The vast majority of people who set out to make money with a blog will fail.
I don’t say that to discourage you. It’s simply a fact.
I’ve been blogging full-time since 2008 and I know that there is plenty of potential to make a full-time income and enjoy the flexibility that comes with being a blogger.
However, I also like to be realistic.
Ever since I left my full-time job as an auditor to pursue blogging, I’ve had a lot of friends and colleagues asking about what I do and how I am able to earn a living working from home.
While I honestly believe that starting a blog is an amazing opportunity, I don’t like to give the impression that it’s easy.
The truth is, most people who set out to make money with a blog will never earn anything. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the problem is with blogging.
I’ve known many bloggers over the years who simply gave up too soon. No one would start a traditional brick and mortar business and expect to see immediate results. But for some reason, many people expect online businesses to be different.
There are a few very common mistakes that many new bloggers make. If you’re aware of these common mistakes and make an effort to avoid them, you’ll have a much better chance of reaching success with your own blog.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common blogging mistakes that you need to avoid.
1. Lack of Consistency
If you hope to have success with your blog, you need to treat it like a business and not like a hobby.
Treating your blog like a business means that you need to put in a consistent effort each week. Blogging (for money) doesn’t work very well if your effort is inconsistent. You can’t take week and month-long breaks where you don’t do any work on your blog.
Building a blog from scratch requires you to put in time and effort on a regular basis so you can establish traffic, get people to keep coming back to your blog, and build a following.
I recommend having a regular, consistent schedule if possible. Schedule the hours that you’re going to work on your blog just like you would schedule a part-time job. If you block off the hours on your calendar and treat it like a job, you’ll ensure that you’re always working on making progress and that you don’t have long periods of inactivity.
I’m not suggesting that you can never take a vacation or break from blogging. It’s ok to take a week or two off every now and then, just like any other job. But in general, you want to be putting in a consistent effort rather than a sporadic effort that is unpredictable.
In order to have success with your blog, you will need to grow an audience of repeat visitors that like your content and keep coming back for more. It’s hard to do that when your effort is sporadic and you go a month or two with no new posts being published.
2. Unrealistic Expectations
Another very common mistake is starting a blog with unrealistic expectations. I mentioned in the intro that for some reason, many people expect instant results when they start an online business.
Unrealistic expectations can be extremely damaging.
If you launch a blog thinking that you’re going to start making money right away and that you’ll be able to replace the income from your full-time job in four months, you’re very likely to be disappointed when reality sets in.
That disappointment often leads bloggers to give up and quit before they’ve even given blogging a fair chance.
But if you start a blog with realistic expectations, you are far more likely to stick with it long enough to see success.
Building a successful blog requires a lot of time and effort on the front end. You need to be willing to put in a lot of work before you start to see results, but when the results do start to come, they will be well worth the effort that you put in.
Most blogs make little-to-no money for the first six months or more. I usually tell new bloggers to expect to put in regular, consistent effort with no income for six months. It may not always take that long, but if you go in with those expectations, you’ll be much more likely to have the patience to get through it.
Somewhere between 6-12 months, most bloggers start to see some real progress with traffic increasing. By the one year point, you should be seeing increasing traffic and starting to make some money.
After you get some momentum, everything becomes easier.
3. Lack of Focus
Running a blog for profit is much different from having a personal blog. With a personal blog, you can write about anything that interests you, regardless of the topic.
If you’re hoping to make money with your blog, you should take a more focused approach. This means that instead of writing about whatever comes to your mind, you’ll need to key in on a specific topic or niche.
If your content is scattered and without focus, visitors might come to your site, but they’ll be unlikely to really feel a connection with you and your blog.
When your blog has content that is tightly focused, it will really stand out to the audience that you are targeting. When they arrive at your site they’ll feel like you are writing specifically for them. They’ll be more likely to subscribe to your email list or at least to return at some point in the future to see what new content you’ve published.
4. Content That Does Not Stand Out
With millions of blogs already out there, you really need to stand out in some way.
You can’t publish content that is just like everyone else’s and expect to attract a lot of readers.
There are a number of different ways that your content can stand out. You could do an effective job with storytelling. For informative content, you could go deeper and provide better quality content than other blogs. You could use humor and personality to help readers connect with you. You could cover topics that others aren’t covering, or at least look at topics from a unique perspective.
Regardless of how you go about it, you don’t want to simply do what everyone else is doing. The established blogs that have thousands of posts in their archives and established traffic sources will be almost impossible to overcome if your content doesn’t stand out in some way.
5. No Emphasis on Networking
If someone asked you to list the keys of success for blogging, what would you say? Most people think about things like writing skills, SEO, social media marketing, and maybe even something related to expertise on your blog’s topics.
Very few people would list networking as one of the keys to building a successful blog, but it’s incredibly important, in my opinion.
There are so many different ways that you can benefit from being well connected to bloggers and others who work in your industry or niche, but many people overlook this as one of the keys to blogging.
I believe that if you want to build a profitable and successful blog, you should make a real effort to grow your network and connect with others in your niche.
The great thing about networking is that it can be done in many different ways. You can get to know people face-to-face at conferences and seminars, you can connect through email or social media, you can leave comments on other people’s blog posts, and you can use forums or groups.
Some networking opportunities will find you, especially as your blog starts to grow. But in the early stages of blogging, I think it is very important to be proactive and start to establish connections to other bloggers in your niche, regardless of how you go about it.
6. No Traffic Generation Plan
While building a successful blog is about a lot more than just traffic, you will need visitors to your blog in order to have some success. In general, more traffic is better.
Unfortunately, most bloggers don’t have a plan to attract traffic. Instead, they simply write posts and publish them to their blog hoping that visitors will arrive to read these posts.
In order to have success, you’ll need a plan to get your new blog off the ground. You may have great content that readers would love, but if they don’t know about your blog, that content isn’t doing anyone any good.
In the early stages of blogging, you’ll need to do some promotion and take some effort to get people to your site. If you get the right visitors to your site and you have good content that they like, hopefully they come back again at some point in the future.
Growing traffic can be very frustrating because it takes time. The best source of traffic for most bloggers is Google search, and Google doesn’t like to send a lot of traffic to new blogs.
You’ll need to do some things like writing guest posts or leveraging other bloggers’ audiences to start to get some traffic while you are waiting for your search engine traffic to increase.
7. No Monetization Plan
Many people start a blog because they want to make money, but they have no specific plans as to how they will go about making money.
There are several different ways to make money with a blog, including common options like:
- Display ads
- Affiliate programs
- Sponsored content
- Selling products (digital or physical)
- Offering a service
As your blog grows, it’s very possible that your plans and ambitions for monetizing the site may change, and that’s fine. But it’s a good idea to at least have a rough plan when you are getting started, or at least an idea of how you can make money. Otherwise, you may find that you’ve spent a lot of time growing a blog only to have a difficult time actually making money with it.