I’m just going to lay it all out on the line here. I don’t even think I’m going to edit this blog post because I don’t want you guys to miss out on what I’m going to say…what is actually in my head.
For years, I was struggling to make money on my blog. Like for 10 years! I was writing my little heart out. I was creating really beautiful Pinterest images, working on SEO and doing “all the things” that they say are supposed to make you a great blogger. I was burning the candle at both ends.
And when you have seven kids and homeschooling, let me tell you that burning the candle at both ends for 10 years does a number on your soul. Speaking of soul, my main blog, RadicalChristianWoman, is all about getting closer and closer to Jesus. But what I found was no matter how much time I spent in prayer, how much I begged and pleaded with God to “take away my desire to blog” and all that, I didn’t flourish. I was planting my little seed only to come back to nothingness…not even a little green sprout to encourage me! And that feeling of discouragement only served to make me question everything I knew about myself, my God and my faith. I stuck with Jesus because I know HE IS GOOD…but I just wasn’t sure if He wanted my blog to do well.
So, I would go back to the drawing board. Start again. Seek God’s face. Or not. After 10 years of blogging, I’ve done it a thousand different ways. Sometimes with help from God, sometimes with others’ help, and sometimes I would be stubborn and try to do it all on my own. Nothing worked.
I wasn’t until I was really at my wit’s end (for the 1000th time) that I decided to shut off all my blogs and stop blogging altogether. I wasn’t joking this time. I deleted accounts. I stopped paying my hosting company. Sites were turning off.
But there was one last thing I had to do on Facebook. So, I logged into my deactivated account in order to pitch a book idea to my agent in their Facebook group. And viola. My pitch was accepted. In that moment, I knew I couldn’t delete it all (and honestly, I was kinda upset about it because I really wanted to be “free” from the burden of blogging). You need a social media presence to be an author.
I decided to take the next month off of blogging and just sit on it all. Really seek God’s face. Not for my blog, but for my soul. In that time, I learned so much about myself.
The Three Things That Held Back My Blog For Years
Too Many Topics
One of the biggest lessons I learned that was keeping my blog from succeeding was that I was “muddying the waters” with too many topics on my blog.
When someone go to RadicalChristianWoman, they want “radical” Christian ideas…not a DIY Nail Rack…which is a post that lived on my site because I though maybe it would bring me traffic. It did for a little bit, but not anyone that could stay for another post on my blog!
Now, I have blogs that are more niched down and focused. This makes people happy, increases pageviews and helps you seem like an authority on the subject matter.
Recreating the Wheel
The second thing that was holding my blog back from really making money and getting pageviews was that I was always trying to recreate the wheel.
This is how my brain worked:
- See a blog post that had done well.
- Think, it’s already been written before; therefore, no one needs another blog post about it.
- Write a blog post about something original.
The problem with this mentality is that it doesn’t work. I don’t know why, but people LIKE to read the same content over and over again. It’s silly to me. I think, why would you want to read the same content over and over, but we do!
My original and thought provoking content was falling flat, while yet ANOTHER post about the Proverbs 31 woman was going viral. It’s bizzarre to me. So, I tested it. I wrote a post called 15 Questions to Test if You are a Proverbs 31 Woman…and guess what? It got more pins and clicks in TWO WEEKS than some of my blog posts that had been “live” for 10 years.
The concept is called Skyscraping and you can see my video about it here.
Basically, you take something that’s “viral” within your niche like ‘paleo diets’ or ‘how to start a blog’ – write another longer, better post about it, give it a great title and viola…people/pageviews.
Spending Too Much Time Doing Low ROI Things
Blogging is a series of busy tasks…many of which don’t actually produce many results.
For example, we decide “rebranding” is what our blog needs to succeed. So we spend countless hours on making our blogs beautiful. We pay people or waste time doing it ourselves. I know I did. As a graphic designer and web developer, I could break into the code and design with the best of them…to my own detriment.
Design is important, but if you don’t deliver focused content with value, your site can be the most beautiful thing in the world and it wouldn’t matter. If you don’t brand yourself as an authority, you are just another mommy blogger trying to pawn off affiliate links. We turn off our audience by looking like a salesman knocking at your front door trying to sell chemical-free pest control. You might be in the market for organic pest control, but you don’t want to just choose any Joe Blow who knocks at your door…you want the best.
Low ROI Things (in my book) include:
- Redoing Pinterest images for the 10th time
- Doing busy work, like adding plugins to make your “user experience” more fascinating
- Posting to Facebook, unless it’s a link directly to your site or product
- Posting things that don’t make money or add followers to IG
- Going through ANOTHER blogging course because it’s the “next big thing”
- Perusing Facebook groups
- Looking at your Google Analytics
- Debating font choices
- Creating cute memes for social media that don’t drive traffic or sales
- Cyber stalking a blogger not in your niche
- Getting depressed about “not measuring up”
- Listening to every new podcast about blogging
High ROI Things (in my book) include:
- Sending emails to your subscribers WITH VALUE ADDED CONTENT to make you seem like an authority (I use Convert Kit)
- Creating products to sell on a platform like Shopify
- Creating skyscraper content
- Making your site MOBILE friendly
- Finding what is already working and doing it again
- Going through blogging courses by REAL experts.
- Praying for your blog and followers
- Getting to know your audience FELT need and speaking directly to that need
If You Are Really Trying to Make Your Blog Work
What I went through can be avoided by other bloggers, if they learn from my mistakes and realize that EVERYDAY there are new blogs that are succeeding. I know there are zillions of bloggers already…but there are still some that will start today and everything will seem to work for them. It’s not because they are better than you, but because they are focused on:
- A specific topic
- Creating content that is already popular
- Only doing things that bring in traffic/money
And for the record, you can make any niche work…but there are some niches that will work better than others, like blogging about blogging (or how to make money)…hence this website! 🙂