You’ve likely heard a lot of success stories from us, but it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. Let’s talk about why our first blog FAILED and how you can prevent it from happening to YOU.
I want to tell you a short tale of the first blog Lauren and I started together and why it failed in a truly spectacular fashion.
Hopefully, learning from our blogging mistakes and blunders will keep this from happening to you.
If you don’t know our full story, then we should also mention that we did end up succeeding as bloggers. We took our health blog, Avocadu.com, from 0 – $103,456.98 its first year and with Create and Go, the blog you are currently on, we regularly make over $50,000 per month.
But sweet baby Jesus it didn’t start that way…
First, let’s define what I mean by “failed.”
We’ve been sending out surveys and quizzes recently and when asked the question of “What is your reason for wanted to start a blog?,” 76% of people marked “to make money and become financially free” as their #1 or #2 reason.
Ditto, internet friends. We started blogging because we wanted to…
- Quit our jobs
- Work when we wanted to
- Be in control of our income
- Become 100% FREE to design our lives exactly how we see fit.
So, we are defining failure, in this case, as not making money or accomplishing these things because we did not accomplish our goals.
If those are not your reasons for starting a blog, then this post may not resonate as much with you. I understand that a blog can be a personal diary for some without any intention of monetary gain.
That’s why I wanted to clear up how we defined “failure.”
The truth is, looking back, our first blog idea wasn’t actually a terrible idea!
I’ve done worse for less.
The reason our idea flopped like a fat fish on a wet marble floor was mostly due to our terrible execution.
If you didn’t know, you can check out old versions of websites using a website called Wayback Machine. It can be fun to look back and see how far you’ve come. [The photo below is a screenshot from this failed idea.]
As youngish twenty-somethings trying to stay healthy while drinking and partying with friends, we figured we could start a blog about that topic.
Combine the two things we loved… It was a crude blog with lots of potty humor (something Lauren and I love) and here are some photos from it:
Basically, we would get a little drunk, take photos of recipes, write explicit text on them, and laugh our asses off like a couple of insane hyenas.
It was fun and stupid and everything in between.
Everything was great except for a couple teensy tiny problems:
Nobody was reading our blog, we had made exactly $0 from it, and nobody cared about it.
Other than that, we were doing great!
For all of you preferred video learners out there, here is a video of this topic (plus some extra tips!) from our Youtube Channel below.
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Let’s look at the five reasons why this first blog idea failed and break this down from our perspective as now-successful bloggers.
We were selfish.
All of the content we created was centered around ourselves and what WE wanted to create.
It was all about us.
I actually see this quite often in the blogging sphere.
Content creators are often more concerned with how other people view them and work on stuff they like rather than focusing on helping their readers with their problems and needs.
We were as guilty of this as anyone.
We wanted to get hammered drinking mimosas and sloppily taking photos of our “healthy” recipe creations – Oh, and make money from it. Ha!
But it was selfish in nature.
The difference is that Avocadu is solely focused on the needs and wants of our audience. It actually has very little to do with the content Lauren and I want to create and has everything to do with the type of content we know our audience likes and responds to.
You think Lauren and I want to write weight loss posts for middle-aged women for the rest of our lives??
But that’s what THEY need, so we sucked up our pride and did it for a full year + of our lives.
Now we make enough to hire out the writing of the articles, but it was necessary to write our own in the beginning – even if we weren’t super passionate about it.
Now, before I lose you… I know what you’re thinking.
“I have to write about stuff I’m not interested in!? That sounds miserable!”
No, you don’t have to. You should always enjoy what you are doing, but it doesn’t mean that you will love every second of it.
Sometimes, there is more money to be made in areas that you don’t love as much and you have to decide what direction you want to go in.
We could have made some money from our first direction at SOME point, but we wouldn’t have made enough to quit our jobs, design our lives, and accomplish the OTHER goals that were important to us.
Avocadu turned out to be something that we weren’t as passionate about but it has provided us with the financial freedom to quit our jobs, travel, live life the way that we want to, and work on the projects that we are truly passionate about (Create and Go!).
The key is to focus on what your audience wants, needs, and responds to (not what you want to create) ESPECIALLY if financial freedom is something that you want.
We made all the wrong moves in all the wrong places.
I spent 7+ days trying to come up with our mission statement.
7 &^$(%*^ DAYS!
It’s like the entrepreneur who files for an LLC before a single person has purchased their product (something I am also guilty of).
Don’t do that.
A mission statement should take you 30 minutes to make and then you should move on.
If it doesn’t come to you in that time frame, let it go and focus on something else until it becomes clearer.
We spent entirely too much time on:
- How our blog looked
- Our mission statement
- Our about us page
- Other less important, asinine things
And entirely too little time:
- Learning WordPress
- Creating original content
- Creating content people actually want
Now we understand what matters and what doesn’t matter when it comes to blogging.
Honestly, this is why people buy our courses in droves at Create and Go.
It’s not that Lauren and I are geniuses. It’s because our courses can save you a TON of time that you would otherwise waste on learning and trying things that don’t matter (or work).
We tried to monetize our blog without traffic.
Think of it as having your very own lemonade stand, perfectly positioned, in the Sahara Desert.
You can have the dopest, freshest, most lemony-lemonade of all time, but you’re in the damn desert… you ain’t making any sales, partner.
We spent a full month creating two digital products that NOBODY purchased.
We were sitting there in the desert like “Where’s that money, though??”
In order to make money with your blog, you have to have two things:
- High-Quality Traffic
- Proper Monetization
By proper monetization, we mean not just slapping up a link to some rando affiliate product and crossing your fingers that someone will buy.
It’s the combination of these that will lead you to success as a blogger.
This is also around the time we started learning more about Pinterest. The more we got into it, the more we realized Pinterest is the peanut butter to the jelly that is blogging.
Fast forward to today and we drive over 10,000-20,000 views per day to our blog organically with that platform.
Here are some articles and resources that can help you with these things as well as our full course on Make Money Blogging for Beginners:
- How to Make Your First $1,000/month with Make Money Blogging for Beginners
- What is Pinterest and How Does It Work for Bloggers?
- How to Become a Full-Time Blogger
We didn’t collect emails.
Despite everyone on the internet telling us we HAD to collect emails, we thought:
- We don’t like emails;
- Therefore nobody likes emails.
- Let’s not do it.
Many of you new bloggers are probably somewhere in that camp as well.
While MUCH has changed in the world of blogging over the years, this has not.
There is no single way to better turn a prospect into a fan into a customer than through email marketing.
Collecting emails FROM DAY 1 is one of the most important parts of becoming a successful blogger.
It may not be fun and you may not even like email, but it’s Capital-T true.
We use and recommend ConvertKit for all of our email marketing on both blogs because it’s the only email marketing service specifically designed for bloggers. Oh, and it’s awesome.
If you sign up through our link, you can also get a free 30-day trial of ConvertKit!
We didn’t have any GOOD guidance.
The only guidance we got were from marketers teaching marketing, email marketers teaching about emails, and bloggers making money by teaching people how to make money blogging.
We bought their courses…
Took their lessons…
Went to their conferences…
And more often than not, left empty-handed and feeling like…
We just didn’t realize it at the time, but advice from these people needs to be taken with a big, fat grain of salt.
Monetizing and growing a blog that’s in a niche like knitting or health, is very different from one that teaches people how to make money online.
The truth is that it’s much easier to sell when you’re teaching people how to make an income.
We know this, guys. We’ve grown two successful blogs that are wildly different from each other. For example, here are our stats from last month (October 2017) for both blogs…
- Avocadu’s Revenues: $16,472
- Create and Go’s Revenues: $57,577
We actually an entire post on this you can see called, “Can blogs make money without blogging about blogging?”
While this absolutely does not mean you should start out teaching people how to make money online — it’s dishonest at best and a flat out lie at worst if you haven’t actually made money online yet…
It DOES mean you should be paying close attention to who you are taking advice from.
We would have made money A LOT faster had we started with the knowledge we give in our courses or in these articles and were always more passionate about the business side of blogging because we both have a college degree in business.
BUT other than selling my first eBook out of college, I didn’t have the level of personal experience to blog about making a serious income online.
So, Lauren and I decided to blog about health and wellness, a topic that we both were very passionate about and knowledgeable in. I was a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist and she was a former vegan for two years. It was a great fit for us.
Only after taking Avocadu to over $10,000/month did we start our blog at Create and Go.
Bottom line: Be wary. Be skeptical.
Even of me.
I’m no saint, guys. I sell courses too. While I think they are the best in the biz, it’s easy to look at someone who has the success that we do and think “These two baboons must have all the answers.”
While we do our best, we have flaws as well.
Let’s wrap this thing up. Here are the 5 reasons our first blog failed:
- We were selfish.
If you want to succeed, your content has to be centered around solving other people’s problems, not always your own.
- We made all the wrong moves in all the wrong places.
Forget about your mission statement or that dope logo and focus more on providing value to your readers.
- We tried to monetize our blog without traffic.
You need both great traffic and a great product to make money.
- We didn’t collect emails.
Collect them from DAY 1!
- We didn’t have any GOOD guidance.
Be wary of trusting an article just because it’s got a bunch of repins or is at the top of Google. Find guidance from people whom you feel that you can truly trust and who will shoot you straight.
Often, they are the people willing to tell you what’s uncomfortable instead of what’s awesome.
Much love bloggers,
Co-Founder, Create and Go
P.S. Have you launched your blog yet? If not, make sure you sign up for our FREE 7-Day eCourse on Starting Your Blog from scratch! Check it out and join the THOUSANDS who are already talking about it.
If you enjoyed this article on how our first blog failed or have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!