Category: make money blogging

How To Make Pinterest Graphics That Drive Massive Traffic To Your Blog (Full In-Depth Tutorial)

How To Make Pinterest Graphics That Drive Massive Traffic To Your Blog
How To Make Pinterest Graphics That Drive Massive Traffic To Your Blog – Graphic © 8FigureStack. Background photo – Shutterstock (under license)

This tutorial will show you how to create Pinterest graphics that blow away the competition! 🙂

Introduction / Getting Started

After 8 years of doing this; creating and testing thousands of images and generating millions of visitors (yes really millions, I am not exaggerating) from Pinterest to my 20+ blogs, I think I can safely say that I have identified the key factors that go to make up a successful Pinterest graphic… 😉

For this tutorial I am going to assume that you / your graphic designer have the required technical skills to operate Photoshop, Canva or whatever design platform you are using. (If you are totally new to creating graphics – use Canva. Canva rocks. I love it. I used the free version of Canva to create the above graphic!)

Good news: You don’t need to be a college-educated graphic design pro to do this! I’m completely self taught in graphic design (using both Adobe Photoshop and Canva) and have created graphics that got millions (yes really) of shares.

No disrespect at all to pro designers – but the nuances of what go to make a successful social media graphic are not necessarily the same as the kind of graphic design that may be taught at college. Social media graphics that get massive traffic are a specific skill set and an art form in their own right – and this is what this tutorial is about!

Related Post: How To Make Money On Pinterest (full tutorial)

Traffic Equals Money

Generating traffic is the lifeblood of an internet based business. You may have heard the expression “traffic equals money” and it’s true.

I have multiple blogs pulling consistent traffic from Pinterest and these deliver an ongoing passive revenue stream. Here’s an example of the traffic on one of them:

This is a screenshot from the analytics of my recipe blog. You can see how traffic always spikes on the weekend, when people spend more time cooking. The “bump” in the middle was when the lockdowns started in 2020 and restaurants were closed!

Good graphics make a huge difference to your Pinterest traffic: You can create pretty much any image (that doesn’t break ToS of course) and pin it on Pinterest; however some images will generate crazy traffic and some will not. You need the RIGHT kind of images and there is an art and science to this. The VITAL thing to understand is how to make the kind of image styles that are going to get a lot of clickthroughs and repins.

Stand Out From The Pack

Put yourself in the mindset of the average Pinterest user who is ‘consuming content’. They are most likely either searching for content on a specific topic, looking at themed boards on topics they love, or randomly scrolling through images related to something they just looked at.

In every case, your pins are going to be presented by Pinterest in a “sea of pins”. Pinterest will notice which of those pins get the strongest engagement and will display those images to more people.

So making images that stand out from the pack and get the click is essential. Your images need to “pop” in a big way and for best results you need to understand what makes an image pop – then max out those characteristics.

The most successful Pinterest images tend to have one very strong hook that grabs the eyeballs immediately. Typically this hook will be either huge “power words” or a very compelling image (this image could be either an illustration or a photo).

Note that compelling images don’t necessarily have to be beautiful. They can be compelling because they are bizarre, unexpected or confusing: One of my most successful Pinterest images ever, featured a bright amber-orange colored blob of resin oozing from the trunk of a tree… I am sure its viral success is because it generated massive curiosity – the “What the heck is that?” reaction. It’s impossible to ignore.

A Bit Basic And “In Your Face” Often Beats Elegant

Note, interestingly, that ugly images can sometimes do really well. It has to be “the right kind of ugly” though. Super elegant graphics can get lots of repins but just don’t seem to drive traffic as well as graphics that jump off the page and grab you by the scruff of the neck.

Youtubers have learned that a wide-open mouth photo – even to the point of absurdity – grabs more attention than a photo of a person with their mouth closed. Look at “Mr.Beast” Youtube thumbnails for a perfect example of this.

You can see that the main graphics on this blog are intentionally bold, high contrast, somewhat “in your face” styles – with the most important words of the headline ramped up to a huge size…

Interestingly also, sometimes “amaeturish” (in the right way) looking graphics can have great appeal. The reason for this is psychological: If you are “super fancy”, it can be a bit unintentionally intimidating; leading people to “exclude themselves” subconsciously. Whereas (I hope this doesn’t sound terrible but it’s really true) if you come across “a bit basic”, people conclude “this person doesn’t exactly seem like a genius – but they are crushing it, which means I can do this too!” *click*…

Big Headlines Rule

Putting your headline into the graphic is a tried-and-tested tactic that works extremely well on numerous social media platforms. I discovered this in 2013 and it’s an absolute key factor that I’ve been using ever since. I’ve had “headline graphics” send so much Facebook traffic (over 260,000 pageviews in one day) that they crashed my VPS hosting; and once had a headline graphic earn me enough money in one weekend to buy a BMW – which I did (true story!!)

The first thing to note is that your headline should be a winner in its own right and should be displayed in a very large, clear, easy-to-read font, typically together with one or more attractive images – however sometimes “just the words” can work well too! Your logo should be in there somewhere but it can be v small and unobtrusive, because most people are not really too concerned about that at this point.

Make the words way too big. Then double that. Then make them a bit bigger still. And then they will be nearly big enough. 😉 You get the picture… Make your images with monster size words and lay them out clearly – because then your image just jumps out more than 99% of what is on the screen. Content creators are catching on now and you can see “big word” graphics all over Pinterest – but remember also that the majority of people simply don’t do this and never will, so you get an immediate, big advantage!

Now let’s look at how to arrange your headlines and words for maximum effect.

Vary The Word Size, The Right Way

You can see also that I put the “power words” in big, capitalized fonts, with the less “important” words minimized. This is deliberate too! When people are scrolling, they have a minimal attention span. A big block of uniform text is “too much” for the brain to process at first glance. Their eye is going to go naturally to something that is quick to comprehend and speaks directly to their needs. My graphic here was optimized so that the person scrolling on Pinterest will see “PINTEREST GRAPHICS” “DRIVE MASSIVE TRAFFIC” first. That’s the “hook” – as “bite sized” as I could make it! Then there is a second stage of comprehension, where they take in the rest of the headline, the other elements and make a snap decision “is this for me”?

Phrasing And Word Clusters

Note also that my headline wording is carefully organized so that the “flow” of the phrasing is natural:

How To
Make Pinterest Graphics
That
Drive Massive Traffic
To Your Blog

reads much easier than

How
To Make Pinterest
Graphics That
Drive Massive
Traffic To Your Blog.

Can you see the difference? This is more important than people realize!

Read your headline out loud – and take note of the natural tendency we have to “group” words into small clusters. Then organize your headline visually according to those clusters. This “natural phrasing” will help with at-a-glance comprehension – which is vital to grabbing attention!

Use More Than One Font

You can see that on all my main graphics for this blog, I use more than one font. That’s deliberate. I don’t know why, but it seems to add appeal and “just works”. Try using a blend of “handwriting” and bold sans-serif fonts. Handwriting fonts have a “friendliness” to them that is inviting and gives a flourish to “round off the edges”. Try also using a blend of lower case and capitals. If you exclusively use bold capitals, it “sounds like you are shouting” and that can put people off!

For the above graphic, the fonts I used were Euphoria Script, Open Sans Extra Bold, Josefin Sans Regular and Courier Prime (for the logo at the foot). The free version of Canva includes lots of super great fonts that ‘just work’ so explore and try some out until you find a ‘flavour’ that you feel represents you well and has the right vibe. 🙂

Lists, Numbers, Percentages And Brackets

A simple tried-and-tested headline formula that perennially works well is the “numbered list”. You can see these all over this blog. That’s deliberate! People love numbered lists. Strangely, researchers have found that odd numbers get more clicks than even numbers. I’ve no idea why.

How big should your list be? For some list-style blog posts, a very large list works well i.e. 80+ Ways To Make Extra Money – because that is indicative of a really high value resource. A “Top 10” list suggests a fun but informative post. However a small number (try 3,5 or 7), combined with a sense of urgency, suggests that the post will be a quick, low-commitment read but contain vital info; this can get tons of clicks too – for example something like “The 3 Things You Must Know Before You ___________” (try that headline! 🙂 )

In all the list graphics on this blog, you can see that I made the numbers really big on the page – bigger than the words – and put them in a circle of the opposite color, to make them jump out even more.

Percentages, specific amounts of money (be honest though, because that’s actually extremely important for legal reasons) and brackets, have all been shown to increase headline clickthrough as well and have all generated viral traffic for me. My God, am I really telling you all this for free? 😉 You don’t even know how much money this made me.

[for more on headlines, I will post a power headline tutorial very soon].

Optimal Pinterest Image Sizes / Image Ratios

The next thing to note is the image size and dimensions.  TLDR: Make your images 600×900, 800×1200 or 1000×1500. These are “tall” images with the height 1.5 times the width.

Here’s an example of how a well-crafted Pinterest image stands out:

This is a generic Pinterest “More like this” section. Which of the images in this screenshot stands out the most? Easy – the “Eco Experts” image!

You can see that in the “sea of images”, The Eco Experts not only have the biggest wording and most eye catching high-contrast colours, but they have the tallest image – which makes it about 3x as visible as the others!

This is important to understand. Because of the way images are displayed on Pinterest, with the image widths standardized and the heights variable, Pinterest naturally awards tall “portrait” images more overall “pixel real estate”. They simply take up more of the screen! Hardly anyone will notice a flat “landscape” image on Pinterest – because these are given a tiny amount of the screen and just don’t stand out at all.

So make tall “portrait versions” of your images and you will get more Pinterest clicks!

Not too tall, though. The height ratio needs to be in the zone: If you make your graphic super crazy tall, Pinterest automatically cuts off part of the image when it is in the feed! Pinterest themselves stated that super tall “skyscraper” images get less visibility from Pinterest’s algorithm – to stop people abusing this quirk of the way Pinterest displays images. We researched it and the maximum size ratio before it cuts off some is 1:2.1 – though note that this figure seems to change often.

I have done well with images that are between 600×600 (square) and 600×1260 and I think anything within this ballpark should be fine.

For years the optimal image size for Pinterest has been regarded as 600×900. Pinterest is now actually recommending 1000×1500 when you upload pins directly; however this is a hassle – because if you post an image at that size on your blog, it will load WAY slowly because of the massive file size – and Google for example uses page load speed as one of its ranking factors! Pushing up the recommended image size to 1000×1500 was in my view a horribly shortsighted move by Pinterest… but it is what it is. I’m still posting 600×900 images – and my old 600×900 images are still getting traffic. I’ve tried using 1000×1500 images and didn’t notice a difference in traction so far.

Tiny images – whether tall or flat – are not advised at all. I would say use nothing that is less than 600×600 pixels as a general rule of thumb. Images need to be more than 80 pixels in size to be picked up by Pinterest’s “pin it button”. Thumbnails won’t be found – for good reason. Also note that anything within flash sites or frames cannot be picked up by the Pin It button and shared on Pinterest, neither will web page “backgrounds”.

One Awesome Graphic Will Outperform 10 Average Or Weak Graphics, Every Time

Focus on quality first, quantity second.  A good graphic doesn’t have to be complex, but it has to have the right attributes.  Make it your goal to create graphics that are going to be big winners first, rather than just trying to crank out a gigantic number of run-of-the-mill images.

Let’s look in detail at some examples of good and bad Pinterest graphics:

Max Out The Appeal (Good And Bad Examples Below!)

Now this (below) is a GREAT pinterest graphic, and look – 20k repins, which is MEGA. They paid some bills with this graphic 😉


Image – homebnc.com

Whoever made this graphic was a Pinterest pro (and a real estate pro, I’ll bet). It has all the hallmarks. They made the whole thing very appealing and it really sparks some excitement.

Note how they laid out their photos.  There is one well-chosen “show piece” photo that has the wow factor, with that classic industry-standard “real estate golden glow” that is artificially added to make an interior space seem warm, cosy and inviting. Then there are a few small pics underneath, that you can’t really see, and so it makes you want to click them to make it bigger. I’d say that’s deliberate!  Also, you think, hmm, the headline says 50 altogether, but I can only see 7 thumbnails. That means there are many more in their article! This adds to the curiosity too.

Grabs attention → makes sense quickly → appeal generates desire → sparks curiosity = they got the click and the share.

It’s a great exercise to just go on Pinterest and search for something, it can be anything like ‘best living room designs’ or whatever, and then just scroll, and see which images jump out at you. You can see that only a few will jump off the page – and that most people are doing it totally wrong!


Not many people really understand this. It’s a ‘social media secret weapon’.  Most people are just posting whatever image they have and hoping for the best!

Even a large number of pro graphic designers don’t really know how Pinterest works (because they are not internet marketers!) and don’t know how much of a huge difference it makes when the image has all the right factors!


Image – Buzzfeed

This example (above) is not really a “Pinterest image” (it’s not tall) but this one did SUPER well on Facebook.  The wording is AWESOME. This is just how you should do the words for Pinterest. I rate this wording 10 out of 10. A textbook example. See how it fills up the entire space, has great color and grabs your attention in just the right way. See also how the most important words are BIG, speeding up comprehension and making it “bite sized”.

The image choice too is awesome. It features one of the 12 exercises, makes you want to check the other 11. Also the model is doing the pose well, and looks stylish in their black workout clothes. The whole thing is cool, cool, cool. Buzzfeed are of course Grand Masters of the social media game and success isn’t an accident…

Next (below) is an example that is “not bad”. It got 1k repins. Nice big words that hit you right in the face – check. And some useful info.  But… their color scheme is… kinda ugly to be honest… really no sense of style lol. Super uninviting bare concrete wall. Also, I would have put the numbers in each image, i.e. 1 – Downward Dog, 2 – Cat Pose…. so people can see 1,2,3,4,5 and then click because they want the other 4. Put the numbers in nice little colored circles also. People love things that don’t involve “mental gymnastics” to figure out what is going on.


Image – beachbodyondemand.com

Now this one (below) is better. It got 4k shares.


Image – hiitworkout.net

People love simple hand-drawn illustrations and in the health niche especially, simple “anatomical” style images of the body (or the parts of the body relevant to the post) are a proven winner. The overall colors here are nice. I still think the words could have been even bigger! But this is definitely on target – a winner.

Now apologies to the creator, but this one (below) is a true disaster, can you see why? So many reasons….


Image – freecycleusa.com

It grabs your attention, but, it does so like someone throwing a drink in your face.  First, that headline is a verbal train wreck. You are reading it and thinking huh??? “Number one best how to guide to.“  What???? Did they really write that and think it was good? It’s the most clumsy wording ever! Also their phrase grouping is non-existent.  



There are many other things wrong with this picture.  Their graphic has poor layout, truly horrible color choice… and the funny little skyscrapers and houses have nothing to do with containers also. Also, their photos have literally ZERO appeal. Not only are they ugly (compare this junkyard with the amazing sparkle in the container homes in the winning pic from homebnc.com and ask yourself “Who on earth would want to live in one of these rusty old boxes?”) – but also, they have cropped the photos terribly so you just can’t even see what is going on there anyway.  They are failing at social media. This graphic was done by a rank amateur, not a professional.

Sometimes “work in progress” pics can add interest to a graphic – but with recipes, DIY crafts and other creativity-oriented niches, a big “showpiece image” of the finished product should be front and center.

Learn From Your Data

As with all things social media; if you create a batch of new graphics and pin them, you will most likely find that some will flop, most will perform “somewhere in the middle” and a few will blow the others out of the water.

Quite often, you won’t be able to predict which posts will be the super strong ones. But then when you review the statistics, you can take note of which of your posts did best – and start to interpret why. This is absolutely key because it enables you to improve your skills. Study your analytics and learn from the data, so that you can do more of what works. You can also learn a huge amount from looking at the stats of other blogs.

This process of refinement is ongoing and you will improve over time – but you will find (I still do after 8 years) that the performance of your images can catch you by surprise. Typically when I get a “unicorn” image that generates mega shares and viral traffic, it was unexpected – however overall, you will become more consistent and your chances of hitting that bullseye viral image increase.

Keep learning and keep going – because, put simply, the more darts you chuck at the dartboard, the higher your odds of hitting the bullseye (especially if you learn from your shots as you go along).

You will find that after you have made thousands of graphics, you will be a reliable sharp shooter. It’s also fun to look back at your early attempts and see all the ways in which you have grown.

Another benefit of having a large image portfolio is that you will naturally end up with a higher number of winning cards in your hand – that you can re-play whenever you need a traffic boost. “A viral image is a viral image” – and in many cases can continue to generate good traffic even if re-posted years later! There are certain viral images of mine from the old days (2013) that still generate good traffic whenever I post them!

This phenomenon is interesting. You would have thought that “everyone would have seen it by now” – but that’s not the case. The world is big. Even if your post gets a million views, that means only about 1 in 7,000 people has seen it: Try posting it again a few months later – I bet it does well all over again. 😉

Learn From The Data Of Others

You can learn a huge amount about “what works” by looking at the statistics of other accounts! You have to know which stats matter, though. For Pinterest, the number of “monthly views” is the key metric when it comes to traffic and this gives a fairly reliable indication of how much traffic is being driven by that account. You can see the monthly view count on the home page of any Pinterest account.

Pinterest caps the “maximum” displayed monthly view count at 10m+ and so to see which designs really work best, dig around in Pinterest and make a list of accounts that have 10m+ monthly views. Then go to their “created” tab and check out their designs.

If A Design Is Performing Well, It’s Ok To Use Similar Layouts And Styles For Multiple Posts

Looking at Pinterest accounts that have a high number of monthly views (in the millions) you can see that quite often, they use the exact same design / layout / fonts / color schemes for multiple images, or even for all of their images! This doesn’t seem to be harming them at all! So, once you hit upon a winning design that gets noticeably better traffic than your other graphics, try making lots of images in this style. Interestingly also, this can have the effect of “brand recognition” of that style, which is very desirable – as well as speeding up the process of creating new Pinterest graphics! 🙂

I would suggest to try developing a number of different styles until something performs visibly better than your other designs (keep an eye on your blog analytics to see which posts are getting the most Pinterest traffic) – and then try replicating that design with new headlines and unique imagery. Canva has a super-useful “Make a Copy” function (in the “file” menu) and this can be used to duplicate an existing image, which you can then edit to use for a new post.

Image Licensing: Should You Use Free Or Paid Images?

While “free image” sites such as Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash give tons of amazing, usable “CC0 / Public Domain” images that you can incorporate into your graphics, numerous Pinterest pros now advise against using these – and my own research agrees.

The reason is simple: They have been massively over-used. Pinterest’s algorithm gives a visibility boost to original content. The vast majority of people use Pixabay / etc “free” images – and these will have likely already been used on hundreds or perhaps thousands of Pinterest graphics.

It’s widely agreed that you will notice a significant bump in the traffic generated from your Pinterest graphics when you stop using Pixabay / Pexels / Unsplash and other free image sources. My best performing pins ever have used either “paid” licensed images or images coming from uncommon, less well known sources…

So for best results, either take your own photos or license images from one of the “pro” image licensing sources such as Shutterstock or Adobe Stock. I love Shutterstock – they have tons of incredible images and if you purchase a monthly plan (you can always cancel before renewal) you get the best deal. So I tend to wait until I have a big batch of content that needs images – then buy a monthly plan, download the maximum amount and cancel before the renewal date.

Note – doing simple Photoshop processes to Pixabay images to try to “fly under the radar” of image uniqueness, probably won’t work. I tested this, using a Google reverse image search (which uses similar technology) and found that ‘flip horizontal’, resize, hue/saturation adjustment etc makes no odds, the image is still picked up. I had to really “smash” images to get them to beat Google reverse image search: “Inverse” (which creates a photo-negative) works but is not usable for the majority of photos because it looks terrible. Saving as a PNG with massively reduced color spectrum (i.e. down to 2,3 or 4 colors) also works and can look attractive, so this could possibly be utilized for some imagery.

What I just wrote will make sense if you are a Photoshop pro. All the above is time consuming and fiddly. You might as well just license an image or take a photo 😉

Pro Trick: Multiple Pinterest Images Per Blog Post

In order to generate mega Pinterest traffic, your overall long-term objective should be to build up a large number of usable images and to be pinning consistently both to your own boards and to group boards.

Each of your blog posts should have at least one “Pinterest image” – so focus first on making one great Pinterest image for each blog post. Once you have read this tutorial you may find that you want to revisit your old blog posts and create new images for them – and that’s fine! New images can breathe a new life into old posts.

Some Pinterest pros however create 5 or 10 unique images per post – especially for the most successful posts! But make sure you are getting things right before creating lots of images for one post.

A great strategy is to look at your blog analytics and create additional Pinterest images for your best performing posts. Note that (thankfully) these images don’t all have to appear on the blog post itself – as you can pin an image directly to Pinterest and then specify the URL you want the image to link to. These additional images can also contain both headline variations and totally new design elements; which gives you further opportunities to “split test” different styles and note which ones do best.

Keep Your Materials Organized

You need to tailor your graphic sizes to each social media site because they all have different requirements.  So you will probably find that you end up with a custom version of the graphic for Pinterest, one for Facebook, one for Instagram, one for your Youtube placeholder, and so on.

You will find that you need a well-organized system to prevent things descending into chaos! 😉

I keep ALL the “bits and pieces” from each blog post – article, images, source material, PSD files – in the same folder, and the images are labeled systematically – for example shipping-container-FB.jpg (Facebook image), shipping-container-PI.jpg (pinterest image), shipping-container-IN.jpg (instagram image).  

Keep a copy of everything in a folder and keep it organized with “Photoshop PSDs”, links to the Canva files online and other elements intact, so that you can go back later and edit if needed. And make a backup!

It’s great to be able to return to old graphics later and make changes as needed – and I will bet that you WILL need to do this at some point. It’s a real hassle to have to re-create it all again from scratch because you lost your .PSD file and all the source imagery. A coherent naming and folder system will be your friend in the long run – and make sure that everyone on your team sticks to the same protocol.

Don’t Steal Images!

SUPER IMPORTANT! Aside from attracting DMCA takedown orders and potentially Pinterest account closure, there are now really serious consequences coming down the pipe for image thieves. Even if the image was posted on your blog ten years ago… even if you didn’t know it was a stolen image… I am 100% serious. The hammer is falling in a big way when it comes to image theft. This is happening right now.

There are companies that are filing mass legal actions (thousands) against image thieves and these guys play hardball. If you get one of these legal threats, it can result in a grim choice to either settle out of court for perhaps $500 to $1000, or face court case with a potential $20,000 fine. This is not a set of choices you want!

Avoid stealing images, and keep track of where every single image comes from that you use on your blog. If you don’t know where an image came from or whether you are cleared to use it – don’t use it. It’s that simple. Keep a note of the URL of the image source. If you got written permission, screenshot it and keep it in the folder with your post.

You will thank me later for this, I promise you! Note also that if you hire freelance workers, you would very likely still be legally responsible if they steal content and you publish it on your website. And “But I thought it was Public Domain!” isn’t gonna cut it as an excuse. You don’t need to take these kinds of risks!

Your Best Stuff Will Probably Get Stolen…

… and it will drive you crazy. They will scrub out your logo, and redirect your graphics to their own (typically spammy) pages.   It’s infuriating – but it happens at mass scale. I’ve had my images stolen literally thousands of times – and in my experience, Pinterest won’t do a thing unless and until you file a DMCA takedown request; then they will strike down the stolen content because DMCA is a form of legal action; they are required to.  So periodically, you might wish to scan through your keywords on Pinterest, and use “report pin” for stolen content to be taken down. It’s a tedious job though – and the content thieves only get away with it because people are too lazy or busy to file complaint. You can also assign this task to a VA but just be aware that it is an ongoing game of whack-a-mole. You may find it better to simply “invent faster than they can copy”. My intuition is that the image thieves are about to get hit so hard with legal actions that they will scatter in terror – and it will put a stop to it. We will see…





Tall “Pinterest Images” Don’t Really Work Well For Facebook And Other Social Media Sites

All the various social media sites have an optimal image format that works for their platform. For best results, you’ll need different versions of the graphic for the various platforms.

For example, while “tall” images are best for Pinterest, these don’t work so well on Instagram (they get truncated – potentially cutting off important info) – you will want square versions of your images (i.e. 800×800 or 1080×1080) for Insta.

Facebook? It has its own quirks: I would advise 2 images – a “flat” 1200×628 version for “link posts” and a square or “slightly tall” (but not as tall as Pinterest images) for image posts. I know, its a bit annoying.

If you are adding your graphic to your blog post (recommended!), don’t set a “tall” image to be the one that is scraped by the “Facebook debugger”. Otherwise, FB will cut off most of your image and this will negatively affect the clickability of the resulting Facebook post.
 The Facebook Debugger tool will show you which image Facebook is pulling when someone drops your link on Facebook.  You are better off with a “flat” image being pulled by FB, so nothing is cut off. In other words, create a different version for Facebook link posts that is of the size ratio 1200×628.   You can set the FB image either with the Yoast SEO plugin Yoast SEO plugin (WordPress) or with the “og:image” tag (HTML). Then run the debugger again to refresh the pulled image to your new one. There’s a bit more to it than this but that’s outside the scope of this tutorial.

That’s it!

Now go crush it on Pinterest and have fun doing it! 🙂

Staxxx

How To Grow Your Blog Income To $10,000+ A Month As Fast As Possible

How To Grow Your Blog Income To $10,000+ A Month As Fast As Possible
How To Grow Your Blog Income To $10,000+ A Month As Fast As Possible Graphic © 8FigureStack. Background photo – Shutterstock (under license)

Please note of course for legal reasons I have to say that none of this post is financial advice nor a guarantee of future earnings. Full disclaimer at the foot of page.

Introduction:

This post is a deep dive into what it takes to build a 5-figure-a-month blog (written by someone who has done it 😉 ) – with details on what it takes and how to get there in the fastest possible time. 🙂

Blogging is typically seen as a long game. Even some of the top blogs that earn 6 or even 7 figures a month very often had 1 to 3 years of grind with very small “peanuts” income, before things started snowballing.

However I’ve proved that while this slow growth is “pretty normal”, big success can happen a LOT quicker if you do everything right! My first WordPress blog hit $10,000+ per month in just over 6 months (and I made $90,000+ in one month in month 12 – this is very unusual but I proved it can be done!) I have now made well over $1.95 million online in total – mostly through blogging.

Many bloggers, even successful ones, are “one trick ponies”. They might have one really successful blog, but that’s all. They don’t have much comparative data. They might not even really know why their blog did so well! But a method is not really valid until it can be replicated.

I have created a huge number of websites in all sorts of niches and currently own around 20 blogs plus about 30 more “non-blog websites” of other kinds! I’ve also studied tons of other blogs in depth – data mining thousands of posts and reviewing their statistics. Success happens for a reason! and comparing what worked to what didn’t work gave key insights!

Ok, let’s dive in deep. Here are the main factors that will influence the “pickup” of income from a blog, together with my key insights for shortening the curve to success. Get these handled asap! 🙂

1) Don’t Procrastinate. Just Do It

It’s vital not to get stuck in “analysis paralysis”. Just ****ing do it! 🙂 Seriously, begin it now. So many people wait until “the time is perfect” or hesitate and create all kinds of “stories” and elaborate excuses as to why they are hesitating. Things will never be more perfect than they are now (this may not be exactly true but it’s a good approach). Back in the day, whenever I had an idea for a website, I just built the darn thing. Not all of these ideas were great ideas, but as the saying goes, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Do. It. Now. The quicker you get stuck in and try something, the quicker you learn. This is why they say “fail fast”! You can only learn so much by theory and when it comes to internet business, just getting stuck right in is the way to go. Take shots. Come up against the hurdles faster and commit to getting over them because it’s the only way.

2) Choose The Right Niche

The most lucrative niches are in sectors which have both large audience appeal and large consumer spending. For example the tech reviews niche, which is enormously popular and has some of the biggest ad revenues. Millions of households drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars on tech every single year.

On the other hand, some niches are more difficult and less profitable in general “per thousand visitors” and some niches are HIGHLY problematic, potentially even very risky and should absolutely be avoided – especially by beginners! See my full tutorial on Top 26 Amazing, Profitable Blog Niches Plus 11 You Should AVOID At All Costs .

3) You Need Content Volume

Looking at my in-depth analysis of 45 Of The World’s Most Successful Blogs – you can see that they pretty much all of them have hundreds if not thousands of posts. I doubt there is anything on that list with less than 500 posts – and there are some with several thousand.

If each of your blog posts generates a few thousand page views then it’s obvious why a blog with 500 posts is going to do better than a blog with 50. It’s simply a matter of scale – you have more pages out there for people to discover. More keywords in the Google search engine, more pins to be discovered in the Pinterest search engine, more posts on Facebook and so on.

However, there is a further “snowball effect” that happens when a blog gets bigger. More posts equals more overall link volume (internal and external) which pushes the overall “site authority” higher in search engine rankings. Also people who look at one post and like it, have a lot more to explore – so with more pages to choose from, you will get more “pageviews per visitor” – and so on.

There are numerous of these factors that work like “compound interest” on a blog and cause it to pick up traction when it gets bigger.

So you are going to have to spend some time simply attacking the rock face and putting in the grind – there’s no way round it! Blogging is a lifestyle: See if you can commit to putting in a few hours per day, every day – at least – and make the commitment to the long haul.

4) You Need Content Quality

⭐ Pro Tip: Don’t make 1000 pages of crappy content just for the sake of “getting big”. This WILL cause the blog to fail. Keep the content quality as high as possible and always be seeking ways to push it higher, while continuing to grow the overall content volume. If your content is mediocre, the success simply will not happen.

When you look at your stats and notice that at 50 pages you make x income, you might find that you say to yourself: Well hey now! All I need is 500 pages and I can make 10x income. Logical? Yes… but no. If you build lower quality content so that you can make more posts – you are going to KILL your chances of success – because if the content creates the “meh” reaction, and people are underwhelmed, they will not stick. They will hit the back button after one pageview… and then you lost them. If you have 1000 pages of fluff and filler, the whole blog becomes a morass of mediocrity and poor signals. The kind of blog that people leave and don’t come back to; the kind of blog that tanks on social media and the kind of blog that search engines regard as worthless.

I learned this the painful way and it serves me right… After my first super successful blog (which was squarely focused on high-value content), I tried to replicate this success “faster” by creating several brand new blogs and outsourcing the creation of all the content. I hired a bunch of writers and VAs…. I had so many new five-dollar-articles flying in that I didn’t even proof read some of them; I just slapped them on the blogs and called it good. I cringe now… what a spectacular waste of time and money that was!

It’s tempting to attempt to scale this way because it’s cheap, fast and easy but it doesn’t work out, ever. So don’t outsource your content creation to the lowest bidder, because you will be compromising on the overall awesomeness of your blog in ways that WILL come back to bite you. For similar reasons, don’t turn your blog into a guest post farm. I would avoid all offers of guest posts for this reason – seriously – guest posts are typically the cheapest, fastest low-value article they can crank out that has their link in it – and you don’t want their mediocrity on your blog in return for 25 bucks or whatever, it’s just not worth it because the hidden costs are huge!

Instead, ALWAYS make it your goal to Create Value! Set the bar high and keep it there. Earn your rank and your following! Make quality posts right out of the gate, don’t make fluff or filler posts or lazy posts. This is not just me trying to tell you to “be good kids”. I’m saying this purely for strategic reasons, not moralistic ones! 😉 To win at blogging, you need to create the WOW reaction. That should be your focus. Of course, don’t go to the absolute extreme and spend a month working on one post. But you should always keep it focused solidly on high value content. You want people to be thinking “This post was actually really brilliant. Wonder what else they’ve got.” That’s how you win at blogging. Never fluff out a blog with low grade posts just to bump up your numbers. Make it “all killer no filler”! Ok, I think you get the point. 🙂

5) Avoid Poor / Irrelevant Content Choices

It’s vital to research before starting to create content, and to figure out what people actually want.

You can make the best post in the world on the topic of growth patterns of ant colonies in neighbouring anthills… and about 3 people in the world will get excited. Don’t do that. 🙂 Choose topics that solve common problems and help lots of people. (If you really love anthills, by all means make a blog on it but always bear in mind that it will probably make very little money indeed.)

This is something of an exaggerated illustration – but the point is that you need a content strategy. A classic beginner mistake is to write about “whatever you feel like writing about”. If you do this, you will quite likely create all kinds of posts that “seem like a good idea at the time”, and most of these probably won’t do very well.

Don’t feel bad – we have all been there! 🙂 But to be fair, it has to be said that at some point, if you keep chucking enough darts at the wall, you will eventually create a post that blows all the others out of the water in terms of its success. To begin with, this “outlier post” will catch you completely by surprise – but it will give you massive insight. It will show you what people respond to and what your audience wants. You will see why it was a success and then you can do more like that.

The other part about having a content strategy is that the posts “dovetail” into each other. Your blog ends up with “clusters” of related content and the posts connect to each other naturally as part of the same overall “meta picture”.

⭐ Pro Tip: The best way to short-cut this process that I know of is through data mining to see what already works. First you must of course choose your niche. With that decided, one of the simplest and best ways to make GREAT content choices is to look at other successful blogs and comb through their social media counts to see which of their posts did best. Typically this is because the headline was a slammer, and then the content was great too and “worth the click”. They got clicks and those clicks turned into shares. Model those posts. Make a similar (not identical) headline, use slightly different “power words” and headline format to make it original, then set your goal to “build a better biscuit” – make a unique (never steal content!) article that is higher quality and adds more value than the example.

“The data is out there”! You can already see what topics work well, if you look – and so rather than trying to be massively unique and find something to write about that nobody else has written about (there is probably a reason for that!), seek to do what you know will be popular and just do it very well. You are already unique, you don’t need to try to be 😉 and when it comes to building a successful blog, you can see that most of the big ones focus around common interests and the predominant needs that a large number of people have.

Even with content research, individual post performance is not totally predictable, it’s just “much more predictable” than chucking random darts until you finally hit a bullseye. The process of content refinement will always be ongoing. After you have made tens and then hundreds of posts, your data gives you great insight. You can then become more consistent. But you will find that even after years of blogging, most of your posts perform “somewhere in the middle” relative to each other, a few will completely flop and a few will absolutely destroy the others. This is the case for almost all blogs, Youtube channels and so on. Keep going, and at some point you will get that “unicorn” that is by far the most successful post.

I got my first real “unicorn” blog post after 9 months and it made $8000+ in 3 days on the ad revenue and has now had over 2 million social media shares!! This post was insane. It completely killed my hosting from the massive traffic volume and still managed to make bank. At the time I literally had no idea it was going to do that – but now I completely see why.

And I know someone who made over $50,000 from one viral Facebook post in one weekend… and he had no idea it was going to happen either… true story…

6) Focus Strongly On Growing A Social Media Following – The Right Way

As the saying goes, “You need an audience” – and if you wait for them to discover you, it could happen with agonizing slowness (years). I’ve tried that too – it does not work.

Be aware that the strategy of “build it and they will come” does not work on the internet. Making something awesome and then putting it in front of people is what works. You absolutely NEED visibility. Super vital! Mission critical!

When I had my mega-successful blog that generated $233,000+ in its first year, with $90,000+ of that in month 12, I didn’t “just start blogging”. I focused a lot of effort (and some investment) into building a strong social media following. This was absolutely key. At the outset, I spent a few hundred dollars “buying likes” on Facebook, testing ads and posts. One of my ads started getting the fan page likes for about 5 cents each. I tracked the revenue my pages were generating realized I was going to end up in the black, earning more than my ad spend… so I took a big plunge and borrowed $5,000 to buy Facebook ads, which enabled me to pick up 50,000 Facebook fans each on two pages. This turned out to be the best financial move I ever made in my life – it hugely kickstarted the page growth and the viral traffic snowball. By the end of that year, I had 2 million Facebook fans. An initial monetary investment isn’t essential – there are a lot of ways to start growing a social media audience for free – but it sure was a mega power boost and a key reason why I made such rapid income!

Most of my blog traffic has come from social media and the same goes for most bloggers. And all social media followings start with 0 followers, even the biggest. So at the beginning, one of your main goals is to just “gangbuster it” and give full focus to building that following.

The first 1,000 followers are the hardest. Check out my full tutorial on How To Get You First 1,000 Pinterest Followers (tried and tested, I have done this many times!)

You also want to focus on the right social media sites as some are way better suited to blogging than others! For bloggers, I would rate the best being Pinterest, Facebook and to some extent Twitter. Youtube can also be used to drive traffic to a blog very successfully. The worst being Instagram. Why? Images on Instagram are not clickable, meaning that there is only one place on Instagram you can use to drive traffic – your profile link – and that can only send people to one place! So Instagram works best with a single ‘silver bullet’ special offer, which is promoted using “link in bio” posts. Instagram can be used to make money, but it is not best suited to blogger traffic.

7) Essential Skills Not Mastered Yet

To begin with, especially if it is your first time out of the gate, it’s to be expected that you will make some errors and there are some things you just won’t know yet. There are 3 main ways these will affect you to begin with:

a) Technical mistakes. While you are a beginner, it’s natural that you will encounter things like images being the wrong size, code errors that mean things end up being in the wrong place on the page, and errors such as choosing non-optimal hosting, plugin conflicts etc. It’s normal and you simply have to learn this stuff by diving in and figuring it out as you go along. Don’t be afraid of it – because you can nearly always fix this stuff through research (you are almost certainly not the only person who has had any particular technical problem and so you can almost always find people talking about it and solutions). If a technical situation is really whacked, you also have the possibility to hire a specialist from Fiverr or similar and pay them a few bucks per hour to help you out.

b) Overall flair. You just get way better at something the more you do it. Headlines, image choices, writing skills… on my first blog, the one that has now made 7 figures, I look back at my early posts and I cringe a bit. Some of those posts I even ended up deleting because I simply have way better stuff now. But it goes to show that even a super-successful blog started out as a beginner and I still managed to rock it – so you can too!

c) Revenue optimization. The skills to maximize your “revenue per visitor” are difficult to master in the early days; partly because you don’t have much traffic – and so testing is difficult. Whereas once you have thousands of visitors per day, it becomes a lot easier to test things like different ad positions, headlines etc – because you can see rapidly what works. This enables you to run more tests, faster. This sort of fine tuning of the blog can make a massive difference to your revenue.

8) Study Numerous Top Bloggers But Carefully Choose The Right Mentor(s).

As the saying goes, “An investment in learning pays the best interest”. I would highly advise to find someone who has an actual track record of success doing what you are seeking to do, and to study all of their materials. As a quick rule of thumb, ignore the ones posing with a sports car and using emotionally manipulative sales tactics, for example saying “you’re getting left behind unless you follow me”.

Look for the ones who have an actual breakdown of their stats, how long it took them to achieve them etc. Also, watch out for mentors who have only had one successful blog. They might not even really understand everything about why they were successful; whereas someone who has had multiple profitable blogs is more likely to have really gotten to the core of what it actually takes. One success is luck; repeated success is success.

In addition to choosing one “main mentor”, research and pick let’s say 3 to 5 of the top blogs, especially but not exclusively in your niche, and just dive super deep into them. Study everything you can about them. Look at their social media, about how many posts they made, about which were their top posts. Learn everything you possibly can about them. What themes they used. What plugins they use. What affiliate programs they run and if possible, (some publish this) a breakdown of exactly where their money came from. Try to figure out the “secret sauce” of how they were successful.

I’ve done this and literally copied every single URL of the top blogs in a niche into a database, together with the social media scores of their posts, number of comments and so on. You can learn tons this way.

Be wary also of the “all sizzle and no steak marketers” throwing sparkle at you to get you to forget what you were doing and buy their stuff. If you hear someone boasting they are making 5 figures a month and only working one hour per day… they are probably BSing you. Sorry but it’s true. You gotta put the hours in, especially at the beginning.

9) Avoid “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome”

This is where you start something, then get distracted by the next sparkly thing and decide you want to do that, and end up starting all sorts of projects and not seeing them through. Ask me how I know! 😉

10) Stay Organized

Definitely do this. Golden tip right here. I create a folder for each blog post and in that folder, all the “bits and pieces” go. The article, the images including the “layered files” of the graphics. I will also have a text file in there called “sources” where I will list where images came from, which fonts were used, and so on. Keep ALL this stuff. You WILL need it later and you will thank me for insisting that you do this!! Keep the graphic design “working documents” because sometimes, social media sites change their ideal image sizes. And sometimes in future you want to go back to a post and make changes, updates etc. Having all the original bits in one place, rather than having to hunt them down, streamlines this process rather than it being a headache. Also, it gives you a valuable backup so that if any major problem happened you have all the materials safe.

11) Go The Distance

If you are doing everything the right way, you will achieve success. Make the commitment and see it through. Continue to learn and to keep taking your best shot, day after day – and you will get there. You can do this. The money is there on the table waiting for you. Blogging is still HOT and is likely to be for many years. I can’t see any signs of it going away. I’m still doing it and still think it is one of the absolute BEST ways to make money online. Start now!

12) Monetize The Blog Correctly

You should test various ad providers and keep the ones that work best. It’s also nice to have some backup ads that can be placed if anything goes weird with the other ones.

Which ads to use? There are tons of options. See my List Of 21 Best Ad Networks And Affiliate Programs For Blogs.

The next factor you should look at is ad placement. Ad placement can make an absolutely HUGE difference to your earnings. I remember once in the old days doubling my income overnight by a change in my ad layout! In my case I can confidently state that in my case ad layout optimization has added literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to my total income.

Poor monetization can literally cause a blog to fail: I know someone who has an amazing, beautiful, well-written blog…. and she has made peanuts from it. Looking at it, I could immediately see why. The ad placements were all over the place – totally in the wrong places – and she was not using high paying ad systems. It’s no wonder she was only making a few bucks per day but it’s tragic because she could have been making a living and possibly even a small fortune; her content was amazing. I tried to get her to make the changes but for whatever reason, she wouldn’t do it… and the blog still sits there out in the digital wasteland with the chirping crickets… earning peanuts…

⭐ Pro Tip: When you apply to an ad network, you ought to be assigned a rep to help you get set up – ask them to advise you on where to place the ads. It’s in their interests to help you optimize this! So do that first; then try a few variations and run them for a few days, taking careful notes of the earnings per visitor (CPM) and the click through rate (CTR). The stats ebb and flow a bit naturally but if you do this well you will be able to spot the winning ad placements.

13) ⭐ Ultimate Pro Tip: Skyscraper Posts

As a “reward” for making it this far, here’s the golden nugget. This is one of the best “pro tips” in my war chest. If you REALLY want to get the party started, do this:

a) Make a “Skyscraper Post” – a super high quality, massive post – perhaps a “Top 100 List” of something that is a known popular topic. Go all out. Make it super amazing. Like this one I made: 80+ Ways To Make Extra Money. Expect that making one of these posts will be 1 to 2 full days of work.

b) Make images for the post that contain the headline in big letters and make tall (600×900), square (800×800) and flat (1200×628) versions of the image. You can see how I do it.

c) Contact some of the top bloggers / businesses in your niche and ask them what their fee is to make a post on their Facebook page. Be sure that they have a large Facebook following (perhaps 500K followers or more). Don’t overpay. $25 to $50 should be ok – perhaps a little more if it’s a really big page – and if they won’t, find someone who will. For the Facebook post, use the square image and make an “image post”, putting your headline, link, simple “call to action” and a heart emoji in the text box.

d) Make sure your monetization is set up correctly on your blog before you do this. Depending on the amount of traction the post gets, you will find that you get some ad revenue back, which recoups some of your promo spend.

e) Follow up on your campaign by pinning your tall image – on your most popular Pinterest board. Make a similar pitch to big board owners. You could probably get it pinned to a big board for $10!

f) Notice the results! If your skyscraper post is really great, you will get shares, repins and so on. These posts also attract organic links like crazy when done well. You will notice a bump in your social media following! Congratulations.

g) RINSE AND REPEAT. Now go build a blog full of beautiful, super high quality skyscraper posts and watch your blog fly! This is how it’s done! This is how you win at blogging! Note how this is completely the opposite tactic to “just make 100 posts as fast as you can”. Forget that, seriously.

You want a blog full of wow. When people hit that blog, you made their day. Make that your goal… to make posts that make people feel like you made their day when they land on it. And then they think “I gotta tell someone about this blog!” (YOU WIN) and “Wonder what else they’ve got” (YOU WIN)!

See you at the top!

Staxxx.

[full tutorial on Skyscraper Content coming very soon!]

List Of 21 Best Ad Networks And Affiliate Programs For Blogs


List Of 21 Best Ad Networks And Affiliate Programs For Blogs Graphic © 8FigureStack. Background photo – Shutterstock (under license)

This post may contain affiliate links, from which I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

If you need a big list of best ad networks and affiliate programs for blogs – including options for beginner blogs / small blogs with low traffic – then this is the tutorial for you! 🙂

Some Are Difficult…

Some of the best paying ad platforms and affiliate programs have stringent traffic requirements and various other difficult criteria, which immediately puts them out of reach of smaller blogs. If you are starting a brand new blog and building it up from the ground floor, it might take you a long time (maybe a year or more!) to build up your traffic to the point where you can even apply to these ad networks!

They can also be very picky about who they partner with, and can even reject sites that are actually pretty good. Despite my track record, I have had awesome quality blogs flat-out rejected by “difficult” networks – and they won’t always explain why; leaving you in the frustrating position where you wonder what you have to do to get approved.

… But Some Are Easy!

Now the good news: With a number of ad networks, my blogs have been accepted fast, with few questions asked! There are tons of choices – including options with no traffic volume requirements at all, global traffic accepted and low revenue thresholds before they pay out! 🙂

⭐ Pro Tip: Apply to several ad networks and affiliate programs, not just one. Not only does this give you a greater chance of getting monetized, but gives the opportunity to test different systems and “keep the winners”. Also, if there is ever a problem with one ad platform, you can switch out the ads to something different, with minimal down time.

If you are relatively new to blogging, go for the “easy approval” ad platforms first so that you can get some cash rolling in asap; then as your blog (and hopefully your blog traffic) grows, apply for the more difficult ones – which typically have higher payouts. 🙂

First things first – before applying, do your best to make your site the best it can be: Check out my post 12 Key Factors That Will Help Your Blog Get Approved For Top Paying Ads and run through the checklist, fixing anything up that needs fixing up.

A Quick Note On eCPM / RPM

With ads, your eCPM / RPM (earnings / revenue per thousand visitors, a key metric) will always vary – and the best thing to do honestly is to apply for a number of different ad networks and run comparison tests, keeping the winners.

Some ad systems simply pay better than others – but you can also make a huge difference to your eCPMs by optimizing ad layouts and increasing the number of ads on the page. The more “aggressive” your ad layout (and the higher up the page the ads), the higher your CPMs in general, but this will also be a more intrusive experience for the user. So it’s a “balancing act”. You of course want the most revenue you can get from your traffic, but you also don’t want the user to get annoyed and leave the site. 😉 Some ad networks also have limits on the number of ads you can place on a page for this very reason.

And Now The List…

Here is a list of 21 ad networks and affiliate programs that I have either used or read good things about. I’ve grouped them in 3 categories – Easy, Medium and Difficult in terms of getting your blog approved.

The Easy:

Infolinks

I love Infolinks. Currently eCPM averaging around $0.80 to $1.00 – but this is an “add on” ad system that you can use alongside other stuff and give yourself some pocket money with little effort. They have various types of ad unit available – from simple text links through to overlays and “sticky footers”, which they personally call “in fold”. A few dollars per day adds up to a few thousand over time and the income is very passive / easy. The user interface / UX is really well thought out and simple to use. Setup also is super easy – you just have to add one code at the foot of your page, before the </body> tag, then upload the ads.txt file – and you are off to the races! Infolinks also has a referral scheme which pays 10% for the first 12 months of a publisher’s signup through your referral link. I would say absolutely definitely apply for this one.

If you get approved, definitely try the “in fold” / sticky footer ad. In fact it’s a well-known stronger performing ad placement across the industry.

Media.net

I kept getting emails from these guys, finally I decided to just give it a whirl. Getting a couple of sites approved was super easy. They did not even ask me what the traffic was! Very inconsistent RPMs on a day to day basis and to be honest, not very good – especially seeing as their ads were huge on the page! CPMs are currently between $0.20 and $1.56 per day – a huge range. A bit slow on the support – couple of days response time often – but they were knowledgeable and “we got there”. They have a referral program that pays 10% of revenue for the first year of publishers that you refer. (I joined it. Sign up through my referral link and get a further 10% bonus on your ad revenue for your first 3 months!)

Lockerdome

They approved all my sites with no questions asked and no problems. However I have to be truthful – I sensed something strange going on here. I noticed a sudden earnings drop, which I inquired about and they said they had given the CPMs a manual adjustment. I’ve earned some decent money with them overall, but this didn’t sit very well with me in all honesty.

Clickbank (Affiliate Program)

The best of the best. I have earned over $400,000 with Clickbank since the beginning. I haven’t applied recently as I still use the same accounts for years – but never had any difficulty. Commissions are super high – often 75% of the final cart value! You can create banners, links and content that promotes any one of a wide range of products. Some of which have exceptional payouts. I’ve had numerous instances where one checkout generated hundreds of dollars. Best single commission ever was I think $450.

With ad networks, you typically cannot negotiate a higher payout – however with affiliate schemes, there is sometimes room for negotiation. Some Clickbank products may offer a “pay bump” in order to incentivize you. You may even be offered this in return for joining their affiliate email list – however the really good stuff happens when you can drive serious traffic to an offer. Then, you are their best friend all of a sudden – and some affiliate programs treat their “rock star affiliates” really well – with bonuses and even cash prizes for the affiliate who generates the most sales. 🙂

Amazon Associates (Affiliate Program)

Getting accepted should be easy. Commissions are on the low end, I think it’s around 3.5% now. On the plus side – half the world uses Amazon and so getting clicks is super easy. Plus, they have a “24 hour cookie” which means that anything the person buys on Amazon within 24 hours, you get commission for – which is dope. Just drive the traffic to Amazon via your affiliate links – and let their machine do the rest. You also have the opportunity to build entire product-oriented websites around Amazon products – for example product review sites, comparison shopping, Top 10 lists and so on. Super reliable as you would expect.

(Amazon also has an ad publisher platform – Amazon Publisher Services – but that requires 5000 unique visitors per day.)

PropellerAds

Ad network with lots of ad options, got accepted for all my sites with no problems at all. CPMs were consistent on a day-to-day basis and between $0.10 and $3.00 approx, depending on how aggressive you are with ads (to get the higher end you would probably need to use some of the pop-up type ads that users don’t like so much). Low minimum payout threshold. Propeller Ads also has a 5% commission referral scheme.

eBay Partner Network (Affiliate Program)

Easy approvals but this is an affiliate scheme – not plug and play ads – so you will need to match ads to your site’s content and promote specific products. I got approved easily, recently and haven’t started running campaigns yet – but I don’t anticipate any problems. Overall I love eBay and think they are a great company.

Appnexus

No minimum traffic requirement. This platform is one of the bigger players, seems to get great reviews, has real support. Haven’t tried it yet but get good vibes off this one.

Adpushup

No minimum traffic requirement, Net45 payouts, dedicated account manager.

Adsterra

This looks great, so I just applied! Signup was a breeze and my sites got approved in minutes (literally) with no obstacles or hassles. I included my referral link (above) which will help me out if you join through that. They have a 5% referral program: When you sign up, you can get your own referral link and earn 5% of the lifetime revenue of anyone who signs up via your link! This is pretty cool because if someone with a high traffic website signs up under you, you are going to get ongoing commissions with no future work… gotta love that…
No minimum traffic volume requirement but your traffic quality should be legitimate; $5 minimum payout with multiple payout options including Paypal and Bitcoin; Net15 payout (payment twice per month) – (nice!! 🙂 )

Also they have some anti-adblock features. Haven’t tested yet but this sounds dope to be honest.

Adcash

Long running ad network. Easy approvals and lifetime 5% referral program, accepts worldwide traffic and has live reporting.

Digistore24 (Affiliate Program)

– an affiliate network similar to Clickbank, with a wide variety of products you can promote and earn commission.

Bidvertiser

– Bidvertiser has a payment threshold of $10, fast approvals and accepts traffic from all geographical regions.

The Medium Difficulty:

Newor Media

My current favorite. They are just totally cool to work with. Great support – lightning fast and good, genuine vibes. They have a traffic requirement of 30,000 visitors per month which is somewhat high, but they approved the site I applied with in a flash! We were up and running and generating revenue within about 24 hours, which is lightning fast. eCPMs are currently floating between $2 and $3. Net30 payout.

Google AdSense

I’ve made 7 figures with AdSense and have huge experience with it, so here is a detailed review. I would say definitely apply for AdSense, but make sure your blog / website is really on point first.

AdSense has no traffic volume requirement which is pretty sweet – however all sites will be subjected to a manual review, together with whatever diagnostic / analysis tools they use, which of course are unknown to the public. I am fairly confident that they test for unique, original content. Their site reviews are getting much more strict these days and they seem to be rejecting a lot of sites at the moment.

AdSense has “pretty decent” RPMs (revenue per thousand visitors) and I would say that $2 to $4 “page RPM” (earnings per page per 1000 visitors) is probably a reasonable expectation. My top site is currently getting around $6 page RPM, my weakest around $1. If your site gets less than $2 total per 1k visitors, look at your ad positions, possibly add more ads and do some research into “optimum ad placements” to see if you can improve these. I’ve found that their ‘resizable’ ads, with one placed in-content, fairly near the top of your article, is a top performer.

⭐ Pro Tip: Different topics also have different RPMs – and niches related to business, investment, tech, medical and high-ticket consumer goods are some of the best because advertiser spend is higher in those arenas. Some niches are simply bigger earners than others! If you are thinking of starting a new blog and want to maximize your earning potential, check out my list of Top 26 Profitable Blog Niches.

The first step in getting approved for AdSense is of course is applying for the overall AdSense account, which is not difficult. Then you have to add your site(s) – individually. They will give you a header code and ad codes to add to your pages (plus ads.txt to upload), and then you just have to wait (very variable but often from 2 to 10 days). You may not get an email notification, you have to check back to your AdSense to see whether your site was accepted or rejected. This is annoying and wastes time.

If your site is rejected, reasons are copy-paste and pretty vague and often baffling – but try to figure it out, make improvements as best you can and then re-apply. Don’t just re-apply without fixing anything. You can keep re-applying but if you re-apply too many times, they will give you a ‘time out’ where you can’t re-apply until a future date, this may be 2 months down the track.

AdSense also has horrible support. Literally the worst. Criticizing them makes me nervous but I owe my readers the truth. You can’t even talk to a human being until you reach a certain income bar, and you won’t get an actual account rep until you are earning mid to high 5 figures per month – at which point they will start being very nice to you; until your income goes back down again and then oop! You are no longer worth talking to.

It’s understandable in one sense, because they have zillions of people to deal with – but it feels… elitist… Nobody likes to feel as though they are an insignificant little peon on a sliding scale of human irrelevance; and they sure made me feel that way, despite the huge amount of money I have made them in the past! They could actually afford to talk to people if they chose to.

On the plus side – you can apply for as many websites as you want, which is nice. Net30 payout is good too.

If your site gets rejected, go through my list of 12 Key Factors That Will Help Your Blog Get Approved For Top Paying Ads, improve the site as best you can and re-apply.

Ezoic

Ezoic has a traffic requirement of I think 10,000 visitors per month, so they are easier than some of the above, and the payouts are reportedly better than Adsense, and not far below AdThrive and Mediavine. Good, fast support. A little more technical to implement than some of the others. The account rep will do a duplicate content check using an app to detect whether your content is original. And on the plus side, they are friendly and will talk to you personally. I got approved fast and without difficulty.

The Difficult:

(but widely agreed to have some of the best payouts of all)

AdThrive

Super high traffic requirement – 100,000 page views per month. For a new or small blog, this is an Olympian challenge, but it can be done if you create the kind of content that pulls traffic in droves from social media and if you build a strong following on sites that send higher traffic – typically Facebook and Pinterest. For SEO traffic, 100,000 pageviews per month is pretty darn difficult but for social media traffic I would rate it as relatively a lot easier. Still, you are going to need several hundred strong, high value, long form articles (not cheap outsourced crap) with the kind of headlines that get clicks, a strong social media presence, great social media friendly graphics and a solid content promotion strategy. These are all fine goals to aim for – but all of this takes much time and effort and not all blogs ever reach this kind of traffic volume!

They payoff is worth it though. Some people are reporting incredible eCPMs – I have heard claims of around $20 eCPM which is absolutely incredible for a blog.

On the plus side, I found their support to be technically very knowledgeable and responsive.

On the minus side – even if you have the traffic, you are not guaranteed to get in. I applied to them with my top site, which comfortably fulfilled the traffic requirements – and was rejected.

I tried to learn the reason for the rejection but they were tight lipped about why – which really doesn’t help. I don’t understand the need for secrecy here. If they would just say “your site failed on these points ______” then bloggers would know what they have to do. Imagine if you took your car to a diagnostic center and they said, “This car has failed to reach the required criteria and you can’t drive it” and you said “Ok, what did it fail on?” and they said “Not telling you, bye.” Yep, that’s exactly how absurd this situation is…

Mediavine

Known to be another of the best paying ad platforms. Their traffic requirement is 30,000 unique visitors per month (not pageviews), with “top tier” countries strongly represented – and this needs to be validated with an actual downloaded up-to-date report from your last 30 days Google Analytics (they won’t accept any other form of Analytics, which sucks if you prefer an alternative!) They are also super picky about site and content quality, requiring long form content. Furthermore, they have a requirement that you remove all other ad programs when you are running theirs! That’s a lot of requirements, captain. Good luck.

My best quality site was rejected by them, despite having traffic way above their bar (over 3x) – and I am an academic scholar and researcher with over 20 years writing experience! It took them over 2 weeks to reject my site (on top of the 30 days after I re-installed Google Analytics to collect the data they needed) which is horribly slow – the worst – and they refused to explain why the site was rejected. How does that help people improve their blog? It doesn’t at all. Gotta be honest also, they gave me quite a snooty vibe which didn’t give me a very good feeling.

eCPMS also are reported to be on the high end; maybe $10 to $20 according to some reviews. If you have the traffic volume, definitely apply, but I don’t like being locked into using Google Analytics, don’t like being required to remove all other ads (why?) and – just as with AdThrive, I had the feeling that it was a bit of a “club” where they think they are the bees knees… and where mavericks like me just don’t fit in…

RevContent

50,000 visits per month minimum and strict requirements, however eCPMs are reported to be high with good revenue on global traffic. Net30 payout.

Taboola

These currently have a minimum traffic requirement of 500,000 Pageviews per month!

DoubleClick

Now you are in the super league. The big fishies. This is a Google platform. AdSense for heavy hitters. For publishers, 30 million monthly impressions required. That’s a million per day! There are very few bloggers who get this kind of traffic but I included this one for interest’s sake just to highlight the ‘other end of the spectrum’. They probably laugh at bloggers.

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