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The 5 Mistakes Bloggers Make When They Monetize Their Blog

Back when I started my own design and lifestyle blog in 2010, most fellow bloggers were also just starting theirs as a hobby – an interest in sharing their creativity and developing a community online.

I feel like today there are a lot more people who start blogs for business, with an intention of monetizing their new venture.

Either way, whether you start as a hobby and then eventually monetize, or monetize your blog right from the beginning, there are mistakes that I notice over and over again.

If you’re wanting to launch your own blog, listen up. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid.

Oh… and how do I know? Because I made every single one of them myself. #truthtime

Want to make money blogging? Don't make these blog monetization mistakes. Click through to find out what they are and how to avoid them.

5 Biggest Mistakes Bloggers Make When Monetizing:

Alright. Here they are.

The 5 mistakes I don’t want you to make.

Mistake 1: Under-valuing your work

As a new blogger, one of the biggest questions that I had when I started working with brands was what the heck to charge. I’m pretty sure I did an in-depth blog post and campaign in exchange for one can of paint.

As much as I want to support and work with brands that I trust and love, you also need to get paid for the content you are providing. Freebies are wonderful, but they don’t pay the bills, you know?

As a blogger, you are running your brand and your business. You need to treat it as such. Your time, costs, and skills all have to be taken into account when setting a rate for working with brands. You have taken time and effort to cultivate an engaged audience who trust what you are saying, and that is hugely valuable from a marketing point of you.  You are offering some great PR for a brand when you highlight a product to your readership, and so that needs to be compensated accordingly. You are providing amazing photography, possibly even a video, social media outreach, and a piece of blog content that is going to live on the internet. All of that means something.

Make sure your rates are fair for all parties involved.

 

Mistake 2: Bombarding readers with display ads

Have you ever landed on a blog and can barely read the article or get a feel for the blogger because there are ads coming at you from every direction?

Yeah, me too.

And I hate to say it, but I have totally been guilty of this myself on my own blog.

There is nothing worse as a reader than getting totally bombarded with ads. You can’t really blame them for quickly exiting from your site when there are a zillion things flashing, popping up, and possibly even making noises at them. And how are you going to build a loyal and large readership like that?

It can be exciting to think that you can make money by placing ads on your website, but you need to weigh that against the experience for your reader. Ultimately the more you are able to grow your readership, the more you’ll be able to make from your blog in all revenue streams, so you don’t want to turn people off. If you do decide to place display ads on your site, you need to do it in strategic spots that are high revenue-generators without being totally off-putting to your readers.

 

Mistake 3: Not having a strategic business plan

Often when people start a blog they think of it as an online diary. Usually there isn’t any forethought into what the blog might grow into, or what the ultimate business goals are. And that’s totally cool if you want to just be a hobby blogger.

But if you are serious about making an income from your blog, then you need to get your business hat on and realize that you are building a brand. You need to have goals and a direction, and as I mentioned in this post, you need to be thinking about what products or services you are going to start selling. This is how you are going to diversify your revenue streams and have the opportunity to build a business for yourself that is going to pay well.

What is your ultimate monetization goal for your blog and how do you plan to get there?

You need to have a concrete vision of where you want to go with your blogging biz and map out the steps you need to take to achieve it.

Want to start making money blogging? Do it the smart way and avoid these 5 mistakes every blogger makes when they monetize their blog! Click through for the full post and more online entrepreneur biz tips.

 

Mistake 4: Forgetting to focus on creating amazing content

When you decide to monetize your blog, you can get totally swept up in trying to understand how to do it, optimizing ad placements, reaching out to brands, sharing a zillion affiliate links, brainstorming product and service ideas, and figuring out how to approach marketing them.

But here’s the thing: You still need to focus on creating really amazing content for your blog to build that readership.

None of those avenues of monetization are going to pay you a dollar if you don’t have anyone to sell it to.

Display ads rely on traffic, affiliate marketing relies on having an audience that are going to trust your opinion and buy products, brands are only going to want to work with you if you have a reasonable following of engaged readers, and you aren’t going to be able to sell any products and services if you don’t have an audience to market them to.

So while I don’t want you to ignore monetization, you need to also make sure you spend enough time creating super stellar content that gives tons of value. This is going to be what cultivates that amazing readership who trust what you say, who actually want to hear from you, and eventually will feel comfortable buying from you.

 

Mistake 5: Not building an email list

You can have a huge instagram following, big numbers on facebook, or large audiences on any other social media platform, but here’s the catch: you don’t OWN any of that.

Any of those platforms can make a change in their algorithm or disappear tomorrow, and you wouldn’t have anything to show for it.

The most important thing you need to be focusing on? Building your email list.

These are folks who are going to let you into their inbox every week – that’s HUGE. It isn’t just some passing pic in a feed that they may or may not see, this is major access right to them. This is going to help you monetize in so many ways.

Want to work with a brand? Tell them how many email subscribers you have and how you could offer a mention of their product in a newsletter.

Want to sell a product or service? You aren’t going to get better conversion numbers than from the people on your list.

Want to do some affiliate marketing? An email list means direct access to people who trust your voice.

Work on providing insane value to your readers so that they not only want to join your list, but look forward to opening that email from you week after week. Create opt-in incentives and make sure you have obvious places on your blog for readers to sign up.

 

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

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Want to start making money blogging? Do it the smart way and avoid these 5 mistakes every blogger makes when they monetize their blog! Click through for the full post and more online entrepreneur biz tips.

Want to make money blogging? Here is why you NEED to sell products or services on your blog and how to get started. Blogging biz tips you don't want to miss! Click through for the blog post and FREE eBook download!!

How To Make Money Blogging Selling Products and Services

How to make money blogging. It’s one of the most popular questions I get asked!

Blog monetization can look different from blogger to blogger, genre to genre. Everyone has a slightly different revenue mix, depending on what monetization strategies they have put in place.

There are 4 main streams of income generation as a blogger:

#1 / Display advertising
#2 / Sponsored work
#3 / Affiliate marketing
#4 / Selling products and services

Streams 1-3 are the more “traditional” forms of direct blog monetization, but if you want to have an income stream that YOU are in control of, has the potential for large growth and major financial reward, then #4 is where it’s at.

The most successful bloggers know that the keys to really making money blogging is diversity and selling your own product or service.

Want to make money blogging? Here is why you NEED to sell products or services on your blog and how to get started. Blogging biz tips you don't want to miss! Click through for the blog post and FREE eBook download!!

Selling your own stuff is all about using your blog as a vehicle to highlight your product or service and sell to your readership. This is the “secret sauce” to making the dolla dolla bills, you guys.

You need to think of yourself as an overall brand – not “just a blog”. If you look at the most successful bloggers out there in the DIY and design space, they pretty much all sell something. Even the blogs that get insanely high traffic aren’t just relying on display ads and sponsored work – they want in on a piece of that selling action themselves! From apps, planners, eBooks, interior design services, coaching, prints, pillows, mugs, whatever – most are selling something.

Here’s the thing. As a DIY + design blogger, you are a creative person by nature. I can pretty much bank on that. And because you have started a blog and are thinking about monetizing, that also tells me that you are entrepreneurial. I know… it’s like I know you, right? Ha.

Well, this combo is epic. Creative + Entrepreneur = BOSS.

 

THE ADVANTAGES:

In case you haven’t already guessed it, you have so much opportunity with this stream! It can be easily the most rewarding and exciting part about your blogging biz. If you really want to make a full-time income, then you NEED to think about this stream of revenue. With the other 3 streams you are relying on other brands and companies to pay you, whereas here you are paying yourself. YESSSSS.

The biggest pro’s:

Highest Income Potential

You are selling your own stuff, so the sky is the limit here. Figure out the right product or service, hustle hard, and this could be hugely rewarding financially!

You are in Control 

No relying on other brands for sponsored work or ad agencies for campaigns, this is ALL YOU. You decide each biz move you want to make.

Major Creative Opportunity

I can safely bet that part of the reason you started blogging was because you wanted a creative outlet. Take that one step further with a product line or service. You’re going to love it!

Better able to rely on Income

Sure you still can’t rely on this revenue stream as you would with a 9-5 paycheque, but once you are selling, you will be able to get a good sense of what you can expect month over month. Plus, if it’s a service that you are offering, you can book yourself ahead of time with clients and have a clear idea of what your pay will look like.

 

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

If you haven’t already guessed it, this stream is also going to be the most time consuming and daunting. Figuring out what products or services to sell, manufacturing, liaising with customers, marketing, and all of the elements that go into operating a successful business are going to be hard work.

Some of the con’s?

Time Investment

Obviously developing, manufacturing, shipping a product line or offering a service, plus all the marketing and other elements that come with those, is a big time investment. Are there things you are currently doing in your blog biz that aren’t seeing a good return on investment? If so, I would try to eliminate those tasks so that you can free up your time to focus on this. Are there other tasks you can streamline better (like for example, scheduling social media or writing your blog posts in batches)? Get those systems in place.

Potential Start-Up Cost

Whether it’s materials, website development, software, courses, whatever … there is likely going to be some level of start up cost associated with developing this new arm of your biz. I suggest trying to bite off only small chunks at a time so that you aren’t going in way deep right from the get go. It can take a few try’s to figure out what is and isn’t going to work.

Higher level of Risk

Both in terms of money and time. But highest potential pay-off, too.

Scary!

It’s hard enough to put yourself out there on a blog, let alone trying to sell something that you created. It feels all kinds of personal and scary. But you know what? You just need to put it aside and get out there. You’ll never know until you try.

 

WHAT COULD YOU SELL? 

I listed a whole bunch of ideas in this blog post, but there are generally 3 categories of things you might sell as a blogger: Physical Products, Digital Products, and Services.

1 // Physical Products

I would recommend starting with a base product line of 10 stellar items. These can be the same general item, but with variations (for instance – a pillow line with 10 designs).

One of the great things about physical products is that you can sell online through your existing blogging biz and on a third party site (like Etsy), but also move into wholesale to boutiques. This is what I have done with my own shop and it has been a good way of testing different avenues of selling, and building up a solid income.

See this post all about how to launch your own shop using drop-ship manufacturing (like I have!).

2 // Digital Products

Digital products are items that are virtual – there is nothing physical about them. The product is sold and delivered online to the customer. The best thing about digital products is how passive they are. The time commitment upfront can be huge in terms of prepping the product, but once you’ve completed it and have it for sale, there is usually almost no activity required on your part. Just listening to those cha-ching’s, as the cash hits your bank account. YESSSS.

3 // Services

Like with products, the sky is the limit here on what you could offer. Here are some key questions to consider:

  • What are you especially skilled at?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What is it that your readers are always asking for your help on?
  • Are there other folks offering the same or similar services? If so, what would your unique slant be?
  • Do you want to offer your services solely online, or are you interested in in­-person services as well? 

If you’re really stumped, or want some feedback on a few ideas, I suggest surveying your readers. They are your target audience and you want to be sure that whatever you offer would appeal to them and answer a problem they might have.

Obviously there is a cap in service-based biz in terms of how much you can do. If you have a clear idea though of the number of clients or hours of work you need per month to make the income that you are shooting for, then this will be your goal. Down the road you could always look at hiring parts of your services out to an employee in order to expand and take on more clients.

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

 

Related Posts:

How To Make Money Blogging: 24 Ways To Monetize Your Blog

Have you ever wondered how to monetize your blog?

If you want to actually start making a profit from your hobby blog, keep reading… I’m going to give you the insider scoop.

Want to make money blogging? Here are 24 creative ways to increase your income as a blogger and online entrepreneur.

Every blogger has a slightly different revenue mix, depending on what monetization strategies they choose to put in place.

Most successful bloggers will diversify their revenue streams, so that there is money coming in from a variety of sources. It’s a safer bet that way, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket.

There are 4 main streams of income for bloggers:

  1. Display advertising,
  2. Sponsored work,
  3. Affiliate marketing, and
  4. Selling products and services.

 

Here are 24 ways that bloggers can monetize:

 

STREAM 1: DISPLAY ADS

 

1 // Display ads through a network

Sell advertising space on your blog through an advertising agency. The network or agency acts as the middle man between you, the blogger, and the brand. Most popular ad network? Google Adsense.

I personally work with MediaVine and LOVE them.

 

2 // Privately sold display ads

Sell advertising space on your blog directly to a company or brand. More work for the blogger as they need to find those companies and manage the relationship, but the income generated is typically higher than with a network as the blogger gets 100% of the profit.

 

looking-to-start-making-money-from-your-blog-24-strategies-for-monetizing-your-diy-and-design-blog-click-through-for-the-full-list-and-a-free-workbook

STREAM 2: SPONSORED WORK

 

3 // Sponsored blog post

A sponsored post is when you write a blog post that reviews a company or a particular product. You are highlighting that product to your readers and including product photography and a link to purchase or learn more.

 

4 // Sponsored social media post or campaign

Similar to writing a sponsored blog post, but on social media instead. This could be a sponsored instagram post or instagram series, facebook campaign, etc. where you are highlight a company and its product(s).

Sponsored work in general can really vary from collaboration to collaboration. Packages could include a blog post + social media outreach, or different combinations of work. You may get sponsored work through an ad agency if you work with one, or can pitch brands yourself and develop relationships and collaborations with them.

 

If you work with brands on sponsored work, make sure to check out this post on how to pitch brands and how to create a media kit.

 

STREAM 3: AFFILIATE MARKETING

 

5 // Affiliate product links:

Incorporating affiliate links within your blog so that when a reader clicks that link and purchases the item, you receive a commission. Commission levels vary from around 2-10% for a physical product to up to 50% for a digital product like an eBook or eCourse.

For example, having a “shop your house” section like Chris loves Julia has, would be a great spot to embed affiliate links.

clj

 

Check out this post for 11 Affiliate Marketing Networks you should join, and this post on how to create a strong affiliate marketing strategy.

 

STREAM 4: SELLING YOUR OWN PRODUCTS + SERVICES

This is the secret sauce to building a blog biz and really making money. You aren’t selling anybody else’s products – you are selling your very own. Yes, this stream is going to take more work, but the potential for major revenue is so much greater.

This is really where you are turning your blog into a brand and thriving business.

There are loads of potential product and service ideas….

 

6 // Freelance writing

Write blog posts for other brands and companies or articles for design magazines and other publications.

 

7 // Brand social media management

Freelance as a social media consultant and manage facebook / twitter / pinterest / instagram / etc accounts for other companies and brands. You have become a social media expert with you own blogging biz and many others would love to have your insight!

 

8 // Brand campaign creative management

Run creative campaigns for other brands and companies. Use your talents and network as a blogger to run a campaign that uses blogger outreach, social media outreach, etc.

 

9 // eBook

Write an eBook from scratch or re-purpose some of your existing content into an eBook. Sell on your blog and/or through avenues like Amazon.

 

10 // Create an Online course

Develop an online course that addresses some of the most popular questions you get asked as a blogger. It’s important to think about your target market and be sure you develop something that they need the answer(s) to. Your course could take a number of forms and include workbooks, written content, videos, etc. What do you teach on your blog already? Sewing? Decorating? Hand-lettering? A software? Turn it into a course.

 

11 // Host a Paid Webinar

Paid webinars where you offer your expertise in a 1-2 hour session.

 

12 // Printables

Create printables like worksheets, organizational tools, event printables, and others and sell either on your website or using a selling platform like Etsy (use this link to get your first 40 listings on Etsy free!).

 

13 // Digital artwork

If you are familiar with graphic design, you could sell digital art prints on your website or using a selling platform like Etsy. These are direct downloads so the consumer buys the JPG or PDF version and prints at home.

I used to do this in my own Etsy shop.

looking-to-start-making-money-from-your-blog-24-strategies-for-monetizing-your-diy-and-design-blog-click-through-for-the-full-list-and-a-free-workbook

 

14 // Photography

If you have become an amazing photographer, you can sell your photography (directly on your blog, through Etsy, or another external platform). Sell as prints or as digital downloads.

You can also sell photography to be used as stock photography for other business owners (this is HUGE right now!).

 

15 // Handmade goods

If you are a DIY and design blogger, you likely make amazing handmade goods. Ever thought of selling any of them? Opening up an Etsy shop or selling directly on your site can be an amazing way for readers to get a little piece of your creations!

 

16 // Interior design e-services

Your readers probably love your style (that’s why they keep coming back to your blog!). Offering e-design services allows them the opportunity to hire you to help them with their pressing design needs. Usually the product delivered is a moodboard and a design plan with layouts and links to purchase products.

 

17 // Virtual assistant services

As a blogger you have developed a bunch of very sought after skills, like writing, editing, social media knowledge, graphic design, and more. These are super valuable and you can market yourself as a Virtual Assistant (VA) for other bloggers.

 

18 // Web design

Have you become a web design rockstar? Market website design as your new service for clients, or create wordpress/blogger templates and sell those.

 

19 // Sell graphics, fonts and/or clip art

If you create amazing graphics or fonts for your blog, try selling them through Creative Market, Etsy, or other platforms out there. There is a big marketplace out there for that.

 

20 // Sewing patterns

Do you blog about sewing? If so, start selling your patterns! I bet your readers will snap ’em up.

 

21 // 3rd party fulfillment products

There are so many more options these days for selling physical products where another company handles the fulfillment so you don’t have to buy and store a bunch of inventory (and handle shipping!). You do the original designs, and then they take over: printing on tee-shirts, mugs, posters, tote bags, whatever. Check out Society6, Zazzle, and other websites to compare pricing and products. This is a really great option for selling physical products but in a passive way.

Kate from Centsational Girl sells photography and styling services, in addition to a fabric lines through Spoonflower, and other products through Zazzle. That is some stellar diversity!

centsational-girl

22 // Subscription newsletter

Offering something super valuable in a weekly newsletter? Lessons or downloadable content? Then turn that into a paid subscription.

 

23 // Membership community

Create a member login area to your website where you share valuable content for your readers. These are usually offered as monthly subscriptions where you promise to upload a certain number of new documents / content each month for your users.

 

24 // Public speaking

There are lots of conferences and training events all over the place that are constantly looking for outgoing folks to speak about their experience and knowledge. Market yourself as an expert within your niche and/or as an expert in blogging. This can be a great way of getting introduced to new audiences, too!

 

The Bottom Line?

I have tested and tried out various monetization strategies myself over the last 5+ years of blogging and have found different levels of success with each.

Unless you have super enormous traffic, selling your own products and services have the potential to be your biggest revenue earnier. Don’t hesitate to dive in to one of these product or service ideas, or something else you’ve been dreaming up. Even if it scares you a little, just push that fear aside and give it a go.

It may take some trial and error before you find the right product or service that sells and brings a good return on investment, but don’t hesitate to get started. Done is better than perfect!

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

 

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