I never intended to make money off my blog, but I was curious as to whether one could, so I started a month-long experiment to see what could be done. My goal was to drive traffic, write great content, and monetize that traffic, and content, with the financial objective of trying to buy a cup of coffee each week.
During my first week I made a whopping $1.50, which got me my cup of coffee. Week 2 brought in a stellar $0.50 and I went coffee-less for a week. Week 3 had me back in the game with another $1.50. Week 4 drove an amazing $0.30 and no coffee for my last week.
Let’s recap what worked and what didn’t work.
LinkedIn was my traffic driver for the month. Every time I shared an article to my 1100+ network, it took off and drove quality readers to the blog. The qualified traffic was much more than anything I got from Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. Those other sites actually took up a lot of my time and so the ratio work/performance was very low. LinkedIn was the smart option.
RockStarfinance blew the top off the kettle in terms of traffic referrals. One featured article, in addition to all my marketing efforts, and my traffic spiked x6 vs my usual average.
What was interesting is that my Week 1 traffic was a lot less than Week 3 and yet the revenue was the same. That was due to clicks on the Ads. Getting people to click on an Ad in today’s world is next to impossible as we are hyper-exposed to them, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it happen in Week 1.
Clearly though, using Ads to monetize a site, unless you are getting 100.000 visits a month, is not a top money spinner.
What didn’t work well?
Let’s be clear, to make money, like anything, you need to work hard at it. At the start of the month, I was fired-up to get out great content and also drive traffic via my marketing efforts. When I started seeing positive returns, that got me more fired-up and more driven.
I started pushing articles on Twitter, on Pinterest and was super active on LinkedIn, but after seeing the feature on RockstarFinance only drive $1.50, I slowed down. I could feel the excitement drain out of me. I was still excited to build great content and share my insights, but suddenly the notion of making money started to slip away.
Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest also seemed to lose their luster quite suddenly. Truth is, they were taking a lot of work for very little return traffic wise.
Hey, it is cool to see 7.5K unique visitors on Pinterest a month, but other than that coolness factor ?
Amazon didn’t work well at all. I really did think that people would be interested in book recommendations, but it turns out not to be the case. In the last month, I had 3 clicks on the book links I shared which I tiny compared to my monthly traffic. I really do hope some of you bought those books as I only share what I think is great.
What am I going to change now that the experiment is over?
The ads are going to go!
That is step 1 and you should see that now. See the ad? No? Good!
I’ve also joined a blogger program called VIB, (step 2) over at Rockstarfinance, to learn some more insights at how to continue to build a quality blog, with great content, so that people like you, reading this now, will continue to come back and read more.
I’ve got lots to share and lots to tell. Becoming CFO of my company at 38 years old was not an easy exploit and I only got there by paying close attention to the things that get you ahead and successful in any career. Those are the things I’m trying to say on this blog.
Step 3 is about focusing on the content and trying to be more regular. I’d like to get out an article a week. And also get the article out on a specific day every week to be super regular about it. While that may seem doable, my job commitments and time with my family means my time on this blog is super reduced, but I’ll make it happen!
Driving traffic is not easy, but it can be done. There are lots of different techniques and you really do need to experiment to see what works. No one shoe fits everyone.
It takes time to build momentum. I’ve been working on this blog with some degree of effort for the past 6 months and I am happy with where it is. I feel like I am still just skimming the surface of all the things I want to talk about and that is a good thing as it means I’ve got some great content coming soon!
Don’t quit your day job just let. My wife sent me this message after my Week 2 recap. It made me laugh but it needs to be taken seriously by anyone looking to do this full-time. You can’t make money quickly writing a blog.
I’m still having fun. I hope you are too.