I don’t know about anyone else who blogs but I do it because I enjoy it. But despite enjoying it, I wish I could make a real living out of it. So, my big question for last month was- can I make my blog profitable and turn it around in 30 days?
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Where do we begin?
The first place I had to look was my site, and this meant having a hard look at it to see what was wrong. Now, remember, blogging is an individual thing and everyone who blogs has the right to fly their freak flag proud. Unfortunately, this does not mean that it will pay the bills. I also had to consider the ways that a blogger can make money, what my theme(s) are, and if this was something that I wanted to keep doing. I’ve been at this for a few years now and I have no intention of giving up. So what gives? Why am I not rolling in the dough that other bloggers claim to be making?
Why you are not making money
Let me be clear, this list is not actually mine, this is a collection of different things I have heard other bloggers say when people go “why am I not making any money?” or “why is my blog not successful?” and I don’t agree with all of them.
- You aren’t putting the time in- I’m on the fence with this one because I know bloggers who claim to have massive amounts of traffic and have a healthy wage coming in, but only “work” at their blog one day a week for a few hours. I can spend a day getting my entire site planned out in advantage for the week and that will be my posts sorted and scheduled. But then again, I have heard of bloggers who claim they are putting in 60+ hours a week with it and are getting no-where.
- You have no idea what you are doing- Sit and think for a minute, and ask yourself this question- do you know what you are doing? You might say yes but in the back of your mind you know it is a no. Blogging is a highly complicated business to work in, and as much as we would like to think that popping some words on to the site will be enough, it’s not. Trust me, I’ve learned that the hard way. There are tax laws, marketing rules, ASA guidelines, and individual social media hoops to jump through.
- You don’t have a niche- This one I am completely against. Why? Because I don’t have a niche and I don’t want one. I am one of those highly complicated individuals that likes some variety in my life, and if I was made to sit and write about the same stuff every day, I would go insane. I love health and fitness, I love reading, I love life. So why should I either pick one subject to write about, or have around 10 different sites just so that each one has a niche?
- You aren’t self-hosted- Again, this is one that I am on the fence with. Yes, being self-hosted has its perks because you can gain more sponsored posts and things like that. But, I know plenty of bloggers who have used free sites and been very happy with their lot. The only problem is if your free hosting site thinks that your content is offensive or they take a dislike to it, they can wipe your site out without notice. I don’t know of any bloggers that have had this happen to them, and it does sound a bit urban legend like, but apparently is it true. If you do want to switch to self-hosting, I really like Lyrical Host.
- Your spelling is terrible- This sounds really mean, and I am guilty of this too, but spelling matters. I have seen people go nuts over a spelling error, which is kind of sad. Mistakes happen, and most of the time people will ignore it. But if you are always making spelling mistakes then you are in trouble. People don’t want to read a blog that is filled with spelling mistakes and grammar Nazi fodder.
How do bloggers make money?
As a blogger, I have a few ways that I make money, and they are open to everyone who has a site (especially if you are self-hosted).
- Sponsored posts- You have probably seen the disclaimers popping up on my posts from time to time that tell you if a post is sponsored or not. In a nutshell, sponsored posts are normally advertising a product or providing a backlink to a site and money has exchanged hands (or the virtual equivalent of money exchanging hands). I just want to stress that point, because I have seen people kick up a fuss because someone linked to someone else, not all links are paid for! Sometimes those links are there to reinforce a point or the blogger in question just likes the company. But, yeah, you can get paid for those links too.
- Affiliate marketing- I do different posts, but my beauty posts are generally packed with affiliate links to Amazon so that you can by the products for yourself. I’ll be honest, I love telling people about the beauty products that I use, and I love to review them when the bottles are empty. Hence, Empties from the Bathroom was born. There are loads of affiliate marketing schemes that you can sign up for with different companies, it is just a case of looking around to see what one will fit with your site.
- Ads- I have ads running on here and it can be a great way to make money just for having traffic coming through your site. The more traffic you have, the more money you make. I am currently using Adsense for my ads but there are others out there. Mediavine is used by the bigger bloggers, but Adsense is open to small to medium bloggers.
What can you do to turn it around?
As I am sitting writing this, it is the beginning of October and I am very aware of the fact that Christmas is around the corner, 2019 is knocking at the door and I’m due my fourth baby at the end of January. If you are reading this, you have arrived hoping that I have the magic formula because Christmas comes around every year, the cost of living keeps getting higher, and you would love nothing more than to shut up the nay-sayers you think you have a “silly little blog” and you want to rub it in their faces that your “silly little blog” has just paid for the family holiday, paid off the mortgage etc. You know who I am talking about, everyone has one, and your feelings are completely natural. And you know what? I might just have the answers that you are looking for.
- Get organised- You need to treat your blog as a business because it is. First of all, work out your goals. I want to be earning £XXX per month. I want to blog about X, Y and Z. You need to work out what you want to do. Then organise how to do it. I post every day, and I post about different things. But I have a theme. Mondays, I do movies. Tuesdays is KappaCino Book Club. Wednesdays are my beauty posts, so it is either an unboxing, a PR package, or Empties from the Bathroom. Thursdays are supposed to be house goals and Fridays are supposed to be Fitness Fridays, but these don’t tend to happen because something else always comes up. Saturdays are about my mini-missions and weekly tasks. Sundays are social Sundays and the site has either a guest post or The Big Quiz. It’s not perfect, but it is a start. And I am tough with myself but making sure that I post every day.
- Learn everything- I went on a real learning kick when I decided to turn the site around and read everything I could about blogging. There are loads of free e-books that you can download that can help you turn things around. Even if the information in them isn’t perfect, you should be able to take bits and pieces from each source and slap it together to make something that will make sense for your site.
- Be social- Are you involved in any blogging groups? If not, you need to be. First of all, they are packed with resources that have been reviewed by other bloggers, so they can point you in the right direction. You can also get involved with other bloggers for things like round-ups. What is a round-up? Basically, have you ever seen those posts “21 fun things to do with your kids” or something like that? Those are blogger round-ups. Someone has collected blog posts from a load of bloggers (with their permission of course) and popped it into one big post. Why? Because it is a great way to drive traffic to sites. People are lazy and like collection posts because then they don’t have to look too hard themselves, and if they like the look of your “idea”, then they might click through to get the fun recipe/activity. It is win-win for everyone involved.
This sounds too good to be true
Maybe, maybe not. But I can tell you that my site has seen a real difference the last while. I am so confident with what I have just said, I am willing to publish my income reports for the next few months. To look at the traffic and stats, it doesn’t look the best. But, this is a snowballing thing. I might have started this in September (and not seen any amazing results because I spent a week or two trying to find out how to do it) but in the first week of October I saw a massive upswing with stats. You will just have to check back next month when I publish my income report to see how I have done, the changes I have continued to make, and if I have learned anything new. But to answer the question at the beginning, yes, if you follow the tips in the above section, you could see a positive change in your site within 30 days. Mine took 30 days for a real upswing, I challenge you to beat me!