Oh… my… gosh.
There’s so much I want to say about this topic; I just don’t know where to begin!
Alright, so on Tuesday Ana published a totally raw and honest piece about why TGC isn’t making as much money as it should.
I’m telling you, her post was so inspiring and it really got me souped up because I’d planned on writing a similar post this week.
Well, actually, this post was suppose to be about the best ways to monetize your blog.
However, after reading Ana’s post, an old wound has been reopened (per se) and I just have to vent (more like… express and relate.)
So, instead of posting what would be an incredibly long comment on Ana’s post, this post is going to be a response to hers.
I hope that what I have to say in some way helps you put the whole “make money from blogging” thing into perspective and let’s you (and Ana) know that you’re not alone.
Right off the bat, let’s get one thing straight:
Traffic does not equate to money
It’s true, it doesn’t.
Even though traffic generation is one of the hottest topics in our niche and you have knowledge of how to drive it, that doesn’t mean that your traffic numbers will match your income.
Ana’s proven that in her archived monthly income reports and I can prove it too.
It’s been nearly 5 months since I relaunched my blog back in September of 2012.
In those 5 months I’ve managed to generate nearly 40k+ visitors to my blog and make roughly $1,465, with about $250 of that being from affiliate sales. The rest is from being a BizSugar moderator.
What do you think?
I’d say it’s okay for a start.
Although, I do have certain income goals that I’m aiming to reach by the end of the second quarter of the year.
About $1k/mth to be exact, derived only from affiliate income. Haven’t quite reached it yet, but there’s still 4 months left until the end of the 2nd quarter; we’ll see how it goes.
True, relaunching my blog and driving traffic to it using some of the modalities that I did brought opportunities to make additional monies that I didn’t expect.
However, someone being new to the blogging arena may think that having a blog that’s built up so much traffic and exposure so quickly would be bringing in more income.
You see, throughout my blog relaunch I’ve learned that the kind of income a blog generates depends on a number of things: mostly on the individual and how they choose to monetize and structure their revenue streams.
It also depends on the type and kind of content they create, conversions and other jargon I won’t go into complete details about here.
So, for instance, if you follow Ana’s blog then you know the premium caliber of the content she publishes.
Like, she could seriously be charging hundreds, even thousands of dollars for the kind of info she publishes for free.
However, out of the kindness of her heart and her dedication to over deliverance, she generously and consistently publishes pillar content which in turn attracts salivating, new traffic hungry and repeat visitors (like me ).
Ana’s content, honesty and her cool personality is the very reason I’m a raving fan of hers and why I’ll purchase anything she recommends (assuming it’s something I feel I can utilize for my business and if I have the money to do, of course.)
Ana also chooses to promote affiliate products as one of her blog revenue streams. And, because most of her readers know this and like her, they’ll show their patronage by purchasing through her affiliate links.
I, like Ana, choose to use affiliate products as one of my revenue streams as well:
(1) Because they’re simple to promote when you’re just starting out and
(2) I don’t have to deal with tech support and spend hours of my time creating a product
To recall the things that I’ve tried to bring in the “doe” is totally exhausting:
- Network Marketing (yup, I actually tried to do MLM online after I was introduced to the internet marketing concept)
- Consulting (never got a client; good thing too because I was charging to teach them something that I didn’t really understand how to do myself in my early days)
- Cash gifting (Ugh… let’s not relive those days)
- Content mills (try getting paid $3-$5 for 300 to 1,000 word articles… virtual sweat shop anyone?)
- Rinky dink, fly by night affiliate programs/systems and info products that were here today and gone tomorrow
- Incentivized freebie sites (sort of like CPA sites like Project Payday and ZNZ – I actually made some halfway decent money for a short while doing this, but it quickly became more of a headache then what it’s worth)
- Squidoo lenses/Hubpages (#EpicFail)
- Adsense (#EpicFail x’s 2)
- Various afflilate products/tools (Blah)
- And plenty of other things that I can’t recall at the moment
Long list, eh? I know.
As far as the affiliate products that I promote now, I only promote 2 main ones and aggressively promote 1.
Ana mentioned in her post (and I’m paraphrasing here) that they’re aren’t enough good quality products that she’s willing to promote.
I couldn’t agree with her more.
I’m not willing to jump on every shiny ball that rolls past me just to make a few hundred bucks (not anymore anyway.)
While we’re on the topic of shiny balls, allow me to insert a word here about…
To be quite honest, the thought of EN actually makes me cringe a bit (it’s an involuntary reflex, really.)
Soooo, I used to be apart of EN.
(Why do I feel like I’m airing my dirty laundry? Lol.)
Yup, I was apart of the EN brigade. And I mean I was a die hard EN’er.
- I attended the calls, faithfully
- I chanted “100% commissions!”, faithfully
- I blogged on their platform, faithfully
- I listened to their training, faithfully
- I even spammed the list I’d built while with them… faithfully
Yeah… I agree with ya’ Ana, they did teach us to spam.
I joined EN about a week or two after it first launched, eventually spending a whopping $875 to get “all in”; actually much more than that with the $125/mth I paid for however many months it was (I forget, maybe 6 or 7 months?) before I decided to split.
I’d already been in the IM/blogging game for 6 years or so before joining and I truly thought that EN was finally gong to be my end all.
I actually gotta give it to them, they did one helluva job hyping the crap out of their program when it first launched.
However, although EN wasn’t my end all, it did get me going on the path of where I am today.
Seeing that I actually discovered The Traffic Dashboard via one of the “head honchos” in it. (Can you guess which one? )
I could say a lot more about EN that would be considered… unpleasant or maybe even offensive to some, like, the entire time I was with them (after the hype wore off) I couldn’t shake the cult like feeling I had.
But I don’t want to give it my energy and that’s not the point of this post.
What I will say though is that EN was a fantastic learning experience for me.
And I’m actually glad that I had the experience because I wouldn’t be where I am today.
So, thanks EN; you really did change my business for the better!
Oh, and if you’re wondering if I made any money while with them… eh, about $300 or so over the 7 months I was with them, give or take a few bucks.
(Awaits the EN pitbulls attack.)
I say that to say this:
We all have our trial and errors that we’re going to have to go through to reach what we personally deem successful.
Notice I said “we” (i.e. you as an individual deems successful)
Don’t ever let anyone dictate to you what “successful” is.
Ya’ hear that, Ana?
You create your own definition of success and run towards it. And don’t forget to celebrate the milestones you accomplish along the way.
For instance: I wouldn’t necessarily deem my blog and business monetarily successful at the current time of this post.
But I damn sure deem myself successful at generating traffic via inbound marketing, social media and building relationships.
And that’s something to be proud of.
I’d much rather have my integrity and a respectful relationship with you as my loyal subscriber, sharing all that I know (and am still learning) about traffic generation then shoving every tom, dick and harry product down your throat.
But what about the money?
My blog (and Ana’s) is about traffic generation, a subject that we both know rather well.
Not about how to make millions of dollars over night (which doesn’t exist, by the way, like some lead you to believe.)
This is a journey blog. I use it to detail and document my traffic generation and business building escapades.
Kinda like my own personal reality TV show.
But it also serves as an important business building tool: mainly used to build and engage my subscriber list, rather than to sell products directly from it.
Yes, I will write the occasional review on my blog in hopes of making a sporadic sale from it. However, I don’t expect to make much money directly from my blog.
My main goal is to generate income via my email list.
So, I’m willing to go to more lengths to drive traffic and build my list outside of just blogging and driving traffic through relationships and engagement.
Because I realize that with my income goals in the time frame I want to hit them this year, my blog traffic and it’s conversions alone ain’t gonna cut it (at least not until I make it real big running up there with the lights of Yaro, Pat and Darren.)
I’ll need to generate a lot more traffic and subscribers than I do currently. Especially, with the business model I’m focusing on.
(I’ll be telling you more details about that in part 2 of this post next week.)
I don’t blog for the sole purpose of making an income from it.
And I don’t believe Ana does either.
She thoroughly loves what she does and authentically does it from her heart, not to just chase after our money.
And that’s why she generates such massive traffic and has a “to the ends of the earth” like following.
I also actually genuinely LOVE blogging and writing.
And, I get the most kicks out of actually teaching and helping you have “Ah ha” moments or what have you.
As I said, this post was meant to relate, express and dispel some myths that many newbies believe about traffic generation, blogging and online marketing.
Yes, traffic is an important factor to building a successful blog and business monetarily, but “success” is in the eye of the beholder.
No one that tries to make money online is going to completely escape the learning curve. We all have our trials and errors to go through; some just may take longer than others.
I want to hear from you:
Would you deem your blog and business a success?
What is YOUR personal definition of success as it relates to your blog?
Let me know in the comments below.
See ya’ around the net!
P.S. If you found this post invoking in anyway or feel like others could benefit from reading it, would you do me the favor of sharing the ish out of it? Thanks!