The bad news is that there’s no undone button. The good news is that the future can be modified. But only if you accept that you’ve made some mistakes and you need to change something.
“It’s not your fault” and “You have been lied to” are copywriting tricks used in salesletters. And words to be addressed to kids. Grownups have to face the truth: if it didn’t work, it is your fault. You have taken all the decisions regarding your blog, haven’t you?
I don’t want you to feel bad or guilty. But telling you how great you are after you’ve just failed won’t help you improve anything. I will deliver exactly what I promised you in the title… food for thought.
I don’t know who you are and what your blog is. So I don’t know exactly why YOU failed. But I’ll show you some common strategical errors most bloggers don’t even count as mistakes. That’s why so many bloggers fail. Some of these mistakes may apply to your case, others may not. Test and see.
The truth is that the toughest part is to identify your mistakes. My piece of advice is to question everything. Even if it’s something that you think that you copied from your beloved John the Guru who makes a lot of money – so he should be right.
1. Failing, Not Changing Anything, But Expecting Different Results
The very first danger is not admitting (or recognizing) the failure – either total or partial.
You don’t have to be afraid to admit it. Keep your cool, failure isn’t final. Except when you don’t notice it and you don’t change anything because you think that you keep improving and you still need to wait for the results.
Tip: When assessing your results, an overall assessment is inefficient unless a total failure is expected (very little or no money generated). Otherwise, if the result isn’t so bad and obvious, assess individually each blog monetization element.
Simple practical case: your blog has two banners. During the last month, one banner generated 10 sales and made a $100 recurring income. The other banner didn’t generate any sale.
Overall assessment: this month the blog generated a $100 recurring income. Not bad. Let’s drive more traffic.
Individual assessment: this month, banner A generated a $100 recurring income. Not bad. It needs more traffic to multiply the result. However, banner B didn’t generate anything. That’s a failure. It doesn’t need more traffic in order to multiply that zero ;) I have to see what’s wrong with it and change something.
See the difference between the two types of assessment? The overall assessment doesn’t take into consideration the partial failure and doesn’t let you grow as you could grow.
Once you get used to recognizing the failure, the next step is to identify the mistakes that generated the total or partial failure and correct them. Let’s see some major mistakes. Strategical mistakes …
2. Following the Wrong Leaders
Admit it… you didn’t invent your blog monetization techniques, did you? You’re learning from one or more bloggers, reading their articles, books, whatever. Now pay attention please…
There are very popular bloggers who make little money or no money at all. According to their income reports. If you follow their pieces of advice, why do you expect to make money? Bam!
Popularity isn’t always followed by a fat bank account. For sure these guys are doing some things very well. That’s why they are popular. But at the same time, they’re doing something wrong. That’s why their skinny income reports.
[See the pic on the left side? The piece of advice is 100% correct. But will it help you make money? Food for thought.]
I’ve also seen some popular bloggers who drive huge amounts of traffic to their blogs (according to their traffic reports) and make decent amounts of money (according to their income reports). But if you compare the two metrics (traffic and money) you see that their earnings are insignificant. Too little money converted from that traffic.
Which means that there’s something wrong. And if you follow such a leader, you’re learning ineffective methods that applied to less traffic will get you less than the decent amount of money earned by the leader.
Ask yourself whether you follow the wrong leader. Even if it’s your good friend. Don’t mix feelings with business.
3. Following the Right Leaders But Not Understanding Their Plans
You see that expert X does one thing or another. And you copy it. At least that’s what you think. But sometimes you may not see the whole picture. In such a case, you copy a different plan that may not work.
No, don’t think that I assume that you’re dumb. Sometimes, you simply cannot understand the full plan someone has in mind.
For example, I bet that many readers of this article will not know why I use the leading banner from the sidebar and not another one, or not something else instead of a banner.
The reason for not understanding my plan is simple: it’s not written anywhere. Sometimes you can read someone’s mind, other times you can’t – even if you think you can. The danger comes when you think that you know why someone has done one thing or another and you are actually wrong.
Even if you can read my mind, sometimes there’s another danger coming your way…
4. Copying Good Methods Without Having the Right Skills
Expert X decided to get rid of all distractions (banners, whatever) from his blog and focus on building his mailing list. Because he’s an expert in copywriting and email marketing and he knows how to further squeeze a lot of money with the help of that list.
You apply the same technique of removing everything. Then when it comes to email marketing all you do is to notify your readers regarding new blog posts. Well, it should be very obvious that you won’t make any money. You’ll run in circles.
If you don’t know how to make money with a list, but you send some promotional messages, then maybe you’ll make some lucky sales from time to time. But that’s all. You removed all the other money making possibilities and decided to play a game you don’t know.
That’s a common failure case. Applying only half of a good plan because you don’t have the right skills or knowledge to apply the second part. There’s no way to succeed like that.
5. Ignoring SEO
I’m still laughing when I remember a certain quite popular lady who branded herself as an SEO rebel. “I do absolutely no SEO for this blog at all.” But she was counting the natural backlinks to her blog and she used an SEO plugin LOL. No, she wasn’t a scammer. The scammers know very well what they do… She used that plugin in order to add the only meta tag no one needs anymore – keywords.
Still she was satisfied coz the blog got some search engine traffic. From people searching for her name or her blog. Which means… nothing.
And the income reports… They were taken down after a while, but I do remember them. A more appropriate title would have been “losses reports.”
If you see more SEO rebels, run away quickly. Being a noob is OK, we all have been there. But being a proud ignorant isn’t that good ;)
Search engine traffic means free money on autopilot. While you’re on the beach drinking a cocktail. But not if you rank well for your name only.
Ranking well for good keywords doesn’t come overnight while you sleep. You have to take some action. Don’t be scared. It’s not really rocket science. On top of that, I guess you’re already doing some SEO, even if you don’t know that you’re doing it.
A word of caution though. The SEO industry is one of the few industries that’s full of spammers, scammers and people who teach and practise SEO while not having any idea what SEO is. Take very much care who are you learning from.
6. Using Only Old Blog Monetization Methods
To make money blogging, many bloggers rely only on classic methods. Adsense ads and/or some banners on the sidebar. But the times have changed. And technology has changed. What worked great in the past may not always work the same now.
For example, if the majority of your visitors use smartphones and your blog has a mobile responsive theme, your sidebar is pretty useless.
Why is that? Use a smartphone. You’ll see the article. Then the comments. And finally the sidebar alone. Most of your visitors will never scroll down till the sidebar, especially if your blog post has lots of comments. But even if it doesn’t have so many comments, the sidebar itself isn’t a part that visitors read. Its original purpose was different. It was displayed together with the content, not after the content. It’s a huge difference. See here just one of the possible cases …
John Doe lands on your blog post, reads two phrases and then stops coz he’s bored. The top of the sidebar – that is located very close to the place where the visitor stopped reading – may present an alternative to closing the browser tab or hitting the back button. But only if the visitors don’t use a smartphone. If they use one, there’s no sidebar under their nose.
7. Filling One of the Hottest Blog Monetization Spots with Crap
The space that comes after each article is one of the hottest points. The readers have just achieved the goal they had when landed on your page – reading the article. Within the next seconds they have to do something new.
Instead of taking advantage of this hot spot, many bloggers ruin the moment. Crappy author bios and other useless stuff.
As if the visitors who wanted to find out how to solve a certain problem (or whatever their goal was when landing on your page) are now suddenly interested in discovering how many pets you have.
Shall I mention the loyal readers? Maybe you think that it’s a real pleasure to see your bio again and again every time you post something new. It’s not. Get an About Me page.
Take out the useless garbage posted after your article and put an opt-in box. Or try to directly make some money by promoting something related to the topic of your article.
8. Missing the Whole Point of a Business Blog
Have you heard of rules such as spend 20% of your time on blog posts creation and 80% on promoting your content? Percentages may vary. But…
Where’s the time allocated to blog monetization (including analysis and strategies/tactics updates)? Part of it maybe is included in the content creation (reviews and similar stuff). But where’s the rest?
That’s like a fancy shop with tons of visitors and very few products or no products at all. And then do you know what the sad thing is? The shop keeper – most of the bloggers – asks himself, “Why am I almost broke? I have the prettiest windows and shelves in town. And lots of visitors. Plus raving comments about my fliers!”
As if that’s enough! Well, the prospects will never buy your windows, shelves or marketing fliers. Your shop needs them indeed. But don’t miss the rest.
Otherwise you’ll get just a popular blog. But you may still need that 9-5 job to pay your bills. Like some of the experts and popular bloggers out there.
Food for thought. Really. That’s it.
9. Bonus: How to Make $25 with Your Blog – Super Easy!
Now here’s your bonus for reading this whole food for thought thing :)
Step 1 – Click here and join Grammarly affiliate program (free). Grammarly is the world’s leading software suite for perfecting written English – good for bloggers, students, etc.
Step 2 – After you get their approval for becoming an affiliate, place one of their banners on your blog and notify them (details in their approval email).
That’s it! You place a banner and get a $25 bonus.
I placed the banner 3 days ago. The bonus was credited yesterday. It’s not difficult, is it? ;)
Then you get $0.20 per each free registration or $20 for each premium account that your blog generates.
[If you’re not happy with the conversions or anything else, nobody forces you to keep that banner forever on your blog.]
And there’s more… You can refer fellow affiliates to Grammarly program and receive a $20 cash bonus for each lead (available from 01/18/2016 till 02/18/2016) plus a bonus equal to 10% of the referred affiliate’s commissions.
Now really, what are you waiting for? Go and make some money with your blog!
To your blogging success!
P.S. Your turn… Questions? The comment area is yours. Having a different view from mine? Feel free to post it below.