I thought long and hard about whether I should write this post or not. I mean, I am not really one to talk about my income from either my blog or full time job. But, after seeing so many people out there wondering whether they can start earning an income from their blogs with a small email list, I decided to just bite the bullet and write this post.
Note: I am not saying that you do not need an email list to earn and income. What I am saying is that the answer is yes. You can make money from your blog, even if you don’t have a list. So, newbie bloggers, and those of you looking at monetising your blog, this one is for you.
In my third year of blogging, I made my first $1000 from my blog without any list whatsoever. I later on understood the the value of an email list, but when I started looking into ways I could monetise my blog, money and time was tight so I decided to just stop thinking and start doing.
Side note: I know there are now many platforms available with some free services, so do check some of them out.
Anyway, back to the post…
STEP 1: I narrowed down my skills
I started my career as an SEO copywriter and analysis and because I knew a lot about the world of search engine optimisation, I knew that I had a very specific skill I could share with the world. I also had a great understanding about online marketing, and I knew that getting your blog out there is something that many bloggers need to create a successful blog. So, I narrowed down the skills I have and I looked at ways I can use these skills to monetise my blog.
STEP 2: I researched the market
Now that I knew what skills I could use to monetise my blog, I looked at what others with similar skills were doing. I spent hours and sometimes days on Pinterest, analysing the competition and researching ways I could use my skills differently. I was lucky that back then, there weren’t many bloggers writing about SEO or online marketing, so I had an immediate idea of where I could start my work. But that didn’t mean it was easy. I still needed to find something unique I could offer that would set me apart from the rest in the industry. So I read almost every content piece I could find about SEO and online marketing, and I wrote down my ideas of information I could add to the industry.
STEP 3: I started doing
I knew that writing is one of my strengths so through my research, I knew I wanted to write ebooks. I wrote down clear outlines for my first ebook, and jotted down some ideas for my second ebook, and then I started doing all the work. It didn’t take 5 minutes. Oh no, I spent weeks writing the content for my first ebook. I wrote, editred, rewrote, edited some more, deleted, reworked, rewrote and edited again. Truth is, I deleted 60% of my first draft and rewrote all of the content again. I wanted it to be perfect, and I know perfection doesn’t happen over night. After about 8 weeks of writing, editing and design, I finally had my ebook ready for the public eye.
STEP 4: Choosing a digital platform
Because I planned on selling my ebook, I needed a platform where I could host my product without having to worry about the stresses of delivery and payment. Through research and recommendation, I came across SendOwl, and the rest was history. I still use SendOwl to sell my digital products. This platform takes care of delivery and payments for me and I haven’t had any issues to date. It is super affordable, and so simple to use.
STEP 5: Promote, promote, promote
I didn’t have an email list. And I didn’t have 10000 followers. I also didn’t have a super large audience. So how could I have possibly made money from my blog? I used what I had – social media. I had a 1000+ Twitter and Pinterest followers combined and I applied my strategy to promoting the shizzness out of my content on these two platforms. I didn’t spam anyone, but I did promote my content strategically. I posted when my followers were online, and I posted often. I changed my message every time. Studies have shown that people need to see something 7 times before it grabs their attention, so whilst it was slow at the start, soon people started taking note of what I was doing and my products and the money started coming in. I experimented with words and call-to-actions. I changed my images often. I made 7 sales through Twitter, and many, many more through Pinterest.
As soon as I realised that I can use Pinterest for driving sales, I focused all of my attention on Pinterest. I started promoting my other blog content three times as often as I promoted my ebooks. I even included links to my ebooks in some of my most popular posts. I experiments with different image styles and designs and found which ones brought me the most traffic and the biggest sales.
Honestly, Pinterest transformed my blog and biz.
STEP 6: I used my income wisely
Now that I was earning a (small) income from my blog, I decided to use the money to make my blog and biz better. I invested every cent I made back into my blog. I purchased a professional theme, joined several stock photography website and had a professional logo designed. I also invested in a couple of ebooks to expand my knowledge and further grow my biz.
The ebook that helped me the most was Building a Framework by Abby Dawson. Even though I had been blogging for a few years before I got serious, I wanted to learn more. The first ebook I purchased was Abby’s and I still use it to this day! I refer back to it quite often too as I always find answers to all of my blogging questions. It’s kind of my blogging cheat sheet, if you will.
In Building a Framework, Abby gives valuable insight into how she turned her blog into a full time job in two years! Today, both Abby and her hubby work full-time at Just A Girl and Her Blog. The ebook is filled with actionable tips, resources, printables, guides and videos that help me every day to become a better blogger and business owner. It is definitely a guide every blogger should read at least twice and keep at hand at all times.
It’s almost seven years later and I I still make an income for my blog daily. Not only am I putting most of the money away into savings, but I also use a large chunk to improve my blog/biz. I pay for all my blogging service providers with my blog income, and I use the money I make to outsource some of my business tasks.
I do have an email list with 1000+ subscribers, but I haven’t sent anything to the list in a while. Part of my 2017 goals is to 10x my email subscribers. Look out for a blog post about my 2017 blog and biz strategies coming soon!
What I learnt:
You don’t need 10000 followers to start earning an income from blogging. I made my first $1000 from blogging with no email list, and just over 1000 followers on Twitter and Pinterest combined. It doesn’t take a million followers to be a success. It simply takes an understanding of your skills, knowledge about the market and your target audience, and a drive to succeed! If I can do it, you can do it too.
Stop comparing and start doing. I didn’t have to look far and wide to see more successful bloggers than I am. So, instead of sulking and comparing my success to theirs, I started turning my thoughts around and used the competitors as my inspiration. I learn from their businesses daily.
In 2017, I will launch my first ever ecourse on SEO! Whoop whoop! With the ever changing world of SEO, I am writing an affordable ecourse on SEO for bloggers and small business owners on a budget. Stay tuned for the announcement real soon!