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12 blog case studies of small beginnings to super success

Posted on March 10, 2019 by Rob Petersen

Blog case studies

blog case studies

Blog case studies show the opportunity available to someone with a unique perspective on an area that is relevant to others. Successful blog are consistently supported with content that builds an audience and possibly monetary value.

People who make blogs into a business often start from the humblest of beginnings. It is their unique perspective on a particular topic, its relevance to others and the consistency of keeping the content fresh that makes them stand out.

They may make money from similar sources like affiliate marketing, sponsored content, ads, courses and event. But it is the differentiated way they discuss their area that turns their blog into a viable business.

Here are 12 blog case studies of small beginnings to super success.

ARTOFMANLINESS: Brett McKay founded the Art of Manliness in 2008 and has grown it into the largest independent men’s interest magazine on the web. It is a one-stop resource for actionable advice that covers every aspect of a man’s life: character, career, relationships, fitness, style, skills, and much more. Through weekly podcasts and articles, AoM tackles subjects from the philosophical and serious to the practical and fun. AoM differentiates itself from other men’s lifestyle media outlets in providing content that is intelligent, thoughtful, thorough, eminently useful, and clickbait-free. Estimated annual revenue is now $4,300,000.

COINDESK: Is the most successful cryptocurrency blog in the world, getting over 10 million visitors per month. It was started in 2013 by Shakil Kha, and then acquired by Digital Currency Group in 2016 for an amount rumored to be around $500,000. Today, they’re the go-to source for all news and updates in the blockchain world. They make money through advertising, publishing paid reports, and selling tickets to their conferences.

COPYBLOGGER: Started by Brian Clark with no more than $1,000 in seed cash, Brian worked incredibly hard to build an audience and help people. He engaged his audience and figured out exactly what they were looking for. And then he gave it to them. Brian Clark didn’t even have an idea for a product to sell. This approach led Clark and his growing team to launch Copyblogger’s Authority educational platform, its certified content marketer marketplace, and the StudioPress website builder for WordPress. Brian Clark has built CopyBlogger through partnership. Its parent company, Rainmaker Digital, serves more than 200,000 unique customers across its three brands and earns in excess of $12 million in annual revenue.

CREATEANDGO: Founded by Alex and Lauren (a former personal trainer and CPA), after first creating a health and wellness blog, they turned their attention to teaching others how to start a blog and make money at it in this one of our blog case studies. Last year, they earned over $1.66 million with a little less than $600,000 in expenses putting their blogs at over the million dollar mark in revenues. Books and courses account for the majority of revenue, followed by affiliate marketing, mostly for web hosting, email marketing and landing page building companies.

HUFFPOST: Started as “The Huffington Post” by blogger-cum-celebrity Arianna Huffington. It’s initial focus was on American politics with a decidedly liberal stance. It expanded to include a wide variety of other topics and localized editions. They’ve achieved this through pulling in content from a pool of individual bloggers and content creators. HuffPost makes it money from sponsored advertising revenue through banners and other digital ads across its variety of channels. It is by far the most successful blog of its kind, likely valued today at well over $1 billion, a great investment for AOL.” It is estimated Huffpost earns $1,40,00000 per month.

LIFEHACKER: Launched by Gawker Media and is currently owned by Univision Communications, the staff updates the site about 18 times each weekday, with reduced updates on weekends. The site bills itself simply as the site for “Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.” Simple and straightforward, yet highly intriguing. This is one of our blog case studies because who doesn’t need help getting things done?). Daily page views are 2.2 million and monthly revenues are $198,975.

MAKINGSENSEOFCENTS: Started by Michelle Garter as a blog to improve her finances and keep track of her progress to teach others, Michelle managed to pay pay off her $38,000 student loan in 7 months following her own advice. She writes in-depth articles about earning extra income with side hustle and controlling emotional spending. She has developed courses and products to help others. She also monetizes her blog through affiliate marketing and ads. Michelle went from being in debt to earning revenues of $120,000+/month through her blog

MASHABLE: Started by Pete Cashmore in his Scotland home and quickly grew to be the go-to source for social media and tech news. Since then, the outlet’s focus has expanded a bit. But it emphasizes social media news and updates while growing its audiences significantly, thanks in part to pushing content out on a variety of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Mashable is monetized by offering a variety of advertising formats. Because it has 45M unique monthly readers, certain authors may pay Mashable to be featured on their site. It is estimated Mashable makes $2,000,000 per month.

NERDFITNESS: Cut from his high school basketball team in Sandwich, Mass, Steve Kamb hit the gym. To his surprise, he enjoyed working out. He wanted to create a home for people, like himself, who are kind of nerdy and are interested in fitness but are too self-conscious to go to the gym. Most of the firm’s revenue comes through online courses it sells through its Nerd Fitness Academy. The company also runs Camp Nerd Fitness, where several hundred people gather each fall for a fitness retreat held on a long weekend.  His monthly newsletter has 273,000 subscribers and annual revenue is in the seven figures.

NERDWALLET: Is a personal finance blog that helps people with personal financial decisions. They review everything from credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and all things finance. The affiliate commissions for financial products like these can get into the hundreds of dollars per referral. But what they’ve really mastered is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) understanding search intent. They create the best content and user experience depending on the keyword. These reason explain why they’re worth over $500,000,000.

SHOWMETHEYUMMY: When Jennifer started food blogging, her husband, Trevor, a professional photography, worked a full time. Later, they reversed role and now have a food blog that benefits from the skills of both. Starting with revenue of $28/month, four years later, revenue is at $46,000+/month. The blog makes money from affiliate marketing, sponsored content, ads and a video product that teaches how to set-up, shoot and edit a face-paced food video called Show Me the Yummy Digital Food Video Workshop.

TUTSPLUS: Founded in 2006 by Collis Ta’eed, Cyan Claire, and Jun Rundelivering, it’s been delivering outstanding tutorials and content to designers and developers from across the world for quite some time now. Today, in this one of our blog case studies, they offer a hub of useful content and a tremendous marketplace where 2,000,000 active buyers are searching for site templates and useful paid tutorials that they offer as part of their platform. They earn their income primarily through membership and commissions from sales of digital goods on their platform. TUTS+ revenue is currently estimated at $175,000/month.

Do these blog case studies help you see how blogs can be big business? And how, from small beginning, the potential for super success with the right topic, consistency and perseverance is there?

2 to “12 blog case studies of small beginnings to super success”

  1. Alex Nerney says:

    Thanks so much for the feature! You guys rock 🙂

  2. Rob Petersen says:

    You’re more than welcome Alex. createandgo.com a great blog and success story. We’re glad we could share your story with our readers.



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