Most blogs go through a fairly predictable lifecycle from start to profitability. To make it to the point where your blog is making significant income, you’ll need to go through all of these stages. Each and every stage has its own challenges and rewards. Be sure, it won’t be easy. Often, when I tell friends about what I do for a living they ask me “If it is so easy, why is not anyone doing it?” Well, what is the answer to such a question. First of all, they don’t because they don’t have the knowledge. They can learn about Internet marketing of course, but then, they’d need a passion for it as well. Many people simply have other interests. Period. Then, some enjoy much more to work 9 to 5, get home and have no duties at all. That is just fine but actually, that is why not anyone is doing it. There are definitely people who simply enjoy the job they have. And last but not least – it is difficult to get to the stage where your blog is profitable. Don’t think it is a 2 week thing. It is not.
But before I keep rambling, have a look at the typical lifecycle of a blog, from start to profit
Here are the five stages every profitable blog needs to go through to reach success.
1. Conception: No Traffic, No Rankings
You’re selecting your WordPress theme, have less than ten posts and are still experimenting with your tone and various options. A lot of people underestimate how long this stage can last. Unfortunately, you can actually be getting just about no traffic for as many as twenty posts, sometimes more. But don’t worry, when you keep writing you will. There is no way about it. If you publish your blog posts and just keep talking on your blog and e.g. social media, you’ll get results – sooner or later. Don’t make the mistake to give up in this stage. Move on, get other people to write for you and help you if you feel you aren’t getting anywhere alone.
In order to succeed, you’ve just got to press through it. To make it more interesting, you can experiment with multimedia – record a blog post for your Podcast (podcasting is SO much fun!), record a screencast and show something to your audience just you know. If you don’t mind to be on camera, introduce yourself and tell some interesting facts about you and your life. You have so many options, don’t hesitate to use them to get over his stage.
2. Infancy: Trickles of Traffic, Still No Rankings
At this point, you’ll start to get a trickle of people coming to your website from a variety of random sources. Perhaps you have a link in your signature in forums. Perhaps you’re commenting on blogs that interest you.People may be finding your site through totally random searches that you’re not really optimizing for. (BTW – you should, at least by using the free tool SEO by Yoast for your blog). Again, another stage you have to get through. As you may know, Living for Monday is – on the day I’m writing it – not even 2 months old. I have built several other blogs and businesses so I know it takes time but believe me or not, I’m still impatient and can’t wait to meet my audience, talk to them and help them. As a teacher I really love teaching so I can’t wait for things to happen.
At this stage though, you start to have an audience, though a very, very small one. Don’t worry, it will go, just keep working hard. Try different traffic strategies. Doing so will help you to figure which audience responds best to your blog’s content.
3. Toddler: Some Traffic, 1-5 Pages Ranked, Some Trust
Though you’re not the top guy in the industry (yet), you’re beginning to get a small following of people who listen to and trust your advice. You start to get emails because people want to know your opinion. Maybe you have a couple of pages that are ranked in the search engines. This isn’t great per se, as by this point you’ll probably have at least fifty posts, but it still feels great to see some of your pages getting decent rankings (even if not for the keywords you are targeting). At this stage you may want to consider beginning to build a newsletter (Don’t use anything but Aweber – you’ll love their features and services). If you’re still using a free theme or design, you may want to pay for a custom design. This is not necessary at this point but you might realize how BIG this really can become. Again, you need to overcome the Toddler stage, it’s not where you are actually heading for!
4. Young Adult: Moderate Earnings, Strong Reputation
If you have done everything right, you should have a nice audience commenting on your posts and sharing them on social media. This stage is incredible important. Do what you promise, people build trust slowly and when you have gained this stage you need to be careful to be worth their trust. However, at this point it is not that hard to earn even more trust. Here are some things you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t sell your list: means that you shouldn’t send solo ads from whatever marketer to your list. If people trust you and they get these emails with “subscribe here” you can’t tell them next time that you just want them to read your posts. So make sure you don’t sell them anything.
- Don’t stop posting. I know, it’s tempting. You have reached a certain level and you might be a bit tired of writing and marketing and the first euphoria about your new adventure is gone. But at this point – keep going, it’s well worth!
At this point you’re making enough money from your blog to just about support yourself. You may even get 1-2 direct advertising deals. You’re also getting backlinks without having to ask and a higher percentage of your pages are getting ranked. When you recommend a product, people begin to take it seriously. Sales come easier because people are starting to trust your reputation.
5. Adult / Expert: Strong Earnings, Known Brand in the Industry
At this point your blog is one of the top 3-5 in the industry. If someone mentioned your name at a conference, more often than not people would recognize it. It has been a long way to get here. It might have been years to make this happen. Don’t you think it was worth it? I’d say YES, you can truly live the Internet Lifestyle – take a day off whenever you want without working your butt of anymore (sorry for the expression but that is how the beginning is!).
Most blogs never reach this stage. However, if you do make it to this point, you’ll get to enjoy many perks.
Another perk to the one mentioned above (Internet Lifestyle) is that in addition to high levels of traffic, often direct traffic, you also get paid more for that traffic. Your CPMs from direct advertisers are many times higher than AdSense or the CPMs of other sites. You’ll also generally be selling your own products at a very decent conversion rate. I know how hard it is go get to this point. I have my digital scrapbooking site now for five years and I still haven’t reached the point where sales are just tackling in without me doing anything BUT I really don’t need to maintain the site as much anymore as I used to do. Money is definitely coming in without me working on it all day.
These are the five typical stages in the lifecycle of a successful blog. The key to moving from one stage to the next is to continually provide high quality content, while being patient about building a strong reputation. It may take time, but it’s worth it. It won’t happen over-night. It never does. And if anyone tells you that – well, they lie at you. It can’t happen like that.
If you need someone holding your hand while you struggle to make this happen, someone who can also help you with professional advice to overcome these obstacles – join our trainings course and subscribe to our newsletter to join the 30 days blog action plan (free).