Not Making Money Blogging? It Might Not Be Your Fault
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 16, 2016
Can I share something with you?
Look down below at the big window where you’d write a comment… whether you’re going to write one or not. Look just above that space. Do you see the little message about donation and the Paypal button? Would you believe that’s actually been on this blog since 2009? Would you also believe that I’ve only ever had one person donate something to me… which was back in 2009… and he’s now, unfortunately, deceased?
I added that to the blog after a blog comment I got from a lady who runs her blog on real estate with her husband who calls herself Coco made the suggestion on a post where I was talking about all these affiliate ads I used to have on both sidebars, of which I only have one now (the Mailwasher Pro link just below my book Embrace The Lead, there on the left). She thought it would work well because back then I had a lot more people coming to the blog and leaving comments.
I’d actually forgotten I had it, and wasn’t reminded of it until my buddy Rasheed started his recent Patreon campaign. It sparked a memory in me that I thought I had something, so I came back to look at a post and realized I actually did still have it. However, when I added my comment policy in 2011, then posted part of it above the same commenting window, I ended up having that donation button above the policy. Since no one reads the policy, they never noticed the button, and I’d totally forgotten about it. Thus, I’ve just moved it so it’ll be easier to see.
First, I’d like to mention the reason for the donation button in the first place. It’s there in case you decide you happen to like a certain post a lot and your mind says “Hey, I think I’d like to give Mitch a couple of bucks for this one.” There’s no set amount on it, so if you ever decide you think anything I write is worth something and you’d like to contribute in some way, whether or not you comment, it’s there… and you know I’d thank you till the end of time… or at least that week. 🙂
Second… I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the fact that it’s time I start figuring out how to generate some income from all this writing, with the intention of earning enough money to pay bills, eat, have at least a little bit extra and write some more. There are other things I’d “like” to do, but my main intention is to be able to generate enough income so I don’t “have to” go on the road if I don’t want to. As I mentioned in my post about life and blogging, my mother’s health is worrisome and I’d like to be able to stay close enough to get to her as much as possible (as opposed to spending months at a time out of town like I did while I was in Memphis).
Third… what I’ve recognized after all these years is that I’ve done a lot of things, haven’t done a few others, and in the end the conclusion, which I’m sure most of the rest of you know, is that making money blogging, and I mean real, livable money by blogging, isn’t all that easy to do. There are some people who are getting it done, most of it having little to do with actual blogging, yet somehow they’re able to make money off the consequence of blogging, and I think that’s pretty cool.
With that said, there’s a lot of people who write things about how to make money that, in my opinion, have little to do with actually making money. Let me rephrase that; they might be components of the overall drive to make money but it’s not how they make money. How do I know this?
Years ago I tried to get a guy, who I’m not going to name here (if you want to know who it was send me an email and I’ll tell you; and I mean an email; if you ask me in the comments I ain’t saying nothing lol), who was listed at one of the top 50 people online making big time money, to do an online interview with me. I told him that my issue was there’s all these people talking about how to make money online yet not a single one of them actually ever reveals anything.
I used to buy a bunch of books, listen to a bunch of webinars, and none of them offered anything except a “deal” on their $997 product that they were making a one time price of $497. Heck, it might have been good, but I predicate my buying on what I’m seeing before that, and not a single one of these people gave me anything that encouraged me to buy their product.
Back to my story, I asked him if he’d participate in my interview and he said yes. I sent him a series of questions, asking some specific things, and there were only 5 questions. Well… not only did he never answer them but he never wrote me again. I mean… I followed up 4 or 5 times with him by email, sent him a message on LinkedIn… nothing.
I recently came across another post by another guy, this time a guy named Ravi Chahar, who wrote a post titled Reasons Why Bloggers Don’t Make Money From Their Blog. He listed some pretty good thing about how to have a successful blog, but a lot of them have nothing to do with making money whatsoever. I’m going to call a few of those things out.
I’d agree that this will drive people away from your blog and they may never come back, but if it was this simple then there are tons of people who’d be making money hand over fist. I read tons of blogs and some folk are brilliant writers yet I don’t believe they’re making tons of money blogging, if any at all. For context, go read this post by my buddy Holly Jahangiri, who just participated in the A to Z Challenge in April, which means she had to write 26 articles in the month, titled Be a Data Driven Blogger as an example. Trust me, she’s not close to ever being boring!
Poor Business Skills
Does this help anyone? It might be true overall, but this doesn’t really apply to blogging as much as, well, being in business in general. I should know; next month I’ll have been self employed for 15 years. Business skills I have; marketing… that’s a different thing entirely. Without business skills you’re not going to survive in anything you do if you want to be self employed or trying to make money on your own. In all these years, I’ve had 2 years where I made more than $200K, yet I’ve still never made more than $5 a year on blogging. So that correlation is missed on me.
Spelling And Grammar Mistakes Suck
Once again, this has more to do with blogging in general than making money. I know this because I see some blogs where I know the owners are making pretty good money, as in a livable income, but their grammar and spelling isn’t all that great. These are folks for whom English isn’t their main language, so they’re forgiven for not being more accurate. Still, they’re able to communicate with their audience in some way that they’re doing fairly well.
making money blogging either
There are some others I could mention but I’m not going to; please, go read this post and you’ll see what I mean. I think it’s a great post about what not to do as it pertains to blogging in general, and in that vein I’d recommend it, but after reading the entire thing I left knowing that if I employed every single thing he wrote I still wouldn’t make any money.
For instance, one thing I’ve had people constantly telling me is that if I don’t have an email list that I won’t make any money. My response is that even if I had an email list, what would I market to them to make money with? I tell them that I actually used to have two email lists when I was writing my two business newsletters, and I never made a dime from either of them, though one of them I wrote for 10 years. I was marketing my business books and other related books on each post… nothing, nada, zip. The thing is, even if leadership is considered a tough topic to sell, these folk subscribed on their own, some stuck with me for all 10 years, and no one ever bought a thing. So much for being niched.
Just so you know, it’s going to be my intention to figure out this “make money blogging” thing. There’s got to be something that’s not a major secret, and I’m not supposed to be a dumb guy. Over the years I’ve gone the affiliate marketing route, the create product route, the pay-per-click route, but the only way I ever made money was via the paid link ads, which didn’t have anything to do with the blog and eventually lost me my Google page rank (which I didn’t care about but the advertisers did) and ended that bit of cash.
If, or when, I figure it out, I’ll let you know how I did it. Actually, if anything starts looking like it’s starting to make an impact I’ll probably be writing about it here. Y’all know I like to share things; all I do around here is share. I wonder if that’ll earn me a couple of bucks with my little donate button… hmmm… 🙂
What do y’all think about trying to make livable income by blogging? Real dream or pipe dream? Products, services? Ideas?