OK, if you came here through the rich bloggers pin, I do apologize for the click-bait.
But, I want you to know that one of the things successful bloggers know how to do is drive traffic.
That includes using headlines that get a click and bring their target reader to their post. We will address this further down…
Now, on with the list!
Often, there are very obvious answers to the question “why doesn’t my blog make money?”
I get emails or comments from readers with this question (and I can literally FEEL their frustration with every word)… They say:
“I’ve been doing this for a year. I post three times per week and I promote each post on all my social channels. I write the same stuff that other bloggers write, and people tell me they love reading my stuff! So why doesn’t my blog make money??”
What surprises me most about these emails is that some of these people asking this aren’t in the “thinking about starting a blog” stage. They are in the “I’ve had a blog for months (or years) and I’ve installed AdSense / have affiliate links up and I’m still not making money” stage and they’re asking what they have to do with their already existing blog to make it profitable.
They feel like they’re pouring their heart and soul into their blog, they believe they’re doing all the things every course on blogging has taught them to do… and yet they haven’t been able to make any money with their blog.
Or at least not much more than 50 bucks per month.
Sometimes, these bloggers are ready to quit. (Asking “why does my blog suck?” is generally a final cry for help.)
Often, I can pinpoint the reasons they’re struggling to make money. I’d bet that some of them are the same reasons you aren’t able to make money blogging either.
Bad news :
Unless you address these 7 problems (well, 6 – the first one is a non-issue in the LONG RUN), you will likely never make money with your blog. These are things that the majority of successful bloggers know and pay attention to!
These are all relatively easy things to fix once you understand them!
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
7 Things That Are Preventing You From Making Money With Your Blog – and How to Fix Them
1. Your blog is too new.
(You can skip on past this if your blog is over a year old. But it has to be included for those that are in their first year, and throwing up their hands.)
You can’t make money with a blog that is a few weeks old. Or even a few months old.
(Well, maybe you can, if you’ve had lots of blogs before and know exactly what you’re doing from day one.) For the most part, it’s gonna take some time.
Blogging is a crazy learning curve. There is endless learning to be done. (It’s possible to make money within a few months, but it’s really rare.)
This is the easiest thing on this list, and the hardest one too.
You just gotta give it time, and while you give it time you gotta be learning and improving. If you have big expectations of making money in the first few months, let them go. You’ll just drive yourself crazy, and worst-case scenario, you’ll feel so defeated that you’ll quit. (Most blogs don’t ever get a 6 month anniversary – and I’d be willing to bet that’s because people believed they’d be making money by then, and they weren’t.)
I had a goal of making 10$ in my first year, and that was a realistic goal.
2. You don’t have a business plan / you have no idea what you’re even trying to do.
A profitable blog is a business, and a business doesn’t just “happen” – you plan for a business.
(Just posting and sharing and hoping you’ll make money is not a business plan.)
This is a pretty intense subject because it takes us out of the “safe” feeling territory of “I’ll start a blog to make money!” into the more frighting (but un-necessarily so) territory of “I’ll start a business online!”
I have been so frustrated by the number of bloggers stuck here that I made a completely free training on how to DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS.
Go watch it, the training really is free => https://www.blogginglikeyoumeanit.com/courses/defining-your-business
3. Your content is bad (not reader-focused / poorly written / alllll over the map).
I know… but you need to understand what kind of content makes money on a blog.
Of the billions and billions of blogs out there, yours has to stand out.
If your content is all about you or poorly thought out and poorly written, or 90% round-up style… it will probably never make money.
Also, if you have one post on each of 19 different topics, it will be very hard to make money. Pick a handful of topics or one topic, and then stay in your lane.
Next, understand what sort of content the majority of people are READING on the internet.
There are a few crazy awesome viral posts out there that are heartfelt/encouraging/amazing personal stories, but for the most part, a profitable blog is full of problem-solving/ informational content (that addresses other people’s problems) – not your own thoughts or feelings about things.
The problem you address might simple, maybe your reader needs a clam chowder recipe or a quilt pattern, or they might be in debt, or want to know about coconut oil, but they do NOT want to know what you did on the weekend.
And they do not want to read a post that’s full of spelling mistakes and weird grammatical errors, because those posts are hard to read.
Related: What is profitable content?
Re-focus your content.
Make it about the reader. Give great advice, be relate-able, solve the problems your readers are dealing with. Make the post titles about them. (For example, I had a post called “10 frivolous things I still spend money on” that got NO page views. I changed the title to “How to Audit your spending (& why you should)”, and now it gets page views.)
PROOFREAD (for spelling mistakes and bad grammar) and EDIT for poor structure, weird voice, and incoherent ideas. (You won’t catch every single error. Don’t worry, readers will email you and point them out – promise.)
Figure out what your target readers PROBLEMS are, and write to solve those problems.
4. You don’t know how to drive decent traffic
A small audience CAN generate an income. BUT it is gonna be easier with good page views.
It just is.
Higher page views open all kinds of doors. Great ad networks, sponsored post opportunities, a bigger audience = more potential customers. More people stopping by your blog = more email addresses to collect. Get those page views up.
Learn how to utilize PINTEREST and GOOGLE first and foremost. They are the two easiest sources of traffic out there.
Wasting too much time on other platforms (until you have these ones down) is not a good idea.
This is not a one-paragraph fix, and learning to drive traffic is almost an art… but I can tell you that SEO, a good Pinterest strategy, and understanding titles that get a click are the three most key elements of driving traffic!
You MUST spend some time learning to get good traffic.
I read the Traffic Transformation Guide by Lena Gott and it is FANTASTIC. Lena breaks down the steps and makes them 100% actionable. There are lots of ways to increase page views, and you need to learn them from someone who knows what they’re talking about. (Lena gets over 400k page views per month!)
Social media is awesome – I believe you should be learning one or two platforms WELL instead of dipping your toes into all of them at once. Link parties are great for connecting, but you can’t count on them alone to bring in page views. Guest posting has it’s merits, but I don’t find that one of it’s merits is page views. For me, Pinterest = page views. Now that I have Pinterest worked out, I’m getting serious about SEO.
Related: Pinteresting Strategies – how I went from 0 – 200k pageviews in just a few months
5. You’re not engaging your audience.
Real money comes from real people, and there’s no way around that.
No audience = no money.
The “how” is a little more complicated, and takes practice.
But the first step is taking your readers OFF your blog – social media + email is where it’s at! When someone emails you or messages you… ANSWER THEM.
6. You don’t have an email list / your email list is not niche enough.
Ok – confession:
If I asked all the guilty bloggers to raise their hands here, mine’d be the first one up. I didn’t start an email list until WELL into my first year of blogging, and I lost out big time. I am actively working on fixing this problem now.
You OWN your email list. They are people who are interested in what you have to say, and are more likely to “buy what you’re selling”.
Plus, no Facebook or Pinterest (or any platform) can chance their algorithm and kill your list. They just can’t. Thank goodness.
Just because you’ve been doing email wrong this long doesn’t mean you can’t fix it NOW.
Get a good email collection plugin and make a great TARGETED / audience relevant opt-in freebie.
(Like here I will tell you – I no longer publish income reports on the blog. I still send them out to my email list tho!)
Then get serious about email. I couldn’t stand MailChimp, so I started paying for an email service early on. Convertkit is what I’m using. I have tried a number of email service providers, and this is the best one so far.
7. You aren’t willing to invest in learning how to blog properly / for profit.
This will automatically solve all the other problems on this list – for me it even helped with the “new blog” problem. (My blog was profitable within 6 months.) I’m in a few Facebook Blog groups, and I am astounded, ASTOUNDED, by the questions people ask in the groups.
I was definitely the most clueless blogger I have ever met. But I was serious about making money blogging, so I went out and actively dug up the answers to my questions, rather than just throwing them out to Facebook groups and hoping for the best. Just like anything else, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. I’m not saying don’t ever ask questions. BUT:
The problem with posing most of your questions in blogger Facebook groups and looking for real answers is that the answers are in depth and complicated and you actually need to read the whole book to get the whole picture. Not to mention, the people who know how to make money blogging are IN those Facebook groups LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO SELL TO, so they aren’t giving away the good info for free. They just aren’t.
I invested in resources that taught me how to blog, and how to blog for profit. And I’ve found that even though so many of the ebooks or courses I’ve bought preface their content with “this information might be available for free online” the truth is that it’s NOT available for free online. (Or you’d have to be a google genius – and know what you were looking for – to know where to find it.)
There is more to ads than pasting in code, there’s more to affiliates than sticking links everywhere. There’s more to working with brands than applying to networks. You need to learn how to do this stuff from people who know how to do it.
Bite the bullet and invest. If you can’t right now, then it should be what you’re saving up for. Do your research and spend your money wisely. (I personally chose to invest in Elite Blog Academy (you canget on the waiting list to be notified when they open enrollment here – and they’ll send you a ton of great free information just for joining the list.)
I spent 1300$ on my blog to get it going. It was painful and scary. But I made it back in a matter of months, because I put what I learned into practice. (You do NOT have to spend that much!)
Related: Check out my favorite blogging resources for a full list of my favorite books and courses that took my blog from $0 – profitable!
If you’re asking “why does my blog suck?” … do any of the above things seem like things you could work on?
If you’re hoping to make money with your blog, and you’re putting in a ridiculous amount of effort and not getting anywhere, I just want to encourage you to not give up!
The MAIN reason blogs fail is because bloggers give up before they figure it out. Be willing to learn, be willing to change things, be willing to invest in learning how to make money blogging.
Nothing worth having ever came easy.
Related: Affiliate Marketing Can YOU Really Make Money With It?
Related: 7 Ways to Make Your Blog Look Less Like a “Newbie” Blog
27 thoughts on “7 Things Successful Bloggers Know”
After one year of learning on my own, I invested in some courses and a blog critique. I look at my first of blogging as my learning year, and now my second year as my time to get more serious. No one ever tells you how frustrating this whole blogging adventure can be! Visiting from Small Victories Sunday.
Hi Victoria! (Can I just say that I LOVE the name of your blog?!) Yes I was definitely a little blindsided by some of the blogging frustrations… I am FIRMLY in a my learning year yet LOL. But I’m enjoying it, and it’s going well so I’m excited to keep learning. A blog critique sounds terrifying. I’ll get brave and get one someday perhaps!
Carly!! Again I just adore your blog and you really!! I love the way you are honest and to the point but still so encouraging while doing it!! You inspire me each time I come to your blog ❤️❤️❤️
Thank you so much for this post!
I have had a few blogs…but you are right I always fizzled out.
I am diving in this time to really get it going!
By the way…. your post is missing a word here I think. ( The problem might simple, maybe your reader needs a clam chowder recipe )
LOL thank you!! I’ll have to remember to go add that word 😉
Thank you for your site, loving it! You have the word “Chance” up above and you meant “change” when discussing that Facebook and Pinterest could change their algorithms.
Hi Shandra! Yikes…. yes the words are things I struggle with. I will have to “change” that. lol thanks!
Carly! Your Serie of 13 Lessons on how to start a blog and make money is just great! I just finished to read them all and literally was writing down things like in a Univeristy class. So thanks so much for design it and share it with all. xoxo
Soooo glad you enjoyed it Paola 🙂
Hi Carly 🙂 thank you for your great content, always so helpful.
What did you not like about mailchimp? Do you suggest just going with a paid service right away?
I just found it SO clunky and hard to use – madmimi is free till 500 I think! I liked them a lot.
Oh my gosh, I’ve just spent like, 2 hours reading your blog and it’s now past midnight 😂😱 thank you for the great content!!
I love you!
I appreciate this post. My blog technically will be 8 months old. It has been a huge learning curve and at times I do get frustrated. I need more post but as a stay at home mom of 3, my time online is limited. I started an email list not too long ago and that has been encouraging. I gain about 2-4 people a month. They mainly like my optins/freebies I think.
I still can’t get organic traffic which is frustrating to me but working hard to make it.
Thanks for the advice. Gonna check out your business plan thing, that I know I don’t have.
Lisa – I’m glad you found it helpful! I TOTALLY understand what you mean by your time online is limited. Keep working at it and learning things and you’ll get there. The only ones who fail are the ones who give up. Best of luck! <3
Super helpful. Thank you
Glad it helped. 🙂
I must say I truly had no idea that starting a blog would have such a steep learning curve! There’s so much behind the scenes aspects beyond writing content. I’ve been blogging for just 4 months now and it seems to fall on my mamas ears/eyes only so far. Your blog posts are so honest and positive, I often find myself reading your story for encouragement!
I’m SO glad you find it helpful! And yes – there’s a HUGE learning curve! I wish you the best <3
Yes, blogging s for persistent people, it is not easy. Good advice!
Thank you for the great advice Carly! I’m in the “why does my blog suck?” stage and I’m nodding my head to all of the above. I invested in EBA 3.0 in 2018 and I’ve been plugging away at it and moving forward. Low page views is my biggest frustration right now, but I’m looking forward to seeing results in the near future from all the time, money and effort invested. Thanks again for all of your great content!!