News is awash with young entrepreneurs who have made millions of dollars online. Believe it or not, this list doesn’t just include social network owners (like Mark Zuckerberg) and eccommerce business owners. Bloggers were also represented on this list of millionaires.
But while some bloggers make a lot of money, others don’t. Some bloggers don’t have traffic or reader engagement, and some bloggers have lots of both. For your blog to make money, you need many of your readers to smoothly move through the chain of conversion.
Understanding The Chain of Conversion
We tend to think of conversion as a single event, but it’s really more like a chain of events.
If you blog successfully online, several conversions need to take place:
- A stranger has to convert into a lead by being exposed to your message for the first time (in the online world, we call this traffic)
- A lead has to convert into a prospect by liking what you have to say (this is often done by opting in to your email subscriber list)
- A prospect has to convert into a customer by buying something from you
- A customer has to convert into a repeat customer by turning a single purchase into an ongoing buying relationship
This entire process above is called the chain of conversion. It should, because it is — for your blog to make money, you need not one, but many people to smoothly move through this entire process.
The following are the main 15 reasons why most people fail to make money from their blogging.
- You have a traffic problem.
Hands down, the biggest reason that most bloggers don’t make a full-time living with their blogs is that they don’t have the traffic to support it. Making money is always a numbers game. If you have 500 people walk into your jewelry store, you’re going to typically make more sales than if you have 20 people walk into your jewelry store. More traffic is better! If you’re wondering what you can do to build your traffic, I recommend getting started with these posts:
You also need the right kind of numbers. Even if you do have 500 people walk into your jewelry store, but none of them are interested in buying jewelry, you’re not going to sell anything. The same is true of your blog. While you want more traffic, you also want relevant traffic (i.e., traffic from people who are interested in your content and want to buy whatever you’re selling).
- Not Connecting and Building Relationship with your Readers:
If your readers don’t like and trust you, they won’t make you any money. You must earn the trust of your audience if you want them to buy anything from you.
For people to click on your links and buy the things you’re promoting on your site, you must be someone they know and believe in.
One way to do this is to always show them you like and care for them.
It could be by responding to their comments on your posts
Answering their questions, interacting with them on the social media and many more. Don’t forget to always write interesting and engaging articles on your site because, good content is king.
Just find ways to earn their trust and, they are more likely to buy when you recommend something. They will believe in your judgment but, don’t forget to always give them more in value than they give you in cash. Something to aim for is to always deliver ten times more value than cost as a minimum.
- You don’t invest in your blog.
Blogging is so attractive in part because you can get started without a huge investment. But the truth is, as your blog starts to grow, going for all of the free options isn’t the best choice.
Sure, you can go for a free blog hosted by WordPress, Blogger, or another platform, but if you pay for blog hosting, you have more freedom to make money on your own terms.
Sure, you can install a free theme, but unless you have the time and skills to fully customize it, you’re not going to have as many options, nor will you have the SEO benefits you get with a premium theme.
Sure, you can install only free plugins, but there are also several premium plugins that you can purchase to increase the functionality of your blog.
Blog as a business needs money to grow. There are so many necessary investments you must make on your blog if you take it as a business.
If you want to become a successful and influential blogger, it will be a waste of time to use free blogging platforms like blogger and the rest of them.
You must be ready to pay for your own domain and host. Also, you cannot afford to use a free theme.
While starting, you will be tempted most times to use any of the cheap hosting companies out there but you must resist that temptation.
This is because if you don’t, you will regret it at the end. Sometime in the future, your blog will start slowing down. It might also get hacked because of poor security and worst of all, it will just disappear mysteriously.
Apart from investing in your business, you should also be investing on yourself. Joining a Mastermind Group is one of the best things any growing blog owner can do!
Learn how to invest in your business, no good business can survive without proper investment.
If you spend money on your blog the smart way, you’re going to see a return on your investment. Here are the top five ways I recommend spending money on your blog.
- You Are Not Setting Achievable Goals:
Research has proven that the best way to achieve anything in life is to set goals.
After setting your goal, you need to write it down and paste it at a place you will always see it so that you will not forget what you’re pursuing.
This will help you to put more efforts into what you’re doing to make sure you achieved your goal at your stipulated time.
Writing down your goal is also important. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants.
She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.
You have two choices in life: You can either work on your own goals, or you can work for someone else.
When you learn the master skill, you take complete control of your life and jump to the front of the line in your potential for great achievement.
- Not Having Enough Time for Your Business:
Time is an important factor in any business.
Every blog needs time to grow and for you to reap the rewards of your efforts, you will have to map out enough time for your blog.
Set aside some time on a daily basis to work on your blog unless it’s a hobby.
- Check to see if your blog is loading normal
- Check the loading time of your blog
- See if you have any email messages or requests
- Check your blog’s stats and find out if your traffic and income is growing or if you need to make any changes.
- Update your blog always
- Promote your posts well
- Connect and build relationship with the authority bloggers in your niche
- Guest post on other authority blogs like never before.
These and many more are the things you need to be doing to ensure the growth of your blog. You also need to know when you’re wasting time. When it comes to blog promotion, it will be a waste of time to follow all the promotional techniques out there.
If blog commenting, guest blogging and social media marketing works well for you then, continue with it and forget about others.
The wise thing is to chose a few marketing strategies and focus on them instead of following all the marketing techniques out there and getting little or no result. You are advised to channel all your time to building your email list while starting.
Now this may surprise you – but Social Media does not need to be your No 1 priority at the beginning. Sure it is good to have social media accounts, but far too often people confuse being active on social media with building their business. There are exceptions of course (think celebrities) but until you have built a list of active subscribers (1000+) there is little benefit in spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.
- You’re trying to do everything yourself.
There are 168 hours in a week. If you work full time, that takes up about 40 hours, plus about 5 “lunch” hours while you’re at work. If you sleep 6-8 hours per night, that’s an average of around 50 hours. If you spend an around hour in the morning getting ready and eating breakfast, and around an hour eating diner, that’s about 15 hours.
Which means you’re left with 50-60 hours per week to potentially work on your blog. I say potentially because you and I both know how much time it takes to deal with chores and yard work, grocery/clothes shopping, family obligations, and errands. My estimate is that the average person who also works really has 10-20 hours per week to spend blogging, if they don’t have any other hobbies or small children.
That’s 2-3 hours per day. Top Millionaires in any industry have teams working with them to help make their business a success. This goes along with investing in your blog – if you want to start growing and making more money, you have to start hiring help. Otherwise, you’re going to hit a ceiling where it’s just not possible to make more money because you’ve run out of hours in the day.
Hopefully, before you hit that point, you’ll be able to quit your job to blog full time. But even then, you can’t magically create more hours in a day. You will need to start hiring a team. If you don’t, and try to do everything yourself, you’ll ultimately be capped by time.
- You have nothing to sell.
Lots of bloggers get started making money with affiliate programs, sponsored posts, PPC programs, and ad spots on their sidebar. But with all of these money-making options, you’re only making a percentage of the total the sell price. A percentage is better than nothing, but what if you could be making that entire amount (or at least a much bigger percentage).
The key is to figure out a pain point for your audience and come up with something to solve it. For example, say you blog about personal finance. Your audience’s pain point might be not understanding how to best invest their money. If you write an ebook that solves this problem by teaching people how to get started investing, your audience will respond.
Something import to remember: what you think your audience needs might not be what they actually need. In our examples as a personal finance blogger, maybe the problem isn’t that your audience doesn’t know how to invest, but rather that they don’t know how to budget so they have money every month to use for investing. Or maybe the problem is that they know the basics of investing, but lack the motivation. Before you create a product to sell, consider polling your audience and doing some research to find out more about your community. That way, you can create a product they’ll actually buy.
- You’re in writer mode, not business mode.
I am a content creator first and foremost. I think I do have business skills as well, but my perfect job would just be writing all day. I think a lot of other bloggers out there are similar. That’s why we blog: we love to write.
The problem is that writing alone doesn’t make you any money. You have to charge people to read it in some way, whether that is directly (selling books, for example) or indirectly (through ads on your free content).
Humans, I’ve found, tend to read about topics they enjoy. So, if you’re a writer, you probably read a lot about writing and how to write better. Continue to do that – master you craft. But also read about the business side of things. Learn as much as you can about marketing, about sales, about the ins and outs of running a business. If you can, even consider taking some business classes at a local community college. Get yourself into business mode.
The bonus? Because you are a writer, you are a naturally creative person, and that’s a skill you can’t teach. Lots of business people would love to have your creative skills! So you’re starting with an advantage. You just have to put a little effort into learning about the business side of things.
- You haven’t networked with other top bloggers.
When I first started blogging, I was scared to reach out to other bloggers. I’m a naturally introverted person, so even online, I don’t go out of my way to meet new people. I would always worry that people would find me annoying or silly.
But you know what? If you’re networking for the right reasons – to be helpful and make friends – no one will mind your communications. In fact, most people welcome them. I love to get emails and tweets from people who enjoy my work or just want to get to know me.
By networking with top bloggers in person (when possible) and online, you’re connecting with people who can also help you build your blog traffic – and remember, traffic is the number one reason you’re not a millionaire. By building real relationships, people will naturally want to promote you, which is good for both direct traffic and for SEO.
- Your content is still “beginner level.”
There’s something to be said for creating content for beginners. Actually, I think blogs primarily for beginners can be wildly successful. But are you a beginner? If so, you’re going to have a much harder time making money.
By this, I mean:
- Are you new to your niche, without much experience in the topic?
- Do you use words like “maybe” and “I think” a lot, displaying a lack of confidence?
- Are your posts basic information found on several other websites, instead of insightful in some way?
- Do you fail to link to other posts to support what you are writing?
- Is your writing level sub-par?
I believe that it is impossible to teach the raw talent that natural writers have, but you can learn to become a better writer. Like I mentioned earlier, go out there and master your craft.
This is important for making money for two reasons. First, whether your reader is a beginner or advanced, they want to buy from an expert. It’s hard to position yourself as an expert if your writing isn’t great. Second, you’re going to get more traffic if your posts are amazing. People share posts that are awesome, not posts that are just okay.
- You aren’t supporting your community.
When I was a kid, my parents owned a small business (a deli and butcher shop to be exact). On the counter, they always had a can of lollipops for the kids, and the parents really appreciated it. It gave the kids a little treat, something to keep them occupied while their parents took care of business.
My parents didn’t make money directly through the lollipops, but it contributed to their support of the community. It became a tradition for many families to stop once a week, pick up their fresh meats, and get the kids a lolly.
How are you supporting your community?
Let’s face it: there are hundreds if not thousands of other blogs in your niche they could be reading, and quality alone isn’t enough to set you apart, because the Internet is full of great writers. You have to go above and beyond.
If you do, they’ll go from being readers to fans, and it’s much easier to convert a fan into a customer than it is to convert a one-time reader into a customer.
- You don’t care about SEO.
I’ve made the mistake of thinking that SEO doesn’t matter. “The best SEO is great content!” I would preach. And while I still believe that to be true, over the last year, I’ve made some minor tweaks to my SEO strategy and they’ve made all the difference. You’ll never read a post of mine that is stuffed with keywords unnaturally or written for search engines and not people. But the optimization is there, and it’s cause my traffic to increase. Which, again, causes your income to increase as well.
SEO is a pain in the butt. People devote their entire lives to SEO, and when Google makes a change, we have to throw what we know out the door and start over again. But the basics do not change, and will help you create better content. Google’s entire goal is to reward good content, and if you start to play by their rules, they’ll understand that your content is good and start sending more search traffic your way.
Maybe You care too much about SEO
Just like it’s a mistake to not care about SEO, it’s also a mistake to care too much. I’ve seen sites that are clearly optimized, and while the content is great from an educational standpoint, there is no soul behind it.
Your writing voice and style both matter. SEO brings people to your site, but you keep them there. That’s why a blogger like Jenny Lawson has a huge community of readers despite not optimizing her posts for search engines. Let your personality shine through, so you’re giving readers a reason to become a fan of your blog and a customer of your products.
- You aren’t giving people what they want.
Remember when I talked about polling your audience to see what then want? Yeah, that’s a biggie. Your content needs to give people what they want or they sure as heck won’t want to buy anything from you or click on any ads.
The best way to give people what you want is to start with a well defined audience. Who exactly are you trying to reach? Think about your readers’ experience levels, sense of humor, income level, gender, and other demographics. A trick I learned from Darren Rowse is to actually write out the bio of a few of your readers. John Doe is a 50-year-old math teacher who enjoys playing the guitar and is reading your food blog to learn how to cook quick meals for his kids. Jane Smith is a 21-year-old college drop out with a strong work ethic who is reading your marketing blog to learn more about finding more customers for the bakery she recently started.
Keep in mind that what people want and what people need are two different things. People often don’t realize what they need, they only know what they want (i.e. what they think they need). When it comes to your free content, give them exactly what they need. Surprise and delight people with information they didn’t even know they needed. But when it comes to selling content? Need might not cut it.
People are usually not willing to drop money when they don’t know they need a product. People buy what they want because they think it is what they need. That doesn’t mean you should give your readers products that are unhelpful, but think about want and need when you are packaging your products.
- You have no Email list.
Lastly, one of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make is not giving people the ability to sign up for your mailing list. Having a robust mailing list can do wonders for your bottom line.
The fact of the matter is that you can’t rely on people to read you blog every single time there is a new post. Some people will, but more often, you’ll get readers who are busy and unable to keep up with all of the great content in their feed readers. If you don’t have a mailing list, you’ll have absolutely no way of reaching those people other than crossing your fingers and hoping they see your newest post.
A mailing list allows you to not only send traffic to your blog by reminding them to read your content, but it also allows you to promote affiliate sales, talk about new products you’re launching, and even sell services like consulting and freelance writing. If you aren’t already building a list, get that set up immediately and start emailing subscribers. Your bank account will thank you!
What changes are you going to make during 2018 (and beyond) to help you make more money as a blogger?
- Not doing anything after reading this post:
My dear friend, reading is never enough. You need to put into practice what you learn.
A lot of people read just for reading sake but, that will take you nowhere. I sometimes see a lot of people complaining of not making money on their blogs just to see they are only sitting down there doing nothing. Even if you know everything about making money through blogging, you will not make a cent until you get started. Making money on blog is not about only what you know but mostly about what you do!
It is not what you read that counts, it is not even what you know that counts – ultimately reading this article will have been for nothing, if you don’t take ACTION!
After all, the distance between your dreams and reality is called action! If you find this post valuable, share it.