The 7 Not Exciting, Very Boring Secrets of Making Money Blogging
Now that I’ve been at this blogging stuff for about 6 years and make a living from it, people often ask me for my “secrets.” They want to know the key to unlocking the riches and traffic that they know must be there, just beyond their grasp.
I wish I had something super exciting to tell you about making a living with your blog or website, but as it turns out, the secrets are incredibly boring. And that’s why most people don’t make a living blogging. They just aren’t willing to bite the bullet and chew on it for a whole year (or longer) before something happens.
So…if you really want to know, I’ll tell you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you that they’re not exciting and very boring.
Secret #1: You won’t make money fast.
Let me just get this out of the way right now. Do NOT start a blog and expect to be dining on Rodeo Drive with the celebs in your first year. Unless you are unusually talented (and far better at this than I am), this is not a realistic portrait of life as a professional blogger.
It took me a year from the point I started my blog until the time that I finally made $1000 in a month. Certainly not enough to live on but a nice little addition to my “real” job. It took me another year after that before I was able to stop all freelance work and quit my “real” job to focus only on my business. And trust me, we weren’t rolling in dough at that point – but we could survive.
Now, 6 years later, I make a pretty decent living and work a bit less, but I don’t know anyone who began making a living right off the hop. Why not?
- You won’t have an immediate audience
- You haven’t gained your readers’ trust
- You won’t have a product to sell or enough traffic to get advertisers
Those are just a few of the reasons you won’t make money immediately. If you are hoping to GET RICH BLOGGING this probably isn’t the site for you. I’m going to tell you the truth and the truth is, it takes time, consistency, and work.
Secret #2: Write every day.
As I’ve mentioned here before, I write a LOT. A hundred thousand words per week is not unusual for me. Sometimes I write more than that and it’s a rare week when I write less than 80,000 words.
Now, you don’t have to start off writing that much, but you do have to start off writing consistently and often. There are a few reasons for this:
- The more you write, the faster and better you get at it.
- When you publish daily, you develop a devoted following who make a visit to your site part of their daily routine.
- You quickly overcome the whole “fly-by-night” reputation of the person who says, “I’m starting a blog.”
- You create a routine that works for you.
Routine isn’t exciting but it’s key. When you consistently do something it becomes easy and when people consistently see something, it becomes part of their day.
Secret #3: Do it to help others
No matter what you write about, the goal of your writing should never be just to sell stuff. You should be in it to help people.
Because trust me, if you only want to make money and don’t give two hoots and a hand grenade about your readers, they will know it.
Do I want to make a living? Of course, I do! But I also want to help my readers who maybe can’t afford to buy my books or take my classes. The articles I post provide complete information. They don’t just give a partial answer and end with, “If you want the whole story, read my book. (insert sales link here)”
So here’s what you have to remember:
- Don’t recommend crappy products. You may earn that commission but you’ll lose the reader’s trust forever.
- Don’t tell them half the story and try to sell them the rest. That isn’t how blogging works. If you want to do that, start a sales site instead of a blog.
- Make sure your goal is to help people, not just get their money.
- Figure out ways to monetize that aren’t just making sales. This is why I strongly recommend ad networks for bloggers – you give the information away but you still get paid.
Basically, be a decent human being and remember how lucky you are to spend your time doing something you love that helps other people.
Secret #4) Get to know your readers
You can really get to know your readers through social media and the comments section.
Reply to comments. It’s very important to respond to their questions, wish their sick child well, and thank them when they say nice things.
Be real. It’s also important to be a real live human. Let them know about your failures as well as your successes. It makes you much more approachable.
Ask lots of questions. I end nearly all of my posts with a few questions. I ask, “Have you encountered this situation? Tell us about it in the comments section below. Do you have questions about the situation? Ask below and I’ll be happy to try and help.” Obviously, I’m more specific than that, but you get the idea.
Secret #5) Help out people who can’t afford your products.
It costs you nothing to give away a PDF to a loyal reader but it will make you a lifetime online friend who will say good things about you and shamelessly promote you.
And one day, they may be able to afford your stuff and they’ll remember what you did.
Secret #6) There’s no such thing as “competition.”
Get this through your head on DAY ONE. Other bloggers in your niche are not your “competition.” You don’t need to badmouth them to make yourself seem superior. You don’t need to bash their website to get other people to come to your site.
There’s room for all of us. Instead of focusing on taking traffic from them, focus on bringing traffic to yourself. It isn’t a competition with anyone but yourself, where you try to get better and better.
And actually, making friends with other bloggers in your niche can help you get a lot more traffic. If you share their content, they may share yours. If you praise them on social media, you may come to their attention. If someone else has been around a lot longer than you, being friendly is much better than trying to take them down.
Secret #7) Be patient.
This is the hardest part, but it’s essential.
You’ve got to be patient.
You can’t expect 10K pageviews daily in the first month of your blog. It took me years to get to that as a daily average. You can’t expect to make $10,000 a month in the first year either. You have to build a reputation and earn people’s trust first. You can’t expect fame and fortune from the day you remove the “Hello, World” post from your WordPress site and publish your first missive.
It all takes time. For some, it takes more time and for others, it takes less, but honestly, unless you already have a big audience of raving fans, it’s going to take you a while.
And that is the whole reason many bloggers aren’t successful. They aren’t patient enough to wait for the success that didn’t come in the first months or years. But the ones how are successful? They hung in there, even when their new posts were only getting a couple hundred views a day.
So, be patient. Be consistent. Stick around. You’ll get there.
There you have it.
Those are my 7 secrets to success as a blogger. Not terribly exciting but so very true.
Basically, we could summarize this into two secrets.
Be a decent person.
Stick with it.