The Reason You Might Not Be Making Money from Your Blog

This is a guest post by Paul B.

I suppose I could have chosen a more positive title like 7 great new ways to make money from your site, but something in my psyche is always looking to the negative, oh well. There’s a practical side to it too though.

I see so many bloggers and webmasters making crazy assumptions about getting rich from the internet. Without pointing out the obvious problems I don’t see how you can fix anything, I could send you to some amazing affiliate program but if your site is fundamentally flawed you’re never going to make money from it.

“Define your visitors – will they ever make you money?”

There’s one point I do have to define from the start though and it’s that lots of readers/traffic does not automatically equal lots of money. I know this could be strange concept for some given the main drive for most bloggers is to get more visitors but I want to get across the concept that quality traffic beats quantity every time.

For example let’s look at YouTube. The reason it wasn’t making money (before Google took it over) was simple – 90% of the traffic they get is untargeted and untargeted traffic is every advertiser’s worst nightmare. Yes there may be a few thousand people watching that funny video of the cat playing the piano every day but how exactly is any advertiser expected to make money from that?

The point I’m making is that visitor intent is everything because no-one who lands on that page is thinking about anything even remotely related to making a purchase, they just want to see the cat. Of course, now that Google has made it a point to include a nice little ad based on your recent interests (mine shows a coupon for Google Adwords), they are getting that monetization back on track for every topic imaginable.

“Picking the right market and finding a path to cash.”

Now let’s look at the opposite scenario. A friend of mine recently started a blog about vacations in this small Greek Island he lives on. So while on the blog he may cover different topics from where to eat to where to stay it’s all still related to the island, in short, all his traffic is targeted.

The Island is a tourist attraction but it’s by no means the most popular place to visit in the Mediterranean and there is not actually that many people finding his blog on a daily basis, maybe 200 a day. However my friend is earning a lot of money from his little blog.

For starters, he lists all the latest hotel deals at the top of his homepage for which he receives a commission every time someone books. He also knows a few things about SEO. He’s managed to rank his site on Google for “restaurants in Kefalonia” too, so now he has every place you can buy a Greek salad paying for advertising at the side of the blog.

Advertisers know when they are getting results, and the restaurants and hotels on his blog definitely are. The reason this blog makes money when many bloggers with ten times the readers don’t is that he has targeted visitors who quite often have a need to spend money, it’s that easy.

Now I don’t want to make it as simplistic as general traffic = bad traffic because the mark of any great blog is diversity. But the problem I see with many bloggers is there isn’t even the slightest link between some posts, one article may be on why they hate their ex-girlfriend, and the next is on how the 4G Phone Samsung Exhibit is the best ever.

Don’t get me wrong if your blogging for fun it’s great to just speak your mind but if you actually want to make money from this business at some point then you need to have a specific theme that you’re working on. Sometimes I think bloggers don’t know what to give their readers so they decide to give them everything!

“Write what you know, but find the monetization within it.”

Another problem bloggers face is finding that subject which they are actually interested that will earn revenue too. It’s not easy because most of us have been taught to “write what you know” and we find it hard to divert even one degree from that course.

However it is worth trying to have just a little commercial awareness when choosing a subject and overall theme for your blog. For example say you want to start a blog on general computer and technology news, writing about everything from hard-drives to USB flash-lights (I bought one but don’t know why).

Technology and computers as a market is huge so you will end up trying to cover everything and essentially appealing to no-one. Instead why not start a site all about computers you can buy for under $300? It’s a niche for sure, but I can assure you there’s a lot of people out there who would be interested in what you have to say, especially if you can become an expert in the subject. Anytime a new machine comes on the market you could be the first with an in-depth review, and also an affiliate link to buy the system (if you recommend it) at the bottom.

So hopefully I’ve managed to get across my point on how quality of traffic and the subject of your blog can make a huge difference to your earnings. I don’t want to put anyone off from writing about their passion but I do think that with just a little thought and targeting writing about what you love can be your living instead of just your hobby.

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  1. says

    I was a victim of my own desire to cover to broad of a topic, I’ve since tried to be more specific for my niche sites/blogs, and have seen more success, so you’re definitely right on that point.

    I make sure I’m still interested in what I write, like your example about technology, some will want to talk about several subjects, but not all technology, so try and find a common field between all the subjects you want to talk about and use that, or make several websites so it’s specific.

    Thanks for sharing these tips Paul, very helpful.
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  2. says

    Yeah I think that having a specific topic is the only way to find proper advertisers. Most marketers call it “long tail traffic” but really its just having the ability to show advertisements that are 100 times more relevant than what most sites are showing. Your leveraging your traffic to its full potential.


    • says

      Hi, it depends what you mean by social media. If its twitter/facebook its much harder to prove any positive effect as its harder to track. If you want to get them blogging then you can explain benefits of blogging for business ie, you can post content on the blog that you would never be able to add to the main site, and viral content on the blog can attract thousands of links which in turn boosts the main site + sales.

      PaulB just posted Earning money part-time – practical?

  3. says

    this is really great stuff. I agree that the traffic you get will determine your income potential. However, you also need to think more specific than just what niche you are in. Some keywords will draw in people ready to buy while others will bring loads of traffic that will never spend a dime.
    learning how to pick out buyer keywords is a critical step of blogging that most bloggers fail at.
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  4. says

    Been seeing a lot of cool cat stuff on this blog lately! I was never really into making money from my blog, I do a lot of offline stuff, but this is very interesting for me to read. Maybe, in the not so distant future, I’ll give E-booking or something else a shot. Cool how you’re breaking down how to actually monetize what you like to write about.

  5. says

    The “negative” spin in your title actually drew me in – and the cat tune was much appreciated (I’m a sucker for a good cat video). I think you make an excellent point and it’s definitely something that’s easy for me to succumb to – my thoughts – and posts – can be all over the place. It’s amazing how successful a super focused blog can be – it doesn’t have to be fancy but if it’s on target the right traffic and dollars will follow.
    Liz just posted Make Money Renting Out Your Car

  6. says

    I agree that we should find the right path and in fact try to invade the market in such a way, but every thing that you do do about the site should be targeted to get some income. AS soon as you put money one of you goals you will suceed.

  7. says

    I believe what is important is proper topic selection. You need to be knowledgeable about the topic. It should be interesting of course so that people will really be enticed about the blog. And lastly, it should be comprehensive and should be well thought of. Thanks for sharing this one. This is a great help!

  8. says

    Thanks for sharing.

    I think that some good market areas to choose from and work very well are :

    1. Being healthy.
    2. Making more money.
    3. Being sexy and finding a partner.
    4. Saving time.

    Actually I think the key is give benefits to people personal lives.

    And also I guess it is important to be sure to think about something that you really want to write about every single free moment of your day and you will be sure to have chosen the right topic about your blog .
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  9. says

    I’ve seen many people going after adsense eximated cpc and stopping blogging after two or three months without revenues because they didn’t like the niche… Probably posts like this could help newbies to understand how to start their blogging business in the right way. Well done, Paul.

  10. says

    “…Sometimes I think bloggers don’t know what to give their readers so they decide to give them everything!…”

    You touched on a great point Paul. I see this all the time. It’s like the blogger can’t decide what his or her blog is going to be about.

    You have to define a topic and monetize your traffic based on the topic, because your traffic comes to your site, because they are interested in that topic and they are more likely to click on an ad or buy a product or a service that’s related to that particular topic. Thanks.
    Satrap just posted How to Make Money Fast

  11. says

    Monetization is key, yet a person must write about his passion.

    These maxims seem to conflict. Yet, with a little ingenuity, the blogger can find ways to attract the traffic he/she wants and monetize it.

    I like the cat illustration. Targeted traffic is best.
    David Sneen just posted Enjoy the Journey

  12. says

    Great post. Even though I have customers, I only have one product. I’m working on a second one so I’m hoping some will turn into repeat customers.

    I’ve got a lot of newsletter subscribers and a fair amount of traffic for my niche(16k pageviews/month) but I’m always trying to get more. I’m mostly doing content marketing to sell one product but I’m looking to branch out and get more more guest posts on my site instead of guest posting on others. I think this is overlooked as a traffic generator.
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