CAN A BLOG REALLY MAKE MONEY? I get this question sometimes, even from my fellow members at Wealthy Affiliate.
The fact is, I too had this question when I was slugging it out with my website. 100 blogs went into my site in three months and I was earning just a couple of dollars.
First of all, a blog can definitely make money. I earned a few dollars in 3 months, so it does work but like most normal people, I guess we are not here for the few dollars and the good news is that there is potential to make more and some clear steps everyone can take. I am going to share 7 tips that can help you catapult your website into successosphere more quickly.
After blogging for close to a year (Sep 2018 is my first anniversary!), I can now say with confidence about the successes and failures I had experienced and I believe what I share here will help you make money faster by avoiding the mistakes people generally make.
#1 Profitable Niche
Blogging is about connecting with an audience and you do this by choosing a niche. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter what niche you choose because every topic out there is a niche and thus has its following.
Having said this, it is still important to pay attention to these factors when selecting a niche. First, find something that is aligned with your passion/interest. I say this because it is really hard to write about something you are not genuinely interested in. You may not start out as an expert but that’s ok. What’s not ok is not having interest, because you will ‘run out’ of content to write.
Then, there are the highly competitive niches which are evergreen but because they are already so well populated by bloggers and mega sites, trying to compete against them is like ramming your head against the stone. Your head will crack!
So what are these niches? They are health & fitness, recipes and personal finance. There is a HUGE demand for such information and because of that, many resources are available online. If you focus on building your site on one of these, you will be swallowed up by the rest.
Instead, go for niches that are low competition and if you can go deeper and focus on micro niche, it’s even better. People think a micro niche is too niche to have enough visitors and monetisation opportunities. This is not true and in fact, micro niches tend to do better.
For example, if your site is about parenting, you really have to cover a super broad spectrum of topics related to parenting and each blog post has to be of superb quality for it to rank well against the established sites. If you are on a one-man operation, you can’t compete against mega sites that have teams of writers blogging every single day. You won’t stand a single chance against them.
However, if your site is on a micro-segment of parenting say baby strollers, you immediately position yourself as an authority in this space and because it is more targeted, you will be able to research more deeply into the niche and come up with really solid content that talks about a specific topic.
In fact, this is the secret to your blogging success and it is no different from what Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple. He reduced Apple’s products lineup by 70% and told the team that the should focus their resources and passion only on the remaining 30%. It is this 30% that catapulted Apple out of bankruptcy and recently sent them soaring into the USD 1 trillion stratosphere and sealing their position in US history as the first publicly owned company to reach this historic milestone.
#2 Good Content
Content is what people are looking for online, apart from products/services to purchase but think about it, it always start with content.
Regardless what you are pitching, it can be a hobby, a physical Amazon product or an info product you designed, the success depends on the content you craft for it. What is good content that can convert?
Essentially, you have to write content that people are searching for. Your content should answer some of their questions and if you can provide a full comprehensive writeup on a product or subject, visitors are going to flock to your blog and website because you are providing a one-stop station for every burning question in their heart.
#3 Ranking for Google (Not Quite What You Think)
Every blogger knows that in order to get the content to as many people as possible, the key is to get a good ranking on Google. Ideally, your blog should rank on page one of the search engine results page (SERP) and if you are among the top 3 positions on page one, your site is going to get a lot of potential traffic.
However, what many discover is that ranking for Google is very tough, especially if you are in a very competitive niche. There is also an interesting aspect to ranking and that is, you don’t really know exactly what keywords your blog is ranking for.
If you think that it is only one keyword (your blog title), then you are in for a surprise.
In reality, your blog contains a myraid of keywords that are derived throughout from your entire blog content. That’s why it is important to write with the human visitor in mind. If you try to second guess what people are looking for, you may end up over-trying.
To rank well for Google, brainstorm an interesting title that can capture people’s attention and populate the blog with content that stays focused on that title. When your content is spot on in answering the questions of your visitors, your blog will simply rank greatly.
#4 Patience for 90% Traffic
90% of your blog’s traffic will be achieved after a year…approximately. This has to do with your blog ranking for more and more keywords along the way until it plateaus beyond a certain stage.
As such, the traffic in the first few months of your blog may seem dismal but with time, it will pick up and eventually peak and plateaus around the 1 year mark. Therefore, don’t write off your blog just because it is not getting the amount of traffic you are hoping for. With time and provided the content is great, it will accumulate momentum and traffic.
Just don’t give up. Patience is key here.
Point to note is that while 90% of your blog traffic is reached after a year or so, it doesn’t mean the main bulk of that traffic has to come towards the end. Sometimes, it can be the other way too, whereby the blog picks up significant traffic at the beginning and then slowly moves to the 90% mark within a year.
The whole point is your blog has more potential (traffic) than you imagine. Just give it time.
#5 Paid Theme
A paid theme may seem like a hefty investment at the beginning but trust me, you will be better off starting with a paid theme than doing it later.
The reason is you will save yourself lots of trouble trying to incorporate your established site into the new paid theme. Most days, this is a straightforward process but every theme has its own design layout and menu items may need to be customised again. It’s not extremely hard to do that but why give yourself additional work?
The other thing is WordPress update release. Each time WordPress releases an update, whatever coding customisations you might have done to your theme would be lost as it is completely over-written by the new version of WordPress.This is by far, the most tedious thing you can imagine and like it or not, WordPress releases their updates on a regular basis.
A paid theme takes care of that by providing you a child theme. You can read up on the details from here.
Having said that, it is usually a challenge for anyone new to blogging to know what theme they would like for their website. You hear of successful internet marketers trying out hundreds of themes as they try to find one that fits their heart and can attract traffic. The conclusion of the matter and this is not what I say alone…is that don’t dwell too much on the theme. There isn’t a perfect theme. Just choose one that you like and personally I try to go for themes that are not too cluttered.
Unless there is a compelling reason to change your theme, keep to the one you have and just focus on your content creation which is the main work you should do. So, here’s my recommendation regarding theme. Getting a paid theme is worth the dough as it will save you lots of time down the road and ideally, it’s my opinion that you should try to get a paid theme that just costs you a one-time payment instead of annual subscription. If you agree with that, try out StudioPress. I like their themes and best of all, you can use the theme on unlimited sites after JUST paying once.
Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for StudioPress and I am using their Genesis Framework Theme which you are seeing on this site.
#6 Just One Site
Alright, this is really important. You may think that setting up multiple niche sites will help you get the better of time and bring in more potential income. However, unless you are excellent in time management and have an unlimited supply of energy, focusing on just one site is the best way forward.
Trying to do 2-3 sites at the same time will wear you out much faster and you are just churning out blogs without deeper research, you may end up with blogs that are sub-standard.
If your blog is not up to standard, the chance of it outranking the competition is low and if so, there is really little incentive to publish it in the first place.
Many veterans do have a few sites targeting different niches but if you were to dig deeper, you realise none of them advise going for multiple sites at the same time. The proper way is to get your first site up and running with at least 30 solid blog posts and then you can consider setting up a second site on a different niche.
Just one site can help you avoid producing sub-par work and over time, you would be more glad that you did less but gain more.
#7 Do not Monetise (YET)
This rounds up the final tip on how you can make money from your blog. This is by far, the most difficult thing to do for most people because the purpose of your niche site is to monetise, isn’t it?
However, it does not help in any way to try to monetise too early. By early, I am referring to the first few months where your traffic is just so low to provide any significant conversions. The disclaimer is that you might make sales but there is a chance you may lose more.
First of all, any site that is new and has lots of affiliate links or ads is just screaming “Give me your money! I want you to BUY BUY BUY”
When you try to monetise early, you run the risk of incurring the wrath of Google who sees your site as being very salesy. (i.e. sales-driven). And even if Google doesn’t, how would your visitors feel? That’s why it is a good idea to stay off from monetising your site at the beginning.
Instead, focus on creating amazing content for your visitors. Go for content that people are searching for and write lengthy (but useful) blogs on those keywords. We call these response posts and they can seriously generate a lot of traffic for your site over time if you do it right.
So, here’s the recommended strategy. Do NOT monetise your site too early. Keep it simple, stay on track with the content creation and you will see traffic building up as your site falls into the good books of Google. If Google sees your content as highly worthy and not salesy, your ranking on Google goes up and more people land on your site, leading to opportunities to greatly monetise later.
Without traffic, it doesn’t matter what kind of monetisation links you may have. So, it’s content driving traffic and then monetisation. Do this for the first 3 months at least without worrying about monetisation and after that, you can apply for affiliate programs such as Amazon Associate. If you apply too early, you may end up losing your Amazon Associate account if you can’t chalk up qualified sales within the first 180 days.
Follow these 7 steps to help your blog make money for you. You won’t be crushing it right at the beginning but you will definitely see results. Want more of these practical tutorials that can help you build a successful online business? If so, check out my recommendation of the best affiliate marketing training resource and stay tuned for my next blog.