“Leap and the net will appear.”
– John Burroughs
Let’s talk blog money (and why you aren’t making any)
Advertising is the holy grail of Internet business. Many articles about making money online involve some mention of AdSense or a similar service.
Yet most blogs that follow this model don’t make anything. If these programs were so lucrative why are gurus always hawking $27 eBooks on starting your own niche website? Shouldn’t their main business be Adsense blogging?
While I don’t have anything against Internet marketers (some of their advice is useful), I think that you should put on your thinking cap before blindly following anyone’s advice.
Your site probably wasn’t made to be monetized
Some time ago I worked for a website that re-wrote and published popular news articles. They churned out content every hour in hopes of attracting readers and then getting them to click on of the site’s many advertisements.
The project failed.
Aside from the lack of originality, this business strategy was inappropriate and poorly implemented. Visitors came to read the news, not click on banner ads.
Unless you designed your site with the intention of monetizing it, you aren’t going to make money. People are going there to be entertained, not to shop.
That’s why “dear diary” blogs don’t earn anything.
You need massive amounts of traffic
Yes, I am aware that there are certain sites that make money without having a focus on selling. On the surface BuzzFeed, Cracked, TMZ, and others are profitable without having a “product.”
They pump out entertaining content for you to flip through at work. None of the articles pitch a product to you and there’s no annual donation drive.
That’s because you are the product.
Somewhere behind the scenes is a whole army of accountants and marketing specialists who’ve devised the perfect formula for profiting off silly quizzes and clickbait headlines.
Like a massive financial firm that makes millions by trading stocks on fractions of a cent, these places turn a profit on sheer volume alone.
Most blog’s aren’t going to do this. 30 Days To X gets thousands of viewers every single day, and that still won’t be enough to make money off of sidebar ads.
Advertising looks horrible
I’ve been browsing the web for close to 20 years. I’ve never seen a website improve from hosting advertisers. Additionally, I’ve never intentionally clicked on a banner or pop-up ad.
Putting up ads, especially obnoxious ones, won’t make you money and will actually drive readers away.
Doing some research I found an interview with some “mommy bloggers” (women who run stupid sites about raising their kids) bragging about their monthly earnings. Here’s a little sample from one of them:
- “How much do you make in a typical month? $500
- How many hours a week do you work on your blog? Around 30
- What are the top 3 ways you earn? Adsense, affiliate sales, sponsored posts”
Making extra money is great, but this woman is making less than $4.17 an hour. You could get a job at McDonald’s and earn more than her.
Readers and fans don’t want to see sponsored posts every time they visit a site. They don’t want a giant banner shoved in their faces either. Sooner or later they’ll get tired of this stuff and leave.
Don’t be someone who makes less than minimum wage online. Find a smarter, and more time efficient, way to earn a couple bucks.
How to actually make money online
If you want to earn blog money you have to do two things:
- Ignore anyone who boasts about making $100 a month off their site.
- Learn to sell.
You won’t take financial advice from someone making $4 at a 9-to-5 job, so why would you online? Look for success, not mediocrity.
Secondly, you need to know how to sell. Being able to sell is the most valuable skill out there. I’ve made over $300 in an afternoon just by being able to pitch an idea.
Spend a month learning about sales. Practice writing affiliate marketing articles every afternoon. Take notes on every product you buy and why you bought it. Keep a list of useful products that you couldn’t live without.
Treat sales like your part-time job.
After a month you’ll be able to earn more from publishing a handful of posts than most of these “experts” will make off their next 100 articles.