Millions of people start blogs each year. Some of them are wildly successful, while others struggle to get a couple dozens page views a month.
If you're anything like me, you have a topic that you're passionate about that you'd like to monetize through blogging.
And I realize that blogging isn't just about making money, but if you want to be able to turn your blog into a full time online business at some point, you need a monetization strategy that actually works.
In this post, I'm going to share a counter intuitive strategy that has helped me build my blog from nothing to over $12,000 a month in revenue.
If you're just getting started and looking for info on how to actually set up your blog, make sure that you click here to sign up for my upcoming free "easy blogging" masterclass.
Why most blogs fail
The common blogging advice that you've probably heard around the web is that if you want to have a successful blog you need to create a ton of content.
Then you need to post that content to all of the social media channels and hope that one of your posts goes viral.
And if that doesn't work you cross your fingers hoping that your SEO efforts will pay off and that Google will magically send readers your way.
You might get some traffic that way. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't use social media to promote your content. But that's the strategy that EVERYONE is following.
If it allegedly works so well, wouldn't there be more successful bloggers out there?
I followed this strategy in the beginning too. The first year that I started my online business I made less then $5,000 from my blog for the entire year :( This was after creating new posts every week and promoting my arse off on all the social channels.
I was exhausted, burned out, and left wondering if this whole online business/bloggin thing really worked.
What I found out was that blogging DOES work. But the generic advice that been regurgitated for years just doesn't.
the painful truth
I quickly realized that if I wanted to make "real" income with my blog, I had to treat it like a real business. And I had to start acting like a real business owner.
That meant I had to stop being cheap and invest in the right tools. That doesn't mean that you have a spend a fortune. It just means that you have to invest what money you have to work with wisely so that you can actually grow your business instead of spinning your wheels.
I had to STOP thinking that if I just pushed harder, or wrote more posts, or posted on social media more often, that that would somehow magically make my business grow.
3 secrets to wild, crazy, mind blowing success
I probably got a little carried away with that one, but I'm feeling a little sassy with my subtitles today :)
But in all seriousness, if you can wrap your mind around what I'm about to tell you, it will literally change your life, blog, and business forever.
The problem is, it's not sexy.
Brace yourself. Here we go.
The 3 things are:
(yes, that is not a typo)
(you're getting excited aren't you?)
Whoa baby! Is it hot in here, or is it just me?
Oh wait... you're not "feeling it" yet?
Okay, just bear with me. I'm about to break it all down and give you some action steps that will make a big difference to your bottom line..
The unsexy math formula for predicting your income
Blogs make money in a couple different ways:
1) Promoting affiliate/sponsored products,
2) Selling their own products (ebooks, courses, templates, or physical products), or
3) Offering services.
There may be a few other ways, but in all likelihood, your blog income is going to come from one or more of those three categories.
Here's the key:
Your income is directly related to the price of the product(s) that you offer and how many (targeted) people see your offer.
Allow me to demonstrate.
A real life example
My goal was always to make at least $10,000 a month with my blog.
My blog (which is about audiobook recording) makes money in a couple different ways:
1) I use the Amazon Affiliate Program to promote audio equipment and other products that are relevant to my readers,
2) I have an ebook on audio recording,
3) I have an online course on audio editing, and
4) I offer narration and editing services.
What I did was I created a very unexciting, but helpful spreadsheet that would tell me exactly how many people I needed to get my products and services in front of in order to hit my revenue goal.
I made a blank copy of the spreadsheet just for you if you'd like to download it and plan your income right now.
It already has all of the formulas plugged in, so all you need to do is enter your current products (or products you plan to offer) and your income goal. Feel free to go bananas with this.
Here's how this works. I list all of the products and services that generate revenue for my blog in the first column. Then I type in how much I make each time someone makes a purchase. If I know my conversion rate, I'll enter that. If you don't know your conversion rate, use 2% as an estimate.
If you don't know what a conversion rate is, it's just the percentage of people who end up making a purchase on your site.
The spreadsheet will tell me how many sales I need to make of each product and how many leads or subscribers I need to get in order to hit my sales goal.
Pretty nifty, eh?
Hitting the numbers
If you haven't started your blog yet, or if you have been doing ALL THE THINGS (weekly posts, social media, SEO) and you haven't come close to hitting these numbers, you might be feeling a bit deflated right now.
It's alright. I've got your back.
When I first started my blog it took me AN ENTIRE YEAR just to get 400 subscribers.
Once I figured out the "easy blogging" strategy that I'm about to share with you, I started averaging about 2,000 subscribers a month using JUST ONE BLOG POST!
Here's are some screenshots of my ConvertKit account. This is the automation tool that I use to collect email address and automate my sales sequences.
This is a snapshot of the last month (March-April 2018).
Here's a snapshot of the last year.
As you can see, things started to shift for me pretty dramatically at the beginning of 2018.
Here's what happened to my income as my subscriber count started to increase:
And just so we're clear, I'm not sharing my income to brag or anything weird like that. I'm showing you because data doesn't lie.
I want you to notice the direct mathematical correlation between increasing traffic to my site and the amount of income that my blog brought in.
Now, let's talk about how I did it. I think it will surprise you.
My "Easy Blogging" Strategy
Here's how this works in a nutshell.
I wrote ONE high quality blog post on a topic that I new my ideal reader/customer would be interested in. Not 10, 20, 50 or 100 posts. JUST ONE.
In the beginning, I wrote about whatever I felt like writing about.
For this ONE post, I did some research to find out what my audience was interested in the most.
Next, I created a "lead magnet" that was relevant to the post AND to my paid product.
A lead magnet is just a downloadable piece of content that your reader has to provide an email address to get. It acts as a bridge between your free content and your paid products or services.
Your lead magnet could be a cheatsheet, resource guide, checklist, audio download, or a mini course. In my case, I chose to do a 5-Day Challenge to get people interested in and ready to buy my online course.
Boosting Your Traffic
While I think that social media is a great place to promote your content, it's very difficult to get PREDICTABLE and CONSISTENT results. But you need consistency and predictability to grow your blog's income.
I use paid ads (Google and/or Facebook) to promote this ONE blog post.
Within the blog post, I promote the lead magnet and make it very easy for people to sign up for it right inside the post.
If the idea of using paid advertising sounds scary to you, I totally get it. But it doesn't have to be a gamble.
I started out spending $5 a day to promote that blog post using Google Adwords. That's $35 a week. And at the time, that seemed like a lot of money to me because I was making almost nothing.
But after that first week I was able to turn $35 into $100 in course sales. Instead of spending my profits on a pizza or something else I didn't need, I put that money right back into ads.
After about four months of doing this I was able to scale my blog income up to over $12,000 a month.
I like to think of paid advertising like a snowball. The more you spend, the more people you reach, and the larger your income grows.
I covered quite a bit in this post, so I want to make sure that you leave with the most important points.
1) Decide what you want your income to be. Find products to promote (or create your own) then use the income planner spreadsheet to figure out how many subscribers you need to hit your income goal.
2) Stop doing all the things and focus on just one strategy at a time.
3) Create ONE blog post and ONE lead magnet.
4) Promote your lead magnet inside the blog post (make sure it's prominent and tie it into the post content if possible)
5) Use paid advertising (Google or Facebook ads) to drive targeted traffic to your blog post.
6) Track your results.
These are the basic steps, but I realize that there are more specifics that just wasn't able to get to in this post like:
1) how I set up my sales funnel
2) how I research my post topics, and
3) how I automate this entire system.
I'm working on putting together a free (no pitch) tutorial where I'll walk through how I set up each step of this process in painstaking detail.
If you would like to see a complete tutorial of how I set all this up, just click the button below and leave your name and email address. And I'll send you a link to the video as soon as it's ready.
See, blogging isn't always just about making money. It's also about creating interesting, helpful content.... Just because :)
I hope you got some value out of this post.