How Two Successful Bloggers Make Money In Very Different Ways

Last weekend I spent Sunday writing Action Plan 3 for my EJ Insider Interviews Club members, featuring Daniel Scocco and Joe Gilder.

The action plans are short reports I write that come out once per month to members. I re-listen to the two new exclusive interviews I release that month and write down what I believe are the key leverage points used by my interview subjects to make big money online.

Make Money Blogging OptionsIt’s a powerful exercise because it forces assessment of what the one or two unique things that a person, usually a blogger, does that results in much higher income than usual.

These reports highlight the keys to making six or even seven figures a year from a blogging or internet business.

What’s incredible about this process is how often the leverage point is not very complex. It’s simple – anyone can do it.

Most of the time what gives the person the ability to earn hundreds of thousands to even millions online is just doing one thing really well.

There are of course many other things that the person does, but it’s just one aspect, sometimes two, that create the conditions to make significant income.

Same Path, Different Shoes

Daniel Scocco is the founder of several blogs, with and his most popular.

If you are a long time reader of this blog, or listener to my podcast you probably have heard of Daniel before.

For the EJ Insider I did a brand new interview with him to cover how he runs his blogs today.

Joe Gilder on the other hand you probably have never heard of. He’s one of those guys who does internet marketing, but he does it in a non-business or money making niche, so you might say he’s more “underground”. His market is teaching people how to set up home recording studios, and his blog is

Joe’s interview was particularly good because of how textbook a case study he is when it comes to following the online business formula I have been teaching for years.

Joe Gilder

Joe Gilder’s Passion Is Making Music

He has a passion (music), he turned it into teaching content, he started a blog and email newsletter, then sold a product, and then another, and on and on.

This year he is on track to make $300,000, with 13 products, including two membership sites.

What’s also amazing about Joe’s story is within six months of starting his blog and newsletter, he did a little product launch to his 500 person email list and sold 50 copies!

That’s an incredibly quick result, which as you hear in the interview, is one of Joe’s strengths – his speed of implementation.

When it came to writing the action plan for these two guys, it was interesting to see how similar they were in terms of how they create an audience, yet how completely different the way they make money is.

It’s as if they were walking the same path but wearing completely different shoes.

How A Blog Can Make Money

For the sake of the beginners, a quick recap on how blogs can make money in three dot points…

  1. Advertising
  2. Sell other people’s stuff for a commission (affiliate income)
  3. Sell your own stuff or your time (products and services)

That’s pretty much it when you look at it from the top level. All forms of blog monetization fall into one of these three categories.

Daniel and Joe both built blogs that primarily attract traffic from Google. Joe also uses YouTube.

They follow the fundamentals of good blogging by providing pillar content for their audience, answering questions that a group of people go looking online for answers to.

Daniel then uses advertising, primarily Google’s AdSense system to make about $100,000 a year. He has guest writers, paid writers and does some writing himself too.

That’s where Daniel’s blogging story mostly ends because he is focusing on a software company now. His blog is basically a cash-cow. It attracts a lot of traffic and the income from advertising is passive and consistent as a result.

Joe on the other hand didn’t bother with advertising or affiliate income and went straight to products. He has less traffic than Daniel, but he makes a lot more per visitor because of his large range of products.

My own personal story is somewhere in between these guys. I lean more on the product side of the fence like Joe, and believe that is the best path for a person who has a smaller audience.

What Path Is Right For Your Blog?

I bring up these examples because it shows that you shouldn’t just follow other people blindly.

Subtle aspects — things you may not know until you actually start blogging — will dictate your choices when it comes to the business model you run your blog under.

Your niche might be small, which makes advertising not such a great option. However, if a you foster a very loyal following (a tribe or 1,000 true fans) who spend money on your products, you can do very well.

Perhaps you don’t want the hassles of product creation, customer support and setting up systems to deliver and sell your products. You might like the idea of just writing a blog and have your income be mostly passive. In this case advertising and affiliate promotions are your best choices.

Some markets don’t have many affiliate products, some have many. Some don’t have high priced products, or subscription products, which can make a big difference to your bottom line, if affiliate income is your main bread and butter.

Then there are considerations like will an email newsletter work well in your industry and do you even want to maintain one?

I remember talking to Alborz Fallah about his blog Car Advice (also featured inside the EJ Insider Interviews program) and how email newsletters have never been that effective for them. They have millions of visitors per month coming to the blog, hence advertising is their best source of income.

Then there are small businesses who use blogs, but the blog is not the business. It’s a tool to bring new people to their website, but the website is about selling products or services.

All of these examples represent models you can follow. These are strategic choices that very much dictate how you grow a blog. There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to blogging.


None of these choices are set in stone once you make them. You can experiment, in fact I suspect you will have to before you find the right mix for you and your audience.

It’s a learning process — one that is very hard to predict before you have an audience.

Everything is guess work until you have real live people paying attention to you so you can see how they react.

You won’t know what content resonates well, or what language works best, or what problems are the most important, or what people are willing to spend money on, or if they click ads or not, until you have readers who by their actions, or lack of action, answer these questions.

That’s why, as with Daniel, Joe, myself and all other successful bloggers, have one thing in common – they create value for other people and then build upon their success.

That’s really all there is to it. You build the building, and then decide which furniture fits best.

Yaro Starak

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  • Very interesting.

    I’ve been a subscriber to Scocco’s blog for a while now and the content’s really good, and you’re right, it seems to follow the usual ad+affiliate model. I’m wondering what David’s rationale of not stepping into the own-product space. Just curious.

    I’ve never heard of Joe’s site nor am I a musician, but I sure love gadgets of any kind. Having read and subscribed to Cliff Ravenscraft’s site for quite some time, this is a great find, so thanks for pointing the site out.

    15 products, wow… Very impressive. I wonder how much manpower and upkeep Joe’s product line requires in terms of maintenance and support.

    More power to all of you!
    Dave Tong

  • hi Yaro

    Now, this was a great post my friend! Keep ‘em coming!

    I’ve heard about Daniel years ago, when I was loving his blog – now the content is kind of diluted, but I still like it…

    As far as Joe’s money making model goes… it’s incredible.. 15 products and 2 membership sites, amazing!

    I’m going to put in my time, effort and skills into creating massive value for others, and money will follow shortly… that has been experimented already by myself and my students 🙂


  • Oh, to Joe, a number of links in the page isn’t working (404)…

    Just an FYI.


  • I can resonate with the point that email lists / newsletters won’t work for everyone. At one of my sites, I have noticed that best conversion rates are through search engine and referring sites, not from the email lists.

  • There are many roads to success. It is really up to the person to take the steps towards those paths. I mean, that’s just reasonable because every blogger has different take on tackling things. No one size fits all, right? This article just proved that fact.

    Inspiring! So nice that I shared this on the IM social networking site,

  • I think the choice for blog monetisation should be based on the niche of the blog. If it is something related to like Car Advice then the best option will be Google Adsense for the large inventory of advertisers and competition. For something like internet marketing, there will be less advertisers and hence one should focus on promoting affiliate products like hosting services, domain registrars refers, blog themes etc.

    Nice and informative post Yaro!

  • LOVELY !! Thanks a lot for writing this. I have just started working with my blog and still i am just a newbie. I want to start a blog that would generate some money just for my experience. So i am going to give my time , effort and going to work very hard.

    I will never fear to test and experiment.


  • I think either model can work well, as we’ve seen here, and it all depends on what type of lifestyle you want to live. After making money through affiliate marketing and advertising for many years, I’m just now delving into creating my own product.

    Creating your own product does require a significant amount of time and creativity, but I think there’s potential to make more money with less amount of effort after the product is made if you have affiliates selling the product for you.

  • Darren is someone I have been a fan of for a number of years, I somehow missed the past interviews you did with him so I’ll see if I can find them on the site or online somewhere, I’m sure they will be very informative for me. 🙂

  • Thanks Yaro,
    A very simple and informative post, and, as always, inspiring!

    Joe’s start to his blogging career is unbelievable: 6 months, 500 on email list, 50 sales. Brilliant.

    Thanks again.

  • Another great article Yaro, like the revenue stream ideas. Important to not just rely on one stream I think

  • Awesome and very inspiring, i hope one day i’ll be like Daniel scocco. But the challenge is to get people paying attention to your blog.

  • Hi Yaro,
    I can attest to the fact that Daniel Scocco is a true gem
    among those who constantly bombard you with sale pitches.
    Being a subscriber to his newsletter and reading his clear,
    concise and very profound thoughts on blogging have helped
    me greatly.
    Thanks for another great post. Yaro.
    James G.

  • chitranshu srivastava

    Great blog Yaro! in future i think i might become like one of them. This blog is good for starters as well as experienced bloggers.


  • The choice of how your blogs make money depends on your business model. For blogs with popular topic that need frequent updates, advertising and affiliate revenues are a good choice. But selling products or services are suitable for blogs for very specific topics with no frequent updates.

  • Yaro,

    Great job with this article. I know in my main industry (insurance), if you can get a good blog going with up to date content, you will have the ability to sell advertising space for a decent fee per month.

    For the example, I wouldn’t mind per say to hear how he does so well with adsense. I know after my try at adsense, it was a disaster.

  • WOW

    Very helpful.

    I’ve been blogging for a long time with no end game in mind.

    This will help



  • It is very amazing and inspiring for me. I really like this. It inspires me too work more smartly in blogging field. I want to be like Daniel scocco. I am working hard on my blog to get people attention

  • Making Money is not at all a simple task and if you think that you too can make money the exact same way any successful blogger does then you won’t be able to make a single penny.
    All the successful bloggers, like Daniel Socco found their own way to make big bucks which no one can replicate.

  • Thanks Yaro,
    Some very useful points there. I’m still experimenting with various income methods from my blog as I develop traffic.
    I have noticed that Google Adsense doesn’t tend to perform very well though, so I’m leaning towards affiliates and selling my own products.

    • Happy to help Karl – keep at it and I am sure you will find the right combination of money making methods for you.


  • Thank you, Yaro.
    Car Advice is the best example of the successful use of advertising to generate revenue. I’m watching this company for several years and I like the way they conduct their business. There is a convergence of several factors: a talented team and a successful niche.
    I read your blog for many years and also try to stick to a strategy. I have a two blogs, one blog to generate income from Adsense, and other for affiliate program.
    Now the Internet space is saturated millions of pages and the competition is very strong. So, I think success can only be achieved through a unique blog content.
    Good luck!

  • Hey Yaro,

    Thanks for posting this – it is encouraging to read about other bloggers being successful from these two distinct models. I’m kind of amazed at the ‘cash-cow’ and would love to know more about this, but im REALLY keen for posts on how to replicate something like the Joe Guilder model.. please keep it coming mate! Cheers

  • Hello Yaro,

    I have been reading your blog posts (in random topics) every once in a while. I would like to admit that this is one of your best posts. I could connect myself to what you have explained. After reading about several success stories from Darren Rowse to Pat Flynn to yours, I have always been confused on what approach should I take in future while monetizing my travel blog

    This post was very useful in helping me refine my thoughts and approach towards businessizing {I know this is not a proper word, but it sounded appropriate here 🙂 } my blog. thank you.

  • I am planning to start blogging and soon work with Adsense. My question is, would the minimum cost you have talked about be a one time payment or would I have to pay those $70 each month?

  • Joe

    Experimentation is the key to most marketing endeavors, so it follows that bloggers should make the same commitment to try different approaches. What works best depends on your talents and what you’re selling, so think about the kind of content that will attract readers and provide value. This is especially true when selling you’re own product, as blog content must be valuable to the reader long before it tries to sell them something. Great insights for content marketers in this piece, thank you.

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