What really matters when you run your own blog
Susan and I started blogging 5 years ago.
Now, we make $30,000 a month through blogging.
But… we made a load of mistakes.
We got so many things wrong in the early days that it must have cost us tens of thousands in lost revenue.
So, today I want to share with you. The things that we wish we’d clearly understood when we started our blog.
Blogs Are Not About You
This is the biggest one. You can’t write a blog about you and for you. Unless you are Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates, nobody cares.
Blogs are for your audience. On MoneyNuts we write for you. People who want a better life, without debt and with the things they’ve always wanted.
If we wrote for us, nobody would read it.
Important Takeaway: Know who you are writing for. Then you can make sure everything you write is written with those people in mind.
Know Your Monetization Strategy Before You Begin
Blogging is a business. You wouldn’t open a bricks and mortar business without something to sell. You don’t want to do that online.
At MoneyNuts most of our income comes from advertising (as you can see in our posts) and from affiliate marketing. (Affiliate marketing is where we get paid a small commission if you buy something we recommend on our site).
There are other ways to make money. You could sell your own books, your own training courses or a single product.
However, there’s a good way to make no money. Start a blog with an intention of making money “one day”.
Don’t do it. Decide how you will make money and go do it.
Important Takeaway: You want to decide how you will make money early. Look at your audience, what do they want? How can you provide them with great value products or services that enhance their lives? Sell that.
Cut Down On Admin Early
If you can automate something, automate it. There is no point in wading through a million spam comments and filtering them by hand, for example.
Buy and install the Akismet plugin for WordPress as soon as you start getting lots of comments. Then use that to filter your spam.
You’re going to create an e-mail list, so make sure you have Aweber or something similar which lets you talk to that list without doing everything manually.
Your time is your most precious resource. Protect it for the only things that matter – creating great content, marketing and building relationships with your audience.
Important Takeaway: Automate whenever you can. If a task is getting tedious, see if you can find software to do it for you. If you can’t consider outsourcing it to another person. Your time is money. Spend it wisely.
Design Matters But Not That Much
It’s easy to get caught up in agonizing over the way that your blog will look and feel. Don’t do that.
Pick a nice theme, install it and forget about it. Wikipedia is one of the ugliest sites on the Internet and it gets millions of visitors a day. Amazon’s not great either and it’s the world’s biggest shopping portal.
If your site isn’t actively hideous (bright orange borders is a bad idea), it’s good enough. People come for content first and foremost.
Susan and I spent a fortnight choosing our first theme. We should have spent an hour. We’d found “good enough” by then. We could have spent all the rest of that time delighting our readers with words.
Important Takeaway: Buy a nice WordPress theme which suits your readership – we use Envato for our themes – then focus on content.
Social Media Is Perilous
We love social media and it can really help make a blog a success but… you can also get lost in social media and end up spending all your time on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.
We’ve found it’s really important to focus on just one form of social media for interaction – we use Facebook for Money Nuts. We’re hoping to build a tight community of cool people who share ideas and help motivate each other.
Then we use Twitter and a couple of others as news/marketing channels. We don’t ignore them but they don’t take up much time either. Blogging is the most important thing and marketing, while important, comes second.
With our first blog, there came a point at the end of the second year when Susan and I nearly had a break down over social media. We were spending the equivalent of a whole work week on all our different channels. We weren’t creating regular content anymore and it was hurting our income.
So now, we specialize.
Important Takeaway: Pick one social media platform to interact with your audience on. Use the other channels to announce new material and to guide people to your interaction platform. Use Buffer or a similar service to schedule your social media campaigns to save time.
Have Fun And Build Relationships
I left the most important thing to last. Blogging is about other people. That means, if you let it be, it can be enormous fun.
You can ask your audience what they think of what you wrote. You can swap jokes and trade secrets. You can meet other bloggers and promote them and see them promote you in return. You can attend trade shows and local business meetings.
A blog is a form of social media. We are social. Blogging means more social opportunities. It means making friends. If you’d like to join our group of friends who make money, find us on Facebook today.
Important Takeaway: Never forget this about people first and foremost. You make money when you genuinely care about your audience and look to really help them. This should be great fun when you do it with sincerity.
I wish someone had shared these tips with me and Susan when we started. Man, we had some sleepless nights figuring this stuff out for ourselves. We’ll look to extend this list at some point to add even more value for you. If there’s something you’d like to know, feel free to ask in the comments below.