Yes, it’s true. Most business bloggers have their heads on backwards when they first try to make money with a blog. It’s a difficult process, especially if you’re new to regular writing or have never run a business before.
However, it looks deceptively easy and so many give it a go. That’s the Dunning-Kreuger Effect in action. This is a psychological bias that makes people think they’re better at something than they really are because they have no experience.
And there’s a huge learning curve too.
It starts simple enough:
1. Get Hosting
2. Get a Domain
3. Install and Configure WordPress
4. Create Content
5. Advertise Content
6. Put Ads on Site / Sell Product
7. Make Money
This is just the barest skeleton, but this is the process you normally see in “how to make money online” guides. Unless someone is skilled in business, or has excellent instruction, this skeleton isn’t enough to flesh out your business.
There are thousands of blogs in thousands of niches that are stuck at some step in this process because they didn’t know some of the keys to make it in this business. They’re part of the 90% that doesn’t make more than a couple of accidental bucks off of their blog.
The people who are making real money from their blogs know where to follow this plan and where to break it. Well, the first two steps are pretty non-negotiable for a web business, and the last is the goal, but the rest have some flex. For some insight into how I did it for myself, check out my free video tutorial here.
To see how bloggers fail in their quest to reach step seven, here’s what I’ve observed.
I Don’t Like Failed Blogs
Why am I so eager to share my secrets? I’m tired of seeing failed blogs. The Internet is still growing and reaching new places. You have the world at your fingertips as a potential market. Here’s another secret.
Competition on the net is fierce, but it’s not between blogs. The competition lies in the minds of the readers of your content. The phrase “content is king” doesn’t really sink in until you start putting some content out there.
And it can’t be just fluff either. In my free blogging video , I outline three major keys that most business bloggers never consider when setting up their blog. One of them talks about the most important content strategy you need to make money online. If you’re new at this, I urge you to watch it before you think of dropping any money on domains or hosting.
It’s that important.
Also, I know that even if someone had all the keys, it’s still up to each person to put the keys into the locks and turn them. Successful business blogging still requires a lot of work. I can point the way, and even give you consultant advice, but I can’t write your content for you. That’s up to you.
Let’s take a look at the simplest business blog I’ve ever read: zenhabits.net. In 2012, Leo Babauta had 240,000 subscribers and Alexa ranked it as the 3732th most popular website in the US. It is all content. It’s bold, simple, and uncluttered. He also makes a lot of cash off his blog, yet you have to scroll to the very bottom of the page to even see the links to his books and courses!
When a new reader comes to his blog, his content has to be so compelling that they reach the bottom of the page and wanting more. Again, content is king. In fact, all three of my major keys in my video free is content-related, not design-related.
Products and Advertisers
Content goes beyond your posts and pages. It’s also a fundamental part of your product. A well-crafted product will speak volumes about your business. So will a poorly-crafted one. You should take the time to make any product you sell as professional as possible.
Take the time to hire writers and editors and designers and layout specialists if you have never written for online publications. Elance is an excellent place to find someone in all these specialities. It is less expensive than you might think, though you do get what you pay for.
If your goal is to attract advertisers, then your website is your product. Same principles apply. Make it as professional as possible. This is where good design comes in. You can go ultra-simple like Babauta or get complex, but it must be professional. Here are some very basic things
I’ve seen bad bloggers fail to do:
• Broken links/video
• Contact forms that don’t work right
• Poor spacing and centering of design elements
• Unnecessary functions
• Glaring color schemes
• Poor use of graphics
• Impossible to find anything easily
• No sales funnel while still saying there’s a product for sale (!)
The relationship between design and content is like the relationship between wrapping paper and a present. The present is the important thing, but if it’s wrapped up poorly or is difficult to open, no one is going to want to get to the content. The role of your design should be to guide people to the content they need at the appropriate moment.
This is why marketing automation is important. Marketing automation uses technology to deliver targeted marketing messages. If these messages have poor content or are delivered in poor manner, their effectiveness won’t be there. I go more into this in my blogging video series and my other products.
Every business blogger have had a major hurdle to overcome. It could be technological, it could be sales knowledge, it could be content development or something else entirely. Have you had a failed blog in the past? What happened? Let me know in the comments below.