This guest post is by Sophie Lizard of Beafreelanceblogger.com.
I know your secret.
You’re spending too much time on your blog, and it’s starting to feel like hard work. Not only that, but your blog still isn’t making quite as much money as you’d like. Believe me: I’ve been right there with you.
Luckily, I got out. Now, I don’t waste time fiddling around with ad code and affiliate dashboards. I only check my traffic analytics if there’s a specific question I want to answer. And I make a good full-time income on part-time hours.
Want to know my secret?
I was on the wrong track, and so are you.
Most bloggers that make money at all will always wish to make a few dollars more. But a few dollars more isn’t worth hours more of your time, is it?
How to know when you’re wasting your time
If you’re labouring over a blog with few subscribers and low traffic, trying to scrape another half a percent on your affiliate conversion rate or posting three times a day to boost page views, you’re on the wrong track.
What you’ve got there isn’t passive income. It’s a blog-supported business, and it’s failing.
It’s failing because the time you’re putting in isn’t equalled by the money coming out. Monetizing is actually costing you money, in the form of time you could have spent on more effective revenue-generating tasks.
The point of blog monetization strategies is typically to make money in a way that keeps on scaling up as your traffic and engagement grow to mythic proportions… but what do you do if your blog hasn’t hit the big time?
Stop chasing scalability
Scalable is a buzzword. It means that your income can keep on growing, not limited by the hours in the day or your inability to be in two places at once.
Scalability goes right along with “set it and forget it” in the big bucket of ideas to stop chasing if they don’t apply to you. The scalability of a system doesn’t determine its growth; it only makes it more or less capable of handling growth.
A blog with few readers won’t make vast sums of money, regardless of its business model’s scalability. But there is an important scale to consider: your time-to-money ratio.
Your time and your income aren’t on the same scale right now.
That’s the only thing you need to focus on. How do you bring your income up to scale with the time you’re putting in?
Do what works, don’t do what doesn’t
Are your blog’s visitors frustratingly immune to advertising? Have you made a less-than-stellar income from your ad spaces and affiliate links? Then stop spending too much time on this income stream, and focus on something more effective.
Has frequent posting exhausted your mine of inspiration? Are you struggling to come up with fresh content ideas and new angles on old classics? Then stop wearing yourself out chasing traffic, and refocus on boosting quality instead of quantity.
I’m not saying that advertising, affiliate marketing or frequent posting are a bad idea. I’m saying that if they’re taking up your time without raking in money, then you need to rethink your strategy. Here are some suggestions that might work for you; they worked for me.
How to make more money
Selling your own products may be a more lucrative income stream than selling other people’s stuff. But then you’ll have to plan, create and launch each product, plus maintain the ongoing marketing that will keep the income stream moving in the long term. That’s a lot of time and effort for an unpredictable possibility of reward.
There’s a very simple way to increase your blogging income that doesn’t involve putting up more ads, publishing more often, or launching your own products. Sell a service instead. Sell freelance blogging.
In the last few years, I’ve earned a solid living part-time from my freelance blogging career. In fact, I know some famous bloggers who make more money from freelance blogging than they do from advertising or affiliate marketing.
These people have thousands of subscribers to their blogs. If their advertising income can’t compete with freelance blogging, then your ad income from your few hundred readers probably can’t compete either.
How to stop worrying about advertising
All this time you spend stressing about your blog’s monetization, tweaking ad widgets and affiliate link anchor text, obsessing over your stats, and checking your balance until it crawls past the minimum payment limit for your affiliate network… are you enjoying that? Because if you are, that’s all good—rock on.
If you’re not doing all that stuff for fun, though, I’ve got the best piece of advice you’ll ever hear: just stop it. Check your affiliate stats only once per month (or once per week, if you had a daily habit and really can’t quit cold turkey).
Unless you’re running tests, there’s no need to obsess over visitor clicks on your blog. Put your ads in place and then don’t touch them for at least 30 days. If you can’t resist analysing your stats to death at the end of the month, at least you’ll have a whole 30 days to analyse without multiple tweaks messing up your conclusions.
Now use all that time you’ve saved to write jaw-droppingly brilliant posts, for yourself and for other blogs.
How to get back to writing what you love
When you started blogging, what were your intentions? Did you want to be heard, to help people, to make money, or all of the above and then some? What were your first posts like?
Think about what you really love to write. Make a list of things you always wanted to blog about. It doesn’t matter whether you published a post on the topic or not, write it down.
Now think about what you love to read. Which blogs do you make a point of keeping up with? Which do you go to when you have a problem to solve? Add those blog topics to the same list.
This list is your passion plan. I want you to write at least one post on every single topic on that list. More than one, if you’re any good at finding multiple angles. Then pitch and sell your posts to paying blogs.
Use your blog as a portfolio
If you can’t sell one of your posts for a good fee, take on board any feedback you received from the editors you pitched to. Then publish each unsold post on your own blog and end it with a note that you’re a freelance blogger who enjoys writing on this topic and welcomes enquiries from potential clients.
Add a Hire Me page to your blog, too. Use it to explain what you blog about, what types of blogs you’d like to work with, where you can be contacted, and your rates.
Believe you can do it
You’d be amazed how many smart, eloquent bloggers I know who’ve chickened out before they got this far. Maybe you wouldn’t be amazed; maybe you’re one of them.
You could be making more money by blogging for other people, but the idea of pitching to an editor makes you so nervous you’ve never tried. Or, you pitched one idea to one blog and when it wasn’t accepted, you lost the confidence to try a second time.
Hey, it’s okay. We’re all nervous sometimes. But now you need to get off your digital behind and start making more money, right? So draw up your topic list, think of a few ideas that could make great blog posts, and email a few blogs to pitch them some of those ideas. Today.
That’s right, do it today. It doesn’t even matter if your topics are vague and your first queries aren’t perfect.
The important thing is that you’re doing it at all, and that puts you ahead of every other blogger who didn’t make the time. You can refine your pitching as you go along, but you’ll never have another chance to start right now.
You’re smart. You’re courageous. You’re exactly the kind of person a good blog needs. Now go out there and be a freelance blogger!
This guest post is by Sophie Lizard, a successful freelance blogger on a mission to help bloggers increase their income and authority by blogging for hire. To get you started making money as a freelance blogger, she’s giving away her insanely useful The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs: 45 Blogs That Will Pay You $50 or More – download your free copy today!