Hey friends! I am back with another post geared toward helping you monetize your blog and use it as a way to earn a full-time income online. If you’re new ’round these parts, you may want to start with last week’s post where I shared 11 different ways to monetize your blog (and two that I don’t recommend). Oh, oh! And you should probably also read my post about creating a business plan for your blog. It comes with a 20+ page workbook. 😉 I’ll wait for you while you catch up.
Ready? Sweet, let’s get crackin’. Today, we’re diving into a few of the biggest mistakes that bloggers and content creators make when trying to earn a living from their blog. I share these mistakes with love, by the way. If you read some of these and think, oh crap, she’s talking about me! Then I can assure you I did not select you out of millions of blogs to point and laugh at. Promise. <3 Honestly, these are mistakes that I’ve seen tons of bloggers make over and over again. Plus, I’ve done most of them myself! In fact, the only one I’m not guilty of is #6, which will make a whole lot of sense in a moment. 😉
I hope this post resonates with you. Remember, don’t waste your time feeling guilty if you’re doing any of these things. Instead, let it energize you and help you focus on the things that really matter…the things that will truly help you to create a full-time income from your blog (and then some!). Let’s get this party started, yes? Here are seven mistakes people make when trying to monetize their blog…
1. They try to monetize their blog before they have an audience
Here’s what a lot of bloggers do: they come up with an idea for a solid product and then release it before they have any sort of audience or engagement. Then, they post a rant on social media, wondering where they went wrong. 😉
M’friends, don’t be that person. I know these people mean well, but they’re missing an enormously critical step. Before you monetize your blog with e-products (or anything really!), you need to have some sort of audience (even a small one!) to sell your products to. Now, one “catch 22” here is that some people wait and wait because they know they need to grow their audience, but they never end up releasing a product because they think their audience is always too small.
Honestly, if you have 100 followers who are engaged and interested in what you are doing, you could launch a wildly successful business. This tip is not about needing to grow to thousands and thousands of people before making moves. It’s about creating a circle of people — even a tiny one — who know, like, and trust what you create.
2. They focus on numbers, not engagement
Bouncing off of the previous point, I want to reiterate: it’s not just about how many followers or subscribers or pageviews you have. Sure, if you have tons of subscribers and hundreds of thousands of pageviews, it will help, but if that swarm of people barely cares about your brand, then you’re in trouble. So, numbers aren’t necessarily your bread and butter as an online business owner.
Instead, make engagement your everything. Don’t just focus on getting new followers, but also put time into engaging with the ones you already have and forging stronger connections. Think of your followers as your friends: if everyone in your life was an acquaintance, then do you think you’d have a lot of people who really care about you? Probably not. But if you had less friends and spent time hanging out with them, getting to know them, and creating a bond with them, then wouldn’t things be different?
Imagine how this would work for your blog business. Launching a product to a pile of acquaintances won’t be as effective as launching it to a smaller group of people who are downright obsessed with your existence.
3. They don’t know who their audience is, so they market their product incorrectly
Ohhh girl. This is a biggie. If you have no idea what your audience would be interested in buying, then don’t GUESS! Yesterday, I hosted a Twitter chat where I asked people what they were scared of about launching an e-product. SO many people said that they worried that no one would buy their product or that their audience wouldn’t find it useful.
Luckily, there are ways around both of those issues. First, you need to figure out who your audience is. This post can help you do that. Then, you need to understand what your audience needs from you. Do a survey, observe in Facebook groups and Twitter chats, or best of all…ask them. 🙂
Once you know who your audience is and what they need, you can work on positioning your product so that your peeps will see the value you in it.
4. They invest all of their monetization time in ads and brand sponsorships
You already know my thoughts about ads and sponsorships. 😉 But I’ll say it again: if you’re trying to earn a living from your blog, then it is going to be a very slow moving train if you only focus on these two monetization avenues. Plus, you’ll be spending your time creating an amazing website…only to use it as a way to send people to another brand’s website. Wouldn’t it be better to use your blog as a way to promote your own stuff rather than spending hours per week to promote someone else’s?
If that didn’t convince you, then I will also add that even with quite a few followers and pageviews, I’ve never earned more than $500/month from ads and the most I’ve ever earned from a sponsored post was about $500, too (and that was rare!). Now, let’s say I did one sponsored post per week (much more and my audience would probably become annoyed).
So, that would be ($500 x 4) + $500 = $2,500. You might be able to live off of that, but it’s going to take you a long time to get there, you’re going to have to constantly pitch to brands to work with, and there are other ways to make MUCH more money while still helping (rather than irritating) your readers.
If this is your monetization method, then ask yourself, is it worth it to spend a majority of my time creating content for someone else in order to receive a barely-scraping-by-paycheck?
5. They try to do it alone
One thing that I see in a lot of work-from-home careers is that we end up closing ourselves off from other people. Not on purpose and not because we secretly hate the world, but rather because we just don’t think about it. We forget how important relationships are. What I see many people do is to get active on social media or in Facebook groups and then assume that they now have their bases covered. I’m not alone, I have Twitter! In reality, social media should be your starting point. Typing to someone is not the same as jumping on Skype and actually communicating face-to-face.
Start on social media and find a few people who you enjoy talking to about your blog or business and who have similar goals or ambitions. Then, move your friendship to email, and finally, ask them if they’d be interested in Skyping together. Now, you have a face-to-face pal (besides your dog or partner) that you can talk to about your business and who can help you come up with even better plans and ideas. Boom. Game changer.
For a long time, I blogged by myself. I had people I’d chat with on Twitter or in Facebook groups, but I didn’t have any strong connections to other online entrepreneurs or bloggers. This year, that all changed, and it’s also been the biggest year of growth and perseverance for me and my business. Having people to talk to and strategize with is invaluable.
6. They give up if they don’t see results right away
Did you know that there are at least 150 million blogs out in the world? I can’t tell you exactly how many of those blogs are able to earn a full-time income, but I can tell you that it’s certainly not 150 million. 🙂 Discouraging? Nah. Here’s why: many of those people aren’t making a full-time income because they quit before they ever had the chance. It’s easy to think of big players in our fields and assume they got there overnight. Our brains have a funny way of tricking us into being irrational. Likely, many of the people you admire most have been working on their blogs and brands for years.
Now, you might be thinking, holy cow, does that mean I have to wait years before I can do this thing full-time? Actually, no, you just need the right strategies that can help you get there faster. Focus on the things that work. Provide constant value for your audience. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’re able to get there.
Bottom line: if you don’t see instant results, it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It just means that you need to continue to persevere. Often times, we were almost there when chose to quit. Now, this image is a little cheesy, but ain’t it the truth? 🙂
7. They use hacked-together strategies that they found from 37 different blog posts and wonder why it doesn’t work out
We’ve all done this, right? We hop on Google, read 14 different blog posts on a certain topic — each with a new idea or strategy mentioned — and then we try to put it all together so that we have The Ultimate Strategy to Do XYZ Successfully.
Then we wonder why it doesn’t work.
It worked for them! And surely combining together multiple strategies would improve my success, wouldn’t it?
Well, not quite. You don’t need to read every post on a single topic. In fact, you don’t even need to read one blog post if it’s from someone who’s giving you outdated or bad information. What you need instead is a system — one solid strategy that will help you reach your goals more effectively. So, try different things, yes, but also make sure that you’re honing in only on the tactics that work and the influencers you trust the most. Following a system will save you oodles time, too, since you’ll only need to focus on one thing that works at a time.