The main reason your blog isn’t making money is probably because your traffic isn’t high enough – you don’t have enough readers clicking away on advertisements. But, traffic isn’t everything!
You can make big bucks even if you only have a few hundred readers a day, depending on where your ads are and what they look like. And, how bold you are as a blogger.
“If you decide to generate income from your blog, then don’t be shy about it,” says Steve Pavlina, self-help guru and blogger. “If you’re going to put up ads, then really put up ads. Don’t just stick a puny little ad square in a remote corner somewhere.”
Despite being a personal development guru who motivates millions of people every year, Pavlina isn’t all optimism and positivity! He says 99% of people who try to generate serious income from their blogs will fail.
This may be because there are no barriers to blogging – anyone can start a blog within a few minutes. The lowest, least respectable bloggers steal other bloggers’ content. Actually earning money from your blog requires time, perseverance, consistency, and a healthy dose of “web savvy.”
Here’s a tip from the Google gurus:
“Do the ads draw your attention, without being garish? If you were a reader, would you notice and read them, or do your eyes glide right past them? Try to find a balance between ads that overwhelm your content and ads that your users won’t even see.” ~ from the Google Adsense blog.
If you’re not sure about your ads, ask your friends and family to give you their opinion. Encourage them to be as honest as possible – and don’t get mad when they are!
6 Reasons Your Blog Doesn’t Make Money
The design of your blog doesn’t match your monetization strategy
How have you decided to monetize your blog? If you’re like me, you have multiple sources of income (eg, Google Adsense, Amazon links, affiliate programs, private ad sales) – but you may also have a main source of income.
Make sure your blog theme and design supports your main source of income or monetization strategy.
If, for instance, you want to earn money from reader donations, put your donation button front and center. If you want to earn money by creating a huge email list, then put that email submission form right under readers’ noses. If you want to earn money by highlighting Amazon or eBay products, then work the most effective ads into your blog posts and sidebars. Again, look at how successful bloggers monetize their sites – and what type of themes they have – and apply those strategies to your blog.
Your post titles aren’t optimized properly
If your post titles and content are too clever and original, you won’t attract search engine traffic. This isn’t just about SEO – it’s about attracting the right readers to your articles.
“You may need to balance the needs of yourself, your visitors, search engines, those who link to you, social bookmarking sites, advertisers, affiliate programs, and others,” says Pavlina. “Seemingly minor decisions like what to title a web page are significant. In coming up with the title of this article, I have to take all of these potential viewers into consideration. I want a title that is attractive to human visitors, drives reasonable search engine traffic, yields relevant contextual ads, fits the theme of the site, and encourages linking and social bookmarking. And most importantly I want each article to provide genuine value to my visitors.”
If you struggle with titles, read How to Write Effective Titles for Magazine Articles and Blog Posts.
You haven’t found the right SEO balance
Attracting organic search engine optimization (SEO) traffic that results in clicky clicky is one of the best ways to make money blogging. SEO traffic doesn’t rely on your Tweets or community interaction – so if you take a vacation, your blog should keep chugging along (though it eventually needs maintenance or it will run out of gas).
If you want to build long-term income from your blog, don’t rely on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc. Give your blog legs by posting strong content that people find and spread around.
You’re not internet savvy
The more tricks and tips you learn about web writing and the online trade, the more money you’ll make.
Here’s a list of the basic, most foundational bloggy things you need to know about:
- blog publishing software
- blog comments (and comment spam)
- full versus partial feeds
- feed aggregators
- pings and trackbacks
- blog carnivals
- search engines
- search engine optimization (SEO)
- page rank
- social bookmarking
- tagging (and how and why it doesn’t matter to SEO)
- contextual advertising
- affiliate programs
- traffic statistics
- email marketing
It takes months (years!) to learn all of this…and some it won’t make much difference to making money blogging.
One of the most important blogging tips I know is to stay in touch with Google’s blog, videos, and webmaster program. When I first started making money, I read tons of tips from other bloggers…and ignored Google. But, Google shares a goldmine of good, solid information! Stay connected with Google, my friends.
Your advertising doesn’t match your posts (a main reason blogs don’t make money)
If your ads don’t match your content, you won’t make money. For example, when I put mortgage and debt freedom ads on my articles about saving marriages, I get no clicky clicky. Make sure your article and advertisements are as closely related as possible.
This is easier for niche blogs. A wedding blog, for instance, is the perfect place to advertise the gazillion wedding products and services that merchants sell! If your blog is general and thus difficult to monetize (like my Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals), remember how effective cross-marketing can be. For example, if you have a “cooking with garlic” blog, you can advertise breath fresheners and body deodorants in addition to garlic presses, garlic books, and garlic bulbs. Cross-marketing.
By the way, that’s the beauty of contextual advertising, such as Google Adsense: it automatically matches the ads to your content and your readers’ search terms (though admittedly, the ads aren’t always perfectly matched with content, as you may have noticed!).
You picked the wrong type of blog or the wrong type of reader
There are certain blogs – such as entertainment, celebrity, recipes, and news – that just don’t make money.
David Risley, creator of Confessions of a Six Figure Blogger, says, “Entertainment blogs are tricky to monetize because the audience is just there for fun. As a collective audience, they have no common problems, goals or frustrations. Plus, people expect online entertainment to be free.”
If you’re not helping your reader solve problems, achieve goals, or avoid pain, then you might have trouble making money blogging. Your blog niche is important – and so is finding the balance between a topic you love and a topic that attracts readers.
Also, if your niche is soaked with bloggers (like, for instance, the “writers sharing their journey” niche), you might have a lot of competition. This competition can make it more difficult to float to the top – but not impossible, so don’t let fear or doubt slay you.
For more tips on making money blogging, read Will My Blog Be Popular and Can I Make Money With It?
Are you making as much money blogging as you thought you would? Don’t be surprised if you’re not.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello and share your thoughts below. If not, go well....and don't forget to come back.