This is probably the question I’m asked the most by new bloggers “When Should I Monetize My Blog” and I always give the same answer; “Don’t Monetize Your Blog” not yet anyway.
There is a common misconception that you start a blog then you make money, this idea is rolled out on almost every Internet marketing site, forum and money-making blog I’ve ever visited, they’re all wrong. What they’re actually doing is setting you up to fail, usually at the same time they’re trying to sell you one of their products, it’s a double whammy.
In this post I want to talk about why you shouldn’t monetize your blog in the early days, when you should start thinking about making money and how you should do it. If this isn’t what you want to hear because you need quick cash then sorry but I can’t help you.
Don’t Kill Your Blog
Have you ever landed on a new blog only to be met with adverts, eBooks, recommendations and the like, were you disappointed? I know when I find a blog that looks interesting the last thing I want to do is start spending money until I know I can trust the information.
Adding monetization to your blog too early will kill it stone dead. This is a mistake most bloggers make, they write a handful of posts then monetize the life out of them in the hope that some poor soul will click on the links, let me tell you they won’t. Granted there are some niches where you’ll have limited success but if you’re planning on building a long-term business then avoid this approach like the plague.
Nurture Your Baby
Let your baby growThink of your new blog as a baby, when it’s first born its helpless and totally reliant on you. Your baby needs food (content), love (traffic) and security (time) without these three things your baby won’t survive.
Can you realistically expect a baby to earn a living “no” so why would you try it with a blog?
Content – Using the analogy above; the first stage of earning money from your blog is to nurture it into existence, it needs content and lots of it. Depending on your niche you might hit the big time quickly; more often than not a successful blog can take 12-18 months to gain traction. It might not seem like monetization but regular engaging content is the first step in earning money, you need to build your reputation and gain your readers trust first, there are no shortcuts.
Traffic – The second mistake new bloggers make is monetizing traffic too soon. In the early days your blog will attract a few daily visitors, you might be lucky and get more but it’s still not enough. Most of your initial audience will be “casual” almost all of these people will stumble on your blog, have a quick look then disappear, let them go!
Your blog is a tool to build a following of repeat visitors, phase one (content) is what will build this following. Trying to sell something to a handful of people is a non-starter; success will come from building your audience.
This is a good time to mention an “Email List”, one way of retaining and building your audience is to ask people to join your list, this way you can keep them informed when you publish new content and invite them back.
Don’t start sending all kind of emails with offers, send useful information each time linking back to your blog; if you’re doing this right your information will be shared. If you need help with building a list read this: WTF–Email Marketing
Time - I am hoping the fact you’re reading this means you’re in the blogosphere for the long-term, if that’s the case what’s the rush with making money?
Time is your best friend, when your blog has been around a while and built a reputation you’re more secure, not safe just secure. This is the time where slowly you can introduce a small amount of monetization.
Any successful blogger will tell you it takes time to earn the trust of your readers; this trust will come from familiarity which comes from building a relationship over time. I hope you get the message, time is your friend, there’s no alternative.
The Trickle Monetization Method
Once you get to the stage where you have a regular flow of traffic, you can start to think about monetization. I like to use what I’ve aptly named the “Trickle Method”, in short you trickle your affiliate links or monetizing method over a period into your blog.
The point to using this method is it’s unobtrusive, when your visitor lands on your blog they’re not met with a tirade of adverts instead your affiliate links complement your great content and look natural.
Monetize a New Blog.
Personally on a new blog I avoid monetizing the front page, this is where I grab attention and invite people to explore my blog further. I am not saying you shouldn’t monetize your front page but I would avoid doing it until your blog is well and truly established.
The niche you’re targeting will dictate how much monetization your content can take without being overkill.
If you’re writing reviews then product links and comparisons will be expected but make sure the value is in your content. Any review that’s simply words encouraging people to click will fail; instead your review should be honest, accurate and useful. After reading your content your link should be a natural progression for your readers.
General content can be difficult to monetize, don’t force a link into it. The key is to add a small link which is relevant or an advert box that doesn’t catch the attention over your content. If you have the ability to style your banners or text links make them look like part of your content.
If you are building an email list on your blog then the same rules apply, don’t bombard your subscribers with affiliate links. Take the time to build the relationship by sending useful information, the odd affiliate link is acceptable if it’s relevant, maybe out of 5 emails one will have an affiliate link in it.
Where’s The Money
You should have noticed this post advocates building a solid blogging base first, relationships second, consolidation third and money fourth, if you haven’t taken these from the post re read it. Its quite normal for wanting to know “where’s the money”, here’s your answer:
- The Money is in Content
- The Money is in Relationships
- The Money is in Loyalty
- The Money is in Patience
Apologies if this isn’t what you want to hear but there you have it! Don’t monetize your blog until your blog is ready to be monetized. You will do your blog harm if you rush this process, blogging was never meant to be a money maker but with careful planning, patience and above all quality it can become a money maker.