Two classic questions new bloggers ask: Can I make money online? How to make money with my blog?
The ones who do it know all the answers and tricks. On the other hand, the ones who don’t are desperately staring at the obscurity trying to find the answers and some fame; they are after all trying to break bad financially.
New bloggers learn and implement any tips they can find. You have to be careful whom you learn from! You can certainly learn from my mentors Zac Johnson and Pat Flynn. You can also learn from Jon Morrow who has been through all the ups and downs. Jon was hospitalized, lost his job, went broke and then he went on to build a blog that produces more than $100,000 a month.
Jon has been there, done it and is a living proof. Below points have been taken from Jon’s popular post – ‘Make Money Blogging’ from BoostBlogTraffic.com. Agreed, some of the pointers below are against popular belief and may be even contradictory but there is a method to the madness. Some tips are pure genius and I hope the list below inspires you.
You can use any of our Infographics in your site with a link-back to us.
Tip #1: Bloggers are All-rounders
Bloggers are not just bloggers, we are entrepreneurs, writers, creators, marketers, social media managers, experts, teachers, mentors and so on. We wear many hats.
Many successful bloggers are providing something else to make the big bucks. For example, they may provide a consulting service, speaking at events, courses, software and so on. Their blog is a launching pad for all these activities and to attract potential clients.
Tip #2: Selling Advertising is Overrated
Niche specific advertising requires lots of traffic; at least 100,000 page views a month. Do you know what you can earn per month on these advertisements? The standard rate is $1 per 2,000 page views per month. So even if you have 100,000 page views you would only make a measly $50 a month from one ad. This is of course passive income; the rate you can earn depends on the niche and the size of the ad space.
You can get 3 to 10 times more income by promoting your own product, service or even an affiliate product from the same advertising space.
Did you know Pat Flynn made $37,500 by promoting Bluehost in the month of April 2015?
Tip #3: Build a Sales Funnel with the most Expensive Product First
A sales funnel is a sales cycle where a company provides a freebie to attract a customer then, start providing products starting with the lowest price. They then sweet talk the customer into buying more expensive products. A sales funnel is a tested method.
A good sales funnel has a few products with a few higher ticketed items at the back end. If there is only one product then a cheap product is not going to cut it. Take for example an eBook, where the eBook is the only product in the funnel. If you are wondering why the eBook is not going to cut it from an income perspective then, it is because there are no other products in the funnel.
So build your sales funnel with the most expensive product first.
Tip #4: There is No “Low Cost” Market
Let’s say you were considering a $50 eBook and now thinking of a $1,000 service after the above point. You may have a hesitation as to if anyone will ever buy the $1,000 service. According to Jon you are correct 98% of the time, unless your audience are all well off and bring in the big bucks.
According to Jon the 2% of your audience will be able to afford the service. Example, lets say you have 100 email subscribers that means 2 clients. These 2 clients will provide you an income greater that the other 98 potential clients all put together.
Tip #5: Top Prices = Top Services
If you are feeling guilty of charging a high price for your service then remember you can provide a top notch service for the top price. The eBook will never deliver a personal experience but your service like consulting or coaching can.
When you charge a premium price you can provide one-on-one help. You can review your client’s blog, answer questions they have and speak to them on a weekly basis. In short, within a premium service you can do everything you possibly can to get the result your client wants.
Tip #6: Hold-off on the Sale
Bloggers who are smart hold-off the sale intentionally; they don’t push for a sale from day one or push each prospect. Rand Fishkin of Moz found that their blog visitors who have been blog readers for some time stayed as clients longer than clients who just bought their product. This is a very interesting find and shows loyalty pays off. This of course does not have a great short term result but pays off in the long run. The only question that remains to be answered is: are you a smart blogger?
Tip #7: You are The Roadblock
Since bloggers are all-rounders, our most precious asset is time. Bloggers have to continuously produce quality content that is unique, market our content, do research, keep learning, fix technical issues, answer questions, create products or services and the list goes on.
The more time you spend blogging, you realize you are the roadblock. That is the one factor that is limiting your growth potential.
So what is the solution?
According to Jon we can use software to eliminate some of the tedious, time consuming tasks. We may need to look into hiring a virtual assistant or someone technical to solve those technical issues or provide much needed website enhancements. Getting help for tedious tasks will free up your time to focus on high value activities.
I know what you must be thinking “but Jon all this costs money”. Jon has covered these concerns in the pointers below so hold on…
Tip #8: Identify High Value Activities
Measure everything you do, so you can see which activity has the biggest bang for buck. Let’s say for example your objective is to increase the number of email subscribers. A post on your site that takes 3 hours to complete brings in 30 subscribers. Let’s say a guest post in an authority site took the same time but you were able to bring in 60 email subscribers. Now which activity provides the highest value? This is just an example but the important lesson is to measure the return on your activities and focus on the highest value.
Tip #9: At The Start Create Content for Other Sites
Creating content on a site that does not have a lot of readers or viewers is a waste of time and hence Jon suggests you focus on guest blogging at least at the start of your blogging journey.
Guest blogging is like being an apprentice to an established baker with a customer base. If you are starting out on your own no one will turn up even if your bakery is full of awesome goodies but if you make something awesome at an established bakery chances are someone will notice. Keep making awesome cookies and cakes and soon you will have a fan base or following.
Jon made an awesome list of subscribers as many as 13,000 in 60 days even without a blog simply by guest posting. He simply had a one page website which said “coming soon” and an option to subscribe to his mailing list.
Obviously not everyone is Jon Morrow and you may not be able to achieve 13,000 email subscribers but you get the zest of it. Jon is simply saying create a small mailing list as much as a couple of hundred email subscribers so you have a viewer base when you create those yummy goodies.
Tip #10: Do not Waste Time in Social Media
I know this is a controversial point and can hit the nerve of some viewers and it is against popular belief. According to Jon spending time in Twitter, Facebook and Google+ at the start of your blogging career can suck your time away from producing good content and building your mailing list. Jon is not saying this without any proof; when he tested the number of visitors he was able to bring to his site from the time spent on social media, it was the worst among all the activities he performed.
Jon is not saying not to build your social media presence; he is simply saying it is a low value task. Of course, there are advantages to building your profiles in social media where you can advertise and create competitions to collect email addresses. Social media can also help with search engine rankings but they can be very time consuming and divert your attention and focus. Jon believes you should build your mailing list to 10,000 email subscribers then outsource your social media profile management so you can focus on tasks that you are good at or provide higher value.
Tip #11: Webinars will Rock Your World
You must be wondering, producing content on your own site is low value, building a social media presence is low value then, what the h#ll is high value? Well, Jon’s high value activity is Webinar. He says webinars bring in almost $40,000 and as much as 500 to 1,000 email subscribers per hour of time invested. If you are not curios, I am not sure what will make you curious. I am definitely going to attend a webinar Jon runs and will happily report back what he does and how he does it.
Tip #12: Content Length is Strength
What does long form content get? (assuming it is of good quality of course)
- More traffic and
- More social sharing
Long form content also has the potential of getting more backlinks; they take more time to produce but they are well worth the effort. Does this mean you should only produce 5,000 word posts? No, the posts that get shared the most seems to be between 2,000 to 3,000 words but do test these for yourself with tools like Buzzsumo and experiment with your content length.
Tip #13: Go Crazy with Content Promotion
You can never have enough content promotion or marketing but the key is to spend as much time with content marketing as much it takes to produce it. For example, if a piece of content takes 5 hours to produce then you should spend that same 5 hours to promote it as a minimum.
Content promotion does not mean dropping links in social media; it is the art of blogger outreach – connecting with other bloggers and getting them to promote your content. When an influencer says something it has more impact than what you can achieve from the same message.
Tip #14: Don’t Focus on SEO for the 1st Year
Another one of Jon’s nuggets that we can debate for a year but the man has done it and has a point. Let’s clarify one thing: Jon is not against SEO in fact who doesn’t like being loved by Google and Bing?
Search rankings take time so don’t waste too much energy upfront obsessed with it. Jon’s advice for a new blogger is to focus your time on 3 categories:
- Networking with authority bloggers (by guest blogging)
- Creating link worthy content and
- Selling products and services
Jon says, do these things well then search engine traffic will take care of itself naturally.
Tip #15: Thou Shall Focus on Building Your Mailing List
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan you would know that the one ring has the power to rule middle earth. Similarly, your mailing list is the only powerful ring you need to command an online income.
According to Jon the number of email subscribers can predict how much money you can make online. If your list has 1,000 email subscribers then $1,000 would be a good staring income per month. Similarly, if your list has 10,000 email subscribers then you can make $10,000 per month. Your relationship with email subscribers and quality of products and services are the other factors that can influence your blogging income.
Tip #16: Have a Service to Sell From Day One
When should you start selling? With a mailing list of 100 subscribers or 1,000 subscribers? Neither, the answer is day one. Having a service to provide from day one is quite different from selling from day one. Understand the difference and be prepared. A service that is ready to be delivered has the potential to monetize your blog from the start.
Do you remember the roadblock? It is you and the solution is to get a virtual assistant or outsource technical work. You need money to do this of course and hence you should have a service ready to sell from day one. Now this does not mean you sell everywhere on your blog but rather have it visible but non-intrusive.
Tip #17: Be Careful with Your Product Idea
Do you have a product idea? Something like an eBook, a course or even a service. The good news is most people’s product ideas suck and the bad news is that your idea could be one of them. Why? We want to sell what we have or what we think people need. We create this product and end up having to convince people they need it. If you have to convince people then the cause is already lost.
Tip #18: Surveys are Risky
How to find what people want? Surveys of course but here’s the thing about surveys; they can be misleading depending on what you ask. If you base your product idea or venture on a survey, you could waste years and all your assets.
If you have to find out what people want just ask one and only one question – “what’s your biggest struggle with <topic> right now?”
Look for common pain points and you can learn from the answers.
Tip #19: Provide Services First, then Products
Once you identify a common problem, you can offer a service to solve that problem. Creating a product takes time and possibly some cash but offering a service does not; so start with a service pretty much straight away. With a service you can learn and find solutions which can help you when it is time to create your product further down the line.
Tip #20: Educate Others From Your Lessons
The best part of blogging is helping others. You can help using your lessons and guide others. You can change lives and get people closer to success. You can inspire people and educate them. After all education is the best gift you can provide others and you don’t have to provide it for free or feel guilty charging a fee for it. There are thousands of bloggers making a living out of blogging and so can you. All you have to do is learn from the right teachers.
Further Reading: Top 24 Money Making Bloggers and Their Income Lessons