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What to Do When Your Niche Blog Isn’t Making Money

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.

As for which keyword tools to use, I’m happy with the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool. You might try commercial tools such as Market Samurai, if you can afford them.

(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.

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Comments

  1. rahul says:

    couldn’t agree more with you, every blogger faces a time when the earnings are not up to the mark most probably when they got banned from adsense.

  2. Craig Parker says:

    Is there a tool you use to see what the ctr is on a keyword? Not one that’s already on your site that you’re getting clicks for, but one you’re thinking of writing about.

  3. Higher traffic is not always connected to making profit. You can have a few thousand hits per day but still not making any money.

    What you need nowadays is great and more advanced ideas instead of relying on all kinds of ads and CEO.

    • Drewry says:

      Miriam,

      This is very true. It’s all about delivering quality content and meaningfully engaging with ppl online, in delivering goodness and possibly reaping healthy $ gUaP $ on the world wide web =)

    • Drewry says:

      Miriam,

      this is very true my friend about having high levels of traffic and not making much $ gUaP $!

  4. Mike says:

    Its important to balance what is working and what ways you can monetize. I think offering the opportunity let the readers decide what they are after will help a lot in determining the best way to be able balance the money and the readership.

  5. Good article. 12 months of actively creating articles. My blog is relatively new. When I first started I was only posting once a month which isn’t enough to shake the interent. The bottom line is you must troubleshoot the problem and do not be afraid of active criticism.

    Mr MakingUsmile

  6. I agree with you. My blog is not making the income as expected but I am still trying and give it more time. I do some research on the keywords that I am using on my blog and make changes to do of the keywords so that higher value ads will show on my blog. And yes, it works.
    It is now a better blog that can generate a bit more income but still not up to expectation. I am going to work harder and give more time for it.

  7. Faizan Elahi says:

    The last paragraph is very important. Many people stick to their failed blogs and are reluctant to start afresh. This can be a very mistake.

    • Drewry says:

      and all they need to do is just to update the content more often, and efforts of revitalizing and re-optimizing their blogs!

  8. Prayag Verma says:

    I have a niche blog which is online for the last 6 months , but I am unable to make any money out of it. I think as said in the starting of the article, it takes time for a blog to “prove” itself. I believe that patience can do wonders in cases like these

  9. Drewry says:

    in the never ending flow of online blogging, I’ve learned in humility to “stay the course”, because “blogging success” is definitely not going to happen overnight…

  10. Debe Maxwell says:

    Great post and I agree that you do need to plan and keep statistics as to your ROI on any form of marketing, including your blog. I think too many site owners also forget to check key terms that once were effective but, now need revising.

  11. eko susilo says:

    I’d love to have a blog for earning a lot, but most of my blog is not understood by people other than Indonesia because they do not use the global language. I think This is the problem, I just need to focus again to create a blog that everyone can read it. Thank you for this. . .

  12. Excellent advise! I totally agreeing with giving it time. Most blogs require organic growth.

    By the way, the google keyword link did not seem to work.

    http://www.thegirlieblog.com

  13. JD says:

    This was a very good article/post with helpful tips. I’m just not sure when to let go (re several of my blogs). Or when to hold on. I guess it’s a learning process. It’s almost overwhelming but still an exciting experience. My blog is really just to showcase other newbies, not to make “real” money. To give some of us recognition and encouragement as we struggle to make our way in the blogging world. But I also monetized several other blogs, which have received very little traffic. I am learning why that is but don’t have enough knowledge yet to do anything about it. It’s like learning a new language, takes time and great effort.

  14. Calin says:

    Very good tips! I have jumped into the niche blog creation myself in the past few months and unfortunately had little success but my strategy was a bit wrong. So indeed not giving up deserves to be the top tip here!

  15. miraz says:

    This article is very helps new blogger. I have some niche blog but income very low. I will try to follow your article.

  16. Vi says:

    But sometimes it so hard to let it go. Especially when you are writing about things you really know, but at the end it probably to narrow niche to make money from it.

    • Blog Lady says:

      It IS hard to let go. One of the hardest things to face is that sometimes, the things we love and/or know best don’t pay as much as we’d like. But that’s the reality, it seems.

      Don’t close a site you love, though. Not if you and others enjoy it. Just devote your time to another project for a while. When your “money blog(s)” start generating passive income, then you’ll be able to afford working on your “passion site(s)” again at no cost to yourself or its readers.

      After all, blogging isn’t just about making money. It’s also about sharing things we care about with others who also care about them. Good luck!

  17. James Greg says:

    Its very important to balance your work and analyze what is going wrong. People build good blogs but don’t know how to get the voice heard and end up giving it up as a bad job. I agree when things are not going the right track its better to start fresh than hanging on to something that has proven itself as not appealing.

  18. Lee Dobbins says:

    I think there is a lot to be said about “Giving It More Time”. I personally have had blogs that didn’t produce for almost a year and then all of a sudden they shoot up in the rankings and start earning money. For me, the “sweet spot” seems to be 6 months and giving up before that is premature.

  19. Yes, I think I’m at the stage now where I need to move on. I’m working blind and am just scraping around in the dark. I’ve read so much and done so much and I hear people left, right and centre talking about making money online. I work full-time on it for nothing. I think I’m beating a dead horse.
    Great tips.

  20. Enzo Testa says:

    Many people build a blog and expecting to make millions overnight. They don’t seem to realize that running a blog is a long term process that requires patience and dedication. Write about what you love and your blog can be successful in a few years. Good luck.

  21. Thank you for sharing this post. I like it when you say ” Give it more time – producing quality content and establishing good relationships with your readers”. Yes indeed. When you’re having a website or a blog, buying a domain is not enough. You have to give time to it and work on it seriously in order to make money out of it. Nice article!

  22. Its important that you keep reviewing yourself. People often ignore to do the SWOT of their blog and keep visiting other blogs

  23. Guy Hogan says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how to monetize my niche blog. After three years my niche blog is getting over 200 hits every day. I have an Ebook that my readers can download for $6.00. My take on each Ebook is $3.00; but the Ebook is not moving. I don’t know what the critical mass of hits every day will be for moving the Ebook, but as long as my hits for every day keep going up I think the Ebook will eventually start moving. My niche blog is three years old. It’s target audience is the reader and writer of flash fiction.

  24. Anand says:

    Thanks for these awesome tips…..I hope these tips will be very useful to me as i’m struggling with my blog to make few bucks…

  25. Brett says:

    My blog is young (only about a month and a half old), so reading this was pretty encouraging. Right now I am focusing on quality content rather than cramming in as many keywords as I can or placing ads all over the place.

    But, who knows, maybe in time I’ll learn how to incorporate the keywords into my natural style of writing.

  26. Blog Lady says:

    Thanks for the comments and my apologies if I can’t reply to each one. I just want to add another observation here that I’ve heard of.

    Some people insist that “If you make a website or blog about what you love, you can make money out of it no matter what.”

    Now I don’t know how true that is. And to be honest, I don’t have the experience to know for sure. I believe it’s PARTLY true… because no matter how many visits you get each day, if you put up ads or affiliate links on your blog somewhere, sooner or later you WILL get clicks and sales. But just how much money does your blog have to make for you to deem it a success? Some would be happy if they get 5 bogs to make $50 a month each. Others wouldn’t want less than six figures a year.

    So technically, you can probably make money out of a niche you love… but whether you make as much as you’d like, only time will tell. I’m sure we’d all be happy to hear stories from people who stick with their passion sites and succeed.

    Good luck all!

  27. Jasmin says:

    I never get the total idea of keywords, sometime Google brings visitors for some silly keywords and sometime a Good keyword is worthless.. Well I hope to use some research after reading this post. Thanks a lot.

    • Blog Lady says:

      Actually, that’s very true, Jasmin! Don’t over-analyze keywords. In the end, they are there just to give you an idea of what to work with. As you work with keywords on your site, you’ll find that some work and some don’t. But that’s why you want to experiment with a comprehensive set of keywords at the beginning. Maybe 20 keywords for as many pages/posts. Then use your analytics tool to identify your winning and losing articles.

      And yes, people use the strangest keyword combinations in their searches. Look for the phrases that come up again and again. Use that in an article title (or change an old title to that), making sure the article fulfills the title.

      That’s a whole new article idea in itself. Hmm!

  28. Josh Sarz says:

    This content hits hard. But yeah, there comes time when we definitely have to let go. There’s plenty of niches and niche combinations out there we can all try. heh

  29. I totally agree with this post. I started blogging in 2007 and made nothing for two years then in 2009 I started making a little bit of money and now… I make a fulltime income from this site alone while I build my other sites. This is not a overnight thing and that is what I tell people that I mentor.

    • Blog Lady says:

      Congratulations, Aimee! Some people give up within 6 months. You persisted for 2 years! I’m sure you’ve built a blog that will last. More power to you!

  30. the site I am working right now is really way too far from what I wanted my site to be.,
    like what you’ve said ” don’t lose hope” I am really not losing my hope for reaching the biggest number of viewers a site could have…

  31. This is good information. I actually hired a consultant type company for specialized training in niche marketing. She has said similar things but she really wants me to discover where my niche people hang out, play, etc. Good insights, thanks.

  32. asa elBhina says:

    it’s truly me, being stressful seeing my niche blog doesn’t give expected income. I run my niche blogs for six months but it’s still very poor of visitors

    • Blog Lady says:

      Six months is still too early. Do you participate in niche forums? Do you write guest articles? Optimize keywords? What kinds of products can you advertise in your blog? You may just need to work on those areas. Keep publishing great content!

  33. karanja says:

    Thanks alot for the post. My website is 11months old but doing so poorly in terms of income.
    I think i need to give it 12more months and also work on ads placement. Thanks for the educative post.