Have you ever wondered why so many bloggers fail?
When you read the stats, it’s downright scary.
In fact, it’s enough to make you think twice about starting a blog.
Or maybe, it’s more personal than that.
Maybe you feel like your blog is failing.
But you just can’t figure out why.
You’re doing “all the right things”.
Posting to your blog multiple times a week. Or perhaps even every day.
Promoting your content on all the social networks you can think of…
Working hard to build your social media following…
Networking with other bloggers…
Yet despite all your effort – your blog is failing.
Or at least it feels that way.
With all the hours you are pouring into your blog, you’re still seeing little to no results.
Which leaves you questioning yourself.
Am I cut out to be a blogger? Do I really have what it takes? Maybe blogging is just not meant to be?
But what if I told you that it’s not you.
YOU are probably NOT the reason your blog is failing.
I touched on this in a recent post.
I am willing to bet that the problem isn’t you. The problem is what you’ve been told about blogging.
Or more specifically, what you HAVEN’T been told.
What if I told you:
The advice that you’re getting on how to make money blogging by many of the so-called blogging “gurus,” actually leaves a WHOLE LOT out?
You read that right.
You are only being told a part of the story.
A very small part at that.
And that’s the reason why so many bloggers fail. Bloggers aren’t being told what they really need to do in order to succeed with their blog.
And that makes me angry.
Listen, I’ve been in your shoes.
I questioned whether blogging was a good choice, even before I started.
And I still felt that way even after my first year of blogging
I remember being frustrated, overwhelmed and like a complete blogging failure.
And now I’m on the other side.
I have turned three different blogs each into a six-figure online business. Yes, three!
Having been on both sides of the failure/success blogging equation – I’ve learned A LOT.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that if you want to build a successful blog – one that makes money and changes lives – you need the WHOLE story.
Which is exactly why I built this blog. To share with you the whole story. To take you by the hand and walk with you step by step through your blogging journey.
In this post, I want to start at the beginning of the story.
Looking at some of the biggest reasons why bloggers fail.
Why is this important?
If you’re going to make it on this journey we call blogging, you need to know the truth.
Maybe you’ve been wanting to start a blog for a long time, but you’ve been holding back because you just weren’t sure if you have it in you to do what “they” tell you it takes.
Or maybe you already have a blog, but you’ve been struggling like crazy because you’ve been following old, outdated advice.
The purpose of this post is to set you free.
To help you start to understand what it really takes to build a successful blog. So that you can think about it, and decide what’s best for you.
I’m going to do this by tearing down four big blogging myths and sharing the truth with you.
Blogging Myth #1: Starting A Blog Is Fast and Easy.
I’ve read just about every article on the first 10 pages of Google’s search results for the search terms “how to start a blog” and “start a blog.”
All of the advice follows a disturbingly similar pattern: “X easy steps to starting a blog,” or “Start a blog in X minutes or less.”
The numbers seem to range from about 3 steps to 10 steps and 7 minutes to under 30 minutes.
What these gurus aren’t telling you is that they’re literally just showing you how to build a bare-bones blog.
They leave everything else up to you to figure out.
Now if you’re only interested in being a hobby blogger, then that’s totally fine.
But if you actually want to make money blogging – you need a whole lot more than that.
Building a successful blog requires a heck of a lot more than just 10 steps, and it takes way longer than 30 minutes.
Starting a blog with the intention of making money blogging, takes a significant amount of time and work.
Three to six months at 20-25 hours a week to be exact. If you want to do it right, and you don’t have 40+ hours a week to put into it that is.
Here’s the thing. If you look at the path to a successful blog, the actual part where you start your blog – is well past the halfway point.
In fact, there are five KEY steps that come before that. These steps are CRITICAL for building a successful blog.
They are the steps that actually SET UP your blog for success.
And for each key step, there are a whole lot of smaller steps.
Do you see why I say it takes time and work?
So that’s the first reason why bloggers fail. Bloggers are not taught the key steps they need to follow to build a blog that is virtually guaranteed to succeed.
And by the way, I’ll be digging deeper into these steps in upcoming posts.
Blogging Myth #2: You Have To Create A Lot of Content.
How many times have you been told that you have to create a lot of content?
The advice seems to range from anywhere between 3 blog posts a week to posting every day.
Can I share a secret with you?
When it comes to blog posts, it’s not the QUANTITY that counts. Your readers want QUALITY content that makes a difference in their life.
When it comes to creating content, there are two things that you need to think about: the quality of your content, and how your content is presented.
The Quality of Your Content
How often have you lamented over how busy you are?
I’ll bet you feel like you never have enough time, even for the important things in your life.
It’s not just you.
It’s most of us.
And “most of us” includes your readers.
What you have to remember is that your readers aren’t just reading YOUR blog. They’re likely reading at least a half dozen blogs or more.
Do you think they have the time to read 7 posts a week from your blog alone?
And do you know what people will do when they feel like they can’t keep up with your content?
They won’t visit. They’ll find someone who can give them the information they need in a more efficient and concise manner.
Simple as that.
And really, who has time to create that much content?
I certainly don’t. Do you?
I would guess probably now.
Which is why bloggers fail.
If your goal is not realistic, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Plus, when you spend most of your time creating content, you end up neglecting the things you should be doing to actually grow your blog and business.
So how often should you post?
There is no real formula. However, when you are starting out I would recommend at least once a week.
Once you have a good amount of content, you can dial that back and focus on promoting that content and keeping it updated.
How often you post depends on your topic, your audience and your goals.
Either way, instead of trying to post like crazy, focus on posting less often, but creating quality, “meaty” posts.
Not only is it more doable, but your readers will also love you for it.
How Your Content Is Presented
Another way in which the vast majority of bloggers go wrong is in the way in which they present their content.
If I had one word to describe it – it would be RANDOM.
Think about your favorite book for a minute. It could be either fiction or non-fiction.
Imagine that you rip out the table of contents and throw it away. Then, you rip out all the chapters in your book – chapter by chapter.
Now imagine that you shuffle those chapters (like you would a deck of cards), stack them, and bind them back into a book.
What do you think it would be like to read that book?
THAT is EXACTLY what most blogs are like.
And THAT is the reason that you’ll see blogs with absolutely AMAZING content, still failing.
If you really want to make money blogging, the goal of your blog should be to change lives.
Changed lives lead to loyal fans who become lifelong customers.
In order to change lives, you need to organize and present your content in such a way that makes it easy for your readers to find the information that they need.
Your content should also lead your readers down a path. A path that takes them from where they are now – with whatever they are struggling with – to where they want to be.
For example. Let’s say you have a blog that teaches people how to start knitting. You can’t just create a post on the supplies they need to get started and then jump to teaching advanced projects.
You need to create posts that give them all the information that they need to take them from being an absolute beginner to advanced knitting projects.
It’s not hard. It just takes a little work. Want to see an example? Check out my page How To Make Money Blogging. I’ve put together all the posts I have created to date on how to make money blogging. But I have organized them so that they start with the absolute beginner. Each post then builds on the post before.
Each new post I create for that category will continue to walk my readers step by step down the blogging success path.
So let’s summarize blogging myth #2, because this is important.
I really want you to get why creating too much content is bad, BAD advice.
First off, it leads to blogger burnout. The “blogger lifestyle” is supposed to be about having the time in our lives for the things that matter. Killing yourself creating content is NOT what the blogger life was ever meant to be.
Second, spending almost all of your time on content creation will leave you too little time and energy to focus on the “needle movers.” Those activities that yield big results in your business. Content is important, but it’s NOT a needle-mover.
Blogging Myth #3: You Have To Promote Your Content Like Crazy And Build a Big Social Media Following.
You tweet it, Facebook it, YouTube it, Pinterest it, and Instagram it. You wonder if you should also Snapchat it, Google+ it, Reddit it, Medium it, and whatever the new social media platform of the month is.
Is it any wonder you feel like your smartphone is attached to you 24/7?
Sleeping, eating, walking, driving, working out, having fun…social media is your constant companion.
Not even pooping is sacred.
5 times, 10 times, 20 times or more a day you’re checking into your social media networks because you’re deathly afraid you’ll miss your chance to “meaningfully engage” with your followers.
Give it a rest.
Despite what everyone is telling you – social media is NOT the be all and end all of your personal and blogging success.
Do you know how many “social media influencers” I know who aren’t making any money?
Or very little money compared to the time and effort they’re pouring into their “social media strategy”?
Look, promoting your content is definitely important. But simply posting your content on social media is not actually promoting it.
And yes, social media CAN definitely help your business – BUT you don’t need a huge social media following to have a successful blog.
I have built several really successful blogs without the use of social media.
Am I saying that you should ignore social media?
Not at all.
What I’m saying is:
You don’t NEED to be on every social media platform, and you don’t NEED a big following. You simply need a SMART social media strategy.
So to summarize myth #3.
If you’re not careful, social media can become a HUGE time suck.
Bloggers who spend too much time obsessing over their social media following usually end up wasting so much time on social media that they end up ignoring the REAL needle-movers in their blogging business.
Blogging Myth #4: You Need To Wait Until You Have A Big Audience to Monetize Your Blog
This myth ties into the last one. And actually, it’s two myths in one. Let’s take a look at each of them separately.
You should have a big audience before you monetize your blog
A lot of bloggers have been told not only that they have to build a big audience, but that they have to wait until they’ve built a big-enough audience before they monetize their blog.
Do you know why that is?
Because the common methods of monetization that are taught RELY on a big audience.
You know the ones I’m talking about.
Ads. Sponsored Posts. Amazon and other low-profit affiliate marketing.
With ALL of these methods, if you want to make more than latte money, you NEED a lot of traffic and a big following.
But what if I told you that these methods are actually the slowest and least effective ways to make money?
Because it takes TIME to build a really big audience.
How big is really big?
Well, in order to start seeing money in the hundreds of dollars or thousands of dollars every month, you need to have traffic in the hundreds of thousands every month.
And why do I think they’re not effective?
A Closer Look At Ads
When it comes to ads, they’re not effective because they annoy your audience.
There is nothing more irritating than having one’s reading experience interrupted by a bunch of ads. Especially when the ads have nothing to do with the blog’s topic or the content of the article.
It’s even worse on mobile.
Every time I visit one of those ad-infested blogs, more than half my screen is taken up by ads. Then, when I try and click on the “x” button to close the ad, I end up getting redirected to the ad because the button was so darn small I accidentally clicked on the ad instead of the “x”.
Your audience needs to feel like they are getting VALUE from your blog.
If ads aren’t adding value and are instead taking value away because they are creating a negative reader experience, then they should have no place on your blog.
At least that’s my opinion – and I realize it’s a controversial one.
A Closer Look At Sponsored Posts
Then there are the sponsored posts.
In other words, posts where bloggers are being paid to give their opinion.
Hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of dollars.
What do you think would happen if the blogger’s opinion is that the product is crap?
Think about it. If a blogger gave a negative review of a sponsor company’s product, do you really think other companies would be eager to pay them for sponsorship?
Of course not.
So where does that leave the blogger?
Either being inauthentic OR turning down sponsored post opportunities.
The first costs you your integrity, the second costs you money.
A lose, lose situation either way.
Not to mention the fact that these days with all the scams going around, people are CYNICAL.
You personally may have the BEST intentions. You may be 100% authentic. And it may very well be that you ONLY promote stuff you truly believe in. But the question is, will your audience believe that?
The SAD TRUTH is that there will always be a percentage of people – a large percentage – who will choose to believe the worst when you’re being compensated in any way.
Does that mean you shouldn’t monetize with sponsored posts?
That’s not what I’m saying at all.
The message I want you to take away is not to rely on sponsored posts as your primary form of income.
A Closer Look At Low-Cost Affiliate Marketing
As for low-cost affiliate marketing (marketing products from places like Amazon), you get paid peanuts per sale. Literally pennies on the dollar. Which means that in order to really make money – you need…wait for it…a really big audience.
Just to give you some perspective. One popular blogger I know promoted an Amazon product to her audience of 300,000 and earned $1000.
Now $1K is nothing to sneeze at, but did you catch how big her audience was?
Do you know how long it takes to build an audience that big? For a social media Energizer Bunny – probably a year. For people who don’t have time to post to their networks multiple times a day 24/7, it’s a lot longer.
Does that mean you shouldn’t be an affiliate for these low-cost products?
Just don’t rely on them as your primary source of income.
So just to reiterate.
If you are reading this and you already have a large audience, then these methods of monetization may mean quick money for you.
If you’re just starting out, and you have little to no audience, then I WOULD NOT recommend using ads, sponsored posts and low-cost affiliate marketing as your PRIMARY METHOD of monetization.
Why? When you hyper-focus on building an audience, you end up ignoring more important things. Things that will have a bigger impact on your earnings.
So what’s the alternative?
By far, the most profitable way to monetize your blog is through DIGITAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES – either your own or ones that you promote as an affiliate.
You can start monetizing in this way right from day one.
And you can start making really good money, without needing to have a large audience.
I personally know bloggers who are making thousands of dollars with an audience size of less than a thousand.
Which brings me to the issue of waiting.
How long should you wait before you monetize your blog?
Should you wait to monetize your blog? At least until you’ve started to develop a following?
Here’s the problem with that.
When you give and give and give to your audience – whether that’s on your blog or on social media – you attract an audience of tire-kickers and freebie seekers.
They are more than happy to consume your content. Then, when you charge, they start accusing you of “selling out.”
Yes, I speak from experience.
Not only mine but the experience of many other successful bloggers.
Online entrepreneur and blogger Ramit Sethi of the blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich has a GREAT story about this.
When he released his VERY FIRST e-book – Ramit’s 2007 Guide to Kicking Ass – for $4.95, he got tons of flak from his audience. He was accused of “selling out.” Despite the fact that he had been giving away quality content for FREE, for ages.
So what’s a blogger to do?
Have a product available for sale on your blog right from day one. Or, as soon after the launch of your blog as you possibly can.
When a new reader arrives at your blog, they’ll see your product, and immediately a mental shift will occur.
They’ll see you as a business, rather than just as a blogger.
And as a result, they’ll take you more seriously. Then, when they see you promote other products, they won’t get offended.
So to recap.
The last big reason why bloggers fail is that they wait too long to monetize and they choose methods of monetization that are slow and ineffective for a small audience (which all new bloggers have).
So the lesson here?
Don’t wait to monetize and be smart about HOW you monetize.
The Secret To A Successful Blog
In this post, we’ve looked at some of the main reason why bloggers fail.
Which of these myths do you think has been holding YOU back in your blogging journey?
Is it one? Or more than one?
A point I want to drive home before I end this post is that all of these reasons why bloggers fail that I have shared today – comes down to ONE thing.
Very few people are teaching bloggers the right way to build a successful blog.
The secret to a successful blog – a blog that changes lives and makes money – is to follow a tried and true strategy that teaches you how to start a blog that attracts readers, converts them into subscribers and woos them into becoming life-long loyal customers.
So if you’re still thinking about starting a blog – then by reading this post – you’ve avoided a landmine. Follow the blogging success path, and you won’t fail.
If you already have a blog, and it’s struggling or even failing, I can pretty much guarantee it’s because of your strategy. Or more specifically, your lack of strategy. If this is you, then please read the post Why Your Blog Is Struggling And How To Fix It, because it will help you figure out where YOU may be going wrong.