The short answer is YES.
But if you can build a successful blog and brand, you’ll create a walled garden where you grow dollar bills.
As the technology barriers fall, creating a website is simply more accessible to more people and blogging is one of those things that seem “easy”.
Now, the issue when any barrier to entry for any market falls, competition simply gets tougher, allowing only the lucky and the talented to rise to the top.
So there is some truth to the concept that most bloggers “don’t make a dime” and that it takes a “long” time.
Your average person is not trained to think entrepreneurially.
They’re trained to get an education and get a job. So when people with this sort of background start blogs with the goal of making money, they are at a disadvantage against people who are highly skilled, have a lot of life experience and also have technical experience.
Newbies are just not aware of the games being played around them.
Most notably, networking and technical skills. Successful blogs and websites work together with each other. It’s call the internet for a reason. Connecting with other people who already have authority will help you get farther more quickly than just being an insular website, but bloggers just want to blog and have things work themselves out without having to do anything else.
This is not to discourage you from doing your thing online
Just be aware that you need to learn and apply constantly, you also need to be on at least one other platform (podcast or videos on YouTube ideally), you need to curate content around a single idea, and you need to be consistent with it.
As a beginner (beginners always suck), you’re just not able to achieve stellar results until you’re able to translate a skill set you already have effectively into the online space, or worse, you have no skills that people will pay you for.
Meaning, you could be someone who is great on camera, who writes really well, travels, can cook, whatever. It’s still going to take a lot of time developing all the other skill sets for you to be able to successfully build out a blog that makes money.
This applies to anything, not just websites. If you have talent for writing, can you just write for a newspaper with no experience? It always takes work, it always take a variety of skills, and the quite work of developing multiple skills is what separates people, even after the barriers have been cast aside.
A blog is not a business. A business is a business.
The other thing that new bloggers don’t get is simply the above sentence, a blog or website alone is not a business. A business is a business, and if you’re running a website where you’re not offering products or services for sale, you’re not building an email list, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby.
Now, there are always exceptions, like entertainment websites that make massive amounts of revenue from advertising. I’m just refering to your average smart person who has a job and wants to get started online and decides to create a blog.
It’s not complicated from a high level perspective
It’s really not that complicated. Step 1 is to build an audience, step 2 is to make products and services for said audience needs.
The complicated stuff is the details. It’s the how, the why, the “should I give up now, I’m not getting results” sort of thing. Most people get stuck at the audience building part. They create a lot of content and just hover at the 20-70 visitors a day mark after a few month to a year. Never getting to the level where they can make real money from what they do online (you need to hit at least 500 visitors a day from my experience before you start making any money).
Wondering what they are doing wrong.
It’s many things.
Blog artist vs. entrepreneur
People create new blogs all the time with the goal of generating a side income at the very least. I come across many very good blogs, but after 6-12 months of publishing, they hover around a few dozen visitors per day. It’s frustrating because others seem to achieve success more quickly. Many of these bloggers are smart, have good ideas and can write well. Some are even experts with years of experience.
But they still don’t get it. They don’t get that a website is not a business and that a blog alone is just a self publishing tool. Blogging and publishing content is just not enough and it won’t pay the bills.
Running a website that becomes a business requires business decisions, networking, market research and long term planning .
No blogging technology will help you with this. You have to give a lot of forethought to how you will generate profits from your website and this is not the same as just generating content with the goal of “if you build it, they will come”.
They won’t come. Which goes back to the feeling that most bloggers make nothing and a few are successful.
What I do, looks simple enough. I know because back in the mid-2000’s when I was working in corporate, I had the same attitude:
This guy is making money from THIS website? I could do that.
But what you don’t see is the quite work that matters. The work of building links, responding to emails, doing research, answering question, being active on social media, reaching out to other websites, creating content for multiple platforms, giving speeches, going to networking events, Skyping with other successful webmasters etc.
If you just visit this website, it looks like I just write blog posts about stuff I know. I do, but there is a lot more work beyond that.
So many think they know what they’re doing, think they’re experts, but still fall short of reaching their monetary goals because they are not prepared to manage the hidden complexity that dictate earning a substantial monthly income. They attend to details half way, getting some things right and other things wrong. Getting out classed by websites who do everything right.
Look, people don’t buy into ideas and websites that are half right.
Having a “blogger” mindset is a personal obstacle to reaching your goals with online business. Bloggers focus too much on website time, and not enough on money time.
Writing great content, epic content, whatever buzz word the internet is using now is important. But it’s just one element, by itself it’s not enough. It’s only a piece of a much larger puzzle. Just as a self published book or a computer game does not make money by itself. It needs a whole host of other systems in place for it to start producing income.
So yes, blogs take some time to make money, but not forever.
To be honest, what exactly was your income generating strategy in the first place?
Most fantasize about the various ways they could make money if they had an audience. But the reality is that new bloggers are very clueless as to how to make money from a blog. Publish, publish, publish and more publishing with not reason or strategy while having the hopes to build a following and then eventually earn an income is how most do it and thus fail.
I’m all for just launching and doing it and figuring out later.Ready, fire, aim if you will. But most just fire-fire-fire without ever implementing a strategy the requires one to aim.
You need to aim, or you’re going to fail.
Write out a simple plan for how your blog is going to make money
Don’t stress over creating a business plan, don’t even worry if you’re not particularly good at strategy and planning. Just come up with an idea of how you can get from $0 a month to $500 a month.
While it’s nice to think about a level of income that would change your life, focus on $500 first. You can wrap your brain around making an extra $500 a month. It’s a good stretch goal for new websites. I know it’s an arbitrary figure, but at this level you’re at least getting paid for the work you’re putting into the website, and it’s also something that is obtainable.
Ways to generate revenue
How are you going to make an income? Will it be offering a service? Advertising? Affiliate commissions? Selling physical products? A combination of things?
For most, the quickest way to make money early on is by offering a service. Get over the idea of passive income, focus on building a great business. As a web designer, it’s quite easy to hit $500 a month creating websites for people.
However you decided make money with your website, write it down as a basic strategy that you can refer back to as your monetization philosophy. It’s helpful to do this because it allows you to focus on where you want to go, what you need to do and more importantly, what opportunities are inconsistent with your philosophy.
Have a goal to build multiple streams, but know that the 80/20 parato principle will still apply
Your website will have one main income stream, one primary source. It’s a good idea to have some idea long term what that could be and thus to design your website around this stream.
Different marketing strategies require different approaches to take the most advantage of this stream. Think about what specific action you will want your visitors to take that will eventual make money from your website.
Don’t make this hard for yourself. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look at other websites, see what they do and decide what strategy could work well for you.
One trend today for example is to use free webinars as a way to establish preeminence then upsell a product or service at the end. You get traffic to the webinar by way of growing an email list or by using Facebook ads and driving traffic to a sales page.
For this site, YouTube tutorial videos, advertising, and website set-up seem to be an effective strategy at earning an income.
Lastly, bloggers may not make a lot of money because of another reason I’ve hinted at. It’s a lack of traffic.
Without traffic, without an audience, no income strategy matters.
Online, income is a function of traffic. If you’re good at generating traffic, it’s really hard to fail at making an income online. More visitors mean more everything else. More clicks, more shares, more emails, more readers, more subscribers.
So to answer your question concisely, it would seem that most bloggers don’t make money for the reasons I outlined. The fact that it takes so long is only so if you’re relying on Google and free sources of traffic. Yes, it takes a long time leveraging free sources. That why it’s required that you be on at least one other platform, producing content in one other format beyond text as a way to get attention and traffic.
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