I’m going to write very candidly, so you don’t waste your time. I know there are plenty of bloggers out there that want to make a living off their blogs and monetizing can be difficult. Some people have figured out tricks/rules/secrets and more but beware of the ones that aren’t really sharing anything worthwhile, and especially of the ones where you’re helping them more than they’re helping you.
Here we go:
1. The ones that aren’t written only to promote certain brands or products.
Many bloggers earn their income by promoting things through affiliate channels. They are usually required to disclose this to you, but the fact remains that they probably wrote a specific post for the sole purpose of promoting the product. I am not saying I have anything against sponsored posts, but I am saying that if you click on an article in the hopes of learning tips about blogging and there are links everywhere for a certain product (like BlueHost), then you have to decide how much of it is going to actually be helpful to you.
2. The ones that claim they have the secret for skyrocketing your blog traffic.
I love that there are successful bloggers out there who are willing to help others out, and hands up to them. I know I’ve read a bunch of useful articles to improve my blog. But when I see articles claiming they can show me how to dramatically increase my blog traffic and that they alone have this secret, I become skeptical. If it’s a secret, then why are there other successful bloggers with higher traffic than you? Is everyone using the same secret? Probably not. And likely, it’s not a secret, but these people are baiting readers to their site by using the word ‘secret’. If they do have a secret for increasing blog traffic, just know that secret probably has a price tag, so be prepared to pay for it.
3. The ones that claim they will show you something but bait you to their site only to promote an e-book or online course (even if it’s free).
I cannot tell you how many times, in the past week alone, I’ve clicked on a website in hopes of learning how this awesome blogger guru got 100,000+ followers or something and scrolled and scrolled and read and read, only to find that they want me to buy a book or sign up for a course in order to learn what they learned. That’s fine, I guess. But maybe the titles of these articles should be more like ‘become a cool blogger like me by reading this amazing book’. I would still click on the website, and I would be happy to read what I expected to read about…a book. Instead, I am often left clicking out of websites where the author gave me no tips, and only tried to convince me to buy something.
Now, bloggers that share some of their strategy and then tell you to continue reading elsewhere are smart, because they’ve proven that they have something that works and are leading you to where you can go learn about how to take those tools and make those tips work much better. I appreciate promotion that occurs in this fashion because then I don’t feel tricked. Some people haven’t written books but paid for books that really impacted their blogging strategy and I like when they share that. I know I would promote someone else’s book or course if I indeed felt that it made a difference in how I blog. Blogging is a community, after all, and if we can’t stick together and share advice, then what’s the point?
4. The ones that talk about income reports without details.
Apparently, some bloggers share their income reports in hopes of inspiring others to start their own blog, which is actually kind of awesome! I like seeing where people started off making $2 a month and then grew to over $5,000. BUT… I also am seeing that bloggers are making their income reports private and inviting you to their email list to continue viewing them month by month. Collecting email addresses for newsletters is a valid blogger marketing idea, but writing a whole article on the premise of your income report without sharing anything in that report is misleading. Another baiting tactic if you ask me.
And again, there are honest bloggers that write important details (those are the ones whose email lists I join), and you get way more out of the article.
5. The ones that talk about affiliate marketing without divulging how long it took them to be successful.
I have gotten used to these articles, so I don’t click on them anymore, unless I want info on what ad networks to join. But there are plenty of articles out there written by bloggers that want to promote, promote, promote, and don’t discuss how long it took them to start earning income, or which ad networks are better, or how the process works. Sometimes you’ll see a blogger who does go into these details in other pages of their website, which I like, but when I read an article that throws out the names of affiliates (or worse, no names at all) and goes on about how amazing being an affiliate is and that they earned $360 their first month but never explain how to enter the affiliate world or what to be cautious of, I start preparing my exit strategy.
Maybe this one is just me being picky, but if you came across an article that talked about how glamorous affiliate marketing is yet you don’t know how many accounts to create or where to start or if it’s even worth it for your particular situation or goals, would you recommend that article to someone else? In my program, I explain everything so you don’t feel lost!
6. The ones that have referral links embedded everywhere.
Sometimes bloggers will tell you exactly what affiliate networks they’re working with. How kind of them, I think to myself. Then, I go and follow their links and realize it is very unique to the blogger. These are called referral links, which means each time someone signs up for an account through the network’s website, the blogger who referred you through their article receives a credit. It could be 10% off their own membership or it could be $15 cash. I don’t think this bothers too many people, but in the time I’ve spent building my blog, I’ve created at least 5 accounts that I ended up deleting because I didn’t know how to use them, or they were unhelpful and probably only promoted by the blogger for the sole purpose of receiving the referral money. Not sure, but make sure you understand referral links so you can decide for yourself whether or not a particular account is worth creating. **Most of these accounts require you to sign up with your name, email, phone number, location (even income, marital status, etc. and that’s just not info I want thrown out everywhere!) before telling you what they even do, and that bugs me. I need info please!** I answer all questions you have about the accounts I use in my program, even the ones where I benefit from you joining.
7. The ones that say they will help you launch a blog, get increased traffic, etc. but do not offer one-on-one coaching.
A couple of months ago, I almost bought a blogging course. I was brand new and felt I had to learn from someone experienced in order to make blogging possible. However, when I asked if it would help me specifically with my goals, the person said that it only went through the basics of setting up a blog. I was already beyond that step, so if she could not answer specific questions, then I didn’t think it was worth spending money on her course. However, I later learned that she did offer one-on-one coaching, as other bloggers do, and I believe that’s where the value really is. If you want to monetize your blog and want to work alongside an expert, then save up. It could be worth your time, and you should definitely be paying people to help you if they’re taking the time out of their day to give advice on something that might have taken them months or years of their lives to perfect. I am willing to take people under my wing in my mentorship program, but I only accept a limited number of people to make sure everyone gets the quality time they deserve with me.
8. The ones that use percentages instead of numbers.
This one is the last one but one of the most important because it involves simple math. Similar to when stores post sales numbers that look good, but when you do the math, you realize it’s not that great (saying something is buy two get one free, or 20% off but they increased the normal value so it cancels the sale out), articles advertising a method for increasing your blog traffic by some ridiculous percentage doesn’t actually mean all that much. Going from 100 views to 800 views on your site gives you an increase of 800%. But is that really worth paying a couple hundred dollars for a course? Sometimes it looks better to use percentages instead of real numbers so that’s how certain bloggers will convince you that you MUST click on their site to find out how to make this magic happen. If it’s free information, read all you can and maybe you can try something that works for you if you modify it to cater your needs, but just know that if you click on articles like this, you may not always find useful information.
At the end of the day, it’s every person for themselves it seems. But there are great people out there who have researched and experimented and mastered their art. Sometimes they’re willing to mentor you and other times they’re not, even if you offer to pay. That’s just the way the world works, but I hope that by reading this article you can save yourself some time and maybe learn a little about the blogging world along the way.
Feel free to email me if you’re stuck on something or are completely lost, either way, I’m here to help you!