This is a guest post by Shaun Connell from Live Gold Prices.
I remember when I first began reading about “passive income”. It seemed brilliant: work hard and make sure you leverage your time and capital so that instead of being paid once, you’re paid a little bit every month into the future.
At the time, I was just running a blog for fun, and decided to go ahead and start a blog for profit. It’s been about five years now, and I’ve been doing this full-time for about four years. I’ve learned a lot about blogging, passive income, internet marketing, SEO—the whole works.
The most important lesson I’ve learned?
Forget passive income: focus on systematic income
For most people, blogging is a bad way to get to a passive income. Most bloggers work hard the entire time they have the blog.
A passive income is an income you can just set and forget. And any successful blogger will tell you that for the vast majority of blogging experiences, the work never really stops—it just changes form. You can minimize the workload, but for the most part, it’s just about cutting the load without ever actually making it to a full-on passive status.
Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not. Those who understand that blogging is about finding repeatable systems are the most succesful bloggers on the Internet today. It’s all about learning how to create the right design, the right headline, the right path to success—those are systems that generally work regardless of who the blogger is.
A systematic blogger knows how to leverage usability, other people’s content, and good ideas in such a way that every bit of their work gets as much done as possible.
The following principles are some of the most important concepts one can ever understand in order to make one’s blogging as systematic as possible.
Blogging is just a “regular” website with a specific structure
In the end, the only real difference between the vast majority of websites is how they’re organized. They’re all still pretty much about the same thing—they’re a platform for connecting viewers with information of some sort. When we understand this, we’ll see why that’s important.
Facebook, Wikipedia, and About.com are all platforms for connecting content with viewers in a way that makes each network unique. The content is different, of course, but even if they had equally valuable content, each network would have a very different approach to connecting users with that content.
Once this is understood, the challenge of organizing one’s blog should suddenly present a plethora of new opportunities. For example, it’s alright for a blog to have sales pages as part of the design, or even a static homepage to make it easier for first-time visitors to see all of the most important concepts first. It’s alright to borrow structure ideas from other websites.
The vast majority of my websites—especially my gold prices website—now have the same basic structure: a static homepage, a newsletter page that I link to when saying “subscribe”, newsletter optin forms on every page, an autoresponder with several months’ worth of emails lined up for turning subscribers into repeat visitors and pitching them products, and a “blog” widget or page where users can see the latest articles.
The website structure, along with the other principles listed below, makes my business much more systematic. As long as I find a way to acquire new visitors to the site every day, I’ll end up with more people subscribed at the end of every month. And that’s half the battle: automation.
Blogging for profit is about retaining income, not just traffic
Traffic is just a tool. In the context of profit, it’s just fuel for the engine. That’s why some people are able to make great money with a little traffic when they’re writing about investments, while some websites can have ten times the traffic and barely pay the bills when they’re writing about lolcats.
Understand that traffic is just part of the process, and not the entire goal of the process.
Just because people are reading, that doesn’t necessarily mean the writer is earning. Don’t worry, this isn’t necessarily bad news. For people who understand that building systematic income is all about figuring out what it takes to get to profits in a “repeatable” format, everything is easier.
This is one of the reasons I entered the gold prices and rates niche, and one of the reasons the investment niche is so crowded—the results are generally harder to get, but often exponentially rewarding when achieved.
For example, understanding SEO and guest posting makes the entire process easier. There have been numerous courses teaching the same powerful principle of using proper SEO, proper keyword choices, and setting up one’s blog to be as usable as possible—and then guest posting to put traffic into one end of the “machine.” It’s all the rage because it works.
The systematic blogger understands that his blog is a machine, and if he takes care of it to make sure it’s running as well as possible, it’ll take care of him. By figuring out how to juice every visitor for as many pageviews as possible, to impress them with the best content displayed where it can be easily found, and to reward the visitor with plenty of goodies via an autoresponder, and then using the right keywords and consistent guest posting, the systematic blogger will succeed.
It sounds like a lot of work because, of course, it is. But after a while it becomes a type of routine and becomes simpler and simpler. After all, that’s the point of having a system in the first place—to generate simple, predictable, and powerful results.
What do you do to make sure your blog is as systematic as possible? Do you regularly guest post for other blogs? Do you have any tips for people looking to make their blog more systematic? Share them with us in the comments.