Blogging is one of the most lucrative moneymaking methods today, but it’s also really easy to screw up. The fact is, the vast majority of bloggers make little to no money, because they’re making these mistakes that could be easily avoided if only they knew what they were.
In this post, you’re going to learn about these killer mistakes that could absolutely destroy your chances of making money with your blog.
You’re also going to learn some great tips you can use to increase traffic, increase conversions, and increase profits.
Keep in mind that these tips can be applied to any blog, but if your blog is in a “bad” niche, your results aren’t going to be as good as you probably hope. We’ll talk more about choosing the right niche later.
Please don’t just skim through this guide and not take action on it. These mistakes could really destroy your chances of making money. It’s really that serious!
So let’s get started.
Mistake #1 Choosing the Wrong Niche
When it comes to blogging, it’s critical to choose the right niche right from the start. It will be a complete waste of time and money if you set out to make money blogging and you choose a niche that isn’t going to be profitable.
While there’s no way to be 100% certain, there are a number of ways to figure out which niches are most likely to be profitable.
Competition – Believe it or not, competition is good. It means the niche has some interest. Too much competition could be a bad thing, but you shouldn’t worry about a significant amount of it.
Monetization – You should find out if there are a lot of products available to promote. If you can’t find any, it probably means the niche is not profitable. (Trust me, if a niche could even remotely make a profit, someone is already trying.) And please don’t think you can monetize any niche with something like AdSense, because you’d need massive traffic to make that possible.
Commercial Intent – This is a fancy term to refer to whether or not people in this niche will buy anything. If it’s something like “funny videos”, good luck making money with it. It would be possible with a very large amount of traffic, but difficult all around. You don’t have to be in a “product”-centric niche like “women’s shoes”, but you do need to be in a niche where people are known to buy stuff, like golf or weight loss.
If your blog doesn’t conform to this checklist, it’s probably not going to make you as much money as you hope. It’s certainly possible, but your chances of making money will definitely be reduced.
When choosing a niche, be very careful to choose a niche where you can get significant traffic (decent traffic, decent competition) and one that also has the potential to be profitable. After all, you’ll need something to promote as an affiliate.
Mistake #2 Giving Up Too Soon
Perhaps the most common mistake aside from choosing the wrong niche is simply giving up too soon. Almost any blog could eventually become very profitable if given enough time, but the majority of people will give up long before that time.
The average business offline takes between one and three years to become profitable, but the average person seems to give up on a blog after a month or two if it doesn’t start making money immediately. Why is this?
For one thing, some people seem to think blogging is a “get rich quick” method. It’s not. It takes time, hard work, and dedication. It’s not easy. It’s not fast. It’s not a miracle.
Blogging may take anywhere between three months and three years to really take off. It takes a while to start getting good traffic from the search engines, and it takes a while to build a fan base and an email list.
If you reach the one-year mark and you’re not seeing any significant income, it may be time to re-analyze your data to see if maybe you chose the wrong niche or you’re doing something else wrong. But don’t stop too soon or you’ll never know what could have been.
Mistake #3 Not Promoting Your Blog
Years ago, as long as you did some keyword research and wrote some keyword-rich content, you could pretty much count on sitting back and making some money with a blog.
Unfortunately, changes in Google’s algorithms meant to combat spammers who flooded the internet with low-quality content meant to get people to click AdSense ads have made it a lot harder to gain traction. It takes a lot longer to start getting traffic, because the spammers ruined it for everyone.
(This is a major reason I don’t advocate spammy moneymaking methods. They may work for a while, but they end up screwing over legitimate marketers and will eventually stop working for the spammers, too.)
These days, it’s absolutely vital to get out there and start promoting your blog. You’re not going to get traffic to a blog these days without some promotion, at least not for many long months.
Get off your butt and start promoting! Don’t spam, but get your link out there in front of the people who will be interested in it.
Mistake #4 Autoblogging with No Added Value
Okay, so autoblogging used to be a great way of making money. You could outrank the original owner of the content for his own keywords just by getting a larger number of better quality backlinks to your site than he had to his.
Those days are long gone.
Sure, autoblogging might still be possible for some, but the odds are greatly diminished. Google slaps the crap out of duplicate content these days, especially if you’re not adding any value to it.
You can add value to your autoblog content by adding your own commentary to the post. Every day, find the new posts pulled in by your autoblog and edit them, adding some new information.
Just be sure to distinguish your content from the original author’s by using a different font, a different color, italics, block quote, or something similar. You don’t want to make people think the original author wrote your comments, because (a) you want them to think you know what you’re talking about and (b) you don’t want the original author upset if he disagrees with something you wrote and people think he wrote it.
Mistake #5 Not Building a List
This has been said over and over for as long as the internet has been in existence, but some people still don’t get it.
The money is in the list.
Repeat that. Make it your personal mantra. If you truly want to succeed online, you really, really need to build an email list!
An email list is a valuable property that cannot (barring extreme circumstances) be taken away from you. Google algorithm changes won’t affect it. Changes at various social sites won’t affect it. It will continue making you money every time you send out an email for a very, very long time to come.
They say that, on average, each subscriber is worth $1 per month. Different niches will have different numbers, as will different individual lists. But this is a good overall estimate.
So think about that. 100 subscribers equals about $100 per month. 1,000 subscribers means another $1,000 per month in your pocket. 100,000… wow! You get the idea.
Build a list. NOW!
Mistake #6 Counting on AdSense
Okay, AdSense can still be a nice little moneymaker if it’s used to supplement the money you make from other sources like selling your own products or affiliate products. But the days of earning a cushy living off AdSense alone are all but over.
Is it possible? Probably. Is it likely? Not a chance!
Remember this: The reason people advertise via AdWords (thus creating the ads that pay you through AdSense) is because they are making money with their products. Why would you settle for a few cents when you can make the big bucks like they are?
Even if you don’t have your own products, you can promote other people’s products with affiliate links and make a heck of a lot more money than counting on a few cents here and there from AdSense.
If anything, just use AdSense as a sideline income.
DO NOT count on it for your primary income source!
Mistake #7 Creating Bad Content
Even if you get everything else right, creating bad content will destroy your chances of getting considerable traffic and making decent money.
Here are some reasons why good content is a must:
- Your content won’t be shared virally if it isn’t really great.
- Your bounce rate (the number of people who quickly leave your site without reading your content) will be high, which will keep you from ranking well in Google.
- People won’t trust your authority in your niche.
- People won’t click your ads, because they won’t be there long enough to and they won’t trust you enough to.
- People won’t come back to your site.
A long time ago, some webmasters wanted poor content, because they wanted people to click and AdSense add and nothing more. Poor content accomplished that sometimes… when it didn’t just make the user hit the back button. These days, earning money is much more complex, and having great content is absolutely essential.
Mistake #8 Failing to Connect
Blogging is much more than just posting content. It’s about connecting with your audience on a personal level, too. If you fail to do this, you’re going to find that your content isn’t shared as much and your visitors don’t come back.
A lot of times you may look at a particular blog and wonder, “What’s so great about this blog?” Maybe it gets a ton of traffic and you just can’t figure out why.
The answer is usually engagement.
The most successful bloggers aren’t those that simply toss up a few 500-word articles and a picture here and there. They’re the ones who respond to comments, encourage people to leave comments, and reach out to their fans. They’re the ones who interact with their audience, and allow their audience to connect with them on a personal level.
To really make the most of this, let your personality shine on your blog. Post a picture of yourself and make your “About” page sparkle with your unique personality. Infuse yourself into every blog post!
Mistake #9 Keyword Stuffing
Are you still trying to stuff your target keywords into your articles as often as possible in order to reach a specific keyword density?
Hellooooo? 1999 called, and they want their internet-marketing tactic back!
Pardon the silly cliché expression, but it’s the truth. Keyword stuffing hasn’t worked in a very long time, and worse case scenario, it could get you penalized by the Big G.
It’s not necessary anymore, anyway. Google has gotten a lot more advanced, and you don’t even need to target specific keywords the same way. They can actually figure out synonyms with pretty good accuracy, so if you write an article titled “How to Build a Rowboat”, they can figure out that a search for “How to Make a Rowboat” probably means the same thing. So you don’t have to stuff both keywords into your content.
As long as you’re using the standard lingo you’d need to use to create a great article on a particular topic, you’ll be all good. Honestly, keyword research really isn’t as important as it used to be. Google focuses on other areas a lot more now.
Mistake #10 Backlink Spamming
Ok, 1999 is seriously ringing my phone off the hook.
This is another very old, outdated tactic that is just as likely to get you penalized as it is to help you.
Yes, you do need backlinks. They can still help you. But they need to be organic links from quality sites. Google can spot link spamming a mile away now, and they will slap the crap out of you for it.
Here’s what you should NOT do:
- Creating a bunch of low-quality pages on Blogger, HubPages, etc. just to link back to your site
- Buying links to your site (no, no, no!)
- Submitting your site to spammy link directories
Here’s what you should do:
- Create content people will want to link to.
- Encourage people to share your content by using social share plugins and mentioning sharing in your articles
- Guest post on popular blogs and link back to your content
Remember, it’s never too late (or too early) to start building an email list. The best time to start, if you haven’t already, is now!
Not next week.
Every day you wait is potentially several subscribers you lose forever. Those people may never cross your path online again. Isn’t it better to get those people on your list while you have the chance?
Be careful with your email marketing efforts, because once you alienate a subscriber, they’re gone for good. They’ll hit that “unsubscribe” link, and you’ll probably never hear from them again. As long as you avoid the mistakes outlined in this guide, you’ll probably find a lot of success with email marketing. Ultimately, if you treat your list like gold, they’ll bring you lots of gold!