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I was actually going to publish this post next week, but honestly it’s such amazing advice that I just had to publish it now!
So today Krista from Reroute Lifestyle is here talking about the 10 biggest mistakes new bloggers make when monetizing their blog. (I have definitely committed some of these…)
I was so excited about getting this post out to you because Krista really is the real deal. She is super sweet and absolutely killing it with her blogging biz, I’m talking over $2,000 in her first six months of blogging, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about when it comes to new bloggers monetizing their blogs!!!
So over to Krista…
We’ve all been there: reading about how all these bloggers make money from their blogs. Wondering how we can achieve the very same.
All the while, slaving away at our desks for 8 hours (or more) a day. Waiting for the sacred hour of 5:00 pm to hit.
But, guess what? You can be one of those bloggers making money from your blog.
First of all: the concept of a 9 to 5 is insane (I stole these words from Sammy, who wrote a post on that very topic here on WellAndWealthy.org).
When I worked my day job, I left my house two hours before my shift started. And, I wouldn’t get home until an hour and a half after my shift ended. My commute was long, but it was realistic (financially) to me to live so far away from work, and ride the bus in/out.
Sammy actually did the math outlining how absolutely insane it is to spend a huge amount of your week, for 40-50 years of your life, at a 9-5.
Especially when it’s possible to instead work smart… away from the workplace.
Enter blogging. A fast-moving space for creatives to showcase their writing, and even partnering with brands to make money online.
Blogs are essentially living resumés and portfolios of your work. Finally, you don’t have to condense your life experience to a single page on a Microsoft Word document.
You can build and showcase your life experience through something like a blog.
Others use their blogs as a foundation for a career. It’s a fantastic way to profit from your passion and spend your time working smart doing something you love.
And you can, too.
But before you quit your job, if you’re a novice blogger, you’re bound to make some mistakes.
Actually, here are the most common mistakes bloggers make when they start monetizing their blog.
Mistake #1: Don’t make investments when they start.
If you want to make money blogging, you should treat your blog like a business.
This includes investing in the startup costs for your blog. Compared to the actual cost of starting most other businesses, the investment you make when you first start blogging can be very minimal.
- Invest in a self-hosted blog and your own domain name.
- Either buy a theme for your blog, or hire a web designer (like Reroute Lifestyle).
When I first started blogging, I wanted to try the free route to see if I’d take myself seriously.
But when I did my research, I found that you really can make more money blogging by making the simple investment of buying a website host along with my own domain and a WordPress theme.
When you use a free service, you lose the capability to customize your site to its full extend.
When you make an investment and purchase a host for your blog, you also purchase the power to customize it.
For example, with a self-hosted WordPress blog you have access to a practically unlimited amount of themes and plugins.
Whereas with a free WordPress.com plan, you only have access to the themes and plugins they offer. Not ones you find across the Internet. With a free plan, you really get limited. Plus, why should any of your readers (or potential brand partnerships) take you seriously and pay for your work… if you’re not ready to pay for that small investment in yourself?
So if you’re serious about making money blogging, make the small investment and treat your blog as a business.
Mistake #2: Don’t disclose affiliate/referral links or partnerships.
One of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make is neglecting to disclose their partnerships with brands.
There are guidelines for advertisers and influencers to disclose paid partnerships. That’s why when you see a paid advertisement on Facebook or Instagram, you see the word “advertisement.”
It’s so consumers know when someone (i.e. the brand) is paying for something to be displayed, or someone can get compensated if you purchase using their link.
The laws in each country are different yet similar, so look at two things:
- The laws for influencers to disclose in your country (In the USA, it’s the FTC; in the UK, it’s the ASA);
- And, each affiliate’s rules regarding disclosing paid partnerships and affiliate links.
What You Can Do:
- Be safe rather than sorry and disclose your partnerships!
- When you work with an affiliate or brand, be sure to educate yourself about their terms and conditions of disclosure.
Mistake #3: Don’t have a plan.
When I first started implementing affiliate marketing on my blog, I added affiliate links randomly with no purpose.
Like, hey… I’m writing about winter hiking… this is a picture of me… oh and here’s a link to buy this product if you’re interested!
As someone with a super small audience at that time, it was a really awful way of trying to make a sale (which, by the way, I made none from that link).
If you want to make money blogging when you’re promoting an affiliate, promote it intentionally. Promote affiliates with a plan.
Alternatively, if you’re making money through product creation or a sponsored campaign with a brand, you need a plan, too.
- Think about how you’re going to naturally weave your partnerships into your content.
- Also keep in mind how you will promote your posts in the long run.
One way to accomplish this: walk readers through tons of free information. Walk them through a story. Talk about a problem they might have. And then address how you solved that problem (whether it be through a strategy, a service, or a product).
What You Can Do:
- Put yourself in your readers’ shoes.
- Address what they want and how they may feel.
- Strategically add affiliate links that address something they want.
- Strategically title your posts addressing that want from your reader.
Mistake #4: Wait too long before they start monetizing.
Many bloggers wait too long before they start monetizing, whether they are waiting to grow their audience… or just don’t know where to start when it comes to blog monetization.
But you can (and should) start monetizing immediately.
- It takes a tremendous amount of time to go back through your older posts and try monetizing them.
- You are going to make mistakes when you first start monetizing your blog, whether you do it now, or later. It’s best to learn how you can improve now, rather than stressing out about it later.
- As long as you recommend products you believe in, and can communicate that value to your readers, a huge majority won’t mind that you’re making a (probably small) commission from the recommendation.
If you’re building your blog to work with brands in the future, write a few outstanding posts showcasing your favorite brands and what your blog is all about.
For example, if you’re a travel blogger writing for the backpacking community, you could do a few posts highlighting your favorite backpack (travel necessities, travel/hiking guides, whatever fits). And while you’re doing that, you can include affiliate links into the mix.
This does a few things for you:
- Gives you posts to show your favorite brands (that backpack brand) if you decide to propose a partnership,
- Has the potential to put you on that brand’s radar,
- Makes you money in the process (a girl’s gotta pay the bills!),
- Shows you what part of your monetization strategy may or may not work.
What You Can Do:
- Think about how you can monetize your blog. Do you already promote products? Swap out those regular links for affiliate links.
- Add a single advertisement to your blog to generate passive income in that way.
- Sign up for a website that connects influencers with brands. If a brand reaches out for you, and the shoe fits, why not try it on?
We all know that loads of bloggers out there offer amazing freebies.
Like they should be charging level of amazing.
There are free courses, ebooks, worksheets, cheatsheets, resource libraries, challenges, the list goes on and on… All to help you get better at blogging!
Often I will come across these freebies about two weeks after I needed them. I mean isn’t that always the way.
But not anymore.
I have created the Ultimate List of Blogging FREEBIES which is packed full of over 100 blogging freebies (think free ebooks, worksheets, cheatsheets, courses, resource libraries, challenges, swipe files) created by 50 plus top bloggers.
So you will have everything your need to start and run a successful blog in 2018!
Just sign up below for access, or visit Ultimate List of Blogging FREEBIES for more info!
Mistake #5: Don’t know how to ask for the sale.
Most newer bloggers don’t start monetizing their blog because the thought of being spammy cripples them.
Instead, they should aim to provide value over everything. Instead of just promoting a backpack, brainstorm ways to go above and beyond just talking about a backpack.
Maybe you’re talking about your trip, walking through the cobble-stoned streets of France with your backpack, and a partner lugging around their suitcase on wheels. And that backpack was not only easy to carry around, but it was also easier to carry around while walking through the city.
Paint a picture (an honest one) for your readers. Take them on the journey.
They’ll hate you if you DON’T mention that backpack (in fact, as influencers it’s kind of our duty to let those things be known).
So instead of being spammy, like saying “buy my backpack!!!”, take your readers through a story or an event and then ask for the sale. You don’t even have to say, “buy my backpack.” You can just say:
- “I used this backpack – click here if you’re interested in buying it.”
- “If you have struggled with lugging a suitcase around through the city before, you should consider this backpack on your next trip.”
- “For all you adventurers out there, this backpack is perfect.”
Know your reader, where they are in life, and what they’re feeling. If you know those things, it will be easy (and natural) for you to ask for the sale.
Mistake #6: Think the money will come in overnight.
Passive income is an incredible thing: you put in the work ahead of time, and you can set yourself up to make money at any time of the day. When you’re asleep, when you’re traveling, or even when you’re at your day job.
But in a sense, passive income is glorified.
One mistake bloggers expect is for the money to come in overnight. When, in fact, setting up that passive income takes time.
- My first $0.44 commission on Amazon was tallied about a week after I hit publish on that post. (Yes, that was the first commission I ever earned as a blogger)
- It took EIGHT months for me to make Amazon’s $10 minimum payout, and get paid for that commission.
Mistake #7: Think it’s just a “numbers” game.
Time and time again, bloggers (including myself) think blogging is just a numbers game.
As in, the more pageviews you have, and the larger your audience, the more money you will make.
That is just not the case.
Sammy is a role model for promoting blogging authentically in order to attract engaged readers.
Yes, more pageviews could equate to more people clicking your affiliate links, or earning you money from advertisements.
But are you attracting the right readers?
If you’re just using Facebook groups to get quick comments on your blog, are those people commenting “great tips!” or “great post!” actually reading your blog? Spending time on it? Actually looking into the advice you have to say?
Instead of spending your time trying to acquire vanity page views or likes, spend your time creating genuine connections with others.
What You Can Do:
- Change the way you spend your time!
- When someone comments on your blog, reply to their comment and check out their blog if they have one.
- Spend time learning how to use Pinterest to gain page views PASSIVELY.
- Make connections with bloggers who write about a similar topic to you. When you’ve established a genuine friendship with that blogger, propose a collaboration.
Mistake #8: Join too many programs.
Another thing bloggers do when they start monetizing their blog is join wayyy too many programs.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. We’ve been there. I’ve been there.
It’s just a bloggers form of shiny object syndrome. But here’s how it can hurt you:
- Since companies have different minimum payouts, it will take you longer to receive payment – if you end up making the minimum payout.
- Your readers can feel overwhelmed by all the different options.
- Instead of putting an incredible amount of effort into learning the most you can about a few affiliates, their target customer, and what they can offer their customers, you only learn a little information about a lot of affiliates.
What You Can Do:
- Select a few affiliates and be known for that.
- Write foundational content – like tutorials that introduce your readers to your affiliates.
- Then also write out-of-the-box content that also includes information about your affiliates.
Mistake #9: Monetize their blog…and then JUST wait.
I applaud every blogger who takes the time to monetize their blog. It takes a lot of time, set up, and research.
But after you monetize your blog, it’s not just… sitting there waiting for something to happen.
You need to really understand your audience, their likes, their behaviors… when you understand that, you can really tweak your monetization strategy to cater to your audience.
I’m a huge advocate of tracking what works for your blog, learning more about your audience, and revising your strategy based on what you learn.
But…how can you find out more about your audience?
- Write down as many details about your “dream audience” member. Really understand as much as you can about him/her (where they live, where they like to shop, how old they are, where they hang out online, products they buy, where they work, etc.). Then, create content for that person. You’ll start attracting your “dream audience”!
- Survey them. Get to know your mailing list and blog audience. Strategically poll them on your Instagram stories or Twitter. Email them with a question or two.
- Take advantage of Analytics, e.g. Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Analytics.
Mistake #10: Quit.
And the biggest mistake people make when they start monetizing their blog: get discouraged, and quit.
But, it’s those with the most determination to fail, and then try again, who persist and succeed.
Here are some things you can do to constantly evaluate yourself and keep yourself in check:
- Ask a Facebook group (like this one) for a critique of your blog theme and Pinterest images.
- Look at your Google Analytics, and check to see if your audience Behavior shows your readers dropping off or leaving your site on certain pages. Evaluate those pages to understand why.
- Constantly evaluate your Pinterest strategy. If you’re not seeing the results you want from Pinterest, ask someone who’s further ahead of you for honest advice.
- Or, purchase a personalized blog audit to seek the thorough advice of someone else.
There are so many things you can do… other than quit! You can find success from your blog, it’s just a matter of not giving up.
Everyone makes mistakes.
And remember: everyone makes mistakes. So even if you find yourself making any mistakes, don’t kick yourself down or beat yourself up!
It’s just a matter of taking the time to perfect your craft.
You CAN make money blogging.
Still trying to piece together your monetization strategy? Sammy’s readers here at Well and Wealthy can get 10% off any items from the Reroute Lifestyle shop. This includes our ebook which goes into the specific monetization and growth strategies we used to make over $2,200 in the first six months of starting a lifestyle blog… and customized Divi web design for bloggers. Just use the code “WELLANDWEALTHY” at checkout to get the 10% discount!
Or, if you like free stuff, check out these free blogging resources from Reroute Lifestyle.
Krista blogs with her boyfriend, Mike, at Reroute Lifestyle: a hub for goal-getters to find the resources they need to make money blogging. She’s obsessed with blog growth and monetization strategies, so feel free to chat with her about your monetization strategy on Twitter, Instagram, or this Facebook group for goal getters.