How To Make Money Blogging: What Would John Chow Do?

In any field, if you want to be good at something you look to those who are and see what they’re doing right. If there’s something that John Chow does well, it’s make money online using his blog.

I’d really love to look at what John does to monetize his blog. But that’d be a bit like telling you how Bill Gates gets business loans. A beginning blogger simply can’t use the same techniques and expect success.

So I want to go back in time and see how John started. How did start off? Using the magic of the Wayback Machine, we can take a look through the mists of time and see the site as it stood on December 4th, 2000.

You’re probably thinking, “my blog’s much cooler than that!” Keep in mind that the Wayback Machine doesn’t always do a good job of capturing themes in a site, so I’m not sure if the site looked that bad. But you’re probably right that your blog looks much better.

The site doesn’t change much until late 2005, when it has become an actual blog. One of the things that strikes me right off is that the mix of posts is about the same as now. Some personal posts, some online marketing, and some technology related posts. John writes about the things that interest him, and that interest comes through the blog.

According to John himself, he didn’t monetize the site for nine months, so from December 2005 until about September 2006 the blog was run without any advertisements. This allowed John to build a loyal readership.

Too many bloggers who start out wanting to make money with their blog create a blog with no content in it and put in the maximum number of Adsense blocks possible. But it’s the reader of a blog who click on the links, and many people are turned off by advertisements on a new blog.

Do you have to wait nine months? Not necessarily. Randall Cornett waited three months, and showed over $50 in advertising income for the month. Not quite up to John Chow’s approximately $350 in his first month, but it’s a good sign you don’t have to wait quite as long to monetize your blog.

The key would be whether you have readers who are participating in your blog. Do they leave comments? Do they seem to care about what you’re posting? If so, you could probably get away with placing some discreet ads on your blog.

Keep in mind that less is often more, though. Jane May reported an increase in Adsense income from removing ad blocks from one of her blogs. The key is that you don’t want to annoy your readers…they’re the ones who make you money.

So what John Chow did right is to start a blog on topics he was passionate about, and build a loyal readership. At the point when he started monetizing the blog, he was popular enough for it to not affect his readership.

What else has he done right?

John offered links from his page to people who review his site. By linking to other sites, John shares a bit of his PR with them…in essence, hanging around with the popular kid makes you a bit more popular, too. Of course, this resulted in more traffic to which meant more readers.

Many bloggers are obsessive about page rank (PR). Now, realistically, PR isn’t that important for traffic. Traffic comes from your search engine rankings and from links to your site. PR is a result of good links to your site, but improving your blog’s relevancy to search terms will do more than raising your PR to get you sustainable traffic. But PR is a metric, and people love to maximize metrics. John capitalized on this love of PR to get links to his blog.

Let me repeat from above, it’s your readers who make you money. Growing your readership is the most important part about making money blogging.

Take a look back at the chart of John’s earnings since he started monetizing his blog, and you’ll see the dollar amounts increase month after month. This no doubt reflects an increasing readership.

So if we ask, “What would John Chow do?”, the answer seems to be to write about what interests you and build a loyal readership before even considering monetizing a blog.

Have you had different experiences with ads on blogs? Leave a comment and let us know!

26 Replies to “How To Make Money Blogging: What Would John Chow Do?”

  1. Hey Jay, thanks for dropping by and showing me some love. I’m getting so much amounts of traffic lately, and I’m killing myself on trying to make them continued visitors. It’s quite a task. Anyways, if you haven’t already, please check out my $100 dollar contest.
    Jane May has already enterd, and if you entered it would really help me pull in more traffic, and earn more credibility. I really enjoy reading your blog by the way. I’ve subscribed to your feed, I hope you do the same!

  2. Randall, I’ll see if I can put together a review of your blog before the end of the month. I’ve got a list of opportunity reviews to be done, and want to knock off some of those first. I’m subscribed to your RSS feed, so keep the posts coming!

  3. Great points. You are 100% accurate.

    Reviews of websites are extremely helpful and beneficial for everyone from the readers and both bloggers. While you may be familiar with the site already the way in which the blogger brings out the good, the bad and the ugly with their style is always interesting. .

    Looking forward to reading more.

    Success Online!

  4. I saw your review on John Chow’s site today and wanted to know if you would be interested in a review exchange. Please visit my site for for review exchange rules, let me know if you are interested in a review exchange.

    Jason Neuman

  5. Having reviews done about your blog is indeed a good idea.

    This is exactly what my blog is working on at the moment: doing reviews (not getting them, mind you).

    So do you want to popularize your blog, check it out!

    B.T.W., Jay also requested a review, which should be finished at the end of this week or so, so you will not be alone 🙂

  6. Hi

    You’ve got a great blog out there 😉 I’m Carl, a 14 year old blogger from Philippines. I blog at

    I saw your blog on John Chow dot com and I must say, your posts were pretty good. Another thing I noticed is that you are promoting your blog through “review blogs for a linkback” I have an offer for you because I recently celebrated my birthday this May 25 and launched a contest with great prizes!


    Full Site Review – Worth $60
    Sidebar Ad – Worth $30
    2 Month Sidebar Link (Sitewide!) – Worth $30

    And last but not the least, a blog redesign Worth $100!!!

    Full details here: currently has a Pagerank of 4 and has a Technorati ranking of 4,730 that grows everyday (REALLY!) not only that.

    My blog also has an Alexa ranking of 50K! So it’s up to you to make a decision. It will only take few minutes to do an entry right? But with a whopping reward of a


    Carl Ocab

  7. Hi Carl, the link to your contest comes up with no matching posts. But it sounds good and you’ve got some nice prizes. I’m currently only giving backlinks for entrants to my own contest, but you might get some takers from readers.

  8. When I’ve thrown up MFA sites my main concern was to get clicks, now that I have blog with regular readers I’m really careful about where I put ads. I tend to go for a small adsense button somewhere a little further down the page.

  9. That was very interesting. His blog looked blank but boy did he suprise a lot of people. I use him as one of my mentors(he doesn’t even know who I am), I use a lot of people as guides to making my blog and world, a better place. We should all learn a lesson from this.

  10. I don’t consider him a ‘mentor’, but I’m a subscriber, and find his methods fascinating to watch.

    He balances transparency and vested interest in a unique way.

    I find it compelling, although I can’t say why.

  11. I never really understood why I was so drawn to him. Maybe it was the way he got so many people to follow him, maybe it was the money that he makes. I don’t know but it got my intrigued with his blog. I very rarily get to comment on his blog because so many people comment and the comments become closed(I hate this). I do find him interesting though.

  12. I don’t quite understand his appeal, either. I don’t rubberneck at traffic accidents, and I close the windows when the neighbors fight to give them privacy. Yet I find his antics hard to stop watching.

  13. Agree with you, I know when he offered a linkback from bloggers reviews. The Google slap thing just make me eager to read more about him and he made me stay until now by his huge amount of money he get monthly by blogging 🙂

Leave a Reply