How This Blog Makes Money: The Exact Business Model Behind The RankXL Blog Explained 1

How This Blog Makes Money: The Exact Business Model Behind The RankXL Blog Explained

In this post, I’m going to teach you the exact business model blueprint behind RankXL.

If you’ve ever wondered how blogs can be grown to 6-7 figure businesses, this will show you the exact way it’s done.

While there are many ways to monetize and grow a blog, this blueprint is undoubtedly one of the most profitable.

The inspiration for this blog post came to me after a dinner party a few weeks ago.

I was talking with some friends I haven’t seen in years, and the topic of what I do for a living inevitably came up.

I never really know what to say in these situations.

To be honest, my answer varies from day to day.

Usually, the conversation goes something like this.

ME: I work from home. I make websites and I make money from them.

THEM: Oh, so you’re a web designer. Cool. Must be nice to freelance.

ME: No, I don’t freelance. And wait, no I’m not a web designer. I don’t design websites for clients. I make my own websites. Then I make money from them.

THEM: Oh, I see…

And that’s usually the end of the conversation.

But this time was different.

My friends knew a bit about internet marketing and began asking a lot of questions.

Although they each had different jobs, they all had one thing in common: They hated their jobs.

They wanted to quit their 9 to 5 jobs and do something else.

So when I told them I work from home and set my own hours, they were intrigued.

And when I told them how much money can be made from online marketing, they couldn’t have looked more focused on what I was telling them.

I began explaining…

To people who don’t know about internet marketing, the concept of SEO is easy enough to grasp.

“Oh, I build a lot of traffic, and then make money with advertising.”

Most people know what ads are. They know what traffic is. And SEO is fairly easy to explain… “I make things rank #1 on Google.”

But when it came to this blog, it was a little more complicating.

“What?? What’s an email list?”

“What?? You sell a course? To who?”

Nevertheless, they were seriously interested. They wanted to give it a try themselves.

I began to slowly explain the business model and growth metrics of blogging.

There was a lot to explain…

I’m going to share everything I told my friends in that conversation in this blog post.

Mainly, I’m going to share with you the exact blogging business model that I’ve used to grow RankXL to 6-figures.

Let’s dive in!

Start your own money-making blog with my in-depth step-by-step tutorial.

How do blogs make money?

There are a lot of different ways.

Check out this post by AuthorityHacker, which shows how some of the biggest blogs make money.

The 2 most common are:

1. Affiliate marketing
2. Sell your own services/products

Affiliate marketing seems to be the more popular method.

It’s easier. All you need to do is recommend someone else’s product.

If someone clicks your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get paid.

And your work is done.

Everything related to customer support is handled by the product owner.

Affiliate marketing vs selling your own products

I’ve tried both affiliate marketing and selling my own products on RankXL.

And the biggest driver of revenue was (and still is) from selling my own products.

In fact, there’s no comparison.

With just affiliate marketing, this blog wouldn’t even make $100/day.

Of course, I don’t promote many products as an affiliate, but even if I did it would still be in a distant second.

Through selling my own products, the blog hit 6-figures in revenue in the first year.

That doesn’t mean affiliate marketing isn’t profitable. A lot of people make a killing with it.

But for a new blog, I personally believe that creating and selling your own product is going to get you to a lucrative income much faster than trying to make a bunch of affiliate commissions every month.

For one, you don’t need as much traffic as you do with affiliate marketing.

Second, you have opportunities to grow a passionate audience around YOUR OWN BRAND that affiliate marketing doesn’t give you.

But whichever way you decide to monetize your blog, the growth strategy is constant.

To sell anything, you need to build an audience.

What’s the core function of a blog?

Ever wonder why most businesses have blogs? Have you ever thought about why people spend so much time and energy on creating blog posts?

The answer is common in 99% of cases: content marketing.

A blog is essentially a content marketing machine. It’s main purpose is to generate leads through content.

What are leads?

Email subscribers.

Collecting emails is the most effective way for a blog to grow, build fans, and generate sales.

It’s the reason people like Ramit Sethi produces these huge ultimate guides that are not only helpful, but look amazing as well.

Look through the guide and you’ll see that, apart from sharing great advice, collecting emails is the primary goal.

Email opt in forms are spread all throughout the guide.

And the same applies for any other blog.

Even RankXL.

You’ll see that I have an optin form on the homepage, the sidebar, and at the bottom of blog posts.

I also have a exit pop ups, and content upgrades within some blog posts.

Everything is about capturing visitors’ emails.


Email subscribers are the core of the blog business model.

How does a blog succeed? How does it grow into a business?

To answer that, let’s look at the business model behind RankXL.

RankXL’s entire business model looks like this:

1. Produce content people love.
2. Promote that content and get traffic.
3. Convert traffic to leads by getting them to subscribe to my email list.
4. Use email list to turn leads into fans.
5. Turn fans into customers by pitching them a paid product.

(There’s also a bonus #6 in that model: Make your paid product AMAZING to turn customers into super fans and life-time customers.)

The core of that entire business model is the email list.

The more emails you collect, the more money you make.

It’s that simple.

With an email list, you have a catalyst of growth that you can control with the click of a button.

And that growth can be for whatever you like.

For example, RankXL right now has an email list of about 7,000 people. I get around a 10-12% click through rate for my broadcast emails.

Check out this post by Neville that shows the real-world open rates of some of the biggest bloggers in the world.

That means… with a 10% click through rate, I can send ~700 people to any page I like.

So if I create a new blog post… boom.

~700 readers instantly.

If I decide to create a new product… boom.

~700 people viewing the sales page instantly.

That’s the power of an email list, and it’s why blogs are so focused on collecting email subscribers.

It’s like a traffic and sales weapon, and it will only grow larger as my list size grows.

7,000 emails isn’t considered very high.

There are blogs with 100,000+ people on their email lists!

Check out Nathan’s podcast episode about email marketing with some blogging giants with huge email lists.

Let’s go through some examples, and see how this converts to sales.

We’ll start off with something simple, like consulting work.

Let’s say that I decided to offer SEO consulting work at $1,000/month. I decide that I’m only going to take on 10 people in order to best allocate my time.

Now without my email list, it would be a challenge to try and get 10 people to sign up.

I would have nobody to pitch it to!

I would most likely just have to put up banners and links on my blog and hope that people click through.

Or I would have to pay for traffic.

But with an email list, I could just send out one broadcast email with a link to the sign up page.

$1,000/month isn’t cheap.

But remember I’m only taking on 10 students.

If I send an email to 7,000 people and get ~700 people to view the page, 10 out of 700 people is only 1.4%, which isn’t very hard to get.

And 10 people who sign up… would mean $10,000/month in income.


This is how huge bloggers can have best selling book launches, win contests, and have million dollar product launches.

It’s all done by EMAIL.

Now let’s say that I’m selling a product

If I create a new product at $100, and I didn’t have an email list…

Same as above.

I would have to put up banners and links on my blog leading to the sales page, or buy paid traffic.

With an email list, I can send 700 people to the sales page instantly.

If only 5% of them ends up buying, that’s still $3500 in revenue… instantly.

Let’s say I had 50,000 people on my email list and ran the same numbers.

That number jumps to $25,000.

And that’s only for that one single launch!

With a product, you can continue to sell it in the future, and even set up funnels so that you pitch it to every single new subscriber.

What are funnels?


In the examples of above, we were mainly talking about sending broadcast emails.

Now let’s talk about funnels.

With an email list, you’re able to do 2 things: You can send a broadcast email to your whole list, or you can create funnels that takes them through series of automated emails.

A broadcast email is a one-time email in real-time. You write up the email, click send, and it goes out to your entire list (or specific segments of it that you can choose).

A funnel is pre-built. It’s a sequence of emails that you set up ahead of time, and you can determine how many days apart each one gets sent out.

You can choose to use funnels for a variety of different things. But the main thing that it’s used for is for steps #4 and #5 in the blogging business model.

4. Email list turns leads into fans.
5. Turn fans into customers by pitching them a paid product.

Why set up a funnel? What’s the purpose?

Funnels are designed to convert sales.

Think of someone who just found your blog, and entered in their email.

If you hit them with a series of emails consisting of sales pitches, they’re going to be turned off.

Instead, with a funnel, we’re sending a series of emails that provide value and help the subscriber with what they’re looking for.

And at the end of the series, a sales pitch is made.

“Hope you enjoyed the free content. If you want to learn more, grab the full training course here.”

The free content is almost like a sneak preview of the value inside the training course.

For instance, this is one of the funnels I’ve set up for RankXL.

You can view the landing page for it here.

I’m using ConvertKit for my email service provider, and they make setting all this up really, really easy.

It’s one of the main reasons I switched over from Aweber.

This particular funnel is for my SEO mini course.

This is the education funnel, which then leads to a sales funnel.

In this funnel, everything is centred around step #4: Email list turns leads into fans.

The whole sequence is all about providing value, and I share some really great strategies and tips to grow your traffic.

After the final email, they’re then sent over to the sales funnel, where I pitch my paid training course.

In this funnel, it’s all about the sales pitch.

Now that I’ve (hopefully) turned leads into fans, it’s now time for step #5 – turning fans into customers.

This funnel sequence sends 4 emails, pitching them on the product.

The nice thing I can do with ConvertKit that I haven’t been able to do with other email service providers I’ve tried is that I can automatically take people who’ve purchased it off the funnel sequence.

It’s annoying to get pitched a product you’ve already purchased, and quite a few people have told me this in the past *sorry*.

Why do I separate the whole thing into 2 separate funnels?

This is getting a little more advanced, but it’s so that I can manage the tags of subscribers who go through it.

So that people who already purchased the paid training course aren’t taken into the sales funnel and pitched the product again, but can still go through the entire education funnel sequence.

Putting together a funnel

If you’re going to put together a funnel sequence, make sure you do it right.

I didn’t just throw up these emails together in a weekend. They took over a week to put together and organize.

Why spend so much time on them?

Remember the goal of step #4: Turn leads into fans.

That’s the funnel’s first, and primary job, and to do that, you want to create remarkable content, sharing actionable tips and ideas that make readers fall in love with you.

For a blog, even more than the sale you want the emphasis and focus of your funnel to be on step #4 – turning leads into fans.


A blog is about long-term growth.

And if your funnel is focused so heavily on making a sale, then you’re just going to turn people off.

You won’t get any fans and people will never visit your blog again or care to open your emails in the future.

But if your funnel is focused on bombarding people with VALUE, then you’ll get a true fan and ambassador of your blog… and you can sell to them later even if they don’t convert during your sales sequence.

A funnel is all automated

The best part about a funnel is that everything runs on its own.

I don’t manually send any of these emails.

Once people sign up for them on my landing page, they’re automatically placed inside the funnel.

It’s like a sales machine that never stops running as long as you continue to add subscribers to it.

And with a blog, you’ll be adding on new subscribers everyday, and will only continue to grow as your blog gets bigger.

That’s the beauty of a blog as a content marketing machine.

It generates free subscribers for you.

You don’t need to pay to add on new subscribers.

And with a smart sales funnel in place, you can automate sales to run on autopilot.

Once the funnel ends…

Even if they don’t buy the paid training course at the end, they’ve gone through the 5 value-packed emails that I’ve sent them.

Leads turn into fans.

They’re now engaged subscribers on your list. They know and trust you when they see your name in their inbox.

When you publish a new blog post, you can send an email broadcast to your entire list, and your fans will be the majority of the people commenting, sharing, and linking to it.

When you decide to create a paid training product or offer consulting, you can send an email broadcast and get hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of fans to your sales page instantly.

The email list is the core of the blogging business model.

So let’s break this down. How can you make $100K with your blog in the first year?

Want to make $100,000 your first year?

Now right now you might be saying… $100,000?! Seriously? That’s crazy talk…

But let’s break this down into hard numbers.

You’ll see it’s not unrealistic at all.

Let’s say in your first year of blogging, you get 10,000 subscribers.

Sounds like a lot?

Not at all.

I barely paid attention to list building with RankXL and got ~6,000 my first year.

10,000 is very doable.

At the end of the year, you launch your first paid training product.

(You can monetize a lot sooner like I did, but let’s say that for your first year, you just focused on list growth and building an audience with your blog. As I’ll explain later, not monetizing right away doesn’t mean you’re losing out on revenue.)

You price your course at $1000, which is normal for premium high-value training courses.

Do the math…

To make $100,000 you only need to sell 100 copies.

Without an email list, finding 100 people to shell out $1000 for your course might be impossible.

But you have 10,000 people on your list.

You only need a conversion rate of 1%.

If you’ve been providing a lot of value and engaging with your list throughout the year, 1% is a fair number for your price point.

All you need to do is have a good product launch.

If 1% converts, that’s $100,000 in revenue.

If you get a 2% conversion rate, that’s $200,000.

In just a matter of days.

Now imagine 5 years down the line…

5 years later, you have a list of 100,000 people.

Again, you release a new product.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll make this one $1000 too, and use a 1% conversion rate.

What’s 1% of 100,000?

= 1000

What’s 1000 customers x $1000?

Yup, a cool million dollars.

This is how people have million dollar launches, and it’s why this strategy so profitable.

It’s not just a one-time play.

It’s a long-term game that only gets stronger as time passes.

And as anyone who’s been following my blog might know, these are my favorite kinds of web businesses.

How to start your first blog (and NOT fail)

So now that you’ve seen the numbers that are possible with this model, you might be inspired to start your first blog and give this thing a shot.

Here are some tips to take with you so that you don’t give up halfway.

These are the 5 most important lessons I learned from my first year of running RankXL.

1. Approach it as a side project

You probably don’t hear this one pretty often.

But this is especially true if you’re currently working a full-time job.

Don’t go all in with a blog. Treat it as a side project.

Unless you’re going to spend a ton of money on paid traffic, work on it at a comfortable pace and don’t get impatient.

New sites take time to gain traction.

If you’re all in, and feel rushed to make money from it, you’re going to make bad decisions and your content quality will suffer for it.

You’re also more likely to get demotivated and give up halfway.

2. Focus on building relationships

Once you start blogging, it becomes easier to build relationships with other bloggers in your industry.

Reach out to fellow bloggers. Ask them questions. Offer to help them out.

Even things like commenting on their blogs regularly can help kickstart a relationship.

Later on, you can ask for guest post opportunities or even partner with them for product launches.

This is how I was able to get A-list bloggers to promote my SEO training course.

Of course, the purpose of building relationships isn’t to receive something.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, building relationships with other bloggers is very rewarding.

Blogging is a pretty lonesome job. You work alone, and not many people in the real-world know what it really consists of.

By having colleagues who share the same passion as you, and have the same goals as you do, you can form really close relationships quickly.

It will make the experience of blogging and working for yourself a lot more enjoyable.

3. Forget about monetizing in the beginning. Focus on long-term goals

Remember this scene from The Social Network?

The same principles apply with a new blog.

A few hundred bucks per month isn’t cool.

You know what’s cool?

Turning it into a lucrative 6 or 7 figure business.

Focus on the long-term.

Focus solely on publishing awesome content, teaching, and building an audience for at least the first 6 months.

Why is it that so many bloggers fail and give up within their first year?

The most common mistake is trying to monetize too quickly.

Instead of focusing on the big picture, most people just seem to want to make a quick buck.

If there’s anything I learned in my first year of running RankXL, it’s that you need to build an audience first.

Check out Neil’s ultimate guide on building an audience.

Most people have it backwards. They focus on monetizing right away.

Nobody knows who they are. They don’t have any sort of readership.

Yet their blog is full of product reviews stuffed with affiliate links. And their email funnels bombard people’s inboxes with affiliate offers.

Without an audience, you don’t have anybody to sell to.

If nobody knows who you are, nobody cares if you release a product. And nobody cares if you recommend a product.

You might get an occasional sale or affiliate commission here and there, but that’s not a solid business model that you can depend on, let alone scale.

4. Teach what you know. HAVE A VOICE.

There are only a handful of people who’s emails I open EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Want to know what they all have in common?

They write about their experiences and teach what they know.

I’m interested in what they’ve learned, and what they have to say about certain topics.

Most of the times, I’ve already heard of the strategy they’re teaching in their blog posts.

But I still read every line.


I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again.

It’s almost impossible to write about something completely new that nobody has ever heard about.

BUT… by writing about your own experiences, you can offer unique opinions about them.

People follow a blog because of the person behind it. They’re interested in what they have to say about the matter.

If I notice a blogger is just publishing generalized content with no opinion or actual experience in the topic, I’ll lose interest quickly.

Here’s a good post on how to avoid doing that with your own blog.

5. It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Remember the earlier example we went through on how to make your first $100K with your blog?

That was from one product launch at the end of the year.

The entire first year was spent building an audience.

Now what would have happened if you felt rushed and did the same product launch in month 2 or 3?

You would have had no audience, no email list, and people would have been turned off by some person they barely know shoving a paid training product down their throats.


You don’t need to monetize right away. You don’t need to make money with your blog right away.

And just because you’re not monetizing right away, it doesn’t mean you’re losing out on money.

Building an engaged audience is going to multiply whatever income you would have made with just cold selling to random readers.

Be patient.


Over the past year, I’ve learned a ton about blog growth and monetization.

It took a LOT of research, and ton of hours in trial and error.

But I’m having a lot of fun implementing everything I’ve learnt, while also sharing them with you.

If you’re wanting to start a new blog like RankXL, or already have a blog but haven’t seen much traction yet, hopefully this post has opened your eyes to the bigger picture.

Yes, it’s tough to get a new blog started. But there’s a huge difference in trying to grow it blindly, and having a game plan.

Follow this game plan.

It’s worked for me, and I know it can work for you.

Just know, it will take hard work, persistence, and passion to succeed.

If you’re up for the challenge, then don’t give up and keep trying to get better at what you do.


Although I stated earlier that you should treat a blog as a side project, that doesn’t mean you should half-ass it.

If you’re going to start a blog, aim to be a world-class blogger.

RankXL is still somewhat of a side-project for me, but I have an automated text message sent to me every morning at 10AM telling me I’m a world-class blogger.

I don’t consider myself a world-class blogger. But it’s my aim to be.

The text message simply…

  • … reminds me to get my butt to work.
  • … reminds me NOT to publish half-assed blog posts with no depth.
  • … reminds me to grow RankXL into a world-class blog.

Basically, it reminds me that if I’m going to be spending a lot of time on something, why not strive to be one of the best at it?

Not just another one in the crowd of others.

If you’re going to start a blog, do so with the same mentality.

It might sound stupid, but a simple shift in thinking can make a huge difference in your long-term results.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them 🙂

P.S. What did you think of this blog post? Do you want to see more content like this on RankXL?

Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

150 thoughts on “How This Blog Makes Money: The Exact Business Model Behind The RankXL Blog Explained”

  1. Nice post, but you left out the elephant in the room. Which is the product. Not everyone can make 20k from Adsense so that you then have the “credentials” to create your product. Because everyone then wants to know how to make 20k from Adsense. And you did not mention that at all.

    1. Thanks Dwayne. Yes good point. True, it was a reason for people to follow me, but it’s not the only reason people follow blogs.

      Even without it, you can emulate the same type of growth by being the teacher AND the student. Teaching what you learn along the way.

  2. Chidubem Ezinne

    ***Claps Slowly***


    You really out did yourself with this blog post. This post came out right at the time when I was losing the drive for my blog.

    I’m definitely going to focus WAY more on my email list.

    Can I ask you a question?

    I understand that email list are very important, and I’ve been building mine too. But Have you tried SMS Marketing?

    I only have an SMS list of 467 people, but click-through rates are like 36% and the average open rate is 98%.

    I’ve seen that Ramit from Iwillteachyoutoberich has been slowly implementing it and I just wanted to hear your thoughts on it.

    1. Haha, thanks a lot Chibudem.

      I haven’t tried sms marketing at all, so can’t really comment on it.

      But from my first impressions, since it’s something that people aren’t accustomed to receiving, it could turn a lot of people off.

      Will have to test it for myself one day though.

  3. This post put a lot of the pieces together for me, especially how important the email subscribers are. Breaking down the math makes a ton of sense now. Thank you!

  4. Hey Chris,

    Its great to see a new post and a very eye opening one.

    Hoping to get to enjoy the journey and looking forward for the destination.

    And you are right, people follow blogs because of the person behind it.

    Great post! Keep up posts like these. And also your tips.

  5. Sarvesh Shrivastava


    Absolutely, one of the best write-ups of this year. You nailed it, Chris!!

    I knew having a funnel was important but I never imagined it was this crucial. Your simple calculations have made me think twice to build a sales funnel for Niche Desire.

    Turning leads into fans is really important and I haven’t seen anyone doing that better than you. Your email series is awesome and I loved it from day one!!

    Awesome stuff!! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  6. Wow!
    Just read the full post!
    Altough I know almost everything you said,I read it all!
    It`s the style of your writing that I like,you sound really honest!
    This post and your success has really motivated me,but I`m struggling with procrastination!
    I`ve always wondered…how old are you,Chris?
    Keep going,you truly are an inspiration to me!

  7. Really great post Chris. I read lot articles on Shoutmeloud, NeilPatel, RankXL, Nichehacks, SidehustleNation and many more.
    I am also going to start my career as blogger.
    Can you tell me Is there any mastermind group on facebook of your blog like Nichehacks?

  8. Great post Chris. Agree with what you say about marathon not sprint, you really need to think long term or you’ll burn out and give up. Also will have to try the 10AM text nudge!

  9. Am inspired! I have being putting off starting my blog because I thought I didn’t really knew much. But I have a successful YouTube channel with over 2 Million views a month growing fast. I think I can teach folks a thing or 2. Thanks for this post!

  10. Very insightful and motivating post! More like this please. I like blogging and I’ve had a couple of small blogs before. I’m toying with the idea of starting another one, but I just don’t have the time between running a couple of niche sites and a full-time job.

    However, your post has made me reconsider starting another side project. Or maybe just treating my niche sites more like a blog and adding more personality to them. Anyway, just wanted to say this post was awesome and has given new-found inspiration.

  11. Aaron Stevenson

    That conclusion says a lot and I can relate. The number one problem I have is staying motivated and to keep working when I have the time. It is far more easier to sit on your butt and say “ahhh…I’ll do it later”.

    If results were immediate it would be far easier to get motivated, but hard to do so when you know it can take a year. A simple quote that says volumes to get me going is “it will work if you will”.

    P.S. I sent you an email earlier Chris. Thanks

  12. Hey Chris, awesome post.

    All of this is what I’ve to looking for. I known list building is important but I still don’t know how to use it. This post help me a lot.

    I’m your fan!

  13. Great post Chris. This really makes the whole process simple to understand.playing the long game is the way to go.Thanks for putting this together.

  14. Awesome post Chris, you are reading my mind and it’s a good timing since I’m going to start my own blog as have ton of experience in online marketing and sure can share a lot with people. And want to thank you for getting me back on track as I found your blog by accident few months ago but since than I’m your reader. Keep it up!

    By the way, how did you come up with RankXL name?

  15. awsome tips Lee on starting your first blog, i have recently bought your SEO Training course, going thru it getting ready to start my own venture, all I can say is you have delivered a ton of value & I couldn’t have asked for more. I will let you know how am doing in the near future wiht my own blog but thanx a lot man for your expertise…

  16. Brave post! It looks like you don’t have to explain in more details on dinner parties anymore. “What I do for a living? Yea, take this link”. Anyway, excellent intro to more Funnel posts! Keep up the positive vibe!

  17. You know, there was something you said in this post that I find quite true. There’s nothing really new under the sun. It’s just about putting your own spin and perspective on it.

    For instance, in this post, you didn’t actually tell me anything I didn’t know, but I read it all the way through because I enjoy your writing style.


    Keep bringing it.

  18. James Anderson

    Thanks for the inspiration, Chris. Where do blogs that monetize with advertising fit into this view?

    1. You have to determine which content and monetization strategy is best. Not all niches are suited for list building and product creation.

      It’s possible to do both, or shift strategies along the way, but it’s best to test out and see what other blogs in your space are doing.

  19. You’re amazing. Read this post 3 times. Very motivational for the future. But it needs time and a lot of brainstorming to
    do. Please keep up the good articles.

  20. Do you do this now for your affiliate sites that you arent an expert in….many dont feel they have expertise enough to become authority in a niche to sell high end product.

    1. Nope, not all niches are suited for it. It’s a different strategy.

      A lot of the niches I enter for my niche sites are ones with huge traffic potential and the content strategy is all about maximizing search traffic.

  21. Chris! Amazing article, brother. This was very in-depth and incredibly helpful. As I told you via email earlier, I literally left a meeting today just to finish reading this. And I’ll be reading it again tonight to check out all the links you’ve provided. My blogging life has hit a wall lately due to some of the things you mentioned in the article, as well as having a baby and starting a new job. This has given me the inspiration to start over again, as just yesterday I was researching “should I quit blogging”. Thank you sir – you have a lifelong reader right here.

    1. That’s the most flattering comment I’ve received 🙂 Thanks Chris.

      I’m glad the article was published at a good time for you. Hopefully it can help you bounce back with a new game plan.

  22. Do u get many optins from the “download post to pdf” process….it is just having a simple text banner on your post page that goes to leadpages hosted optin page and you have them get a simple pdf file of the text from the post that you add to the thanks you page

  23. Hi Chris, This article its very impresive for me i like your sincerity, i have a question for you, which is the best form for start promoting our blogs, and what you think about make a youtube channel is a source for start in a proyect of this type?

  24. I think the most important when starting a blog is to find out what a person is good at.
    Then study more and more. Until becoming an expert in that Industry. And during that time, share the best, the most useful knowledge, advice to readers.
    Certainly, getting traffic is a must.
    Then, earn money becoming easier. I can choose Affiliate or build my own product.

    1. Excellent points Henry!

      Although, it doesn’t always have to be something you’re good at. It can also be something you WANT to become good at, and report your progress and learnings on the blog.

  25. Mohd Salleh Esasa

    Dear Chris

    Thanks a lot for guidance and inspiration.
    Wish that one fine day, I can meet you to discuss on how to make money online !!!
    Best Regards.

  26. Bhuboy Villanueva

    Hi Chris,

    thank for this another great post from you, it always remind me to just stay on track and that income will come.

  27. nji philemon ngang

    Chris from the first time i was told of your rank xl blog by a friend, i havent stoped caming. The blog i created and following the tips i got from your blog is of great succes now. i am thankful. the part that touched me most was the part where you gave to us your link building strategy. i had a lot of problems there, but now the story is different.
    thank you chriss

  28. This is an excellent post Chris. I have been a reader of your blog from the start. Enjoyed your posts on Adsense sites as well.

    But I especially like the relationship and community development angle of blogs, they are able to form close relation with their readers which is sometimes not possible with standard adsense/affiliate sites.

    But many times bloggers struggle with converting those readers to fans & fail to use power of funnels to promote their products/services.

    For this it is important to build a blog in an area in which you are passionate about to learn or in an area where you already have some expertise. Also the use of personal voice & sharing experiences is what differentiates good blog from standard blog.

  29. Nice article mate. I have a question for you.

    I am not a native English speaker, and it is very hard for me to write a content.

    Could possibly someone like me succeed in blogging? I do however have a lot of experience in marketing and SEO so I have some content to offer, but I have no idea how to write with the perfect grammar, so my readers will actually read my content.

    1. Perfect english isn’t necessary. We’re not trying to write grammar-perfect essays, but treating blog posts more like a conversation.

      If you are able to IM chat with people in English, you’re likely good enough to write engaging blog posts.

  30. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for sharing your business model. You turn me into a fan from a lead and hopefully a customer in the coming future.

    One quick question, what software or service do you use to send an automated text message to yourself every morning telling you that your are a world-class blogger? I kinda lose interest in blogging and really need something to encourage me to keep promoting my site every morning when I wake up.

    1. Hey Roda! Yeah, that’s still working fine. This post is just about this blog and the model behind it.

  31. Amazing article
    thank you so much
    now i understand the important of having an email list, everything more clear now to me 🙂

    1. Hey Babs, great to see you here! Thanks a lot!

      And thanks for sharing the article 🙂 Appreciate that.

  32. Thank you Chris, appreciate your hard work
    I have one question:
    I saw that in toolbox you are referring to FAT Stack course, Do you actually recommend it? Does it work?

  33. Chris you have opened my eyes on trying to get as much as high number of subscribers. Actually, I’ve been seeking about subscription forms for my site and guess what? I remembered you have something nice on your site about building an audience. I open my e-mail trying to find something good from you. And i find it :)). Thank you very much for the value in this post!
    Peace! 😀

  34. Awesome tips, Chris. I never thought creating a funnel is that important. Need to set up the same for my blog.

  35. Awesome post Chris! I’ve been following you for awhile and finally got the urge to leave a post. I appreciate the realness of your site. I’ve been burned before by people who I thought at the time were the guru’s. But just as you detail in this post, the constant barrage of sales killed it for me. Your site has a welcome and honest feel. Thanks for sharing and keep grinding!

    1. Thanks a lot Todd! Great to see you here. I see you’ve started your own blog not too long ago. Excited to see how it grows out!

  36. Epic post as usual!

    Just discovered your blog, your content is amazing, one of the best seo/niche marketing sites i’v seen.

    What do you think of doing a press release for a new authority site, in terms of backlink strategy ? Is it good to diversify backlinks and safe/worth it ?

    Also, is having a link from a top site like huffington post, etc worth the outreach efforts necessary to get it?

    1. Thank you Rudy! Glad you’re here 🙂

      I don’t mess around with press releases. The ones I’ve seen are usually stuffed with spammy links and anchor texts on weak domains.

      And yes, getting a link from sites like huffington post is huge.

  37. Great post. Some fascinating insights into the work required to properly build up a blog, and monetise it. Really enjoying the content on this site.

  38. Chris,

    Amazing post. Just as you said, a blog that’s based on personal experience is one that’s worth following and so is yours.

    I can relate to the part where you said to better treat your blog like a side project at first and not go all in. As a blogger myself, I realise how blogging is a long shot, and it’s best to be patient and keep giving your best to others.

    Thanks for sharing!


  39. As always, a fantastic post. Have just shared on G with the comment that you are simply the best at what you do. I love your style, and the practical advice is invaluable. I was particularly interested in your downplay of using twitter, FB etc to hope to grow your blog, but what you said makes total sense. As someone who is building an author’s platform prior to publication, I’d been hesitant to sell products, but no more. Thanks so much for your inspiration.

  40. What a post, Chris… I would normally just skim though such posts but yours kept me hooked and I read each and every line from it… awesome work!

    I have started so many blogs in the past but not one I can say about proudly that I grew them to my full potential – this post was really an eye-opener to look at the bigger picture! Thanks!

  41. Great post! getting email subscribers for a beginner is quite difficult, have you written an article on how to get email subscribers for beginners?

  42. Nice post Chris. Been following your blog for a time now. I’m learning a lot for someone who is not into building websites, just want to do it on my own. I have a blog for legal resources in the Philippines, and I am slowly trying to implement your suggestions.

  43. Hi Chris,
    This is such a great piece of content I’ve read in a while. Thanks for sharing these case study. Anyway, can I ask you a question?.

    For above tips no. 1. Approach it as a side project, how much time do you invest daily and how you divided your time. I believe that you must have time for reading, researching, creating content, etc. etc. Appreciate if you can share it.

    BTW, just bought your course, the content & strategy is amazing. I’ve printed out so I can actually implement it. Keep up the good work.


    1. Thanks Imer! I’m happy you liked it.

      TBH, it’s completely random. I’m not very meticulous with my schedule.

      Glad you’re liking the course!

  44. You kill it Bro! Though I know nothing about blogging and don’t have any cos i don’t know how to build one, yet I have these strong feelings that am making head at it right from here.

    Am proud of you bro!

  45. First of all, thanks a lot for sharing this.

    Reading this helped me noticed two things (at least):

    1. My thought on long-term was right

    2. My anxiety to make money sooner led me to make a few mistakes.

    I also noticed other things, and now I have to think about my project and correct the directions.

    So, thank you to open my eyes. And keep the good work.


    I got one question, if you don’t mind:

    1. This blog (RankXL) seems to be very different from your others projects which you monetize with AdSense.

    I know the aim here was to teach how to build a project like RankXL, not like the others. But for someone, who needs money right away, even low but enough to get a breath and start others long-term projects slowly, would you recommend a blog like RankXL or a niche site focus on Google AdSense first? (I’m thinking about $500-$3000 per month max)

    I mean…

    With all your knowledge today, if you were start your first project online, your first money online, having no job to pay your bills (so you can’t think like a side project), using a new blog, would you use first RankXL’s model or something different, like the AdSense focused blogs or other type? (but still thinking on middle-long term)


    1. Great comment Tarso! And great question as well.

      The strategy you choose depends on what you’re comfortable with, have some experience in, the style you want to use, and the type of site you’re building.

      For me, if I were starting all over, I would go for a model that’s a mix of both.

  46. Great post. Is it possible to keep my current client-consulting site which is centered around offering services to clients and slowly transition it into more of an educational site like yours where I offer a course? I’d want to still offer services to clients and a course at the same time, just want to make sure this is possible without confusing/diluting the brand?

  47. Excellent piece Chris! Thanks for sharing your blogging recipe. I couldn’t agree more. A blog is definitely essential. I don’t even know why there are still a few sites that don’t have blog. Like, common!?

  48. Great work as always Chris. This is a real eye opener. I am launching my blog this week and will use this as my guideline for the first year. I will be a world class blogger by taking action, being persistent and stay consistent. How would you recommend scheduling working on my blog around a full time job and having twins? Cheers

    1. Hey James! I don’t have children so I’m probably not the best person to answer this. But it’s going to take a lot of good time management and organization to get it done. It’s not impossible.

      You can try waking up an hour earlier, or allot 2-3 hours at night time dedicated to working solely on your blog. In the beginning, make sure you focus purely on producing great content and promotion.

      Good luck!

  49. You have written really well with great explanation. I am a new blogger trying to earn through adsense. Hope I will be able to earn 6 figure in a year with all of your advices.

    But sometimes you have used long sentences and some hard words to understand easily. Would you please make your articles or posts easy for us so that we can understand your advices very easily.

    Thanking you.

  50. Thanks a lot. I’m starting out to build audience too. Trying to read all your posts. Would love to network with you somehow. Thanks chris.

  51. Great, informative article, Chris. I have been blogging for years, and I’m still puzzled by how so many people make a killing out of it.

    Like you, I want to have a massive content business one day, but I can’t seem to gain any traction. Any advice?

    1. Do you ever read a blog post, and go WOW. You might bookmark it, share it, or decide to save it into a pdf.

      With blogging especially, your content needs to WOW people. Whether that’s with super detailed and meaty content, or with a powerful story. If you’re just hitting publish for the sake of putting out more content, then that’s not going to build any traction for you.

  52. Thank you thank you thank you for your inspiring posts!!!!! My life-partner introduced me to your site & I am so grateful. I really lost touch with writing & got lost along the way not knowing what my focus was… it was a hobby & now that I’m a stay at home mama, I realized this would be the best way I could stay at home with my son & contribute financially AND stay inspired on my own journey through life. So thank you for pumping me up!!!!

  53. Still reading and learning from your experience. Thank so much for sharing this good stuff. AND Absolutely, I’m yours real fan now …

  54. Thank you for this wonderful piece of information.

    I really enjoy reading the content. It’s educative, experienced oriented and practically explain.

    I’m currently running an educational news blog. I was actually thinking of creating a new category to teach my audience (students) how to make money online through blogging.

    I will really do appreciate your opinion on this. Thank you.

  55. Really great post Chris. I read lot articles on Shoutmeloud, NeilPatel, RankXL, Nichehacks, SidehustleNation and many more.
    I am also going to start my career as blogger.

  56. Hey Chris,

    I can seriously relate to this post, I thought I am the only one who faces problem when it comes to explaining what I do for a living and it feels so good to know that there are many 😛

    Indeed the answers differ from day to day and I only hope that no one asks me what I do because it’s difficult for me to explain.

    Now talking about the post, then to be frank affiliate marketing is new to me as I have always focused on adsense and it worked pretty good for me. But, this is the high time I should give affiliate marketing a try as I have been reading about it since a long time, hope it works good too (with a good strategy of course).

    Once again, that conversation did grab my attention as my answers are very much same when someone asks me about my profession, so satisfying.


  57. Laila Abdul-Manisc

    Chris! I’m a new subscriber and came across your content while doing research on how to start my blog.

    I mean, A on the advice given in this post. I appreciate your honesty. I also love that you mentioned it’s not necessary to monetize or have a product to sell in the beginning. It’s a question I’ve wondered about. I really prefer to just start out and build a great audience first, and thought I would be missing out on sales. Thanks for addressing that. I’ve yet to find that discussed elsewhere. Keep up the incredible work!

  58. Great article, Chris.

    As a person who has spent years in the affiliate marketing game, I can agree that having your own product is a lot better. Though I would still recommend monetizing that way if you’re new or have a new blog.

    I am glad you mentioned building relationships with others in the same industry, it’s a powerful thing, and it goes a long way to ask for help and to help others. I was wondering your thoughts on Quora?

    Have you ever tried using Quora for the same purpose?

    I have been answering some questions on there recently and was wondering if other marketing bloggers did the same thing.

    1. Thanks Anthony 🙂

      I haven’t used Quora. It can be great for some niches, but not so great for marketing imo. I’ve seen some marketers on there, but it seemed like they all stopped after a while so I guess it wasn’t producing enough results for the amount of work it took.

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