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Why Mom Didn’t Make it as a Blogger

This guest post is by Chris The Traffic Blogger.

We always hear stories about the people who eventually succeeded as bloggers … but what about the ones who didn’t?

What of those millions of people who heard that you could make money online, tried it, and eventually gave up? Why aren’t those stories shared and, more importantly, why don’t we discuss the reasons these people failed? Here is but one story in a sea of millions that can shine some light on the subject.

What does it mean to fail as a blogger?

For some, money is not everything in this life. They value relationships, connecting with others and sharing time together more than anything. This is exactly the mentality my mother had when she began her own blog. She wrote about life as a mother of five children, her incredible ability to cook great food with awesome wine pairings, and her love for her faith.

Her articles were well written and thought-provoking, funny sometimes, and even touching. Having read through her first few posts, I thought to myself, “Wow, my mom is really going to do this and be an awesome blogger.”

However, she failed.

Having seen myself making $10,000 a month with a video gaming blog, my mother thought that she could try her luck at it as well. After eight months and only $2.14 for her efforts, she simply gave up. To her, yes, blogging was fun, but it was too much like a job and she still had a little one to take care of at home. There just wasn’t enough free time for her to justify writing as a hobby with no income to show for it. Despite my best efforts to show her how to draw traffic to her site, she simply gave up due to the learning curve and time involved.

My mother didn’t fail because she couldn’t write, or because she didn’t have a revenue stream. She was an excellent writer and had AdSense/affiliate links on her site in good locations. She failed because she lacked connections and social interaction with her potential audience.

Where things went wrong

Here are how the conversations went with my mother, and here are the responses she had to them. If this sounds like you, stick around because I’m going to show you how to be successful with your blog traffic.

Me: You need to sell something.
Mom: But I have nothing to sell. I don’t own anything.

My mother thought that because she didn’t have a pre-written ebook that she couldn’t make money online.

First off, I didn’t have an ebook when I first started out. What I had was grit and determination to find my audience and market products to them. My mother lacked this, nor did she want to start to learn how to do it. Her fundamental argument is flawed, however, because she did have something to sell: her opinion. Mom had great ideas, great outlooks on life, she was entertaining, and often made people think with her posts. That’s what she could have sold.

Maybe that would have taken shape as an ebook on how to pair wine with food, or maybe it would be life lessons from a mother of five children. I don’t know, but she did have something only she could sell and I’m sad it never came to be.

Me: Mom, you need to read other blogs and forums, then post comments on them.
Mom: I don’t have the time and they don’t know me.

Despite my mom’s expertise in three separate niches, no one knew about it. All she needed to do was start visiting blogs and forums and comment on them, and she would have started developing a following rather quickly. She’s a smart, witty woman with a lot of talent, and it would have been obvious to everyone she interacted with that she knew her stuff.

Sadly, she equated leaving comments at these locations to knocking on doors like a salesman, or preaching in front of random people on the street corner. She didn’t see it as the networking opportunity it really was.

Me: Hey Mom, did you contact any bloggers this week?
Mom: Yes, but I haven’t checked my email in over a month.

When Mom was first starting out, she did make an effort to contact bloggers … well, at least the ones I found for her, and whose email addresses I sent to her. But she never followed up (one even wanted to do a guest post swap!).

Due to time constraints, my Mom never was able to do the essential tasks necessary to manage her PR efforts. Following up seems like a no-brainer, but when you don’t check your email more than once a month, it’s virtually impossible to have a conversation with anyone!

Mom can still succeed

This is it: the part where I show you how she (and you, if you sound like my Mom) can turn things around.

Let’s say my Mom can spend three hours per week blogging. Here’s how I would change her schedule from 100% writing to a different setup, and get her on the path towards blogging success.

1. Spend one hour emailing and responding to emails.
2. Spend one hour commenting on blogs and participating on forums.
3. Spend one hour writing posts.

Yes, she would write one-third of what she was creating before, but she would have a far greater number of interactions with people. Simply improving your own blog is not enough—you have to get out there and connect with your potential audience.

In fact, that’s all you need to do: go out there and find your audience. It seems simple, but to many it feels like added work because they spend all their time writing. Freeing up time solves half of this issue. The other half is getting over the fear of sounding like a salesman. Entering into a conversation and leaving your intelligent opinion on the matter is all you really need to do to avoid sounding like a salesman.

If you need help finding your audience, try searching Google for “[your niche] + forum” or “[your niche] + blog.” Then, after you find a few sites, try looking through their links and blog rolls for additional sites to check out. Get involved, build relationships, and most importantly, have fun! That’s what it’s all about!

Chris is a self proclaimed expert at showing bloggers how they can get traffic, build communities, make money online and be successful. You can find out more at The Traffic Blogger.

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Comments

  1. mom-mom-mom says:

    I relate to your mom’s views about commenting. If I don’t have anything to really offer to the conversation, I just prefer to lurk. I need to get over that otherwise I will end up lurking at my deceased blog! Thanks for the wake-up call.

  2. Lou Barba says:

    Hi Chris,

    What you say is true on one hand. On the other hand, and you can quote me on this, “If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you ARE successful. Everything else is more than enough.”

    Lou Barba

  3. Diana says:

    if people don’t have the drive to make it a success, then it won’t work.
    You have to really want it to work. And understand it won’t come to you overnight.
    There are severe ups and downs to blogging, running your own business, etc.
    Those who are successful can keep going through the bad times.
    I taught my mother how to use Twitter and blogging, and engage with others. I told her to thank her followers for RTs and to always reply to comments. She’s doing it.
    Sometimes it gets really overwhelming, but this is what you want right? So do it.

  4. Great story- excellent advice!

  5. T.Lee says:

    My favorite auto mechanic told me his wife would never bring her car to him for repairs. She always goes to the dealer. Your mother may avoid your advice because she wants to do it her way. Confidence may also be an issue. Confidence is the number one factor holding all writers back from reaching their full potential.

    And who’s to say your mother failed? Success is a matter of perception (just ask Charilie Sheen, lol). Traffic is but one of many factors used to describe success.

    Unless a blogger has lost their job, house, or spouse because of blogging I can only imagine the blogger has come out ahead after a spell of blogging. The writing alone, the formulation of thoughts then wrangling them onto a page, is healing, invigorating, productive. Blogging cannot be done without the engagement of the brain (though some have tried to do this) so a bloggers neurons are fired up, learning and thinking, tick, tick, tick. This is especially beneficial to moms who are often braindead from sleep deprivation and the constant pull in one hundred directions.

    If blogging makes a person happy, that person is succeeding at blogging. If you’re mother truly enjoys blogging, then there IS enough time in the day to justify writing as a hobby. Time spent on mental well being is always justified.

  6. Gene says:

    One of my friends called me and ask me why his blog is not successful and the thing is, I tried to comment on his blog and the comment never showed up on his blog. I called to ask him why and he said he didn’t want all that spam on his blog. I could not convince him otherwise and he finally gave up.

  7. Carol Traynor says:

    Before I did it for my employer, blogging seemed liked a silly idea. If you want to be more connected to people, why not just call a friend?? I’ve come around in my thinking though and really liked your advice to the struggling blogger–mom or otherwise.

  8. KenPaul says:

    Refining a blog’s target niche?

    If an important goal was to generate some decent earnings, it seems like she needed to refine her blog’s target niche in addition to improving her marketing. Perhaps if she just focused on “awesome wine pairings”, she would have been able to have more success?

    I have a friend who has tried blogging in two broad topic areas. He hasn’t been successful after year’s of posting (one averages just 15 visits a day after 200+ posts over 16 months). One reason seems to be the topics are too broad. I think he needs to change the focus to a more narrow niche.

    It’ll be interesting to read some articles on creating a new blog with a more narrow niche from an existing unsuccessful blog.

    Also, an interesting poll would be financial success from broad vs narrow niche blogs in the last 3 years. My guess is that there are extremely few financially successful blogs covering broad niches that have begun in the last 3 years that were started by a blog newbie.

  9. Thank you for the fabulous advice. I find balancing writing, reading other blogs, my son, my volunteer work, my job search and everything else so trying sometimes. I love the idea of limiting the hours I spend blogging and making those hours more productive–this will help me to keep my urge to research, research, research at bay:)

    Now that blogging has become more mainstream, I think success with this platform (by whatever definition you choose) has become mystified. Thank you for breaking these ideas down so bloggers can achieve their idea of successful blogging!

  10. This article is well-timed for me. I was just talking with some colleagues about not being afraid to fail, simply because of how valuable the lessons learned through failure can be. What you’ve done is exactly what everyone should do: you’ve broken down each element of this particular failure and examined them. This allows one to learn from their mistakes in a great way. Everyone should be doing this every time something doesn’t work.

  11. Kyle Logue says:

    I like how you put that interactivity is valued more than rich quality content. Opens my eyes to what I place my emphasis on. Of course, I’m doing that interactivity thing now just by posting this comment :)

  12. Robin says:

    Chris,
    Thanks so much for today’s post! My son basically dared me to begin blogging and I finally began in January. For me, it is a way to work on improving my writing skills, and also to get some of my stories written for my family. I will be taking several of your suggestions to heart.

  13. Mona says:

    Love this! And love the story format. Well done. Bravo. Kudos. Okay. I’ll shut-up now.

  14. Tamara says:

    I like the example of time spent blogging, answering email or for me conversing with my twitter followers & Facebook fans. I have also started commenting on more blogs. I do need to explore new blogs in my niche as I don’t think I do that enough. And like what someone said if you have only been blogging less than a year, you have to be patient with the process of growing your blog audience.

    • I can echo these sentiments. I was born, B.C. (Before Computers). I am closer to the author’s mother’s age than I am to his/her’s. I can write and after 23 years, I understand insurance. I do fairly well responding to emails but am still not comfortable commenting on blogs. I have looked for educational blogs about insurance that are similar to mine but all the ones I have found are nothing but commercials and I have a hard time thinking of anything positive to say. As a result, my on-line interactions are not as good as I would like.

  15. Tom says:

    I got a huge boost this week for my blog. It’s all about sales for plumbing technicians, and one of the top trainers in the field has been sending people there all week after i contacted him and asked him to take a look.

    Goes to show you never know who’s going to be in your corner helping you out. :)

  16. This is so helpful. I’ve only been blogging a little over a year now and I am still learning so much. My site is finally up and has a decent setup, but I have a long way to go.

    Your post will guide me in the best direction to build an audience. I know this can work so I will arrange my time as you suggest and see what happens. Thanks for this info I look forward to learning more.

  17. Wise words – and how hard to follow! I *know* that time spent commenting on other blogs is worthwhile (why else would I be here, LOL?) but because the result isn’t as immediate or obvious as a blog post written and published it’s hard to remember!

  18. I have been blogging since 2008 and only recently decided to monetize my blog, interesting ideas you present. I suppose though as a writer its hard for me to think about this a profit making venture and devote less time to the writing but I may give your ideas a try. Thanks

  19. This is exactly why I started Let’s Blog for Money http://LetsBlogForMoney.org. There are lots of people out there who just want to make a little money from their blogging or who need a web presence to support their offline business. But, it takes more than just putting up a blog, writing eloquently, and being passionate. The recommendations here are excellent. I also create a Social Media calendar where I include emailing, reading, and writing, as Chris recommended. I include Tweeting and Facebooking, and YouTubing. This helps build authority, as well as traffic to your site.

    My blog (one of 3) is designed to take visitors through a step-by-step example of creating, optimizing, and monetizing the site. I’m using the ProBlogger book as a backbone underpinning these efforts. (Darren, I think this is a good guide, but folks need to SEE what to do, as well as read about it). I’m inviting guests to share their expertise on things I only know as a blogger, not an expert.

    I’d love to have both Chris and Darren come share their knowledge. I invite readers to visit my site and comment on their experiences as a blogger. My goal is to help small and medium sized businesses who can’t afford to hire this work out. Thanks for sharing your insights, Chris.

  20. My mom loved reading this and all your comments everyone. She said that she may start up again in the summer! Thank you for your support.

  21. Michael says:

    This post got me back into the game! I had my blog running for two months spending about 20 hours a week on it, and still had to go to school meaning for two months my life consisted of nothing but school and blogging. Well it’s no surprise that I got burnt out quick. I stopped and for two months I didn’t work on my site at all. Until today, your 3 hour a week idea is really what I needed to hear. It is so incredibly simple yet I suddenly see how I don’t need to spend endless hours on my site to make money. If I diversify my time I’ll be much better off. Thank you for this post it is really helping me out.

  22. Meredith says:

    I just started blogging 2 weeks ago to promote my children’s photography business. At first i felt stupid because who is going to read it besides my mom? Now after just a
    few posts I’m really enjoying it! I never thought about networking through other blogs. I read several religously….now it’s time to join the conversation! Thanks!

  23. Thanks so much for this encouragement! I have a new blog, have acquired a few readers, and the search engines are already pulling it up. But it’s so quirky, and finding a niche is not all that easy. Thanks for the advice, and I’ll certainly make an effort to follow in your footsteps.

  24. I think I have the hardest time with following up with people. I get a couple of emails from people wanting to swap posts but their blogs are so spammy that I just don’t respond to them. Should I be writing them back politely declining?

  25. Tristen says:

    Being new to blogging myself. I found this article to be great and full of useful information. I’ve has success online and I know that persistence is key. Always remain possitive don’t give up and never be afraid to try new things.

  26. Anna says:

    “However, she failed.”

    Perhaps if you define it as success=traffic+money, then perhaps that’s true. Looking at it another way, your mom succeeded at setting up a blog (a big thing for the older generation), succeeded at sharing her advice with the world, succeeded at transcribing and posting recipes for her kids to refer to in the future. Your mom did great.

  27. soubhiks says:

    Mom’s situation strikes 90% similarities with mine, i hspent much of time improving my blogs rather than socializing.
    Though i have been following your blog for quite somtime , this is my first comment, what else can prove my condition being simila to your mom’s :)

  28. David says:

    1. produce something (knowledge or stuff) people will want to share
    2. do unto others.. by commenting on their stuff and interacting

    Having one of these without the other makes for a tough road.

  29. Alejo A says:

    Well, I’ve learn a lot reading your blog. So I wanna give my opinion about “Why lot of people fail on internet business? I think the first reason Is “get desperated” for earning money NOW, that doenst let you think in an intelligent way. Second reason Is to leave the business very soon. This is a Business, it works as a business! not as magic. Third reason is NOT to get ready in your business, you must train a lot, and get the newest information about internet business. I think those 3 steps are gonna help u a lot! Regards

  30. Wendy says:

    Love this post. This posts hits home if you are a mother, a “digital immigrant”, an older sibling who has tried to give advice to a younger one, or someone who has tried something and failed. Pretty wide audience. Good job!

  31. TAMMY says:

    Thank you for the great advice! Sometimes I am really good about leaving comments on other blogs, but some days I get lazy or shy and just lurk. I realize now I MUST leave comments to get my name out there. Again, thanks! : )

  32. Joyce says:

    Recently I started reading more blogs and commenting and noticed that traffic to my blog has increased.

  33. I really like your post!
    Build relationships with your readers is really the first step to succeed in this virtual world! All the bloggers that are not taking care of this side of blogging are definitely going to fail!

    Really nice the comment:
    “Hey Mom, did you contact any bloggers this week?”
    “Yes, but I haven’t checked my email in over a month.”

    mekes me laugh a lot :D

    Keep up the good job man!