So you have a blog that isn’t making you any money and getting traffic has been a struggle?
I totally get what you are going through.
When you were first starting a blog, you read a lot of income reports that bloggers shared on Pinterest. And you thought to yourself that in about 5-6 months you will be travelling full time, blogging from a beach, sipping on a cocktail and what not.
I get it.
That’s the dream.
I mean, who wouldn’t want that.
And while a lot of people share blogs that start making money from day 1, let’s be honest, it doesn’t happen for a majority of the blogs. In fact about 70% of the blogs never make any money, at all.
But worry not my friend. I got you.
In this post I am sharing everything you can do to turn your hobby blog into a money making business.
Now, there are a couple of reasons why your blog isn’t making any money. So let’s see what mistakes are you making on your blog and how you can fix them.
1. Not having a Self Hosted Blog
Okay, but what is hosting?
I know it is a bit technical, but let me explain in the easiest way possible. Hosting is like a spot for your blog on the world wide web. Pretty similar to how your car needs a parking spot, your blog needs a hosting service. It is also a place where all your website data is stored.
When you are first starting out with blogging and you are faced with options of self hosting your blog (for about $3.95/month) or free hosting with wordpress.com, chances are you will go with the free hosting.
And it makes sense for you then. Because you are just starting out and have no idea how blogging for money works.
But if you want to make money from your blog, I’d recommend going for a Self hosted blog. Treat your blog as a business from day 1 and think of this $3.95/ month as initial investment/ cost of running your business. We have all heard that in order to make money, you need to spend money.
In short, You CAN NOT make money from a FREE BLOG.
What’s the difference you ask?
Well, on a Self hosted blog, you can use ads and monetise using google Adsense or any other ad network.
But on a free hosted blog, like using wordpress.com, all your content is owned by WordPress and you can’t use adds or use affiliate links. You don’t even have a custom domain and your blog URL looks like www.myblog.wordpress.com instead of www.myblog.com, which really makes a difference.
Moreover, you can’t use any custom themes that your blog look really pretty and professional.
While on a Self hosted blog like wordpress.org you have a lot of benefits like:
- You have the rights to all your content
- Monetise however you want to, using ads, affiliate links and even selling your own digital/physical products
- Look more professional to your readers and brands that want to work with you
- Have a custom domain
And what is a platform?
Platform is the service that you will use on day to day basis to put up content on your website. WordPress.org is the best platform to use simply because of the customisation it offers. And anything you want to know, you can always find tons of help articles. However, it is not the easiest platform to use.
In the initial few weeks, you might find yourself struggling a bit, but if you stick with it, you will eventually get a good grasp of it. And the reason why I often say that WordPress is better than wix.com or square space is because it allows you to turn your blog into a business with s number of widgets and tools available. And while making a beautiful website is super easy with a builder like Wix because the drag and drop builder is amazing, but quite honestly, your options of scaling it will be quite limited.
Which hosting service should you use?
I personally love Bluehost and can’t recommend it enough. Bluehost and wordpress.org is the perfect combination to go for your self hosted blog.
REASONS WHY I ABSOLUTELY LOVE BLUEHOST:
- It is the top recommend hosting company by WordPress
- You can monetise your blog however you want to with ads and affiliate links etc.
- It is also quite affordable, which is perfect for beginner’s when you don’t want to invest a lot of money in your blog
- You also get a free Domain for the first 12 months
- They have great customer service and you can always chat with the customer service rep to solve any issues that you have
- They have been working with WordPress since 2005 and they install WordPress for you
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH BLUEHOST:
Click here to go to Bluehost and click the Green GET STARTED button to select a plan. You will be redirected to a page where you have to select the plan that you want to get for your blog.
I recommend getting the basic plan which is just $3.95/month because when you are just starting out, all you need is the basic plan and you can upgrade any time you want to.
Once you have selected the basic plan, you will go to a page “Choose your Domain name” where you have a few options.
If you have a domain name in mind, simply check if that domain name is available. And if it is, the you can go ahead with creating a new domain.
However, if you have already purchased a domain from somewhere else, then simple choose use a domain you own. And if for some reason, you do not have a domain name in mind, simply select I’ll create my domain later.
Then, you will directed to your account info page. Fill out all the details here
After you have filled out your basic details like email and adress etc, it is now time to select a payment plan.
Which Payment plan is the best?
Generally the longer your plan, the cheaper it will be for you. But if you are not sure than you want to use Bluehost for long term, then go for 12 month plan because:
- You get a free domain for the first 12 months.
- You need to try this blogging thing for atleast a year if you really want to make money from it. And this seems like a good way to commit to it.
However, if you have a little bit of cash at hand and are okay with making a relatively bigger purchase upfront, then I highly recommend going for the 36 month plan, because in the long term, it’s cheaper.
And if you are really serious about blogging and want to make it work, you will get your money’s best worth in the long run. Also, you won’t have to worry about the running costs down the line because you are ready for the next 36 months.
If you are on a tight budget, as most new bloggers are, go ahead and de-select any add ons like sitelock security etc.
Then go ahead and add your payment information and once you have read the terms of service click submit.
Then next thing you have to do for a self hosted blog is to install WordPress, but Bluehost does that for you. All you need to do is to set a password and you are all set.
Setting up your website:
And there you have it, your self hosted blog is now ready. Log in with your Domain name and the password you just created and fill it some basic details like what type of site it is.
Bluehost then asks if you want to select a theme for your blog and you can select from the themes available or buy a premium theme. This is honestly my favourite part. Selecting and customise a theme to how you like it.
Now all you need to do is go to WordPress from the top right corner and you will be directed to your WordPress dashboard, which you will be using from now on.
2. Not posting consistently:
The next biggest mistake I see bloggers making every now and then is not posting consistently and not posting enough. You can’t expect to have loads of traffic when you have just 4 posts on your blog or when you post once a month.
I know you are busy and have tons to do in a day, but have a posting schedule for your blog and stick to it.
People love consistency and people love when you show up and post. So make sure you have a content plan and stick to it. Here is our Content schedule planner where we discuss everything you need to consider while making a content plan.
3. Ads Everywhere:
I will be lying if I tell you that I have never done this myself. When I first got approved for google adsense, I thought putting ads on my blog is probably the only way to monetise. So I ended up putting a lot of ads on my website.
But a few days later when I visited my website, I cringed because there were ads everywhere and they were so distracting and I was so so mad at myself for doing that to my readers.
When you have a lot of ads everywhere on your blog, no one wants to come back to the blog and you lose an audience who could have been long term readers.
I know you want to make money from your blog too.
But I strongly recommend that initially, for the first few months, you focus on growing your blog traffic and building an audience and then think about making money.
Because once you have built up some traffic, you can sign up for premium ad networks. That way you will not have to place 100 Ads to make money from you blog.
4. Not having a Niche:
You audience needs a reason to keep coming back to your blog. And when you niche down, you are telling your audience that you know that particular topic and that they can expect valuable blogs on that topic from you every week.
But what if I am really talented and want to write about a lot of topics or What if I have a lot to say?
I hear you.
I love cooking, travelling, blogging, social media marketing, DIY and a lot of things. As one does. We are all humans and having multiple interests in totally okay.
But when ti comes to blogging, write about things that you are truly truly passionate about. Also take into account the feasibility. Like I love writing travel content but I do not travel full time, and hence it is not feasible for me to keep coming up with travel content.
So think about these factors and if you still want to write about a couple of things, hear me out.
If you have a team who writes blogs for you and can create valuable and quality content in 10 categories each week, then, by all means go ahead.
But if you are a single person doing everything, I suggest you start small.
Start with a particular niche, build an audience and then introduce a new topic.
Just keep in mind that you don’t put all your focus on one category and totally neglect one. You will end up losing audience. If you have 2-3 categories then make sure you are creating content for each category per week.
5. Not Writing Quality Content:
Do you ever do to a blogpost and see that the information provided is pretty useless?
Remember how it makes me you feel cheated and like it was such a waste of your time?
You certainly don’t want people feeling that way when they come to your blogposts. So, make sure you are writing valuable content.
Now, What is valuable content?
Simple. Content from which your audience gets some kind of value. The content needs to be well researched and well scripted. And for god’s sake do not write small blog posts.
I have seen a couple of bloggers dividing a blogpost in a 2-3 smaller posts to get more page views, while it could all very easily have been a single post. It hurts your Blog’s SEO as well. If you have no idea how to get started with SEO for your blog, read my detailed post here. Writing long form posts ensures that your readers will feel that a lot of hard work has gone into the blog.
But at the same time, don’t repeat yourself over and over just for the sake for making it a long form post. Keep it to the point.
One way to ensure that you are writing valuable posts is to make a rough draft. Before you actually get started with writing, brainstorm and make a rough draft of all the point you want to include in the blogpost.
And if you are typing out a blogpost and simply publishing it, please STOP. There is so much you should do before you hit publish on a blogpost.
Related post: Everything we do AFTER we PUBLISH a blogpost
6. Not having a Content Marketing Strategy:
A content marketing strategy is absolutely important. You can’t simply publish a blogpost and expect people to show up and read it. You need to have a plan to market your content and you need to make a plan that best suits you.
Here is why you need a content Marketing strategy and how to make one for you blog.
To put it simply, You need to understand where your target audience is. On what platforms your target audience spend most of the time and focus on marketing on those platforms.
7. Not Building a brand:
You know what all good impactful businesses have in common? They have a well defined brand. And a brand goes a lot farther than what tag line you have. It is so much more than that.
Everything that do, the colours that you use on the blog, the pins you make and pin on Pinterest and how you reply to comments is all a part of it.
I cannot stress this enough.
Don’t simply start with a free blog and start publishing content. Invest in a good host and take time to be mindful of your brand.
Think of what colours would define your brand and this should be consistent across platforms and social media that you use.
Think about the tone in which you want to talk to your audience and keep it consistent across blogposts too. This will help your audience in feeling like they know you as a person.
A part of building your brand is also writing a good “about me” page for your blog. It tells your audience who you are and they form a better connection with you.
When you are building your website take time to try different fonts and see which reflects your personality the most. Also, think about everything you want to have on your homepage. Everything has to have a reason behind it.
8. Selling too much:
Okay I know you want to have a profitable blog but just like the ads, you do not want your sales pitches in your readers faces all the time.
Imagine every single blogpost of yours is a sales pitch for one thing or the other.
You will end up pushing away your readers.
So when you are trying to monetise your blog, make sure you are taking it slowly. You do not want to overwhelm your readers(at least the returning readers).
We all know that they are so many ways to monetise a blog and trying everything all at once will simply push people away.
So, I suggest you start with 1 or 2 ways on monetising. Maybe a couple of ads and some affiliates. That’s it. And then maybe a couple of weeks later, introduce another thing.
This is specially important if you want to be selling digital products. You do not want to launch a digital product every single month. Give your readers some time to see of they want to buy your product or not.
If you are coming up with new products each month, your readers might get overwhelmed.
9. Recommending Products they don’t believe in:
When you recommend a product you don’t believe in yourself, it shows. The readers are smart and can tell.
And in general too, recommending products that have got nothing to do with your niche, doesn’t make much sense. Lets say you blog about travelling, then recommending a Pinterest course just because you are an affiliate doesn’t make much sense, unless you blog about blog growth as well.
Honestly, it is just off putting. In fact, whenever I see a blogger making recommendations for products that are so far off from their niche, it makes me question their integrity.
It makes me question, whether they really like the product or am I just another lead in their sales funnel.
And even when you are recommending products from your niche, make sure it is something that you really ABSOLUTELY love. This will allow you to earn trust with your readers because they know you only recommend things that you personally use.
10. Not giving it enough time
Blogging and making money blogging is hard work. When you read other posts on how people make money through blogs, it seems so easy.
The reality is far from it.
And I know we are a generation that wants to see the results from Day 1, but in the blogging world, it always doesn’t happen. Sometimes, it takes time.
Getting traffic on your blog is tough work, simply because there is so much competition. But you know what, it is a real job. Blogging is not a fast way to get rich. It takes efforts and time and patience and sometimes a lot of sweat and tears.
A lot of bloggers get disappointed when they don’t make any money in the first year. And that’s why, I always say, blog about things that you are passionate about. Because otherwise, you will give up way too easily.
When you are starting a blog, do so, not to have the intention of getting rich, but to write well and to build a community. Money will surely follow.
Blogging looks different for different people and what works for someone might not work for you.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up.
Try implementing different strategies and see what works for your audience. And once you have an idea, repeat yourself.
There you have it. Top 10 mistakes I see new bloggers making and everything you can do to fix them. Hope you found some of these tips useful. If there is anything you want to know, drop me a comment, I will be happy to answer! 🙂