“Why am I making no money with my blog?” – this is the most asked question that I receive, the second one being “why am I making so little money with my blog?”. And I’m not joking! Most people are making no to very little blogging. This would have thousands say that blogging is dead. That you can no longer make money blogging.
And yet, you can still read income reports and see the big guys like Pat Flynn or Lindsay and Bjork (to have two completely different niches) who make a ton of money. Just do a Google search with the term “income report” and you’ll find out that there are indeed a ton of people making a great living blogging. What do they have and you don’t? Well, don’t be disappointed: the truth is that they do have a lot of advantages over you or me but fortunately it’s not a lost war. You might not be making money with your blog now, but you can change that in a heartbeat!
Why are you not making money with your blog?
Oh, boy, there are so many reasons here! No, you are not cursed. No, you are not doomed. No, you are not stupid, you’re not a failure, it’s not something you can’t do. You just don’t know what to do yet and how to do it.
When I first started blogging in 2008, I knew nothing about this. I read the income reports, I heard about people getting rich quickly and I said to myself: I can do that! I can write a few articles here and there, then sit back and see my bank accounts flooded with money.
Six months later I was on the edge: I had only made 300 dollars even though I had been working 8 to 12 hours per day. Weekends included. It was horrible. It was nerve wrecking. It was the lowest I had ever felt and I thought that I am nothing but a failure. It’s just not something you can do.
Guess what? IT IS!
Even though I am not making the money most of the big shots are making online, I am earning my living from blogging. I managed to get past the $10,000 per month mark (just one month, it’s true… but I still did it!) and I am planning to get there again. It can be done. Just know the most important thing: you need to invest a lot of time and work extremely hard to make money with your blog. The first $100 is difficult, but you can do it!
Why are you not making any money? Here are some of the reasons: you just started blogging (this means your blog is up to 6 months old), you just put some ads or affiliate links here and there, you only told your friends about your blog and never built a link for it. You wrote three articles in the first week, then had nothing to write for three weeks, then wrote a “now I’m back” article only to pause it again. You don’t know what people are looking for, you don’t know how to optimize titles for search engine rankings, you don’t know how to optimize your articles for the search engines, you have a free theme that loads slower than any other blog you visit and you made your own logo in Paint.
These are some of the reasons, but the truth is that there are a ton more. All can be grouped into two big reasons why you don’t make (more or any) money with your blog: you don’t treat your blog as a business and you don’t study to be a better blogger.
Sure, the dreams that the big guys are selling sound great: work for 4 hours a week while exploring the world, live the life you deserve, live your dreams! It sounds good, but the truth is completely different. Take Pinch of Yum, for example (Lyndsay’s blog I linked to above): they are now making over $20,000 per month. Every. Single. Month. Do you know how much they did in the month when they published their first income report? 21 bucks. You know when that happened? FOUR years ago.
This means that you can’t just create a blog and throw it out there and you’ll be rich over night. No, it takes hard work, smart work and dedication to get there. BUT you CAN get there if you don’t give up. You can end up having to work just 4 hours per week and getting bucket loads of money. But only after you spend 10 hours per day working and trying and studying and getting better! Yes, Pat Flynn is making over $100,000 per month. But he has a team. He has invaluable experience. He is a brand, he built trust over the years. Seven or eight years ago, nobody knew who Pat Flynn is. Now everybody does!
How to start making money with your blog?
Every blog out there will grow and grow and grow if you take care of it. Most people I know – smart people that write a million times better than I do – build a blog, get no results after the first month or three and they stop trying. They think that they failed.
I did that too with many of my projects: smart projects that I abandoned because they were not giving me instant results. Now they would’ve made me thousands of dollars per month. How do I know that? Because other people launched identical blogs after I stopped writing mine and are now making that money. It drives me crazy. I was stupid. But you are not because you are reading this.
Don’t stop working on your projects! Don’t stop following your dream. If it doesn’t happen today, it will happen tomorrow. You have to keep working and get better. Learn, learn and learn some more. There’s just one direction for you: UP.
One of the biggest advantages a blog or a blogger can have over its competition is age. You can start right now a cooking blog and compete with a Pinch of Yum. You could end up making $20,000 per month in 4 years’ time, but most likely you won’t. You won’t, because there is already one Pinch of Yum out there. They have the age, they have the recognition, the already have built their trust and following. In 4 more years, they’ll make $50,000 per year. You can’t beat them, normally.
The same goes for people starting blogs after you: they will never get that experience, that exposure that time alone (with some smart promotion) can deliver. You simply can’t. This is why you must not quit. This is why you’re on the right path, even though you are not making any money right now.
Here is what you have to do:
Keep learning. Read websites like Pat’s, but read more blogs from smaller people, myself included: we don’t have the resources the big ones have. We don’t just spend $5,000 when we launch a blog, to buy content and links and have it rank instantly. We work hard, we do stuff manually, we have real problems and find ways to get past them. This is how we build experience and by sharing everything we help people like you.
During the first 6 months after I started blogging, I read 2-3 hours per day, maybe more. I kept learning. How to write a good title, why should I optimize images on my blog, what a good article is, what all the SERP terms mean and so on. If you know the theory, if you read and learn, then nothing can stop you: nobody but you.
And do you know what is the best lesson that I learned? Treat your blog as a business. There are very few people who are lucky enough to only write content that they love and turn their hobby into a money making enterprise. Even those will end up killing that hobby, because money changes everything. But as long as you treat your blog as a business and not a personal project, things will get better: start building that brand, start investing in a premium theme, get a professionally designed logo (you can get good results with Fiverr and it’s normally a lot better than what you can do, unless you’re a designer) and think about the profits. Learn what works, what converts, what turns your words into money and keep doing that. It’s as simple as it gets!
Yes, you might not do any money now and you might start losing hope. But don’t allow yourself to make this mistake: don’t lose hope. You can do it. You just read close to 1,500 words and you know what you have to do to make it happen. So go make it happen!