Last Updated on January 10, 2022 by James McAllister

By: James McAllister


Today I’m going to be completely honest with you, because it’s something many people need to hear.

I don’t care how much your blog is making or who told this to you (even if it was me), your blog is not a business. Not at all. So quit calling it one!

Your Blog Is Just A Blog

Blogs don’t make money. Businesses make money.

I can’t even count how many people I’ve met that start up a blog with some lackluster content, throw some ads up and say, “Hey everybody, look at me! I’ve got a business!”

No. No you do not. 

10 years ago you probably could make a good living on Adsense alone. Now the entire world is trying and very few people can achieve that. You want to make as much of your audience as you can.

If you want money (more than $50 a month from Adsense), you use your blog as a tool to drive visitors to your business. This is where you make sales. This is where steady, consistent income comes in.

So before we continue on, let’s make this clear. Your blog is just a tool to get people into your business. Your blog is the giant billboard that says, “here’s what I have to offer and here’s where you can find it.”

Many people will read it, many less will become customers. The customers are what make you money, so they are valuable.

Got it? Good. Let’s continue.

If My Blog Isn’t A Business, What Is?

Your business is promoting products – whether your own or as an affiliate.

These promotions will almost always be done through your email list.

This is why when people ask me to explain what I do with my websites, I call myself an email marketer – because that’s where my money is made. This is the case for most people – most money is made through their email list.

Therefore, your blog’s primary purpose should be to get people onto your email list and into your sales funnel so you can promote to them.

Look around this site. How many opt-in forms do you see? There are four. Three standard forms and one pop-up incase you miss the others. If someone wants to get onto my mailing list, I want to make it as easy as possible.

Even further, I created an awesome traffic building course to share with those who sign up.

As you can see, getting people onto my mailing list is a huge priority. It’s the primary reason my blog is here.

You should adopt the same strategy. Because at the end of the day, it’s your promotion of products that makes you money – not your blog itself.

I’m going to assume you’re already using a paid email marketing service like ActiveCampaign, so creating some attractive opt-in forms and filling your autoresponder with awesome content shouldn’t be too challenging for you.

Your Blog Is Not A Business… But You Should Think Of It Like One!

Before when I’ve said, “your blog is a business”, what I really meant was you should think of your blog like a business. Which is absolutely true.

However, thinking of something like a business does not make it a business, and this is why so many people start up blogs, neglect the challenging business aspects, and then complain that they’re not making any money.

You’re here reading this article so I already know you’re more dedicated to making money than most of the people I’ve ran into over the years. You and I both know that this whole blogging thing isn’t all fun and games.

So I know you’ll take it to heart when I say “take a business approach.” And by that, I mean:

  1. Forget the word “passion” or any of its synonyms.
  2. Find a topic that interests you that you’d like to learn more about.
  3. Analyze the profitability of this niche. Are there products for sale? Can you appeal to different income levels (low cost products as well as expensive ones?) What are the demographics of these item’s buyers? Are there both info and physical products for sale? Can you create a product in this niche? What other niches would this audience be interested in? How can you promote those products to them?
  4. Develop a marketing plan. How will you stand out in this niche? How will you drive people to your site, without relying on third party companies like Google? What are the authorities in this niche? How can you compete?
  5. Develop a sales funnel. Can you develop a valuable lead magnent? How will you set up your autoresponder for subscribers? What other things can you talk about through email?

As you can see, there are a LOT of questions to answer.

It’s definitely a lot easier to scream, “I love rock collecting! That’s what my site is going to be about!” and start blogging right away. But you’ll be screaming again later in frustration when you’re not making any money.

Taking the time to ask yourself all of these vital questions before taking the time to start a site really opens to your eyes as to whether or not you really can make a business out of this niche.

Remember, the blog only acts a tool to get people into your sales funnel.

Display Advertising Sucks

“But James, you’re using display ads on this site! How could you say it sucks?”

I do run ads on this website, but is not my main focus.

Nor should it be yours, unless you’re specifically setting your website up for this. I call this the ‘content machine’ model as it’s reliant on acquiring extremely large amounts of traffic to succeed with.

The truth is, almost every other monetization strategy will make you more per visitor than display ads will – even on premium ad networks like Mediavine or AdThrive.

Display ads can be a decent ‘catch-all’ monetization strategy for everyone else though, as long as you don’t go overboard with the ads.

Automated Marketing Rules

I recently spent 10 or so hours developing an autoresponder sequence for the niche site I discussed a few months ago.  Traffic is starting to pick up from it due to a steady stream of eBook sales. This is definitely going to be something I’ll be investing time in for the long haul, as there are very few experts and the market is growing rapidly.

However, I’m a very busy guy and wanted to do as much of this on autopilot as I possibly could. Autoresponders make this really freaking easy.

Incase you aren’t already familiar with autoresponders, they essentially allow you to send pre-written emails at set intervals. I have a series of emails in my autoresponder set up for this new site that sends out regular emails for two months after the subscriber signs up for my mailing list, and I’m still developing it further.

Throughout this a multitude of different products are promoted, meaning soon I’ll be getting a steady flow of sales.

I love it. ActiveCampaign’s autoresponder is incredible and has saved hundreds of hours in work already. It’s the single most valuable tool I own.

It is after all, where my business is.


Next time you think that your blog is a business, stop and ask yourself: is it the blogging itself that makes money, or is it the promotion of products that makes you money?

What is your blog’s true purpose?

What results in money being transferred from your customers bank accounts to your own?

Is blogging really your job, or is marketing your job?

Think about it.


About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

CommentLuv badge
  1. Hi James,

    Indeed, Your blog is not your business unless you have a plan to monetize it. A good sales funnel has to be in place for the many ways we set up our blogs for opt-ins.

    Our blogs have to give good content, and is a place where people will check out while doing a sales campaign. Whenever I do a campaign, people always check out my blog and tell me how great it is and how many people comment on it.

    We cannot depend on our blogs to do business because how many people actually come to it. Even pro bloggers…200? How the heck can we do business with only 200 people?

    We need to have a good marketing plan, target audience and a sales funnel in place. That is where we can reach others to opt in. I can tell you that I love blogging, but most of my business comes from the marketing campaigns I run. Sure, some will opt in to an offer from my blog, but that is a small percent.

    Blogging and marketing can go hand in hand. But one must have the mindset not to depend on their blogs only for business. There are many doors to open to people to get them on our sales funnel and that is where we need to put most of our efforts


    donna merrill recently posted…Sales Funnels In 2015My Profile

    1. Hi Donna!

      I agree with you completely. I actually didn’t think about it the other way – introducing your blog to people who have opted into your mailing list from another avenue such as a landing page. You’ve got a good point there – having an active blog is a great way to build credibility for people already on your mailing list.

      I’m getting a lot of my leads from Facebook ads at the moment so these are people that do not even know my blog exists when they opt in. It’s always a nice surprise to them and gives them more content of mine to consume. Heck, these people become some of my most loyal readers which is great. I may write a post about this soon because Facebook has been working wonders for me.

      Speaking of writing, I was considering for a while boosting the number of posts here on Help Start My Site up two twice a week, but that just doesn’t give me enough time to market them and focus on other avenues as well. I really want to prioritize product creation this year and get a good series of books out so most of my writing time is going to that instead.

      Like you I absolutely love blogging but you’ve got to spend time building the business back-end if you want to reap the rewards of running a business.

      Thank you so much Donna for your valuable comment. Always appreciate you taking the time to add to my posts.

      James McAllister recently posted…How To Build A Successful Amazon Affiliate Site – The Ultimate GuideMy Profile

  2. Considering the fact that my website is making money for me till then it is a business for me, your experience may be little different from me, very well pen out… Thanks James


    1. Hi Arkads!

      You’ve got to stop and ask yourself – is it the site that makes money, or is the promotion of products that results in money being placed into your bank account?

      I took a look at your site and noticed you’re collecting email addresses which is great. THAT is what is going to make you money as a marketer – not the site itself. The site is what helps you get people into the email list so you can make a business out of them.

      Sure, you can make money off of the site itself through ad revenue but that is nothing compared to what is made through product promotion. If your priority is on ad revenue than you won’t be in business too long 😉

      Build a business outside of the site and you’ll see way better results with a lot less effort. Believe me.

      Thanks for stopping by Arkads!

      James McAllister recently posted…Are You Updating Your Old Blog Posts?My Profile

  3. Hi James

    Great article, thanks, and it’s helped me clarify some thought about my own business, because I’ve recently started going to local business networking groups – and I really need to be clear about what my business actually is! Silly as that might sound…

    It’s one thing when we’re all blogging away to each other, but when you stand in front of a group of “real world” business people you can’t say “I’m a blogger” and get away with it!

    Another point about Adsense, that I found to my cost…. they shut my Adsense account down and didn’t send on my earnings that were under the current payout threshhold. I never really found out what their problem with my site was!

    Have a great weekend. Joy

    Joy Healey recently posted…James McAllister InterviewMy Profile

    1. Hi Joy!

      Unfortunately it’s true – people tend not to take bloggers seriously for some reason.

      Personally I’ve always tailored my ‘profession’ to the people I’m talking to. For example, to a group of creative writing students I may introduce myself as a ‘published author’ rather than an ’email marketer.’

      The truth is we all do 30 different jobs and its hard to really put a name on all of it. My default title to lay back on is ‘entrepreneur’ – owning a business is really what that’s all about I suppose.

      Very strange to hear about your situation with Adsense. That’s one thing about the program – support is horrible and you can never get in contact with anybody from Google if you need to. It’s a real shame, to be honest.

      It’s a steady earner for sure but there are way better alternatives, especially in the MMO/IM markets.

      Thanks for stopping by, you have a good one too!

      James McAllister recently posted…How Publishing An eBook Can Push Your Blog To New LevelsMy Profile

  4. You made a very good point, James.
    That’s a great article for my first visit at your blog.

    I agree that many people tend to create websites for the sake to make money right away.
    You know?
    There are 644 million active websites on the Internet according to Netcraft today.
    When I started blogging, back in 2010, there was “just” 206 million.
    This is simply to tell that the trend won’t decrease in future.

    So if you really want to make money with your blog, then you need to “sell” something.
    A product or a service.
    It’s simply like that.
    Most of the people don’t understand that.

    Thanks for the share, James.
    Tweeting it right now.
    Hope you had a great beginning of this 2015.

    Erik Emanuelli recently posted…What You Need to Make Your Blog Mobile-FriendlyMy Profile

    1. Hey Erik!

      Really nice to see you here, I’ve been following your site for a while now so waking up to your comment this morning was a nice surprise.

      It really amazes me how many people reply with “ads” when I ask them how they are planning to monetize their site. ESPECIALLY since, as you noted, there is way more competition today and Adsense no longer has the power it used to.

      Like you said, there has got to be products or services for sale. Products are a sign of a healthy market. You should be able to make your own products as well. Ideally your sales funnel will be large, because I find most money is made by selling multiple products to the same set of buyers.

      I may write more about this in the future because it’s SO important to understand.

      Appreciate you stopping by Erik, hope to talk to you again soon!

      James McAllister recently posted…Should You Use Email Pop-Ups? Do Pop-ups Acually Work?My Profile

  5. Thanks for the wake up call James!

    Let’s face it, a lot of wannabe newbie marketers, whether
    they realize it or not, are definitely hobby bloggers
    at best.

    And they were led to believe or chose to believe, the blogging
    aspect of their online business, wasn’t or isn’t as intense as it actually is!

    And now that they’ve gotten a taste of reality, they quickly
    realize, they don’t or aren’t willing to put in the necessary work!

    Thanks for being so blunt , and telling it like it is!

    Mark recently posted…So How Do Nothing Down Real Estate Investment Techniques Help Savvy Entrepreneurs Make Money?My Profile

    1. Hey Mark!

      Yep, it’s sad to think about, but it’s true. You can have a hobby or you can have a business, but these two things need to be handled differently. So many people ignore fundamental business concepts that they NEED to apply if they want to get anywhere.

      But you are right, businesses have no emotions, they operate in reality, and reality hits these people hard. It can’t be ignored. Those who operate in reality will find success in the business world, and those who don’t will disappear. It’s inevitable.

      Great points Mark!

      James McAllister recently posted…These 5 Things Are Distracting You From Achieving Your Blogging GoalsMy Profile

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Join The VIP Club!

Sign up for the VIP Club and immediately gain access to...

  • 500+ business, marketing, and personal development lessons.
  • A private community forum / support group.
  • My entire library of courses, templates, cheat sheets and swipe files.
  • Many other bonuses!
Send this to a friend