The Truth About Blogging for Dollars (& Why You Should Blog for Business Instead)

Can you actually make money blogging?

No!

This is my answer and it may shock you.

Ok, so you are not convinced. “But what about so many people who are making money online - blogging?” You persist.

No, they are actually not making any money from blogging; they are making money because they have a business. They are selling products or services and they use their blogs to support their business.

(If you blog for pleasure, this is the time to tune out.)

Sonia Simone (of Copyblogger) said once when she was asked how to make money blogging, “Blogs don’t make money – businesses do.”

Most people approach blogging without having any knowledge of how it actually works. They start blogging and think of ways to monetize it. They think of their blog as the main thing.

Try to shift your perspective. Try this idea on for size: if you want to make money online, you need to have a business idea first. Then use your blog as an attraction strategy, a way to find new customers and clients. Make blogging a part of your overall marketing strategy.

You don’t need tons of traffic; you don’t need traffic that comes and never returns, you certainly don’t need people looking for free information who would never buy from you. You need to slowly move people on awareness ladder. They come to know you, they dig your free content and they get on your list. Slowly, they might be ready to buy from you.

If you have the right foundation (viable product or service idea), you can start blogging before you actually offer anything. However, you can’t expect to make money ‘just blogging’.

Here are 7 great reasons to blog for your business instead.

#1 Show your expertise

Say you are a school teacher and you want to create a site catering to mums having kids with disabilities. You want to sell coaching to these mums on how to help their child integrate in mainstream school settings.

You want to establish your credentials first if you want anyone to listen to you. You have worked as an integration specialist and you want to build authority. Blogging is the way to go.

When you blog in this niche topic, you are showing of your skills and understanding of  issues faced by these families. You create highly engaging content that is useful and gives valuable information that these mums can put to use immediately.

You create coaching packages. You write an ebook. You develop daily planners for kids with special needs and you let your audience know that all that is there if they need to buy it.

(If you are a writer, copywriter or a content marketer, blogging has a special advantage for you. It also acts as your online portfolio. Sweet!)

#2 Give people a reason to get on your list

When you have a static website, somebody might visit it once and then forget all about you. You want to avoid it at all costs.

You want o reach out to the right kind of people: People who are interested in what you have to say. You want to drive highly targeted audience to your site.

Anyone who is interested enough to spend a few minutes looking through you website, should have a reason to come back. Publishing fresh content regularly gives them this reason.

Go a step further. Offer a freebie to get them on your list. They might bookmark your site or have the best intention to return, but they will forget. Most people do. Remind them by sending them updates.

#3 Create likability and trust

Blogging encourages interaction with readers and prospective buyers. You respond to their comments, reply to their emails. You can’t help but have a one-on-one with your audience. You can’t help but show your human face.

This is the perfect opportunity to show although you mean business, but you are also human. You genuinely care about them and are here to help. You have solutions to their needs.

Being honest in your communications will create a lot of goodwill and trust. When people like you, they are already on your side. They trust you enough to do business with you.

#4 Attract links

When you create high quality content, and slowly start attracting interested readers, you will also attract links from other related websites, parenting, schooling or disability, in this case.

You can take it up a notch and devise a guest posting strategy where you approach these blogs in your industry asking for a post (and a link in your bio). Be sure to have some sort of relationship with the blogger first to dramatically increase your chances of getting a yes. Subscribe to their blogs, comment and share their posts before you get in touch.

#5 Rank well in search engines

Creating content for a highly targeted audience means you start to get noticed by the search engines. If a parent searches for ‘should I put my child with ADHD in a mainstream school’ your blog post might come up. Somebody looking for tips on how to cope with rejection of their application for an integration aide may lead them to you.

You don’t have to stuff your content with keywords. With specialized and highly focused content creation on your blog, via guest posting and through other social media channels, you will automatically start to show up when people search for this information.

#6 Create brand awareness

You are creating content, you are engaging with your readers and you are active on other social media channels. You are spelling out your unique selling proposition. All the time.

All of this will go a long way towards strengthening your brand.

Your URL, your logo and colours, your blogging voice and online persona: people will encounter this repeatedly until they start recognizing you.

They know what to expect from your brand, because you have been doing it over and over again. They understand what makes your different and how you stand out from the rest of the crowd. They know they’d rather come to you then go anywhere else.

#7 Bring clients to your doorstep

And this is by far my most favourite reason for blogging.

Having gone through the whole process where people now see you as an expert and an authority, they like and trust you and they come to you already presold. Pre-qualified prospects.

You will have potential clients getting in touch with you without you having to lift a finger. Instead of you going after them, they come to you.

And this is a dream come true for any business owner. For any blogger.

And this is how you make money from blogging.

Have you taken my 3-minute Client Attraction Quiz? Check it out now, it’s awesome! :)

Don't forget to grab my free report: 9 Mistakes New Business Owners Make That Keep Them Broke

22 Responses to The Truth About Blogging for Dollars (& Why You Should Blog for Business Instead)
  1. Excellent post Marya,

    I totally agree with you. Most of us don’t make money blogging but with the business that we use our blog to promote.

    I know it’s my case and when I’m asked how much I make with my blog, I always find it strange as all I have there for sale are few products in the form of small banners that relatively few people actually click on.

    Thank you for the eye opener that many people who are still confused about will certainly enjoy!
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..5 Reasons Why People Will Stop Commenting On Your Blog

    • marya

      Hi Sylviane. I agree with you. Most people do not understand what it really means to blog for money. I don’t tell people that I am a professional blogger. I tell them I am a blogging coach for small businesses and an online copywriter. I write my own blog because I want to educate others and also build my own list. There is a method to this madness. ;)

      If you are going to rely on advertising or pay per click to generate any income, you would have to drive HUGE amounts of traffic to your site. For one person show, it is very unrealistic. The best way is to offer products or services, whereever your expertise/passion lies. Hope this helps.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for your kind words.:)
      Marya

  2. Definitely true. I may have enough via adsense to buy lunch, as long as it’s from the dollar menu. I’m taking all adsense off my blogs because it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

    I’m using blogging to get my writing out there, to market my services and some ebooks. It’s a platform, but it’s pretty useless unless I have something to put on that platform.

    Thank you Marya. This is a good post. I’m just learning how true it is.

    • marya

      It is indeed a platform. You are spot on! Glad you found it useful. :)

      Cheers,
      Marya

  3. Thanks, Myra, for this post and previous writing. As a teacher, author, and also seminar speaker, I do get this inquiry at times. People tell me they want to write a book, for example. When I tell them it took about 5 years to get published, they get discouraged. The ideas, business, and other elements must come first, as you rightly note. I also see many businesses that blog about their cats, frustrations, etc. This type of blogging turns me away from them. Write about the business and the value you add to your industry. Not sure you have written about this before, but maybe something you would like to tackle.

    Blessings. Always enjoy reading your blog.

    • marya

      Hey David. I totally agree with what you are saying. No business, no income. Why can’t people get that?

      Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated!
      Marya

  4. Hi,
    I used to make money blogging. That was before I understood what I was doing. Actually, I was spending money to buy the illusion of making money. Nowadays I try to remind myself often that money is a measure of value and a media of exchange. It’s not value and does not imply anything in itself.
    To make money, you need people. You need to give value to people. Money shows how much value you quatify, some of it is priceless.
    Nice article.
    Christiano Kwena recently posted..You must focus on now, if you want creativity

    • marya

      You are spot on! No value given to people, no chance of making any income from your blogging efforts. Thanks for dropping by.
      Cheers,
      Marya

  5. Joe

    Hi Marya,

    Great post as per usual :)
    I have just started blogging but all through my planning the past few months I was thinking about traffic and SEO and adsense ,etc.
    But you are right the reality is my blog is part of my online business, used to promote my expertise to help me sell my product or service…
    The only problem is I dont have a product or service to sell just yet! I didnt think that far ahead. I suppose online counselling is something I could do. Or building enough loyal readers and then writing a book to sell could work too.
    I was also hoping blogging would improve my future prospects of getting freelance writing work!
    Baby steps..

    • marya

      You are on the right track. Consulting and selling ebooks are both valid options, although consulting might be a bit more realistic. It just depends on your level of expertise and credentials. Dietitian and nutritionist eh? (Just checked out your About page and love the feel of your website.) You could really use guest posting to spread the word.

      Freelance writing is another way to go. There are plenty of resources if you want to go down that path. Are you familiar with Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing blog? Good stuff.
      Marya

      • Joe

        Thanks for stopping by :) Im glad you like the site!
        You probably noticed I only have 1 post. But I have a new one scheduled for tonight. I am just going to do fortnightly as my time is quite limited and Im not fast at writing yet.
        I had not seen Carol’s blog before, have subscribed RSS :)
        Guest blogging is definitely the way to go, I will admit it is difficult to find the top blogs in my niche of lifestyle/nutrition. Its so easy to find the top blogs on writing or blogging but health seems to be difficult because there are so many big websites as well such as webmd. Any tips on where to look?

        • Joe

          Actually LifeHack seems like it would take articles from my niche :)

          • marya

            I can’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t. ;)

        • marya

          I always aim to post once a week but hardly ever manage it. Do whatever works for you. As for finding top blogs in your industry, whay don’t you try googling Top 50 blogs in your niche type searches. Vary the keywords. Also have you checked out Alltop.com (highly useful) and Technorati .. Best of luck!

  6. My business is insurance. The role of the insurance broker under “Obamacare” is very limited. Although people will still be able to use insurance agents, it is likely that they will be replaced with “Navigators.” A Navigator is contracted directly with HHS rather than the State Department of Insurance. He is paid a salary rather than a commission.

    The Obama Administration loves electronic media. My goal is to get a Navigator contract from HHS by building my email list. I blog to attract readers to subscribe to my list. My goal is to show HHS a list of over 2000 subscribers this summer when the contracts are granted.
    Tim Barnes, CLU recently posted..Movie – On The Town – New York, New York

  7. Always a pleasure to read your posts Marya. You’re clearly right and as a matter of fact every blog I know talking about making money blogging usually sells a course on making money blogging. I use Adsense and a couple of affiliate products related to Hypnosis on my blog. AdSense is interesting, everyone uses it because it accepts almost every website and don’t ask for people money but it usually pays pennies for click and I always wonder how some bloggers boast thousands of bucks per month with it when the average click through rate is one every 100 visitors. When lucky. Clearly there are ads and ads.
    Affiliate products are good only that always but especially in this period visitors don’t like that much to open their wallets, and who can blame them?

    The best way imho is going with a service like CrankyAds where the blogger is paid just to show ads, like on tv, only that it obviously requires a good amount of traffic.

    As you say to make money blogging there need to be a business behind, even just an ebook to sell. And my goal is once I’ll have finished writing about my niche, because almost every blog must have an end to avoid beginning to repeat old stuff, I’ll have someone to create a book with posts. Some of them anyway.

    Happy weekend!
    Andrea T.H.W. recently posted..The Psychic Eye and its Uses

    • marya

      You can move away from monetizing through the advertising model entirely. For that you don’t need any ads. You do, however, need to sell your own services (coaching, consulting, writing/design etc) or products such as ebooks, memberships sites etc. And you also don’t need insane amounts of traffic – just targeted one. Something to think about … Thanks for sharing your thoughts Andrea.
      Marya

      • I agree with you Marya. Also there should be a reason if “Big Players” in the blogging field don’t use AdSense.

        For me it has to be with reliability; I usually earn the first ten days of the month than probably ads change and I begin earning pennies.

        I’ll think about it. :)

  8. Excellent post Marya,

    I never thought about thinking that blog is a business and writing itself is not paying you.
    I think many people do not understand the complicated machine behind the making money off blogs.
    I am blogging myself occasionally but I do not try to monetize my blog in any way. I just like helping out people that need little guidance.
    I am wondering if transitioning from free/non monetized blog to money making machine is that hard…
    Thank you for great insight in this!

    • marya

      It depends on what you want to do, if you have connections with people who might be able to help you out and if you follow and implement the right strategy to promote your business. Oh, and you must be willing to work your tail off as well. ;)

      Thanks for commenting!
      Marya

  9. You have to make something to stand out in order to succeed. This was very useful, so thank you for sharing your tips.

  10. Marya, this is a wonderful post. amazing. please carry on…
    mahadi1971 recently posted..How to Seduce a Woman: 10 Easy & Important Tips.