Are You Writing Articles That Have The Ability To Make Money?

While we are on the subject of making money online, generating income through your blog and every other cash infusing aspect of your blogging, we need to take a look at why some blogs are successful on a monetary standpoint and others are not.

I see it all the time…

“Robb! I have a lot of traffic, a ton of comments and everything is growing! But I’m not making a bloody cent!”

To make money online through blogging, you have to be doing two things and most bloggers do neither in their pursuit to fire their boss and live the life they dream.

  1. You have to attract a reader that is actually prepared to spend money.
  2. You have to publish posts that actually generate revenue.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?! Then why aren’t more people making a living online? Let’s tackle each of these quickly so you can get an idea of what I am talking about and apply it to your blog.

You Have To Attract A Reader That Is Prepared To Spend

Your 1,978 comments don’t mean anything if those comments are coming from readers that are not prepared to buy something. If you just want to grow a blog for the community aspect and you enjoy writing, that is great! Keep on rockin’ it! But…if you are looking to generate revenue (cash…that stuff that pays the bills), you have to take a serious look at what kind of reader your content is attracting.

Articles like reviews of products and services, complex tutorials related to your field and other valuable resources will attract a reader that is looking to solve a problem. Generally, problems are solved in this world through products and services that you can either provide through your own products or by promoting someone else’s products and services (affiliate marketing). By attracting the readers looking to solve problems and solving that problem for them with a solution you recommend…you are setting up the possibility to profit off of that readers needs.

Attracting a bunch of know-it-all’s with controversial opinion or pining after that first page of Digg isn’t going to bring you a reader that is ready to buy. It might get you traffic…but unless you are ready to make basically nothing until you have 100’s of thousands of visitors…that is probably not the route you want to take.

Publishing Blog Articles That Generate Cash

Once you have an audience that is actually ready to spend some cash, you have to make sure you are publishing content that will actually result in that monetary spending.

We’ll take blogging about blogging as an example because all of you guys are familiar with it and a lot of people try to jump into this field and fail miserably. You know all of those list posts about “how to blog”, “how not to blog”, “how to get more readers”, etc?! They are worthless. Well…wait…let me rephrase that…they are worthless if you are not selling a coaching program, offering up a free eBook about blogging for newsletter subscribers or complimenting that content with something that generates revenue for your blog.

Let’s take another example. On, I write a ton of tutorials about how to ride, how to become a better rider, etc. Every single one of these post have basically zero revenue by themselves. They do, however, attract a reader that is looking to become a better rider. This way…I am funneling traffic to my Ramped Riding eBook and my newsletter which are both profitable for the site. See what I mean about complimenting content with cash generating assets?

It is vital that you create a business model that promotes online spending by providing online resources that funnel traffic to your own products and services or the promotion of other people’s product and services.

Some Final Thoughts Cash Generating Blogs

The blogs that do this really well can make a great living online with smaller traffic. It is all about attracting the right reader and solving their problems by creating solutions that generate profit in your blogging. It is a win/win for both you and your readers and by providing these solutions…you are gaining their trust and positioning yourself as the expert in your field.

Just blogging is not a business model…but selling your own products and services or the promotion of other products and services (in the corporate world we call this a Rep) is a solid business model that can grow with time.

If you are expecting to have a small amount of traffic convert well with affiliate banners and PPC campaigns, you are going to be constantly counting pennies while the bloggers that do this the right way are counting 5 to 6 figure incomes with the same amount of traffic.

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Drezz February 26, 2010 - 8:18 am
Great post. I think far too many people are stuck with the old thought process of - Create a blog, write some posts, slap some adsense and people will show up and the money will roll in. Readers are looking for specifics that will benefit THEM. So have something that is worthwhile for them to read and learn from, and worthwhile for you to create and earn money from. Its not hard to get into selling your own product. You just cant be afraid of the initial investment (time and money). In the end, it pays huge. Thanks, Robb.
Robb Sutton February 26, 2010 - 9:06 am
There are a lot of people stuck in that mentality and a lot of it is because of laziness. It is much easier to think about that than it is to create a business backend to blogging. Then...when it doesn't work out...they can just say that everyone else most have gotten a break they didn't.
The Off-Campus Student February 26, 2010 - 9:20 am
"Then…when it doesn’t work out…they can just say that everyone else most have gotten a break they didn’t." That's the easy way out, and I am sure one that many people are guilty of. Adsense. Shudders. I follow one particular blog that has Adsense and, AdBrite I think it is, and man... It makes the experience very unpleasant. The blogger apparently earns about $5/month through it. His reasoning? It pays for his hosting - which he could easily afford anyway. As a reader I have pleaded with him to remove it. Instead, he has chosen to stick to his guns because he gets a kick from it.
Robb Sutton February 27, 2010 - 6:57 am
Some people can't let go of the pennies for the dollars.
Paul Roekle February 26, 2010 - 8:24 am
Well said, you really do need to attract readers who either desperately want something - like to cure their golf slice. Or are in need of something - like to fix their sleeping problems. Otherwise, your just blogging for fun and leaving money on the table. -Paul
Robb Sutton February 27, 2010 - 6:57 am
I'm sure there is a huge buying market for the cure to the golf slice! That is a multi-million dollar industry.
The OffCampus Student February 26, 2010 - 8:38 am
You know what, I'd like to earn money online but I am still having a hell of a lot of fun just doing it for the fun of it. I have one venture that I am working on which is online / offline and I feel it has a good chance of earning a few dollars but it isn't completely an online business. Thanks to guys like you giving us hope. :D Paul -
Robb Sutton February 27, 2010 - 6:58 am
That is a huge driving factor of making money through get to make a living doing what you love. Almost to the point that it doesn't feel like work.
Elie February 26, 2010 - 10:25 am
If you want to make money, it's not just about building a community, but about building a community of buyers and having something to sell. Yes, you can work on this in two stages (first create the community and then provide the product, or vice versa), but you do have to build both. I don't imagine that my last post, for example, is going to sell anything. It's not supposed to (I discussed project versus hourly based billing systems). But the idea is to help build a community of small business owners who needs answers to such questions. Your post here made me realize, though, that I'm not really selling anything on my site. Sure, I have AdWords running, and I promote some books from Amazon, but it's not going to earn much (it currently almost equals my hosting costs, but not quite). If I want to actually earn real dollars, I'm going to have to figure out something that I can sell which my readers would buy. And then I'm going to have to figure out how to promote it seamlessly with the rest of the site. On with the thinking cap!
Robb Sutton February 27, 2010 - 6:59 am
You either have to create it...or someone else has to and you promote. Better yet...both!
Liane February 26, 2010 - 12:37 pm
I've been thinking about the concept of "attracting readers who are prepared to spend too". I even did some online research on journals that tells stats about online spending. The ironical thing is, even if you can identify those kinds of people (potential buyers), the process of reeling them into your blog isn't exactly easy. There's just no filter for traffic. One might be targeting the right audience, but the wrong ones keeps on coming in. I do like the concept of having a built-in business model in your blog. hat's something I'm continually working on. :)
Robb Sutton February 27, 2010 - 7:00 am
Even once you have a targeted have to write in a way that solves problems and promotes spending...honestly. It's a constant balancing act for sure.
Emily February 26, 2010 - 3:04 pm
I have a frugal blog (very different from Bike198) where I encourage people not to spend. I get a small revenue stream from Amazon Affiliates, but make good money with ads that pay per impression. There are ways to make money with readers who don't want to buy, but it takes a different kind of blog. I still love all you have to say, though!
Robb Sutton February 27, 2010 - 7:01 am
Emily, there is still a lot of money to be made in the PPC and Direct Advertising world. I know bloggers that absolutely kill it still with those models. requires an amount of traffic that most bloggers are not going to see for awhile. By promoting "not spending" you are also promoting "smart spending" which could be very profitable for you business.
TheInfoPreneur February 27, 2010 - 6:07 pm
This was like a huge massive wake up call for me, god damn I can't thank you enough for putting this out here. I am re-thinking everything as I approach the monetizing stage of it all, really good advice, traffic does not = cash if you not converting it right? why has it taken me 4 months to realise this, thanks brother
John Paul Aguiar February 28, 2010 - 1:42 pm
Such a simple idea, yet always missed. I think there is a fine line tho between writing for sales and writing only reviews of products. Like you said, write about things that you have a product or service to fix, that way it doesn't come off as all you write is product reviews. I think you still need traffic, the more traffic the better, and add to that writing for sales and you are in a place to grow your blog and income.
Jack Cola February 28, 2010 - 10:17 pm
You are totally right. Blogging does not make you money. Blogging gets you the readers, and you use another business model to make your money. Look at Darren from Problogger. His blogging attracts readers, he then sells affiliate products, eBooks, Premium and Private content, courses etc. That is what makes you money. Ok, a few people make a bit of money through ads, but for a decent revenue, you have to use blogging with something else to make it profitable. I am selling a course to make my money. Check out might site for more information.
DJ Wetzel March 1, 2010 - 4:33 pm
It really is monumental to have the proper mindset before you begin a blog post. I am slowly learning that there is so much more that goes into actually monetizing a blog than just throwing up banner ads and expecting to get paid. Great advice!
Havana March 6, 2010 - 10:24 am
You know all of those list posts about “how to blog”, “how not to blog”, “how to get more readers”, etc?! They are worthless. Well…wait…let me rephrase that…they are worthless if you are not selling a coaching program, offering up a free eBook about blogging for newsletter subscribers or complimenting that content with something that generates revenue for your blog.
Extremely good point. Can you write about HOW to attract readers "who will buy?" :)
The Top 12 Success Killers In Blogging (with Solutions!) | Robb Sutton dot com June 23, 2010 - 8:06 am
[...] then keep testing. 10. No Monetization StrategyAs I wrote in a recent article “Are you writing articles that actually have the ability to make money?“, there are a lot of bloggers that assume that traffic equals income. So…they keep [...]
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