There are many ways to make money online, but blogging is different. It’s more than money.
You blog because you have something to say. Something to offer the world — even if you’re not sure what it is yet.
There’s something inside you just dying to get out and more than making a buck, a blog is a record of your thoughts and ideas. A snapshot of your identity. A tree carving that declares to the world, I was here.
But let’s be honest. The money is good too, and a blog that generates income month after month will give you a lifestyle most people can only dream of.
When you’re started out though, there are some things you need to know.
Beyond the basics of setting up your blog, understanding the following facts (and using them to your advantage) will set you apart from 99% of your competition.
1. Somebody Will Build a Six-Figure Blog This Year
Most people agree, someone will build a six-figure blog this year. What they don’t believe is that it will be them builds it.
When starting out, it’s important to remember that “Will it work?” and “Will it work for me?” are two different questions.
One is backed by evidence and the other is an opinion. An opinion polluted by fear and doubt.
What one person can do, another can do.
Lesson: Your biggest obstacle will be yourself. If you believe you’ll make money blogging, you will. You’ll figure out what it takes and do it.
If you don’t believe it, then you won’t.
2. Four Years and 50K Gets You an Entry Level “Job”
I’ll say it many times in this article, blogging for money is hard.
It’s not easy, that’s true, but when you compare it to what people usually do, it’s not that hard either.
It’s not harder than going to school for 4 years and falling deep into debt for an entry level job that never gives you freedom.
It’s also not harder than working somewhere you hate and waking up miserable every day for the next ten, twenty, or thirty years. That’s hard!
Lesson: Put your blogging journey into perspective.
It doesn't matter if takes months (even years) of daily effort to earn thousands of dollars every month in passive income. It’s still better than most time investments you’ll make, if you do it right.
3. Blogging “for Money” is the Opposite of “Blogging”
The traditional definition of a “blog” is a website containing “your own experiences, observations, opinions, etc.”
People don’t know you and the truth is, they don’t care about your experiences, observations, and opinions. And even if they did, they wouldn’t pay you for them.
Blogging for money is about THEM — your audience and their problems. Not yours.
Lesson: If you want to write about yourself and your problems, that’s okay. It's your blog and you can do what you want with it. You can also write in a journal.
However, if making money is your goal, write about your reader's problems. They may even be the same problems you have. In that case, write about them in a way that shows your reader you understand what they're going through and offer solutions.
4. Being “Fancy” Doesn’t Move the Needle
Your blog is a reflection of who you are. It’s like the clothes you wear, the car you drive, and the way you decorate your house. You’re making a statement.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but here’s the thing…
If you have no visitors, it doesn’t matter what your site looks like.
Choosing your theme, your colors, and a clever logo are fun things to do, but they can be a distraction. An excuse to avoid the real work of creating content people want to read.
When you’re starting out, a minimum design is fine. You’ll end up changing themes and colors a dozen times anyway.
Without traffic, there’s no money. So spending all your time building a “fancy” website when you have no audience is not blogging for money.
Lesson: You only have so many hours in a day and if your goal is to make money you must spend them wisely.
Remember, people visit your site because you have great content, not because you have an expensive logo, a fancy slideshow or a cool looking drop-down menu.
5. Blogging About Something You Hate is Worse than a “Job” You Hate
When starting out, it’s normal to chase the money, which means you may blog about something you don’t really care about.
Like most people though, you’re already chasing money and doing something you don’t care about.
It’s called a “job”.
And even though you don’t like it, your job has many advantages. It pays your bills, it’s low risk, and it’s a train already in motion…
Commuting every morning to a job you hate is tough, I know. I've been there. But motivating yourself every day to research and write about something you hate (or just don’t care about) with no guarantee of getting paid is worse.
Lesson: Choose something you enjoy or have a passion for (that also has an audience you can help).
6. Shakespeare Would Suck at Blogging
Okay, maybe that’s not true.
But Shakespeare could only be a good blogger if he ditched the “metrical patterns of unrhymed iambic pentameter.”
Exactly! I have no idea what it means either, and that’s the point. Even describing Shakespeare’s writing style is bad blogging.
Your readers are not literary masters, so you don’t need to be one either. In fact, it would probably do more harm than good.
Lesson: If you have a background in writing, that’s awesome. But it’s not necessary.
Blogging is a conversation, not a literary masterpiece. As long as you know the basics like what a sentence is, you can develop your writing skills.
7. Newton’s Laws of Motion Apply to Blogging
A blog will remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force (you). In other words, it won’t build itself.
And, when a blog exerts a force on the blogosphere — the blogosphere simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.
Or at least it feels like it.
Yes, the mountain seems to get steeper the higher you climb… until it doesn’t.
Finally, when your blog is moving, it’ll continue at a constant velocity unless acted upon by another force. It could be a positive force that speeds it up, or a negative force that slows it down.
Lesson: Gaining momentum with your blog requires a lot of energy, and the harder you try, the more frustrating it becomes. But eventually, according to Newton’s laws of blogging, it’s gets easier. Keep at it.
8. Knowing How It’s Done is NOT Knowing How To Do It
You probably know how a violin is played, but that doesn’t mean you know how to play it.
Blogging and making money online are like learning the violin or playing a sport. Knowing how it’s done is one thing, getting good at it is another. And getting good enough to make money at it is something else.
Lesson: Know-how is not enough. Blogging and making money online are skills you develop, not tutorials you buy. They take time and require practice.
The good news is the more you do them, the better you get.
9. Vanity Metrics Don’t Matter
You can have millions of visitors and be the most popular blogger on the web, but that doesn’t mean you’ll make money.
Your traffic numbers are a vanity metric.
“Likes” on Facebook are also a vanity metric.
They’re both great to have, but neither pay the bills.
Lesson: If you’re blogging for money, money is the metric that matters. And making money always comes back to, you guessed it. Your audience.
10. Patience Is Your Superpower
Gary Vaynerchuck, entrepreneur and media ultra-influencer says patience is the most important thing an entrepreneur can have.
Patience is your superpower.
Being a superhero means doing things “ordinary people” can’t do and having abilities they don’t have.
Having the patience to keep going when progress is slow and nothing seems to work is something most people can’t do, and that’s why they fail.
Success lies beyond the point where most people won’t go.
Lesson: Patience sets you apart from 99% of those who try to make money online, because 99% give up.
Having said that, patience isn’t the only thing you need.
11. Your Success Depends on Giving People What They Want
The purpose of your blog is to make money right? The best way to do that is by giving your audience what they want.
If your blog is about golf for example, your readers are looking for advice and information about golf. Likewise, if you are a food blogger, your audience wants food related content.
It’s easy to drift off and blog about the many things you enjoy believing your audience will enjoy them too. And they might, but that’s not why they’re coming to you.
Think of it this way…
When someone walks into an Italian restaurant, Italian food is on their mind. They can already taste it.
The best thing you can give them is Italian food. It’s what they want.
Don’t disrupt their experience with sushi. If they wanted sushi they’d go somewhere else.
Author Harry Browne puts it this way,
“It isn’t what you want that determines what individuals will buy from you — it’s what THEY want. And that answer can only come from them, not from you.”
Lesson: You can write about whatever you want, it’s your blog, but the thing your audience cares about most is the thing that’s on their mind.
If they want Italian food and your restaurant serves Italian food, it’s simple. Give them Italian food.
12. Your Button Color Is Not The Problem
A popular question among newbies is, “why is nobody clicking my links?”
As you search for answers you’ll come across posts that say something like “red buttons convert 13% better than green buttons” or “pop-ups that bounce are better than pop-ups that don’t.
Here’s the thing…
Before you worry about button color and pop-up animations, ask yourself this,
“Does my audience even want what I’m giving them?”
If your answer is MAYBE, then button color is not your problem. You must KNOW what they want.
Lesson: If people are not clicking your links it’s NOT because they don’t like the color. It’s because they don’t want (or care about) what you’re offering them.
Figure that out first and then you can test button colors.
13. Blogging Is Like Learning To Walk
I’m going to share with you some shocking news. You will fail.
Yes, that’s right.
Blog posts you hope will go viral never will. Offers you create won’t sell and your brilliant ideas will go unnoticed.
But imagine this…
You swing a golf club, and for the 3rd time in a row the ball lands in the bushes. Someone comes along and shows you what you did wrong, so you take her advice and swing again. It’s not perfect, but it’s better.
That “someone” showing you what you’re doing wrong is named failure. She’s your friend, and she wants to help.
Lesson: When failure gets you down, ask yourself,
How many times should a baby fall down before she gives up learning to walk?
Of course, she doesn’t give up, and you didn’t either. Blogging is like that.
14. There Are “Sneaky” Tricks You Can Use to Save Time and Money
Okay, I’m going to share a dirty little secret with you. A secret that might get me in trouble, but if you use it carefully, you’re competition will disappear in the rear-view.
Here it is (use it sparingly).
Have you ever clicked on an offer that brought you to a page that wasn’t there or a download that didn’t work?
In most cases, it’s a technical error or an old opt-in that hasn’t been updated.
However, there are rare occasions you’ve clicked on an offer that doesn’t even exist. It was just an idea being tested.
Yes, it’s a little sneaky but you can spend countless hours creating something no one wants. Or, you can spend just a few hours testing the “idea” first.
Lesson: Before you develop any course, product or freebie, test your idea to see if anyone wants it. It won’t take long and you don’t need a ton of clicks.
Even a single test can save you months of hard work.
And don’t think this is all about you. It’s about your audience. Spending months on something they don’t want doesn’t help them either.
15. You Don’t Need to Be Everywhere
You may hear some superstar-bloggers say you should be “everywhere all the time”, and that’s great advice if you have a superstar budget.
Most of us don’t and there’s not enough time be everywhere.
You can promote your blog on Google, YouTube, Podcasts, Slideshare, Medium, Facebook and a dozen other social media platforms, but unless you have a lot of money (or a time-machine), you can’t do them all at once.
Lesson: Don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick one or two places that suit your audience and promote your blog there.
16. You Don’t Have to Be “Internet Famous”
We all say it…
“it’s easy for them to sell stuff online because they are who they are. They have a ton of followers already”
That’s true, in some cases.
But the successful bloggers you haven’t heard of outnumber the ones you have. It might not seem like it because the popular bloggers (who blog about blogging) are the ones you follow.
But there are plenty of successful bloggers who fly under the radar and in most cases, they started out just like you.
Lesson: Focus on perfecting your craft and helping your specific tribe. Unless it’s your goal to be internet famous, don’t worry it.
17. Persistence Wins
There will be times when you just don’t have it in you. You’re not motivated, you’re sick of doing the same thing over and over and getting nowhere.
And, life gets in the way. More hours at work, an injury, holiday season, and so on… There’s always something.
Whatever it is, you must keep the lights on and persist. Keep moving forward even if you’re just going through the motions.
Lesson: Whatever it is, find your “autopilot” and do what you must to keep going until you’re back on track.
This is a game changer. You’ll be light-years ahead of those who “take a break” and return months or even years later.
18. Punching a Dolphin in the Mouth Rarely Works
Let’s face it, we bloggers are creative and clever, and we want the world to know it.
But in most cases, we’re not as creative and clever as we think.
Unlike Matthew Inman for example… creator of theoatmeal.com and author of the book 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth.
theoatmeal.com gets millions of visitors every month. It’s a collection of comics, posts, and videos covering topics like “How to tell if your cat is out to kill you” and “Dogs, Nazis and Horses”.
It’s funny, witty and quite possibly genius…
For an independent blogger though, his success is also impossible to copy. Few sites make money by simply being creative and entertaining.
Lesson: Making money online is like making money offline. All your local businesses have one thing in common; they provide a solution to a problem.
Blogging for money is no different.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, but clever and witty alone are rarely enough. There are ways you can make money with your blog with entertaining content, but the big money comes from helping others.
19. Blogging Can Be Dangerous
Yes, it’s true. It’s not dangerous like swinging through the jungle, but it’s dangerous.
Blogging requires countless hours hunched over a keyboard staring at a screen — a recipe for all sorts of back, neck and shoulder problems. Not to mention a few extra pounds and the cardio of someone who gets winded on their way to bed.
You might think you can put your health off until your blog is a success and you no longer have to work, but it’s a lot harder to “fix” your health than it is to avoid letting it go in the first place.
Lesson: Your blog needs YOU more than anything else. Its success depends on you.
Use a large monitor at eye level and a stand-up desk if possible. Choose healthy snacks and get out of your house and exercise.
There’s more to blogging than simply sharing your thoughts and ideas, which is a good thing because you have an advantage.
You now know what many bloggers have taken years to figure out.
Don’t underestimate yourself. You have a choice.
You can either bury this knowledge in the back of your mind and go on doing what you do, getting the same results.
Or, you can do something different. You can use it to take action towards the life you really want.
There are many blogs out there earning six-figures a month and a newbie is going to build one. It could be you, so get started today!