Review: How I Make Money Blogging

Let me say that initially, I was skeptical about both the size and cost of How I Make Money Blogging: The Beginner's Guide to Building a Money-Making Blog. The $27 freight seemed a bit steep for a 32-page e-book.

Then I opened the PDF and began to read.

Within minutes I realized that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover price: Reading is like a long, fruitful session with an Internet consultant. The difference is that a consultant might give you only part of the picture in order to guarantee a follow-up appointment. The author, Crystal Stemberger, holds nothing back and the reader benefits.

Stemberger owns or co-owns eight sites and while her posts won't win Pulitzers for prose, they're lively and informative. Ditto her e-book: While she at times needs an editor (who doesn't?), the information comes across as chatty advice from a trusted friend who's been at this a lot longer than you have.

She is, in fact, as Internet-savvy as a person can be without actually being an android. As noted in her GRS Reader Story (“Turning a side hustle into self-employment“), in the space of a year Stemberger went from blogging for fun to earning as much as $25,000 in a single month. She did this without spamming, running naughty-bits ads or polluting the Web with SEO-drenched “content.”

Note: SEO stands for “search-engine optimization”, techniques that make a website more appealing to search engines like Google — but less useful to readers like you. SEO is a shortcut to high search results, but it comes at the price of long-term usefulness. As J.D. is fond of saying: “The best SEO is actually great content that other folks want to link to.”

That's not to say that the author is averse to search engine optimization and other traffic-enhancing tricks. That's how online commerce works, and “HIMMB” gives all the equipment you'll need to play in the big leagues. For example, here's how the author suggests you choose a blog title: “Figure out some keywords that will be searched for and include them in your name.”

On first read, that piece of advice gave me the wimwams. It seemed so calculated, maybe even a little cold-blooded. But that's because I tend to approach blogging from a writer's angle vs. a business mindset. If you want to write for free, nothing's stopping you. If you hope to bring in a little (or a lot) of extra money, then you need this e-book.

An evolving landscape
Plenty of us could search all day for information on the business of blogging yet be unable to comprehend it completely once we find it. Much of what's out there is so larded with jargon as to be impenetrable. I'm not a complete Luddite; for example, I know that the Internet isn't really a series of tubes. Yet the alphabet soup of online shorthand sometimes makes me long for the days of Linotype.

Not knowing what we don't know can cost us, literally. Many newbies (like, um, me) have accepted criminally low ad rates because we just didn't know any better. Anyone who buys this book will know exactly what to charge: Stemberger provides a list of revenue types and how much each one should bring in, based on page rank.

What's a page rank? Good question. Stemberger explains three different types of rankings and goes into some detail about Google vs. Everyone Else. It's a complex issue because many bloggers live in fear of being penalized by that particular 500-pound gorilla. The upheaval from two recent tweaks to Google's algorithm cut many online entrepreneurs off at the knees, financially speaking. (The author's own page rank slumped to zero and hasn't budged since.)

Does that mean that big-bucks blogging is a thing of the past? Not necessarily. Stemberger explains that even though many of her advertisers and clients were body-slammed by those algorithm updates, “there is still plenty of money to be made online — it's simply a matter of adapting your strategy as the landscape evolves.” You have to stay up-to-date on how to monetize a blog.

Yet she also says what must be said: Don't be in this for the money. Your blog might not make much right away — or ever. If you think you can slap together a few basic sites, staple on some SEO-heavy content and sit back as the money rolls in, you're likely deluding yourself. Those algorithms are getting smarter all the time, and so are readers.

Reasons for writing
It's the readers — not the lucre that should keep you in the business, the author cautions. While the money is a huge bonus, it's building an online community that motivates her to work so hard.

And it is work. Note that the title calls it building a blog, not lying in a hammock while the blog makes you rich. Although the notion of passive income is a persistent online meme, it takes considerable effort to bring in the big bucks consistently.

Incidentally, those bucks need not come only from advertisers. The author reveals a list of other online gigs she has done/still does, such as ghostwriting, commenting for hire and acting as a blog virtual assistant.

What about those who just want to write for an audience, to share ideas and generate conversations? I'm sure some of you actually exist. But I bet the rest of you alleged purists would leap on even a penny-a-click ad account if it were offered — and I say that as someone who maintained a personal website for months without ever investigating how she might make that blog pay for itself.

Putting ads on your site is not selling out, by the way. The laborer is worthy of his e-hire. Ideally, your readership would grow to the point where you could make writing your full-time job. Unlikely, mind you, but it could happen — after all, this time last year Stemberger had just bid farewell to the cubicle life.

Yet even if you don't want to monetize (ugh) your site, Stemberger's book is still incredibly valuable for its traffic-generating tips. That audience you crave won't find you all by itself.

Note: Crystal Stemberger, the author of this ebook, is also a long-time GRS reader. She's created a $10-off code for readers of this blog. Use the code “GRS10” throughout the month of August, and you can purchase How I Make Money Blogging” for only $17.

 

Addendum: As has been pointed out in the comments, this book is available in a Kindle edition for $9.99. Not everyone has a Kindle but those who do will pay a lot less.

 

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Skip
Skip

I like Crystal but I’m not a fan of the ebook or this post about it. Crystal makes the majority of her money selling text links on her blogs which is actually against Google’s terms of service. That is why her business hit a bump with their updated algorithm and why her site was penalized. Google is trying to stop that kind of activity because it brings up crappy results in the rankings and no one wants that. Also, she made 25k in a month by doing this for other people and taking a cut… hardly a way to make… Read more »

Linda
Linda

Can you tell me more about text links that Crystal is selling for her advertisement business? Is Crystal relying on all her income to broker deals? Why don’t the other blogs just do the deals themselves?

I noticed Crystal’s site has a PageRank of 0. Isn’t that bad? I dont understand all the metrics.

Thank you!

jim
jim

“against Google’s terms of service” No. I wouldn’t say it that way. I don’t think there is anything abut that in Googles terms of services. And Google doesn’t make the rules for blogging nor do they run the Internet (at least not *officially*). Anyone can post whatever link they want on their own website and thats not Googles business. However Googles search engine algorithm may take such things like text links into account. Google does not generally publish their rules or how their algorithm works. THey just make up their own rules then implement them and routinely arbitrarily change how… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal

As I explain in the eBook, there are several varieties of ads. And Google can hit your Page Rank if you sell direct link ads that pass on Google juice (which may have been why my PR was taken down, which I also say in the eBook several times). But there are also “nofollow” links and I explain how to add the nofollow code. And I go over affiliate advertising as well as other ways I have made money online like staff writing and commenting for hire. But as to Google’s Term of Service. No, ads do not violate that… Read more »

Jerry
Jerry

Do you have any renumeration guarantees if I follow your advertisement methods and if my site gets hit with a PR of 0 as well?

Isn’t it just a little weird that you are writing a book about making money blogging, when people are basically saying you are gaming the system, and the PR of 0 shows that?

It’s not like you are a new blog having been around for 2 years. How do you explain to your detractors that you have a 0 pagerank and are just taking advantage of other bloggers to make your money?

Crystal
Crystal

Jerry, are you asking to get all the gain without any of the risk? That is what link advertising is – a risk that your Page Rank will drop. No one will ever reimburse you for a PR loss if you choose to sell links. Luckily, my eBook isn’t only about link ads. But yes, I was hit with a PR0 (as Donna said) and it was most probably for selling links. BUT, that didn’t kill my blog. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff has more monthly visitors than it ever has before and is still bringing in $500-$1500 a month… Read more »

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman

I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a big book reader. Booooring! But this book sounds short and relevant; and the fact that she tells it all is a bonus.

Crystal
Crystal

And you can email me anytime with questions. 😉 This eBook is that “one” that I had been putting off for more than a year. 🙂

Lance@MoneyLife&More

I wrote a review on my blog for this eBook as well and it definitely has some very useful content if you are new to blogging and want to make money. If you’ve been around for years you might fun a couple good nuggets too but I feel it is best geared toward newer bloggers and hose who have not yet monetized.

Crystal
Crystal

Right on Lance. And thanks for the review!

Josh @ Live Well Simply
Josh @ Live Well Simply

Sounds like a great book! $17 is the right price for an ebook like this. At almost a dollar a page, $27 is steep. 🙂 That $25k/month number is what pulls people in, too!

Crystal
Crystal

I want to take the opp to put the actual blog advertising numbers out there. I usually make between $2000-$6000 a month from blogs alone. For example, BFS brought in $42,000 from April 2010 through June 2012. I priced the eBook at $27 simply because I have been offered a little more than that for the rate tables alone before (pricing yourself seems to be the hardest thing for bloggers in the beginning and the info is not super easy to find – at least it wasn’t for me). So the pricey info is there, but a $10 discount code… Read more »

Bella
Bella

So then why is the Kindle version $9.99?
Honestly – it’s an eBook either way, why would I pay an additional $7 more (almost twice the price) when the Kindle ap is free to download? I’m really confused on this one…

Crystal
Crystal

The Kindle one doesn’t (can’t) link to many of the places I mention and it doesn’t come with the Excel sheet example to give an idea of how to keep up with your ads. It’s just the physical words…at least, that is how it has been explained to me. I sold my Kindle (I like audio books), so I haven’t even seen the Kindle version other than the example I approved with Amazon.

David Hunter
David Hunter

**WARNING** Reading “How I Make Money Blogging” may make your savings account crash due to the overload of money coming in!

No, seriously! Crystal says it like it is. She’s the No B.S. Queen! I have been reading her blog since the beginning of 2011 and I keep coming back craving for more.

Crystal
Crystal

You always make me smile David! Thank you for your support!!!

Ray
Ray

Let’s make this a truthful review. 1. The book is VERY MISLEADING. She never made all that much from blogging but rather from other services. Just look at her income reports and you’ll understand where he income comes from. http://howimakemoneyblogging.com/page/2/ 2. Virtually all her income came from text link ads (TLA) either on her site or service for others where she got a cut. This is NOT blogging, just brokering. 3. Her income dropped significantly after a big update by Google, not only did TLA’s dry up but advertisers asked to remove links. Interestingly you will notice that she has… Read more »

Dee
Dee

I agree with you. I read this site for the info and see this article as just another advertising plug. And no offense to get rich slowly, this post makes me wonder if GRS is getting cuts for recommending this ebook. Being that the author has posted here, it just seems like an advertisement and sort of invalidates the ebook for me.

Sorry.

Mike
Mike

A quick search on amazon shows this book priced at $9.99 for the kindle version. I understand trying to support the author and all, but if there is a cheaper alternative you would think GRS readers would be able to find it!

I don’t know enough about how amazon pays the authors for their e-books, but why has no one posted about the amazon version yet?

Meghan
Meghan

LOL! I did, at the exact same time you did!

Crystal
Crystal

As I just responded above, the Kindle version doesn’t come with the Excel sheet example and doesn’t link out to the things I link to in the regular version. It’s just the writing. And I don’t own a Kindle anymore, so it never occurs to me to mention it. It’s just a basic version because most people told me I had to offer it on the Kindle in some fashion or I was losing out…it hasn’t even sold a copy yet as of last night. I haven’t checked today.

Crystal
Crystal

No, GRS did not and will not receive anything for this review. Period.

chacha1
chacha1

I think you may be misunderstanding here. “Blogging” can mean simply “writing an online diary” or “posting pictures of my cat.” But *making money blogging* means creating an Internet site (or sites) that advertisers will pay to use and finding every other possible way to monetize the site. That is what the book is about – how to monetize your website using the tools available at any given time. It’s perfectly legitimate. Some of the tools are no longer available and yeah, so the author’s income has dropped. That doesn’t mean she didn’t ever “make money blogging”; she certainly did.… Read more »

Linda
Linda

I’m honestly surprised at Donna’s superficial review of the book. It just seems like she is just slapping the post up there to get an affiliate commission. To not highlight a big warning that Crystal makes the majority of her money through selling Text Link Ads, which Google and all search engines frown upon is very bad. Imagine all the legal issues when clients of Crystal also get slapped with a PageRank of 0 after working with her. This is very dangerous! Donna has leveraged her staff writing position very well here on GRS, but to not have a balanced… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman

I did mention Crystal’s rating:

“(The author’s own page rank slumped to zero and hasn’t budged since.)”

Crystal
Crystal

I thought Donna made it very clear that my PR dropped. And the eBook itself even has a whole section dedicated to the risk of selling link ads that Google frowns on. But it also covers other types of advertising and ways to make money online. And I never try to hide anything.

Crystal
Crystal

Chacha, Very well said. Thank you. 🙂

Crystal
Crystal

In reply to Ray: 1. “The book is VERY MISLEADING. She never made all that much from blogging but rather from other services. Just look at her income reports and you’ll understand where he income comes from. http://howimakemoneyblogging.com/page/2/” – I made $42,000 from BFS alone from April 2010 to June 2012. It is still bringing in $500-$1500 a month as a PR0. And I make about $2000-$6000 a month overall from my multiple blogs. My other online services are the rest. And yes, you can see that in my income updates (which I am restarting in my newsletter). I say… Read more »

Skip
Skip

You explained it much better than I did. Totally agree with everything you said Ray, thanks for leaving such a coherent reply explaining why this feels very sketchy in the way it is being presented.

Mike Holman
Mike Holman

For the record – her book is not called “How I got rich blogging”. Why shouldn’t a book that discusses a way to increase your income be featured here?

Blogging and other online income methods have a relatively low barrier to entry and the time constraints and hours are very flexible. Therefore, it’s a good field for people who want to increase their income by doing a side hustle on top of their regular job or for a stay-at-home parent.

Good luck with the book sales and your business Crystal!

Crystal
Crystal

Thank you Mike! Couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂

Steve
Steve

The problem, in my opinion, is not where specifically 95% the income came from, and whether or not it was “blogging” or some other kind of income. The problem is that 95% of the reported income was from using a technique that NO LONGER WORKS and was questionable even when it did work. This e-book is similar to a book like “How to make $1 million in real estate in three years.” Maybe it worked for a while. Maybe the author did make a wheelbarrowfull of cash using the technique. But somebody today couldn’t do the same thing. And in… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal

But I still make money the ways I go over in the book. My July income was around $1500 with just blog advertising on my own sites. It’s not a dead industry and some niches of it are picking back up to where there were last year. I don’t understand why you think affiliate advertising or even direct ads are dead…

Divyesh Dave
Divyesh Dave

The core of this article falls under what is known as Internet Marketing. IE includes Search Engine Optimization.

Blogging is one way to make money. There is also affiliate marketing, Google Adsense, drop shopping, domain flipping and so on.

Crystal
Crystal

Great points. I do actually cover other ways I’ve made money online like affiliate ads, staff writing, and commenting for hire.

BrentABQ
BrentABQ

Commenting for hire…. Do you realize how sleazy that sounds? It is like paying people to walk around a store and exclaiming to everyone that passes by what a great deal/product this is. You poison your own well and dilute your own value of authenticity. “I’m just a real person”. I have no doubt that you are a flesh and blood human, but your goal in this endeavor is clearly to make money.

Crystal
Crystal

Umm, not that kind of commenting. I just leave real comments on blog posts but my name would link back to the blog that hired me instead of my own. I don’t go around exclaiming the awesomeness of random bloggers.

chacha1
chacha1

Some of these criticisms betray what seems to be a real lack of awareness of how Internet businesses work.

It’s a pity that a simple book review is turning into a bash-the-author session.

dan
dan

This kind of blog post/shilling is nonsense. If I wanted to read this kind of crap I’d go to one of those “how to make money at home” scam sites. Please don’t put this kind of quasi-ad blog post on this site. or I’ll simply stop reading it.

Jacq
Jacq

I felt the same way Dan.

I don’t know why it bothers me to see this kind of post on this site, but it does. I’ve been reading saltydroid.info too long I guess and have a problem with the whole world of marketers teaching marketers how to market marketing to marketers.

KSR
KSR

Yeah, strange. But, I got to meet and tour around the saltydroid.info because of you. So, thanks for that Jacq.

Nicolò
Nicolò

I totally agree with Jacq. This post is not oriented with the “mission” of the blog. I was “disturbed”.
As a long time GRS reader, I am eventually interested in the “soft” aspects of online business or how this can be related to personal finance. While this is pure online advertisement.

It was smarter if you hosted Pat Flynn’s story, which is very interesting and inspirational for the average GRS’user.

soulwriter
soulwriter

Dan, Jacq & Nicolo – all so well said. And I could not agree more. Nothing against Ms. Stemberger, but I’ve grown so exhausted of bloggers trying to make a buck out of the “here’s how you make money online” sermon. It is exactly like work at home scams, preying on people’s desire to make money easy and effortlessly. Perhaps there are some pearls of wisdom. but I don’t like being sold something on GRS by one of its contributors, even with a discount. New bloggers, including myself, are far better served by reading blogs by Pat Flynn, Darren Rowse,… Read more »

Matt
Matt

Agreed. This is by far the worst “article” (sales pitch) I’ve read on this site in recent memory, if not ever!!!

Shame on Donna and shame on JD if he read this first and approved the post. We expect substance here!

Crystal
Crystal

This wasn’t an ad and GRS isn’t receiving and will not be receiving anything for the review. Donna just liked my eBook. It isn’t about getting rich quickly…in fact, I explain that it takes months to build up a site before it can even think about making money. One of my first points is to make sure you aren’t in it just for the money or you will crash and burn during the lonely beginning. It really is just an eBook about my own experiences and what I’ve learned over the last 2 years. It is what it is…

SB @One Cent at a Time
SB @One Cent at a Time

Who ever blogged and earned some money can believe that the book describes the true story.

Crystal
Crystal

Thank you SB! I know you’ve watched BFS since the beginning. 🙂

RichUncle EL
RichUncle EL

Good for you Crystal, congrats on the book and wish you the best of luck.

Crystal
Crystal

Thank you!!!

Meghan
Meghan

I saw the ebook on Amazon for $9.99.

Maybe it’s a recent price change, but I find it a little comical the Frugal Blogger (Donna) didn’t notice this. 🙂

Love all the posts though! Keep up the great work GRS.

Crystal
Crystal

The Kindle version is just the very basic writing. No links, no tables or pictures, no Excel example…just the chapters. It’s very basic and only there for the Kindle die-hards. 🙂

PJN
PJN

This is the post where GRS jumped the shark.

Crystal
Crystal

I haven’t heard that phrase before…but I Googled it. I am really sad that you’d think a review of my book would be considered the point that GRS started declining in value. I, of course, am biased. But I have received some amazing feedback and anyone who has followed BFS knows that I am 100% real. What I wrote is just what I have learned. It should save new bloggers tons and tons of time of research if nothing else.

Whiteacre
Whiteacre

Oh wow.

I am a longtime GRS fan but this is a new low. I agree with the previous poster who said this reeks of the scammy “how to make money NOW”-type nonsense.

C’mon, GRS, you’re better than this!

Crystal
Crystal

I swear it is not a scam. It even explains the hard work involved with an action plan. It’s just my book about what I’ve learned. “How I Make Money Blogging” just sounded like the perfect title (plus, I already owned the domain name, lol).

DB
DB

Please no more articles on making money blogging. You don’t care about the nuts and bolts of my industry (enterprise technology sales), do you?

Crystal
Crystal

If you write an eBook about that, I promise to review it on BFS. 🙂 But I can see your point. I think you would not be considered the “target audience” for this subject, lol. But have a great week!

DB
DB

Thanks Crystal, not trying to slam you or Donna – just making the point that there are a lot of us GRS readers (perhaps the vast majority?) who are not the target audience for this type of information.

Crystal
Crystal

I get that. But I also received a ton of emails from readers of GRS asking about blogging last time I guest posted here about my story. So maybe it’s a minority, but it’s still hundreds of people who may care. I just thought everyone who wasn’t interested would just skim and move on…oops.

Michael
Michael

“SEO stands for “search-engine optimization”, techniques that make a website more appealing to search engines like Google – but less useful to readers like you.” SEO shouldn’t make the site less useful to readers. SEO will actually improve the site for users. Good page structure, valid HTML, correctly used header and meta tags all make the user experience better. Search engines can use this content and structure to provide extra info with the links they display and to better rank sites. Spamy type SEO that results in garbage content and garbage links in search results should more correctly be termed… Read more »

BrentABQ
BrentABQ

I used to work for a search engine. There are more people out there trying to game the system than there are creating that system. Its sickening and ridiculous. Every SEO thinks they are the good ones, just getting their name out there and bringing worthwhile information to the people. Then they climb over each other in a king of the hill type battle to get higher on the page. A little bit of foul play goes a long way and they justify it to themselves because everyone thinks they are special.

Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
Kathleen @ Frugal Portland

I bought the book, and thought it was well worth the price. That said, maybe book reviews on blogging aren’t really the right area for a site like “get rich slowly” since the readers are not likely to be bloggers themselves (though the commenters certainly are!).

Crystal
Crystal

I would have agreed with you until my last guest post here. I received literally hundreds of emails about blogging from GRS readers. That was why I was so excited to find out it was being reviewed here. 🙂

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski

I have no problem with this book or the idea of trying to make money blogging. However, I think there’s something wrong when the *only* coverage that career choice gets on a site like this is to talk about how people can make money blogging. Other times the whole notion that your choice of career matters in terms of how much you’ll make is pooh-poohed (do what you love!) or completely overlooked. Career choice is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT factor affecting whether you can “get rich” (slowly or otherwise) and sites like this never mention it, except to talk about… Read more »

Lmoot
Lmoot

I don’t think you will see PF articles about getting into a high paying career. The reason being that those types of careers are unachievable without a personal desire or mission to devote the energy and focus it would take to get into it (not even to be successful at it, but just to get the foot in the door). Wanting to be rich is DEFINITELY not enough to motivate someone to give up the time, the hours, and the lifestyle necessary for the career examples you provided. If that is the main motivating factor, there will probably be burnout… Read more »

Bella
Bella

Teacher’s don’t get burn out? Explain that to the teachers who have put 20 years of blood sweat and tears into their job. Anyone who puts their heart and soul into their work runs the risk of burn out – and ‘jobs that you love’ are no less likely to require that tax than ones that pay well. Like you said – If you had know being financially indepent would be a goal you would have done something different. – That’s what Tyler is suggesting – tell young people before they get hundreds of thousands of dollars into student loan… Read more »

Lmoot
Lmoot

Well I’d certainly say 20 years before a burnout is a pretty good run. Yes there were sacrifices I am sure, but there was also a 20 year career out of it. When I mentioned the time it takes, I was talking about the time that would need to be put in BEFORE any compensation, like during the education and certification, and interning process. You cannot really compare the training to become a teacher, to that of becoming a surgeon or civil engineer. Maybe I should have clarified “premature burnout”. And someone who was into a career for the money… Read more »

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle

Or what about more articles on ways to optimize your earning potential in your chosen career, even if it doesn’t net you six figures?
For instance, April wrote an article on negotiating your salary. And freemoneyfinance has such articles often.
More of that would be great, in my opinion.

Lmoot
Lmoot

Heh, I edited my comment to say the same thing while you were posting this! 🙂
So, of course, I totally agree!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

I agree! Not everyone can be doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. (Nor should they be — but Tyler gets that.) I think some strategic planning is key, especially since people change jobs and careers so often these days.

Crystal
Crystal

In response to Tyler, I think you’re right that people are way likely to make the most doing what they love – I say that all of the time. But I didn’t write a book about how to get rich blogging. I wrote a book explaining how to start a blog, how to build it quickly in order to make money if that’s what you want, and other ways to make money online. But it never comes close to saying that you will get rich blogging. It’s just more options.

BrentABQ
BrentABQ

“But it never comes close to saying that you will get rich blogging.”

“$23,000 a month!” – Crystal

Crystal
Crystal

“Don’t be in this for the money. It’s a downer to only make 40 cents in the first couple of months. Have fun with it. If you are having fun, your readers have more fun. I look at my blogs as a solid community and the money-making as a huge bonus. I blog full time, but I always keep in mind that having my own online community to hang out with is my primary motivation to do what I do.” – Direct quote from eBook “I am living proof that you can make money, real money, from blogging within a… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1

I actually agree with this, I think the site would be richer for at least periodic articles on the essentiality of career choice to PF, how to re-invent one’s working life as an employee, etc. Not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship and I’d bet many readers are already at “midlife” or beyond, but still wanting to increase income … without blogging for money. 🙂 Fwiw and for sake of discussion, I make $70K a year as a specialized legal assistant. I needed a college degree to be considered for entry-level (file clerk) employment in a law firm. Any college… Read more »

Troy
Troy

I agree with Tyler. And I will add, Most all PF advice, including most PF blogs, while entertaining, are mostly noise. That includes this one. PF is actually very simple. Earn alot Save money Don’t be stupid and pay attention. That is pretty much it. If you really want to have money or be rich, you can. But it takes work. Reading a blog isn’t work. Starting a business is work. Getting a MD or a JD is work. And going into a lucrative field is the best PF advice ever. But that doesn’t sell, because people want a fix,… Read more »

Mike Holman
Mike Holman

Tyler, the Finance Buff blog had a good article yesterday on this same point that some careers pay a lot better than others:

http://thefinancebuff.com/lifestyle-design-choose-what-you-do.html

I like his quote:

“Doing what you love is a luxury few can afford.”

Ornella @ Moneylicious
Ornella @ Moneylicious

I consider myself somewhat new to blogging. Looks like it should be a book I should check out. Thanks for the review Donna.

Crystal
Crystal

Please email me anytime with questions. budgetingfunstuff *at* gmail *dot* com. And I mean you can email me anytime whether or not you check out the book. Thanks!

AZ Joe
AZ Joe

I read some comments that this is a good article, some that say it is a bad article and some who are in the middle. Personally I don’t want to read only this kind of article but occasionally is OK. In my (former) career I used to feel that if people on both sides of the issue are unhappy you are probably about in the middle – – and the right place. Good job!

Crystal
Crystal
Just a quick note since I’ve seen the question – GRS did not and will not receive anything for this review. Period.
Crystal
Crystal

Another general note – I am a real person that really just started blogging in February 2010. I was (and still try to be) an avid commenter here, at FMF, and about 30 other sites. I’ve also been a major staff writer for a while and staff wrote for more than 11 sites a week at once for a few months in 2011. I’m just a real person who wrote a book about what she learned about blogging and making money online over the last 2 years. This isn’t about getting rich quick. It’s just my story and experiences. Hopefully… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat

Crystal, Warning! Unsolicited advice ahead! 🙂 This may come across as mean-spirited, but that is not my intent. I really think this is advice that will help you in the long run. Now that you are a writer with a book published (and promoted by a well-known name in the finance world), I strongly recommend growing a thicker skin. Personally, I wouldn’t bother replying individually with the same answer over & over to those who are not fans of your methods. You win some, you lose some. There are critics everywhere. There also are supporters everywhere. (And now they will… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal

Oh no worries. 🙂 I am a generally positive person. I answer everyone individually because I think everyone deserves a direct response if they have a real question or point. Although I had to think twice about replying here since it directly went against your advice. 😉 I am not trying to answer everyone to be defensive. But I do want to state my side when points are brought up. It’s my nature. Plus, talking to someone one on one usually comes off way better than ignoring them completely. And this blog is one of my absolute favorites and I… Read more »

Don
Don

Crystal has always been a straight shooter, holding nothing back.

While I haven’t read her book, I’m sure she tells you the real deal, what worked for her and how to avoid her mistakes!

Think of it as a no fluff, and to the point book!

She accomplished what she has because she works harder than anyone I’ve even seen online, and thinks outside of the box while doing so.

I’m sure once things slow down, I too, will read the book, it’s just a matter of time!

Crystal
Crystal

Awwww, thanks Don! Can’t wait to see you again at FINCON – good luck with your weight loss!

Nell
Nell

Jesus, could you people be MORE obnoxious? Seriously, first point: if you haven’t read the book, how can you make an observation about it? Second point – this chick made like $25 in a month. A MONTH. Even after the updates, she still banks more working at home than most of you angry commenters here do put together. And that’s WITHOUT the crappy daily commute most of you have to endure. Jealously is not a pretty thing, people, and you’re showing your ugly side. She makes lots of money. She wrote a book telling YOU how to do it, too.… Read more »

Sherry
Sherry

Well said Nell! I am shocked at how negative people are here about this. I didn’t find anything sleezy in the review at all. If you don’t want to read about blogging for money, etc., just skip the article. And if you want to read more about how to make good career choices, doing better in your chosen career or other subjects – why don’t you write a reader story how you have done so – or write about how you got to the point you were, and ask for advice in the comments? Submit it as a reader story… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal

Sherry, I was thinking the exact same thing yesterday. If anyone wants to read about different subjects, they can submit a post anytime. JD is very nice and doesn’t bite anyone’s head off for it…I mean, he featured my guest posts twice now on top of this review. And my first one was when I was really new and didn’t know how to write for a big blog at all. He’s a really nice guy.

Crystal
Crystal

Awww, thank you Nell! You are like a mama lion when pissed off. 🙂 I’m off to make myself a smoothie now, hahaha.

Maddie
Maddie

I think this kind of article is fine once in a while. It’s not uncommon for GRS to mention ways to make money on the side, and the author just happened to go more in-depth with this one. The concept of blogging for money doesn’t really appeal to me personally, but not all of side-project ideas do. However, since I am in college and trying to choose a path, I *love* the commenter above’s idea of more articles on how career planning relates to income. I challenge one of the writers (or anyone) to submit an article about this topic.… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo

I’m in a bit late today cuz I didn’t have anything constructive to say, but since you ask, Michelle Singletary is the PF columnist for the Washington Post, and earlier this year she wrote this great little article: Not All College Majors Are Created Equal It’s short, to the point, and backed up with factual research and hard data. I hope you like it! And as a staff writer, I might just wanna pick up the gauntlet and continue that discussion here, if only just because I love a good discussion. But I can’t promise anything right now except that… Read more »

Maddie
Maddie

Fantastic article!! Thank you, El Nerdo!

lmoot
lmoot

Meh, the article didn’t bring up anything that wasn’t a “duuhhh” point. An engineer makes more than a social worker..duuhhh. Taking out high student loans for a degree not likely to produce a higher income job is less opportunistic than taking on debt for a degree which will…duuhhh. From reading the article it seems that the problem is not the degree being chosen, but rather the debt being chosen. Our culture shuffles kids straight from h.s. to college. I started college courses myself two weeks after graduating h.s. I was majorly turned off by the author’s “job” “no job” snap… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo

Mehs and duhs aside, you won’t believe how many college students haven’t considered the ability to pay back their loans when acquiring student debt. I don’t think Singletary criticizes majors per se– she’s a journalist after all, which isn’t exactly a profession known for its high salaries. And not everyone needs her article, obviously, clearly not you, but each one of the thousands of people who was out there last year protesting student debt probably would have benefitted from making such simple estimations after leaving high school. I have a friend who used student debt to pay for summer trips… Read more »

Lmoot
Lmoot

All valid, and good points. And you touched more on what I was hoping the article would…teaching prospective students and student loan borrowers how to manage their loans properly (which includes researching how much “risk” to put into their “investment”); tayloring their investment into their career choice (whether it be cash or credit)to their expected return. Not advising to choose a major based on “job” “no job”. That’s silly because it can’t be condensed to that. There are plenty of professionals who got into their chosen profession because it was supposed to be a safe bet and they got bewitched,… Read more »

Maddie
Maddie

Just as a note, most engineering programs are just 4-year undergraduate degrees and cost the same as an English degree — at least at my state school.

Lmoot
Lmoot

The same here in FL, but then there’s the test you have to pass to become certified, which requires additional study materials, and time for self study. If you fail, there’s usually a waiting period before you can take the test again. You’re out of school, but you still need to find a job while you get your training hours and work on the certification.

Maddie
Maddie

That’s true. And even controlling for motivation, I do see more engineering students (or any high credit load major, really) taking 5 years to graduate than lib arts students.

CincyCat
CincyCat

One of the reasons my BA says “Music Performance” is because at the age of 18-22, I seriously had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was good at a lot of things (including singing), but no real focus as to what I wanted to do for the next 20 or 30 years of my life. I have done precisely zero with my major since I graduated _ years ago. Thankfully, I attended a university with a very well-rounded core curriculum, but even better was that this university had a fantastic campus catering department, which is… Read more »

Lmoot
Lmoot

That’s awesome! Good for you. I think that’s a wonderful way to do it. I can’t even count the amount of people who told me I might as well just “go ahead and get a masters”. I always respond “In what? I don’t really know what I want to be a master of yet. I want to see what’s out there before I get a specialized degree.” To be honest, after a bachelor’s degree there isn’t that much more incentive, except for in a few industries, to get higher education. The only reason I would want to get a masters… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat

Lmoot,

My job will reimburse for an MBA also, but in exchange for their generosity, they pretty much own me for the next two years. (For the record, I think this makes perfect sense since they would be footing the bill, and have every right to want the ROI.)

Since I’m at a point where part of my motivation to get the degree is to move on to other pastures, my husband and I agreed to debt-finance my MBA.

Karen
Karen

I am definitely adding this book to my wishlist! Thanks for taking the time to put your insight into book format. I can’t wait to read it.

Crystal
Crystal

Thank you! Please contact me anytime with questions too. 🙂

frugalscholar
frugalscholar

I think that underlying all this is the fact that “early” personal finance bloggers may indeed have “gotten rich quickly” and unexpectedly. Crystal–and I haven’t read the book–is perhaps showing what you have to do to make money in the current environment.

Crystal
Crystal

Yes, and the book isn’t filled with rocket science. It’s hard to grow a blog and make money with it, but it’s even harder if you don’t know the next steps in advance…I know, because that is how I had to do it. My eBook just puts it all together for you in one spot. It’s still a time consuming process, but at least you’ll have a plan.

SwampWoman
SwampWoman

I’ve been really happy to read this article. Due to family medical reasons, I may have to quit my day job and stay at home full-time. I’ve never previously considered monetizing except for a few Google ads on a now-abandoned blog. I’m going to seriously consider it now! I’ll be across the country accompanying said ill family member to see friends and family for the next three weeks, so I’ll purchase the Kindle edition first. Will that be enough to get me started? I don’t have a lot of expenses except for monthly recurring things like phone and internet access,… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal

Yes, the Kindle version has all of the writing. You’d only be missing pictures, links, and the Excel example sheet. But you’d have all of the info. And you can email me anytime with questions. Good luck!

Jerry
Jerry

I have to be honest, as a long time reader of GRS, I miss JD. You can’t blame Crystal for trying to sell her product and use her relationships to do so. All the info in her book is out there for free on much more authoritative, larger sites, that actually have a pagerank. I’m more disappointed with Donna for leveraging her position as a staff writer to do favors for friends and support products which really aren’t that unique or good. You can bet if Donna didn’t know Crystal, and Crystal wasn’t a woman that she wouldn’t highlight this… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman

That’s a bet you’d lose.

imelda
imelda

… Prove it?

I think GRS commenters went a little crazy on this post, but I would still like to be reassured that there isn’t any bias behind this recommendation! Are the two of you personal friends?

(as with JD and Chris Guillebeau, a friendship doesn’t deligitimize a recc, but it certainly should be acknowledged)

Crystal
Crystal

I have seen Donna in person in passing at the last FINCON and have chatted with her several times as a blogger, but no, we are not girlfriends. The most we’ve ever spoken/emailed has been about the general negativity of these comments. We were both surprised.

Crystal
Crystal

Did you buy and read my book? Is this a public refund request? Or are you making assumptions based on…what? I’m proud to have written what I’ve learned. Yes, it was free info to learn, but I would have happily paid $17 when I first started in 2010 to save a year or more of learning basic stuff the very hard way. As far as using my contacts, I haven’t actually gotten to know Donna or JD as well as I’d like. I do know that neither one of them know me well enough to promote by book simply because… Read more »

KO
KO

You can make money with a lot of different types of revenue schemes that fit blogs but when it comes down to the brass tax you will never make money if you don’t live and breathe the subject you are talking about.

Crystal
Crystal

I think that you are generally spot on. Unless you love your blog subject, you just won’t impress anybody and none of the real feeling will come through in your posts.

Obodden
Obodden

This site was at its peak in 2007… all downhill form there..terrible story about why we all should pay someone who is already wealthy to make her richer. I come to this site for FREE valuable information not to payout, EVER. This post made me realzie my time here as a reader is over the ocntent has gotten progessivaly worse and today it reached its pinnacle. I will not be back.

Crystal
Crystal

Your URL links to “Get Rich by Any Means”, and this is the post that you just couldn’t put up with? That’s hilarious… 😀

Jane
Jane

Crystal, while I can see why you would be on the defensive after all the negative feedback, I don’t think your snarky responses to strangers are doing you any favors here.

Sometimes dignified silence is the best response.

Crystal
Crystal

I just couldn’t help it when I saw the URL…come on…it was like a softball. 😉

As for the rest…it hasn’t felt like feedback.

Robin
Robin

As most everyone has said this book isn’t worth the money. People who have worked online making money for over 10 years or more can offer much better advice and step by step techniques than someone who has only been online for a few years and is really only making money through text link ads. You gotta ask yourself, if her blogging is really making her so much money each month why is her husband working part-time at a bowling alley?

Crystal
Crystal

So, you’ve read HIMMB? What didn’t you like about it specifically? As for my husband working part-time as a bowling alley mechanic, he started that about a month ago since he was getting bored. It was the same job he had in high school and he thinks it is fun – I think he’s nuts, but whatever floats his boat. I am also a contracted Chick-fil-A cow mascot part-time for fun…I didn’t know that would affect anyone’s point of view of me, lol. If you have read my eBook and have some points to make about it, awesome. I can… Read more »

Kate
Kate

The thing about making money with a blog is, you have to have traffic – people reading it – otherwise no one will click on your ads or buy whatever it is you’re selling. And getting traffic can be really hard, which is where SEO comes in. And SEO is complicated. And it takes time. There is no “easy, fast money” with blogging any more than there is with any other website these days. As for any “make money” ebook – I’ve seen lots of them advertised and even fallen for a few of those well-written sales pitches over the… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal

I’m sorry you have had such bad experiences in the past. But my book has been edited, I do answer all of my emails, and my book isn’t about making money fast. It’s about how you can turn 1-2 years of development into 6 months instead. But this is me trying to say do not judge me based on others. Either read my book or don’t, but don’t make assumptions based on no one that has anything to do with me.

Lady Jane
Lady Jane

I don’t know Donna. Why would you recommend a book by a blogger with a Pagerank of 0 on how to make money blogging when there are so many other resources out there from non punished bloggers? It just smells like cronyism where you take care of your friends, even of they don’t have the best product. This is probably the main reason why you have so many dissenters here. It’s like you recommending your sister to tutor someone else’s kids even if your sister got expelled out of high school for doing something wrong (PR0). I really hope you… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal

Donna can ask the questions geared at her, but I just wanted to pop in again to let you know that a PR0 doesn’t make me any less knowledgeable or make my blog worthless. Just an FYI.

And BFS still makes $500-$1500 a month as a PR0, so obviously PR isn’t the only thing that matters in blogging or in making money online…

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman

I don’t agree that it’s cronyism. As noted earlier, I barely know Crystal. We said “hello” at FinCon, we’ve talked a couple of times on the phone and e-mailed back and forth. As Crystal has noted, repeatedly, she still does well with a PR0. The book does talk about the possible consequences (e.g., falling page rank) of running certain types of ads. But again: You don’t have to do anything that goes against your particular grain. For example, I don’t run sponsored posts on my personal website. Lots of people do. I just choose not to do so. If you… Read more »

Linda
Linda

I don’t think cronyism is a bad thing per se. It’s natural to take care of your friends and family. Cronyism happens when people tend to look alike, come from the same racial background, are the same sex, go to similar schools, or work in similar fields and help people who aren’t the most qualified. Do you guys happen to look alike or go to the same school by any chance? Again, cronyism is everywhere and I don’t think it’s bad that you are helping out Crystal even if you know it might not be the greatest product. I’m assuming… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman

I’m almost 30 years older than Crystal and we do not know each other so nope, it’s not cronyism.

I was sent a review copy, which is standard procedure for other companies for which I’ve reviewed books (The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times).

And I think it is a very helpful product. Others who have commented say the same thing.

Melissa@LittleHouseIntheValley

I have read the book, and it is a good guide for beginning bloggers. You certainly don’t have to do everything Crystal suggests, and she very clearly states the possible consequences.

Kris @ Everyday Tips
Kris @ Everyday Tips

Disclaimer: I have not read Crystal’s ebook. However, I do know Crystal. I don’t think I have ever met a more transparent person in my life. I am saying that in a good way. Crystal says what she believes in, she states the good and the bad, and has been more forthcoming about blogging than anyone else I have ever met. I don’t think I have ever been to a web site (including this one) where I totally agreed with everything stated. Some posts will resonate with some readers, and others will not. Doesn’t mean a person has to be… Read more »

Crystal
Crystal

Thanks Kris! It’s great to see you back!

Rob
Rob

Wow, nasty reviews. I can handle negative reviews, as a matter of fact I actually look for them, but this case GRS readers have sunk to a whole new level of meanness. As I mention saw only one negative that even partically added anything to the conversation. Personally my option is simply, tear down anyone successful!

Shame on you folks

Rob

Jai Catalano
Jai Catalano

I have to say that the lack of respect on here is humorously appalling. Ironically there are a ton of people on here that would love to be in her financial shoes. If the financial ride stops then she can get off and go on another ride. For now let her do what every American tries to do. I am ok with negative reviews but what happened to respect. Come on.

Tushar Mathur
Tushar Mathur

All you negative people, have you ever read Crystal’s blog? Do you think she hides or misleads in her writing? I haven’t met Crystal..yet (FinCon 2012) But I feel like I know her already. You say that you are long-time GRS readers. Have you ever implemented the advice that JD gives? Or do you just read for entertainment value? Some people just love to hate on people who have the guts to try new things are become successful. At the end of all this, Crystal will continue to earn more money and you will be back here hating on some… Read more »

Linda
Linda

I agree! At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many negative commenters there are, Crystal wins because she got her book reviewed on GRS and most readers subscribe via RSS and don’t read comments!

I’m sure Crystal made another pretty penny thanks to Donna’s help. It doesn’t matter whether the book is good or bad. The point is that Crystal is making more money off people and beginning bloggers got some help.

Clint
Clint

Agree with the last few posts. What’s with all the hating up above? Have so many people forgotten how to stop reading something they don’t like? It’s really that simple. All this outrage over nothing is silly, if not moronic.

I also agree with with one of the earlier comments. Not all commenters deserve the courtesy of a reply.

Ollie
Ollie

Just brought the book in kindle less than £7.00 can’t really go wrong with that, look forward to reading it and inputting the information on a new blog I am looking at creating.

Joshua
Joshua

Sounds like the review of a very good and informational book. How are the sales as an affiliate if you don’t mind me asking?

Does the book sell itself? 🙂

Anyway, great post.

Emma
Emma

Really great tips on earning money through blogging. Thanks for share this information.

Craig Crawford
Craig Crawford

Hey!

thanks for the great information! I am blogging currently and sharing some info to interact with people… Trying to build a list 🙂

Thanks for the info!

Craig

Desertscrooge
Desertscrooge

I recently started my own blog and was looking for information on how to blog properly. I have to say this book sounds interesting but $27 really it a steep price for an ebook. Maybe later on.

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