You started a blog.
You were super excited. You’ve pumped out a dozen posts or more.
It wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be.
You’ve been stuck in a viscious cycle of posting and promoting.
And after 3-6 months of blood, sweat and tears, you’ve only made a couple of measly cents.
The worst part is, you’re constantly seeing other Bloggers showing off their Income Reports and they’re making so much moolah!
How are they doing it!?
How most Bloggers believe they will make money
Most Beginner Bloggers start a blog, push out a few posts based on something that they love, slap on a few Google Ads and believe that they will get loads of traffic and earn bags and bags of money.
Sorry to pop your bubble, but that’s not how it works.
Ten to fifteen years ago, this strategy may have had a good chance of making you some cash, but not anymore.
There are over 600 million blogs out there. So, in order to actually make money blogging, you need to have a solid strategy.
Otherwise, you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall.
How do you actually make money blogging?
Depending on the type of blog you have, you can create a specific monetizing strategy. If you’re building a finely niched blog, you shouldn’t focus on ads in the beginning.
You should focus on building a Brand.
When you build a brand, you start attracting readers.
Once you’ve built a loyal readership, you can start implementing your monetizing strategies. Your main target is to implement Sales Funnels. How does it work?
- You write posts that attract specific people who are your target audience.
- They read your posts and sign up to a highly related offer to receive newsletters from you.
- These people aren’t ready to buy yet, but are extremely engaged with your content.
- They finally purchase your product.
- They love it so much, that they become loyal customers and buy more products from you.
Now imagine several people moving through this funnel.
This is the basic principle of how most Bloggers make money and what you need to aim for.
How long does it take to actually make money blogging?
Unless you have experience in the Online Business world or are working 40+ hours a week on your Blog, it can take about 6 months to a year to make $500-$1K a month.
There are Bloggers who make much more within a shorter time, but it’s only because they’re using their Blog to gain clients for their already established services or have loads of experience blogging.
If you’re a new Blogger or you’ve spent over 6-8 months blogging and are still not making more than $100-$200, then this post is going to help you understand where you fall short and why you’re not making money with your Blog.
However, before I begin, I suggest you take my free email course that will teach you how to get high-converting blog traffic that actually converts into subscribers and sales!
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to feed my poor, hungry dogs.
The Basic Booboos People Make when Blogging
1. Not investing money in your Blog
Imagine you’re walking down the street and someone creepy approaches you with watches. Maybe the watches are from a really good Brand, but will you really buy a watch from this person?
It’s very turning off. Isn’t it?
No thanks, Creepy Tim.
Make your Blog look pretty, professional and sophisticated. If your fonts are tacky and your logo takes up half your screenspace, it’s going to turn off people.
You do not want that.
If you’re currently strapped for cash and can’t afford a Designer, you can buy a drag-and-drop theme like Divi that’s super easy to customize and set up.
And Divi’s customizing options are really pretty and flexible. Meaning you can keep changing the look and feel of your theme even if you change your niche or want a whole new look.
It’s like actually buying a 100+ themes in one purchase and that’s why I recommend it.
You can see the beautiful Divi theme here.
But if you have zero experience designing or have zero design aesthetic, then getting a designer is not a bad idea.
Remember, if you believe in yourself and your Blog, you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in it in the beginning.
Your Blog is your Baby.
If you’re going to give it your all, you cannot possibly fail.
2. Using ads before you’re an established Blogger
I literally cringe when I see a blog with only 5-10 posts but there are ads everywhere.
On the sidebar, in the header, and after every single paragraph in the Blog post.
It leads to sore eyes.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I totally understand that you are blogging to make money. Heck, so am I.
But do not start monetizing your Blog before you’ve built a Brand and gained a loyal audience!
When no one knows you, and you have tons of ads on your blog, it’s going to turn off the people who land on your Blog.
How do you expect them to stay and get to know you when they have no idea what your content is like but see loads of ads?
This does not mean that you should never have ads.
But, focus on building an audience first.
When you know for a fact that people love your content and are talking about you, and you can see that they are coming back for it over and over again, it’s okay to put ads on your Blog.
Don’t aim for Google Ads because their pay isn’t all that great and they really slow down your website. Try and hit 25K sessions and then directly apply to MediaVine. It’s much more classier and the pay is way better!
Once you’ve built an audience, you can start monetizing your Blog. Here are a few posts to help you get started:
- 7 Income Streams to add your Blog right now!
- How to use ConvertKit to sell your digital products on Autopilot!
- How much does it cost to Build and Run a Fully-Functioning Blog
3. Not niching down enough
This is one of the biggest mistakes that most Blogging Newbies make.
Do not start a lifestyle blog. I had one and my Blog was a flop.
Do not write about anything and everything unless of course you have 5-10 writers working for you full time and you can pump out 5 quality blog posts every single day.
Or probably have 200+ posts and want to branch out. Then it’s okay.
Otherwise, this is not going to work.
I want you to think of any famous person right now!
What do you associate that person with?
- Barack Obama – President
- Ariana Grande – Singer
- Johnny Depp – Actor
Now hold the phone.
Did you know that Johnny Depp is also a Producer and a Musician?
But the first thing that pops into our heads, when we hear his name is ACTOR. You don’t really register anything else.
Hi, Johnny. I’m your biggest fan.
Because as human beings, our brains are filled with so much information. So, we just do not pay attention to detail when it comes to association.
We associate each thing to 1 thing only.
So aim for your audience to remember you for one thing only. This is by far one of the best marketing strategies you will learn in your life.
When someone thinks of a particular topic, your name should be the first thing on their minds.
This is what you need to strive for!
For instance, if I have 100+ posts about make-up on my Blog, no one is going to question that I’m an expert in make up.
This is just an example. I honestly suck at make up.
This is how I was able to grow on Instagram as a Comic Artist quickly and hit 100K followers within 6 months because I focused on only hair comics!
4. Not choosing a Profitable Blog Niche
Apart from narrowing down your niche, you should choose a niche that you know for sure will be profitable.
As much as I wanted to blog about cute socks for dogs, I resisted and focused on something more monetizable.
Sorry Maria, it had to be done.
There are more or less 7 blogging niches that are proven to be profitable.
Pick one and don’t look back.
If you’re thinking, “There’s way too much competition! How do I compete?” then you’re on the right path.
You see, because there is so much competition, it means that there is a never-ending demand for your niche. Which means people are constantly looking for solutions that your blogging niche can solve!
Now, you can try reinventing the wheel by choosing a niche that doesn’t exist and spend every waking minute working on it which may or may not be profitable, or you can choose a niche that you’re confident will make money.
The choice is yours.
5. Not starting a Mailing List from day 1
Almost everyone says the money is in your email list.
And they’re all friggin’ spot on.
I didn’t focus on building my mailing list in my first blog and my first blog made 0 money.
But I didn’t make this mistake with Stray Curls. I invested in ConvertKit even though I was making zero money at the time.
And my mailing list brings me over $2-3K a month easily. It pays for itself.
You see, when people land on your blog, they’re not going to buy a product immediately.
They need to see it at least 5-7 times before they get convinced. They need to engage with you and fall in love with your content and this takes time.
But once they visit your website, how do you get them back?
By capturing them via an email list! And communicating with them regularly so that you build and nurture that relationship.
It may seem complicated, but it’s actually very easy. Send an email every week to your list with the latest news in your niche, a few helpful tips and you can talk about the latest product you created.
All in all, you need to be present.
ConvertKit is currently free for upto 1000 subscribers. It’s by far the best email marketing software I’ve used and I’ve used a lot.
6. Not building a Brand
I want you to visit 3 Blogs that you really love.
I’m pretty sure all 3 will stand out in some way. They will have logos, a consistent color theme, a unique style of writing and much more. This is basically what constitutes a Brand.
And that’s what you need to aim for! To stand out as a Blogger.
Don’t just build a Blog and start pushing out posts without personalizing your Blog first.
Make sure everything you do sparkles with your personality.
I’m so dazzling, I almost look like Edward from Twilight.
Every Page and every Post must be intentional. It should all seamlessly go together to build your Brand and add to your Blog’s mission.
A good Brand doesn’t just end with your Blog’s looks.
It’s much more than that.
Your Brand speaks volumes about your Business. And trust me, people will judge you with every little thing you do. You have to be conscious with every step you take.
People will watch how you:
- Reply to their comments or emails
- Comment on other Blogs
- Write your Posts
- Talk on Social Media
- Write your Newsletters
I strive very hard to be honest, kind an approachable. And I get sweet emails from my readers like this:
These emails let me know I’m working in the right direction.
Station Seven’s Brand is neat and minimalistic. They use subtle colors, their Website is drop-dead gorgeous and their Brand is extremely consistent.
So, make sure that everything you do aligns with your Brand. And you will notice that gaining an audience becomes easier and faster!
You may also like: 17 Easy Ways to gain Tons of Comments on your Blog Posts
7. Not honing in on your USP
USP stands for unique selling position.
If you’re going to be like every other blogger out there, you might as well throw in the towel right now.
Like I mentioned before, in order to make money blogging you need to:
- Attract an audience
- Get them interested in you and your Brand
- Make them spend money on your Products/Services
But a lot of bloggers fail at step 1.
If you don’t write content that people are interested in or write it just like everyone else, you’re never going to get those people to land on your blog.
In order to stand out from the sea of other bloggers, you need to ask yourself how your post will be different.
Are you going to:
- Approach it from a different angle?
- Present it in a different way?
- Write a completely new post that’s never been written before?
The key to becoming popular really soon is to provide immense value in a unique way consistently.
Planning and Accountability
8. Not taking the time to draft a Business Plan
Aside from being more organized and accountable, creating a Business Plan helps you align all your content to your Mission Statement.
And by being consistent with your blog’s message, you will build a loyal audience faster – thus leading to highly targeted traffic which converts into more subscribers and sales.
When you create a Business Plan, you will know exactly what kind of goals you need to aim for and what direction your Blog needs to take
The chances of you becoming a successful blogger is equivalent to getting struck by lightning twice – almost impossible.
9. Not tracking your goals
When you start a blog from absolute scratch, you cannot just start writing posts and hope that money pours in immediately.
You have to create short term and long term goals and keep tracking them.
Example of short term goals:
- Hit 10K Pageviews by the end of the month
- Make $10 in Amazon Affiliate sales by the end of the month
- Write 3 guest posts by the end of the month
Example of long term goals:
- Write an eBook and start selling it in my shop by the end of 3 months
- Collect at least 12 pieces in my Portfolio by the end of this year
- Make $2000 in Planner sales by the end of this year
So, unless you are constantly setting goals for yourself and your Blog and tracking your results each week/month, it’s very difficult to grow as a Blogger.
At the end of the month, create a progress report and note down what goals you hit, what goals you didn’t and write down steps that you’re going to take to overcome each roadbloc.
By tracking your results in a Planner, you will be able to understand where you fall short and where your opportunities lie and how you can improve!
This is the best way to grow as a Blogger.
You may also like: 23 Ways to Use Your Notebook to track your Blogging Goals
10. Not creating a Content Plan
Before you start niching down, you have to know who your target audience is.
Doing this one step helped me grow my Blog traffic exponentially and make more sales.
I created an imaginary reader of my Blog who loved me and my posts. I identified her pain points and her struggles.
This helped me generate a lot of blog content ideas that I knew my target audience wanted to read.
I separated these ideas by objective. Some blog posts’s objective was to attain brand recognition, some were to pull in traffic, some were to direct sales to my new eBook and so on.
Try to generate content ideas at least for 6 months at a stretch.
You will save abundant time because you don’t need to keep scratching your head each week to come up with a Blog Post idea. And yes, your conversions will improve drastically!
I explain how I generate my Blog Content Plan for a whole year in detail in this post.
11. Focusing on more than 2-3 monetization strategies at a time
Ever heard of that saying, “Haste makes waste”?
Well, this is sorta like that.
When you’ve been blogging for at least 3-4 months, you can start monetizing your Blog. I always recommend 6 months to a year, but obviously this is not a hard and fast rule.
Start monetizing only when you know for sure that you’re getting a good number of pageviews and your Blog is popular.
If you are actively participating in Facebook Group threads, and you’re noticing that your traffic on Pinterest is taking off, then it is definitely time to start monetizing.
You can start by applying to ad companies and working for affiliate companies.
Becoming an Affiliate is very easy. You simply have to apply to companies that are related to your niche and then promote their products/services on your Blog.
Every time someone clicks the link and makes a purchase, you get a little commission.
But most Bloggers start slapping on ads, paste affiliate links in every post, start selling their own courses and eBooks all at once.
Do. Not. Do. This.
Remember, one step at a time. Too many changes will confuse your readers. Especially your fans who visit you every week.
It will take 3-6 months for the ads and affiliate links to start making you money, but once you’re making $100-$300 a month, you can start implementing other Monetization Techniques.
12. Choosing unrelated affiliate companies to work with
This is related to the first point but a mistake that a lot of Bloggers make.
Even professional ones like Yours Truly.
If you are a Food Blogger, don’t become an affiliate for PicMonkey or Planners.
This makes no sense.
Understand who you are writing for and provide resources that your readers are actually interested to buy. This will involve some homework on your end, but it is worth it!
People are coming to your Blog for recipes. So, either write your own Recipe Book and promote it on your Blog Posts, or become an affiliate for Food Related Companies.
And remember to incorporate text based affiliate links whenever you can as they do much better than image based ones.
This will triple your conversions.
13. Not promoting your own services
As a Blogger, you can do a lot more than just Blog.
I created Websites for Bloggers in my early Blogging Days, and slowly shifted to Graphic Designing and then eventually moved on to Illustrating for Bloggers.
Getting clients online is super easy and hassle-free.
The best part?
There are no risks! And you do not need to waste time commuting to different places. You can work from home.
So, think about your skills and your interests. Maybe you could write for other Bloggers? There are blogs that willingly pay over $50-$200 for a single post.
You can become a Virtual Assistant. Offering social media services on your Blog is also a great way to earn extra money a month.
I talk about different ways you can gain clients online in this post.
Once you build your Portfolio, you can start including links to your Services Page in all your social media platforms and your Blog.
Aside from this, if you want to learn more skills or perfect some, then I will highly recommend Domestika.
I have become a good Illustrator and picked up many tricks only by constantly watching online classes and practising.
14. Not creating your own Products
A lot of Bloggers feel like they’re not knowledgeable enough to create their own products.
But go back 3 or 6 months in your own niche’s journey. Don’t you feel you have progressed a lot from back then? Isn’t this information you could share with someone and speed up their learning process?
For instance, think of something that took you 3 months to learn. Couldn’t you create an eCourse or eBook that teaches the same thing to someone else so they could learn it in 3 hours?
This is exactly how I wrote my first eBook. I kept learning and implementing new traffic strategies and I realized I could save a lot of my readers’ time if I just gave them one resource with every thing in it!
And thus, my traffic eBook was born!
You don’t need to be a genius to write your own eBook or eCourse. So, if that is stopping you from writing, put that fear away and get to work.
It’s okay to become an Affiliate and promote other courses or books when you are just beginning. But once you start becoming an expert and have published more than 30-50 posts, it is time you work on your own products.
This need not be a physical product. Remember, aim for minimal risk and loss. So work on a digital eBook or an eCourse.
Other than time, you are not losing anything. So go for it!
Creating your own products will also help you build a stronger brand and establish you as a Powerful Authority in your Niche.
This is exactly how I dress in real life.
15. Losing motivation easily when your Blog isn’t making money
Please understand that it is natural to feel sad and/or upset from time to time.
Not everything you do is going to succeed and bring in roaring results.
I’ve had plenty of failed product launches (no kidding), shed a lot of tears when I worked for hours on Blog Posts that didn’t fetch comments, or just got no replies from Bloggers whom I approached for collaborations.
Every Blogger has a woe story to tell. But not everyone shares these because it’s demotivating and painful to talk about.
So, don’t panic or throw in the towel when you don’t see results.
My best suggestion is to keep aside some money to run you afloat for at least 6 months so that you’re not pressured to make money immediately.
In 6 months, if you have no results to show from your Blog, then by all means… quit.
But if this is something you are keen on doing and are willing to make mistakes in order to succeed, then hold on.
I’ve found that recording mini achievements plays a huge role in constantly being motivated.
- You earned a Dollar from AdSense? Write it down!
- A Blogger you look up to accepted your Guest Post? Write it down!
- You got your first client through your Blog? Write it down!
So when you are feeling like quitting, look though your achievements and give yourself a pat on the back.
I didn’t twist my hand doing this at all…
Do not lose hope when things don’t go your way.
Fail fast, adapt and try again. That’s what being an Entrepreneur means.
You will also like: How I skyrocketed my productivity as a Blogger using only a notebook!
16. Only blogging when you feel like it
Okay, this is one thing I see a lot of Bloggers do.
They get bored because they have to Blog about 1 topic only. It’s not easy, I know. I’ve been blogging for 2 years about Blogging and yes, sometimes it can get repetitive.
But remember why you are blogging.
You are blogging to become an expert in 1 field.
Because there are so many people struggling with this definite problem that you are solving.
And you are showing them that you have all the answers.
This just makes you more powerful and more trust-worthy.
Do you really think that Make Up companies haven’t already created every lipstick shade they could possibly muster in the world?
I bet they have.
But that doesn’t mean that they stop creating new shades and just throw in the towel and say, “Oh, it’s probably been invented, so why bother?”
No, they keep having new launches even if it has been done a 100 million times before.
Because they have loads of customers who are still buying their stuff! People love new things!
So yes, blogging about 1 topic can get boring and cumbersome sometimes. But this is where you can get creative.
There are loads of ways you can spice up your Blog without straying from your topic.
- Publishing a guest post by another Blogger
- Releasing an interview
- Publishing a case study
- Writing a post about how you go about your day
- Create a fancy new content upgrade!
- Release a new product and create content around the launch!
In short, you need to be consistent. This is the best way to grow your traffic and increase brand awareness.
17. Not implementing new techniques
Blogging is all about learning and implementing, like I said earlier.
I must be such a nag because I’m repeating that phrase so much. You’re probably sharpening your pitchfork now, aren’t you?
So, related to the previous points, if something is not working out or you’re not making any money with your blog, don’t give up. Instead, go online and find ways you can succeed.
Study your competition. See what they’re doing to combat the problem.
It’s okay to buy eBooks/eCourses to help you with your journey.
I’m not fanning my own tail, but my eBook has helped a lot of my readers achieve their Blogging Goals and make money from their Blog.
This eBook will not just teach you how to get traffic, it will teach you how to get traffic that converts into sales and clients. There’s a psychology behind building your website. And I discuss that in this eBook.
Aside from this, here are a few eBooks that has helped me become a better Blogger and Online Marketer:
- The One Hour Content Plan
- Your First 100
- Digital Marketing for Dummies
- Content Inc
- 81 Days to Becoming an Online Marketing Sales Machine
- The 21 Success Secrets of Self Made Millionaires
- The Essential Habits of 6 Figure Bloggers
There are a lot more books that I really love (yes, I love reading), but these are by far some of my favorites. I will probably make a more detailed post later on what each of these books taught me.
And emails like these let me know that I am on the right track:
So, keep implementing new techniques and track down your results.
What works for someone else may not work for you. Likewise, some things may work for you and may be totally useless to others.
You will discover your strengths as you continue blogging. And the more time and effort you put into your Blog, the faster you will see results.
There is no definitive roadmap, but blogging comes down to being extremely engaging, resourceful, helpful and entertaining.
Focus on these factors, and you will see your Blog grow exponentially.
And with that, we come to the end of yet another extensive Blog Post. If you’re keen on growing your traffic, you can take my free 5 day email course that will teach you how to gain traffic that converts!
How about you?
What is the reason you feel that most blogs fail and don’t make money? Let me know in the comments below!