Table of Contents
- The Work At Home Woman
- Do You Travel
- Here Pup
- Breaking Eighty
- Sunshine and Sippy Cups
The first question that comes to your mind when you think of extra money is – “Is it really possible?” The answer to that question is, “Yes!”. Second, “How do I do it myself?”. To answer that question, here is a compiled list of websites and blogs that are earning a decent amount of passive income, mostly by people who quit their conventional jobs just to live off the money they make from these websites.
We are going to look at the different ways of earning money by setting up a website. The aim is to cover a wide variety of websites that will give you the opportunity to pick and choose which model serves you the best.
There is not going to be an in-depth study of the bigger websites and people who have been massively successful in making millions of dollars like Pat Flynn of smartpassiveincome.com or NerdWallet’s Tim Chen. Instead, the aim is to look at smaller niche websites that are making money by choosing varied paths of monetizing.
Holly Reisem Hanna quit her job as a nurse to be a stay-at-home mom after her daughter was born. While the initial few months were filled with typical mommy duties, she soon realized she needed an outlet, as well as a way to earn some money while she was not working full time. This realization helped her set up a blog aimed at helping people find profitable jobs within the comforts of their own homes.
Holly had always been fond of writing but didn’t think it could turn into such a lucrative opportunity. She initially started taking on some part-time projects as a social media manager for a publishing company and started making some money on the side.
She also used this time to carry out thorough research and create content, after which she hired a graphic designer to create a custom website. This is how The Work at Home Woman came into existence in March 2009.
Over the years she has become a well-respected name in her niche and collaborated with some big brands like HP, Tastefully Simple, NeatDesk, Staples and MSN. She has also been quoted in major publications like the New York Times, CNN, Forbes and The Huffington Post.
The target audience of her website is not just moms like Holly, but also a large number of dads, college students as well as retirees looking to make some extra money without the stress of daily commutes or a corporate setting, that are looking to benefit from the work that she has done.
The blog started just as a way for her to make about $700 every month so that she could afford her exercise classes, mommy and me classes and her frequent visits to the nearest Starbucks. She began earning revenue just three months from the launch of her website.
There were a number of hurdles like understanding SEO, making a social media presence as well as increasing engagement but now The Work at Home Woman gets over 700,000 page views every month along with a following of 34,000 on Facebook, 19,000 on Twitter and 53,000 on Pinterest.
Most of her income comes in through direct advertising sales and affiliate marketing. While it is easy to understand how advertising works, affiliate marketing is the process where you partner with brands and businesses so that if you mention their product or service in your writing, you link it to a unique affiliate code you received from their affiliate program.
If any of your readers buy the product or service using that particular link, the business pays you.
Holly’s website is affiliated with AdThrive, LLC (“AdThrive”) for advertising purposes. When it comes to affiliate marketing, it is a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. According to recent estimates, Holly is bringing in over $100,000 per year from her website.
Do You Travel is a travel blog owned and operated by Jack Morris. Morris came up with this idea when he was a disillusioned 21 year old who hated his job and just wanted a way out. He did not have a college education as he chose to work right out of school but he did not let that limit the things he could do. Today, he is one of the highest paid travel bloggers in the world, making money as he moves from one exotic destination to another.
Morris started his journey with about $4,000 in savings when he booked a ticket to Bangkok with no set plan in mind. His first step was to set up an Instagram page that he could then monetize to finance further travels as his savings were eventually going to run out. Morris carved a niche for himself in the field of travel and slowly gained about 3 million followers on the social media platforms. He is currently traveling the world with the love of his life, Lauren Bullen, whom he met while he was building his portfolio as a travel blogger, back in 2016. Bullen too boasts of a following of over 2 million on Instagram.
While ‘Do You Travel’ started off without any plan for monetizing the blog, it has become more than just a fun project for Morris. He has diversified the sources of income by not depending on direct advertising sales or affiliate marketing. Instead, he works with a number of brands and tourism boards, creating content for them. This content is specially curated keeping in mind the needs of the client that Morris takes on, adding his own essence to it in the process.
In order to diversify and not depend solely on sponsored posts and content, Morris also uses his website to sells Lightroom editing presets created by him, which are a major source of income for him.
Morris is a big name in the travel blogging field and was also featured on Hopper HQ’s ‘Instagram Rich List 2018’ in the realm of travel. While he maintains that his collaborations are limited to brands and causes that he believes in or likes, Morris makes about $9,000 for each sponsored post that he puts up on Instagram. At the same time, Bullen makes about $7,500 for a sponsored post on the social media platform.
Morris’ second major source of income – his Lightroom editing presets – sell for between approximately $40 and $120 for the mobile versions and $80 and $250 for the desktop versions. They are extremely popular amongst followers who want to get an effect similar to Morris’ own pictures.
Here Pup is a niche website that is dedicated to dogs. It was started by founded by Perrin Carrell in 2015 with the aim of giving dog owners advice on how to take care of their pets. It deals with everything from news about dogs, to product recalls and celebrity dogs.
Under Carrell, the site is dependent on organic traffic – about 87% of its traffic coming from Google – that it builds through original keyword-optimized articles on the site. It did not use PBNs and concentrated on the content quality and a great backlink profile.
After completing a degree in poetry, Carrell found himself in a position where he had to sell his Xbox just so that he had enough money to buy a cheap suit for job interviews. Over time he realized that while regular jobs may not be his forte, he could build some niche websites and earn some passive income.
While brainstorming about what kind of website would be a good option in the field of niche affiliate websites, Perrin shortlisted a number of topics. These ranged from woodworking to go-karting. But what pulled Perrin most strongly was pets – he had only recently got his first dog!
He already had a few websites that he was successful in monetizing but none of them were sustainable in the long run. He wanted this to be different so he decided to concentrate on making Here Pup an authority website instead of one just riddled with affiliate links.
Carrell set up the site after deciding that he wanted an authority site. He started creating and identifying link opportunities that would gain him more credible traction. He started scaling up his outreach and outsourced most of the writing.
He concentrated on getting good traffic from Google by increasing the legitimacy of his website and through an efficient use of SEO. The more people who visited his website, the more money he could make through affiliate links.
Carrell’s main source of income was affiliate marketing as a part of a number of affiliate programs. The largest of these was the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program specially designed to let websites earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com.
Under him, Here Pup’s income relied almost entirely on Amazon affiliates, Google AdSense (paid per impression) as well as Media.net advertising.
Carrell set up herepup.com after starting a number of different niche websites. While most of them failed, he had an important lesson to learn from each failure.
He worked consciously towards making Here Pup an authority website that ensured him a monthly income of about $7,500. After months of making money through the website, he finally sold it for over $200,000.
The website has currently switched over from display ads to an affiliate program with a pet food company for its monetization.
Breaking Eighty is a golf-based website started by Sean Ogle with the sole aim of being a good resource for amateur golfers. According to Ogle, he started the website because of his own interest in the field. He did not come across any website on the topic that would keep him interested, so he started a website of his own.
While most golfing websites are focused on pros, they’re not always a great read. Ogle’s aim was to create quality content while doing something that he loved.
Ogle started off but sending out a number of emails or calling people with requests for some time on their golf courses or some freebies, in return for reviews and other such perks.
He tests new gadgets, devices, clothes and training aids related to golf and puts out one golf product review every Wednesday. These reviews are unbiased and make for good reads even for amateur golfers. His long-term aim is to play all of the Top 100 and Top 100 Public Courses by the time he turns 35.
The main way of making regular income through a website like this is to rank highly in Google for several relevant keywords that will draw a lot of traffic to the site. SEO is important and so is good research and effective link building efforts. Ogle says that it may have taken him some time to start earning through this method, but it was sustainable in the long term.
Affiliate marketing is your best friend when it comes to niche websites as you can make some money on whatever item you review or link.
Ogle also regularly writes golf-based guests posts on other websites. The key here, according to him, is to figure out a way to link back to his own website in each of those websites. This is another way of adding traffic to your niche site.
Ogle started the website with no particular aim of monetizing and no set amount of money that he wanted to earn from it. Currently, he is earning about $2,000 from the website every month. It must be noted that this is even five years after he launched the website. Most niche websites do not last that long.
In addition to the cash that he is earning, the website also helped him get lots of free golf gear, along with opportunities to play at incredible golf courses. He was also was able to set up a great network within the golfing industry and establish his name in the amateur circuit.
Set up in 2012, DatingAdvice.com is one of the most popular websites when it comes to information about dating and relationships. Its main aim is to connect users with a large number of resources that will improve their dating lives, ranging from daily advice articles and expert question and answer sessions to reviews of online dating websites and discussion forums.
The dating niche had a gap when it came to quality websites and that is where DatingAdvice.com jumped in to make their profits.
It offers daily articles authored by dating and relationship experts. These cover issues like first date ideas to marriage proposals. It carries out free sessions with dating experts where you can ask questions and learn from their expertise in the field.
The website also publishes a number of how-to articles as well helpful tips about all things in the relationship realm so that it is the one-stop portal for people looking for dating and relationship advice. The website features reviews of leading online dating sites such as Match.com, eHarmony and others, which makes up a large source of its income. These reviews include star-ratings, user data, pricing and more details so that daters can get an overall view of these dating websites.
As it is difficult for dating websites to benefit from the Amazon affiliates program, dating sites have their own set of affiliate marketing deals.
An example of this would be eHarmony that brings up to $188 per sign-up. Match.com gives you 75% of all new subscription revenue for if people join through the link that you have provided on your website.
Elitesingles.co.uk gives you £5 for each completed application from their affiliate marketing deal, while Adult Friend Finder has a deal of up to 75% from the initial orders.
According to estimates, DatingAdvice.com gets one of the highest traffic when it comes to websites in the dating niche. The site gets about 244,000 visitors each month from organic search and has built over 3,000 referring domains to the website.
While the exact amount of money that datingadvice.com makes is not available, there is an example that will help you gauge how much money can be made with a niche affiliate website in the field of dating.
The top 10 most visited pages on datingadvice.com get more than 3,500 visitors every month. The page with the most views is a review for senior dating site ourtime.com that gets over 28,000 visitors each month through organic search. The commission from the OurTime.com affiliate program stands at about $10 at an estimated conversion rate of 1%, which makes the website around $3,000 per month just from OurTime.com.
Sunshine and Sippy Cups is the blog set up by Meagan Paullin after she found herself unemployed after having a baby. She had always been into saving money through ways like couponing or following money-saving blogs but never considered it as a full-time career. Some unfortunate circumstances, however, led her to making it her full-time – and profitable – venture!
When Meagan stepped into the world of blogging, she wasn’t sure she would be able to make it. She loved following frugal living blogs but never considered herself technically sound to start one of her own.
While she was on her maternity leave, she found out that she had been fired from her job. She had a baby on the way and a ton of online college courses to pay for, without any means to do so. After some time of sheer panic, she jumped into the world of blogging by simply buying a couple of books on the topic, and putting together a plan with the help of her knowledge of management.
Her website was up and running in March 2011, but she also took on some freelance writing, and other online jobs to help bring in extra money. The urgency of the situation caused her to work harder and acquire more skills so that she could maintain a viable source of income and work from home with her child!
Meagan started out with definite goals and steps to achieve them. After six months in the business, she had achieved them all with some savings to spare so she decided to set goals for another six months.
After a good year of experience, she revamped her business plan to invest in some services to manage the site, while her goals increased in size steadily. She brought her boyfriend into the business, bought three new domains and worked on finishing up her e-books. She also took on more and more sponsored posts.
Meagan’s main source of traffic to the blog is Pinterest. While she started earning money off her blog quite early, the major bump in income came after a post of hers went viral on the social media platform. This post had a large number of affiliate links, which meant more money for her when someone bought a product through the link!
When she first set up the blog, the money came in small amounts. Over the first six months that the blog was in existence, Meagan earned about $5,000 in total.
Over time, her income increased steadily. Soon she was earning about $40,000 a year, which then increased to almost $100,000, while sitting at home!
ShoutMeLoud is a website that focuses on blogging and helps you learn all the basics about blogging and digital marketing. Set up by Harsh Agarwal, the website covers his journey in the field and how he took the website from no views to 1.2 million page views every month.
While its primary focus is on blogging, SEO, social media and making money online, ShoutMeLoud credits itself with being a one-stop-shop for everything related to internet marketing.
Harsh first learned about blogging in 2006, but it wasn’t till 2008 that he set up his first blog. Starting with BlogSpot, he soon switched over to WordPress. There was no set pattern and he blogged about whatever he felt like, with no particular vision of monetizing his ramblings.
All this changed when he realized that there was money to be made from what he wrote on the internet, so he decided to become his own boss and share everything that worked for him.
Over time the website started gaining more and more traffic and Harsh realized that he needed to diversify and increase the number of sources from which he could get credible content. This led to ShoutMeLoud becoming a community blog that allows bloggers to contribute in the form of guest posts.
It boasts of an army of over 650 bloggers that participate in the website’s guest blogging program and rake in impressive profits.
Majority of the website’s incomes comes through affiliate links. These are links that earn the website money when they are used to buy products mentioned in the articles.
The website is monetized through AdSense, Infolinks, GraphicalTube, Media.net, ShareASale, ClickBank, direct ad sales, Viglink and eBooks sales.
The website has earned over $40,000 over the last six years just through Google AdSense. Harsh uploads his yearly income reports on the website, which will give you an idea about how the income has increased over the years.
It started with just over $400 in February 2009 and gradually to just over $3,000 by the end of the same year. In 2014, he made a total of over $50,000 and then gradually increased to over $10,000 per month. In June 2017, the website put up a report that showed that it had earned over $30,000 in that month alone.
You can see that there are a large number of ways in which you can earn money by setting up websites. Most of these are niche websites with their main source of income being affiliate marketing. This is followed by Google AdSense, a number of sponsored posts and the sale of products like e-books on the website.
While this looks very attractive, you have to make sure that you churn out content that gets you credible views. It is also important to diversify your monetizing strategies and not depend on one single source. So what are you waiting for? Go out and build your own websites and start your passive income journey!