Today I’m going to be completely honest with you, because it’s something many people need to hear.
I don’t care how much your blog is making or who told this to you (even if it was me), your blog is not a business. Not at all. So quit calling it one!
Your Blog Is Just A Blog
Blogs don’t make money. Businesses make money.
I can’t even count how many people I’ve met that start up a blog with some lackluster content, throw some ads up and say, “Hey everybody, look at me! I’ve got a business!”
No. No you do not.
10 years ago you probably could make a good living on Adsense alone. Now the entire world is trying and very few people can achieve that. You want to make as much of your audience as you can.
If you want money (more than $50 a month from Adsense), you use your blog as a tool to drive visitors to your business. This is where you make sales. This is where steady, consistent income comes in.
So before we continue on, let’s make this clear. Your blog is just a tool to get people into your business. Your blog is the giant billboard that says, “here’s what I have to offer and here’s where you can find it.”
Many people will read it, many less will become customers. The customers are what make you money, so they are valuable.
Got it? Good. Let’s continue.
If My Blog Isn’t A Business, What Is?
Your business is promoting products – whether your own or as an affiliate.
These promotions will almost always be done through your email list.
This is why when people ask me to explain what I do with my websites, I call myself an email marketer – because that’s where my money is made. This is the case for most people – most money is made through their email list.
Therefore, your blog’s primary purpose should be to get people onto your email list and into your sales funnel so you can promote to them.
Look around this site. How many opt-in forms do you see? There are four. Three standard forms and one pop-up incase you miss the others. If someone wants to get onto my mailing list, I want to make it as easy as possible.
Even further, I created an awesome traffic building course to share with those who sign up.
As you can see, getting people onto my mailing list is a huge priority. It’s the primary reason my blog is here.
You should adopt the same strategy. Because at the end of the day, it’s your promotion of products that makes you money – not your blog itself.
I’m going to assume you’re already using a paid email marketing service like ActiveCampaign, so creating some attractive opt-in forms and filling your autoresponder with awesome content shouldn’t be too challenging for you.
Your Blog Is Not A Business… But You Should Think Of It Like One!
Before when I’ve said, “your blog is a business”, what I really meant was you should think of your blog like a business. Which is absolutely true.
However, thinking of something like a business does not make it a business, and this is why so many people start up blogs, neglect the challenging business aspects, and then complain that they’re not making any money.
You’re here reading this article so I already know you’re more dedicated to making money than most of the people I’ve ran into over the years. You and I both know that this whole blogging thing isn’t all fun and games.
So I know you’ll take it to heart when I say “take a business approach.” And by that, I mean:
- Forget the word “passion” or any of its synonyms.
- Find a topic that interests you that you’d like to learn more about.
- Analyze the profitability of this niche. Are there products for sale? Can you appeal to different income levels (low cost products as well as expensive ones?) What are the demographics of these item’s buyers? Are there both info and physical products for sale? Can you create a product in this niche? What other niches would this audience be interested in? How can you promote those products to them?
- Develop a marketing plan. How will you stand out in this niche? How will you drive people to your site, without relying on third party companies like Google? What are the authorities in this niche? How can you compete?
- Develop a sales funnel. Can you develop a valuable lead magnent? How will you set up your autoresponder for subscribers? What other things can you talk about through email?
As you can see, there are a LOT of questions to answer.
It’s definitely a lot easier to scream, “I love rock collecting! That’s what my site is going to be about!” and start blogging right away. But you’ll be screaming again later in frustration when you’re not making any money.
Taking the time to ask yourself all of these vital questions before taking the time to start a site really opens to your eyes as to whether or not you really can make a business out of this niche.
Remember, the blog only acts a tool to get people into your sales funnel.
Display Advertising Sucks
“But James, you’re using display ads on this site! How could you say it sucks?”
I do run ads on this website, but is not my main focus.
Nor should it be yours, unless you’re specifically setting your website up for this. I call this the ‘content machine’ model as it’s reliant on acquiring extremely large amounts of traffic to succeed with.
The truth is, almost every other monetization strategy will make you more per visitor than display ads will – even on premium ad networks like Mediavine or AdThrive.
Display ads can be a decent ‘catch-all’ monetization strategy for everyone else though, as long as you don’t go overboard with the ads.
Automated Marketing Rules
I recently spent 10 or so hours developing an autoresponder sequence for the niche site I discussed a few months ago. Traffic is starting to pick up from it due to a steady stream of eBook sales. This is definitely going to be something I’ll be investing time in for the long haul, as there are very few experts and the market is growing rapidly.
However, I’m a very busy guy and wanted to do as much of this on autopilot as I possibly could. Autoresponders make this really freaking easy.
Incase you aren’t already familiar with autoresponders, they essentially allow you to send pre-written emails at set intervals. I have a series of emails in my autoresponder set up for this new site that sends out regular emails for two months after the subscriber signs up for my mailing list, and I’m still developing it further.
Throughout this a multitude of different products are promoted, meaning soon I’ll be getting a steady flow of sales.
I love it. ActiveCampaign’s autoresponder is incredible and has saved hundreds of hours in work already. It’s the single most valuable tool I own.
It is after all, where my business is.
Next time you think that your blog is a business, stop and ask yourself: is it the blogging itself that makes money, or is it the promotion of products that makes you money?
What is your blog’s true purpose?
What results in money being transferred from your customers bank accounts to your own?
Is blogging really your job, or is marketing your job?
Think about it.