HSMS 03: Why Most Blogs Don’t Make Money + Keeping Control Of Your Business

Summary:

In this episode of the Help Start My Site podcast, we discuss why most blogs do not make money and where to focus your attention if you want to turn visitors into buyers. We also discuss how taking advantage of an update to YouTube this week will allow you to get more views on your YouTube videos, as well as the importance of keeping control of your own business.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Why most bloggers focus their attention in the wrong area.
  • What causes people to buy.
  • How you can make more money doing less work by taking advantage of automation tools.
  • How to retain your visitors and develop a relationship with them.
  • How to increase the number of views your videos receive.
  • The importance of keeping your business in your own hands.

Links And Resources:

GetResponse Email Marketing Service

5 Ways For Startups To Succeed Making Acquisitions

10 Things I Wish I Had Known When I First Started My Blog

The Blogging Entrepreneur

Early Retirement Planning – How To Make It Happen

7 Things I Learned From Launching A Podcast

Transcript:

Hello everybody, this is James McAllister bringing you episode 3 of the Help Start My Site podcast.

Wow, I can’t believe we’re already at episode 3. Seems like just yesterday this podcast was just an idea, and here it is, actually available for you here now. I think that’s awesome.

Anyway, today we’re going to be talking about why most bloggers aren’t making any money, and how you can change your strategy to actually make more money doing significantly less work and I know that sounds like a huge promise, but believe me when I say that I’m telling the absolute truth.

Later we’re going to be talking about a huge update Google made to YouTube this week, and how you can utilize it to increase the number of views your videos get on YouTube. We’ll also talk about how Amazon is shutting down one of their platforms and what this means for you.

For all of the show notes in today’s episode visit [this page.]

Alright, so let’s dive right into it. If you’re blogging and you’re doing so with the aim of making money, but you’re not actually getting the results you’ve wanted, pay attention because this is going to be extremely important.

First of all I want to make this clear. If you’re not making money, it’s not because you don’t have enough traffic. If you’re not making money, it’s not because you’re not writing enough articles. If you’re not making enough money, it’s not because your content sucks although that may be its own issue.

It’s become apparent to me that a lot of people do not actually realize what it is that results in money being deposited into their bank account.

It’s not traffic, it’s not content, and heck it’s not even your website at all.

You make money when somebody somewhere sends it to you.

Ok, let’s take a look at our blogs for a moment. Ask yourself this question honestly: what are you actually doing to convince people to part with their hard earned money?

You may be thinking, “well gee, I promote products as an affiliate!” (God help you if you’re relying on advertising revenue.) Anyway, great. Just promoting a product however does not mean somebody is going to whip out their credit card and purchase it then and there. If that were the case, everybody watching a football match would be broke by the time the second half started because of all of the commercials.

Clearly there is a lot more to selling than just promotion. Before a customer buys, they tend to look at two things – the product itself, and who’s selling and promoting the product – the brand.

So first let’s think about the product. Why do people buy products? Most of the time, it’s to solve some sort of problem. People do not buy products and then develop the problem the product solves; they acquire a problem and then buy a product to solve it.

So I’ll give you an example.  Say I’m a marketer promoting golfing products. What types of problems do golfers have? Well, there are plenty of them, which is why there are so many great products available for every aspect of golfing. From improving your swing to putting, there are info products for everything. The key is to figure out what problem your visitor actually has and then provide the product to solve that specific problem. If I had a website based around putting, it wouldn’t make any sense at all to promote new sets of entry-level golf clubs to the visitor, because it’s assumed that someone who is taking the time to improve their putting already has experience golfing and probably already owns a set of clubs.

OK, so you know that you’ve got to choose the right product. You’ve also got to choose the right promotion techniques and become someone that your potential customer wants to buy from. Here’s where many bloggers are making a huge mistake.

Get it into your head that your blog is not a business by any means. It is just a platform. Your business is promoting products to potentially interested buyers. So what does this mean?

It means that you shouldn’t be expecting the money you make to come from your blog itself. Now I know this is quite different than what a lot of people are led to believe, so let me explain something.

Before people are willing to trust you with purchasing advice, they’ve got to feel like your opinion is credible. They want to know that you actually know what you’re talking about, and you’re not just trying to make a quick buck off them. Your best results will come when you market to people who feel like you’re a friend rather than a stranger.

When people come onto your blog, most people will sadly not stick around. They’ll arrive on your site, read a page or two, and then bounce off. They will leave before they ever get to know you, and even if they are looking to buy something, you probably won’t be the person they buy from. Remember that the next website is always just a click away.

Therefore, you’ve got to do whatever you can to allow these people to get to know you personally. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to retain as many visitors as possible.

So how do you do this? It’s easy – you build an email list. On your blog, you do whatever you can to get people onto that email list, because if you can’t retain that visitor they’re gone and you’ll never make any money from them. Most people won’t become email subscribers, and that’s fine, but a small percentage will. Those are the people that matter, because those are the ones that are going to make you money.

Ok, so you get people onto your email list, but then what? Well, many email marketing services like GetResponse have something called an autoresponder, which allows you to automatically send out pre-written emails at set intervals to the people on your list, essentially building your relationship with them on autopilot. So for example, when somebody opts in to my free 7-day traffic building course, my autoresponder sends them out each piece of it every day until it’s over, and I actually have it set up to continue sending out emails out every few days for several months afterwards. Throughout my autoresponder sequence, I provide a ton of awesome value and allow the subscriber to get to know me, while also slipping in promotional emails every so often. In fact, the only reason my income is consistent at all is because those promotional emails are automatically sent out to new sets of people every day who already know and trust me.

If you haven’t been building an email list and you don’t have an autoresponder set up, you need to start doing that ASAP because that’s where most successful bloggers make their money. It’s not from their blog; it’s from their email lists. If you need an autoresponder, I highly recommend using GetResponse, which you can reach by visiting HelpStartMySite.com/go/getresponse again that is HelpStartMySite.com/go/getresponse and that is all lowercase.

I will admit that I am a GetResponse affiliate and I do earn a commission if you sign up through that link, but I do use their service myself with all of my sites and I absolutely love it. If you have any questions about them or autoresponders in general, feel free to shoot me an email at james@helpstartmysite.com.

So – if you’re not making money with your blog, perhaps it’s because your attention is in the wrong place. Without a strong business backend with your email list, without a way to build the relationship between you and your visitors, it doesn’t matter if you’re getting 1000 visitors a day or 10000 visits a day – they’re not going to turn into buyers.

Moving on to this week’s news in the internet marketing world.

First off, auto play is now on by default for all desktop users of YouTube. Now, you may have been experiencing this for a while now as Google has been testing this out for the past few months, but this week Google made the switch for all people. It really makes sense – Google wants more videos being viewed so they can make more money from advertisers.

Now, in most cases the video that gets plays next will be the top suggested video related to the one you’re already watching. We really don’t have control over what videos show up next to ours, and this can actually hurt us because it can take the viewer away from our channel and towards somebody else’s.

However, if you’re watching videos in a playlist, than the next video in the playlist will be played instead of a different related one.

So, the best way we can utilize this news and keep people on our channel is to put our videos in to various playlists. If your channel already covers a very specific niche, than you could perhaps make a playlist for each topic you cover. Going back to our golfing example from earlier, perhaps you could have a playlist for swinging tips and another playlist for product reviews or something like that. Get creative. And of course, be sure to have some sort of call to action at all of your videos. My personal recommendation as discussed earlier would be to encourage people to visit your website and sign up for your email newsletter. Retain those visitors!

In other news, Amazon began sending out letters this week saying that they’re shutting down their e-Commerce platform. Now I know that probably won’t apply to you, but it does teach a very important lesson – and that is keeping control of your own business.

A lot of people make the mistake of putting the heart of their business into another company’s hands. A common example would be people who rely solely on Google to send them traffic, or people who host their blog on a free hosting platform such as BlogSpot.

The problem is that these companies change their rules all the time and you have no influence on that whatsoever. You could be ranking well one day, and be delisted from Google the next. You could have 200 articles up on your BlogSpot blog one day, and then have your account terminated for accidentally breaking some hidden rule, losing all of your hard work forever. If you’re running a business and putting your heart and soul into it, why would you take that sort of risk?

Really, could you imagine building a blog on a platform like BlogSpot, spending months or even years to build up great content and finally build a following, only to wake up one morning and see that it’s gone with no warning? I would be devastated.

That is why it’s so important to keep as much control over your business as possible, and diversify everything that you can. You should always have multiple traffic sources and multiple income streams. This ensures that even if one of them gets knocked out or disappears for some reason, you still have a profitable business. You’re still safe.

You know, I am an investor. My family and friends do not invest and apparently don’t care to because I try to help them learn, but they constantly make excuses. They will come to me and say, “James, the stock market is risky! You’re going to lose all of your money!” but the reality is that the stock market isn’t risky at all if you know what you’re doing, and I actually wrote a lot about this in my book, “The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide To Business, Finance, and Life.” Anyway, the people that do lose money are the ones that do not diversify. They put all of their money into only a few stocks, and if one of them crashes than they lose a lot of what they’ve put in.

I put the majority of my money into something called an index fund, which actually tracks hundreds of different stocks. Even if 20 companies in my portfolio go completely bankrupt, I’m still at a net gain overall because there were hundreds of others that did well. Diversification saved me.

The same idea applies to online business. Never be in a position where one traffic source or income stream will knock you out. Never keep all of your eggs in one basket, and diversify as much as possible. In the event something bad happens, you’ll still be around to talk about it!

Alright, those are the two most relevant pieces of news for this week, not a whole lot went on but that’s fine. Now let’s look at some stand out articles published around the web this week that I think you should check out if you haven’t done so already. Again, the links to all of these will be in the show notes on HelpStartMySite.com

So starting out with #1, we have an article from Addicited2Success called, “5 Ways For Startups To Succeed Making Acquisitions.”

Now you may not be in a position to acquire another company or small business at this time, but that’s not to say you’ll never end up in that position in the future! I remember about a year and a half ago, I was working with a marketer who wanted to run a video gaming forum. If you’ve ever tried to start up a forum, let me tell you – it’s pretty challenging. People join forums to socialize, and nobody wants to join if there is nobody there to talk to.

Well, he needed a community to work with so I suggested to buy out an existing site instead of trying to build a community from scratch. He ended up spending a few thousand dollars to buy out, was it 4 or 5 sites? I can’t remember, but he bought a few sites, merged them together, and had a nice community to build upon. It was the right decision and he saved a ton of time and money acquiring a company that was already established.

Anyway, that can merit an entire episode for itself. Moving on to number 2, we have an article from Shade Of Info called, “10 Things I Wish I Had Known When I First Started My Blog.” I’ve actually known the writer of this blog, Andrew Warner for a while now and he does write from personal experience rather than just theory. This post talks about some of the mistakes he’s made personally, and advises people not to make the same mistakes he did. And what do you know, one of them was not building an email list like we talked about earlier!

Third we have an article from DonnaMerrillTribe.com called “The Blogging Entrepreneur”, and this article is actually a guest post by me. I talk a bit about my book “The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business, Finance, and Life”, why I wrote it, who it’s for etc. etc. It’s gotten a lot of great responses, and there are currently over 50 comments on the post and over 135 social shares, so people do love it. I’d really appreciate you checking this one out.

Fourth we have an article from Blogtrepreneur called, “Early Retirement Planning – How To Make It Happen” and this one is on personal finance. I know some of you diehard entrepreneurs may plan on working until you drop dead (that’s probably what will happen with me), but a lot of us want to retire early, or at least have that option available to us. This article will give you ideas on how to retire by the age of 30 – or even earlier. It’s certainly not easy, but these really are solid strategies to be able to retire as early as possible.

And finally, the article from Help Start My Site this week, “7 Things I Learned From Launching A Podcast.” The truth is, starting this podcast was a huge learning experience for me and was actually a lot different than what I had expected. I am not afraid to admit that I’m still a very inexperienced podcaster, and I was in for a lot of surprises when I sat down to record the first few episodes. If you’d like to know what was going through my head and what went on behind the scenes, be sure to check out that post.

Alright guys and gals, that’s all for this week’s episode of the Help Start My Site podcast. I appreciate you taking the time to tune into this week’s show, and I’ll see you at the next one.

Until then, make sure to pay me a visit on my blog, HelpStartMySite.com, and sign up for my free email newsletter if you haven’t already. See you there!

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About James McAllister

James is the owner of Help Start My Site. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. Here on HelpStartMySite.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, like him on Facebook .

Comments

  1. Hello James, What a great podcast, I loved all your advice, I did set up an opt in with an auto-matic first message, but I used a free service and love your advice to go to getresponse, perhaps one of these days. I also agree we should not put all of our eggs in one basket..
    Of course I did end up here from Donna’s blog where you were a guest, loved how you shared this in your podcast as well as the others.

    Great Share.. Thanks Chery :))

      (Quote)
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…3 Root Causes Stopping You From Succeeding OnlineMy Profile

    • Hi Chery!

      I appreciate your feedback on the podcast. I do recommend staying away from free services if possible (especially MailChimp) because these services honestly have no incentive to keep you around and they tend to be a bit ban-happy, especially towards marketers. Kind of hard to make money from an email list if you’re not allowed to promote products, haha.

      I love how my setup is with GetResponse because emails are being sent out every day to new sets of people with no additional work on my part after setting it up. I just wish I would’ve started building my email list sooner on all of my sites because my list is my greatest asset. Without it, I would be nothing.

      It’s great to see you here after meeting you over on Donna’s blog and I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the podcast!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…7 Things I Learned From Launching A PodcastMy Profile

  2. Hi James,

    Great podcast! Yes, your blog is not your business…you can’t believe that your blog is the only thing that will monetize. I do feel like my blog is just part of my business. We do need to do what we can to build our email list. Then send out emails to to engage with them. Give them move value than you do on your blog and then give the “pitch” I do use get response and love it.

    Thanks for bringing up the topic of building a blog on a platform that you don’t own. We need to have full control. We have to diversify just like you are investing in the stock market. Can’t keep our eggs in one basket can we?

    Thanks for mentioning your interview on my blog. Everyone seems to be engaging there like crazy.

    -Donna

      (Quote)
    Donna Merrill recently posted…The Blogging EntrepreneurMy Profile

    • Hi Donna!

      Yeah, I feel a lot of people are focusing their attention on the wrong aspects of their business. It’s great to bring people to your site, it’s great to get them to read your content… but that doesn’t bring you money.

      As far as free hosts go.. oh my goodness. I can’t believe people think that a free host is a good idea. Not only does it look unprofessional but you’re giving up complete control of your business. That is a nightmare waiting to happen, and I would never want to take that sort of risk.

      And of course, I am so thankful for the opportunity to have written on your site, I had to mention it here!

      Glad to hear you agree with me on these issues Donna!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…How To Turn Your Blog Posts Into A Kindle eBookMy Profile

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