At some point in your blogging career, the idea of making money will no doubt rear its ugly head. Making money from your blog is like the bloggers holy grail – a goal we all want to aspire to achieve because of the supposed freedom it will allow us.
We believe earning a substantial living from our blogs will solve all of our problems. We’ll be able to retire to that tropical island we hear those who have made it talk about. We’ll be able to sit back with a cool drink and watch our bank balance accumulate, while our blog does the hard work for us.
The reality just isn’t like that.
Making Money From Blogging Is Difficult
If you were under the illusion that turning your blog into a money making machine would be easy, I’m sorry to burst your bubble.
The truth is it’s pretty damn hard. Making enough to support a part-time income is hard enough but going full-time? It’s nigh on impossible. You should just pack it all in right now and move your efforts onto something else.
Not convinced yet? Do you still think you’re an exception, that you’ll make it where so many other bloggers have failed? Okay then. Here’s 8 more reasons that should make you reconsider your plans.
Your Blog Doesn’t Have A Niche
What’s your blog about? It’s a simple question that should be fairly simple to answer but the truth is many blogs don’t aim their content towards a particular niche or genre.
Now if you’re only blogging for the fun of it, that’s fine. You probably don’t worry about who reads your stuff, it’s good enough that you have a space to share your musings. For bloggers wanting to make a solid income however, having a niche enables you to find the people who’ll want to read your blog posts.
Fix It: On a sheet of paper or notepad, write down the topics your content fits into. The more focused and the more specific the better. Then go about organizing your blog so it’s clear that’s what you write about. This doesn’t just help readers know they’re in the right place. It also helps you show up better in search engines, since you’ll have more structure to your blog.
You’re Displaying Multiple Banner Ads
Having stuff like Google Adsense in your sidebar isn’t a bad thing. There are many websites who generate thousands of pounds from using ad networks, yet these sites are an exception. In reality you need to have millions of hits per month in order to start making the kind of money we’re talking about here. Sadly most blogs don’t come anywhere near that.
If you’re an average blog with an average audience, the chances are banner ads aren’t going to make you a whole lot. They’ll just be sitting there in your sidebar looking messy, or at the very least being overlooked by your visitors.
Fix It: Instead try using that space to direct people to other areas of your blog. You want to keep them on your site for as long as possible, not drive them to click elsewhere.
You Haven’t Got A Mailing List
I’m not talking about the built-in JetPack subscribe option here, or Feedburner’s RSS. I’m talking about a proper mailing list that people opt-in for, who you can then send emails to when you’ve got relevant information.
The power of the mailing list is drastically underestimated. The people who sign up to your list are highly targeted. They’re indicating that they want to hear more about what you have to say! This makes them much more likely to return back to your blog, when you’ve got a product or an offer that you’ll know they love and appreciate it.
This is how some of the top bloggers earn a huge chunk of their money, from building relationships with their regulars. A little investment pays off big-time in the long-run.
Fix It: Sign up to a free mailing subscription provider such as MailChimp and create a list. Put an opt-in form in your sidebar, or after your posts prompting people to signup if they want updates. Link the form to your mailing list and you’re good to go.
You Don’t Provide Valuable Content
If you’re a blogger wanting to make money from your blog, and you write stuff no-one cares about, you’re not going to get anywhere. Gone are the days where you could stuff a load of keywords into a post and rank first for it on Google. People are more choosy about the kind of stuff they consume. If they’re not hooked in the first couple of sentences, they’re gone.
It’s a simple fact that your readers don’t want to be sold to. They want you to educate them, make them laugh, make them think and ultimately entertain them. They want value and quality and to know you care about them. They want you to write for them, not for yourself.
Fix It: If you’re serious about making money blogging, start focusing in on what your audience wants to read. Listen in on Twitter conversations. Observe what people are saying in Facebook Groups. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “If I was my own reader, what would I come here to learn about?”. Then start writing and publishing only the very best you have to offer.
You’re Spread Too Thin Across Social Media
Nobody is going to applaud you for being active on every single Social Media platform out there. Unless you have a team of marketers behind you, doing it all for you, it’s almost impossible to be a raving success on every network.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. When I first began blogging I was everywhere, but I soon realized this wasn’t a sustainable way to behave. More importantly there were some places where my readers just didn’t visit, so it was time wasted with little to no return.
Social Media can have an amazing effect for bloggers if used well. Brands and PRs will pay a sizable sum to work with bloggers with a good reach, but more importantly high levels of engagement. With this in mind, it makes sense to only focus on those platforms that work the best for you and your audience.
An example of this is how I approach my own Social Networks. My number 1 source of traffic right now is Pinterest, with Twitter and Facebook following after. These are the three platforms I focus my attention on, rather than spreading myself further over Google+, LinkedIn and the copious other places.
Fix It: Make your time on Social Media count by only focusing on the platforms that work well for you. Engage and interact with your followers and generate a sense of community.
You’re Not Selling Your Services
Shall I tell you how I’ve made the most money from my own blog? It’s no secret really, but so many people overlook this route as a money maker because, shock, horror, it requires work! Of course I’m talking about selling your own services as a freelancer.
I started off selling my services as a freelance writer and have recently had a deal of success in designing WordPress sites for other bloggers. My work with Managed WordPress Hosting platform came about, due to those services being recommended. Sure it’s not a passive income. I don’t get to sit on my behind and let the money roll in, but it’s still an income. It allows me to work from home and be around for my children while they’re small. It’s flexible and I can charge my own rates.
If you’re not offering your services via your blog, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity.
Fix It: Create a page on your blog dedicated to working with you. Take some time to figure out how you could help other people. Do you write? Try marketing yourself as a freelance blogger. Do you do PR and Marketing? Try consulting other businesses. Put all of this down on your page, with testimonials if you have them and link back to it wherever relevant.
Your Blog Design Is Doing You No Favors
Design isn’t everything but it goes a long way to showing your readers what your blog is about. People are much more likely to stick around on your site if it’s clean, easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing.
The same goes for people looking to work with you. I work with a lot of lifestyle bloggers who have said that after I’ve re-designed their blogs for them, they get a lot more work.
Naturally I can’t vouch 100% for this but I can see the reasoning. If you take care of your blog, it stands to reason that people will think you care the same for your content and your audience. Investing time in sprucing up your blog can be one of the single most important things you could do to improve your chances of making money.
Fix It: Aim for a theme or template that’s simple, clean and with plenty of white space. Surrounding your copy with white canvas helps it stand out and makes it easier to read. Choose no more than three complimentary colours as accents. Keep fonts simple and leave fancy typefaces to titles and headlines.
You Bitch And Rant On Social Media
My last point is this: if you love to pick a fight and relish in arguing, keep it away from your blog and your social channels. I can’t stress this enough.
When you choose to open yourself up to the public (which is essentially what you’re doing when you start a blog, or even open a Twitter account), you also open up your reputation to the potential to be damaged. All of that careful work and time put in to creating a good reputation, can be undone in seconds.
It’s also the case that many brands, PRs, businesses and potential employers, turn to Social Media to get the scope on you before they approach you. If all they see is a stream of negativity, hate and moaning, they’re going to move on to the next person.
Fix It: Keep your reputation squeaky clean. You can still have open debate and disagree with people, it’s healthy. Just be mindful of who might be reading what you’re typing. Think before you hit the publish button.
It is possible to earn a decent living from your blog. You might not end up on somewhere tropical, or even have a six figure income, however you can live comfortably. To do so means a lot of hard work, that you probably won’t enjoy. You’ll have to put your blog and your readers first, along with learning as you go, but you can do it.
Hopefully the points I’ve shared and the ways of overcoming them, will help you on your way towards making money from your blog.