Disclaimer: I may include affiliate links below, not sure yet. If I do and you click on them or buy through them, I MAY earn a small commission (without any additional cost to you). BUT, know that I would never recommend something I do not use or believe in myself. End of disclaimer!
Since rebooting this blog less than two months ago with the intention of making it profitable – and actually making it profitable in its first month – I had to realize that by sharing my results, I may be setting readers up for disappointment with their own blogs. Especially if I make it look easy.
Truth is, it is very rare for new blogs to start generating profits that quickly. Especially when you consider how little time I have put into this blog so far. Did I get lucky?
I personally believe luck had very little to do with it. It had however a lot to do with the few things I ended up focusing my limited time on.
I hear blogger newbies say all the time that they believe successful bloggers are not telling the whole truth when it comes to how they make money online. It is assumed the “gurus” keep the true secret to their success to themselves OR that they will only share it with those who invest a lot of money with them.
This may be true in some cases, but it certainly isn’t true in my case. I’m no guru, but from my own successes as a niche blogger, I will say there are no secrets. If there was one secret though that helped me find success as a niche blogger, it would be this: hard work!
Putting in Hard Work
I do not believe anyone teaching how to make a living blogging is trying to make it sound easier than what it really is. It would be cruel if they did. I do however believe the people sharing their journey to blogging success oftentimes enjoyed the process of making it happen so much that they forget just how much hard work they actually put into it.
I for one, enjoy working on my sites. In fact, I love working on them so much that it doesn’t feel like work to me. Sure, it’s not always easy to come up with things to write about, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it. Especially once it starts to make me money.
Deep down I do not consider it hard work. Especially not when you compare it to some of the mind bending or back breaking jobs I’ve had in my previous life as an employee.
I can easily work away for hours before realizing I need to take an overdue washroom break, grab a bite to eat, or how badly I need to get up and stretch my legs. It is easy for me to lose track of how much time I invest in my online ventures.
Someone who doesn’t enjoy working online as much as I do, would totally complain about all the hard work they have to put in to start making decent money. Or quit before ever earning their first penny.
If you hate technology, becoming a blogger probably isn’t for you. It also helps if you’re passionate about the niche you’re thinking of getting into. Otherwise you’ll likely not be crazy enough to stick it out until you finally make it.
I remember times (when I started out online) when I would spend 16 to 20 hours a day working on my online projects. A lot of that time was actually wasted on unimportant things (more on that later), which is a common rookie mistake.
Now that I know what to focus on (and now that I am a somewhat responsible parent), I spend roughly 4 hours a day and 6 days a week working online. I have become intentional about what I spend my time on. This helps me make more progress than when I worked 12+ hours 7 days a week.
This blog is a good example. I only spend roughly 3 – 5 hours a week on it. Let’s look at what I DO and DON’T spend that time on.
Value Your Time
Before I made my first dime online, 98% of my time was focused on getting my site designs to look just right. I didn’t know ANYTHING about web design, but thought I knew enough to be unhappy with any free or paid theme out there. How foolish!
All that started to change though as I slowly realized how unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) the web design really is.
No matter what any web designer tells you, your design isn’t all that important. For example: Who cares if you don’t yet have a logo?
Of course you want your site to be easy to navigate and mobile friendly (most free WordPress themes will give you that), but beyond that, don’t start out focusing on the design. Especially not if you want to start making money as quickly as possible.
In case you haven’t noticed, the design on this blog is far from ideal and I certainly could spend a lot of time and money to make it perfect, but I haven’t felt the need to do that yet.
And here’s the kicker: It didn’t stop the blog from becoming profitable in its first month of me trying. See my first income report here!
So what have I spent my time on?
- Creating content: I first and foremost focus my time on creating quality content. Without this, even the fanciest design won’t do you any favours. I have never heard of anyone going back to a particular site over and over again because of it’s cool theme. The one thing that kept them going back to a site though was the content.
Content is king. It always has been and always will be.
This does not just mean written content either. It can be images, videos, or any other form of consumable material. If you can only make one thing great on your site, let it be it’s content.
- Marketing: You may be the best content creator out there, but – unless you get lucky – it won’t have much traction without you actually marketing it.
As an SEO guy myself, most of my marketing is focused on long term free traffic generation methods. I may not drive a lot of instant traffic overnight, but I know I will steadily drive targeted traffic to each of my posts for months and years to come.
Robert Kiyosaki once said, being a best selling author has little to do with how good of a writer you are, but has everything to do with how good of a marketer you are.
The majority of the 4 or so hours I spend on this blog each week gets used up in writing the content. The rest goes into marketing.
I talk more about my SEO approaches in 3 Simple Steps to Google Domination. In the last month all I did – SEO wise – was leave 20 or so comments on related blogs with links pointing back to this blog. I should have made more of an effort but hey, something is better than nothing.
So if you are going to focus your attention on anything for your blog, focus on creating good content. Once you got that figured out and are able to create awesome content quick, you will have more time left for marketing.
Once you have you marketing strategy in place and have extra time to focus on other things, then (and only then) start going after your theme or whatever else you want to modify with your site.
As we say in Alberta “It isn’t the hat or the boot that make a cowboy, but rather the heart of the man wearing them!”
It isn’t the sexy looking site that will make you a successful blogger, but rather the hard work you put into creating the quality content on it, and then getting good at marketing it.
The only secret to hitting it big as a blogger is staying focused on creating quality content, figuring out a strategy to market it, and then rinse and repeat.
It won’t always be easy, but learn to love it. The more love for it you develop the less like work it will feel.
If on the other hand you already know you will love it, have decided on a niche you want to pursue, but have yet to set up a blog, then head on over to HostGator right now, pick the WordPress hosting starter package, and then follow the steps to set up your first site. They make the whole process very easy to follow along and have world class support at your disposal (should you run into any issues).
Once you have your blog set up, read my post on the rules of content, and then get blogging.
The worst mistake most people make is not doing things wrong, but not doing them at all. Take the first step, commit to following through, fall in love with the process, and you will be well on your way to becoming a successful blogger yourself.
It will take time and dedication, hard work and occasional frustration, but if you stick to it long enough, you too will see success!
Couldn’t agree with you more on this subject.. I know a thing or two about spending too much time on web design.