Do you have it in you to be a blogger?
Back in August of 2008 I asked myself this very question. I wanted to start some sort of online business but I had no idea how to go about doing it. After doing some research I came a across a website that had a free tutorial on how to set up a website using something called WordPress.
This had me intrigued.
It wasn’t until this point I realized that I could start my own online business and make money online. I knew that as long as I could build a website I would be able to earn some extra income online. So on August 24, 2008 I launched my first blog called Stumble Forward which still exist to this day.
In fact not only is it still around but from 2008 to its present date it has earned more than $30,000. Now I know $30,000 over a six year period doesn’t sound like much but that equates to around $500 a month on average.
Now let me ask you this, what would you do if you had an extra $500 every month?
Would you save it, would you spend it, would you buy a new car, would you invest it towards your retirement, would you put it towards your kids college education, would you save it for Christmas presents, would buy a new Ipad?
Ok, that last one is just something I want but you get the point.
What would an extra $500 every month do for you? My guess is it would give you some breathing room between you and your finances and allow you to relax for once and not feel that financial dread. It would allow you to take advantage of other opportunities and do things you normally would not be able to do.
My point is starting a blog can do all those things for you and more. I know firsthand because I’ve done this myself. However if you want to be a blogger there are some things you are going to need to know if you want to turn this dream into a reality, and in this article I’m going to share with you the things I did to earn over $30,000 blogging part time.
So if this is a journey you wish to pursue continue on.
#1 Making Money From Blogging Takes Time
To start you need to understand that blogging takes time, a lot of time. In my first year of blogging I sucked. I admit it willingly because I know it was true. However I knew this going in and learned a lot over time.
Below is a snapshot of my Google Analytics during the first year of my blog in 2008.
In that first year of running my blog I averaged 39 visitors a day. However as you can see all the hard work was about to pay off as you can see my traffic was starting to gain momentum.
Below is a snapshot of my traffic numbers in my second year of blogging.
As you can tell traffic was really starting to take off, averaging 125 visitors a day. Then came my third year of running my blog.
In my third year of running my blog I averaged 316 visitors a day. Now I know this doesn’t seem like a lot of traffic to some people but let me tell you at that time it felt great to have that many people coming to my website each and every day all because I understood that fact that building a blog is a long term process.
However to be truthfully honest I almost quit after my first year of blogging because I thought it wasn’t worth 39 visitors a day, but I stuck with it and by the end of my third year in blogging I was earning over a $1000 a month.
#2 Their Will Be Up’s And Down’s
Now I don’t want to give you the wrong impression and make you think blogging is easy because it isn’t. In fact their are a lot of ups and downs when it come s to starting your own blog. Below is a snapshot of the lowest points in my blogging career.
In mid October of 2011 I was hit by a big Google Panda update. I went from getting 500 visitors a day to my blog to 250 and less in a day. This happened because I had gotten careless and was writing thin content on my site.
However I did manage to get a portion of my traffic back but this was not the last time me and Panda were going to run into each other again.
Over the course of 2012 I saw a steady decline in my traffic over this period going from 300 or more visitors a day to less than 200 visitors a day by the end of the year. On top of that by the end of 2012 I had managed to loose a majority of the income I was earning the year before.
Do this mean I gave up though, heck no!
We all make mistakes when it comes to running a business and I know that if I want to improve my financial situation I need to keep working at it because I know that the alternative is not going to benefit me either.
#3 You Need To Be Consistent
Another building block to my success was being consistent with my blog. In all over the last 6 years I’ve manage to publish 651 articles on this site. That means that I’ve published 9 articles a month on average, which breaks down to right around 2 articles a week.
Tweet: When I boil down all the things that have made me successful I find consistency is the thing that binds them all together. @walletimpact
In fact I like to think of consistency as the vehicle that helps us get from where I am to where I want to go. Here is a great quote I like from Anthony Robbins on consistency that explains my point.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” – Anthony Robbins
So what does this mean to you?
It means that if you want to see success in blogging or anything else for that fact you need to be consistent and take action regularly. I can remember spending some long nights at my computer in the beginning and even today.
One tactic I use to stay consistent is to use a timer. To do this I set my timer for 30 minutes and just work on one thing for that focused period of time. Once that 30 minutes is up I take a small 5 minute break refill my coffee, and then I set my timer for 30 more minutes.
I find doing this forces me to focus and get stuff done and more importantly stay consistent with my blogging.
#4 You Need To Have A Plan
The next step is to develop a plan of action. Without this you won’t have any direction or a road map to guide you in the right direction. Think about it this way, if I told you that I wanted to go to San Diego, California I could probably point you in the right direction but just going in one general direction isn’t going to get you there the fastest.
Instead if I were to give you a detailed map along with turn by turn directions you would get there a lot faster because everything would be more detailed and precise, and when it comes to starting a blog you want to do the exact same thing.
Here is a simple process you can use to help you set up your plan.
- Identify The End Result.To start identify exactly what your end goal is. This goal needs to be exact and well defined, for example don’t say I want to make a bunch of money rather say I want to earn $100 a day.
- What Method Are You Going To Use To Earn This Money? Next you need to determine how you are going to earn this money, are you going to do affiliate marketing, are you going to use adsense, or are you going to create your own product. Determine this now and not 6 months down the road.
- Break Things Down To Smaller Goals. Next you’ll want to break things down into more achievable goals. Earning $100 a day might sound like a big goal to you so rather start with just earning your first $1 online. So break your bigger goal down into 4 or 5 smaller goals.
- Break Each Goal Down Into Smaller Action Based Items. Your next job is to break each goal down into actionable items that take you no longer than 20 to 30 minutest to complete. Do this for each smaller goal. This would be the same thing as having turn by turn directions that I talked about earlier.
- Take Action. Finally once you’ve broken everything down start with your first 20 to 30 minute action. Having things broken down into small simple action items takes away the time excuse and allows you to get started without having yo focus on such a big goal. Rather you can just complete these simple task and you’ll feel like you are getting more done.
#5 Get Serious About Your Business
Now that you have a plan in place it’s time to get serious about your business. This is one mistake I see so many bloggers make and that is that they don’t take their blog series and treat it like a business. So people might say it’s just a bunch or words on a page but it’s not.
What you write on your blog could be life changing for someone else. On top of that by not taking it serious you are saying to yourself in a way that you don’t care if it makes money or not. The problem with this is that we then somehow still believe we are going to make all this money.
If you want to take your blogging business to the next level you need to treat it like a business and that also means reinvesting a portion of that money back into your blog to grow that business.
When you think of a normal business that makes any kind of product they have some sort of overhead. This could be anything from the cost of materials to make that product to the employees you pay to make that product.
I know this first hand because I own a manufacturing business and we carry a very high overhead. In fact we reinvest nearly 90% of our profits in that business to pay for materials, payroll, to creating new products and growing this business more.
Now I’m not saying you have to reinvest 90% or your money back into your business but even if it were just 30% of your profits it would go a long way to growing your blogging business even more.
#6 Build Relationships
When it comes to blogging I find relationships are the most important part to it. I use to not believe this when I was first getting started. I would sit behind my computer screen night after night and sure I made some good money doing it but then you get what I showed you in step 2.
Since I didn’t build any relationships with anyone I didn’t have anyone to fall back on once Google pulled the rug out from under me.
So how do you go about building these relationships with others, here are a few ways I go about doing this.
- Mailing List. When people say your mailing list is your most important asset in your business they weren’t lying. I didn’t start my mailing till recently and I lost out on tons of opportunities to connect with others and build stronger lasting relationships.
- Conferences & Live Events. Conferences and live events are also great ways to connect with others. I recently just returned from Fincon14 in New Orleans, this a conference dedicated to financial bloggers and those in the financial media. At this conference I meet other bloggers, podcasters, and top people in the financial media from Forbes to Kiplinger. You just don’t get this kind of exposure sitting behind a computer screen.
- Social Media. Then you have social media with sites like Facebook and Twitter. My personal favorite is Twitter because it’s a great place to strike up conversations and learn more about other people. Twitter has allowed me to learn more about my audience and what they want, start mastermind groups, and even meet up with these people at live conferences.
#7 Never Give Up
Finally, the last step is to not give up. When you’re first starting out and you’re in that honeymoon phase of your blog things can seem great but the real test will come when your back is against the wall and your not as thrilled as you once were when you started your blog.
To me this is the true test to see if you are a blogger or not, and let me be the first to tell that their hasn’t been a time where I thought about quitting each and everyday but I know that the alternative won’t get me any closer to my goals.
This is where things like consistency and goal planning will help you get through those ups and downs. I’ve seen a lot of blogs come an go over the last 6 years and the ones that stuck it out are still here because they understand what it takes to succeed.
So do you have it in you to be a blogger? Share your thoughts and comments below.
I just love to write. I haven’t been able to write for a while and I used to do it daily for my job. Now I have some extra time and have some passion to write. It started slow and has taken off with some articles being picked up. Sometimes I wish they hadn’t been picked up because like you said I was fighting to get 50 a day and then when I was getting 2,000 for a week I thought I had hit it big time. Then I had an offer to write for someone for some cash and tried that and hated it because I couldn’t write what I wanted to write about even though it was easy money. I have my first few years of article ideas set out, but many more come along the way. Slow and steady and just have fun. If things work to get some extra money, then great, but I just enjoy the writing and the PF audience out there. It’s a fascinating group that I’m just barely starting to get to know.
That’s awesome to hear Lance. I don’t think I could ever write for anyone else either. There’s something about being able to write freely about anything you want. It also sounds like you got the consistency thing down as well and like I mentioned in the article this is the one part that will be paying you back in dividends down the road. Anyways thanks for sharing.
Hi Chris: after starting your blog on WordPress, what is the primary way you make money once you build followers? Advertisements?
That’s a great question Cathy. I primarily focused on Google Adsense and Affiliate promotions at first but I’ve also done some sponsored post here and there as well. However now I’m a bit more focused on creating my own products and building my mailing list.
I think this is the real key to online success because a mailing list allows you to have more control over your audience. I put a lot of trust in my early days to the search engines like Google to bring me most of my traffic and I got burned relying on this one strategy. So no matter what method you use to earn money set up a mailing list.
Thanks for the question, I’m always here to help.