This article is a great resource to show you how to earn money blogging. We’ll cover both the technical side of how to actually sell something from your blog. I’ll also introduce you to Amy Lynn Andrews. She’s got a gold mine of information on how to earn money blogging. Let’s start with my first blogging success story because it shows how you can take a simple blog and turn it into a full-time, money making business. It’s also how Cart66 got started.
New Baby Girl!
Cart66 was born from my need to sell something on my first blog. I have had the opportunity to spend most of my time working from home. When I first had the need to sell something online, I was actually in the middle of building a web application for managing electronic medical records. It was a long term project that I worked on for several years. During that time, we were blessed with our first daughter. Of course, that brought about a huge change in my whole lifestyle.
People were coming to visit at virtually all hours of the day. The phone was ringing all the time. My wife, who up until this point was working as an industrial psychologist, was now staying home with the baby. Everything at home was different now. I used to spend pretty much every day by myself coding or on calls. Now all kinds of people and sounds were swirling around the house at all hours. Overall, it was a great change for the better, but something had to be done about work. I had to find a quiet place to work.
How It All Started
I thought about getting a small office outside of the house. I didn’t really like that idea because I wanted to be home with our new baby and see all our friends and family as much as I could. I also didn’t want the added expense of an office. My home office was perfectly fine – except for the noise and distractions. I looked into sound-proofing the room I was using for my office. Turns out, that’s crazy expensive and a pretty ugly process. I got the idea to try some noise reduction headphones.
I had already exposed myself to the price of renting an office and renovating my home with sound proofing material, so the cost of a set of headphones was basically nothing compared to those things. So I bought and tried out a variety of different noise cancellation headphones. I tried all the big names like Bose, Audio Technica, Sennheiser, etc. They were all really great headphones. I’m a bit of an audiophile, so sound quality is important to me. It wasn’t just about noise reduction. If the actual audio sounded muddy or muffled, that was going to drive me crazy.
I spent a lot of time researching these headphones. One day I found myself deep into Google – like page 15 of the search results – when I noticed Extreme Isolation Headphones. Their site is terrific now, but at the time it was a disaster. It had a black background with blinking starts – just a mess – but the story behind the headphones was very interesting.
The headphones were created by a drummer, John Gresko. He wanted headphones that would block out the loud sound of his drums. He needed to hear the rest of his band without having to blast his headphones at dangerously high volumes. So, basically, he took industrial earmuffs – like you’d wear directing airplanes or running a chainsaw – then built really high quality speakers into them. Seemed like a terrific idea so I bought a pair.
Their website was such a mess, I almost didn’t buy them – but the headphones were terrific! They actually blocked out more sound than any of the other headphones I had tried. I immediately got on the phone with John and asked if I could help him with his online sales starting with a dramatic improvement to his website. At the time, he didn’t have much interest in his website because he sold the majority of his headphones through music catalogs. Instead of building him a website, he offered me wholesale pricing so I could build my own website to sell the headphones.
How To Sell On Your Blog
I had a WordPress blog already and wanted a way to add a page to start selling these headphones. I looked around, and at the time, there were no WordPress ecommerce plugins that would do what I wanted. The plugins that were available were all designed for people with lots of different products. I only had one product – these Extreme Isolation headphones. I didn’t have product categories. It made no sense to sort products by price.
Add A Product To Your Blog
I just wanted to put a product on the page and sell it. No product categories – No catalogs of products. I wanted to use WordPress to build a really nice, very informative page describing the details of these headphones, why they worked so well, and why they were better than the fancy, name brand, expensive headphones.
Integrating Ecommerce Into Your Blog
I already had a WordPress site. I liked the theme. The layout was clean. The content area was easy to read. I wanted people to focus on the content because there was so much information to share about how these headphones worked and why they were so effective. I was trying to convey the experience of using these headphones.
I used the full power of WordPress and the awesome, built-in WordPress features to embed and play sample audio files as well as display photo galleries of product images.
I just needed a WordPress ecommerce integration. I didn’t want the ecommerce integration to overtake and devour my whole WordPress site.
Simple WordPress Shopping Cart
Everybody always says their WordPress shopping cart is the easiest to use. If you’re the guy that built the shopping cart software, it’s probably easy for you to use because you know how it works; you built it.
Ecommerce Is Complicated
The truth is, ecommerce is complicated because there are so many parts to consider.
- What are Payment Gateways and Merchant Accounts?
- Should you accept credit cards or just use PayPal?
- How to manage inventory?
- What is PCI compliance?
WordPress Ecommerce Plugins Don’t Help
In addition to all these technical ecommerce issues, what about all the WordPress ecommerce plugins out there? Every other WordPress ecommerce plugin leaves it up to you to solve all of these problems for yourself.
It’s up to you to:
- Make sure your digital products are stored safely
- Deliver digital products quickly and reliably
- Makes sure your email receipts don’t end up as spam
- Find and connect to your payment gateway
- Secure your website and achieve PCI compliance
The reason all the other WordPress plugins leave these things up to you is because all of these problems go beyond what you can do with a WordPress plugin alone. In addition, most other WordPress ecommerce plugins force you to rely on a marketplace of 3rd party add-ons. So you have to deal with code written by lots of different developers. It’s hard and confusing to find support. Plugins and add-on plugins clutter up your WordPress site. The premium support and updates all renew on different schedules. It can all be overwhelming.
In addition, most other WordPress ecommerce plugins force you to rely on a marketplace of 3rd party add-ons. So you have to deal with code written by lots of different developers. It’s hard and confusing to find support. Plugins and add-on plugins clutter up and complicate your WordPress site. The premium support and updates all renew on different schedules. It can all be overwhelming.
Cart66 Secure Connected Services Make Ecommerce Simple
Cart66 is a different WordPress ecommerce plugin because, in addition to the WordPress plugin, you also get a suite of secure, connected services to handle everything we’ve been talking about. You get a
You get a business class email server to send your emails to help prevent your customer emails from being blocked as spam. You get a
You get a content delivery network to protect and quickly deliver your digital products (if you sell them). Cart66 comes with a
Cart66 comes with a built-in recurring billing engine to make it easy to sell donations, memberships, and subscriptions. You get a built-in
You get a built-in secure customer portal where your customers can view past orders, manage their subscriptions, and store their billing information for faster checkouts in the future.
Perhaps the most notable of the secure services is the hosted payment page. With Cart66, accepting credit cards is just as easy as using PayPal. Here is a quick example of how the hosted payment page works.
How To Earn Money With Your Blog
So, back to the headphones. How did all that work out? Using Cart66 and WordPress I sold these headphones for about three years. What started off as a simple way to make money from my blog grew into an online business. I ended up creating a dedicated WordPress site for selling headphones. I called it QuietHeadphones.com. It grew to bring in over $5,000 per month in sales. I was ordering crates of headphones from John and storing them in my attic.
I became great friends with the local FedEx people too. I would frequently bring my little daughter with me to ship the headphones. Everybody loves babies and all the FedEx people would talk and joke around with us. We would show up at FedEx with dozens of headphones in boxes ready to ship. When my daughter got to be about 2 years old and could walk, she wanted to carry boxes of headphones into FedEx with me. It was really cute to see this tiny little person carrying a box that she could barely see over the top of.
The site continued to grow. We even developed a few partnerships with schools who used the headphones for language labs and had a regular need for high quality noise reduction headphones. My main passion has always been developing web applications, though. Selling headphones had grown into a full-time business. So, after running the site for about 3 years, I sold the QuietHeadphones.com business.
More Ways To Earn Money Blogging
My story about the headphones is just one idea for how to earn money blogging. Blog about things that interest you and how you solve your own problems. If you hit on something that starts to take off, maybe you spin that into its own business – like QuietHeadphones.com.
There is an almost infinite number of ways to earn money blogging. Often times your blog is the starting point for finding, developing, and promoting other products or services that earn money for you. You can use your blog to promote multiple products and generate multiple streams of income.
Amy Lynne Andrews has an amazing list of ways to make money blogging. She goes over how to generate all sorts of income streams from bloggers including:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Digital Products
- Physical Products
Amy’s Very Unusual, Amazing Resource
If there’s anything you want to know about how to start a blog and promote it, take a look at Amy’s KnowtBook. It’s a really interesting product. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is a live look into her actual notes that she has been building for over 10 years. It’s her actual, live, day-to-day notebook. So, everything stays fresh and you can actually see her adding new notes.
Here’s a quick video of Amy explaining her KnowtBook.
How To Earn Money Blogging – Taking Action
The main thing I am hoping to share here is that you really can earn money blogging. Don’t let technical complications stand in your way. With Cart66 it’s really easy to just put a product on a page of your WordPress site and sell it – physical products, digital products, memberships, subscriptions – it’s all built-in and ready to go.
All of the technical stuff is made easy with the secure, connected services. Just install the Cart66 plugin and start making money. If you need help, just let us know. We love seeing the excitement people have when they start making money on their own.
If you are looking for ideas on exactly how to monetize your blog, Amy’s got a gold mine for you in her KnowtBook. She’s also got tons of free information all over her site. Just spend a little time looking around and you’ll find all sorts of great stuff like tools to use, tips for creating content, and where to get great, free stuff. I just joined her Useletter (her newsletter) – you might want to do the same.