my readers attract more visitors to their websites. Simple, to the point, and measurable.

I knew that if I offered additional products and services to address the same need in a deeper way, some of my readers would become customers and clients.

It’s a simple formula when you think about it, but so many bloggers don’t get it right. Or, they struggle with identifying a problem/need/desire to help people with. Or, they struggle to refine their message or to get the word out and connect with the right people. More on those in a minute.

Lesson #2: know what you’re talking about.

Or as Gary Vaynerchuk said in our interview last week: know what the fuck you’re talking about.

Another mistake I constantly see new bloggers making is that they get themselves into a serious chicken-and-egg problem from the beginning.

Let’s say you want to build a lifestyle business and travel the world. What’s the best way to do that? (Counter to what you might think from the number of blogs out there on the topic) the answer probably isn’t to create a blog about how you want to build a lifestyle business.

Think about it this way: if you are looking for advice and information on how to do something, let’s say you want to become a professional underwater diver, would you rather learn from an expert who has been there, done that, or would you want to learn from someone who is just starting out, just like you are?

Most people want to learn from the expert.

I honestly fell into a bit of that trap with my first blog. I started blogging about the concept of lifestyle design before I had it all figured out for myself.

There is some value in learning what someone else is going through and from reading their stories about the similar journey he or she is on. You can also create value by bringing in experts on your topic through interviews. If you’re not an expert on your particular topic, think of yourself as a facilitator, not a faux expert in the making.

Instead, it’s much easier to build a following around something that you have expertise in or where you have a uniquely compelling story to share. Think about what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at. Then think about what you can earn money doing.

Lesson #3: plan your products and services in advance.

Before I started this blog, I knew how it would earn money. I planned from the beginning to offer consulting services related to building website traffic. I also planned to create a comprehensive course on building traffic (which became Traffic School).

Building a blog is hard work, and it’s easy to get so busy creating content and promoting it that you have no time left over for developing products.

You should combat that problem by thinking ahead about what products, services, advertising, affiliate marketing or otherwise you’ll be offering through your site.

I’m not saying you should know exactly what you’ll offer (it’s good to be flexible so you can adapt to what you learn from your readers and customers), but it’s good to have basic plans for creating your first products. In fact, if you’re a procrastinator, you might want to start by creating a product first, before you start blogging. That way you won’t have to worry about getting too busy to create a product.

Lesson #4: you can’t do it alone.

If you’re new to blogging, you might have this picture in your head of the heroic blogger, who does everything singlehandedly without help from the outside. At least that’s kind of what I envisioned in my head.

It turns out that every successful online entrepreneur I know (especially in the blogging world) relies on dozens of informal relationships to help with everything from business strategy to product development to promotion and more.

You can’t build a successful blog-based business alone. You need help from other people to let you know when you’re crazy and to help you get the word out about what you’re up to.

That means you need to spend a LOT of time building relationships with other bloggers and people online. Trust me on this one, just start asking your peers online and people you admire to meet for coffee (if you’re in the same place) or to talk over Skype sometime.

Don’t ask for anything and don’t expect anything in return. Just get to know people and try to be as helpful as possible.

Create these relationships in a genuine way, and they will pay off for you, I promise. Just keep making new relationships. Don’t try only to meet “a-listers” either, reach out to the people at your level who you know are going to be hugely successful one day.

I networked my ass off this year, and it paid off in massive ways. Don’t try to be a hero and do everything yourself. It’s much easier and more rewarding to make lots of online friends and form mutually beneficial relationships with some of them.

Bonus tip: when you’re just starting out if you don’t have relationships with people yet who can give you feedback and critique what you’re doing, consider paying for a professional blog critique. I purchased one from Chris Garrett a few months after I started blogging and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Check out Chris’s critique of my blog Free Pursuits from back in the day to see how it works.

Lesson #5: follow the basics, ignore the gimmicks.

(this one is possibly the most important lesson of all)

With my first blog, I spent a lot of time chasing dead ends and looking for gimmicks that would flood my site with visitors.

This time around, I focused only on the basics. I consistently work to:

  • Care about my readers and customers
  • Solve people’s problems
  • Write epic shit
  • Tell people about what we’re doing here

That’s pretty much the core of what it takes to build a popular site. If you do that consistently you’ll build an audience and more importantly, your readers will help spread the word about what you’re up to.

The gimmicks and tricks are almost always a waste of your time and just a way for someone else to get attention or make a sale from useless information.

Enough Lessons, Here’s How I Earned $103,500

Remember when I said that the size of your online audience doesn’t really matter?

Here’s what I mean by that.

This site attracted 138,500 visits from 81,228 unique visitors in its first year (from March 16, 2010 to March 15, 2011), here are the weekly visits totals:

The site directly earned just over $103,500 in revenue during the same period. If you divide the revenue by the unique visitors, that means for every single person who visited this site at any time during the past year, it earned $1.27. That’s every single visitor, regardless of source, and regardless of which content they arrived at.

How much does your site earn per visitor? You may not need as many visitors as you think to earn a good living.

81,228 unique visitors may seem like a lot, depending on your situation, or maybe you have many more visitors. There are lots of sites out there that attract at least that many visitors per month.

My point is, you don’t have to build a gigantic audience to earn a comfortable living as long as you focus on providing insane value and offering compelling products. Then build a modest audience of committed readers and customers.

I’m going to hold back from digressing too much here, but to me this is the true promise of the Internet. It’s not that you could be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin. The chances of that happening are ridiculously minuscule, and most of us don’t want that life anyway. The true promise of the Internet is that each of us can build a thriving lifestyle business that makes us happy, lets us live the life we want and makes the world a better place.

[end of minor digression]

If you’re curious about how that $103,500 breaks down for this site, I earned revenue from three sources over the past year. Here’s how they break down:

    1. Product sales – 55% (Traffic School and Affiliate Marketing for Beginners)

At the same time I conceived this blog, I also envisioned a comprehensive training course on how to build traffic online. That thought became Traffic School nearly a year later and that single product accounts for the majority of revenue made through this site in the first year.

I don’t necessarily recommend you wait so long or embark on creating something nearly as comprehensive for your first product, especially if you haven’t created an online product before. Try developing something smaller and get input from your readers as you’re creating it.

Also, don’t forget that creating the product and making it the best you can is only half of the battle. The other key to creating a successful product is generating interest and anticipation before the product launches. My favorite guide to how to create a successful first info product is How to Launch the **** Out of Your Ebook. Check it out if you’re planning to build a product. It’s the best $97 you could spend.

    1. Consulting – 35% (by working with over 20 clients last year on marketing and site development projects)

I launched consulting services very early on here, and at first I struggled to earn enough on an hourly basis to make it worth my time while still leaving me time to spend on creating content and products.

All that struggling stopped after I discovered and read Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. This book literally changed my entire consulting strategy and helped me avoid the dreaded consulting “hamster wheel” that so many freelancers find themselves stuck on.

If you haven’t planned on doing any consulting, I have to tell you it can be very rewarding. Also, there’s an important reason why it can help the rest of your business. When you work with clients, you often come to understand problems that affect thousands of other people out there. Those problems can easily be turned into successful content and products if you pay attention and take notes.

I want to give a very special thank you to the 20+ clients I worked with last year. You made this business possible and I hope I’ve given you my best through our projects. Here’s to a monster 2011 for all of us. Thank you again for supporting me and my work.

    1. Affiliate marketing – 10% (earning a commission for selling other people’s products)

Finally, the smallest part of my business (at this blog) this year was affiliate marketing. I actually do more affiliate marketing through other sites, but haven’t focused on it as much here. Even still, I was able to add a decent amount of extra revenue to my top line here by recommending select resources I believe in.

Get Your Free Business Plan Workbook for Building a Successful Blog-based Business

I’ve taken everything I learned from the first year of Think Traffic (and the first two years of my other site), and packaged them into a new comprehensive business plan workbook for bloggers.

This six-page workbook will walk you through a series of 33 in-depth questions you need to ask yourself to create a successful business around your blog.

I’ll be releasing the workbook for free later this week, so watch here to get your copy.

Now let’s open it up for questions in the comments. What would you like to know about how to build a successful blog-based business? Feel free to ask anything, I’m more than happy to answer.

And as always, if this article helped you, you can help me out by Tweeting this article or “liking” it on Facebook using the buttons below. Thanks!

Top image by vasta
Second image created with Wordle

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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TrafficColeman March 29, 2011 at 6:28 am

Yo Corbett..congrats on your 1 yrs birthday..you’re doing big things bro..don’t let me catch up whit you this year..LOL

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 11:53 am

Thanks Coleman!

James Clear March 29, 2011 at 6:50 am

Corbett,

First, congrats on the success. That’s great man. I’m happy for you.

Secondly, I love the point about not chasing all the gimmicks. Caring about your audience and consistently solving their problems is the best way to ensure success. No one wants to hear that because it’s hard, but it’s also very true.

Great job. Keep crushing it.

Chris Green March 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hi James, Passive Panda is such an awesome name for a website. Just about to go and have a read of your stuff.

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm

It’s not easy to spread a message people don’t want to hear, so I like to think I’m building an audience of people who “get it.” Gimmicks are attractive but they don’t work long term.

Thanks James, hope all is well with you too.

Amy March 29, 2011 at 6:53 am

Congrats, Corbett! This site’s first year has been quite a ride. I look forward to seeing where you take it in the next year, and checking out the workbook you’re putting together.

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for being here Amy! Cheers.

Jia Jun March 29, 2011 at 6:56 am

True Corbett. We should be expert in the field first before we share and teach people how to get there, and many people/bloggers out there just keep sharing how to make money or other topic while they’re still struggling to earn big money.
Learn to listen to who is also an important lesson for readers.

I would be more interesting to know how to convert readers to buyers, and what methods of generating income for different niche of bloggers. I’m still at my primary stage of blogging, earning 1 figures monthly income. HAHA.

Learn a lot from Corbett, in the same time, I need to digest and analysis what and how it works on my personal development niche of blogs.

Will keep improving.

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Haha, Jia. Congrats on reaching 1 figure ;)

Thanks for the suggestions on topics, I always appreciate that and will keep your ideas in mind for upcoming posts.

Perfect Dad March 29, 2011 at 6:59 am

Thanks for this, it is an inspiration. I love when successful people share. I’m one of the 138,000 in the last month or two.

Thanks

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Thanks for being a part of this, I appreciate it.

paul wolfe March 29, 2011 at 7:06 am

Hey Corbett

Congrats man. You deserve it – walking the walk and talking the talk. Do you think the income figure would be higher if you’d started writing more epic shit earlier?

Paul

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Sure Paul, absolutely. There are lots of things I could have done to earn more, but you do what you can and learn along the way. I’m ecstatic about the results and can’t wait for next year.

Benny March 29, 2011 at 7:20 am

Can’t think of a question now but just gotta say I’m definitely looking forward to that free report.

Congrats on the success these first two years. I’m sure the next two will be even more prosperous.

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Thanks Benny!

Onibalusi Bamidele March 29, 2011 at 7:30 am

Hi Corbett,

This is really awesome and amazing and you’re a real testament of the power of making a living online. What I love most about you isn’t just how much you made but the great and fantastic value you contribute to this post – I’ve gotten a lot to help me improve my business and I hope I can get more results by implementing them in the coming weeks.

It’s really great to hear about your consulting business experiencing a turn around and I think a post on that will be worth it.

Thanks so much for the awesome post and have a great day,
-Onibalusi

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Cool Oni, thanks for the post idea and thanks as always for reading and contributing. I appreciate how often you comment here. Thanks!

Rick H March 29, 2011 at 7:50 am

Congratulations!

What do you think about the folks out there that say blogging can become so time consuming (continually writing content, creating new product launches, etc.) that one really has very little time to pursue other interests, which is the foundation of “lifestyle design” based business?

The argument is that one becomes a slave to the process and its no different than being employed. I don’t necessarily agree with that viewpoint, as I’d rather be working 40, 50, 60 hours a week for myself than for someone else. However, I can see where it could become an issue.

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hey Rick, there’s no question that blogging can be time consuming. I happen to enjoy the process so I don’t mind the time it takes. Plus I love the connections I make with readers.

There are lots of other ways to earn a living online. Some of them might require less time than blogging for the amount of income you can make. The problem with looking for what takes the least amount of time is that you’ll end up chasing dead ends and following “gurus” who pitch get-rich-easy.

If you want to make blogging less of a weekly chore for yourself, focus on involving other writers in the process earlier. Get guest posts or pay a writing team.

Eugene March 29, 2011 at 8:02 am

Hey Corbett, loved the post and very insightful.

I’m curious to hear you thoughts on building a consulting business through a website+blog vs a “blog based business”. Say I want to offer specific marketing consulting services, what would you say is the best way to go?

Should I built out a good, simple clean website to showcase my services, and have a blog attached to it as well. Or should I start a blog like you did, and offer consulting services as part of the blog website.

Hopefully I’m clear with this. Interested in hearing your thoughts.

-Eugene

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Either way Eugene, I think your question is a design / structural question more than a real question about content or process. In my view, you need to be publishing content that shows off your expertise if you want to attract inbound clients. If you’re planning to do outbound sales you could use more of a brochure format. I much prefer the inbound marketing method because I don’t enjoy selling.

Martina Iring March 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

Loving your inspirational posts Corbett :) I’m definitely in the boat of not devoting enough time to developing my product. But as you have suggested, I already have the idea in mind, so I am constantly working towards it. Even baby steps get you closer!

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Absolutely, Martina. Any progress is better than no progress. Keep putting one step in front of the other.

Erica Douglass March 29, 2011 at 9:13 am

Props to you! And know that it only gets better from here. You’re already doing far better than I was with my blog in the first year. After 2 1/2 years of blogging, though, I wrote a single blog post (and sent 3 emails) about a product and generated over $21,000 in commissions from that single promotion. That seriously changed my life, and now I’m building a company around an idea that was generated by me running that promotion.

Blogging is amazing.

-Erica

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Awesome Erica! I can’t wait to hear about the new company. Congrats on the promo. I love when an big idea comes from a single post like that. Cheers

Pat Flynn March 29, 2011 at 9:42 am

Dude, Corbett – you are the man. I’ve told you this before, but I love how you plan something and then just execute the crap out of it so beautifully. I’ve still got a lot to learn, and I am learning a lot from you buddy.

Happy Birthday to ThinkTraffic, and thanks for the epicness.

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm

You’re too modest, Pat. I’ve learned so much from your journey over the past couple of years. Thanks for the comment and thanks for being awesome.

Baker Lawley March 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

Happy birthday for your blog! What a cool success story.

I appreciate the insight about the chicken-and-egg dilemma lots of blogs get into; one of the cool things about blogs, I think, is how they can evolve and refocus in a way that ‘s much more nimble than a brick and mortar business.

There’s a balance between having that awesome focus from day one, on one hand, and on the other, waiting too long for everything to be perfect (like Adam Baker’s “Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim” post a little while back: http://manvsdebt.com/ready-aim-aim-aim/). What’s the balance look like for you? Seems like you lean toward planning more–you’re clearly awesome at it by the success of your first year! Congrats again.

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Great points, Baker. You’re totally right, there is a balance between not planning enough and planning too much. I’m guilty of both actually, at different times. I started my first blog on a whim. This blog I planned out for a few months before launching. Both ways can work.

When I find myself over-planning, I like to stop as soon as I realize it and start taking some action. When I find myself wanting to jump into something right away, I like to take a step back and do at least a little planning. The key is to recognize when you’re leaning too far one way or the other.

Marianne Cantwell March 29, 2011 at 10:03 am

Great post! Love the way you broke it down into what really matters, straight up… keep it up! (I know you will :)

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Thanks Marianne, I’ll do my best ;)

Vic Magary March 29, 2011 at 10:44 am

Congrats on your one year anniversary for Think Traffic! And many thanks for your guidance and insight.
To your continued success,
Vic

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Thanks Vic!

Susan March 29, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks, Corbett. This was both helpful and confirming. I’m already working in this direction so I’m encouraged. On the other hand, my biggest problem and point of discouragement is finding my closest peers. I want to connect, but I haven’t found one website, book, person, etc that is comparable to what I’m planning and so that makes #4 very difficult for me. Almost to the point of being paralyzed with the whole project because I know I can’t do this alone.

(My project is centered on personal development for Christians. If you know of any specific to this, do tell!)

Thanks again for your great work.
Susan

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Hey Susan, I’m glad you’re encouraged by the post. Sorry you’re having such a hard time finding likely peers. Personal development for Christians sounds like something that must be out there some where. I don’t know any off the top of my head, but you might want to reach out to Matt Jabs at Debt Free Adventure. He writes about money management for Christians I believe (http://www.debtfreeadventure.com/). Good luck!

Nate March 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm

You know, a lot of it is related to mindset. You need to actually believe you can do it. We’re so frickin’ hard on ourselves and expect results so frickin’ quickly that we give up on ourselves or quit after the first setback…or worse, we don’t even try at all.

So, when someone says that you can’t make money blogging, an unconscious pattern starts to form and then we automatically associate blogging with not being able to make money….or someone might think ‘I can’t make money writing about this particular topic.’ Again, it’s creating a poverty mindset.

I can point to your interview with Gary. I mean, people worship this dude…but if you think of it on the face…his business idea was ‘I’ll go online and talk about the wine I sell.’ So, forget about thinking that you can’t write or do what you’re passionate about and not make money doing it.

You just need to:
1. Believe in yourself
2. Start…I know the whole business plan and product stuff is good from the get go, but don’t worry about this if you don’t have a product idea…just start writing about something as long as you’re interested in the subject matter and
3. Help people…and not out of a ‘this will help me make money’ kind of way, but seriously have a desire to help people out in whatever way you can, from a very honest place.
4. Don’t quit…the only way you won’t succeed is if you quit and give up on yourself

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm

True that Nate, true that! Great points all the way around, and I agree that believing in yourself is probably step number 1 on any journey.

Jeff March 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Congrats Corbett.

I might have to check out Book Yourself Solid if it had such a big impact on your business. I find it harder and harder to justify taking on clients when I can spend that time “creating” products or content that will help generate more passive income. Thanks for the tips.

Great post and great website!

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm

If you’re looking for more clients or better clients, don’t miss that book. It’s a great read. I agree though, I’m finding it harder and harder to justify doing client work when I can work on my own products instead.

Mike Roberts March 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

tremendous read. It’s inspiring to know that I have so much to learn, and this post is a big part of that learning process. Thanks man!

~Mike

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Great Mike, thanks for reading.

wilson March 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Will you ever write a blog post that sucks?
it’s good to know that when you come to this blog you’ll get something out of it.

Thanks and congrats on your success this year, let the next be even twice as big and better!

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Thanks Wilson ;) I hope next year is twice as great for you too.

Jeff Slobotski March 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Great post Corbett and thanks for sharing…keep up the great work and hope to sync soon!

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Sure Jeff, hope you’re doing well.

Rebecca Olkowski March 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Thanks Corbett for the very encouraging and comprehensive article. I loved how you broke down how you made your income. I’m glad I decided to go into the consulting aspect. It’s true you do get a much better view of what types of problems and concerns others have and it helps you understand what they would be interested in knowing more about. Congrats on an amazing year.

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Hi Rebecca! I’m glad the article was helpful. Best of luck with the consulting services. Let me know how it goes for you.

Allan March 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Hey Corbett, congratulations on the first birthday of your blog. What an amazing year it’s been for you!

I love the fact that you had a very clear plan of what you wanted to achieve and were able to maintain a good level of focus for the year. Chris’ advice is very good – it comes from Jim Collins who wrote ‘Good To Great’ and ‘Built To Last’ – two very good books about business success.

You’ve had a great first year – what are your goals for the next 12 months?

Lance March 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Corbett – very awesome!!! And Happy Birthday to Think Traffic!

You’ve created a real resource with this site, and this post shines the rewards of the time and caring effort you’ve given!!

Here’s to a very amazing rest of 2011!

Corbett Barr March 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Thanks Lance!

Henri March 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Boom! Awesome to see the massive success you’re having, sir.

I can completely relate to getting stuck in the content creation hamster-wheel and forgetting all about products and services.

I just had that realization myself after going through a slump (which we all do sooner or later), but by persisting and not giving up, you always come up with ideas when least expect them.

As always, if you ever need help with anything, let me know, and keep crushing the universes!

SilverMagpies March 30, 2011 at 3:34 am

Hi Corbett -

I loved to hear in your post about your friend’s neighbor who successfully blogs about sewing and crocheting! I find examples of successful businesses in the blog universe that address other niches/industries especially interesting.

Thanks and congratulations on an amazing year!

Will Evans March 30, 2011 at 4:57 am

Wow Corbett, what a breath of fresh air. I recently launched a blog and am in the process of launching a cosmetic product. Often times when looking at my marketing plan I feel pressured to start trying back link generating “gimmicks”. It is nice to hear an internet marketer stress that if your honest, patient, and provide good material you can achieve success.

Dean Saliba March 30, 2011 at 5:48 am

This is very inspiring stuff Corbett. It is weird that I am earning less now I am running my blogs properly than I did when I did them as a hobby. :)

I’ve convinced friends to start blogging as well as they have seen the money I have made, that is pretty cool when people see what you are doing and decide to follow you. :)

Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills March 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

Hi Corbett, In the last week or so it seems like the very info I need keeps coming into my space. Reading this moved me to take a very close look at my analytics for the last year and see what my readers are trying to tell me.

Congratulations on a great first year and thanks for the encouragement and reality check.

marianney | A Life Set Free March 30, 2011 at 10:12 am

Great post Corbett as always!

I am so glad you said that one of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is that they blog about their journey to try and make money online. I am ashamed to admit, that is what I have been doing. I knew there was something off about what I was doing, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Now it’s so obvious, duh.

So I have a couple of questions for you if you don’t mind. I’m surprised that affiliate marketing only accounts for 10% of your income. Could you have made more, had you focused only on that and not on consulting and products?

For people starting out, do you recommend that we start with one stream of income, then add in other forms later on, or do we diversify from the start?

Last question: i am curious what your vc funded start up was and what became of it. Do you talk about it any of your previous posts?

jules March 30, 2011 at 11:20 am

thanks corbett, I’ve learned a load from you this past 6 months.
jules

Moneyhomeblog March 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm

This post has inspire me to continue my blogging career, maybe i too will be celebrating with this huge success one year from today.

Corbett Barr March 31, 2011 at 9:40 am

Cool!

Alex March 30, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I think I need to sit down to read this.
Oh, I’m already sitting down – OK I need a beanbag or something.

This is some really valuable stuff here and Im gonna need something soft and squishy to help absorb it all.

You really are an inspiration Corbett, and as I sit here celebrating my one year as a blogger I look up to your accomplishments and thank you for sharing this post – because already I can see where I went wrong.

I also think I’m doing pretty bloody well thankyou very much :) (Maybe not compared to you, but then when I first started I did not Think Traffic

Shame on me ;)

Corbett Barr March 31, 2011 at 9:39 am

Hey Alex, congrats on the 1-year anniversary! Here’s to a huge second year for us both.

Ben March 31, 2011 at 9:35 am

Hey Corbett,
I’m new to your site, and I think your epic switch is always in the ON position. I’m a complete internet business newbie, so I’m definitely looking forward to learning a ton from sites like yours. Keep it up, man.
Ben

Corbett Barr March 31, 2011 at 9:47 am

Hey Ben! Welcome and best of luck starting your journey. How exciting!

Zoe March 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Corbett, you’re an absolute inspiration!

Whenever my friends question me on whether it’s possible to make money through blogging, I point them to you and some of the other bloggers making good money.

Even if my friends blog part time, it’s still extra income (and who wouldn’t mind extra $500 – $1000 a month!)

There will always be nay sayers who tell people something can’t be done. I say, let them talk and we show them how it’s possible.

Sunil from The Extra Money Blog April 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

excellent summary and great approach. i will be looking into your traffic products. accomplishing what you have in a year with one blog is an exception to the norm, and we all know that. congratulations

Matt April 4, 2011 at 5:18 am

Congrats on the one year anniversary – some bloody great success in just 12 months time.

You’ve got the wheels turning in my head. As one of hundreds of travel bloggers trying to make it, I think there are some pretty epic points to take away from this. Namely, advertising revenue is far from the end all of income you can earn from a blog. Plenty of travel bloggers start their own side products / websites and build off them, yet there has to be some way to leverage your traffic specifically to your blog … and not just through eBooks, they’re a dime a dozen anymore especially in the travel blog community.

Great post, thanks again for getting the wheels turning.

Corbett Barr April 4, 2011 at 8:51 am

Matt, also keep in mind the importance of differentiation. What makes your site stand out in the world of travel bloggers? Why should someone read your site instead of the hundreds of other choices out there? I don’t have the answers, I’m just asking the questions that your visitors will be asking themselves.

Dave @ Tax Calculator May 31, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Amazing stuff and great inspiration for all the bloggers out there.

Congrats, you deserve it.

Corbett May 31, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Thanks Dave!

Jimmy May 31, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I just stumbled across your site and I must say I’m impressed. Great post!

Jessica June 11, 2011 at 9:50 am

Hello Corbett,
Congratulations on your success! I am a beginner,and searching through the web I came across your website. I have to say that I am impressed, exited and a little overwhelmed by all the information I have been reading on how to make money online. I can see now, that it really works and I am willing to give it a try. Althought I have built my own website (www.divinedesinginteriors.net), I have no experience in blogging and never thought I could make money doing so. Thanks to your website and experience, I am now a “believer”! Hope I can do as good as you ;-)

Matt July 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for the information; I especially appreciate the percentage breakdown of your income streams. I have been doing a lot of reading over the past few weeks about making a living from blogging. I have been blogging for a few years now and the financial rewards have been small. I think it may have been a lack of preparation before starting the blog.

Chad October 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I am curious. I see in the stats graph that you had a couple thousand visitors already during the first couple days. How did you launch in order to achieve that? Thanks…

What work October 29, 2011 at 11:51 am

I know I’m a little late commenting on this, but just want to say thanks for posting it. There’s no doubt that there is money to be made blogging – if you go about it the right way. Too many people think it’s very easy – and there are plenty of scammy websites out there to tell you that’s the case. But the truth is, it takes work. The good news is, as you’ve pointed out, the hard work can pay off! Thanks again!

amy December 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm

What I really want to do is quit the part time job in 6months time when I finish University – so I can spend the majority of my time writing and start planning for my long term business idea. I need to make £500 a month in 6 months time – possible? I just wish I had something to sell people.

Andrew Youderian August 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Corbett,

Congratulations on a very successful year! I love how much traction you were able to get in so little time. I know you worked your tail off for it. ;-)

I also happened to click through to your personal blog and found a new favorite quote that sums up what most people don’t seem to understand regarding success:

“I live a charmed life because I fought for it.”

Awesome.

Again, congratulations on a killer year and best of luck with the next one!

Arnuld November 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm

So the bulk of your profits from your blog didn’t come from blogging per se. But rather from making your own product?

I totally loved what you said about taking notes on your client’s problems. I just had a totally crazy idea for a product as I too am making a living out of freelancing coz I really hate the traffic in my country.

Anyways, thank you for the crazy idea Jia!

Warren December 10, 2012 at 7:36 am

Thanks for all the great information. This is a good blueprint on how to make money online. Glad to see that you are willing to share your formula with others who are trying to answer the question can I make money online

Craig Dewe April 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Was great to read your story on how it all started Corbett and the success you’ve had. I especially liked how you avoided gimmicks and realized the way to success was just focusing on the fundamentals… delivering value for your readers.

In this “get rich quick” world we live in it’s great to see you create a lifestyle business so quickly by providing epic value for your readers. I’m enjoying your blog and keep up the great work :)

James Clear March 29, 2011 at 9:55 am

Thanks Chris! I really appreciate it.

I’ve put tons of work into Passive Panda already, but things are just getting started.

I’m interested to hear what you think about it so far … and what else you might find useful in the future.

Susan March 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Thanks, Corbett. That actually has given me a good idea. I write about PD for Christians as a topic, which is what I’ve been looking for. Perhaps my best bet is to divide and conquer–there certainly are lots of Christians doing good work on even narrower topics–I can indeed find them (already have found some) and connect that way. Appreciate it! This was very helpful.

Susan

Jia Jun March 30, 2011 at 12:10 am

Thanks~ :p
Just reached 2 figures. Haha~

Sunil from The Extra Money Blog April 3, 2011 at 9:16 am

Great point! Leverage the strength of others where you can

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