I never dreamed I would know anything about how to make money blogging this soon.
I know I refer to myself as totally clueless and wandering around in the dark a lot. And that’s exactly what I was (when it came to blogging) as recently as a few months ago. But I guess at some point I need to allow myself to believe that I’m starting to get a decent grasp on some things “blogging”. I still have sooo much to learn, but there’s also a lot that I have already learned. I’ve even learned how to make money blogging.
Lately, particularly after posting my September blog income report, I’ve received emails posing the question, how do you actually make money blogging?
What surprised me was that some of these people asking this aren’t in the “thinking about starting a blog” stage. They are in the “I’ve had a blog for months and I’ve installed adsense / have affiliate links up and I’m still not making money stage” and they’re asking what they have to do with their already existing blog to make it profitable. They feel like they’re pouring their heart and soul into their blog, and yet they aren’t able to make money blogging.
It surprised me that I could pin point some of the reasons they aren’t able to make money blogging. I’d bet that some of them are the same reasons you aren’t able to make money blogging – yet.
5 Things That Are Preventing You From Making Money With Your Blog – and How to Fix Them
1. Your blog is too new.
You can’t make money with a blog that is a few weeks old. Or a few months old. (Well, maybe you can, if you have had lots of blogs before and know exactly what you’re doing from day one.) But for the most part, it’s gonna take some time. Blogging is a crazy learning curve. There is endless learning to be done. (It’s possible to make money blogging within a few months, but it’s really rare.)
This is the easiest thing on this list, and the hardest one too. You just gotta give it time, and while you give it time you gotta be doing blogging right. (Yes, there is a right and a wrong if you are going to monetize.) If you have big expectations of making money in the first few months blogging, let them go. You’ll just drive yourself crazy, and worst case scenario, you’ll feel so defeated that you’ll quit. (Most blogs don’t ever get a 6 month anniversary – and I’d be willing to bet that’s because people believed they’d be making money by then, and they weren’t.)
2. Your content is not reader focused or it’s poorly written.
If your content is all about you or poorly thought out and poorly written, it will probably never make money. There are a few crazy awesome viral posts out there that are heartfelt /encouraging / amazing personal stories, but for the most part a profitable blog is a well written blog that addresses other people’s problems.
The problem might simple, maybe your reader needs a clam chowder recipe, or a quilt pattern, or they might be in debt, or want to know about coconut oil, but they do NOT want to know what you did on the weekend. And they do not want to read a post that’s full of spelling mistakes and weird grammatical errors, because those posts are hard to read.
Re-focus your content. Make it about the reader. Give great advice, be relate-able, solve the problems your readers are dealing with. Make the post titles about them. (For example, I had a post called “10 frivolous things I still spend money on” that got NO page views. I changed the title to “How to Audit your spending (& why you should)”, and now it gets page views.) PROOF READ (for spelling mistakes and bad grammar) and EDIT for poor structure, weird voice and incoherent ideas. (You won’t catch every single error. Don’t worry, readers will email you and point them out – promise.)
3. You aren’t willing to invest in learning how to blog properly / for profit.
This will automatically solve all the other problems on this list – for me it even helped with the “new blog” problem. (My blog was profitable within 6 months.) I’m in a few Facebook Blog groups, and I am astounded. ASTOUNDED. by the questions people ask in the groups. I was definitely the most clueless blogger I have ever met. But I was serious about making money blogging, so I went out and actively dug up the answers to my questions, rather than just throwing them out to Facebook groups and hoping for the best. Just like anything else, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. I’m not saying don’t ever ask questions. BUT:
The problem with posing most of your questions in blogger Facebook groups and looking for real answers is that the answers are in depth and complicated and you actually need to read the whole book to get the whole picture. Not to mention, the people who know how to make money blogging are IN those Facebook groups LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO SELL TO, so they aren’t giving away the good info for free. They just aren’t.
I invested in resources that taught me how to blog, and how to blog for profit. And I’ve found that even though so many of the ebooks or courses I’ve bought preface their content with “this information might be available for free online” the truth is that it’s NOT available for free online. (Or you’d have to be a google genius – and know what you were looking for – to know where to find it.)
There is more to ads than pasting in code, there’s more to affiliates than sticking links everywhere. There’s more to working with brands than applying to networks. You need to learn how to do this stuff.
Bite the bullet and invest. If you can’t right now, then it should be what you’re saving up for. Do your research and spend your money wisely. (I personally chose to invest in Elite Blog Academy (which only opens in February, but you can get on the waiting list to be notified when they open enrollment here – and you’ll get a FREE blog structure blueprint just for joining the list.) I also invested in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (and my affiliate income went up about 50% in one month!)
I spent 1300$ on my blog to get it going. It was painful and scary. But I made it back in a matter of months, because I put what I learned into practice. (You do NOT have to spend that much!)
Related: Check out my blogging resources page for a full list of my favorite books and courses that took my blog from $0 – profitable!
4. You have low page views.
I know that a small audience can generate an income – because I’ve seen the income reports written by people who are making it happen. BUT it is gonna be easier with good page views. It just is. Higher page views open all kinds of doors. Great ad networks, sponsored post opportunities, a bigger audience, more potential customers. More people stopping by your blog = more email addresses to collect. Get those page views up.
Maybe you have a freaking awesome blog and page views are your biggest hurdle… then THIS is what you invest in. (I read How I went from 17k to 350K pageviews in 9 months and it is FANTASTIC. Lena breaks down the steps and makes them 100% actionable.) There are ways to increase page views, and you need to learn them from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Social media is awesome – I believe you should be learning one or two platforms WELL instead of dipping your toes into all of them at once. Link parties are great for connecting, but you can’t count on them alone to bring in page views. Guest posting has it’s merits, but I don’t find that one of it’s merits is page views. For me, Pinterest = page views. Now that I have Pinterest worked out, I’m getting serious about Facebook.
Related: Pinteresting Strategies – how I went from 0 – 200k pageviews in just a few months
5. You don’t have an email list / your not putting effort into your email list.
Ok confession. If I asked all the guilty bloggers to raise their hands here, mine’d be the first one up. I get why it’s important. I get why you wanna have an email list. Everyone and their dog will tell you it’s key. I’ve even read books on how to do it, and I STILL haven’t done it. (Well, I do have an email list, but I don’t engage much and I’m not doing everything I should be to try to grow the list.) It’s entirely possible that if I had been putting decent effort into my email list over the past 4 months, I’d be making double what I’m making now. You OWN your email list. They are people who are interested in what you have to say, and are more likely to “buy what you’re selling”.
Just because you’ve been ignoring your email list this far doesn’t mean you have to keep ignoring it! (This is what I’m telling myself.) Get a good email collection plugin (like sumome – the free version is fine) and make a great opt-in freebie. (Next on my list of things to do of course.) Get serious about email. I couldn’t stand mailchimp, so I started paying for an email service early on. Madmimi is what I’m using and it’s honestly awesome – and SO much cheaper than the other good mail services.
Do NOT quit trying to make money blogging
If you’re hoping to make money with your blog, and you’re putting in a ridiculous amount of effort and not getting anywhere, I just want to encourage you to not give up! The MAIN reason blogs fail is because bloggers give up. Be willing to learn, be willing to change things, be willing to invest in learning how to make money blogging.
Nothing worth having ever came easy. UPDATE: In October, I made just over $5000 with this blog. Read the October Blog Income Report Here.
Related: Affiliate Marketing Can YOU Really Make Money With It?
New to Blog world and looking for other blogging tips? Check out these posts:
How to Start a Blog for Profit and Work From Home
Choosing a Theme You Love
5 Very Important Things to do Before You Start Blogging
WordPress Settings, Permalinks & Google Analytics
7 Ways to Make Your Blog Look Less Like a “Newbie” Blog