Is the Game Hard or Do You Just Not Know the Rules?
This is one of those posts that people in the blogging scene think about writing after they’ve had a couple of drinks but never get around to it.
Lucky for you, I have a nice drink here on my desk so I figured I might as well take the time to write this.
Before we begin I want to give you some background on myself.
I make money online a couple of different ways but blogging is the gateway. It’s how I get my audience.
In fact, that’s the main reason to blog: to build your audience.
If you can remember that the money is in your audience then you are good to go.
This blog is obviously about how to make money with your blog so that should set off some alarms for you already because the bloggers that make the most money are the ones that teach others how to make money blogging.
People often wonder why I run so many blogs and the reality of it is, I do it to learn how different niches can effectively make money.
You see, if I’m going to teach others how to make money blogging I can’t give them generic advice that I think applies to all niches because that’s dumb.
It’s no coincidence that when you come across a blogging course with testimonials, all of the testimonials are from other bloggers that happen to start blogs teaching people how to make money.
Where are the testimonials from the bloggers that started a blog on knitting?!
I’m getting off track…
I’m in a number of blogging-focused Facebook Groups where people like to share their income reports. Usually, it’s people just getting started with blogging and they want to share an income report to generate more traffic.
It’s a viable strategy.
Unfortunately, many times I come across income reports that are just false.
Here’s how it usually goes down.
A blogger will make a crazy claim like how they made $500 in their first month of blogging. Now, this isn’t impossible, but you better know the game pretty damn well to pull this off.
In many cases, the blogger will show Awin income.
What’s Awin? It’s an affiliate marketing network that has some great advertisers in it. If you’re going to start a blog and want to get into affiliate marketing, it’s definitely one of the networks you should consider.
Awin also has a referral program where you get $30 for every blogger that you refer to their network. There’s a catch, though.
You only get the $30 AFTER the person has made $20 through affiliate marketing from the advertisers in the network.
This is quite challenging because many people just give up on trying to make money with blogging so the odds of you getting even one referral that makes $20 is pretty slim.
If you’re claiming $450 of income from Awin that isn’t through affiliate marketing then that means you are saying that 15 people have signed up to Awin through your link AND made $20 in revenue that month.
What happens if the people you refer don’t make $20? You don’t get any money. Simple as that.
So when a blogger is claiming that Awin is going to pay them $XXX, it usually means they hope that one day they see some of the referral money.
You can see why this is a problem, right?
As a new blogger, you come across this awesome income report that makes you believe all you have to do is get people to follow a link and sign up.
It makes blogging seem way easier than it is.
When you find out it isn’t it can make you feel dumb. How could that other blogger figure things out but you can’t? It’s not fair!
The reality of the situation is that the other blogger hasn’t figured it out either. They’re just blowing smoke up your ass in the hopes that it works.
Sure, it gets them a bit of extra traffic but after that? Not much.
It’s a sick game that bloggers play so the big question becomes…
Why Do Bloggers Lie About Making Money?
When you get caught in the web of reading income reports you begin to feel like every other blogger is making money blogging.
Psh, if you want to see how I do income reports check this one out.
The fact of the matter is, most of the bloggers that share income reports only do so once they are successful. People often don’t check to see how long the blogger has been blogging or what path they took to success.
BBC Member, Marybeth, wrote what I consider the perfect income report because it tells the whole story of the blog.
They just assume they should be achieving such success right away as well so they fake it till they make it.
The problem with faking it is that you aren’t genuine and being genuine to yourself is one of the few things that will separate you from other bloggers.
You’re not going to write about stuff that is so unique that no other blogger has written about it. Your voice and being yourself is the only thing you have to keep you separate from everybody else.
Why bloggers feel the need to show they’ve succeeded right away is beyond me. Maybe it’s because so many how to make money bloggers tell people how easy blogging is.
You just need to sign up with Bluehost (don’t sign up with Bluehost), install WordPress, and write about whatever you are passionate about!
I’ll never tell you to follow your passion because your passion might not lead anywhere.
If you’re going to start blogging to make money then you might as well take the obvious route to making money.
The Hidden Pattern
There’s a pattern that some bloggers might think is hidden but it’s in plain sight to me.
It goes like this:
- Blogger starts a blog around a popular topic, let’s say organization
- The blog picks up traffic because people love organization
- The blog makes some ad money due to how much traffic it gets
- The blogger releases a Pinterest course explaining how they get so much traffic through Pinterest
- The Pinterest course makes them more money than the ads so now they create a blogging course
- Now their organizing blog isn’t so much organizing as it is how to make money blogging
What’s funny is that the blogging course the blogger creates doesn’t tell you to follow this path. Instead, the course gives you generic advice about finding a passion, writing for your audience, and taking your time with things.
The blogger gets more people to sign up for the Pinterest and Blogging courses so then they get to write a new income report with even more money which brings in more people and the cycle continues.
100s or 1000s of people end up taking a course that doesn’t help them with their blog because their blog isn’t teaching people how to make money.
The best way to make money with a blog is to pretend you make money with a blog and sell people on the idea that you can teach them how to make money blogging.
But don’t do that. It’s not ethical and you’re better than that.
The next best way to make quit your job type of money is to find a topic that a lot of people love and then write kick ass content around that topic. From there you can go with ads, affiliate marketing, services, or your own products.
The key though is you need to have a topic that people are actively searching for and are willing to pay money to learn more about.
It’s great if you want to help people fight depression, but you aren’t going to make money with it.
For Thrive/Strive I found that yoga is a huge topic that people are passionate about. I’ve gotten 100s of thousands of pageviews to my posts on yoga.
That’s great! But it’s not.
I don’t have a yoga course. I don’t teach yoga.
Making money from yoga is pretty damn hard for me unless I start a yoga clothing line. Yoga is great for traffic but terrible for money, even if you’re using ads.
So what did I do? I switched over to writing more about the ketogenic diet. People are passionate about that as well so I created a membership site around keto and wrote a book and that’s how I make a healthy amount of money.
When you read income reports or look at blogging courses ask yourself if the blogger is telling you to do what they do. If they aren’t, then why not?
Why aren’t they saying:
You need to start a mom blog, get traffic, and then create a Pinterest course.
Maybe it’s because they don’t want to take a step back to see what they did themselves. Nobody proudly proclaims they make money teaching other people how to make money.
Yet, the bloggers earning 6 figures are doing exactly that. Do you think they really care that’s how they make their money?
If you could make $180,000 a year sitting at home or wherever and just writing some blog posts, would you do it or would you say you’d rather make $8,000 a year talking about parrots?
Sure, give me 2 years and some resources and I can make whatever blog you imagine one that can make money. But I’m not trying to do that.
I’m trying to build a lifestyle for myself and my family that will allow us to enjoy life.
You probably want to do the same.
So don’t worry about if other bloggers are lying about making money. Worry about if you’re lying to yourself about whether or not your blog can succeed.
Easiest Way to Make Money Blogging
There is a tried and true formula for making decent money with blogging and it’s hiding in plain sight.
Take a look at Chasing Foxes. The site does over a million pageviews a month. When you get that much traffic you can throw ads up on your site and make $10,000+ a month.
But you might be thinking that getting that much traffic isn’t easy.
Take a look at their blog.
Take a closer look at the content.
Now before I say the next thing let me first say that I respect what they’re doing. To me, the game is the game.
With that being said…
Their content isn’t good.
Their content isn’t special.
Each post is literally a list with each item linking to another blog post on another blog. Each list item has a short paragraph and that’s it.
It’s not a site where a strong brand is established. It’s not a site where you are going to remember the writing.
It’s merely a blog that finds popular topics, comes up with a list, and then publishes the list.
How do they get traffic? Join a ton of group boards on Pinterest and continue to pin your pins to them.
There is no reason why everyone else in the world can’t do the exact same thing.
They may say that they have a special formula for writing posts and it’s all about What’s In It For Me but the reality is, they are just finding popular content on other blogs and on Pinterest and putting it on their own site.
It’s not magic. It just follows the formula of hitting popular niches that people are interested in and getting the content in front of them.
Again, I’m not trying to disrespect what they are doing. Who wouldn’t want to make 5 figures a month on their blog? However, I don’t want you to think it’s a mystical art to all of this.
- Find popular topics
- Write list posts on those topics
- Get those list posts in front of people and constantly promote
That’s the easiest way to go about things.
Blogging isn’t easy because it takes time. If you have time then it becomes much easier once you get out of your own way.