Do you have a goal of making money with your blog?
Then you need to read this.
And you need to at least consider what I’m going to suggest.
It will be brief, but it will be the difference between laying the foundation to make money with your blog, and spinning your wheels writing thousands of words no will ever read.
Not all content is profitable.
I did a quick search on Pinterest for “blog post ideas” just now. And I got back lists of ideas, HUNDREDS of ideas, that suggest writing things like “a recent trip you took” or “what’s in your bag?” or “share your thoughts on (some popular subject)”.
Now, there will always be some exceptions to the rules… and the exception here is this: when you are a famous (and I mean big) blogger, you can probably get away with writing about what’s in your bag, or with sharing your thoughts on some popular subject.
But when you are a small fish and you’re trying to make money with your blog?
Nope. Don’t even waste your time. I have a post about 30 things I’ve learned in my first 30 years that has had maybe… 10 ? page views. EVER. (And my blog has had over a million page views. So think about that.)
The 31st lesson I learned?
Having a solid understanding of what is profitable content and what is not will ensure that you don’t waste precious hours writing stuff that no one else will ever read… or stuff that won’t make you a dime.
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
Profitable content is content that solves a problem for someone.
Profitable content is content that will show up in a search on Pinterest or on Google or Bing or any other place where you can search.
Think about the kind of stuff you search for online.
You search for recipes, for “how to get ink out of carpet”, for “how to make money online“.
You search for “Christmas decorating ideas”, or “how to grout bathroom tiles” or “how to cure exema”.
I have never, ever, searched for “30 things I have learned in the first 30 years of life”.
And that is why that post has never made a dime.
You can write to educate, to validate, or to share your opinion on anything as long as it’s something that someone might search for. In any niche. Photography, sewing, parenting, finance, home making, healthy living, weight loss, wine making, stain removing. Anything. (That said, some niches will be far more profitable than others, and this might be something to take into consideration when choosing a niche.)
Create content for other people.
And title it so they KNOW it’s for them. (Random one word titles or things like, “Friday Night Musings” will NOT get you anywhere.)
Entice them to click into your post.
I have a series of posts on living well with anxiety that do very well. NONE of them are called “My experience living with anxiety” (even though, technically, that’s what they’re about).
These posts are written (and titled) to answer the question of how the reader might live well with anxiety. They are designed to appear when someone searches phrases like “how does diet affect anxiety?”.
(These anxiety post are profitable because I use affiliate links throughout the series for related books on the subject, and different supplements and such that I have personally used to combat anxiety.)
An important exception to note:
I do think that there is a time when heartfelt content can make you money. If you have a strong Facebook following (in particular) you might be able to get heartfelt content to take off, and you can make money from ads on content with many thousands or millions of views.
Getting heartfelt content to take off and make you money though, is going to be much harder than writing content that people will click into because it solves their problem. (And, you don’t want to establish your entire revenue system on ads – that is VERY risky.)
So, your blog in it’s entirety, should be reader focused.
Even your “about you” blurb should say something about how being on your blog will benefit them.
Sometimes it’s tough to write everything all the time for the reader, and still stay passionate about blogging. Last night I wrote Remember Mommy, “This too Shall Pass”, and I wrote it for me. This morning it’s had less than 6 views, and that’s to be expected. I wrote it because I wanted to, and I enjoyed it. I love writing, and sometimes I write just for me – and I recognize this part of my blogging as hobby blogging. (I don’t “waste my time” often, but I just really wanted to write it.)
But I won’t be looking for that post to make any money. Ever. Because I understand what profitable content is.
Types of profitable content:
At first glance, being told not to write “whatever you want” can seem limiting, but it doesn’t have to be. (I’ll link to some example posts that I make money from here, so you can check them out and see what I mean.)
Profitable content can be almost anything. Review posts and tutorials (like this one – How to Start a Blog) are GREAT, personal experience posts are fine – i.e. I wrote about my experience finding a work at home job in the post Real Work at Home Options for People Serious About Escaping 9-5, and it does awesome!
List posts are amazing, because people want lots of information fast. 5 Ways to Heal Your Gut is a post that brings me Amazon commissions every single month without fail.
(If you are plain old going for page views, shocking or controversial content can be shared quickly – but be careful what you write… once it’s out there, it’s out there.)
- Not EVERY post on your blog has to be a profitable post – but it’s helpful if you can link to a profitable post FROM the posts that are not going to make you any money in and of themselves.
- It might take you some time to figure out how to write profitable content, and that’s fine. Every post is a learning experience. You can always go back and update bad posts later.
- It’s easier to write a larger volume of profitable content and interlink that content if you have a specific niche. (I really didn’t want to accept this for a long time, but I finally have. Ha.)
- Not everything I say is always 100% “the rule”. If you can find a way to make a story about your cat profitable, more power to ya!