Feeling stuck trying to make money with your blog? I bet you’re making at least ONE of these mistakes right now, if not more. I know that because they’re super common and because we have made every single one of them in the past!
I will also be including proof of sales and some real experiences and problems we faced and overcame throughout the process of monetizing our health and fitness blog, Avocadu.com, so make sure to read every yummy word.
Also, this post is a mammoth at over 2,000 words, so pin it for later and make sure you re-read this stuff!
Monetizing a Blog is HARD.
Back on January 5th of 2016 when we quit our jobs, we had lots of traffic coming to our website from Pinterest, a good amount of email subscribers, but we were still not making any money.
So, it was time to experiment…
For about 3 solid months, we tried everything (we had to, because we were running out of cash FAST – no jobs, remember?):
- Affiliate products
- Sales funnels
- Product launches
- Email funnels
- Basically, EVERYTHING
We bought $1500 courses that didn’t work, purchased software that sucked, and made TONS of mistakes. But it was ALL worth it and our income reports will show you that.
Those are a large portion of the sales that we have made in the first year of registering our blog name on September 25th, 2015. But that also isn’t including our Paypal sales, which represent another $30,000 or so.
Hitting $100k in sales in our first year was HUGE for us! Now we are full-time bloggers here to help you make your blogging dream a sexy reality!
The following article is full of tough love and is one of my favorite articles yet on why your blog isn’t making any money:
1. You don’t put in the work.
When Lauren and I decided to make money blogging, the amount of initial effort it took was enormous.
- Every weeknight.
- Every weekend.
- And every spare moment was spent growing our blog…
Our social lives took a big hit in the beginning (rest in peace brunch). There were a lot of polite declines for movies, parties, dinners, etc. As young 20-somethings living in the big city of Dallas, this was DIFFICULT.
That being said, you know what was more difficult?
Working jobs we didn’t like to play it safe and please our families and chasing weekends and vacations that ended WAY too soon.
So we went ALL IN. We dipped into our savings, sold our cars and furniture, and most importantly – We put in the work. I don’t care if you call us lucky or whatever.
We hustled our butts off until we made it happen.
I’m writing this article from our balcony in Bali overlooking the city of Ubud after 10 months out of a “real” job.
Think I give two funks about those late nights now?
Not. A. Chance.
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? For real though, I’d love to know.
The only way to shine through the ever-growing SEA of bloggers out there is to be unique. This does not mean you have to reinvent the wheel…
Facebook came after Myspace peeps, and that idea came after Friendster. Just taking a good idea and making it better is a really great place to start!
Here’s how we are making Create and Go stand out from the crowd:
- Best pins on Pinterest (for real through, Lauren’s a studette at Pinterest)
- We make money online not from only teaching people how to make money online, but from a completely separate niche blog in health and fitness at Avocadu.com that we share openly with people. It seems to be a rarity in this industry of making money by teaching people how to make money.
- We share our experiences, not our assumptions.
Here’s how we make Avocadu stand out from the crowd:
- Best pins on Pinterest (she’s still a studette)
- We teach Yoga and Weight Loss – A strange but unique combination we are passionate about.
- The writing is simple and easy to understand. People reading about health and fitness content are not nearly as internet savvy as a future millionaire blogger like yourself. Keeping the content basic is the smart way to better connect with our audience and stand out.
All of these things are how we stand out and are part of our competitive advantage. Being unique is not that difficult folks! Go back to the basics.
3. You don’t take Pinterest seriously.
I’m going to write about Pinterest marketing until I’m blue in the face.
If you’re not on Pinterest and you’re instead trying to grow a blog beating people with rare, long-tail SEO keywords on Google, good luck!
It’s going to be a pain in the butt and EXPENSIVE unless you are an SEO master and know how to cultivate lots of backlinks.
Mastering the Pinterest platform takes time, effort, and love.
There is no way around that. We have spent hours and hours on Pinterest and spent hundreds if not thousands investing in our education about Pinterest.
So much knowledge that we created an entire course on the subject.
Like anything good worth having, it takes work, but it’s been worth every fudging penny.
Take Pinterest seriously, people.
4. You’re not connecting enough with your readers.
People buy coaches, not coaching.
I heard this little gem the other day, and it is definitely something to chew one. If you pay attention, you will notice that Avocadu is going to be making some big changes in the upcoming months.
One of the biggest is making Lauren the authority figure or figurehead of the website.
I (Alex) will be more of a distant character, a consultant on the blog, and occasional participant in the community groups.
Lauren does a MUCH better job connecting with our target audience than I do.
This has taken me some time to admit, and it felt like a cold glass of water to the face when I realized how much more they like her than me! 🙂 But it’s true. It’s not just a man/woman thing, there’s something about her that our folks just love.
Focus on connecting with your readers and doing whatever needs to be done to make that connection stronger.
The best ways to do this:
- Start a Facebook community (link to ours)
- Make sure your face and bio is on your website.
- Regularly communicate with your audience via comments or email.
Next up on the list of reasons why your blog isn’t making any money is…
5. You get advice from too many “gurus.”
I’m so sick of my Facebook newsfeed looking like this every third post:
Sigh… Not to hate on this dude, but after seeing a MILLION of these, it has become exhausting at this point. There are so many internet “gurus” out there that we could populate a decent sized island with all of them (and I kind of wish we would).
Here’s the deal:
Find 3 brands and/or people that you REALLY connect with that live life how you want to live it, and become a true follower and disciple of them.
Buy their products, follow them, and absorb everything they say. Become a zealot.
This will benefit you and your business 100x more than following 10+ people and getting confused by all of the contradictory information.
The problem with following everyone is that people only get surface level information and never get deep.
They implement a couple of basic things, and then when they don’t work, they jump ship onto the next expert.
This is not good for your brain, and you will never actually deeply understand anything or learn from your mistakes.
Have you ever re-read a life-changing book and learned more from it the second time of reading?
This is because you now have a deeper understanding of what the author was saying and more life experience to bounce their words off of.
Find 3 authority figures or blogs (maximum), and become a true disciple.
(Side note*** Do this with books as well. Find 5 truly life-changing books, and re-read them every year. Stop book-jumping to the next latest and greatest bestseller. It’s a crap way to learn anything and fills your brain with more information than it’s designed to handle).
One of our favorite books: The Slight Edge.
6. You don’t have a list.
We make 3x the money from our list vs. direct product sales from our pages.
Trust is EVERYTHING when it comes to sales, and you can very easily build trust with an email sequence.
That’s all I’m going to say about it in this article. Collect emails early, and collect them often.
These are our two favorite tools when it comes to email marketing:
- LeadPages – to design high-converting landing pages that get people ON your list
- ConvertKit – to store your list and send emails to your subscribers
7. You are afraid of asking people to buy your product.
Here’s why you should never shy away from selling a product, EVER:
- People want/need a solution to their problems.
The coolest part about selling is that you are always helping someone solve their problems. And if you do solve their problem, people are going to LOVE YOU for it. Here’s what our customers say about us:
They want your solution to their problem!
- People who get mad about selling don’t spend money.
There’s a demographic of people who just hate being sold to. No matter what, they just don’t like it. They’re not going to buy your product unless you spend an enormous amount of time convincing them to do so.
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 for their problems?
It’s mentally exhausting and not worth your time dealing with these people. Don’t worry about them and sell away!
- Your product is flippin’ good.
Or at least, it better be. If it’s not good enough to yell from the rooftops (or your blog posts) about how sexy and helpful it is, go back to the drawing board and do it again. I’ll show you an example of a good way to do this at the end of the article without being “salesy.”
- Selling builds 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 experience that you will learn will take your business to places you never even dreamed of.
Want to see a way to pitch your product without being sleazy?
Here it is:
Pinterest changed our businesses and our lives.
We went from small-time bloggers to heavy hitters in the health and wellness space in less than a year, making over $103,457 that first year.
And we owe it all to the traffic gained from Pinterest.
The great thing? We share all of the inside secrets we learned and the exact steps we used in our product Pinterest Traffic Avalanche.
We show you the inside of a Pinterest account with over 170k followers and how to get started with yours.
See what we did there?
Check out our other articles on this website or some of them on Avocadu.com to see how we present our product.
Every now and then, we get some rando comment on one of our Pinterest pins with something like “Just another sales pitch.”
It can be hard not to take some of that stuff to heart.
But let’s be real… OF COURSE every article has a sales pitch! Even if it doesn’t have a specific product listed, it is still designed to get you to absorb the content and leave you wanting more.
We can’t just pump out free content all day long without any kind of return… That ain’t gonna pay the bills!
Again, don’t waste your time on these free-loaders.
Sell yourself and your products honestly, and you will reap the largest rewards!
Oh, and you really should check out our Pinterest Course, because it IS that awesome! 🙂
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!