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How To Be A Successful Blogger Without Selling Your Soul

Posted by in Blogging

How To Be A Successful Blogger

As a blogger there are many ways to be successful (make money) and there are many ways to do it badly.

When I first started blogging, I pretty much did it all wrong.  I had some success which brought me some attention and money, and of course I jumped at it.

I thought “hey, I’m making money with my blog,, so cool” how-to-be-a-successful-blogger

Unlike most of the mistakes I have made in my life, (I’m a Taurus.. what can I say :) )  I saw the error of my ways really quickly and realized that the money was nice, but I was hurting my credibility, my readers, and my blog in the process.

Almost daily, I see blogging friends and clients that are doing it all wrong and keep asking me…

 “Hey JP” I been blogging a long time, but I still don’t see my traffic or opt ins or comments or shares growing!”

Let me share a secret with you, if your blog has been around awhile and your still not seeing success in those areas, it probably has nothing to do with your content!

So if the content is good, what can you fix?

Here are 4 ways to help you be a successful blogger and not sell your soul for that quick money.


Make Sure Your Product Kicks Ass

I don’t care if you put together a free guide for opt-ins or a pay for product. Hell I don’t care if the product will cost $2 or $200.

What matters is that what you share has to be valuable and helpful and worth my money or email.


As any good marketer knows, your first product isn’t so much about making big money, as it is about building a list and proving you know what you know.

If you do this right, you will have an eager customer base ready to buy your follow up BIG ticket product.

If you do this wrong, you make a little money in the front end, but lose all credibility and pretty much F***ed your potential to make repeat sales.

I lead by example, when you buy blog reviews from me, you are guaranteed to get the best I can give to help you.


Keep Your Ads Targeted and High Quality

There is nothing wrong with selling banner ads on your blog, but they have to be targeted and quality products or services.

Do you know how bad you and your blog look when I visit it and you have…

#1 Ads that have nothing to do with what your blog topic is about?

#2 Ads for products or services that are targeted, but are GARBAGE?


You own your blog, you control what goes on it and what doesn’t. When you throw up banners for products that don’t fit your topic, or products that are low quality and not helpful, you hurt YOUR credibility.

You goal with your blog is to share what you know and help your readers in the areas they need.

How are un-targeted ads helpful to them?

How are low quality rip off products helpful to them?

Plus, having those banners up, you won’t make sales and the advertiser won’t buy again since he made no sales from your blog.

So you piss off your readers, lose credibility making it harder for you to promote anything in the future anddddd you lose the advertiser.


Relax Your Banner Ads

This one ties into #2 above, but decided to split it up because I like even numbers haha

This is probably the #1 mistake I see a lot of bloggers make.

Having 5 – 10 banners ads on their blog. It’s a damn mess and every one of your readers and visitors are thinking the same thing.

Having to many banner ads makes your site hard to navigate and hard for people to find the content they are most likely there for in the first place.

You are hurting your results.

How can you expect a visitor to click an ad when you have soooo many on your blog?


The goal of selling banner space is to get people to click the ad and drive traffic, op-ins and sales to the advertiser.

Now if you do that well enough that advertiser will continue to buy ad space on your blog long term.

But do it badly, and they will leave after the first month.


Do Real Product Reviews

One of the best ways to be a successful blogger that makes money is to do product reviews.

But do you know which reviews make the most money?

The reviews that are real, honest and in-depth!

 Honest one’s, in-depth one’s

But, “how do I write one of those reviews JP?”

Well it’s simple, USE THE DAMN PRODUCT FIRST! :)

The only way to do a quality, helpful review is to actually use the product. At the very least use the product for a week so you get a good feel for how it works and what you like and dislike about it.

Nothing erks me more then when a blogger does a review and he was paid for that said review but forgets to mention he was paid for the review.

So if you are paid for a review, then you still have to use the product first, and make sure to mention in your post that you was PAID TO WRITE THE REVIEW!


When you write a review after you have actually used the product you will be able to share more details and your readers will see that.

There is a big difference from a review from a blogger that just watched the products sales video and a review from a blogger that actually used it, and tested all the features and can share their view on what they loved, liked and disliked.

Oh yea, plus you get the product your reviewing for free :)


At the end of the day, YOU alone own your blog.

Think of it like this…

You and your friends are driving around having a good time and suddenly for no reason you get pulled over by the cops.

They come over and ask you all the step out the car, and they proceed to search inside your car, and  they find some smoke. (how did that get there?)

They then ask who it belongs to and no one steps up and takes ownership. Do you know what happens now?

You as the driver goes to jail! 

Because YOU own the car and YOU are responsible for what is in YOUR car!

To be a successful blogger, YOU need to control what goes on YOUR blog!

Disclaimer: I’m not saying this happened to me, I watch a lot of crime TV shows :)



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  • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

    Great advice as always here John!

    I agree with doing product reviews. They can be a great way of promoting affiliate products, but like you say, they only work if they are honest reviews. Too often I see sites that publish reviews that aren’t helpful at all, or are so one sided in their bias, that it makes it appear desperate.

    Keep up the great work :)

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Matt I see those reviews to.. the worse ones are the reviews for an up coming product that hasn’t even been released yet and they only have basic info lol

    That is insane to think that will make you sales.

  • http://www.plrinternetmarketing.com Warren Wooden

    I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I generally try using my online affiliate purchases as a way of rewarding those who have helped me along the way. If I’m going to buy the product anyway I’ll either purchase through someone who did an honest review (and has used the product/service) or I’ll try and get a link from someone who is promoting it as a way of saying “thanks”

    One of my business “new year resolutions” this year was to buy/read two business books each month. I go through an online colleague to buy them every month and while it isn’t huge I’m sure he appreciates it and it serves the purpose of saying “thanks”

    By the way John, below your post Opt In form you have that related posts/share this widget. Is that available or a custom job you designed?

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Warren thta is a good way to do it. Support the people that are helping and sharing good content.

    The related post area is a plugin, but I had it customized to fit the look.

    I believe it’s called, “Related Posts”

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Clever analogy JP!

    If you own your blog you better become fully responsible for all that pops up on your blog.

    Act with integrity. Help people. Be honest.

    Thanks for sharing!


  • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

    My standard response for paid review requests is that you have to give me your product (free trial, ebook, etc.) and I will review it (read, use, etc.) for 30 days. After that, I’ll write the review if I think it’s worthwhile to my audience or I won’t AND it will be marked as sponsored. If they don’t like it, then they can move on elsewhere. This way, my readers are getting something beneficial out of it and I’m not just posting crappy reviews. :)

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Thanks Ryan, glad u liked that :)

    and your right man, it’s all about Integrity, Honesty and being Helpful.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    That’s a great strategy Kristi and similar to what I say.

    If they don’t believe in there product enough to let me use it first, then they can move on to the next blogger :)

  • http://evelynparham.com/ Evelyn

    I have never been paid for a review, but have been sent the product for free. I make sure that I disclose that information. Also, since I’m a you tuber as well, I see people reviewing products, but never mention if they are sponsored (paid) or not. Most of the time if the vlogger is popular they are being paid, but they never mention it. This definitely bothers the followers and some people unsub from the person. So it is always best to me forthcoming.

    Great advice, J.P.

  • http://www.ipnostudio.com/ Andrea Hypno

    Great post John. I’ve found through trial and errors that actually less ads there are more money comes, at least talking about AdSense. The problem with it is that there is no control over ads shown so if for a reason or another the ads are bad or always the same the money stops. Which is probably the reason why once a blog really begins to work bloggers quit using AdSense.

    One day I’ll be able to do the same. :)

    Happy weekend!

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Evelyn I see that all the time too “top blogger” reviews that we know are sponsored, yet they forget to mention it.

    I have stopped following some big names because of this one fact…it’s a DBag thing to do.

    Doing that shows you care more about your advertiser than you do your readers.. not smart.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    TY for commenting Andrea.. I wasn’t talking so much about AdSense lol that has it’s own headaches.

    I was mainly talking banner ads.

    But the sooner you learn “less is more” the better your blog and income will be.

    You learned it early,, so your good.. took me a lil longer to see it when I started haha

  • http://www.ipnostudio.com/ Andrea Hypno

    Well, I’ve learned it pretty soon because luckily I got in touch soon with serious bloggers like you who tell the truth instead of fluff or theories. :)

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    haha smart girl :) and TY.. it’s all about reality and truth.. love or hate it,, it’s helpful :)

  • http://www.eventchecklist.net/ Arwin Adriano

    Direct to the point advice Paul. I was actually guilty of all the things that you stated here and I feel very sad of it. Anyway, I think I learn my lesson here and I guess I should starting changing my views on how I could successfully be good in this craft. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Happy to share it Arwin.. and don’;t stress it, at least now you know man. Make the changes and go forward.

    Like I said, I made these mistake sin the beginning too and moved past it :)

  • http://www.eventchecklist.net/ Arwin Adriano

    Yeah, you’re right Paul. Love your line there “Make the Changes and Go Forward”

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Glad you liked the post Arwin :)

  • http://inspiretothrive.com/ Lisa Buben

    Excellent advice John, I love you and Kristi’s thoughts on not putting sponsored post if you were testing something (product out). I relaxed my banner ads a while now after visting so many that were cluttered with them. I did not want that cluttered look. We really have to control what we have on our blogs John. Happy Father’s Day too!

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    TY Lisa.. glad to see you adopted a “cleaner” look on your blog :)

  • alexwhalley

    LOL “Use the damn product first” so obvious when you see so called reviews whether they are just trying to make sales or if they genuinely enjoy using the product.

    Great post (as always) JP.

    Btw- I’ve spent some time looking at your site in regards to G+ Authorship and I am stumped.
    I know a guy who is brilliant at this sort of thing and Ill catch you on Skype to give you his details (no charge from him either btw)

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Yea, you can easily tell a review by someone that hasn’t used a product on their review..silly.

    Yea, have him hit me up.. I’m stumped too.

  • Tim Bonner

    Hey John Paul

    I removed all of the banner ads from my home page and blog posts a few weeks ago.

    They didn’t make me much money and they really did just clutter up the place. I moved everything to a resources page instead.

    I also put up my first eBook on my blog only last week and it’s really helping with the sign-ups to my list. I spent a lot of time on it and it’s been well received so far!

    I did get asked to review a product a while back (not paid). I used the product for a couple of weeks and then wrote a review because I really found it very useful.

    I don’t think I disclosed that I got it free though. Is that something I should be doing if it’s free? Most of the time I usually buy the products first so I didn’t think to.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Tim if you do a review on something you got fro free for that review then you should say you got it free.

    Full disclosure. is best way to go.

  • http://www.adriennesmith.net/ Adrienne

    Hey John Paul,

    That’s exactly what I’m telling people all the darn time. It’s your blog, your home so don’t trash it for goodness sakes. If you do then you can darn sure expect that not very many people will come to visit you. I like the cop scenario though!

    I don’t write a lot of reviews, I am approached a lot to write them and I tell them as well that I don’t write about anything that I haven’t personally used myself. If you’re not willing to give me access then thanks but no thanks.

    I think though that in my opinion although content is the reason people come to your blog you also have to go out of your way to make them feel at home because that will make them feel comfortable enough to want to stick around a while or at least come back for more.

    Of course you’re the one who is very successful in this respect so your tips are definitely what we should all be paying attention to. Thanks for sharing these by the way. My mind is going again darn it! LOL!!!

    Enjoy your week.


  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    You own it, treat it like your home, if your home is dirty, I’ll assume your dirty.

    Best reviews come from people that have actually used the service, so not given access is crazy.

    Adrienne if you write content with personally and come from an honest place then YOU ARE YOUR CONTENT.. and that si what epopel will come back over and over again for.

    Content alone isn’t enough anymore, it’s good content delivered is a unique way that makes you stand out.

    and I agree with you on making your blog inviting, comfortable and overall a nice place to be, that will make it 100% easier to get people to visit often and stick around a long time.

    Thank u for the great comment Adrienne, now if I could get another 30 like you I’d be good :)

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