One of the major complaint I hear from bloggers: they publish content in their blog all the time but still they are not making any money. Or maybe they are earning some money but not enough considering the long hours they work. Not enough to justify being chained to their computers 24/7.
I remember when I first started my blog network, I added up all the hours I was working blogging and running the network and figured out what I was paying myself. It ended up being less than $2 per hour. That was a slap in the face.
What the Experts Say
I have read that in order to build a successful blog, you need to blog every day. Some pundits even advocate blogging multiple times per day. Blogging multiple times per day? This is insanity.
Nobody wants to hear from you that much. Unless you are a celebrity gossip blogger with breaking news about Lindsay Lohan’s drug/jail escapades. Or, better yet, you are George Clooney. And even then, we’d get tired of him, too — unless he had flowers and diamonds in hand and dinner reservations at the French Laundry.*
I did a little experiment with my blog, Jobs8Home.com, a while back. Instead of blogging 4-5 times a week, I started blogging maybe once or twice a week. And guess what? Nothing happened. The traffic kept coming. People kept commenting. I still made money from my blog.
So why was I killing myself trying to blog every day?
The Real Problem with Blogging Too Much
The problem with blogging too much is this: if you are blogging all the time, there’s no time to do anything that will make you money.
Plus, the actual writing of the blog posts is the least of your work. When you write a post, you have to answer reader comments, post it on Facebook and Twitter and answer those comments, deal with email, not to mention technical crap like updating WordPress plugins and the like.
Bottom line: No one is paying you to blog, so you should do the bare minimum that it takes to keep your readers happy. With the time leftover, you should be doing things that will make you money.
How Often Should You Blog?
The answer is: it depends. If you’re just starting out and trying to grow your blog, you will want to blog more — say 3-4 times a week.
If you have an established blog and you just want to maintain your traffic, you can get away with blogging 1-3 times per week.
What to Do Instead of Blogging
You should be spending most of your time focused on how to make money. Blogging is not where the money is. Blogging is a lead generating tool — not a money making tool. Even if you do make money from your blog, e.g. affiliate links and advertising, that will usually not be your primary income (although there are exceptions to this — it depends on what type of content you have).
Here are the things you should be doing instead of blogging:
Build a Mailing List
There is nothing more important than building a mailing list. Your mailing list is EVERYTHING. Instead of doing so much dang blogging, I wish I had gotten a monthly mailing list started years ago.
If you don’t have a Feedburner account, go set it up NOW. Feedburner will automatically send an email to your readers every time you post. They can also sign up for your RSS feed and read your blog through a reader (Like Google Reader for example. Note: I don’t recommend using a full feed — I always do excerpts — but I’ll get into that in another post).
In addition to a Feedburner list, you need a newsletter. This can be monthly or bi-weekly, or even weekly if you want. I typically do a monthly newsletter but some people like to do weekly or bi-weekly. Just tell your readers what they are signing up for — how often they will get emails and let them know that you will not spam them, nor will you sell, rent or give away the list.
It’s easy to set up a mailing list. I use AWeber, which I love. You can set up a new list on AWeber in five minutes.
There are other good solutions like MailChimp and Constant Contact, but I find AWeber to be the easiest to use and it has a lot of bells and whistles that the others dont’ have. Best of all, it’s completely free to set it up and use it — they don’t start charging you for the first month.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to actually set up a newsletter yet. Just start collecting those email addresses. I have a client who has been collecting email addresses via giveaways and freebies for the past year — she has over 10,000 names on her list. That is valuable.
Brainstorm ways to get people to sign up for your mailing list(s) on your blog. Here are just a few ideas:
- Make sure your mailing list sign-up is in a prominent place on every page of your blog — this means above the fold, close to the content
- Plug your mailing lists using the “What Would Seth Godin Do?” plugin
- Plug your mailing lists in posts (e.g., “Did you like this story? Sign up for my free email updates — enter your email address below” — and put the email submit form right into the post)
- Offer a free downloadable or other bit of digital content — a short e-book, a podcast, or an exclusive video — to anyone who signs up
- Run monthly or weekly giveaways and make people sign up for your mailing list(s) in order to enter (I grew my monthly newsletter to over 1,200 in just 3 months by running a monthly drawing on my blog, Jobs8Home — I give away cooking gadgets and stuff on Amazon.
Produce Paid Content
Once you’ve got a decent list going (at least 1,000 people on your Feedburner and/or your newsletter), it’s time to start creating paid content.
(Actually, you can start creating paid content prior to getting your list built. See the idea above, for creating a short e-book or exclusive video as a download in exchange for an email address.)
Paid content is the number one way you will make money from a blog. If you’re not already selling something (i.e. you have an online store and you just use the blog to drive traffic to the store), you have to find or create something to sell.
According to Tim Ferris, author of the brilliant book, The 4-Hour Workweek (my favorite book in years!), information products are the best, since the markup is much higher than manufactured products, and it is much harder for competitors to compete with you.
I’ll be writing more posts in the future about how to create paid content, leveraging content you have already created.
Share Your Comments Below
How much do you blog? Do you want to blog less or does the idea of blogging less make you nervous?
Do you find that blogging less works for you?