42 45 Of The World’s Most Successful Blogs – Earnings Reports, Deep Dive, Amazing Insights!

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42 Of The World's Most Successful Blogs

Introduction




This “deep dive” post started out as purely personal research. I wanted to build a giant list of the world’s most successful blogs “for me” – so that I could learn from the winners. Then as the list got big I realized… I should be sharing this!

You will be blown away by some of these crazy numbers! Did you even know that there are some blogs earning 7 figures per MONTH? Yes, it’s true!

This post will give you much insight into how some of the world’s most successful bloggers won the game. It will show you what will be involved in ‘attacking the mountain’ of creating your own 6-figure, 7-figure or even 8-figure blog! It will also illustrate several tactics which should be avoided at all costs!

This post will also demonstrate how you too can turn your own research into valuable content for your audience – like I did when creating this page! This way, you are almost “getting paid to learn” – which is pretty amazing! It’s a double-win to create the content that you personally find the most useful. Not only is there a good chance that others will share your enthusiasm, but when you find yourself referring back to your own blog when you want to research a topic – that’s when you know you are winning… 😉

Ok, let’s get into it.

GOALS:




★1. Build a huge list of the most successful blogs, with revenue stats.
★2. Organize by topic / niche, to see which niches stand out as having the greatest winning potential.
★3. Gain as much insight from the winners as possible by diving deep into what they have done.

TECH NICHE

★1. engadget.com$5.5M revenue per month

★2. techcrunch.com$2.5M / mo

Tech is a massive, hyper-popular topic that also has tremendous monetization potential because this is a sector in which people spend significant money – either for personal or business use, or both! Billions of people buy laptops, cameras and various other electronic items. Advertisers are spending top dollar in this niche and you have ‘big tech’ companies with big ad budgets competing for visibility on the top quality tech blogs. That means high earnings per click and lots of clicks.

The above sites have veered more towards “tech and science-y” media outlets nowadays, however it’s clear that a tech blog has massive potential! There are plenty more examples of 6 and 7 figure tech / gadget review blogs.

Video Reviews: If you prefer making videos to written content – that’s ok! There are highly lucrative Youtube-based tech review video channels – for example Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), with over 10M subscribers and an estimated $500K / mo revenue! Brilliant and detailed analysis of Marques Brownlee’s success from Paddy Galloway here.

No videos? No problem! Even if you don’t create your own videos, you could embed the best tech videos in your blog with a written commentary on the video and additional tips.



The tech niche is a 21st century juggernaut that shows no sign of slowing down. Probably the opposite! It’s advertiser friendly and generally non-controversial. You can blend in tutorial content in addition to reviews, to increase your content portfolio and pull in targeted traffic. You can also niche down into a huge number of sub-categories, for example laptops, phones, drones, wearables, cameras, software…. enormous potential here…

PERSONAL FINANCE NICHE

★3. thepennyhoarder.com$1.75M / mo

Allegedly this site has made $21M in 1 year!!! GDPR blocked. I cannot see this site in the UK! But even without being able to see the site, we can learn a few things! 😉

A Google search for the term site:thepennyhoarder.com revealed 11,000 results – which indicates that they probably have around 10,000 articles on the site. In addition to the typical “site essentials”, there will be some category pages and some author pages in the 11,000 – however not all of their site will necessarily be indexed, depending partly on their internal linking strategy (which could be explored using a tool such as Ahrefs). So there may in fact be more than 11,000 articles.

Google search results also reveal the site’s categories because I can see the URLs in the Google SERPs. For example www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/earthship/ This is useful research because we can see that this is a carefully siloed site with categories corresponding to the most in-demand financial topics. Here are some that I saw; make money, budgeting, investing, taxes, debt, save money, allowance spending, academy, loyalty programs, retirement – (and more).

So all of this research gives us some simple “macro” ideas on how you would begin to formulate a strategy for emulating this success. In brief:

a) super branding. This is essential at the 7-figure-plus level. “The Penny Hoarder” is such a great name. Memorable, fun and yet absolutely on-target.

b) 10,000 articles and none of it can be crappy content! Expert “specialist” writers required!

c) market research into the topics that large audiences are seeking.

★4. goodfinancialcents.com$138K / mo

A third of his income comes from the financial planning practice he manages. Another third comes by being an affiliate for products and services like Insurance Plans. 20% comes from sales of online courses and digital products. The final 14% comes from sponsorships and ad revenue.

★5. makingsenseofcents.com$120K / mo

This site is a great case study. Topic: Saving money and making money online / tutorials. Looks like they have stopped publishing income reports now, however their last income report – November 2019 – gave some stats: Started blogging in 2011, has published 1,878 articles, took 6 months to earn their first $100, and reports earning over $5M in total. This is a very clean, well put together blog!

SMALL BUSINESS TUTORIALS / MAKE MONEY ONLINE NICHE

★6. empireflippers.com$1M / mo

At first glance you think it’s “just a website marketplace” – like Flippa – for buying and selling websites; not really a blog! However their blog is awesome and certainly pulls in much relevant traffic to the marketplace. It’s an excellent example of how a business can utilize a blog as a business tool. Their blog categories are listed here. empireflippers.com/blog/ and you can tell from the post titles that they are clearly doing a lot of long tail SEO – optimizing their articles for targeted keywords in their niche. 833 posts. I think there is something worth modeling here. Breakdown here www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_-VlLrJv0

★7. copyblogger.com$1M / mo

A blog about copywriting. Zero graphics – well of course, its made by writers for writers! 2,952 articles over 14 years. Explored here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_-VlLrJv0 (at 4 mins 30) Amusing to note that their old articles still link to Google+ lol. Lazy, but who cares? They are still killing it.

★8. Fitsmallbusiness.com$600K / mo

Review of the site here – www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkx0V_KZdgA 4 million monthly viewers to earn $7.1M in a year = an eCPM (earnings per thousand visitors) of $177.5 … which is totally off the charts. Ah.. there it is. The insurance niche is one of the highest paying “per ad click” in the world. You can see their categories here fitsmallbusiness.com/blog/ You can also see their most popular articles on the homepage. Thanks! This is something that could be modeled! Interesting to observe that all their social media is WEAK. Only a few thousand subs! They don’t care – they are getting mega traffic from SEO and links – so they are going to keep doing what they are good at. There is more than 1 way to get traffic!

★9. smashingmagazine.com$215K / mo

Teaching web development.

★10. Eofire.com$200K / mo

Podcasts for entrepreneurs.

★11. smartpassiveincome.com$175K / mo

Summary here www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_-VlLrJv0 (3 min start)

★12. Dollarsprout.com$150K / mo

Explored here. www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0y-YL4tmb4
Full breakdown here www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CtiqJHCfx8
Their income reports are on their other site www.breakingtheonepercent.com

★13. Createandgo.com$100K-200K / mo

createandgo.com/blog-income-report/ tons of info here – teaching blogging.

★14. SoOverThis.com – $80K / mo

Established 2011. Personal finance tutorials. Income comes mostly from ad revenue. Looks like they stopped posting in April 2020. I am also getting a warning from my browser that the site may have malware. Not sure what is going on there but I decided to remove my link to them just to be on the safe side.

★15. Jon Dykstra – $80K / mo off 8 sites

8 niche sites according to www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0jxW0rLySI. Sites getting around 50K visitors per day, which means his eCPMs are $33 RPM which is AWESOME. fatstacksblog.com/tag/income-reports/ is his public case study. And yep, almost all of the revenue is from one winner site, with a ”not bad’ 2nd site and a bunch of also-rans (it’s like that).

★16. nichewebsite.builders$60K / mo

Reached this figure in year 1! www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1FNPhYUqi4

★17. shoutmeloud.com$34K / mo

Harsh from ShoutMeLoud has provided detailed income reports of his progress over 10 years of blogging. He goes big on delivering value!

SURVIVALISM NICHE

★18. suvivallife.com$1M / mo

Survivalism has a large ‘cult following’ but I was surprised by the income score of Survival Life! Google Search shows 3,740 pages on their site, which is a lot of content – but not an impossible amount to tackle, given time. But the social media counts don’t (in my opinion) match up with such a high income level. 343,000 on Pinterest is a big following but most of their other social media accounts are small, with only a few thousand followers. So of all the numbers cited on this page, this one raises eyebrows to me the most. I have a feeling they used to have a big Facebook audience and then got banned? This could knock the traffic down in a big way. But let’s look deeper.

Survival Life runs an email list, which, knowing this niche, could be very lucrative. Preppers do tend to buy a lot of stuff. But we have no indication of how many subscribers their email list has. They also run their own affiliate program, which is interesting. They sell physical products and offer commissions to those promoting them. This can be very lucrative but again, no real idea of the numbers here.

Content-wise; This kind of blog is do-able for a small team! To give you an idea of the level of work involved in “catching up” with a blog of this size, just in terms of the content creation and social media posting: You would need to create approximately 3 high-quality posts per day for 3.5 years; this means coming up with ideas and titles, writing the article, adding images / graphics, proof reading, uploading to WordPress and making the social media posts in different formats for the various major social media platforms. Yes, it’s a lot of work. From my experience, I estimate a team of 3 or 4 full time could manage this work load but that also depends on how well organized and efficient your business systems are. Running a tight ship is critical, as is quality control of all aspects!

★19. survivalblog.com(income unknown)

Despite not knowing their numbers I had to add this one because it’s one of the longest established, most consistent and overall impressive blogs on the internet. Running since 2005, the blog has over 31,000 posts (truly astonishing – an average of 5.5 blog posts per day for 15 years is off the charts). It is a veritable encyclopedia of survivalism. The owner is a “name” within the niche and also publishes several books. It’s another masterclass in how a successful blog is run.

The survival niche is solidly tutorial-based, excellent content sharing knowledge and “life skills”. There is some crossover between survivalism and life hacks, both in audience and content. This niche has big revenue potential for the simple reason that preppers “buy a lot of stuff”. If you are for example an amazon affiliate and you have a survival skills blog, then every time there is some kind of “scare” in the news that has people rushing to stock up on survival supplies, then the income corresponds.

DIY / CRAFTS / LIFE HACKS NICHE

★20. 5minutecrafts.site(unknown; very probably $1M+ per month)

5 Minute Crafts has one of the most spectacularly large social media followings of any brand. With over 65 million Facebook fans, 70 million Youtube followers and 44.2 million Instagram followers, it can reasonably be anticipated that their revenues are in the 7 figures per month. They are absolute masters of the time-lapse DIY and life hacks videos, with spectacularly large social media engagement scores as a result. Looking at a few of their visible numbers; they have 10,000+ posts on their Instagram, they post 36 times per day on Facebook (proving once again the critics are DEAD WRONG about “posting too much” on Facebook) and 77 videos that have had over 30 million views each on Youtube. Oh and by the way. The same team also runs Bright Side – add another 42 million FB fans and 38 million more YT followers there too! Winning the game… This is an extraordinarily successful business and worthy of very detailed study! There is a lot going on here. Their videos have not only a tutorial aspect but also keep audiences hooked in because of the “what happens next” effect that is so compelling. There is also a tip of the hat to mime theater in the grand tradition of Charlie Chaplin and others.

★21. sarahtitus.com$300K+ / mo

www.sarahtitus.com/shopify-store-income-reports/ Now THIS is an amazing blog. I was blown away. TONS of value here. Also no ads! Most of her income comes from her “printables” for sale on the site and she has built up a huge portfolio. There is also some affiliate income and some income from her training courses that teach people how to earn money blogging. Even more amazing was that Sarah was earning way more than this a few months ago – absolute CRUSHING it with FB ads – but then she decided to walk away from using FB ads for ethical reasons! Astonishing to find someone who “walks the walk” and walks away from a giant money pile because their heart tells them to. What an amazing lady. She is legit cool. This website is to me a top pick. An amazing success story. Sarah shows us the power of connecting with your audience on an emotional and even a spiritual level…

★22. abeautifulmess.com$125K / mo

DIY crafts blog established in July 2007. Two sisters with a stylish and very successful blog about home-based creativity. How much content?? A “random” click on the month of November 2020 showed me that they created 40 posts in that month. April 2018 had 45 posts. And this is in year 13! Talk about consistency! A quick glance at their Pinterest shows some serious numbers – 518k followers, 674k on Instagram, 90k Facebook, 51k Twitter and 28k Youtube.

There are no doubt tons more DIY / craft blogs that are crushing this niche. Pinterest is almost certainly going to be the #1 traffic source for most – however DIY / Crafts can go super viral on Facebook and Youtube too. It’s a topic with massive social media traffic potential. If you are a creative type who is already making a living creating and selling, for example on etsy.com, creating tutorials showing people how to ‘do what you do’ could be a superb side hustle or even overtake your original business…

VIRAL NEWS / VIRAL MEDIA

There are of course tons of these “content aggregator” sites that round up the most trending content from everywhere else and put their own spin on it. Examples include famous hyper-massive sites such as Buzzfeed, ViralNova and so on. It’s not my thing, but do these count as blogs? I think so. In truth, they sit somewhere poised between a blog and a media site. But you could technically create a site like this on WordPress and call it a blog, so we include them here. Here are a few examples which have earnings figures cited on other sites:

★23. mashable.com$2M / mo

This is ‘sort of’ a blog but really a media business. It’s not a one-person shop; companies like this have an entire content team. Mashable’s headlines are incredible. They are a textbook study. They know how to hook people and get you clicking things ‘that were not what you went in for’. In the Viral News niche, the potential traffic and monetary rewards are sky-high – but you will have to keep on creating content at very high volume.

★24. ViralNova.com$2M + / mo

At their peak they were reportedly earning $35 million per year, with a full time content creation team of 24. The owner sold the site in 2015 reportedly for $100 million. Smart move, getting out while it was still hot.

★25. Gizmodo.com$325K / mo

★26. Buzzfeed.com$25M / mo (peak) revenues

INSANE monthly revenue. Profit though? Possibly none! Now this is interesting: They had a huge trajectory, going from a reported $20M revenue in 2012 to over $100M in 2014, leading to a $1.5BN valuation in 2015. However 2020 shows them closing shop in the UK and Australia and scaling down. Even worse – reports have stated that Buzzfeed never made a global profit – and that even with massive traffic and peak revenues of $300M per year, they couldn’t make it into the black! The Guardian wrote: “When it comes to finances, BuzzFeed… proves that venture capitalists, or anyone out for a quick profit, make bad media owners.”

This is crazy! They would do much better if they just fired everyone and put the site out to grass, using an automated posting tool to re-run the evergreen old content on social media and earning money on ad revenue! Lol.

There’s a lot to unpack here.

We’ve seen this before: Outsiders simply don’t know the many nuances of how to run a blog or social media based business. New owners or controlling venture capitalists can make a complete mess of a business of this nature. It is also particularly interesting because it demonstrates once again that a small, agile, self-funded operation can often outperform a behemoth in terms of overall profit! When I had my “peak month” of $93,000, my operating expenses were under $3,000 that month! That’s a massive profit margin and demonstrates the potential rewards of blogging. Model that! Now of course, this was a short-lived “spike” in my case and Buzzfeed may have out-performed me in terms of traffic by a ludicrous margin – but in terms of profitability, you can see that being a ‘small shop’ blog owner might in some ways be a better position to be in! I always thought their content was stupid anyway. 🙂 It is stupid. The whole thing is stupid.

But this is actually relevant: While some of the smaller blogs listed above are powering along in 2020-2021 and in many cases doing better than ever, we see big media companies and newspapers struggling. Perhaps people are disenfranchised and distrustful of big media and are searching for unique, authentic, truthful, highly personalized content? I would say so!! Nobody trusts the media any more… do they?

While authenticity and having a genuine, human connection are key takeaways, I also think that attempting to scale merely by building a huge team and “going nuts” often doesn’t work. This is a big hint for a blog – keep the personal touch and don’t run a blog-based business bigger than the one you can personally oversee…

SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION) TUTORIALS

★27. moz.com$4M / mo

Rand Fishkin is an industry leader and this blog has been at the top of its field for years.

★28. www.matthewwoodward.co.uk$25K / mo

This is reported “blog income” however as a practicing SEO I am sure that his client income would be greater – and that the main purpose of this blog would be to pull in new SEO clients. Great blog by the way.

MUSIC TUTORIALS

★29. hearandplay.com$100K / mo

Who would have thought you could earn this kind of income teaching piano!?! Interview with the owners here: mixergy.com/interviews/jermaine-griggs-hearandplay-interview/ Music tutorials is a potentially lucrative niche with plenty of affiliate products (typically courses or training systems) available that can be promoted too.

★30. homestudiocorner.com25K / mo

Tutorials and tips for people creating a home recording studio. Proof that even an “obscure” niche has potential. However with a little thought you can see why: Home studios are a “spendy” topic – with lots of expensive products that can be promoted, reviewed and recommended. The demand for home studio equipment has been spectacular during covid! I know this because I sold a few items of music equipment on ebay and was amazed at how fast they got snapped up compared to other items I had listed for sale!

I included the music niche partly just to show that there is still some money in the music business! 😉

What other “expensive hobbies” can you think of? Think of popular interests where people buy a lot of gear and will have an “upgrade path” as their fanaticism grows.

RECIPES / FOOD NICHE

★31. PinchofYum.com$50K / mo

According to income reports two of their biggest revenue streams are $35k from Adthrive and $3k from Amazon Associates. The same team also run foodbloogerpro.com – following the tried and tested model of creating a successful blog, then creating a second blog teaching others how to make a food blog!

★32. showmetheyummy.com$40K / mo

As with DIY / Crafts; the recipes / food niche has huge social media potential. Typically the majority of traffic will be from Pinterest, potentially also big traffic from Youtube although quite often people will “stay on Youtube” – however you can drive them to a website by offering written instructions. You also have further monetization options by selling your photos as stock photos.

HEALTH / FITNESS NICHE

This is now a highly challenging niche. You need “Expertise, Authority and Trust” – and if you are in natural health, you may well run into problems because big tech now has a very active agenda to smack down these sites. They don’t like alternative health much and far prefer things that get injected by doctors and begin with “V”. Let’s not go there…

When it comes to medical expertise, you can’t ‘fake it til you make it’. You can, however, hire genuine experts and qualified medical writers. I would strongly recommend to fact check everything carefully, reference your content to peer-reviewed scientific studies and be aware that even if you do those things (as I did) you could still get zucked… however if you keep it in the “carrots and yoga” end of the spectrum, rather than the “alternative medicine” end of the spectrum, I think you will be safer.

There are tons of successful sites that could be chosen here. A few examples:

★33. simplegreensmoothies.com“multiple 6 figures”

This site has beautiful design! Very clean layout and great photography. Simple Green has 382k followers on Instagram, 324k Facebook, 63k Pinterest. They sell their own products – protein powders, cookbooks, cleanse kits and smoothie jars. No sign of any 3rd party advertising, which is unusual. It’s a beautiful website but looking at the social media numbers and engagement scores, I would estimate a revenue of $50k per month tops. Multiple 6 figures just doesn’t seem right – but I could be wrong.

★34. nerdfitness.com$100K / mo

Absolutely amazing branding. Homepage is a marketing masterclass. The best tag line ever: “We help nerds, misfits and mutants lose weight, get strong & get healthy permanently!”

★35. Matt Diggity (site names not revealed) – 100K / mo total from 2 sites.

Interview here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw580P5JbuE (4:40 content starts – this video is good stuff!!)

★36. Avocadu.com20K / mo+

Their facebook audience is small but their Pinterest is MASSIVE!! www.pinterest.co.uk/avocadulife/ And there was me thinking these kinds of weight loss sites got banned by default on Pinterest. Clearly not! But I still maintain that weight loss is a high risk niche. This is a smaller blog with less than 250 posts. I expect that they are creating multiple pinterest images per post, but that is a guess based on their numbers. I would need to do more data mining to see which of their posts has the most inbound links, what their pinterest strategy is etc. There is potentially something that could be modeled here but again, weight loss is now a high risk niche in terms of getting filed as spam, banned from social media etc. I would honestly avoid modelling this despite the fact that it looks “easy”. Easy is not always good!

POSITIVE THINKING / MINDFULNESS / SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE NICHE

★37. PowerOfPositivity.com(Unknown – I estimate $50k-$250k / month)

Power Of Positivity has a gigantic social media following – 32M Facebook fans, 6.2M Instagram. I think they also run several other Facebook pages which will bump their numbers and traffic correspondingly higher. Their blog has 7,200+ posts with tutorial-style content but on their social media they derive most of their viral engagement from “positive” quotations and sayings, with attractive images. Their website is packed with display advertising and this adds up to significant revenue. Knowing the kind of traffic that can be expected from such a large following, I estimate a 6 figure monthly income for this website.

★38. TinyBuddha.com(Unknown – I estimate $50k-$100k / month)

Tiny Buddha is similar in overall flavour but has a fantastic visual appeal. Instead of using stock photo for their own images, as far as I know their images are illustrated in-house. Their branding and all visual aspects of what they do are absolutely on-point. Their blog has 3880+ posts. I am very impressed with this site overall. 4.8M Facebook fans, 580K twitter, 530K Pinterest and 972K Instagram is also one of the most diversified audiences I have seen anywhere, with strong engagement across all social media. There is a lot going on ‘under the hood’ with this business. Tiny Buddha is not so heavy on display advertising but has their own line of merchandise – books, journals, “mindfulness kits” and more – that keys in with the themes and related interests of their blog. A very worthwhile study in my view.

★39. melyssagriffin.com$200K / mo reported

She sells personal development courses and obv is doing it right. Her blog is where it started. www.melyssagriffin.com/blog/ ‘Positive thinking’ type content is not quite my thing but evidently has a huge following. Once again showing that the human touch can shine in an era of media disenfranchisement 😉

OTHER V SUCCESSFUL BLOGS, ASSORTED TOPICS

★40. timothysykes.com$1M / mo

Sells DVD courses on stock trading.

★41. easydigitaldownloads.com$250K / mo

Insights here www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_-VlLrJv0 (3.30)

★42. tutsplus.com$175K / mo

Coding tutorials

★43. itsalovelylife.com$170K / mo

Family lifestyle & Travel

★44. carexpert.com.au$125K / mo

Authority site on cars. This is just one example, I am sure there are other 6 figure car blogs.

★45. BySophiaLee.com$70K / mo

Although her income reports mentioned her best month as $43,000 in May 2020, Sophia claimed monthly income peaking as high as $70K in late 2020. Her content is a blend of life hacks for college students, combined with teaching how to earn money blogging. It’s personally empowering content targeted carefully towards a niche audience that she understands well. She manages all this with a team of two, amazingly – and has mastered the art of using free tools such as Canva for graphics, so as to keep her expenses down.

There you go! I am sure that there are many, many more ultra-successful blogs and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I would guess that there are in fact thousands of blogs with income over $100k per month – but many would prefer to keep their income private and so much of this list is derived only from the ones who provide income reports.

Insights And Takeaways

1. Model Success.

The above are “outlier blogs”. This means their results are not typical and you should not expect that you can just swoop into this kind of success “because you too have a tech reviews blog”. However, you DO want to study people, systems, niches and models that have had atypical success – because you can learn a LOT by reviewing what they did and comparing it with blogs that did not do so well! Success is not an accident, and it leaves clues. Hopefully this post has helped you figure out WHY they won!

2. Long Haul.

Buckle up and make sure you are mentally prepared for the fact that creating a successful blog is a grind. Blogging is a lifestyle business and you have to be ‘into it’. Yes, there are examples of blogs that have gone ballistic in a year (and yes, I have had one of those, a health blog which hit $93k in one month in month 12!) but this is very atypical. And note that in my case, that was only one website out of over 20 I own that has had that kind of “vertical takeoff”! The bottom line here is that consistency and commitment are vital. You might not start seeing money for a year or three. I have had a website that did NOTHING for 3 years suddenly go vertical in year four and become a 6 figure-per-year website! But prepare yourself (both emotionally and financially) for the fact that it might take 3 to 5 years for a blog to show form – and that is also only if you do things right, which leads me on to…

3. Commit To Ultra-High Quality Content.

Yes, I speak from experience. I have made this mistake and see TONS of people doing it too. Once you get going with a blog, you look at your stats and notice that at 50 pages you make “x” income. You then say to yourself: Well hey now! If I have 500 pages, I can make 10x income. Logical? Yes… and no. The important point is that if you create 500 pages of crap, you are never going to get traction. In fact you are going to KILL your chances of success – because people will not stick and the whole blog becomes a morass of mediocrity and poor signals. The kind of site that people leave and don’t come back to and the kind of site that search engines regard as worthless.

It’s tempting to attempt to scale this way because it’s cheap but it doesn’t work out. 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. Don’t turn your blog into a guest post farm (I would avoid guest posts altogether honestly). Don’t “buy cheap likes”. Don’t do any of these tricks / shortcuts to bump your numbers at the expense of quality – because low quality WILL lead to long term failure. I know, because I have tried them! After my first successful site, I tried to replicate it “faster” by creating a new site and outsourcing the creation of all the content. It flopped spectacularly – and deservedly so, because it was not good! Your content is your ‘golden egg’. Don’t ever end up in the position where you find yourself with 1000 pages of crap that you might as well dump because it just dawned on you that it actually adds no value to anyone’s life… or yours. Even if the content was cheap, that’s an expensive and ultimately catastrophic fail.

Ultra-successful blogs tend to have one very obvious thing in common: Ultra high-value posts, which are typically long, detailed and very carefully put together. That’s a lot of work! Cranking out 500-word cookie-cutter articles doesn’t cut it at this level. You need to go big on your content.

Translation: You not only have to be strategic and have clear objectives for your content, but you have to either be something of a compulsive writer, or be able to hire effectively – which means having the skill set to be able to select, engage, direct, motivate and quality-control a content creation team.

Make your content “bar” of quality this: Whatever topic you create content on, seek to make that page BETTER than the competition. Earn your rank! Most of the above sites are authority sites which means they got to the top by virtue of being better than the rest, rather than by attempting to “trick the algorithm”.

Here’s an example of how this process works from the consumer’s point of view. (You should always consider it from the consumer’s point of view!) When researching this page, I did the “usual ritual” – I went to DuckDuckGo and typed “highest money earning blogs list” or something. I clicked open all of the top 10 results in new tabs. This is how most people do research!

About 6 of those pages were knock-offs of each other with the same “top 10 list” and thin, rewritten content. So once I had made note of the list from the first tab, I closed those tabs out without even reading them. But there were a couple of posts that blew all the others out of the water. See, and one of them is going to get my link! This AWESOME post. www.dananicoledesigns.com/types-of-blogs-that-make-money/ It was a deep dive, well organized, with takeaways and tips. Super high value content! And that one got my attention. It was, as they say, a KEEPER.

I ended up thinking “Wow. I wonder what else they’ve got”. And THIS is the reaction you should be seeking in your audience. THIS THIS THIS. If there is one thing you get from this entire page, this is it. Make your entire content strategy to create the reaction “Wow. I wonder what else they’ve got.” If you do that, you will win at this game. Over-deliver. Focus on creating THAT response, daily – and keep doing that for a few years.

THAT is how you win big at blogging!

Yes, those other posts made the Google Top 10 and so they probably think they are winning the game. But they only got one click, then those viewers are gone. Two hours later, I can’t even remember what those sites are called. In a few years, Google will be smarter and their crappy site will be buried. Don’t be them…

4. Evergreen vs. Trending Content.

There are certain topics where “news becomes old news” really fast. And there are others where the post will still be viable in 10 years. Example: Recipes. Recipes are evergreen content. News about the latest SpaceX launch is trending, but after a couple of weeks, that article is ‘dead’. Both can work, but personally I like evergreen and I think the recent collapse of many “news” sites has borne this out.

5. Don’t Solve Problems That Nobody Has.

Create content that lots of people actually want. You can create the best article in the world on… let’s make up a silly example… the average number of pages in books published between 1680 and 1690… and… your post will be interesting for about 4 people in the universe. So before creating content, you have to ask yourself “does anyone care” – especially if you are a nerd like me and love obscure stuff. 🙂 In the beginning, I made the world’s best content (literally) on stuff that nobody gave a crap about – and it is still sitting there in the digital wilderness, getting zero likes, ten years later! That’s a fail, captain.

6. Keep It Relevant To Your Audience.

Note how all the successful examples above keep their content tightly focused around the main theme / topic of the blog. You can sum up what the blog is about in one sentence – and this means that people can quickly evaluate what the site is and whether they are “in”. So if you have a recipe blog, don’t put in posts about sports cars just because you like sports cars! Most of your recipe fans won’t care! Keep each channel, site or social media page strictly focused on the topic and the audience’s related interests. The only exception here is if “the brand is you” and people just love you no matter what you are up to that day…

7. Market Research In Your Niche.

Learn what else your customers are into, though. This can include not only “core interests” but things that are peripheral / related to your main niche. For (random) example, fans of classical music might also be into tips on how to care for vinyl LPs, learning the violin or shopping for expensive hi-fi components. Tip: Many of the most successful blogs have very well chosen content categories and you can data-mine these categories to see what already works. In the case of the top earning blogs you can bet that this was no accident and their category choices are the result of in-depth research. Learn from them! “Think in reverse” when creating content. What problems does my ideal reader have? What do they need that I can provide? Put yourself in the position of the person discovering your website for the first time.

8. You Have To Love Your Niche.

While I DON’T buy in to the worn-out mantra “Do what you love and the money will follow” (because it is your customers’ interests that matter, not yours), if you are going to go the distance in blogging, you do have to believe in your content and have passion for the topic. Find your passion and stay connected with it. Sometimes, I see people killing it with sites that I personally dislike, and for a moment, I feel torn. I know that they are making BANK but either the site or the topic… or “something”… grates on me. There will always be those niches – and I would advise to steer clear altogether.

If you find that you dislike a website or topic, for whatever reason – don’t model it “just because they made money”. Not only will it feel unfulfilling to be doing that every day, which is demotivating, but you won’t be driven to learn consistently about the subject, which is required in order to create authority-level expertise. If you try to be something you are not, you will lose authenticity and authenticity is KEY at the top level of blogging. So be honest with yourself about your interests. What you do is not for everyone and what others do is not always for you – and that’s ok. There is room for you!

Proudly exclude some of the big, lucrative niches and have faith that there ARE still niches which not only have massive potential but within which you can shine and be authentic. These are the ones. For me – I know that I could smash it with a viral news site for example, but I just can’t bring myself to do it because viral news irritates me. Having this kind of clarity and identity will help you in the long term.

9. Avoid The “Make Money Niche” Until You Have Made Money!

Super important! You can see from the list that the make money niche probably has the biggest potential within the blogging world. However nobody wants to learn about making money from someone who has not made any yet – and if you dive into the examples given, you will find that these bloggers typically had a health, recipe, craft or other blog which they blew up before they created a second blog teaching people how to make money!

10. Don’t Over-Diversify.

If you are like me, it’s tempting to be like a kid in a candy store and think “I want to do them all!” This is not smart. If you spread your efforts too thinly, you won’t generate the authority, velocity and the critical mass needed for success. If you are an absolute content machine, then by all means, go for 2 or 3 blogs – and if you have a ton of brand ideas then sure, why not get them started. But it’s vital to be realistic about the workload and the requirements of a successful website. If you have too many websites in your portfolio, you simply won’t have time to focus on them all – and once a site starts to look like “ghost town” with no new content for a while, it can lose a LOT of traction. Youtube and other social media engagement scores are HIGHLY influenced by posting frequency. Google too may also measure rate of new content growth as a ranking factor.

11. Know Your Numbers.

Analytics will reveal to you which content is getting the traction. You will typically find that a most of your content performs “somewhere in the middle” relative to the others – a few posts flop and a few blow the others out of the water. Look at your winning content in order to learn why it worked so well and to “do more of what works”. You should also take note of which posts get the highest eCPMs. Research and data mine other successful blogs. Look at which of their posts gets the most backlinks for example, or the most social media shares, to gain ideas for which topics to emulate.

12. Everything Has A Rise And A Fall.

Just be aware of it. Nothing lasts for ever. I think in this industry there is a fantasy that income will just keep on going up and up – and people love to hype that, because it makes them look good and builds a big following of hopefuls. But the reality is that even the world’s biggest websites have a lifespan and a trajectory based on macroeconomic factors beyond their control. Blog income doesn’t just keep going up forever. At a certain point it will cap. At this point, you can either retire the blog and continue to make some passive income from past posts (quite nice!), do more of what works, add new programs to create higher income per visitor, or sell the blog (sell while it’s still hot!)

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Reported income note – the income stats are taken from various sources around the internet; often but not always coming from the blogger’s own income reports. Online income is always changing month-to-month, and so the most recent figures could be higher (or lower) than those quoted.

If you enjoyed this post and want the “full download” of how I created a blog that gained 2 million social media followers in its first year, made $93,000 in one month and hit traffic peaks of 300,000 pageviews PER DAY, check out the tutorial here.

You might also like: 26 Of The World’s Most Amazing Lucrative Niches Plus 10 You Should DEFINITELY AVOID At All Costs! (coming very soon!)




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