You are posting consistently. You feel pretty good about your content.
But you wish you could get a few sales.
If you are a business blogger—or even an artist or hobbyist—your blog can be a good sales attraction tool.
If you develop reader trust first, listen to the needs, and develop products and services over time to meet them.
If you have struggled with monetizing your blog, here are 12 common mistakes that might be holding you back. :
1. You don’t court your email subscribers.
Your email subscribers are your gold mine. Because with their addresses, you can build your list.
Consider ways to highlight your email subscribe pitches and entice readers to choose that option. On my blog, my big, in-your-face email subscribe box is the first thing visitors see.
2. You don’t have a clue what your readers’ real problems are.
Your first mistake, of course, is not solving your readers’ problems. But worse than that? Not knowing what the problems are in the first place.
Engage your readers and ask questions. You need to find out what their pain is before you can propose to take it away.
3. Your home page is cluttered with spammy ads.
If you annoy that first-time visitor, she won’t stay around long enough to engage with your content, to learn about all the ways you can help her.
Besides, unless you have the power and authority of ProBlogger, with his 167,000 subscribers, the results can be mixed at best. If you do decide to go with Google AdSense or another form of advertising, consider it as just one piece of a balanced monetization plan.
4. You are turning readers away with blinking, flashing, or floating pop-up boxes.
Have you ever been to a site where that evil box kept popping up when you tried to close it? Or worse yet, it was sneaky— hovering, traveling, floating, so you felt like you were trying to hit one of those ducks at a carnival booth?
It’s a personal decision, but if you do use them (and I don’t), be sure they can be easily closed by visitors. And set them on a 45-60-second delay, so your readers have time to engage with your content first.
5. Your posts scream, “Buy now!”
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. Offer value first. Engage before you try to sell.
If you are ending every post with, “Call me and set up an appointment,” or a link sending them to buy something, you are scaring your readers off.
6. Your blog post content doesn’t connect with your products or services.
Propose a problem that you know your readers have, offer pieces of the solution and connect them with added services that solve it in a deeper, more permanent way.
As you do this more and more, you’ll notice that connecting your free solutions to your paid ones is a powerful strategy.
7. Your readers don’t sense that you believe in the products and services you are endorsing.
Your readers have come to know and trust you. But they still need to be convinced that you are not just slapping up random affiliate ads.
They need to know why you are endorsing these companies and what the product or service has to do with your blog and business.
Consider a “Products I Love” page that tells your readers exactly why you recommend them—and disclosing, of course, that the few bucks you make allow you to keep churning out your wonderful, free blog content.
8. You don’t have a narrow enough niche.
If you have been trying to attract everyone in the world to your blog, you won’t know exactly which products and services your readers are most interested in. Blogs with a narrow focus and specific audience do better with generating income.
Visit alltop.com to see how many of their “best of the best” blogs are niche blogs. There is a reason for that.
9. You have no calls to action in your posts.
Every post should end with a call to action, something you want readers to do. It isn’t always pointing to a sales page (nor should it), but it needs to be something that prompts readers to take some sort of action, even if it’s asking a question to get readers to share their thoughts about your post.
If you build a series of posts on a certain topic, consider adding a graphic and link at the bottom of one of them, directing your readers to a service or product that relates to your post’s content.
10. Your design doesn’t point people in the right direction.
Clear, clean design pointing your readers to solutions will increase your chance of making the sale. Pay attention to where you position your promotional material and the colors you use to lead your readers’ eyes to the most important spot.
And use a color you use very rarely on your blog to draw attention to your ad’s all-important header.
11. You aren’t tracking your results.
The revenues don’t start rolling in overnight. On the other hand, if have experimented with placement options, messages and other factors and your conversion rates are still dismal, get rid of that potential revenue source and try something else.
12. You don’t have a solid blog revenue strategy in place.
This is the most important piece of all. You need a plan that makes sense for you and your blog.
Depending on your blog’s focus, consider a multi-pronged strategy that may or may not include information products, affiliate ads, paid webinar and workshop opportunities, cross-promotions and other things, but always with your readers’ needs foremost in mind.
What about you?
Have you tried to monetize your blog?
What are your biggest challenges?