Blogging is a massively popular venture, with over 79.2 million new blog posts being published on the WordPress.com platform alone. That’s a huge number of posts, and that doesn’t take into account all of the blogs that are hosted outside of WordPress.com, which could easily double or even triple that number.

While a lot of these blogs are blogging just for fun, or to document their journey, share their experiences and so forth, a lot of bloggers are struggling to find ways to make real money from their blogs. Of course, if you already have an audience with hundreds of thousands of readers, then you can make earn a decent amount of income through selling advertising spots, sponsored posts, product reviews and things like that.

But, what about the bloggers who don’t have a huge following? If you don’t have a large audience, then you’re likely to see minimal income from the revenue streams mentioned above. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way for you to make money from your blog and your expertise.

Most blogs are focussed on a particular topic, let’s take internet marketing, food, and photography as a few examples. These are topics which are responsible for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of various blogs around the web. They’re obviously in-demand topics, and I can bet that most people reading this article have an interest in at least one of those topics, if not all of them, and there is clearly a huge reader base for these topics, all of whom are looking for information, and to educate themselves on these topics.

That presents a great opportunity for blogs of any size to create online courses to teach their readers how to do something, and earn a decent income at the same time.

Creating an online course isn’t as hard as you might think, and once you’ve created it, it’s passive income for almost no work. Of course, you can do live courses, almost like a virtual classroom, where you host a live environment and your students sign in at a pre-determined time for the course, but what seems to work best are courses which are already created, and a student simply purchases access to the course and can go through it on their schedule and at their own pace. This means, once you’ve created the course, you can keep getting students to sign up and you don’t have to do anything further for that income.

So, how much can you earn by providing an online course to your visitors? This obviously depends on the quality of your course, how big of an audience you have on your blog, and how in-demand the knowledge you’re providing is. You could earn anywhere from a few bucks, up to millions of dollars per year.

Here’s one example of a course that earned its creators over a million dollars. John Omar and Eliot Arntz created a course which taught people app development for iOS 7. They priced the course at $99, and in their first month, they earned around $40,000 – how did they get that number of sales in their first month? They e-mailed everybody they knew who might be interested in their course.

Over the next few months their sales flat lined, so they had to think of a way to increase sales, and what they did was very clever. Just before the release of iOS 8, they made their course available for free, and gained over 60,000 subscribers to their mailing list, then once iOS was released, they dropped the price to $89 and sent out an email to their entire list, and earned $700,000 as a result of that e-mail.

If you’re not already collecting users e-mail addresses on your blog, then start now! You can offer anything as an incentive to get your visitors to give you their email address, having a targeted e-mail list will pay dividends in the long haul.

Of course, creating a course alone isn’t enough to bring in a real income, it’s in the marketing and delivery of the course too. In the coming weeks, I’ll post an in-depth article detailing how to create your online course, from start to finish, and then another article on how to market your course, so stay tuned!