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.