Want to start a blog and make money? You can but don’t make my mistakes.
It was one of my 2017 goals to start a blog and make money. I am sorry to announce that not only did I start three blogs and three e-commerce websites but in doing so I made a lot of mistakes that I now am in the process of fixing. I did, however, manage to make some money so all was not in vain.
Just as a side note, I am currently having a six-month break from my traveling so that I can concentrate on this blog and building a brand on Amazon. I will close down the other blogs and my e-commerce sites and have a chance to evaluate my life. I have a leased mining claim so I have pulled up stumps and am living a low-key existence. I don’t have mains electricity and I cart water but I have my motorhome and outdoor marquees for shelter. I now have plenty of time so No Excuses. I am living a simple life with fewer distractions.
I wrote a post recently Why do blogs fail?, which outlined the journey I have been taking to evaluate and fix this blog. As I move forward I am fixing old posts and writing better ones so that I can help you avoid the mistakes I made and move forward.
Mistake one – wasting a lot of time and money
I did a lot of research and chased shiny objects which looked good but didn’t pan out once I had forked out money for them. I spent up to 70 hours some weeks watching webinars and videos and reading books and blogs. I joined so many email lists, as fast as I was reading an email and deleting it a new one was arriving. Eventually, I just deleted them all and unsubscribed.
I also spent time on sites that were supposed to help me get traffic to my website and finally realized that I got more traffic from writing and sharing on my own social media instead.
Lesson learned: stop with the information overload and concentrate on content and your own promotion.
Mistake Two – Trying to do too much.
Three blogs and three e-commerce websites and an offline business. I know it sounds easy to say just start a blog and make money. It does, however, take a fair amount of time and effort to put it all together. Working on everything and learning at the same time was ridiculous and I was failing miserably. Stress overload.
Lesson learned: spend time on one website or blog and educate yourself properly
Mistake Three – Not following a proven course of action.
I would start something and then change track and try to learn everything from lots of different people. I found I had information overload and got nowhere. I had an educational program that I had joined with a step by step plan and I went off track and tried to gather lots of information from lots of people.
I stopped chasing moonbeams and returned to my Wealthy Affiliate educational and hosting course and started following a plan of action. I continually learn and apply each lesson to my blog.
Lesson learned: take time to learn properly and take the steps needed in the right order.
Mistake Four – Not planning to succeed.
Some people make it sound easy to start a blog and it is, however without a plan to succeed many people give up often because they started off on the wrong foot. I urge you not to start with a free blogging platform and low-cost hosting. Many people who do so have to start afresh and this is so disheartening.
I see many people who feel that they can’t afford to start a website properly and then drop out. Statistics show that about 80% of people start an online business and give up. I believe it is because they thought that they could start cheaply without making any sacrifices and without proper education or a plan. Life just doesn’t work that way and neither does the internet, for most of us anyway.
Lesson learned: Set goals, have a plan and take action.
Mistake Five – Not writing to help people.
You do need to work out what you want to write about and how it can help people. I made the mistake of using my blogs as a journal and this was not helping anyone. Social media is a better medium for sharing a journal, not a blog.
Once you set up a blog and have an understanding of what you want to talk about, you need to find out if there is an audience looking for help to solve problems. You need to research and write information that will help them and offer products and solutions that will help.
Lesson learned: It is not all about me
Mistake Six – Not understanding the niche.
A niche is another word for a topic, subject or market. Wikipedia describes it, in relation to the internet, as a focused, targetable portion of a market. Within Wealthy Affiliate training, we are taught to narrow that niche down so that we are writing for a particular audience.
I had no idea of who I was writing for and how I could help them. I started different blogs within major niches including health, travel and this one which is a cross between lifestyle, travel, and blogging. I have started to concentrate on the blogging side so that I can help others learn and grow. I will continue to live a low-cost lifestyle and start traveling again but I will eventually use this blog to help people follow their dreams.
Who are my audience? People who also want to learn to blog and don’t have a huge disposable income and therefore need to start small and grow over time. My niche will expand out to lifestyle eventually so that I can cover more topics, but my target audience will remain low and middle income people wanting to build an online business so that they can enjoy life.
Lesson learned: understand who you want to help
Mistake Seven – Failing to market to a target audience
Once you have a blog, how can your audience find you? There are five main ways and I still didn’t get it right.
a) Search Engines. (what do people type or speak into search)
The main search engines are Google, Yahoo and Bing. You need to learn how to write good quality content that they like. This is referred to as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The training within Wealthy Affiliate focuses on always presenting a quality website and optimizing it so that it is liked and promoted by the search engines. There are many ways to advertise and market your website, but if you can get traffic from the search engines it makes life so much easier.
There are many elements to SEO. In my blog post, help me fix my blog, I discuss many of these and what I am doing to try and fix this mistake.
I have also found Neil Patel very helpful and full of information on this subject. You can find lots of advice on Neil’s YouTube channel.
b) Social Media marketing.
You need to learn how to set up social media profiles and share your website content with your followers. I made this mistake of spamming my profiles with posts like – here is my latest blog. Wow! how inspiring. You need to learn to spend time on each post so that you can tell people how reading your post will help them.
Because I was doing too much, I didn’t have time to spend on social media just talking to people and interacting with them let alone compose posts that were thoughtful and helpful.
c) Paid advertising.
You can have space within your blog to allow others to place advertising. Sometimes this can be done early and at others, it is done once you have a reasonable amount of traffic. I have not had any paid advertising placements and will be working on this in the future.
d) Word Of Mouth – speaking to people offline.
There are lots of people that you meet every day that could need the help you give on your blog. I have been too shy to tell people about my blog and have not used this marketing method. As my blog improves and I can feel proud of what I am writing, I will shout it from the roof-tops.
e) Offline advertising and promoting.
There is no reason you cannot put a classified in the paper to promote your blog or products. I will be making up some business cards and posting them on notice boards to help people who are looking for information. Most people can access the internet through their phones and can read your blogs. Think outside the square.
This is another area that I have failed to market my blog in, thinking that if I was talking about building websites and traveling then people would probably only find me online. What a narrow view.
Lesson learned: Social media is also about helping others, it is not a medium for blasting out advertisements. You can help others in lots of ways. Promote your helpfulness.
Turning things around
Now that I have completed most of the general training within Wealthy Affiliate, I am confident that I will continue to grow my audience and make money through affiliate referrals.
I am reworking all my old posts now that my training is at a higher level, and will continue to rework the training and apply lessons as I move forward.
The internet is always changing and I will be more prepared moving forward.
I will spend more thought on my social media posts and try to encourage followers to see me in a better light.
I am finally getting started on my Amazon side-hustle. More on this later.
Do you want to start a blog and make money?
I mentioned the program that I use for my education and hosting. You can see a full review of this website on my post Wealthy Affiliate Review. Please jump over and see for yourself the fantastic features on offer. You can join for free and have a look around and see for yourself.