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Starting a blog is a HUGE undertaking and definitely not a get rich quick scheme– despite what you may see out there! I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day and I kept seeing all of these pins with income reports and how someone made X amount of money in just 3 months, etc, etc, etc. While this may happen once in a blue moon, it’s NOT the norm! It got me thinking about some of the other things I’ve discovered as a professional blogger for almost 7 years– there are a few things that might surprise you!
#1 You Have to Spend Money to Make Money
If you want to create a profitable blog, you’re going to have to spend some money to make money. The good news isn’t it doesn’t require a huge investment. There are a few things that I invest in and credit with the success of my blog to date:
- Reliable web hosting. Your site can be amazing, but if it’s down often or slow, it doesn’t matter because many people will get frustrated and stop reading. I think it’s also important to self-host if you’re serious about monetizing your blog. Instead of waiting to make this jump, it’s a good investment to make in the beginning before you have a ton of content to transfer over! I use SiteGround as the host for my sites and you can get hosting for as low as $3.95 (along with a free SSL certificate) using this link.
- Premium WordPress Theme— If you want your blog to stand out, choose a premium WordPress theme instead of a free WordPress theme that you will see everywhere. You don’t have to spend a fortune for a custom designed site, but you can grab a great premium theme from $49-79 dollars (most use the Genesis framework). I use the $79 Isabelle theme from Bluchic and it’s one of the best blogging investments I’ve made! Restored 316 and Pretty Darn Cute Design also have some gorgeous, easy-to-use and customizable themes.
- Tailwind— Pinterest is my largest traffic referral and Tailwind has been a HUGE part of driving this traffic. I get over 600k impressions monthly and it’s continuing to grow. The Tailwind app allows me to bulk schedule pins and also provides some great analytics to track my Pinterest growth.
You Are Not Going to be Making Six Figures Within a Year
Contrary to what you may see floating around on pins in Pinterest, it’s EXTREMELY rare to make six figures blogging in a year or less. I’m not saying it can’t happen, I’m just saying it is in NO way the norm! Before you get discouraged– you can definitely make money blogging but it takes time and effort to do it well and reliably. I recommend getting a good body of work to share over a period of a few months before approaching brands.
Create a media kit and start reaching out to brands that make products you truly love and use often. You may need to exchange posts for product when you start out, but it’s a great way to get your foot in the door and get some brand experience to include in your media kit and use in your portfolio of past work. Once you have a few posts under your belt, start applying for sponsored campaigns.
Getting Sponsored Work Can Be Challenging and You Won’t Get Every Campaign You Apply For
There is A LOT of competition for sponsored campaigns and only so many to go around, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get chosen right away. It can take a while before you get your first gig, but it’s so rewarding! Make sure you check the different collectives and agencies that offer sponsored work weekly, so you can apply for available campaigns.
Take time to write a great pitch for why you should be chosen for the campaign. Brands read these explanations and it’s a BIG part of who they choose for the post. Sell yourself and what you and your blog can offer!
It Takes Time to Monetize Your Blog
As I mentioned above, it takes time to make money from your blog, so make sure your goals are realistic. While you work to build up your blog traffic, there will be months in which you make little to no money. That’s totally normal, and your income will increase as your traffic and social media followings grow. It takes time for search engines to index and start crawling your site regularly, so be patient– it’s worth it! It’s helpful to set goals, just make sure they are reasonable and attainable.
People Aren’t Going to Subscribe to Your Blog “Just Because”
One of the biggest surprises for me when I first started blogging was how hard it is to get people to subscribe to your blog’s mailing list. I had this vision that I would put my sign up box in the sidebar, at the end of posts, in a pop-up, etc. and my subscribers would just start rolling in. Unfortunately, that’s NOT what happened! I would get a few single subscribers here and there, but it was nothing to write home about!
My mailing list really started to grow when I got serious about creating an irresistible opt-in incentive. Your readers get SO MANY emails now, so you have to give them a really good reason to hand over their email address. Do some research with your audience and find out what they need or would find most helpful and use that as a springboard. Your mailing list is KEY to monetizing your site, so spend some time on getting it started right!
You Don’t Need to Be on Every Social Media Platform to Be Successful as an Influencer!
Social media platforms are ever-changing and it’s nearly impossible to be successful on each and every one. After you’ve been blogging for a few months, take a look at your Google Analytics to see which social media platforms are giving you the most referrals. Choose the top 2 and spend the bulk of your social media time on those channels. I’m not saying you have to completely neglect the other ones, but go where your traffic and followers are because that’s where you’ll see the biggest return on investment for your time.
Not Every Blogger Will Play Nice in the Sandbox
While the blogging community can be very supportive, I will be the first to tell you that just like any other group, people will still be catty and behave inappropriately at times. When people are behind a screen, they will often say and do things that they wouldn’t to your face and the same goes for blogging. Thankfully I have not been on the receiving end of this type of behavior, but I know plenty of other bloggers and influencers who have!
My best advice is to always be professional and treat everyone with respect both online and offline. While it may seem like there are a million bloggers out there, you would be surprised at how small it can be when something goes awry!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also love 15 Tips for Skyrocketing Your Pinterest Traffic and if you haven’t signed up with any agencies to get sponsored blog posts and social media campaigns, you can find out where I get mine HERE.
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