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Feeling a bit stuck trying to find some success with your blog?
I get it. We’ve been there. The beginning can feel pretty bleak at times… We spent many months in what we call the “poop phase“ of online success.
This is the phase where you make every mistake in the book. Probably just about every single one that you can make. Monetizing a blog is hard. Seriously.
Getting early traffic to your site can help tremendously but even that doesn’t guarantee money is going to come with it. You really have to set things up in just the right way to start making some serious money.
One great thing about getting some traffic is that it allows you to test out a lot of different ideas for getting email subscribers, making money, etc. This trial and error period is what eventually led us out of the trenches.
For about three solid months, we tried EVERYTHING. Like a throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks kind of scenario. We tried monetizing with:
- Affiliate products
- Sales funnels
- Product launches
- Email funnels
- And pretty much anything else you can think of…
We bought $1500 courses that didn’t work, purchased software that sucked, and made a lot of mistakes along the way.
But learning what NOT to do is still more important than freezing up and not learning anything at all.
It’s so important that you pay attention and learn from every mistake that you make because this becomes the groundwork for building the strategies that DO work.
You can read more about how we monetize and see our current and past blogging income in our income reports.
Disclaimer: The following article is full of some serious tough love.
But I don’t want to sugarcoat things for you and give you some fake, fluffy words of encouragement like “Keep trying! You’ll never fail if you don’t give up”
It’s going to take some serious work to get there, but we want to help you.
These are our best tips and advice from our experience in the trenches. If we can help even just one of you get the hell out of there, this article was worth it.
Here are some of the reasons why I think your blog may not be as successful as you’d like. Remember to keep an open find and take a good, hard, honest look at yourself and where you’re at as you read this.
1. You don’t put in the work.
Starting our first blog was a pretty big undertaking, especially because we really didn’t know what we were doing at the time. We didn’t have any real direction. We just wanted to make money online.
We spent every night (after our full-time jobs), every weekend, and every other spare moment that we had trying to grow our blog. Our social lives took a big hit in the beginning (RIP brunch). There were a lot of polite declines for movies, parties, dinners, etc.
As young 20-somethings (at the time) living in the big city of Dallas, this was hard. But you know what was more difficult? Working jobs we didn’t like to play it safe, please our families, and chase weekends and vacations that always ended way too soon.
So, we made a key decision. To go all in…
We quit our comfortable, full-time jobs, dipped into our savings, and sold our cars and furniture — all before we were making a dime with our blog.
And no, I’m not saying you have to do this or should do this, by any means. You might have a family, children, student loans, or other debt that would make this a very unwise decision.
My point is that you have to get serious about it. You have to put in the work.
This is not a hobby and it’s not a “side hustle” (unless you want it to be). If you want it to be a business that pays you money, it requires time — as much as you have to put in.
At least in the beginning. When you get some traction and it starts moving in the right direction, you can begin to get more flexible with your work hours.
We made our blog our top priority and we hustled our asses off until we made it happen. The juice is worth the squeeze, my friends. It’s a squeeze for sure, but it’s worth every delicious drop.
2. You’re just like everyone else.
What makes you unique?
The only way to shine through the ever-growing sea of bloggers out there is to be unique. And no, this does not mean that you have to reinvent the wheel.
Facebook came after Myspace and that idea came from Friendster.
Just taking a good idea and making it better is a really great place to start!
Here’s how we made our six-figure health and wellness blog stand out from the crowd:
- Lower Competition: We started on a platform like Pinterest that allowed us to get some initial traffic pretty quickly.
- Niche Down: After realizing what content was the most popular with people, we niched down to create content about mainly those topics.
- Share From Experiences: Whether it’s professional or personal experience, sharing your unique perspective and point of view will always differentiate your content from the rest.
As you can see, we didn’t reinvent the wheel anywhere. We don’t have ground-breaking technology or wisdom to share. But we have been able to differentiate ourselves enough to create a competitive advantage.
Just tell your story. Teach from personal experience. You can’t go wrong if you’re doing that.
And it’s unique 100% of the time because no one can duplicate your story.
3. You don’t take Google SEO seriously.
This is a big mistake that was made with this very website in the beginning.
We didn’t entirely neglect SEO. We did some basic blog SEO work with keywords, structuring our articles correctly, etc.
But that was about it and it came back to bite us really hard when we finally did start paying attention to it and trying to increase our Google search traffic.
The thing is, SEO traffic can be pretty consistent, reliable, and targeted traffic. It can also be very profitable when you set it up the right way.
If you’re not into publishing endless TikTok videos or running expensive Facebook ads, this is going to be your best bet.
Make sure to invest in some good SEO tools to help you with your SEO strategy.
4. You’re not connecting enough with your readers.
People buy coaches, not coaching.
I heard this little gem once, and it is definitely something to chew on. I’m going to illustrate this with an example from our health and wellness blog and our personal experience.
When we first started our health and wellness blog, we hid behind it for a long time. Our faces were nowhere to be found and we didn’t even have our names on our About page.
We were still feeling burned after our first blog failed.
But when we started trying to sell products to our audience, we quickly learned that the more PERSONAL we got with them, the more likely they were to buy our products.
Sometimes, you need to step up and be the person your audience needs you to be. And they need to know this and feel a connection with you before they will buy your product.
If you’ve been hiding, it’s time to come out of the shadows and do what you need to do to help make that connection stronger.
Here are some of the best ways to do this:
- Make sure your face and bio are on your blog (and noticeable).
- Regularly communicate with your audience in your blog comments and especially via email.
- Tell your story as often as you can in your content (both free and paid).
- Don’t try to be super professional. Be yourself. Be honest. It’s more relatable.
Next up on the list of reasons why your blog isn’t making any money is…
5. You get advice from too many “gurus.”
Raise your hand if your Facebook newsfeed looks like this every third post:
Sigh… Mine too.
And I’m not trying to throw shade on this dude for it. He’s hustling, and I have mad respect for that — from one hustler to another. But I want to throw shade on you if you are following more than 5 of these gurus.
Here’s what you should be doing instead:
Find 2-3 brands or people that you really feel like you can connect with that live life how you want to live it, and become a true follower and disciple of them.
Buy their products, open all of their emails, and absorb everything they say.
Become a die-hard fan.
This will benefit you and your business 100x more than following 10+ people and getting confused by all of the contradictory information out there.
Would you rather have 3 ride-or-die best friends or 10 friendly acquaintances that will show up if they don’t have anything better to do?
The problem with following too many people is that you only get surface-level information and you never get deep enough to get to the most valuable information that they have to offer.
You’ll end up absorbing a lot of free but piecewise information — never a complete strategy.
And it will take you a LOT longer to climb out of those trenches.
We won’t tell you to make us your new best friends (although we’d love to be). Just find whoever it is and focus on absorbing everything they are offering to teach you.
6. You don’t have a list.
This is another topic that I could write an entire book on.
The money is in the list, my friends.
We make considerably more sales from our email list than we do by linking our products in our blog posts.
We know because we’ve used a software called ClickMeter to actually track where our traffic and conversions were coming from:
Trust is EVERYTHING when it comes to building your audience and making sales, and there is no better way to build trust with your audience than through your emails.
That’s all I’m going to say about it in this article. These are our two favorite tools when it comes to email marketing:
- ConvertKit – to create landing pages, store your subscribers, and send emails
- LeadPages – an upgrade for more customizable landing pages if it’s in your budget (but you still need a tool like ConvertKit to store subscribers and send emails)
7. You are afraid of asking people to buy your product.
It can be hard to put yourself out there, especially in the beginning.
When you are first trying to sell a product or service to your audience, there are often a lot of doubts and fears surrounding it:
- “Why would someone buy this product from ME?”
- “There are so many other products out there. Why would someone want MINE?”
- “Is my product really good enough??”
We get it. Lauren and I laid awake many nights in the early days wondering if we were good enough. If our products were good enough.
This is called imposter syndrome and it’s the enemy to beginner bloggers trying to create their first products.
Here’s why you should never shy away from selling a great product, EVER:
People want and need a solution to their problems. And if you can provide that solution, you should be proud to sell it and market it to your audience!
And as far as getting the confidence to KNOW that you have a great product, well… Trust in yourself. If you’re speaking from experience and your heart is in the right place, you have nothing to fear.
The positive customer feedback that you receive over time will help boost this confidence. People will love your product and they will thank you for it!
Here is a screenshot of someone from our support group that lost 20 lbs in 21 days on a weight loss program that we used to sell:
Positive feedback like this will start to roll in. And if you get negative feedback, that’s okay too! Just improve your product to make it better!
You will also always come across people who just hate being sold to and will never buy a product from you. Ignore these people. They will unsubscribe and they aren’t worth your time anyway.
They also aren’t the majority of people out there. Remember that.
Why spend all of your time trying to convince the jaded customer to buy your stuff when there are customers out there open to new ideas and spending money on their problems?
Let this process be a learning process for you and a chance for some serious personal growth and experience.
Learning how to sell products to your audience will help you build confidence, fast.
Once you sell a few products and people get results, your confidence to sell more will grow exponentially. With every new product that we created, we got faster, better, smarter, you name it.
The selling and marketing experiences that you will learn will take your business to places you never even dreamed of.
Just remember to ALWAYS be honest when you’re communicating anything to your audience. Don’t let the money make you lose sight of what really matters.
What SHOULD I Be Doing to Make Money?
We’ve talked about a lot of things that you’re probably doing WRONG while you’re trying to make money…
But what about the things you should be doing RIGHT?
Our next best resource for you is our comprehensive guide on how to make money blogging. Give it a read now if you have the time or save it for later!
If you enjoyed this article on blog monetization mistakes or have any questions for us, please leave them in the comment section below! We’d love to hear from you, and we’re happy to try to help you figure out why your blog isn’t as successful as you’d like it to be.
We can be our own worst enemy when critiquing our blogs because we’re 100% biased. Let us know how we can help!