Increase your eCPM before you increase your traffic
No one ever said making money online would be easy but most people don't expect quite how un-eventful things can be for an awfully long time.
Most of the online 'make money' blogs seem to correlate the link between traffic and money more than is realistic. Most seem to make you think that with enough traffic your income will increase in a linear fashion - but that's not actually where the battle is.
Increase your eCPM not your traffic
This is what I am having trouble with: traffic levels on my blogs are acceptable but the eCPM isn't very good at all. eCPM is a measurement of how much you earn for every 1,000 pageviews and this is the figure that (theoretically) scales when your traffic increases. It's easy to think things are going well when you receive a surge of traffic and your earnings increase but this is just scaling your already poor eCPM, you need to increase that figure to see any meaningful income.
Quality traffic = more earnings
This is another factor to consider; traffic comes in many different flavours and some are better than others. Being frontpaged on Digg can send you 20,000 visitors initially and then 30,000 StumbleUpon users a few days later, but these demographics are notoriously poor for clicking adverts/incentivised material. Therefore your traffic may increase exponentially but your eCPM will be much lower than usual. Whereas if you have lots of targetted traffic it'll improve.
Who you are is a factor too
What works for famous bloggers isn't guaranteed to work for you. Don't think that if you employ the same monetisation techniques as John Chow and receive the same level of traffic that you'll suddenly earn $30,000 a month. John makes so much money online because he has a reputation for such things; he's famous. Without building a brand around yourself and your website it's unlikely that you'll see anything like what John sees.
I'm not saying that it's impossible to make money online by running a blog, nor am I disputing the advice given by the A-listers - the advice is good, but I am saying that you're at a disadvantage in that you're not a brand yet. If you were famous (within your niche) then things could step up quite significantly. Either way, whatever your level of attention, work on increasing that eCPM.
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