This guest post is by Blog Lady.
There comes a time in your career as a blogger or website owner that you find yourself with a niche blog or site that isn’t meeting your expectations money-wise. That’s nothing to feel bad about. It happens to everybody, and if some say it’s never happened to them, they must be insanely lucky or they just haven’t been in the business long enough.
But what do you do when it finally happens to you?
Give it more time
It could be that the only thing your niche blog needs is more time to “prove” itself. All sites take time to build authority and gain steady traffic. If you’ve been running your site for a month or two and you get only a dozen or so visits a day, don’t be surprised if your earnings are, or are very close to, nil.
If anything, you shouldn’t worry about making money from such a young site. Instead, focus on producing quality content and establishing good relationships with your readers and fellow bloggers/webmasters. I’ve found that it’s best to give a niche blog eight to 12 months before I start to make conclusions about it.
I almost gave up on one of my niche blogs several months ago. It was doing quite poorly in comparison to my other sites. But then it suddenly took off, for reasons unknown. Today it is my biggest money earner. So don’t give up too quickly on what seems like a failed project.
Examine your target keywords
Niches aren’t equally profitable, and even keywords within the same niche do not have the same earning potential. You want to optimize your blog for keywords that can generate the most income. If you’ve been targeting and ranking for low-value keywords, the payoff may be small even with a high conversion rate.
On the other hand, if you target high-value keywords but convert rarely, you may be targeting an audience that has a low click-through/conversion rate. (In other words, the type of visitor that isn’t motivated to click ads or buy a product.)
Find keywords that have the best combination of ad value, traffic volume, advertiser competition, and conversion rate.
To give an example, one of my oldest sites targets a small niche in the New Age market. I knew what kind of information that competitor sites weren’t providing, and was sure I could deliver it. And I did. Yet what I didn’t think of was the low commercial value of the specific keywords I’d chosen. I got the traffic, all right, but not the dough. So I researched my niche for higher-value keywords with better conversion rates, and applied them to several new and existing posts. Sure enough, these keywords bumped up my AdSense and Amazon affiliate income.
(Note: this is no reason to delete low-earning articles by the way. If your readers enjoy them, keep them and make some more—it serves your visitors well, earns you their trust and hopefully, backlinks.)
Explore different ad placement and ad types
Sometimes, the issue might not be your choice of keywords at all, but what you sell, how you sell it, and where you sell it. Check the advertisements that show up your blog. Look over the affiliate products you sell. Are they appropriate? Are people likely to click or buy them?
If you get few clicks, try moving your ads to different places on your blog. Experiment with affiliate widgets, buttons, and text links to see which get the most attention.
When you change your ads this way, wait several days to a week before you change them again. Personally, I’d wait for as long as it takes for me to get 500-1,000 impressions. (That’s less than 24 hours for a high-traffic blog, but the average site would need more time.) Monitor your conversion rates via your advertiser’s or affiliate partner’s account.
Now don’t go to desperate means to get clicks on your ads. That means, don’t try to “mask” your ads and don’t put them where they will disturb visitors’ experience of your blog. The few extra dollars you make this way aren’t worth the contempt and loss of trust it would incur.
Modify your strategy
Are you wholly dependent on a specific type of traffic, such as search traffic? If so, you need to modify your strategy to be less reliant on that traffic source. If you rely on Google for the majority of your traffic, you’d be seriously hurt if an algorithm update were to drop your site’s ranking.
Learn to diversify. Besides search traffic, look to social traffic, word of mouth, advertising and other means. We all need to do this, whether or not our sites make money, if we are to survive in the post-Panda era.
Know when to let go
I said earlier that you should give your niche site a chance. However there is such a thing as trying too hard. If you’ve tried all ethical means to boost your site’s income and still nothing happens, face the music. Leave it alone and try something else.
To invest all your time and resources in a lost cause is foolish. And don’t feel bad doing this. You’re learning. Every niche blog you make teaches you a lesson. With every success and failure, you discover what works and what doesn’t, what your viewers want and what you are capable of delivering. So even a failed site—if it is that—is not a complete waste of time. Learn from your mistakes, vow to do better and move on.
Blog Lady. A former freelance website content writer and now full-time niche blogger. Visit my blog for more articles on niche marketing, blogging and social media. Website: Blog Lady RSS Feed: Blog Lady RSS Feed.