Every day, tens of thousands of blogs are created by people like you and me. However, most of those people never end up making any money with their blog.
Because they have unrealistic expectations. When looking at the surface, it seems easy to generate a significant income by blogging. I mean, look at Pat Flynn‘s income reports!
The truth is – making money by blogging is far from easy, and anyone who says otherwise has most likely never tried it out for themselves. It requires a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication and most importantly, time.
In an effort to paint a clearer picture of what it takes to generate income through blogging, I personally reached out to some very successful bloggers and asked them this simple question:
“Starting a blog that generates income isn’t easy and requires a tremendous amount of work… Based on your experience, what are the biggest challenges to starting a profitable blog from scratch?“
Tor Refsland, Matthew Woodward, Zac Johnson, Hernan Vazquez, Tom Hunt, Gina Horkey, Tyler Cruz, Andy Crestodina, Patrick Coombe, Ryan Biddulph, Ali Luke, Mark Webster, Sharon Gourlay, Dominic Wells, Nate Shivar, Erik Emanuelli, Nicholas Scalice, Brian Lang, Ashley Faulkes, Glen Dimaandal, Mi Mauba, Ron Sela, Eric Siu, Devesh Sharma
To view a specific response, just click on the name of the blogger!
Nowadays it has become a trend that people believe that everyone can take their passion and turn it into a business online. And it’s true. Even a chimpanzee with a VISA card and a laptop can buy a domain name.
However, what most people fail to understand is that creating a blog or website doesn’t mean that you are running a business… at least not a profitable one.
Even though it’s important that you are passionate about your online business, it’s even more important that you can deliver great value that people are not just willing to pay for, but actually paying for.
Long story short, in my first year of blogging I had been featured on 100+ blogs, won several awards and built an email list of about 3000+ people. Sounds kind of cool, right?
It was not. I actually felt like a total fraud. Why? Because my peers and the influencers I knew perceived me as a success, but I knew that I wasn’t earning the money I felt that I should compared to the hard work I had put in.
So what did I do?
I narrowed down my niche and pivoted from productivity to helping people to network with influencers and position their brand so they can attract the right clients. This included the following steps:
1. Narrowing down my niche
2. Finding my unique value proposition (why people should choose me)
3. Positioning my brand
4. Getting coaching clients
5. Building a highly targeted email list and launch my product
You might be thinking, “Okay, Tor. That sounds cool and all that. But did that really work?”
Good question. Judge for yourself. I got testimonials on my blogger outreach skills from big influencers like Evan Carmichael, Yaro Starak, Jon Morrow, Jaime Masters (Tardy) and John Lee Dumas. I built a coaching business from 0 to $3000 per month in less than 3 months. How did I do that? By using blogger outreach to turn cold leads into paying clients.
In 3 months I built a small, but highly targeted email list from scratch on about 840 people. Then I used something I call the “pre-free technique” to create an awesome free course for them, over deliver like crazy, and then sell them a premium course at the end. The results?
I just finished my launch using the pre-free technique, and it resulted in $6000+ in sales.
In addition, I managed to get featured on 158 top blogs in 14 months. This year I am going to be interviewed on the world’s biggest entrepreneur podcast, John Lee Dumas’s EOFire. And I will be featured in a book together with the best bloggers and marketers in the world, including Seth Godin, Brian Clark, Chris Brogan and Yaro Starak.
As Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Are you not making the money you want in your business? Then you need to pivot and make some changes.
The biggest challenge to starting a profitable blog from scratch is the sheer amount of time and hard work that is required to get it off the ground. Often people are under the illusion that blogging is a quick and easy way to make money online which couldn’t be further from the truth.
You typically find that people are so blinded by the illusion of riches, they very quickly get demoralized when 6 weeks in they haven’t made a single cent. Instead, it’s better to forget about the money entirely and focus on getting your first 100 subscribers, which will be nothing short of brutal hard work to achieve.
All in all, there is no substitute for hard work and sheer determination. That is what separates the cream from the crop.
Starting a blog is easy. Running a successful, high-traffic and profitable blog it not. The process of launching and site and making it successful and profitable is something many bloggers have to struggle with.
However, the best way to find success with a blog is to make sure you have a proper foundation and focus in place from the beginning. This is something I lay out in detail in this guide and that I will summarize in 3 simple steps below.
1. Choose a very tight niche focus for your site and know your audience
2. Create high-value content that also has a call-to-action within each post
3. Focus on your content promotion once your blog is live with content The area where bloggers continue to struggle with is the monetization, traffic and outreach part. The important thing here to remember is that there are over a billion active sites on the internet, and over 300 million of them are blogs. So, why is your site any different?
I think that people underestimate that a successful or profitable blog takes time and you need to treat yourself like a paying client, even when you’re not. I.e.
1. Have a high standard for excellence in the content that you put out,
2. Post new, quality content consistently and
3. Lastly, you need to promote the heck out of it!
Writing/publishing is only 10-20% – the other 80-90% involves promoting it to get eyes on your site! Then give those visitors a reason to stick around and come back.
It really depends on your definition of profitable, as technically $5 a month could be profitable… In any case, just as with mostly anything online, monetizing a blog or website is not the challenge. That is the easy part. The hard part is always building a loyal audience.
So how do you do that? Well, for a blog it’s really all about good, refreshing, unique content and post frequency and consistency.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen try to start up blogs over the past decade, all who were extremely optimistic in the beginning, but then give up a few blog posts later when they realize nobody is reading their content.
Try blogging consistently for a year before you decide to pull the plug – if you expect success as a new blogger after only a few weeks, then you’re likely going to fail.
This is a great question, starting a profitable blog from scratch is not easy. One of the most important directions I would give someone who is interested in doing this is to find a niche that they are passionate and knowledgeable in. For example, I am really interested in (other than SEO and blogging etc.) PC components, networking, and technology. I enjoy doing this, so naturally writing about it comes rather easy.
Back to your question, one of the biggest challenges is overcoming that initial “hump” of being new. It is really hard to get exposure if you don’t really have a name for yourself and if your blog doesn’t have a lot of authority
With that said, my best advice is to just dive right in there and start blogging. If you don’t have credibility, start by creating some for yourself. This might come in the form of doing a few favors for people or just writing a small eBook.
Now to the income portion of things. There are a few ways to generate income:
– Affiliate sales
– Selling your own products (eBooks, actual products, etc)
– Selling ad space
Other forms of monetization aren’t so obvious. I monetize my blog in more subtle ways. For example, by writing about SEO and internet marketing, a lot of people looking to learn more about the industry visit my website and contact me for consulting. This might come in the form of a quick $150 job or could turn into a massive monthly recurring SEO contract.
But this didn’t happen overnight. It’s very hard in the beginning opening your analytics in the morning and seeing “zero visitors.” Keep at it, blog about quality information and people will come.
Making money my prime driver was the biggest challenge to creating a profitable blog from scratch. Because money responds to value. Not money. Money flows through people. People will buy your eBooks or hire you – in essence, making your blog profitable – if you provide them with value. But since I obsessed over making money with my blog for many years I was trying to communicate with an inanimate object. Not good. I turned things around by starting from scratch, deleting my old blog to create Blogging From Paradise. Except this time I was armed with invaluable experiences.
I blogged to have fun. My creativity skyrocketed. Made friends with blogging big dawgs. Promoted my blogging success and boosted my profits. Blog for fun! The value and influential friends and profits flow your way more easily if you blog your fun.
From what I’ve seen, one of the best ways to use blogging to generate income is to start with something to sell and use blogging as a means to generate traffic and brand awareness for your business. Companies that focus on what they are selling first seem to make a lot more than on average than people who start blogging first and then figure out what to sell later.
For solo bloggers who want to monetize with advertising or info products, it takes a ton of commitment, dedication and hard work. You have to be committed enough to keep working and not quit. Most people will give up at some point along the way, but it’s the people who work the hardest and keep at it that ultimately make it. But bloggers should definitely put a lot of thought into monetization up front before even getting started.
2. Who to sell to and
3. How to sell
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