How To Make Money Online Without Banner Ads

Many bloggers don’t like the idea of putting banner ads on their blogs. They are still stuck with the idea that a blog is just a communications medium and making money from it is somehow evil. Others think putting banner ads on a blog cheapens the look or makes them look like a sellout. I’m not going to debate whether you should have banners ads on your blog or not. What I want to show you is how you can make money from your blog (and a lot of it) even if you have zero banners ads.

Banner Ads Are Not This Blog’s Main Income Source

Many people look at the amount of banner ads on this blog and assume that’s how it makes money. The fact is the banner ads account for less than a third of the blog’s monthly income. If I were to turn John Chow dot Com into an ad free blog (which would require a redesign since this theme is designed to have banners), it would still make five figure every month. How is that possible?

The Real Money Is In The Backend

The majority of this blog’s income does not come from the front end advertising that you see. It comes from the hidden backend sales system. This system is invisible to the reader and doesn’t reveal itself until he subscribes to the blog. And that is the key to majority of the blog’s income.

When a new reader subscribes to this blog, he is pushed through what is know as an auto responder sales funnel. The funnel is designed to do three things:

  1. Build a one on one relationship
  2. Establish my brand and authority
  3. Recommend product that solves the reader’s problems

All this is done with the email auto responder feature of Aweber. When a reader subscribes to my blog, he is sent a series of emails that are custom written to achieve the three points listed above.

The income is made when a reader buys any of the products that I recommend. Because the relationship and trust has been formed, the reader is much more receptive to any solution that I recommend. A good sales funnel can easily make you $1 per subscriber per month.

By using a backend sales funnel that is hidden from the average reader, it is possible to have an ad free blog that makes more money than a blog littered with banner ads. To learn how to create your own auto responder sales funnel, read this post.

The Money Really Is In The List

In my post on How To Make 2011 Your Best Blogging Year, I said you must set up a mailing list if you don’t already have one. Well, this is the reason. Most of my blog income is generated by the mailing list.

Way too many bloggers concentrate on their blog front end banner advertising when in reality, that’s not where the money is. The money is in the list and the sooner you start one, the faster you’ll be in the money. If you don’t have a list, you are potentially losing thousands of dollars every month. Get started TODAY.

My recommended mailing list provider is Aweber. They are the best in the business and have much better features than any other email host (I love their Blog Broadcast feature). Aweber offers a $1 trial account for all new customers. The account is just like a normal Aweber account and includes unlimited email campaigns, newsletter, broadcasts, follow ups and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. If for some amazing reason, you can’t make the $1 back, then email marketing and making money by blogging is clearly not for you. Send Aweber an email and they’ll give you the $1 back.

Get Aweber for $1

62 thoughts on “How To Make Money Online Without Banner Ads”

  1. d3so says:

    Money is in the quality of the list.
    I started my funnel a few months ago but didn’t finish it. I need to get back to it πŸ˜‰

    1. Hey John,

      How nice of you to share this. Email list building and building a relationship with people on that list is what you say is your number one source of income and that is what is so important to realize for everybody reading your blog.

      I know that most people who have seen your blog believe that the banner ads are what makes you most money, even some big marketers. I heard one recently mention your blog and your way of monetizing it being primarily banner ads.

      But you don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to monetization. You use everything imaginable it seems and you have used a banner even inside this post as well.

      1. I’ve been hearing for years about making a list, one of these days I’ll get around to it.

        1. iheater says:

          Don’t wait.

          Get one today. You’ll be glad you did!!!!

    2. dotCOMreport says:

      Sure you should.
      So I guess what John is saying in plain English is ‘make money through affiliate marketing.’


    3. ibnujusup says:

      me too bro.. πŸ™‚ its hard to be consistent right..

  2. Pangeran says:

    Having a banner is not bad idea at all if the advertiser willing to pay for the asked price.

    However, as stated in your post building a relationship and then recommends a solution is far more good than solely depends on the banner ads.

    It’s better to get rid of all the ads rather than not having that “special relationship”.

    In my experience, even though when you say “I will get commission when you buy from me” to the subscriber, they are more than willing to buy using your affiliate link when you have a good relationship with your subscriber.

    1. Well, John pretty much gets the asked price every month. He makes $4,000 per month just on the little 125 x 125’s on the sidebar every month.

  3. Wasim Ismail says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, if you work on building relationships, the money will come πŸ™‚

    1. iheater says:


      Spot on. If you strong relationship, they will buy practically anything from you.

      1. iheater says:

        Sorry about that.

        I mean build a strong relationship with your subscribers.

  4. Jhoon…I really like your post , specially u had written about “The Real Money Is In The Backend”

    Thanks again to keep your good stuff on the net ..


  5. nintendo 3ds says:

    Well, a very valid point John. Here’s my question though:
    Where do you place the opt-in box on your website? To the top left or should it be a pop-up box which comes up after 60 secs? I am sure the opt-in rates depends on that too.

    Even I have a blog on Nintendo 3ds and I am just toying up with adsense at the moment but If I get an advice as to where to place the opt-in, I could well monetize the traffic by pushing cpa offers when the product launches.

    Just asking for your opinion

    1. DUBturbo says:

      @nintendo 3ds

      You can either place your opt in box at the very top of your blog, in the right navigation bar towards the top or use a pop up plugin. If you keep the opt in on your blog you should use an image or some sort of enticement, such as a free ebook or mini course to improve your sign ups.

      The pop up option could improve your percentage of subscribers but some people don’t like the idea of having a pop up on their site. However, you can make it only show up once a week or month so that visitors do not become annoyed.

  6. Abhik says:

    Nice post John..
    BTW, your link to the post “To learn how to create your own auto responder sales funnel” goes 404. You might wanna fix it.

  7. Chris says:

    I agree totally. Building a relationship with your fanbase is essential.
    Not only can you keep them up to date with your own info, drawing them back to your website, but it’s a good chance to sell them up on products you want to promote for $$$

  8. Jimmy says:

    I think thats good rather than putting heavy banner ads……..

  9. Nice post John, I think making money blogging without banner ads is a new era of making money blogging. There’re several ways to do that, they are: list building (such as mentioned on this post), product review, and offer box.

  10. John says:

    Thank you for this info. I am also new to internet marketing and need to learn a lot from people as successful as you are.

    1. That’s Nice to See. You have to learn a lot from Online Business.

  11. Aweber is awesome…. I let mine lapse…. and I want to reinstate… long story. But the money is in the list. My blog was not getting traffic for a while.. now it is… and I have no optin form (not too smart). I will get going with it again today… clicking above πŸ™‚

    Thanks John, a lot.

    1. I use Get Response and it is a bit of a pain customizing the html in the opt-in boxes once you put them on your site. Wonder of Aweber is any better?

      1. sytropin says:

        Aweber by far the best autoresponder.

        1. PPC Ian says:

          I love AWeber. It’s so easy to integrate with your blog and I really like their library of templates/popups too.

  12. Donny Gamble says:

    I think banners are useful for branding your company, service, or product and when you have gotten your data from a marketing campaign and you know your numbers and are trying to scale up the campaign with banner advertising.

  13. Matthias Scholz says:

    Hey John, great post!
    One of your links does not work and contains an address. “1207 S Jackson St #211”
    Greets from Germany!

    1. John Chow says:

      Thanks. The link has been fixed.

  14. Kirk Taylor says:


    Have you tested to see what your blog would do without banners on it vs. having banners on it? Do people expect to see banners on a blog like yours and if you didn’t have them you would lose the readers before actually converting?

    1. Hi Kirk,

      I don’t think he would lose readers, unless they read the banners on his blog exclusively. I’d like to know who does that.

      When I first visited John’s blog the banners actually annoyed me.

      But I became a regular reader because of the content.

      John says he still makes one third of his money from the ads. That’s still over $13,000 per month. Why would he ever want to stop using them?

      That would be an expensive test. On top of that what would he say to his advertisers who have prepaid their advertising?

      1. Kirk Taylor says:

        I’m with you, but the thought is there. Sometimes I’ve made bold moves in the past that could be compared to such a test and it paid off big time. I’m no endorsing doing it, just a thought.

    2. I have tried once, People are excited about Banner Ads, and they are not interested on text link ads.

  15. fas says:

    The money is indeed in the list but not for everyone, but for people who can do affiliate marketing, which is not possible in some industries.

    1. I’d like to know in which industries there asre no products and no affiliate programs.

      If there is a demand in an industry there will be products. If there is no product and there is a demand for it why not create that product?

      If there is no demand then there is no industry.

      1. Kirk Taylor says:

        I would tend to agree with you on this. If there is no affiliate marketing program that applies to a specific industry, You might be setting on an incredible opportunity to create one? Just depends if the numbers are good.

  16. Thanks for the info. Banner ads and adwords are expensive. Good to hear discussion on other options.

  17. Anil Sharma says:

    This is a nice tips. If in the future you have your money already, you can use this site for online money transactions.

  18. Allen Walker says:

    Great tips for those who don’t want to run banner ads on their blog. πŸ™‚

    Building a list is definitely the way to go!

  19. Togrul says:

    You are so right John,

    I need to set up my autoresponder as soon as possible. Well, the trust did its work πŸ™‚


  20. I remember reading somewhere that banners also perform poorly for Amazon affiliates, and the best way to promote their products are through contextual links inside the blog posts.

    But I guess John already knows this, given all the recent posts featuring products (suitcase, scanner, etc).

  21. thats a great idea to just have good content blogs,the ads take the focus from the content

  22. ikki says:

    you always sharing nice tips john

  23. Lann LCC says:

    Thanks!! Your sharing is really good, I hope can learn something….

  24. Mitch Wilson says:

    I personally think people who are anti banner ads haven’t put enough work in to get a major agency to pick up their blog and pay them competitive CPM’s to have them as a significant source of income. As John says, they shouldn’t (and I think it is difficult, to make them ) your number one source of income (and in my case it’s maybe between 10-20% depending on the month), but I do know first hand that they can provide a steady a reasonable amount of income that can be sustained and relied upon.
    While I know I under utilize my list and it’s really just a whole huge income stream waiting to be tapped, I would say I’m doing as well as anyone when it comes to generating income from my blog. Their is certainly more than one way to skin a cat but banner ads cheapening a site? Tell that to the fortune 500 companies who advertise on my site and many others as they consider the appearance of the site before dropping millioins into their advertising budgets.

  25. I am regularly watching the advice coming out from the big bloggers that be alert before turning to the pro-blogger and start making email-list that is the real source of income for the internet marketers income online.

  26. terry says:

    I’ve become an addict of reading these blog tips. Getting organized is surely the hardest part of setting this in motion. thanks for keeping us honest about adspace! and it’s not selling-out, it’s buying-in!

  27. This is an excellent post John

    I need to build up my list as well

    thansk for the nice tips

    Although i prefer the monkey over aweber πŸ™‚

  28. PPC Ian says:

    This is really cool stuff and is counter-intuitive for those new to blogging. I’m really glad I started my AWeber email list when I launched my blog back in October of 2009 but honestly have not really utilized it much (yet). At least I have been building my list. This post inspires me to start monetizing my list.

  29. Isha Singh says:

    well i think reputation is the main thing in making money. one can trust you and follow you if you have high reputation.

  30. DUBturbo says:

    There is concrete proof that the money is in the list when it comes to blogging. Many of the top and mid-level Internet Marketers make the bulk of their incomes using their significant email lists. I would say that banners are just a supplement to the main income of a list.

    It is important that your email sequence focuses on whatever niche you are in. If you create a mini course then you can really build a solid relationship with your new subscribers.

    – Andrew

  31. Building an Email list is actually one of my goals this 2011. But I still have lots of things to learn when it comes to email marketing.

  32. GTA 5 says:

    Thanks a lot John for all those great tips to earn money without using banner ads, I think that I will try it pretty soon!

  33. Really the email list can make the big change in any bloggers living online and by making a business online instead of selling banners at his/her very valuable place to make the same some irritation point.

  34. Rich Student says:

    Yeah, even though I’ve made money online for 2 years now, I still haven’t had an email list using autoresponder. Now I’ve created a blog, and my first email list via autoresponder. It’s very exciting, and I look forward to more success in the future.

  35. i think affiliate work more than banner ads..

  36. Building a list and increasing the relationships with the reader is what would help and run long-term. The banner ads and clients won’t always stay with us, but the reader base would surely do.

  37. Neon SRT4 says:

    E-mail marketing is best way to earn money, as we get one time subscriber but lots of offers to them by e-mail marketing.

  38. Back end equals “email list”.

    Just about anyone who is making money online will tell you that the email list is where it is made.

    Here is how:

    1/ Find a niche where people spend. That’s very important.

    2/ Get them to sign up for a Free Gift – John does this and you get the ebook. What you are actually doing is building your list.

    3/ Over time – target market related services and products to your list.

    It is all in the list. Not banner ads etc.

  39. You’re right, build a relationship with your customers and the money will come. I will add aweber later on to my blog when it starts to rank better, it’s only a month old right now. I then plan to either offer ebooks, services or offers such as CPA. However, when you got the list growing on “auto-pilot” you’re basically set for success. There’s also free mailing systems to use, but they are not as well developed as aweber seems to be.

    Have a great day!

  40. Banner advertising is a must if you have high traffic because you will be able to give results to your advertisers and you can charge a big fee too. For smaller or medium sized blogs, I think you can be ‘banners free’ but for a blog like yours, you must have banners. Anyways, as you have mentioned, you still would make a big income without banners.

  41. No question about the money being in the list, I would hope anyone in this business realizes that. However, I’m still a big fan of multiple streams of income and I’ll take a opt-in or sale, by using a banner ad or any other method available to me.

  42. Banner Advertising is the Best Way to Make Money. Because, either we get impressions, and we get good backlink from banner ads.

  43. Ian Lopuch says:

    John, I really enjoyed this post!

Comments are closed.