If you’re trying to build a successful blog then you know how hard it can be.
You spend countless hours writing, sacrificing time with your friends and family, giving up the things you love, and for what? The satisfaction of sharing your thoughts and ideas?
That might be the reason you started blogging, but at some point you must wonder, is this thing ever going to make money?
You know there are blogs out there making money. A lot of money.
But why not yours?
Unfortunately, I know how it feels. The frustration and disappointment? I get it. Countless times I thought I was on the brink of making money with my blog only to get knocked down again.
What was I doing wrong?
Maybe you doubt the process and you may even doubt yourself — this just isn’t for me.
You might think successful bloggers are lucky or know something you don’t?
The truth is, your dream of making money as a blogger is within reach. And it may be closer than you think.
Why Most Blogs Don’t Make Money
Most blogs fail to make money because few bloggers who know how to do it. They may know how it’s done, but is that the same as knowing how to do it?
I don’t think so. Knowing how a piano is played doesn’t mean you can play it, right?
The same is true for blogging.
Countless courses teach the basics of how to build a website that makes money. Some focus on small niche websites, others on big authority websites. And some teach you to build medium-sized, fly-under-the-radar, informational sites.
They teach different traffic strategies and monetization methods. Everything you need to know in an easy to follow step-by-step guide.
Well, almost everything.
Many forget that a successful blog requires two people; you and your reader. In other words, you can't succeed alone.
While many blogging courses are great at teaching you how to make money, they forget to teach you why people spend money. It sounds obvious, but many bloggers get this tiny, yet important detail, wrong.
And it is important, because you only make money when someone else spends it.
If you’re struggling to make money with your blog, this may be why. The good news is that it’s easy to fix.
Not Enough Traffic Is Not The Problem
A common belief among new bloggers is that money will flow when they get more readers.
Of course, if you have zero traffic, that's a good reason you're not making money. But traffic can always be bought. There is no lack of traffic.
When I started out, I thought traffic was the problem too.
To prove me wrong, another blogger convinced me to buy Ads on Bing so that my “money-making” pages would get traffic.
Guess what happened?
I had a lot of traffic. As much as I was willing to pay for. But as my friend predicted, my blog did not make money.
As it turned out, traffic wasn’t my problem, and it might not be your problem either.
Of course, you can always test it as I did. Spend a little money and send traffic to your money pages. If it works, problem solved.
If it doesn’t work, keep reading…
Blogging For Money Is Like Driving For Uber
Having your own platform where you can share your thoughts, ideas and opinions is great.
If you’re visually creative, you can spend time choosing a website theme, designing a logo, and finding the right colors to match your personality.
Your blog is like a digital home on the internet. A place where visitors can stop by for tea and coffee, admire the decor, and hang out for a while.
Or is it?
If you want to make money with your blog, your website is more like a car than it is a home.
Let me explain…
Pretend that you’re an Uber driver for a moment, and a complete stranger is willing to pay money to get in your car.
Why would a stranger do that?
It’s not because they like your car and they want to check it out. They also didn't jump in the backseat to visit or listen to your ideas and opinions.
They are in your car for one reason. They need to get from one point to another, and they are paying you to take them there.
It doesn’t matter if your car is fancy or if you make them laugh. That may make the experience better. But it's not what they are paying for.
They are paying to get from point A to point B in the fastest and safest way possible.
In other words, they have a problem that needs solving (they need to get somewhere), and you (and your car) are the solution.
Your blog audience is no different. Your readers are coming to your website for a reason. It's not to hang out and admire the logo.
They are trying to get from point A to point B. From problem to solution.
You are the driver (or in this case, the writer) and your blog is the vehicle they're hoping will take them where they want to go, NOT where you want them to go.
Many bloggers try to “convince” their readers to click their affiliate links, sign up for their email newsletter, or perform some other action that benefits them, the blogger. And when their readers don’t do those things, they get frustrated and wonder why.
It’s one of the most common questions bloggers and online marketers ask,
“Why is no one clicking my links?”
And the answer is actually quite simple. To put it bluntly, they don’t want to.
If you’re giving away a free e-book and no one is downloading it, there’s a good chance they just don’t want it. That doesn't mean there's something wrong with it. It just means it's not relevant to what your readers want.
In the same way that you can’t take your Uber riders where YOU want them to go, you can’t take your blog readers where YOU want them to go.
What you can do, is figure out where they already want to go and take them there. Or, more accurately, find out what they already want, and give it to them.
In other words, get to know your audience.
Do You Really Know Your Audience?
I know what you’re thinking, “I know my niche. I know my audience, and I know what they want.”
But if that were true and you were offering them what they want, your blog would be making money, and you wouldn’t be reading this. Sometimes we think we know what our audience wants because it’s what we want, but that’s not always true.
Let me give you an example. I’ll use the make-money-online niche since blogging for money is all about making money online.
You can take two different groups who want to make money — one searching for a work-at-home job and the other a side hustle. On the surface, they seem like similar groups of people. But dig deeper, and you’ll find that they are very different.
In most cases, they probably want the same things. More freedom and independence, to quit the rat race and do what they love.
How different could they be?
As it turns out, they are completely opposite.
Generally speaking, those who would like to work at home want more time. More time with their family, or more time for themselves. They want less stress and a simpler life.
They’ll even take a pay cut to get it.
However, those looking for a side hustle want the exact opposite. At least for the moment.
They’re willing to add more stress to their life and work more hours, not less. Instead of a pay cut, they want more, and they’re willing to give up time with their family to get it.
So, while beaches and more time with loved ones may be appealing, it’s not what the side hustler wants. At least not today.
And the opposite is true. The Mom who is willing to take a pay cut to work at home and be with her children is not motivated by more. At least, not more than she needs to stay at home.
She might want a life of luxury one day, but it’s not what she wants today.
This is why it’s important to know your audience. The only way you can help them is to understand their motivations and speak their language in a way that proves you know where they want to go. And that you’re the best person to take them there.
Making Money With Your Blog Gets Easier When You Know This…
Let’s jump back into your Uber driver role for a moment. Something magical happens when you drop your passenger off exactly where they want.
You get paid!
How much easier is it to do that than to convince them they should go somewhere else? By comparison, it’s effortless.
Now, imagine how much easier it’ll be to make money with your blog when you apply this same principle of giving people what they want. When you get it right, your readers will be searching for the buy button even if it’s not there.
With this knowledge, you can see how one person can scale their blog up to six figures or more simply by knowing their audience, while another bangs their head against the wall and earns zilch.
You’ve heard it before — know your audience. But knowing your audience is not something you should do; it’s the ONE THING you must do.
How To Know Your Audience (Better Than They Know Themselves)
Yes, it’s easier to figure out what your readers want than it is to convince them of what they should want. In fact, it’s the only ethical way to approach your audience.
But easier doesn’t mean easy. It still requires work, and you can attack it using these three steps.
Step 1 — Ask
Ask your audience what they want. Present them with a survey or engage with them in forums and on social media. If none of this is possible for your particular niche, go to step two.
Step 2 — Research
Research your audience. Find out where your traffic is coming from using Google Analytics and sites like Similar Web.
If you’re targeting specific keywords and getting traffic that way, then you already know what your audience is searching for. You can use those same keywords to find forums, blog comments, and social media groups where your audience hangs out.
Pay attention to the comments and conversations going on and although they might not say it directly, you can often interpret what they want and more importantly, why. What is it that keeps them up at night? Why do they do the things they do?
Step 3 — Test
Test your offers. Now that you have a deeper understanding of what motivates your audience, you can use empathy to create (or find) offers they are more likely to respond to. Use split tests; testing one offer against another, to see which ones perform the best.
If that doesn’t work, go back to step one and dig deeper because here’s the thing…
Everybody wants something.
Your audience found you in the first place because they were looking for something. It’s your job to figure out what it is.
And, if by chance they are reading your blog for fun or “just because”, you may have to rethink what you’re blogging about.
No More Frustration and No More Disappointment
Your dream of being a successful blogger is closer than you think and all those hours you’ve put in are not for nothing.
In fact, you may be just a few small changes away from having your sacrifice pay off. No more frustration and no more disappointment.
Offline and online businesses are making boatloads of money every day and the one thing they all have in common is they know their customer.
Home Depot doesn’t “TRY” to sell lumber to everyone. They only sell it to people who want it.
A Quick-Lube doesn’t sell oil changes to people without a car and a vegan restaurant doesn’t advertise in hunting magazines.
The truth is if your blog readers are not doing what YOU want them to do it’s probably because THEY just don’t want to do it.
You just need to figure out what it is they do want.
You can keep struggling to swim upstream or you can go with the flow and turn your blog into a machine that takes your reader from where they already are to where they want to be. And these are changes you can start making today.