"Hey, Fabrizio! When should I start monetizing my blog?"
I get asked that question all the time. Every now and then, I get an email in my inbox asking about monetization and when to start.
So, let me try and answer this question the best I can, but purely based on my own knowledge, insights, and personal experience with monetizing my own blog.
Note to readers: I realize that not everyone is out to try and make money from their blogs. Some prefer to do it for fun and that's perfectly fine. But, for the majority of bloggers out there that want something to show for the hard work they put into creating great content and doing all of the marketing stuff that goes with it. Your time is not free, right? For those who want to build a business from their blogs, this post is for you. If you're not interested in monetizing your blog, then this post is NOT for you.
That's right, it all starts with your audience, and if you don't have an audience and you want to start monetizing your blog, then you might struggle a little bit.
So, here's what I suggest you do -
And what I mean by this is, do more than just install WordPress and publish a couple of blog posts.
Focus all of your effort on creating as much valuable content as you possibly can, first.
At the same time, grow your audience -
Whether you start building an email list or set up push notifications on your blog, I don't care what works for you, just build your community first.
Work on finding new traffic from reliable sources as well as organic search engine traffic (SEO).
When you have a decent amount of traffic, a growing community, and have earned a respectable level of trust from your readers, then you can plan how you want to monetize your blog.
If you've only just started your blog, maybe you've been doing it for a couple of months - my suggestion would be to wait for some time before you monetize, if you can, of course.
The thing with trying to monetize your blog too early is that you can run into problems.
The biggest problem of them all I think is becoming disheartened and potentially losing your motivation and drive to want to blog, especially when you don't see much earnings coming in for your efforts.
I'm not telling you this to put you off from monetizing your blog in any way, I'm really trying to give you some good advice that was once given to me when I started.
I get emails each week from new bloggers asking why their blogs aren't making them any money and if I can help them. You know what I do? I simply point them to this post.
So, Fabz, when do you think I should start monetizing my blog?
I get it, you really want to make money from your blog. But I want you to know that I'm no expert when it comes to blog monetization.
Sure, I can make $1,000 a month from my blog, but I know what works for me, and I've kind of figured that out over a period of almost 10 years, not just a few months.
I'm just sharing my insights and experiences with you, that's all.
So to really answer your question - When do I think you should start to monetize your blog?
You can start right now, or six months after you've started your blog, anytime!
"What? - Wait a minute... you just told me to wait a while and build my blog and grow my audience first?"
Nope, I didn't. I didn't actually tell that you MUST wait for six months, I simply made the suggestion that you wait a while.
When I started my first blog, I went in with all guns blazing monetizing to everything I could monetize.
I didn't earn a cent for about 8 months. That broke my heart and I just thought that earning an income from blogging wasn't actually possible and that all the gurus were bullsh***ing me.
I was naive, of course.
In my second attempt at blogging, I waited around 6 months. I focused very hard on content creation and growing my email list. Then I started to monetize strategically and that time things were different, I started to earn money almost within a few weeks.
But that said, guys and dolls, the truth is:
You can ignore what I said above about waiting a while and start monetizing immediately because what works for me, might not work for you.
You see, even though my suggestion to you was to try and wait six months and build your blog and audience first, there are some benefits of actually starting to monetize your blog straight away.
Here are two of those benefits -
You need to find out for yourself whether now is the right time.
So, below I've listed 5 questions to ask yourself BEFORE you think about monetizing your blog, regardless of what monetization model you have in mind.
Now, let's dive deeper into each of the questions below.
The first vital ingredient for any kind of blog monetization to be successful is, of course, traffic.
Where is your blog traffic coming from and how much are you getting?
Combine your organic search engine, referral, email, social media, YouTube, push notifications, and other relevant traffic together.
Look at your Google Analytics report for the last 90 days. Compare it with the previous 90 days, if possible. Do you see a continuous growth trend?
Basic monetization 101 -
If you're only managing 20 visits per day right now, you're going to struggle without a doubt. Which reinforces the suggestion I made earlier about waiting a while before you start to monetize your blog.
Let's say, six months from now, you should have more traffic coming from various reliable sources, right?
If your blog is getting at least 100+ visits per day, then I think you're in a better position to plan your monetization strategy.
200+ visits per day and you're off to a pretty good start!
Traffic is important, but it is not the holy grail for earning income from your blog.
I have two blogs in very similar niches with combined traffic of 1,300 visits per day, and I can tell you, I still have my work cut out when it comes to monetization.
There is an awesome article on Entrepreneurs Journey by Yaro Starak titled How Much Traffic Does Your Blog Need To Make 100k Per Year, it's well worthy of a read when you have some time.
Putting traffic to one side, for the time being, how successful you are at monetizing your blog will also depend on how good of an internet marketer you are.
If you're a complete newbie, then learning the ropes of digital marketing will take some time.
The next BIG question to ask yourself is how many loyal peeps (people, subscribers) does your blog have?
The more the better, right?
Kind of... - I'll explain what I mean in just a second.
People who subscribe to your blog updates are usually the ones that are actually interested in what you have to share or offer.
If you've been working hard to provide great value for your readers through your content, then turning your subscribers into customers shouldn't be too hard to do.
You see, those loyal peeps already value your free content anyway, which means they will most likely be more than happy to do business with you.
It's like if your free content is that awesome, then your premium content must be to die for, right?
Another thing - you don't need to build a monstrous email list either, so the more emails you have is not always better. It's the quality of your list that matters.
500 super-targeted subscribers, hungry to do business with you is better than 5,000 subscribers that aren't really interested in your premium content or offers.
So - I said to you that turning your audience into customers shouldn't be too hard for you to do as long as your free content is awesome.
However, this also depends on a few other factors. One of which being - How well you think you know your audience.
The more connected you are with your community, readers, the better you'll know them and understand their wants and needs.
We call this "relationship building" in blogging or digital marketing.
By understanding the needs and wants of your readers, you can help them overcome whatever problems they may be experiencing.
Here are a few things you should be doing to connect with your blog audience -
The better you know your audience, the smarter you will be at serving them, and the more likely they'll want to do business with you later down the line.
How are you going to START monetizing your blog?
What's going to be your primary monetization model?
Here are some ideas and suggestions for you to start with -
This is something that very few bloggers and marketers think about when starting to monetize their websites and blogs, especially affiliates.
There are some amazing ways in which to provide incredible value through your content while monetizing. Here are some suggestions -
If you spend just a few moments answering the 5 questions above, I think you'll be in a better position to decide when and how you're going to monetize your blog successfully, whether it's now or in the future.
Once again, my advice if you're a starter blogger, is that you spend some time building your blog first, and growing your community.
I tell you, six months will fly by, and you'll have more content, a few more peeps on your email list, some credibility and trust, and all the attributes needed to become a successful money-making blogger.
Or, if you simply can't wait, you can start right away. Whatever you decide, I wish you the very, very best of luck.
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