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Success Story

Young Entrepreneurs Who Made Millions Online [Infographic]


Online, you can be successful no matter what your age – and we have the proof! Check out this infographic showing some of the top young entrepreneurs who’ve become millionaires through their work online:


Editor’s note: These online entrepreneurs make me motivated to work harder. I love a good success story! But your role models don’t have to be millionaires. Whose online success story motivates you? Leave a comment with the name of the online entrepreneur who inspires you!

The Life-Changing Move I Made When I Wanted to Quit Blogging


Feel like your blog has stalled? I’ve been there. Today’s post is a pretty personal one for me.

I think all bloggers get to a point where they plateau. Your content is great, but you don’t have any more readers than you did last month. You’re enjoying what you’re doing, but the blog isn’t paying the bills. You read all the top blogs about blogging, but the tips and tricks they post don’t really seem to be working for you.

I’ve been there. I’ve completely stalled out and wanted to quit, so today, I thought I’d tell you all the story of how I got past it.

My Beginnings

My personal blogging story begins in 2006 when I was still in college. I got hired to work for a now-defunct blogging network where I ran three different blogs, and later I moved on to working for b5media, a place where other NMX-ers past and present also got their start.

It wasn’t long before I started thinking, “Hey, I’m spending all of this time blogging for other people. Why don’t I just do it myself?”

I went into the whole “blogging for yourself” thing convinced that I’d be the next big name on the virtual block inside six months or so. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but what did happen is that I started learning all I could about blogging and how to do it better.

So from 2007 to 2009, I built my blogs, as well as continuing to blog for other people. Things went well, but I was soon extremely frustrated with my lack of growth. I quit some of my blogs and blogging jobs. I considered quitting others. I was ready to just get a “real job” and forget this whole online entrepreneur thing once and for all.

And Then I had a Major Breakthrough

Obviously, I did not quit, as I’m writing this little post for you today. So what changed? Easy; I did one thing that I had not been doing before and it completely turned things around.

I invested in education.

I had spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (my own, my parents’ and in scholarships) to go to a four-year school and major in Professional Writing, but I never once spent a dime learning how to be a better blogger. Certainly, you don’t need a degree to be successful in your career, but you absolutely do need education. And I was lacking it.

The truth of the matter is that you can read this blog or other blogs about blogging all day long, but it isn’t the same as actually investing in an educational program, like the one we offer at NMX.

Actually, the first educational program I bought wasn’t NMX (BlogWorld at the time), but rather a membership to a blogging 101 program. The information in this program wasn’t really what I wanted, to be honest (I was looking for something more advanced), but it sparked something inside of me. Every “learning module” was something I already knew, but I had gotten lax in my blogging duties. Now that I was paying for it, I felt like I needed to listen to what I was being taught. So, I spruced up my content and monetization efforts, as well as made improvements to the way I was promoting my work via social media and email. Immediately, my stats across the board jumped up, and it wasn’t just a random spike. It was actually working.

The Best Think I Ever Did for My Blog

Then, I did the best thing I have ever done for my blog to date: I attended my first BlogWorld. It literally changed my life.

Now, I’m sure that you’ll take what I say with a grain of salt, since I now work full-time for NMX (previously BlogWorld). But anyone who knows me knows that there’s no way I’d ever work for a company I didn’t believe in 100%. When I say attending this event was the best move of my career, I’m not exaggerating. I had drinks with a-list bloggers. I made partnership deals with others who have since become some of my closest professional friends. I soaked up so much information that it was almost overwhelming, and when I got home, I took my personal blogs to levels they had never before seen.

Not to mention that I’m now courted for consulting and blogging jobs within the new media industry. I went from being a no-name blogger struggling with the tempting idea of quitting to someone who is not only proud of the blogs she has built, but cringing at the thought of ever having to give up this work.

So I hope that you’ll join me at NMX this January. I’m confident that you’ll have a similar experience – that investing in your education as a blogger (or podcaster or video producer) will be the best thing you could have ever done for your career.

And while in Vegas, definitely get in touch with me. I’d love to meet up and trade blogging war stories!

Photo Credit: Bigstock

How I Successfully Make Money Building and Selling Blogs


I’ve been creating content online since 2006. I started out building a camping website with my husband, which we would work on in the evenings after the kids went to bed. We came up with the topic through keyword research and looking at the stats. It was purely about the stats, because let me tell you, I hate camping. A true vacation to me includes a hotel room, a pool and maid service.

Needless to say, we weren’t successful and we ended up losing money. But I had been bitten by the online bug and knew this was where I belonged.

Start with a Topic You Know and Love

Fast forward a few months, when we decided to create another website. It was on a topic I could sink my teeth into, write hundreds of articles off the top of my head and just enjoy. My husband did the keyword research and I wrote the articles. We started making money within a few months and I knew we had something legitimate on our hands.

After working on the site for about 8 months and increasing the income to just under $1,000 a month on average, we decided to sell. I was bored. I felt like I really had nothing left to give to the site and I was ready to move on to something else. We listed the site on a popular online website marketplace and within a few days sold the site for a high four-figure sum.

Show Me the Money

This site had around 25 pages of content, so let’s do the math here: sold for $7,500, which was making $900 a month and we created around 3 pages per month. The first three months we made just about nothing. Then it went from $200, to $400 to $600 and stayed at $900 up until we sold. Let’s figure we made around $11,000 total from both the sale and the combined monthly income. That means we were paid around $440 per page we wrote. Not bad. The buyer was purchasing a website which was ranking really well for highly searched keywords in the search engines, plus a steady income we had built. It was a win-win.

I think this site sold for what it did for several reasons:

  • I was writing about something I was passionate about and had first-hand knowledge of and experience with
  • We did the research up front to make sure we had a reasonable shot at making the site quite profitable if we did the work required
  • We wrote the content with our readers in mind first of all, but using words that the search engines would like and would reward us for

And Then Blogging Entered My Life…

After building websites, I discovered the world of blogging. I have not looked back since. Not only have I built and run several successful blogs, but I have also sold several. Some I built with the intention of selling, while others I decided to sell after simply losing the desire to continue pouring myself into it. Chalk it up to a short attention span.

Let’s play with the numbers for a minute, shall we?

I sold one blog for $4,000 after building it for 6 months. How did I come up with the idea for the blog? I focused on both keyword research and knowledge about the topic. Do you see a pattern here?

The blog was making just over $500 a month and I was working on it for about an hour a day. It’s not an extreme amount of money by any means, but $500 a month can make or break the bank for some people.

The Moral of the Story

What’s the moral of the story here? There are several actually.

Each post you write has value. Whether you are writing the posts on your blog for your readers, for the search engines, or to appeal to a potential future buyer, each post you write has value. So treat it that way.

It is possible to make a decent income with your blogging efforts. I have people ask me all the time “Can I really make money from this?” Yes. But, it takes knowledge about your topic, passion and a willingness to consistently do the work required.

You don’t have to be an A-lister to make money. I am by no means an A-list blogger. Most people in the online world don’t even know I exist. I kind of like it that way. But I can tell you this; I make a full-time income from my blogs and am thankful every day for this opportunity that I have been given.

Do you have any secrets to your blogging success? Have you bought or sold a blog? Share a little of your blogging story in the comment section below.

How I Tripled My Mailing List Sign-Ups in Under 10 Minutes


In addition to my own sites and the work I do here at BlogWorld, I also help other clients with their blogs. Recently, I was tasked with helping a client with his mailing list, and although my main job was to write some auto-responders, I also made a few simple suggestions regarding the mailing list sign-up box on his site.

It took my client less than ten minutes to make the changes, and he saw an immediate increase in daily sign-up, even though his traffic stayed about the same. In fact, his daily sign-up rate actually tripled.

So what do you think? Is ten minutes of your time worth triple the sign-ups to your mailing list?

Sign Up Box Location

The first and most obvious suggestion I made was to move the sign-up box and add it to different places to his site. He already had the box on his sidebar, but it wasn’t above the fold. He moved it to be at the very top of his sidebar, so anyone landing on his site, even if they were only there for a few seconds, would see it.

The bigger different, however, came when he also placed a sign-up box at the end of his posts. It’s pretty easy to add this to your code so you don’t have to actually manually add it at the bottom of every post. At the end of your post, you need a call to action, and unless you actually write, “Hey, sign up for my mailing list,” people are probably not going to remember to scroll back up to the top of your sidebar to do that. Put it at the bottom, and bam! Sign ups out the wazoo.

Wazoo is an official term.

Sign-Up Box Language

Next, my client took my advice to change the language on the sign-up box itself. He had something pretty generic there, like “Sign up on for my mailing list and get a FREE ebook!” Okay, awesome, he’s giving away something for free. But let’s face it – there are a lot of free ebook offers out there, especially in his niche (search engine optimization). If you’re in what I call a non-internet niche (like cooking or dating or collecting miniature ponies or something), a free ebook might still be a good idea. But to an SEO professional, that language really just reads, “In order to get this free crap that you probably don’t want, you have to agree to let me send you a bunch of emails that you also probably don’t want.”

So, he changed his language to make the offer sound more exclusive. People don’t just want free stuff. They want free stuff that no one else has. They want to be a part of something, even if it is just a mailing list, because it makes them feel like a special member. So, he changed the language to (I’m paraphrasing), “Become a member of my SEO email club and get a free ebook EXCLUSIVELY for members.”

Not only did he start to get more sign-ups, but those people also stuck around longer. Previously, a pretty high percentage would grab the ebook and immediately unsubscribe, but those numbers are now way down.

Sign-Up Box Information

Lastly, take a look at what information you’re requiring of potential sign-up-ees. Most sign-up boxes I see ask for a name and email address, but some ask for more, like checking a box or including other information. Every single little thing that your readers have to do is another setback for you. People don’t like giving away information, nor do they like anything that looks like work.

Think about your audience. Do you need to have them include a name, for example? If you work in a niche where people value their anonymity, taking away that requirement could help you gather more sign-ups. My client, in his SEO field, wanted to keep the “name” box for signing up, but he took away the little check box that said “check here to receive emails.” Hitting the “submit” button made this check box pretty redundant.

Also take a look at the emails you send someone after they subscribe. I don’t consider someone officially subscribed until they verify, since they won’t get any emails until that point. On one of my own highly-targeted mailing lists, I stopped requiring them to confirm by clicking the verify link in the auto-email that subscription services send. Instead, in my first follow-up welcome message, I make a very clear note that if they don’t remember signing up, they can simply hit the unsubscribe button.

The result? More actual list members. I have a higher number of unsubscribes within the first three messages, but the overall total is a lower percentage than before when you combined the number of unsubscribes and unverified subscribers. In other words, for me, it worked.

Don’t Forget to Test

Before closing out this post, I wanted to make a special note to remind you to test test test! For my client, the above changes made sense. They might for you as well. But there’s so much dynamic content on a blog, that it’s hard to tell. Did your subscriber count go up because you added a sign-up box at the end of your posts? Or did if go up because you wrote especially compelling content one day this week? Or are people responding to different wording? Or did an a-lister tweet about you, and you saw an influx of readers and subscribers?

The only way to know for sure is to do split testing. I personally use Aweber as my email list management system, and they make it really easy to do split testing. I’m told that others do as well. So change things slowly can see what really is working for you before making any permanent changes.

Food Blogger Tackles the Issue of Unhealthy School Lunches


She is a school speech pathologist by day and an anonymous food blogger by night, until she recently revealed her identity on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Known as “Mrs. Q” on her food blog Fed Up With Lunch, teacher Sarah Wu was ready (well kind 0f) to reveal herself and her mission to make school lunches healthier. For a year she ordered lunch from her school’s cafeteria and snapped a picture of it.

It all started when she forgot her lunch one day and had to buy one from the cafeteria. She told GMA “It was barely recognizable as food”. She found out the chicken nuggets were only 50 percent chicken, as well as a whole hosts of many other unpleasing tidbits of info about her school’s lunches.

Wu never intended for the blog to get as much attention as it did, but she hit a chord with parents. Not only was she shocked to see what the school was serving (and for some kids this was their only meal of the day) but the parents were shocked as well.

It was in December of 2010 that she ate her last school lunch. I love what she says in her post about going with your gut. She had a crazy impulse to start a blog on something she was passionate about, and now she has her own book, a successful blog and is helping her students inch one step closer to healthier lunches in their school.

Watch her interview on GMA in this video clip below.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Is there a blog that you’ve been wanting to start but you just needed a little push? Consider this your little push. Go for it! You truly have no idea where it could lead you or what it could do for others.

Image: SXC

Design Student Sells Her Popular Blog Inhabitat, Staying On as Editor in Chief


Design student Jill Fehrenbacher started her green design blog, Inhabitat, in her spare time and never intended on turning it into a business. Little did she know how it would grow to the point where 6 1/2 years later she would sell it, for what I can only imagine, was a nice chunk of change. She announced this morning that Inhabitat has been acquired by Internet Brands.

Fehrenbacher describes herself as an “accidental entrepreneur” in a post she did this past spring about the story of Inhabitat.

She wrote, “For me the whole route to entrepreneurship has been surprisingly gradual and almost accidental. One day I started a blog, and then the next thing I knew, I was incorporating a business, using words like ‘cap table’ and reading management books. Yikes! What happened to the idealistic video artist of my youth?”

Just to give you an idea of how large this blog is, at the beginning of the year it had 11 million (yes, million) uniques a month and as of now has 15 million uniques. It’s 6 1/2 years old. Did I mention that already?

And now, almost 7 years later, she’s handing her baby over although will be staying on as Editor-in-Chief.

Here’s a snippet from her announcement post:

On this note, I am happy to announce today that Inhabitat is becoming part of Internet Brands, an LA-based media company that is a master of managing and growing niche websites like ours. With hundreds of talented employees and 85 million total readers every month, Internet Brands will be able to help professionalize our business and take Inhabitat to the next level in terms of technology, advertising, and most importantly, our editorial content.

How did she do it you might ask? Brick by brick she says: “There was never really one specific ‘big break’ that helped me get my business off the ground, but really more a series of ‘small breaks’ over a long period of perseverance that added up, brick by brick, to help me build the foundations of my business.”

What do you think about her success and the acquisition of Inhabitat? Does it inspire you to keep on blogging and working hard?

Blogger Success Story: 'You Make a Living at That?'


Blogger Success Story: Daniel Gray (Want to share your success story? Feel free to email me!)

Daniel Gray is the founder and editor-in-chief of MPGomatic.com, “where mileage matters” … the Internet’s independent authority on fuel efficient vehicles and the revolution in transportation. A veteran tech writer, Daniel has a penchant for both the untold tale and the long tail. He began his Internet career in 1995 and ceased felling trees in 2004 to focus his efforts exclusively online. Daniel has also been a BlogWorld & New Media Expo speaker! Here is his story:

The concept of making a living as a full-time independent blogger is a dream to many and a reality to few. I’ve been living it for well over a decade.

I worked my last conventional job in the mid-to-late nineties (coincidentally, my first Internet job). The job entailed daily posts and from-the-floor trade show reports. I was blogging away back in 1995, long before the term was coined.

The early days were more than a bit crazy.

We had no real software, no content management system. Everything was hacked out in HTML by hand in whatever text editor we had at hand. Forget about wireless broadband in the hotel room (or anywhere else, for that matter) … We had to literally pull wires out of the wall on our first overseas trip, to attach alligator clips to the phone lines in the hopes of hearing the happy screech of the 56K modem.

The pace was hectic.

In addition to working a full-time job, I was moonlighting, writing computer how-to books with conventional publishers. 72-hour weeks were the norm. I was burning myself out, thankfully still young enough to endure the pace.

Things changed dramatically when my employer closed up their local office. I stayed on as a contract employee for a while. I looked forward to being able to strike out on my own. The process of telecommuting taught me how to operate independently,

When the doors closed on the contract work, I made the conscious decision to take an initial leap into gainful unemployment. I focused on my somewhat conventional writing career. It was a leap of faith.

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