2 1/2 years ago, I unexpectedly found myself $68,000 in debt without a job (in a very expensive cost of living area). I knew I had to figure things out quickly…before I lost my home, so I decided to monetize my blog, while taking on 2 part time jobs.
Fast forward 2 1/2 years later, my blog is now earning 5 figures a month, and I’ve virtually cleared through that debt.
Now, while I’ve made it through the challenging part (and it took a LOT of hard work), I wanted to dispel some myths.
There are many bloggers that proclaim it’s easy to start a blog (because they will earn money if you start a blog).
Now, while this is technically true (it is easy to start one), it’s misleading because it isn’t easy make money from your blog.
I had an advantage as I already had an existing blog, so my journey has been faster than most.
Here are 9 things I wish I knew before I started.
1. It takes a long time to start earning money from a blog.
For most, it takes 9-12 months to earn money, and at that point, it may only be $500-$1000/month…not enough to live on.
It takes a lot of time to blog and learn how to drive traffic to your site, as well as learn how to monetize. Some get lucky, but the rest of us have to be focused, work hard and be patient.
This is why I got 2 part-time jobs. This enabled me to earn a basic income to stay afloat while I allowed my blog to grow.
2. It requires patience and persistence
Don’t fall for all the bloggers that tell you they only work 10 hours/week and make 5 figures/month. If it’s true, chances are they put in many 40-60+ hours/week for years before they got to where they are now.
3. You need to write content that will help your readers and solve their problems
Gone are the days of blogging about your day or your life. Nobody cares about you! People care about their own problems and they want to know “what’s in it for them.” So determine your target audience, their problems and solve them.
4. You don’t need to do everything…focus, focus, focus
I see new bloggers anxious to do it all – write content, do facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, email, SEO and a dozen other things. My advice is don’t spread yourself too thin. Don’t be a “jack of all trades and master of none.”
Instead, focus (initially) on just 2 ways to drive traffic. For me, that has been SEO and Pinterest. That may be different for you based on where your target hangs out and what seems to work best for you. Focus, focus, focus. You’ll be much more successful this way and much faster.
5. Quality over quantity
Only quality and relevant articles will appeal to your audience (and earn money). Mediocre content is worthless. It won’t rank and it won’t speak to your audience. “Less is more.”
You don’t need to blog every day (I generally just blog once per week, and I get 500,000 page views/month).
6. Even when you’re broke, there are some small investments you should make
I know this is hard to swallow, because not only was I broke, but I was minus. So parting with any penny was painful for me. It just made my finish line feel so much further away.
But below are some small investments that will more than pay for themselves:
- Good hosting – Have your own self hosted site (just costs $4/month or less). When you can afford to pay more, do it. It makes a huge difference on speed
- Things that will improve speed – anything that improves your site speed is a smart investment. It impacts traffic and user experience.
- Pictures – It’s worth the small investment for photos (often $1 or so each). These pictures perform better, especially on Pinterest.
- A mobile responsive theme – No longer optional (60-80% of traffic is mobile).
- A few targeted and inexpensive ebooks/courses – At the beginning, I would avoid expensive “all inclusive” courses. Instead choose 1-2 specific books/courses to help you where you really need help (e.g. affiliate marketing, SEO, Pinterest, email marketing). And, implement away!
7. Facebook sharing groups are a waste of time; Facebook blogging groups can jump start your journey.
A common mistake I see new bloggers doing is to participate in Facebook share groups – you share my post, I’ll share yours. It feels like this would be helpful.
But, it’s busy work and a huge waste of time. It’s misleading because it “feels” like you’re being productive. But this task is very time consuming and doesn’t lead to much traffic. In fact, it can actually do more damage as it reduces your engagement rate.
Instead, consider joining a blogging group on Facebook. You can ask questions and learn from what others are doing…not to mention that they are a great way to network.
Final thoughts on starting a blog
If you’ve been thinking about blogging, now is a great time to start. You can blog about virtually anything (I blog about home decor). Many people over think this and start getting into analysis paralysis.
Don’t let that happen to you. All you need is 1 blog post to launch. This is a place where you learn as you go.