Chances are good that if you’re reading this blog post, you probably heard that you could earn dollars through blogging. In your mind, you’re probably thinking that this is basically money for nothing. I mean, what’s more awesome than getting paid to write about stuff you love. Well, on a purely theoretical basis, there’s nothing wrong with that concept. It would be great if everybody got paid to write about stuff that they’re passionate about.

Unfortunately, life gets in the way. In real life, there’s a lot more to blogging than what you’ve been told. You have to pay attention to these realities. Otherwise, you’re going to end up like 90 percent of other bloggers out there. That’s right. You’re going to end up discouraged, disappointed, and broke.

The sad reality is 90 percent of all the blogs ever started, end up failing. If you define failure as no longer updating your blogs after a certain amount of time, then, 90 percent of blogs according to the New York Times have failed. That’s the central reality you need to always keep in mind. Thankfully, there is a way to blog successfully. This is called, Smart Blogging.

The Smart Way versus the Dumb Way to Make Money

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if you want to make money blogging, you have to learn how not to blog the dumb way. The dumb way is actually very easy. You decide to do things the exact same way as everyone else. How does this play out in reality? Well, you hear that people can make money blogging, so you find a topic that you’re excited about and you blog away. Day after day you write something new you get all excited about, hottest trends, news, and developments in your niche.

You don’t pay attention, however, to how lucrative your niche is. You don’t pay attention to the specific needs of your audience members. You don’t even bother to figure out where your prospective content consumers hang out online. Not surprisingly, you end up getting discouraged with each passing day, why? When you look at your statistics, you don’t see any visitors.

At first, you may be posting every single day and you all gung ho. However, once you see that you’re not getting any visitors and worse yet, you’re not making any money, your posting volume keeps dropping. Eventually, you only post once a month. Then, it becomes once every three months, then you stop posting altogether.

If you’re like the typical failed blogger, your domain expires after a year. You don’t renew your domain registration after a year. It really is too bad because you don’t have to blog the dumb way. You only need to follow the rules I’m going to lay out below to blog the smart way.

Follow These 8 Rules to Earn Passive Income Through Blogging

Rule #1: Find a High-paying Niche with Enough Demand

There are many ways to do this, but most of them take too much time. I rather be systematic and methodical. The way I do this is first I list out all the topics I’m interested in. Maybe I’m interested in Lady Gaga. Maybe I’m interested in basket weaving. Whatever the case is, I would compile a massive list of all the things I’m personally interested in.

My test for writing down an item is whether I would write on that particular topic even if I’m not getting paid. That’s how passionate I am about those topics. Next, I filter those interests based on the search volume of the keywords related to those interests. I go to Google Keyword Planner and I enter those topics and see what the average monthly search volume for those topics are. I then delete interests that have so little search volume that I probably won’t have much of an audience.

The third thing I do is I would look at the remaining keywords and look at their commercial value. In Google Keyword Planner, you get the cost per click or this is what advertisers would pay for each click of keywords related to those topics. I’m not, of course, looking for the highest commercial value. Those keywords tend to have very low search volume. Instead, I’m looking for a happy medium between not too searched volume and a very high commercial value. I’m looking for something in the middle.

I then delete all the other interests that don’t meet this filter. At the end of the process, I would have topics that I’m really excited about that have a decent demand and have decent commercial value. Believe it or not, these topics do exist.

Rule #2: Reverse Engineer Your Niche Competitors

Now that you have zeroed in on smart niches to focus on, the next step is to reverse engineer your competition. Find out who’s out there. I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that regardless of your niche, somebody has beaten you to it. Somebody has put up a blog at some in time in the past. The good news is you can use this fact to get your competitors to do your homework for you. Find out who they are and figure out who’s successful. This is very easy to do.

Find your domain names, enter it into Alexa site info. The lower the number Alexa gives you, the more successful the site is in terms of traffic. Figure out the winners and get rid of the losers, and then reverse engineer the winners. What should you look for?

Pay attention to their blog theme. Do they have a certain common look and feel? Pay attention to how they lay out their content. They probably present their content and ads a certain way. Be mindful of that. Take note of it.

Third, pay attention to the things that they talk about. What kind of topics do they normally talk about? There’s a reason why they often focus on certain topics and not others. The reason should be obvious to you. True category winners keep focusing on the same topics over and over again because these topics generate money and traffic.

Rule #3: Reverse Engineer Successful Content the Smart Way

Now, I need you to put on your genius hat and we’re going to reverse engineer content. When you pick winning blogs in your niche, this is not enough. You have to understand that 80 percent of the content they produce aren’t read by too many people. Only 20 percent generate real income. Your job is to figure out this 20 percent. One dead giveaway is the social media attraction of your competitors’ content.

If you noticed that certain pieces of content get shared on Facebook a lot, pay attention. This means that there’s something about that content that is very popular with your niche audience that your competitors share. Compile a list of the most popular content your competitors have.

Next, resolve to beat that content. How do you do this? Very simple: Offer more up to date content. Use shocking or attention grabbing headlines. Include pictures and videos with your content. If everything else fails, simply offer more content. For example, if their most popular post is a top 5 list, offer a top 50 or even a top 250 list. The key here is to come up with content that is so obviously superior that it doesn’t take much effort on your part to promote that content.

Rule #4: Publish Once, Promote Many Times Over

This is where most bloggers fail. They think that to be a successful blogger, you have to update every single day. This is a death sentence as far as your financial health goes, seriously. The most successful blogs out there, outside of news blogs, publish very rarely. Again, this all depends on your niche. If your blog is a news blog and you have to publish up to date information, then, you have no choice. You have to update regularly.

However, if you’re just focusing on certain helpful topics that convert really well and produce a lot of money, you don’t have to publish every single day. In fact, you don’t need to publish every month. I know of highly influential and highly lucrative blogs that publish once every three months.

The secret is promoting that content many times over. Devote your energy to creating the very best content (See Rule #3 above), and devote the rest of your time to finding distribution platforms for that content. If you stick to this rule, you will make money. You will become a successful blogger.

Rule #5: Promote Content on Social Media the Smart Way

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Okay, so I’m going to publish once and then, promote on the internet many times over.” Well, you’re definitely on the right track, but you can do this in a dumb way. The dumb way is to become a spammer. You basically just create a massive list of blogs, forums, and social media platforms, and just spam away. Spam is not going to make you a rich blogger.

Instead, you have to do things the smart way. Personally, hire a virtual assistant to find groups on Facebook where your target customers hang out. These are people who are looking to consume the proper content your blog has.

Second, instruct your virtual assistant to find influential twitter accounts that consistently tweet about topics related to your niche. Once you have these two massive lists going, instruct your virtual assistant to share your links on these areas.

Kep in mind that sharing doesn’t mean spamming. When you’re just dropping a link, you’re spamming. You’re wasting people’s time when you do that. Instead, you should wrap your spam around some rice and some veggies. In Hawaii, this is called Spam Musubi. You’re still dealing with spam but it tastes really good because it’s wrapped in rice, egg, and seaweed. It’s awesome. In fact in Hawaii, McDonald’s sells Spam Musubi.

You should think of Spam musubi when you’re sharing content on social media. You can’t just drop a link to your friends and just expect them to like. They will hate you for dropping spam. Share Spam Musubi instead. This means customizing your messages, adding a lot more content, getting people excited, and otherwise, adding value to their lives.

Rule #6: Reverse Engineer Your Competitors’ Backlinks

Now that you’re sharing your blog content on social media, the next step is to get search engines to send traffic your way. There are two ways going forward, you can do SEO the exact same way as everybody else which is to basically publish and pray.

Unfortunately, praying to the SEO Gods can be a waste of time because they are very very erratic. You have to take matters into your own hands. This means generating backlinks. The best way to do this is to use backlink detection tools like to find your competitors’ backlinks. Filter those backlink sources in terms of quality.

To do the filtering, you need to load the domain names through Mozbar and get a quality score. Focus your time only on high-ranking backlink sources and reach out to them. Send them an email. Ask them, since they’re already linking to an inferior piece of content, they should also link to your content because your stuff blows away the competition. If they read your stuff and it’s obvious that you spent more time to produce a better quality piece of content, they would not have any hesitation linking to you.

Rule #7: Promote your Content on Forums

There are many forums on the internet that focus on many different topics. In fact, all the topics under the sun would have at least a sub-forum dedicated to it. Your job is to find those niche-related forums.

Hire virtual assistants to do the research legwork for you. Create conversations that involve the topics mentioned by your content. Instruct your virtual assistant to engage in conversations and drop the link as a resource.

Don’t just drop the link as a discussion opener. It’s going to get you banned. That’s nothing but out and out spamming. Instead, work with your virtual assistants to constantly reply to the discussions so as to bump the link. If done properly, you can get quite a healthy dose of traffic from forums.

Rule #8: Create a Mailing List

This should be Rule #1 but I’m saving the best for last. When you put up a blog, one of the first things you need to do is to create a mailing list. Even though your blog isn’t getting much traffic now, by putting a mailing list in place, you will create a traffic farming device.

What do I mean by this? Well, the more people sign up to your mailing list in exchange for a freebie or some sort of online course, the more traffic you can get in the future, why? Whenever you post a new blog update, you only need to send a notification to your mailing list and even if only a tiny chunk of that list of your list members click the link and show up on your blog, you still get a nice surge in traffic.

Keep the rules above in mind if you’re serious about making money with blogging. Make no mistake about it, you can earn quite a nice passive income from blogging. However, you need to dedicate yourself to doing it the smart way.