Not Making Money Blogging? It Might Not Be Your Fault

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?

153359
Knew business;
closed anyway…

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?

IMG_20160411_160308_resized
It wasn’t this guy lol

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 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 things 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.

Boring Content

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.

IMG_20151123_134828
This has nothing to do with
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?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016-2017 Mitch Mitchell

Removing Birthdays From Your Samsung Galaxy S5 Calendar & Other Tech Talk

For the second time this year I gave up the Monday spot for my I’m Just Sharing blog to my business blog, this time because yesterday was the 48th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and I had something to say. Y’all know how I can be.

Aufgenommen mit dem Huawei Mate S
Creative Commons License GillyBerlin via Compfight

Today I’m starting with a very brief tutorial on how to remove birthdays you didn’t put into your Samsung calendar. Stick with me through this because it might help some of you, and then I’ll have more to say.

1. Open your Calendar app
2. Look for the 3-dot column at the top right and push on it.
3. See Calendars and push on it. When you get the standard Samsung message just push on OK. Another menu might pop up asking you to sign into a Samsung account; just hit the back arrow (the bottom right area of your phone) to make it go away.
4. You’ll probably see everything checked in this column. Look near the bottom and you’ll see Birthdays. Uncheck that and you’re good to go.
5. There are other things there that you might want to uncheck, like Holidays. Before you leave uncheck other stuff you don’t want, and then go ahead and hit the arrow next to Calendars at the top left.

All that junk that was there is now gone; you can jump around as happy as a baby lamb. 🙂

Why was this such a big deal? Two reasons.

The first was because I couldn’t find the information anywhere online. Every suggestion started and ended with changing the Facebook app settings… only I don’t have Facebook on my phone. So it took some digging around for me to discover how to get rid of it.

The second is because I didn’t know hardly any of the people whose names were showing up on my calendar, and wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I know those names had never been there before the latest Galaxy s5 update because it’s the only thing I’ve updated that’s associated with my calendar. The names came from Gmail/Plus, and I haven’t updated either of those on the phone either because I don’t use Gmail and the updates to Plus created other problems a long time ago so I removed all updates and run the older version those few times I post anything there from the phone.

What is it about the people who create technology, paid or free, that has them decide how and when they’re allowed to be so intrusive or obstructive? Whose brilliant idea was it to load all those birthdays on my calendar when I don’t even have my birthday listed on any social media sites? For that matter, whose brilliant idea at Samsung was it to load so many more programs onto my phone that I don’t use and can’t get rid of, to the point that I couldn’t even update apps I wanted to for a while because I kept getting “insufficient space” errors? If y’all know me you know I don’t use tons of apps, so this made no sense.

They’re not alone. For years I’ve talked about the virtues of Tweetdeck, only to have Twitter decide they’re taking the standalone from me in just under 2 weeks. Luckily, I found an alternative called Tweeten:
 


https://youtu.be/Fhrzayp2qao

Another app I talked about as kind of a godsend for protecting passwords you wanted to save and take with you was Keeper, which I’m not linking to anymore. One day a couple of weeks ago they sent a message saying they were going to a paid-only model… and that we had 24 hours to decide or lose our passwords. Frankly, that irked me to no end, as I had to grab a pad and write down a bunch of passwords that were only on the phone because they got me into the wi-fi at restaurants. If they had given me a week I might have gone ahead and signed on but that just felt smarmy… so forget them! lol

Then Twitter and Instagram decided to do the Facebook thing (Facebook owns Instagram) and put photos on randomly instead of in date order. Or so they said, because what was left out is if you create your own list of people you want to follow on either of them you still get almost everything in date order; whew! That’s the same with Facebook where, if you add categories for the people you want to follow then you’ll still see those posts based on time. Of course, if you also use F B Purity you can do the same thing; just sayin’…

Here’s my overall gripe. Every time a site changes things up, and every time a company changes some of their technology, AND every time a food company changes the taste of their food (might as well drag them into this), they try to tell us that it’s either new and improved or to give users a better experience… and they know they’re lying. And they think we’re buying it!

I don’t know a single person who said they would never use Tweetdeck if they didn’t take away the standalone version. I’ve never heard a single person say they wouldn’t use Facebook or Instagram if they didn’t start randomizing their feed. I never heard anyone say to Pizza Hut (yeah, calling them out) that if they didn’t change up their wonderful sauce and start using cheaper ingredients and fake beef (you think I’m lying about that one, go to Pizza Hut and ask them what type of beef they’re using… it’ll be called “beef”) they would never eat another pan pizza.

I understand the need to make money. I understand the need to try to save on expenses when you need to. What I don’t understand is why these people outright lie to us and think we’re good with it. This isn’t 1950; we have this thing called the internet (which no one has to capitalize anymore… which I never would anyway…) where not only can we learn about these things, but we’re going to read all the hate from others who beat us to the punch and saved us from a horrible experience.

What do we do, whether we pay for things or not? Well, I’ve moved from Tweetdeck to Tweeten. I set up my groups so I don’t have to deal with randomization. I haven’t been to Pizza Hut in about 10 years or so. It turns out we do have choices; whether we decide to take them is always up to us.

What are you willing to put up with before you try something else?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch Mitchell

Capturing Email Addresses – I’m Almost On Board

In January 2014 I wrote a post titled To Capture Or Not Capture Email Addresses; That Is The Question. As the title suggests, I was looking for a compelling reason to start capturing email addresses, beyond the old saw “the money is in the list”. As the comments on that post indicated, only one person was making any real money from having a list.

where its at
Creative Commons License Chris Preen via Compfight

My major lament about it all was I had nothing tangible to sell, thus what would the purpose be? After all, without a product there’s no money to make right?

Well, it’s 16 months later, and now I’m closer to going the route of capturing email addresses. Why?

Two reasons.

The first is that one of the thoughts from last year, the only one that broke through my mind, was the possibility that RSS feeds might go away. Even though there’s been no more talk (at least as far as I know) that Feedburner will be shut down by Google, since they’ve been shutting down lots of other stuff one never knows what they might do.

I love RSS for my own use and I’m sure lots of other people do also. However, I know some people, out of fear, have gone to something called Feedly, while others have started using Flipboard. I’m using Flipboard myself, but I’ve only connected 3 blogs to it, one a local sports blog that shows up in my general feed, while the others I have to specifically go to.

What am I also worried about? At one point I had nearly 400 people subscribed to this blog. Now it’s down to 151, and I have no idea whether they’re subscribed to the RSS feed or the email feed, mainly because I can’t find that one on Feedburner anymore. I do know that most of those who used to subscribe did so through the RSS link.

Thus, having the ability to capture email addresses might be the smart thing to do to make sure people will continue receiving my stuff… if they want it.

The second is that I’m about to not only have a couple of new products, but I’m going to be doing a massive push for sales of the two products, and starting to capture email addresses wouldn’t hurt the process long term, especially since, if it turns out to be successful, I might be doing more of this type of thing.

Still, I want to differentiate the email from what most people send out. My thoughts are that I would send out an email once a week highlighting every post I’ve put on on all my blogs, any videos I’ve created, any interviews I’ve given, and have a brief thought of my own on there that’s not anywhere else. I don’t know many other people who could claim to offer that much information weekly.

Of course, the issue might be deciding what type of original thought to share. Having multiple blogs gives me multiple topics to discuss, but will the people who subscribed through this blog care about leadership? Will the people who subscribe through my business blog care about finances? Details, details…

I haven’t solidified all the details yet but now that I’m close I’m ready to ask some of you what you think about it all. Remember though… just because you offer advice doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily take it. lol I say that because I’m expecting some of the opinions are going to counter each other, and I’m smart enough to know it’s pure folly to try to appease everyone.

By the way, if I do this thing I found a WordPress plugin that looks like it’d be up to the job. It’s called WP Email Capture, and it sets up a double opt-in process to make sure no one’s subscribing someone else just to be sneaky. After that… I’ll figure out how to send out my newsletters, which will initially probably be manual since I don’t expect a major run early on.

That’s all I have for now; your thoughts on it all?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell

Finish Line Steals My Money Then Cancels My Account

Wow, talk about a “nice” wake up message. Yeah, I’m lying about the nice part. I post this not only to get back at the company that has basically lied to me as an affiliate but has then decided to cancel my account. Here’s the exchange, mine first:

Greetings,

I am one of your affiliates through the Google Affiliate Network. I recently purchased something for myself through the affiliate link and I’ve yet to get credit for it. I’ve never seen anything which states that affiliates can’t purchase items through their own links and get credit for it, so I assume there’s an oversight issue somewhere. The full receipt is below; I’ve attached a pdf of the same information in case what’s below doesn’t come through to you. My publisher ID is XXXXXXXXXXXXX. This is the fourth email I’ve sent; please let me know what’s going on.

You’ll notice I wrote “fourth”; that was over a 2-week period when they were ignoring me. Here’s the response I got earlier today:

Although it is allowed for affiliates to purchase shoes for themselves, we do require a site to look up to a certain standard and we do require a certain amount of sales per month. All that being said, I have reached out to our GAN team and we are not seeing anything on your transaction which means your cookie was not activated for your transaction thus why you did not get credit for it.

In addition, your site does not go along with our theme and your 3-month EPC is $0.64 while your 7-day is $0.00. Unfortunately, since the transaction is not in the affiliate channel, I can do nothing at this time. In addition, due to your site quality and low EPC and 7-day I have to cancel our affiliate partnership.

Good luck. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Wow, really? The site has been the same since they originally approved me, even updated some, and now suddenly they don’t like my site anymore? Would they have canceled my account if I’d never written them? What the heck; how bogus can an affiliate get?

This is the downside of affiliate marketing folks. You’re at the mercy of these guys who come up with arbitrary decisions as to whether you fit what they’re hoping for. And unfortunately, it often comes up when you make a sale, even if it’s you purchasing the product. I mean, it took them two weeks to come up with a reason for not giving my my legitimately earned money, since even the guy says I’m allowed to buy from my own affiliate program, and they weaseled out like this.

So, I’m done with Finish Line. I will obviously continue wearing the sneakers I ordered from them, but I’m cutting up my Finish Line card and I’m never giving them any more of my local business, which is close to $400 a year; they could care less. I can buy sneakers anywhere, and I’m sure I’ll find better loyalty, honesty and dignity from someone else.

All this for maybe $12 or so; wow…

Follow up: I have now been threatened by Finish Line for this post, and I have the email to prove it. I’m not removing it, but I have removed the guy’s email address and added this statement here:

“All personal messages express views only of the sender, which are not to be attributed to Finish Line and/or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, and may not be copied or distributed without this statement.”

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

New And Unimproved

Well, you never know what will or won’t be a hit, do you?

In testing out my webcam, following up on my first post where the video was way too large for most people, I decided to create a new video. This time I was thinking about a specific topic, that being how there’s been this trend of companies changing up things we liked and “improving” them, only those things often end up seeming to be worse.

I put the video up on Facebook as a lark, and man, I can’t believe the response it got, and still continues to get. Seems it hit a nerve against many of these companies. Well, why keep it to the people on Facebook, I’m thinking. So, here’s the video, much smaller and thus it should be easier for most of y’all to view. Let me know how it works for you, and of course comments on the content are accepted as well.

Update! Of all things, it turns out I have a YouTube account that I supposedly created in 2008. I have no idea why since I didn’t have a webcam at the time. I’m not allowing the videos to be seen there unless people have the link to it specifically, but it’s allowing me to embed code here. Will wonders ever cease!

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell