So you started your own blog. Yay, congratulations!
You’ve published awesome content and shared it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on.
You’re excited because people (besides your mom) have started visiting your blog and now you’re interested in monetizing it.
You read a couple of articles online that suggest making money with Google Adsense, so you throw up a few ads on your blog – but your ads are making peanuts.
Then you decide to try your hand at affiliate marketing by adding some banners in your sidebar and sprinkling affiliate links in your blog posts. But again, you’re not making any money.
Seriously, what gives? You’ve been listening to every blogging guru’s advice, but you’re still earning pennies.
Trust me, you’re not alone. When I started monetizing this blog in 2016, I was getting lots of traffic to my website and receiving dozens of comments on my blog posts, but I still wasn’t making any money.
I felt pretty crappy when I started reading other blogger’s income reports and saw how much money they were earning when I was making nothing. I didn’t understand how making money came so easy for other bloggers, but it seemed like rocket science to me.
Sound like you too?
Don’t worry. Chances are you might be making some of the mistakes I did when I first started trying to monetize my blog. Imagine being able to quit your job and earn a full-time income from your blog. My friends, this can be YOU!
In March 2016… I earned a whopping $0.50 from my blog
In March 2017… I earned $6,130 from my blog
In March 2018…I earned $10,942 from my blog
So let’s dive into today’s post where I’m sharing the most common reasons why your blog isn’t making money and how you can change that.
Side note: I kind of got carried away while writing this post. It’s nearly 3,000 words, so I recommend saving it on Pinterest so you can re-read and refer to this post again.
1. You’re not getting enough traffic
While you don’t need a million page views per month to start making money from blogging, you certainly aren’t going to make any money from zero page views.
In order to make money from blogging, you need to attract high-quality and relevant traffic to your website. It’s important that your traffic is actually interested in reading your content so hopefully they will buy the product or service you are offering them.
When I first started my blog, I had NO idea how to generate high-quality traffic to my website. All my social media accounts started with zero followers. For the longest time, I used to believe that people would somehow find me – ‘if you build it, they will come’ type of mentality. Unfortunately, this was not a wise move and people never did find me.
I read lots of tips suggesting that I should participate in those Facebook group promo threads by following and commenting on other blogs. I listened to this advice, but many of the people who commented on my blog posts or followed me were only interested in completing the promo thread and didn’t really care about my blog. These people were definitely not my target audience – no wonder I wasn’t making any money!
The bottom line: Your traffic matters. Find out where your target audience hangs out, provide value to them, and capture your audience’s attention. That’s how you build a loyal following and eventually start generating an income.
I used the strategies in THIS eBook to grow my blog to 200,000 monthly page views. Here are a few key points I learned from this eBook:
- How to narrow my blog’s focus so I could increase my following
- Low payback tasks that I was doing which were hurting my blog’s success
- How to optimize my blog posts for search engines so I could drive traffic from Google
- How to write blog post titles that make people actually want to click and read
Not sure if this eBook is right for you? No problem, you can check out this FREE traffic bonus guide here.
2. You’re trying to write for everyone
Have you ever heard the quote, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone”?
Trying to make everyone happy is a surefire way to become miserable and lose interest in blogging. People who try to write for everyone end up writing for no one – they don’t know who their target audience is and they have trouble building a loyal following.
If you take anything away from this post, it should be this: blogs that don’t target an audience don’t make money.
When you start talking about less on your blog, you’ll actually reach more people. You’ll reach people who LOVE your content and look forward to reading more from you. You’ll reach people who want to sign up for your email list and will hopefully buy your product or service.
You’ll also make blogging fun again because you can finally be yourself by focusing on your target audience.
The bottom line: People pleasers have a hard time building trust with their audience and they lose credibility as an expert or leader in their field. This is because when you’re trying to write for everyone, your content loses sight of your blog’s mission statement.
Instead, make it clear who your target audience is and get to know them (what is their biggest struggle? How can you offer them inspiration or a solution)?
3. You don’t have an email list / or not using it effectively
An email list is vital to your success as a blogger. Many new bloggers make the mistake of waiting to start growing their email list. Some bloggers don’t even offer an option for readers to subscribe to an email list (which is even worst).
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I had it all figured out when I started my blog. In fact, it took me two years before I started my email list. Honestly, I didn’t see the point in having an email list and I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did.
If I could go back in time and tell my younger blogging self what I know now, starting an email list from day one would be on the top of my list!
Why? Because you OWN your email list.
Social networks come and go, algorithms can change, but your email list remains the same. Plus, your email subscribers are more likely to be product buyers. This means that if you ever decide to sell a product or service, you need an email list.
Side note: Pinterest accidentally blocked some legitimate websites (including mine) recently. This meant that I received zero traffic to my website from Pinterest for an entire week (that’s thousands of page views). Fortunately, I have been working hard to grow my email list and improve my SEO. This is why having your own email list is vital to your blogging success.
Your email subscribers are your MOST engaged blog readers and will be your most loyal customers. For new bloggers, I recommend using THIS email service (free for up to 2,000 subscribers) or THIS email service (which was created specifically for bloggers and the one I personally use).
4. You’re afraid to sell
My blog was just a hobby for the first couple of years, but once I started seeing my traffic grow, I decided to start monetizing my blog.
Initially I was afraid to do sponsored posts or add affiliate links to my blog since I wasn’t sure how my readers would react. Fortunately, most of my readers found my affiliate recommendations helpful and slowly I was able to overcome my fear of selling.
Perhaps you have a good handle on who your target audience is, your content is awesome, and your blog is receiving traffic – but you’re still not making any money???
You need to re-evaluate your blogging strategy. Many people don’t realize how much marketing and business strategy is necessary to successfully monetize a blog.
I recommend creating a business plan for how you wish to monetize your blog. Whether it’s through display advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, or selling your own products – every blogger needs a blog business plan on how they are going to carry out those methods.
Here are 3 quick tips that helped me get over my fear of selling:
> Start small
Break out of your comfort zone by taking baby steps in the beginning. Set small challenges for yourself. Maybe you’ll focus on doing one sponsored blog post per month or only promoting one affiliate product. You have to start somewhere.
> Be enthusiastic about what you promote
If you don’t love the product or service, then don’t promote it to your audience. One of the best ways to get over your fear of selling is to be enthusiastic about what you promote. Be picky about your recommendations and only choose items you genuinely love.
> Shift your perspective
Talk to readers like you would talk to a friend. If you were recommending a product or service to a friend, you would be 100% honest with them and not come across as pushy. Don’t get distracted by skeptics who just visit your website for the free content. Instead, focus on the people who have your money (as Grant Cardone says).
5. You’re not offering relevant products/ services to your audience
Sure you could promote a product or service that you love and believe in 100%, but if your audience doesn’t find it helpful, you’re gonna have a tough time making any money.
I remember when I first applied to the Amazon Affiliate program; it was my first experience with affiliate marketing. Once you join the program, you have 180 days to refer a sale through one of your Amazon affiliate links.
I didn’t make any sales during the first 180 days, which meant I was kicked out of the program. I felt silly and I was THIS close to quitting my blog.
The reason why I wasn’t successful with Amazon in the beginning was because I didn’t understand my audience. The KEY to successful blogging is knowing your audience. If you don’t know your audience, you won’t be able to address their needs.
Keep in mind who your target audience is when you’re writing content and making product or service recommendations. For example, if you’re writing a budget travel guide for New York City, chances your audience won’t be staying at the Four Seasons.
Make sure that your product or service recommendations are relevant to your audience’s needs and budget. This will hopefully increase their interest and they will spend money on what you’re recommending.
Tired of not making money from affiliates? I recommend checking out THIS eCourse here. The course creator consistently makes over $50,000 per month from affiliate marketing. Her course helped me to figure out what my readers actually want and how to find the right affiliates to share with my audience. You can learn more about the eCourse here.
6. Your blog layout is not user-friendly
You don’t need a fancy custom-made layout in order to make your blog look professional. You don’t even need to know how to code in order to have a pretty blog layout.
You can purchase a premium blog theme for an affordable price that has all the features necessary for your blog. The key is to make your blog user-friendly. This includes:
When I visit a blog, I like the “Home”, “About”, and “Contact” page to be easy to find. It’s also important to have the category of the blog post listed so I can easily read more posts under that category.
A good way to increase your page views is to make your content easy to share. This means writing good blog posts that people want to bookmark and share with their friends. You also want to make your social sharing buttons easy to find and use. My favorite social sharing tool is Social Pug. I love the clean look and style.
> White space is your friend
White space gives your content breathing room. It allows you to highlight important information to your audience and directs their attention to your “call to action”. Websites that are busy with visual clutter make it difficult to absorb any of their information.
> Make sure your blog is mobile friendly
If you visit a website that’s full of pop-ups or it’s hard to read, chances are you’re gonna leave. Having a mobile friendly blog can help improve the user experience and increase your ranking on Google. According to Pinterest, 80% of its users access the platform through a mobile device. This means you want to make sure that your blog is responsive and mobile-friendly so readers can easily view your content.
7. You’re afraid to invest money into your blog
Many new bloggers are afraid to spend money or invest in tools that they NEED to help grow and monetize their blog.
Confession time – I used to be one of these people.
I started my blog with Bluehost (which I recommend for all beginners) and used a free WordPress theme for the first couple of years. To be honest, my blog was just a hobby, but once I decided to start monetizing it – I was afraid to invest more money into my blog.
It seemed silly to buy blogging courses, a premium WordPress theme, or sign up with an email marketing service when my budget was tight and my blog wasn’t making any money.
But the truth is – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. By taking the trial and error approach to monetizing my blog, it was costing me time and I was leaving A LOT of money on the table because I wasn’t seeing results.
Then one day I realized that these fears were holding me back from pursuing my goals and getting ahead. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.
Once I invested in a professional WordPress theme, my blog traffic instantly increased and I received so many compliments on how easy my website was to read and navigate.
Then once I bought my first blogging e-course, I was able to use the strategies I learned in the course to turn my hobby blog into a profitable blog.
The course creator makes $100,000 per month from her blog, so I knew that I would be learning from the best. She even made over $300,000 from ONE blog post. She shares her exact strategies so YOU can do it too. Thanks to the teachings in her course, I have been able to turn my blog into a full-time job!
8. You haven’t built trust with your audience
Don’t you hate when you visit a website and the first thing you see is pop-up ad asking you to buy something?
Sllllooowwww done there, we only just met. I need to get to know you first before I decide to open up my wallet.
No one wants to be sold to. That’s why if you want to make money from your blog, you NEED to build trust with your audience. This is because people don’t buy from people they like – they buy from people they trust.
So, how do you build trust with your audience?
> You need to be authentic
Don’t try to be like everyone else – be different and stand out. What’s unique about you? Share your own voice with your audience.
> Provide valuable free content
If all you do is try to sell, you’re going to have a tough time making money. Teaching is a much better way to gain sales.
> Build relationships
Connect with your audience by listening to them, asking them questions, and showing your personality.
9. You’re trying to be like everyone else
There are lots of bloggers out there and many people think that they need to reinvent the wheel when starting a blog. But this isn’t true.
This doesn’t mean that you should be like everyone else though. If you don’t stand out, people are not going to resonate with you. Think about what bloggers you enjoy following – what makes them different from other bloggers?
Chances are you follow certain bloggers because you like their personality, their writing style, or you relate to their story. That’s what makes them unique.
What makes you unique? It can be as simple as letting your personality shine through your band. Your personality is YOURS and it’s what makes you special.
Another way to stand out is to offer your audience something different than your competition. For example, if your competition is offering an eBook on a particular topic, why not create mini-course or a workbook on that topic instead? The key here is to bring something different to the table to help you stand out from the crowd.
10. You expect results now
Many people start a blog for the sole purpose of making money. That’s fine, but it’s unrealistic to expect results overnight. It can take months to grow your traffic, build your following on social media, and improve your website’s Google ranking.
If you truly want to make your blog profitable and even turn it into a full-time gig, you need to put in the work. This means developing a strategy for how you’re going to grow your blog, monetize your content, and stay consistent. Your dreams don’t work unless you do.
If you’re interested in starting a blog, but haven’t yet made the leap, I recommend signing up for my FREE 5-day blogging course. It’ll teach you how to choose your profitable blog niche, how to set up your blog and make it pretty, how to drive the right traffic to your blog, and even earn your first dollar. You can check it out here!