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Unlike a lot of you out there, I don’t hang out with other bloggers. I don’t go to the conventions, I’m not on Darren Rowse’s Christmas card list. Not because I choose not to, but because I don’t really know any other bloggers.
In fact, I didn’t know who Darren Rowse was until a couple of weeks ago. Wouldn’t know him if he delivered a pizza to my door in the next ten minutes.
Oh, I remember now, he’s the guy who was too busy to answer an email query I sent him a couple of months ago on the advice of my blogging mentor. Who doesn’t know him either.
And because of that, I often feel very alone with the blank page.
It’s Not Who You Know, And It May Not Be What You Know
Sure, I have a few blogging acquaintances online, and I’m glad to have them in my virtual circle because they say nice things about my blog on theirs.
And that’s actually a good thing. Because that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And not knowing what I’m doing online, technically-speaking, is absolutely killing me.
Not finding a clear solution online is even worse. Because what is posted and positioned as solutions reads, to someone like me, as inaccessible techno-babble.
All of this makes me stronger (remember, it’s killing me) because there’s only one thing I do know how to do well, and that’s write. Write my lonely non-technical ass off, every post, every day.
Nobody knows it all. And if they do, chances are they won’t return your emails, either. We are left to make our own way.
If I’ve learned one thing – after six months that about sums it up – it’s that we must cling to that which got us into this in the first place. Because if you don’t have a wheelhouse, a claim to some expertise, then you’re left to build your blog through commiseration and community, which is like inviting a neighbor to your party instead of the local movie star in town to see his Mother.
Or, becoming that star in your own right. But that’s tricky, and it easily backfires.
How To Intimidate Your Reader Into Oblivion…Or Just Plain Piss Them Off
I try to read all the blogs I can, and to be honest I don’t make it past first base in a lot of them. Got one from a Big Famous Blogger the other day, and he was advocating some technical stuff like installing a custom post plug-in template, requiring PHP and HTML proficiency, and… well, here’s part of what he said:
What I did was take my single.php file in my theme and create a copy of it. At the top, I put in the necessary PHP comment to mark the template as such. I named the template single-971.php because “971″ is the ID # in the database of one of my money posts. I then made those changes to that template that I wanted to do for the post.
Frankly this just pisses me off, because I don’t have a clue what any of that means. PHP sounds like an airborne contaminant to me. So I didn’t finish the read, and while he may be making orders of magnitude more money than me, and is almost certainly orders of magnitude smarter than I’ll ever be (though I doubt he’ll ever publish a novel, if you get my drift), not a dime of it will come from me.
If singing to the choir is your thing, have at it
The bigger game, though, is singing to the congregation.
There’s a case to be made for dumbing it down sometimes. Now, if you happen to understand what that guy was talking about – and given this venue, I’m betting that more of you do than don’t – try this on for size and see how it feels. Because what you are about to read comes from a professional fiction writer and teacher – that’s me – and I wouldn’t in a million years put it into a blog intended to be of value to aspiring writers. Yet it’s the literary equivalent of the above sample:
To optimize the character arc in the second quartile narrative subsequent to and in context to the foreshadowed inciting incident, the sub-text must reflect the hero’s inner journey as it relates to the limited visibility of the antagonistic pressure driving him deeper into the netherworld of Campbell’s darkest mythic journey.
I read the techno-babble equivalent of that every day online. Even here.
My point, in case it’s eluding you as much as it is me: the full breadth of understanding will come. Do what you do, writing about what you know, and most of all, make it accessible and valuable to those who seek to know it, too.
But while you’re at it, don’t engage in the self-service of simply making yourself sound smart – another Big Name Blogger who has never published a novel in his life recently graced us with his personal “recommendations on how to write a novel,” thank you very much – at the expense of reader interest, and thus, in an ironic twist, your own credibility.
We all have to be better than that. By assuring ourselves, and our readers, that we’re not better than anybody else. That perspective imbues the distribution of content with a gift-like nuance, one that human beings instinctively recognize and respond to.
Cling to that. And watch who comes to the party then.
What Is the Most Powerful Key for Turning a Blog into a Business?
Get comfortable with receiving money.
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It IS that simple.
But I cannot lie; getting comfortable with receiving money is uncomfortable for most of us. I, like many bloggers, grew up with many money limiting beliefs in mind. I vibed from scarcity. I did not vibe from abundance. I saw folks in my life work hard at jobs to receive a minimum amount of money. I made many weird correlations between money and service. I figured you just worked hard, made enough money to survive and decided my life would progress along these lines.
Eventually, I woke up, owned these limiting beliefs and freed myself of these mind viruses to build my blog into a business.
Forget Practical Advice
Bloggers may advise you on practical tips for turning a blog into a business like:
- build an email list
- begin affiliate marketing
- open consulting services
- build passive income through courses and eBooks
None of these practical tips help you turn your blog into a business if you are allergic to money, or if you cling to many limiting beliefs and fears concerning money. Why? You follow advice to lose money if you fear losing money and ignore advice to make money if you fear losing money.
Get comfortable receiving money. This is the best advice for turning your blog into a full time business.
Getting comfortable receiving money moves you into abundant, prospering actions. You become more generous. You become more prolific. You begin opening income streams without attaching to any one stream. You also build your friend network generously, promoting other bloggers and expecting nothing.
All prior steps lead to increased blogging income. All prior steps came about because you became comfortable receiving money.
I speak to many bloggers who fear monetizing their blogs. Said bloggers fear readers used to free, selling-free content will head for the hills or complain the moment income streams enter the fray. You cannot turn a blog into a business unless you open blogging income streams.
Get comfortable with:
- receiving money
- releasing fear-filled bloggers who whine about you receiving money
Only broke, poverty conscious, unhappy, unclear or jealous bloggers have a problem with you turning your blog into a business. Have you ever complained about someone who works a job to receive money? Of course not; no sane person complains about another human who works a job to make money. We all have that right. Why then would a sane person complain about you receiving money for service rendered on your blog? Let go these unhappy, unclear, folks. Get comfortable receiving money. Build a business through your blog.
It Is Just Money
It is only money.
Money is just a neutral means of exchange. Add no emotional charge to a neutral means of exchange; no big deal.
I promote my premium offerings through virtually every piece of content I create. I am comfortable with receiving money. I am comfortable building a business through my blog. If I can help people and receive money – in a world where money is the prime means of exchange – I help people and receive money. I am comfortable with it.
Do not be shy. Be clear.
Avoid doing the affiliate walk of shame, begging and pleading for enough money to buy a stick of gum each time you disclose your affiliate offering.
Be clear. Share how you make money through the sale of something on your blog.
Check out my blog disclosure statement. Does that make your head explode? I basically say I make money through all images and links on my blog. I cover myself and feel comfortable with receiving money.
Build your blog into a business.
eCommerce: 3 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic, Sales and Revenue
For most people blogging is used as a fun and easy way to share their lifestyle or write about their passion. But for some this hobby had become their profession.
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Nowadays there are many options to make money with a blog – for example by getting paid for advertising products. Another way is to add your own eCommerce to the blog and sell the products that you are passionate about in your own web store. Creating an online shop can be the first step into your life as a digital nomad or simply being your own boss.
A few years ago, it was necessary to work with a professional developer to integrate an online store to your website. Especially for small manufacturers, this meant a huge investment before they could even start selling their products. Nowadays setting up a web store has become a lot easier and cheaper: Platforms like Shopify can easily be integrated in existing domains and therefore help makers and crafters to start their own eCommerce without professional help. Once you have set up your own Shopify store it is all about increasing the traffic. A bigger reach will eventually lead to a higher number of sales and more revenue.
So, let’s have a look at three simple steps to do so:
1 – Turn your small business into a smart business…
…by adding automation and product management to your website. When launching your business, it might be fine to keep track of the orders in an Excel spreadsheet at first. But since you expect your business to grow it will become one of the most important things to have a management platform in place that allows you to process orders and handle inventory professionally. Therefore, it can be handy to add a production planning and scheduling software as integration to your existing web store. An easy-to-use solution for Shopify-users is the Shopify inventory integration that adds products to your website, manages inventory or tracks shipments.
2 – Make your products sound and look good…
…by adding high-quality images and longer product descriptions to your page. Not only will this make your eCommerce look more professional, but it is also a great way to increase your traffic by reaching a higher rank in the search results. If you are not able to create these yourself, you can outsource writing or graphic design work to freelancers on sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
3 – Don’t stop blogging…
…or get it started if you haven’t done so yet. While it is exciting to start your own business it also takes a lot of time and energy to set everything up. Anyhow, this should not lead to giving up on your blog. Why? Because a growing eCommerce site and an active blog go hand in hand. And remember: The content of your blog should be interesting to your targeted audience and contain at least one thousand words in order to effectively rank in the search results. Here are some examples of the top eCommerce blogs for inspiration.
…and that is it!
You are now almost ready to start your own eCommerce! In addition to following these three steps, it is always good to keep an eye on your ecommerce competitors. Do not steal their idea but have a look at what is working for them and aim to go beyond that. As long as you focus on your product, the content of your site and a growing search ranking you will successfully manage to increase your traffic, the sales and the revenue of your business.
Should You Answer that Blogging Question Again?
“Ryan, how do I increase blog traffic?”
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“Ryan, how do I make money blogging?”
If I had a dime for every blogger who asked me each question I’d have quite a few dimes. Toss in all the times I observe bloggers asking each question via Quora and various Facebook Groups and you have as many dimes as grains of sand in the Sahara Desert.
I know what you are thinking; should you answer the same question for the 2nd time, 10th time or 100th time? Confusing. One part of you wishes to be generous. Another part of you fears missing an opportunity to help someone who can be a potential client or customer. Another part of you feels annoyed at being asked the question again. Another part of you feels annoyed at embracing and releasing the guilt of ignoring the question.
Should you answer these common blogging questions again and again?
Of course not.
Answering the same, common question more than 1 or 2 times is:
- an inefficient use of your time
- amateur hour stuff
Here’s what I do to:
- answer questions quickly and easily
- open myself up to more potential blogging business through possible clients and customers
- be calm, cool, collected and at peace despite being asked the same question many times
Are you ready?
Write a blog post!
Or write and self-publish an eBook.
If someone asks me how to drive more traffic to my blog I send them this link:
Or I send ’em a link from any one of my myriad blog traffic driving posts on Blogging From Paradise.
If someone asks about specific income streams for making money through their blogs I send them a link to my eBook:
Or if someone asks how to make money through guest posting I send them this link from my guest post on the blog of the awesome Enstine Muki:
What an easy, simple, efficient, effective way to:
- answer a common question many times
- answer a common question in 1-2 seconds
- drive traffic to my blog
- increase my blogging profits
- help people, and be helped by people through their prospering of me
- avoid anger
- avoid annoyance
- avoid judging people who have no idea how to blog
Fools complain about new bloggers asking the same, old questions. Why does a new blogger ask a question? They have no idea how to blog! Duh. Why anger at their ignorance? Why get annoyed that you need to answer the question again? Write a blog post answering the question. Send the blog post to anybody who asks the question. Seize opportunities to help people and to drive traffic and profits to your blog.
Do you own Gmail? I do not. Since I do not own Gmail it’d be foolish for me to answer questions via Gmail when I can be answering the same question on my self-hosted blog. I own Blogging From Paradise. I own that online real estate. Answer questions on your owned cyber real estate. Brand you. Grow your business. Increase your traffic. Keep the ball in your court. Have posture.
If I spend 10 minutes answering a question for 1 human I am a fool when I could spend 45 minutes answering the question for 100, or 10,000 or 1,000,000 humans, by writing a helpful blog post answering the question and sending the blog post link to all future folks who ask the question. Plus; when the post goes live, I answer common questions passively, said common questions no doubt in the minds of thousands of bloggers out there.
Leverage. Write a blog post. Do not help one person. Help 10,000 people. Save your time and energy. Make more money.
Matthew Loomis at Build Your Own Blog is a smart guy. Peep his home page. He lays out clear, concise steps for building your blog via his sidebar. You just know how many people asked him the common, pressing, basic blogging questions that he skillfully answered through those clear steps.
He leveraged his knowledge. He answered common questions BEFORE people asked him common blogging questions. Smart! Help a ton of folks quickly and easily. Drive blog traffic. Increase blogging profits. Lower your bounce rate. Improve the amount of time people spend on your blog.
Write a blog post. Send the blog post link to anybody who asks the common blogging question.
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