Do Most Bloggers Sell Products?

Today’s post is covering something that one of my students requested in my Blogging to Win course. (By the way, that course only opens four times a year. So if you’re interested in learning more about how to make money blogging or just building a successful blog in general, be sure to check it out here!)

My students wanted to know if most bloggers sell a product. It’s a really interesting question and I wish people asked it more often! A lot of bloggers (seasoned and newbies- we don't discriminate around here!) get stuck in the “ad revenue” or “affiliate income” boxes.

(DISCLAIMER: This post isn't to say that either way is "right." It was simply written to give you more information about what each scenario would look like so you can make your own educated decisions.)

While both of those income streams are great and wonderful in your business, they aren’t the only possible revenue streams for your business. So I’m really excited to be covering this topic and encourage more of you bloggers to make your own products! 

Think About Creating Your Own Products to Sell on Your Blog

I’ve never done an official survey so I'm not going to throw out a blanketed response saying, “Yes, most bloggers sell a product," because I don’t have actual data to support that.

But I definitely encourage my own students to do so because of my own experience running my blogging business, as well as the experiences my peers have shared while running their own blogging businesses. 

If you’re a new blogger out there, I encourage you to think of creating your own products from Day 1! 

I know that doing so may seem like an enormous, unattainable project that you may never get to, but it’s really not as complicated as it sounds. It certainly requires hard work and has its own complexities but it’s not as hard and complicated as what most people make it to be.

The Scenario Where You Don’t Sell Products…

Let’s talk about the blogs that don't have a product for a second- the one's whose income is based on either traffic or service-based sources. (And hey, like I mentioned before, whatever path you choose is the right path for you! This post isn't to say that either way is "right." It was simply written to give you more information about what each scenario would look like so you can make your own educated decisions.) 

If you’re depending on traffic for your income, then you're busting your bootie every single day to get as many people as possible over to your website. 

Some examples of revenue streams that are dependent on traffic are ad revenue and affiliate income. Obviously, you're more likely to make an affiliate sale if you're increasing your traffic. But ad revenue is where you’re really counting on those pageviews because you only get paid when you get visitors to your site.

On the flip side, if you’re offering services then you're making money with each client but are trading time for dollars.

I used to offer services on my website but I don’t do it anymore because it took up a lot of my time. I have a young son at home and I realized that I was limiting how much money I could make to how many clients I could fit in my schedule. 

When my son was born (and all semblance of a typical schedule flew out the window), I decided that I needed more passive sources of income like ad revenue or selling products.

So yes, I'm an advocate of blogs that offer services because I did it myself. It's a great way to share your talents! But keep in mind that you’re always trading time for dollars and that as long as you’re taking time off, you’re not making money.

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The Math: How many views do you need to make money blogging?

If I could go back in time and give myself a little piece of advice, it would be to stop stressing so much about bringing in new people and to start focusing on the readers I already had. I would say, "Allison, what are you doing?! Start making products and find other ways to make money that isn’t 100% dependent on ad revenue." While ad revenue is wonderful to have, it shouldn’t be the only thing I’m counting on.

Here’s an example of why most bloggers should try focusing more on selling products:

(This is an imaginary example based off of results I have had and the results my fellow bloggers have had. Results always vary based on niche, popularity, trends, etc.)

Let’s say that you work really really hard for a long time and that you’re getting 100,000 pageviews every single month. Let’s also say that you work with an ad company and you’re getting $10 CPM. 

(Cost per thousand (CPM) is a marketing term, meaning that you receive a certain amount for every 1,000 ad impressions on one page on your site.) 

So that means:

(100,000 pageviews/1,000) x $10 CPM = $1,000/month.

You’re bringing home $1,000 each month in ad revenue

One of my Blogging to Win students asked, “Do most bloggers sell a product?” I wish I got this question more often, especially when people are trying to make money blogging! Don’t underestimate the power of creating your own products. Let’s go over some math to make my point… ● DO MOST BLOGGERS SELL A PRODUCT

The Math: How much can bloggers make selling products on their blog?

Now let’s look at what happens if you sell a product online.

Let’s say your focus is getting people on your email list through some sort of incentive that also coordinates with the product you offer.

We'll pretend you have 300 people on your list. This is a good size for a list but it isn’t huge and it shouldn’t take you that long if you’re bringing in the RIGHT people- subscribers who are interested in the topic of the product you're selling. It’s not 100,000 UNINTERESTED people, but 300 of the RIGHT people.

We'll also say that you have a product for $99 and that you’re average conversion rate is about 5% (That means 5% of the people that get on your e-mail list are also going to purchase your product). 

Let's do the math: 

(300 subscribers) x (5% conversion rate) x ($99 product) = $1,485/month

Obviously, bringing home $1,485 by selling products on your blog outperforms the ad revenue figure we calculated. But this also means you didn’t have to bust your butt, focusing solely on traffic. 

What you’re really doing in this scenario is capturing the audience that you already have even if it’s a bit smaller.

I know I’ve said this on the blog before but I'll say it again- integrating products into my business really changed things in so far as revenue and the audience that I’m attracting.

I love the fact that most of the people that are coming onto my site are very proactive and want to accomplish great things with their blog. I feel like by having a product on my site that encourages accomplishing and growing a blogging business, I'm able to meet a cool group of driven businesswomen. I love that! 

What can I sell as a blogger?

There are many items (electronic and physical) that you can sell on your blog! Here are the most popular items I see my students and peers create and sell on their sites:

  1. eBooks

  2. Membership Sites

  3. Design Goods

  4. Photography

  5. Online Courses

  6. Podcasts (you don’t technically sell this item but you monetize it)

You can learn more about the things you can sell on your blog in this post here.

When should I start selling products on my blog?

Selling products on your blog should start from Day 1 if you can. Don’t worry if you’ve been blogging for awhile already- your Day 1 can start today!

Here’s my recommended timeline for selling products as a blogger:

  • Start brainstorming on Day One of starting your blog

  • Build up content on your site for an extended period of time to establish authority in niche

  • Offer product when you’ve gained enough insight from your readers to know what product they want and need the most

I have an entire blog post that goes into more detail about how to start selling products on your blog, how you can make money, and how much you can earn from your blog in this post here.

So there you have it- two scenarios to consider when you’re deciding whether or not you should sell products on your blog!

Love how the Math just shows it clearly. Having products to sell on your blog allows you to make income from your blogging business in a more efficient way. It means you can get the opportunity to earn the same amount of money (if not more) compared to relying only on ad revenue or services with less time and effort spent. I hope this has inspired you to start thinking about adding value through products you can sell. 

(DISCLAIMER: This post isn't to say that either way is "right." It was simply written to give you more information about what each scenario would look like so you can make your own educated decisions.)