When to Focus on Monetizing
Let's get personal. Here's our timeline of income as bloggers:
In 2015, we decided we were going to make money as bloggers.
PLEASE NOTE WE MADE $0 THAT YEAR.
And we brought in only a couple thousand in 2016. It wasn't until 2018 that we could close our service-based business and rely 100% on our blogging income. Blogging FINALLY became a real business. (For those of you keeping track at home, that would be three years after we started trying to make money as bloggers and SEVEN years after we first started blogging.)
Blogging takes time.
Like I said before, you need to be in the for the long game.
So when should you start monetizing?
When You're Ready to Monetize
When you have enough traffic.
You don't need 100K page views a month to make money as a blogger. But you do need traffic. The general rule of thumb is that you need at least 30K/month to start making money and closer to 100K/month for a full-time income.
And while yes, we always hear stories of new bloggers who have 12 email subscribers and just made a million dollars from their first course launch, but that is NOT the norm. That's the exception. You need solid traffic and a good email list to starting selling.
When you’ve built an audience in your niche.
The magic number is 1,000. If you have 1,000 true fans, you can make it as a blogger.
And that is email list fans. Not Instagram followers or Facebook likes. Not even Youtube subscribers! Email is king.
When you have trust with your audience
Those 1,000 fans have to trust you! If they don't, they will never buy from you. You can build trust by being transparent, authentic, and sharing valuable free resources with your audience. (Like free email downloads to get people onto your email list.)
You can tell that your audience trusts you by how they interact with you. Do they reply to your emails or comment on your posts? Do they ask you good questions about your niche and seek you out for advice? If you have people actively coming to you for help and advice, you have their trust.
The Dangers of Monetizing Too Early
The long game means you don't make money from day 1 of blogging. This is GOOD. On day 1, it's too early. And if you monetize too early, you're setting yourself up for more headache.
It distracts from creating great content.
If you have a really short runway and you need your blog to profitable immediately, you need a different business. Before you can make money, you need to master creating great content. They don't teach this in school. Unless your previous job was managing a blog for a business, odds are blogging is 100% new to you. Give yourself time to master it!
Once you've learned how to write high-quality blog posts (1000+ words with researched SEO keywords) and show up consistently (posting every week or more often in the beginning), then you can learn monetization. Don’t put too much on your shoulders at once by trying to do everything at once.
NOTE: If right now you're thinking that you don't have an email list, you haven't practiced writing quality blog content, and you don't know what your niche is as a blogger, I highly recommend taking our (free) beginner level course on how to start a blog. We cover all those topics in more detail.
Master making great content—this is your greatest marketing asset for your future products—before you try to learn monetization.
You don't have a defined audience.
If you don’t know who you’re selling to yet, you can’t sell. Period.
If you don't know your niche or who your readers are, you won't know what products to create for them. Listen to your readers. Talk to them. Find your niche. Know who you'll be selling to before you sell anything.
No one likes someone who is always selling something. Jab jab jab right hook. (A must-read book for any content creator!)
Give more than you take always.
Or else you’re coming off as slimy. And you ruin the trust you have with your audience.
If you are desperate to make money online, it's obvious, guys. It's the slimy bloggers that give all of us a bad name.
You get into bad partnerships.
As a blogger, you’re going to get hit up daily with partnership opportunities.
Most of them are crap. Like this:
We probably get at least five of these emails a day. Lots of red flags in this email.
- It’s not addressed to me. I’m BCC’ed. That means they found my email address, got me on a spreadsheet, and just copied me and 100 other people onto a list. So lazy, guys!
- They don’t use my name or mention my website. This person has no clue who I am and if I replied, they would then do their research to see how we could work together.
- Their whole focus is hey you can earn commissions.
- But they don’t tell you what the product is. Is it a grill? Is it a dry rub? A BBQ sauce?
- And they don’t actually work for the product company! They are a marketing firm.
So many red flags.
While it’s super tempting to earn commissions ASAP, you want to find products that are a really good fit. I won't make any commissions on a BBQ sauce because people don't follow my blog for cooking tips. So even pursuing this opportunity would waste my time and likely make me $0.
Keep trust with your audience and don't jump into partnerships too soon.
Is your blog truly ready to monetize? Have you mastered writing content that people keep reading? Do you know what your audience wants?
Hopefully, the answer is a resounding HECK YES I AM.
Let's get into tactics.