You can follow the lead of these top bloggers and turn your blog into a money making machine or you can easily make money online with blogging.
1. Maria Forleo
2. Steve Kamb
3. Ramit Sethi
4. Amy Porterfield
5. Jon Morrow
6. Darren Rowse
7. Seth Godin
8. Neil Patel
9. Selena Soo
10. Sam Dogen
11. Brian Dean
12. James Dahl
13. Tim Ferriss
14. Timothy Sykes
15. Josh Axe
16. Peter Adeney
17. AJ Harbiner and Johnny Dzubak
18. Pat Flynn
19. John Lee Dumas
20. Navid Moazzez
21. Tim Urban
22. Noah Kagan
23. Shane Parrish
Before we get started, I am going to mentioned here that I’ve researched about several people on this list.
Keep reading to see what the big names in blogging have done, or check out the rest of our site for tons more information on blogging, making money with your blog, and growing your audience.
1. Marie Forleo — marieforleo.com
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = Estimated Several Million Dollars
Marie has been writing online for almost 20 years.
She also put a lot of work into her YouTube channel.
Her content has a countless status and her copy is world famous. I assume most of her income comes from info products, especially her flagship B-School program, which is sold out every time I look at it.
He is an amazing person to study if you want to learn how to produce high quality positive content.
She is also great at balancing valuable content and sales in an authentic way.
2. Steve Kamb — Nerd Fitness
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = Almost 01 Million Dollars
According to a information from Forbes, Steve creates more than seven figures from Nerd Fitness. The company offers information products, coaching and bootcamps. Steve also fixed a book called Level up Your Life.
The best thing about Steve’s blog is how he uses a broad competition category (fitness) but targets a very specific audience (nerds). The fitness space is insanely competitive, but by marketing their entire business around fitness for nerds, they clearly set themselves apart from the competition. Even in the most competitive categories, there are still opportunities to target a niche with your blog and make real money from it.
3. Ramit Sethi — I will teach you how to be rich
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = I can’t tell you
Ramit Sethi is the author of the NYT bestseller I Will Teach You to Be Rich. His website of the same name provides information products (ebooks, online courses, webinars, etc.) on personal finance, business and personal development.
Ramit is absolutely at the top of his game when it comes to info products. This is a great site to follow and research if you are thinking of monetizing your own blog with information products.
Don’t forget to sign up for his email list – you’ll start getting launch paths and you’ll be able to see how it all works.
Products can be purchased on the products page. This is a great source of inspiration to see what an awesome info product sales page looks like.
4. Amy Porterfield — amyporterfield.com
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = Almost 2-3 Million Dollars (maybe more)
Amy’s about page states that she has built a multi-million dollar business. That’s not hard to believe with over 250,000 loyal email subscribers.
I assume the vast majority of her income comes from her info products, but it looks like she does some affiliate promotion as well. Her affiliate site is quite elegant and well done. It’s a great example of how to promote products in an authentic and non-intrusive way.
He also has a podcast that he can use to attract more customers as well as leverage podcasting ad revenue. This is a great example of using multiple sources of income to great effect.
5. Jon Morrow — Smart blogger
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = Over 1.2 Million Dollars
In this post, Jon states that he makes over $100,000 per month in affiliate income, which is pretty impressive. However, this is not surprising, considering that Smart Blogger has 300 thousand subscribers and more than 4 million readers.
He also has several information products on his website in the form of courses, e-books and videos. I bet they make about $30-50k a year on their own.
If you want a master class in offering value to your readers, SmartBlogger is a great place to start.
I’m not sure what Jon’s email funnels look like, but if he aggressively pushes the trigger funnels, he could easily have another few million in info product revenue on top of his affiliate income.
6. Darren Rowse — Problogger
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = My guess is about 10 Million Dollars
Problogger has been around since 2004. That’s an eternity in online marketing. It is one of the unique “how to blog” blogs. Darren also owns a digital photography school that has 8x the traffic and revenue of Problogger.
Darren did an income report for the first half of 2016. At that time, 46% of his income from both sites came from affiliates, 31% from info products, and the rest from a bunch of different categories.
7. Seth Godin — seths.blog
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = My estimate is over 02 Million Dollars
Seth Godin had a lot of success before his blog: he wrote 18 books, built and sold Yahoo, and then was a vice president of Yahoo. And his blog has cemented him as a top marketing leader. If you were trying to come up with an ideal example of a thought leader, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example than Seth Godin.
Seth’s blog is the original, longest running and possibly most valuable blog in marketing. He has been posting every day for 20 years or so.
I went through The Marketing Seminar myself and there were quite a few people in the community so it sold well. Seth’s site states that over 5,000 people have taken the course in total. At $800 per sale, that’s about $4 million in total spread over several years. Plus all earnings from altMBA.
8. Neil Patel — neilpatel.com
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = I won’t even guess
I worked for Neil when he co-founded KISSmetrics. After that I also worked with him on some other projects. I won’t even hazard an income estimate here because I don’t want to reveal anything that Neil would prefer to keep private.
That said, there are a few things you can look at to figure this out. He has publicly stated that his main site, neilpatel.com, generates more than 2.5 million visitors per month. I’ll let you figure out the revenue from there.
Neil is passionate about helping people start their own businesses. If you visit his site, you will find a lot of knowledge on how to use social media and blogging to increase traffic to your site. He is constantly updating his posts so you can find out the latest tools and strategies.
Given his success, taking a page out of Neil’s book isn’t a bad idea.
9. Selena Soo — selenasoo.com
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = Over 1.6 Million Dollars
In this article, Selena stated that she earned $1.6 million in 2017. My guess is that most of her income comes from the information products she regularly puts out on her email list.
It has built a pretty impressive portfolio of information products along with some higher ticket executive offerings. Overall very impressive.
10. Sam Dogen — Financial Samurai
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = My estimate is about 01 Million Dollars
Sam gives some tips on what he does with his pages. First, he gives income from his info product ebook, which is $36,000 per year.
Funny enough, he chooses not to include his AdSense or affiliate income as “passive” income in any of his passive income reports. Most people in the industry would consider these sources of income to be passive (although there is no doubt that it requires a lot of upfront work and maintenance).
Sam breaks down some hypothetical income amounts for blogs of various sizes here. One example is a personal finance blog that generates about a million visitors per month.
I remember Sam saying somewhere along the way that he had about that much traffic. Traffic estimators such as Ahrefs also ranked his site in this range. So the example he gives should be close to his facts.
Using his projections as a guide and knowing that he has a lot of affiliate links on his site along with Adsense, the estimate of $1 million per year should be close.
11. Brian Dean — Backlinko
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging= More than 01 Million Dollars
Brian offers information products to his newsletter subscribers. He also has a sequence on SEO and one on YouTube.
It has a lot of traffic. So every launch should be somewhere in the upper six figures, maybe $1 million per launch.
He has stated in several interviews like this one that he makes seven figures a year.
Backlinko Home Page.
This is a great example of a business that has a really strong focus on generating traffic, converting that traffic into email subscribers, and then monetizing it through several information product launches per year.
At this stage, it may seem magical to have a business with ridiculous profit margins. Most of us would love to have $1 million a year with a super small team and a handful of moving parts.
12. James Dahle — White Coat Investor
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = More than 01 Million Dollars
James used to publish his annual income in his annual status of blog posts, but stopped when his blog became more popular. Here is his blog status for 2019. His last stated revenue was $187,862 in 2014. He mentions several times that he now runs a seven-figure business, so his current earnings are at least $1 million a year.
He has a book of the same name. If you look at his site, most of his income comes from affiliates, advertisements and sponsorships.
His email list is extremely small for the size of his blog – only 21,725 subscribers. And with a small email list, each infoproduct launch will be limited to five numbers.
It has an information product to create your own financial plan for $499. If he focused on email conversion and was good at info products, he could add another $1-2 million to his business.
13. Tim Ferriss — tim.blog
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = My guess is about 10 Million Dollars
Tim has a huge and incredibly popular blog that has been around for a long time.
He started it before he even published his first book, The 4 Hour Workweek.
Currently, I assume most of Tim’s income comes from his podcast sponsorships. I’ve seen ads on his blog in the past, but there don’t seem to be any now. I don’t think he’s ever done an info product or aggressively pursued affiliate ads.
According to this form, his podcast sponsorship will cost $36,000 per slot. At 4-5 slots per episode, that’s at least $144,000 per episode. Tim averages about six podcasts per month, which would produce $864,000 per month or $10,368,000 per year.
The reason I won’t even guess is because I have no experience buying or selling sponsored podcasts, which I assume are his main source of income at the moment. Sites with Tim’s reach also violate the standard rules for receiving.
Having one of the biggest and highest rated podcasts can give you a lot of leverage, allowing you to charge more than usual on each sponsorship slot.
Otherwise, Tim has heavily promoted his books over the years. These include The 4-Hour Work Week, 4-Hour Body, 4-Hour Chef, Tools of the Titans and Tribe of Mentors. By combining his blog, podcast and books, he created a three-pronged engine to drive his income – a very smart and deliberate move.
14. Timothy Sykes — timothysykes.com
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = More than 25 Million Dollars
Timothy sells info products on how to invest in penny stocks. According to this interview with Nathan Latka, Timothy was on track for 2016 sales of $25-27 million, $20 million of which came from information products.
Timothy Sykes Blog
Timothy is a great guy to follow if you want to see what the information product business looks like at scale.
It’s also important to keep in mind that he’s been at it for a while – so it’s not worth it for beginners to compare him head-to-head. That goes for everyone else on this list. But it’s a decent notice to save in mind.
15. Josh Ax — Dr. Axe
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging= 11 Million Dollars in 2015, may be up to 50-70 Million Dollars now
Dr. Ax is a huge site with a huge audience. According to this press release, it has 17 million monthly visitors, which is insane. They also push the products very hard through their email list. You can understand they recognize what they are undertaking. Their income is a combination of information products, affiliates and add-ons.
Accessories are a great category with nice margins. I have little experience in the health and fitness category, but the advice I always get from health and fitness experts is to go hard on supplements.
Dr Ax home page with best selling images.
I hear they have a solid paid marketing engine running their way. If true, they could easily be making $50-70 million a year now.
Dr. I consider Ax to be a great example of what a health and fitness blog looks like when pushed to its absolute height. If you are considering a health and fitness blog, I would look closely at Dr. Axe.
16. Peter Adeney — Mr. Money Mustache
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = About 400,000 Dollars
According to this New Yorker article, Peter earned about $400,000 a year as of 2016. Ahrefs reports that Peter’s traffic has been static since 2016. If true, I would expect his current income to be around $400,000. It sounds like most, if not all, of the income comes from affiliates.
17. AJ Harbinger & Johnny Dzubak — Art of Charm
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = My estimate is 5-10 Million Dollars
Jordan Harbinger didn’t reveal exact earnings, but said it was several seven figures a year. Based on the fact that the revenue is mostly info products and the overall size of the audience, I estimate that Art of Charm will make $5-10 million a year.
In 2018, Jordan Harbinger split from Art of Charm to start his own podcast.
18. Pat Flynn — Smart passive income
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = 2,171,652 Dollars
Pat Flynn posts all his earnings reports up to 2008 here.
I’m not sure if Pat has decided to quit, but he doesn’t seem to have released any new earnings reports since 2017. Regardless, I highly recommend reading the early years of Pat’s income reports. This will give you a strong idea of what it takes to start making money blogging.
Smart passive income
Most of Pat’s income comes from affiliate offers and his own information products, about 50/50 between the two. He has also published a couple of books How to be better at almost everything and will it fly? Aside from the months he received an advance from the publisher, I bet these books have negligible direct revenue impact.
19. John Lee Dumas — Businessman on fire
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = 2,029,744 Dollars
No one really needs to guess John Lee Dumas’ income, he posts monthly income reports directly on his website.
Businessman on fire
He also compiled a handy breakdown of income by source:
Top revenue streams
Sponsorship is a little bigger than everything else. Otherwise, it’s a pretty even split between information products, affiliates, and its journals (The Freedom Journal, The Mastery Journal, and The Podcast Journal).
To get an idea of how blogs actually make money, I highly recommend reading the last 12 months of monthly income reports for Entrepreneur on Fire. You’ll get an excellent idea of what a seven-figure blog looks like.
I also recommend reading the 2012 and 2013 income statements to show you how the revenue looks at the beginning and how it changes over time on the way to $1 million per year.
20. Navid Moazzez — navidmoazzez.com
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = My estimate is 300-500,000 Dollars
Navid is in the online marketing space and offers information products at virtual summits. According to his About us page, he has earned over $1 million in “several years”. It’s safe to say he’s easily making six figures from his blog. Hence my estimate above.
21. Tim Urban — Wait But Why
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = At least 100,000 Dollars, maybe 01+ Million Dollars
Tim Urban has become VERY popular with his posts being shared all over the internet.
This is probably an example of what most people dream of when they start a blog. They plan to write a bunch of stuff, have a rabid fan base out of nowhere, offer some t-shirts, posters, and a Patreon account to make tons of passive income. They end up riding off into the sunset of eternal blogging glory.
Wait, but why a blog
That’s pretty much what happened for Tim Urban. And he totally deserves it. Its content is phenomenal. It’s so good that people get mad because he hasn’t added anything in a while.
Very few of us can write such good content. I can promise you that no one will be upset if I stop blogging. So for us mere mortals, we should look at some of the other examples in this list of how to monetize our blogs.
I know I’ve given a really wide range of income here. Blogs like this are really hard to guess. Tim clearly has a massive and loving audience. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s swimming in gold. Although he could be.
Blogs with a large audience like this one sometimes make a lot of money and sometimes they make very little. It also seems that his main source of income is his e-commerce business. Unlike consulting, speaking, info products, or affiliates, the margins on e-commerce products are much smaller.
It is entirely possible that he earns a lot of top income, but only enough profit to live a decent lifestyle.
This is quite common for e-commerce merchants. They claim they make millions of dollars from their business, but only take home $50-100k a year. Once you factor in cost of goods sold and overhead, there’s not a ton left over. I have no idea if Tim Urban falls into that bucket. I just don’t know.
22. Noah Kagan — OkDork, Sumo and AppSumo
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = 10 Million Dollars last year and growing
Noah’s business is based on four complementary sites:
Sumo.com: Free Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business
AppSumo: Groupon for geeks
KingSumo: Giveaway Web App or WordPress Plugin
BriefcaseHQ: The Netflix for business software
This affiliate business system is one of his tips for growing a successful business. They think of these businesses as a pyramid – KingSumo helps grow your business with giveaways, Sumo (which is the core product) equips these businesses with the tools they need for marketing, and BriefcaseHQ and AppSumo provide the rest of the tools. Creating a system of interconnected tools means you don’t have to look for new customers; you can simply market to the customers you already have.
This reminds me of adding target to food. They increased their sales by asking: What are our existing customers buying and not buying from us? What do they need so I can sell them?
Noah has an even better analogy: it’s like buying another book by an author you already love. If you love a book written by an author, of course, you’re going to get into their next book and their next book.
He also has a lot of thoughts on setting up the right pricing structure, leveraging recurring revenue, and bundling, which is also worth checking out.
23. Shane Parrish — Farnam Street
Annually Make Money Online with Blogging = All reinvested in the business, plus speaker fees.
Shane started his blog to track his personal learning and development – he had no grand ambitions for the project, and the original URL, 68131.blogger.com, shows that. Today, his newsletter has 200,000 subscribers and Farnam Street gets 1 million page views a month.
How does it make money? Okay, “making money” vs. “making money” is a good distinction here. Shane says he reinvested most of the money back into the business, “I think we actually lost money in 2014. We didn’t break the bank in 2015, which was good. … I will say that I personally never made a penny on Farnam Street. Everything has been reinvested back into the content, the experience, trying new things, and that’s how I hope to see the future.”
Shane Parrish makes money in a variety of ways
First he paid his expenses with Amazon affiliate links, then in 2014 he started his first 9-month affiliate agreement, newsletter sponsorships, conferences, speaker fees, info products, a podcast, an upcoming book, and a membership plan for his site where you can choose how much to pay, currently either $149 or $249.
His model is based on providing free content to many and building a base of super fans who will pay for more of that content, subsidize the free content to give back, and gain access to even more: a book club, discussion group, and private Ask Me Anythings . If 5% of his 200,000 newsletter subscribers convert (that would be 10,000 members) and each of them signed up at the $149 level, that would be $1.5 million a year.
Shane regularly refuses to speak for $20,000 because that’s not how he wants to make money, and he doesn’t optimize his personal workshops for revenue. He always asks what is in the best interest of the company. This means that most of the income comes from memberships.
I agree with his advice: “Listeners will grow if you put out good content.” A: “I know how easy it is for people to copy our content and even our business model. So that drives a lot of what we do. We want to do things that are hard to copy, and that means we can’t choose what’s easy because there’s a lot of competition in the simple.”
Are you ready to create your own blog that makes money online?
I know the list above is full of people making serious money.
Here’s the crazy part.
For every blogger who makes a million dollars, there are thousands who make enough money to quit their jobs and blog full time.
The list is too long to keep track of – I wouldn’t be able to compile it.
It makes perfect sense to start a blog with the goal of quitting your job and being your own boss. So many people have already done this that you would be walking a well-trodden path at this point.
I also believe there are still plenty of opportunities for blogging. Every year I see new promising bloggers. Even today it is possible to start a blog and have it supported. Here I’ve put together a 11-step guide to starting a blog. It will guide you through the entire process.
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