When I originally wrote this it was meant to be included in my post about why I started my first blog but it quickly became apparent that it would be a long old read and that these points could probably be a post in themselves. So here it is.
These are just some of the lessons I learned from setting up my blog.
A Subject That You Enjoy Isn’t Always Enough
Looking back, it turns out that one of the biggest myths in blogging is that you can make money with any subject as long as you’re passionate about it.
“Write about something you’re passionate about and success will follow”
Whether this phrase becomes true or false completely depends on your own personal measure of what success actually is. If you measure success in financial terms then the saying is false. If financial gain isn’t your main concern then the statement can be true. The people at the top of their niches are invariably passionate about the subject they write about.
From the point of view of someone that loves to be creative I consider UltimateFIFA.com to be a success. The site has grown to receive over a quarter of a million visitors per month and I still consider it to be a hobby. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved during my learning curve and I’m sure any artist would be pleased if their work was viewed by that many people each month.
If I put my businessman hat on however I would not consider UltimateFIFA to be a success. Although it makes a decent revenue (any site with that many views would) it’s not enough to make a living from. (Not with my commitments anyway…) Admittedly, apart from putting advertising on site I’ve not made any real effort to make money from it. It’s always just been a hobby after all but even if I did, it wouldn’t provide enough for me to give up the rat race.
The reasons why it wouldn’t make enough money are:
- A large proportion of visitors are young and have a relatively low disposable income.
- Visitors don’t expect to have to pay for solutions to the problems that they visit the site to resolve.
- Their aren’t many affiliate products associated with the niche.
- The niche has a relatively low number of value added services.
- In advertising the average CPC (cost per click) is low.
I plan on experimenting with some monetisation techniques on UltimateFIFA this year and I’ll be discussing the techniques and results on this blog.
Before you decide on your blog topic you need to decide on your reasons for creating the blog in the first place. If you’re starting a blog as a hobby then choosing a topic you’re passionate about is the best piece of advice you’ll get. If you’re starting a blog to make money however then there’s a number of things you need to consider including all of my points above and more.
Don’t Worry About Your Competitors
When I started UltimateFIFA I obsessed about keeping up with other sites. Being a sportsman I’m immensely competitive by nature. I’d obsess over what other sites did and get really stressed if I couldn’t post the latest piece of news or get frustrated if others tweeted about something I hadn’t covered. I had the mindset that they were getting all the visitors and I was losing out.
Looking back I was extremely naive. Other sites weren’t hogging all the visitors. People visit lots of sites about the same subject. They want different opinions or more information about the same subject. Look at my example with Yaro and Michael’s blogs earlier. They both blogged about making money online and internet marketing yet I read pretty much everything either of them wrote, and a large number of other people’s too.
I liked the differences in styles. I looked for reassurances from one to the other. The fact was that these guys had sites operating in the same niche and I enjoyed visiting them both.
“Competitors can actually be your greatest allies.”
There are plenty of visitors to go round. Collaborating with people in the same niche can share those visitors around. Don’t worry about sharing other people’s work if it’s good. You’re providing value to your followers and if your own posts are good enough they’ll probably get shared back.
The important thing is to captivate those visitors once they reach your site. Make sure they enjoy your posts and make them want to come back for more. (give them a reason to subscribe).
Once I stopped worrying about my competitors blogging became so much more enjoyable. Even though I don’t worry about competitors any more, I still keep track of them. Learn from their strengths and weaknesses.
People Like Regularity And Routine
Getting organic search engine traffic is one thing but if you want to create a loyal following you need to post regularly and routinely. People like to know what to expect.
A great example of this is Ray William Johnson on YouTube. Ray posts a video every Tuesday and Friday without fail. Even when he’s not there he gets guests to fill in to make sure he doesn’t miss a video. His videos regularly get over 4 million views within a few days of release. People come back week after week because they know there’ll be something new waiting for them when they do.
Nowadays even twice a week’s not enough to capture the 12 second attention span that most interweb surfers. If you’re going to create a large following fast you’re going to have to produce high quality content and knock it out daily. You can still achieve success producing content less frequency but stick to a routine and make it good.
Admittedly, good intentions aside, posting routinely is something I’ve never been great at. (One of the reasons I started this blog was to focus my attention and get more organised). Creating a routine for my commitments is high on my agenda.
How do you organise your routine?