Is Blogging A Viable Business In 2017?

By Jamie McSloy / July 18, 2017
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Is Blogging Still A Viable Business In 2017?

Saw a quick Reddit topic today and couldn’t think of anything else to write about, so here goes:

This guy has a/wants to have a medium-sized website in the finance niche and wonders if it’s a) viable as a business and b) could get to $5000 a month.

I’ll give my thoughts on the questions in this article.

Blogging Is NOT A Viable Business

What’s more important… blogging has never been a viable business. It’s a marketing strategy, a lead generation tool and potential asset for advertising and stuff… but a blog is not a business.

I’ll explain why throughout the course of this, but let’s address the situation.

Let’s Answer This Guy’s Questions

This guy has:

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  • Alexa rank of 500,000 (I estimate this to get around 5,000 visitors a month)
  • In the finance niche
  • Goals of $5k a month
  • In the era of ad-blocking

Firstly… Should Ad Blocking Affect Your Blogging Business?

Absolutely not.

If your blog is one of the biggest sites in the world, then sure, run ads on it. Ad blockers kill off actual display network ads… which generally pay on a cost-per-thousand impressions model.

If you have an Alexa rank of 1000 and you get a million visitors a month, then making $1 per thousand probably makes you a chunk of money.

If you have an Alexa rank of 500,000 then you’ll maybe get 5,000 visitors a month. Unless $28 is a good living, this is a no-brainer.

Now, can you have ads on your site? Yes, but not with a display network and not on a cost-per-thousand basis. Instead, just have image banners that link to affiliate products and Ad-blockers won’t affect this at all.

What’s crazy to me is that there are still people hawking products and recommending people use Adsense in 2017. Absolutely ridiculous idea.

The Finance Niche

If your blog is doing well in the financial niche, then I’ve got some good news: You can make a packet.

Financial products tend to cost a lot, have high affiliate pay outs and even recurring revenue. In short, that’s what you want from affiliate products.

If you’re an authority and you can release your own products, that’s obviously a lot better.

In any case, the financial niche is a much easier niche to work in than say, knitting needles for people without arms.

The flipside of that is that there’s going to be shark-like competition and it’s harder to carve out your own authority unless you niche down. Finance is a massive niche and you’re probably not going to be able to compete for terms or authority in a general sense. Also, different voices and skills are required for say, an entrepreneurial company looking to automate its bookkeeping, a 60 year old CEO trying to get the biggest boost to his retirement fund or a twenty year old personal finance guy who wants to live in a minivan to tour Europe.

Earn $5,000 A Month With a Finance Blog

To earn $5,000 a month, you’ll need to sell 1000 $5 products.

With 5,000 visitors a month, that’s a hefty conversion rate.

Or, you can sell 100 $50 products.

That’s a lot easier and entirely doable with affiliate products.

Or, you can sell 10 * $500 products.

That’s where you range into scary waters because you’re either selling very high ticket items as an affiliate, banking on recurring revenue (which may or may not come) or building your own products (which again, pretty high ticket anyway.)

Of course, all of this is thrown out of the window if you think of your blog as a marketing tool for offering a service, whereby you might even be able to charge one person $5000 and it still not be a high ticket purchase, depending on the niche.

(For instance, tax strategies for ecommerce digital nomads… you could be saving someone hundreds of thousands a year in revenue. $5k is nothing for that service and $500 is nothing for a product.)

The take away for this section is that it’s an achievable figure but to reach it you’ll need to do a lot more than write words on a blog.

Final Thoughts: Blog As System

I’ve been working recently on funnels.

At a really basic level, they’re stupidly simple. Get a person’s attention, cultivate them through multiple interactions and then sell them something at the end.

Thy can also get as complicated as you can imagine. You can automate multiple email lists, social media profiles, segmenting all of your customers into perfect boxes of predetermined you might be interested in this groups.

My point is… if you think of a blog as a blog; words on screen, little more, then you’re thinking wrong.

A blog can be all kinds of things: build a relationship, grab the lead, and sell a person something. The more you think of it as a tool to use for whatever purpose your funnel requires the better.

Blogging is entirely viable as a business tool, but it’s not a business in a box.

If you stop thinking “I want a finance blog” and start thinking, “I want a finance business which uses a blog for X” then the ceiling for earnings gets immeasurably higher.

If you want a “blog business” then you should be more ambitious. Set your sights higher.