When you're sitting there at the base of the mountain looking up, it feels completely overwhelming. So many things to do. It is confusing. Almost... paralyzing.
All the information out there doesn't really seem to do much more than confuse you even further. Its feels so complicated!
Something has to be done differently.
Let's be real... monetizing a blog with banner ads is pretty freakin' hard and grossly inefficient. With an industry average CPM (cost per thousand displays) of $2.80 and publisher revenue splits around 70%, the average you might expect is $1.96 per 1000 page views.
At that rate, you'd have to drive close to 10,000 page views just to earn enough to buy a standard meal in a halfway decent restaurant.
Blogs are powerful mediums... but not when they're littered with banners.
Truth is that a lot of blogging advice out there is simply outdated. If you were to follow it, you would be so busy constantly churning out blog content that you'd have no time and no life. Your blog would own you.
Launching a blog today isn't like it was just a few years ago. How we attract traffic has changed. And these changes mean we have to approach the very structure of our blogs differently.
Today, we need a more efficient and business-oriented approach in order to rise above the noise.
Founder, Blog Marketing Academy
Over the last two decades of my time as a blogger and online entrepreneur, I have seen a lot. I have seen trends come and go. I have watched things evolve.
Back in my earlier days as a technology blogger, I used banner advertising as a major source of revenue. I used Adsense and a few others. I also sold some ads directly without going through a network. And, yes, I made good money.
But, it all changed. Twice, in fact.
See, I've been at this long enough to remember the dot-com boom in the late 90's. Anything on the internet was considered to be automatic riches. Slap some banners on there and watch the revenue roll in. It was a true gold rush mentality.
The hype was so strong, in fact, that I eventually had a buy-out offer for my technology blog for - get this... about a million dollars.
Now, don't get too excited. Because it all fell apart rather quickly.
See, the buy-out wasn't all cash. It included a payment stream of cash as well as stock options. They figured they'd make so much money with ads on my site that it would pay off.
A few months after the contract was signed, the bottom began to fall out of the space. This was the notorious dot-com crash. And... it definitely crashed and burned.
This company who had acquired my site fell into breach of contract - and eventually collapsed. And, I'll spare you the legal mumbo-jumbo (and the drama)... but I came to once again own the original tech site that I had founded.
Only, I had a massive revenue problem. Banner advertising wasn't working so well anymore.
Looking for a solution, I began to personally delve into the world of internet marketing. And to summarize a whole lot of trial and error, I eventually came to sell a number of different things via that tech site, including CDs and DVDs, 3 books I wrote, a few online courses and some affiliate products. Even t-shirts and mugs. I fondly remember the days where I was literally creating my own CD-ROMs in my CD burner on my PC, stomping a printed label on them (that I made on my ink jet), and running them down to the post office. I had stacks of these yellow envelopes in my front seat on the way down. All from people who had purchased them via my tech blog.
The lesson from all this was important. And I'm glad I learned it early on.
You cannot rely on banner ads. You must take control of your own monetization destiny by building your blog into a real business.
The industry recovered. Eventually my ad revenue increased again. Only to free fall once again a few years later.
This time, it was a big algorithm change from Google. I believe it was their Penguin update. And as that thing rolled out, I watched my hard-earned traffic drop. And drop. And drop some more. It dropped by well over 50%... and there wasn't anything I could do about it. I didn't even know WHY.
Less traffic meant less banner ad impressions. Plus, the industry was just getting far more competitive. Once again, I fell back on the business foundation I had built. I continued to sell my own stuff - and even launched a membership site on that tech blog.
Now, here I am having grown this tech blog into a six-figure, multi-author online business. I had seen a lot of ups and downs. I had been thrown some curve balls. Yet, over a decade after I started this site as a hobby... I was doing just fine.
If I'm good at one thing, I guess... it is longevity and staying the course. Anyway...
I have my own personal wealth of experience... and I'm sitting there looking at what the "blogging gurus" were preaching. Things like "follow your passion", or "you've got to blog every day to satisfy Google", or "wait until you have a loyal tribe before you begin selling anything". All of it... bullsh*t.
Some of their advice was good yet incomplete... but some of it was just fairy-dust. Perhaps if all I did was blog about blogging or making money, I might have fallen into that trap. But, I had just spent a decade in an entirely different market. It's a wee bit different out there in real-ville.
But, they kept blogging it. Having guest bloggers blog about it, too. They were just saturating the market with what I personally found to be incomplete and generic advice not based on real-world experience. And I saw that it was generating confusion and a lot of dashed dreams as aspiring bloggers realized that it wasn't as easy as they made it seem.
Especially not the way they were teaching it.
In 2008, I was a little tired of being pigeon-holed into tech blogging. And, the more I read the world of blogging and online marketing, the more I felt I had something worth saying.
So, I began what eventually became the Blog Marketing Academy. I felt that I needed to, quite frankly, put some common sense into this world of blogging and monetization and how it really works.
Don't get me wrong... I had no visions of me riding in on a white horse to save the day. I'm not that cocky. :) It was just that... I had something to share.
After over 10 years of actually living in the trenches, building a blog-based business, and doing it in a niche which is notoriously difficult and has nothing to do with "make money online"... I had something to share.
This time, however, I applied what I had learned previously. There has never been - nor will there ever be - a banner ad on this website. Instead, I launched my first training course (called the Blog Masters Club) almost immediately. I did about $80,000 on that launch. And, the business grew and evolved from there.
Over, the last many years of working with bloggers and online entrepreneurs since I began this site, things have continued to evolve. In fact, the pace of change has sped up.
SEO has changed. How we build traffic has changed. The level of noise has gone off the charts. Marketing, launches... all of it. Changed and, in many ways, matured. On top of that, the amount of tools and offers available has grown exponentially. In some ways, things have gotten easier. In others, however, it has become much, much harder.
It seems like every other day there's some new promotion for a tool or another online course. In my RSS feed, I see blog post after blog post from many of the same people... just cranking stuff out. Much of it is good stuff, but it is TOO MUCH. There's no order to it.
With all these tools, all the training... most people starting blogs today are as confused and overwhelmed as ever before. And they're often launching into a world that doesn't operate the same as the advice a lot of "blogs about blogging" are dishing out.
So, I decided to make some changes to my business. I wanted to serve more effectively. And, I also wanted to make things simpler. Not only for my students, but for myself. I like simple. Simplicity is power.
So, I combined everything... all the separate training courses... into one training portal. With that move... THE LAB was born.
Like the internet itself, THE LAB has grown and evolved, too. In fact, that's the main reason I call it THE LAB. Because, I realize that we never know it all. We try things... we report what works.