"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 blog 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 respect 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 or recommend you do -
And what I mean by this is, do more than just install WordPress and publish a couple of blog posts a week.
Focus all of your effort on creating as much valuable and compelling 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 or how you do it, 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 best advice would be to wait for some time before you monetize, if you can, of course.
Trying to monetize your blog too early can cause you to run into several problems.
The first problem is becoming disheartened and potentially losing your motivation, drive, and interest to want to blog. Especially when you don't see much revenue coming in for the hard work you've put in.
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 sound advice that was once given to me when I first started.
The other BIG reason why trying to make money from your blog too early might not work is the trust thing. If people are visiting your blog for the first time, and you don't have much of a readership to fall on, then you can't expect people to instantly trust you.
It's much easier to recommend affiliate products and services, or sell your own products or services, to an audience that trusts you right through the bone.
Recommended reading: How To Build A Rock-Solid Community For Your Blog
So, Fabz, when do you think I should start monetizing my blog then?
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 knowing the right time to start. I'm not even an expert at making money from blogging.
But, Fabrizio, you've been blogging for 10 years, you must know something???
Yes, I know what you're thinking. 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 long period of time, not just a few months.
I'm only sharing my insights and experiences with you, that's all. Hopefully you can make your own mind up as to when to start.
So, to really answer your question -
When do I think you should start to monetize your blog?
Well, 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, and build trust?"
Nope, I didn't. I didn't actually write that YOU MUST wait for six months, I simply made the suggestion or recommendation that you wait a while.
When I started my first blog, I went in with all guns blazing monetizing everything I could right from the word go. I didn't wait around, I wrote my first launch post and monetized the cr*p out of it.
Guess what happened!
I didn't earn a cent for about 8 months. Not a cent.
I didn't give up though, I just kept chugging along. But, it kind of 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 eventually started to make money, but it wasn't much. After three long years had passed, I was eventually making a steady income of $1500 to $3000 per month. Life was good.
Of course, as the story goes, all that changed in an instant when my first blog tanked in 2014 due to a Google Algorithm change.
In my second attempt at blogging with this blog (Magnet4Blogging), I decided to wait around for 6 months. Even though I already had a small community and readership from my first blog.
But, I decided to focus very hard on just content creation and growing my email list. After I started to monetize strategically and within a month or so I started to see my affiliate earnings increase.
That's my story folks, but here's the truth:
You can ignore what you've read above about waiting a while and start monetizing immediately because what worked 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 -
The bottom line is that you need to find out for yourself whether now is the right time to start monetizing your blog or not.
To help you decide, below I've listed 5 questions to ask yourself.
Now, let's dive deeper into each of the questions below.
The first critical ingredient needed 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 (if possible). Compare it with the previous 90 days. 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 50 or 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 a combined traffic of 1,600 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 and 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?
You don't need to build a monstrous email list to be successful either, so the more emails you have is not always better. It's the quality of your list that matters.
500 super-targeted subscribers, ready, willing, and able to do business with you is better than 5,000 subscribers that aren't really interested in your premium content or offers.
I said to you earlier that converting your readers into paying customers shouldn't be too hard for you to do, as long as your free content is awesome.
Recommended: How To Check If Your Blog Content Is Awesome
However, this also depends on a few other factors. One of which being - How well you think you know your audience.
In other words, do you know what their wants and needs are?
The better connected you are with your community and readers, the better you'll understand their wants and needs. It's simple.
We call this "relationship building" in blogging and in online 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 -
Once again, 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 great 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.