3 things you must do before you even think about monetizing your blog

3 things you must do before you even think about monetizing your blog

When you’re just starting out as a blogger, the temptation to start monetizing your blog is so strong. You may look at it as “easy money” or maybe you’re just eager to find a way to earn some extra income. Neither perspective is inherently wrong, but I’m here to tell you that blogging because of your desire to make money will almost never work. If your primary goal is to earn while you blog, especially when you’re just beginning, then your goals are entirely skewed and you’ll spend more time judging your success based on how many dollars a post made you, rather than the interaction you received from new readers or how well the post came together.

I cannot stress this enough – blogging must be about the passion first, before anything. If you aren’t blogging because you love the content, love writing, love designing, love connecting, you will frustrate yourself into quitting and then the world will be deprived of your unique vision and creativity. I’m a firm believer that anything you do should always be about establishing a base, first and foremost. From there, you build upward – your readers, your ideas, and, eventually, your income.

I want to share with you 3 things you should always do before you even think about trying to monetize your blog.

3 things you must do before you even think about monetizing your blog

Get your blog the way you want it

Whether you’re finding yourself a free or nominally-priced templates (I recommend ThemeForest as a great starting point) online or having a designer build you one from scratch, take the time to get your blog looking exactly the way you want it. When I started RecentlyHeard.com and JordanDAmico.com, I would spend weeks pouring over every single detail. Nothing was going to be left untouched when I was done with it. It had to ultimately be a reflection of me as a creator and I knew that had to shine through as the first step in creating a connection between those who would soon be reading my content.

Over the next four years, I’d spend even more time and energy (and money) on RecentlyHeard.com, changing the look to reflect my current interests, aesthetics, and a lot more. The blog always, always, always had to look the way I felt creatively. Of course, there were certain concessions I made for design trends I knew people would respond positively to. But, it ultimately came down to my individual taste. If you don’t love every square inch of your little corner of the internet and if you design it for other people, I can almost guarantee you’re already heading down the wrong path.

3 things you must do before you even think about monetizing your blog

Get creative and let the juices flow

You have a blog and it’s perfect. Now, get creative. I hope you spend hours and hours and hours every day thinking about your blog – about what you’re going to write, what you want to share, what you’re going to tweet, what you’re going to pin, and so on and so on. Spend as much time as you need thinking about ideas for content, about what your niche in the blogging world is and how you want that to come through in your blog posts. Try out new posts and see how your readers respond, then go back to the drawing board until you can find something that works for you and connects with your readers. Remember to always lead with authenticity and never click ‘Publish’ if it doesn’t feel like you’re being yourself. Nothing – and I mean nothing – makes my skin crawl more than when I’m about to publish an article or a blog post that feels completely inauthentic. I could never defend what I’d written or talk about it passionately with friends because I truly don’t care about it. If I ever led with that mindset, I’d be so screwed because I know my passion – what got me to this point – would fizzle out in the blink of an eye.

3 things you must do before you even think about monetizing your blog

Find your social influence

Of course, we all know how important social media is to growing your blog. Each platform – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – is a branch on your tree and each one needs to be running at full speed to help your blog rise towards the sun. Spend time finding your groove on each platform and what works for you. Spend time interacting with likeminded people and building meaningful relationships. Spend time figuring out which kinds of content work on each platform. Social media should be treated the same way you think and act on your blog. Always be yourself and always lead with passion and enthusiasm for what you’re saying. Don’t Instagram a photo you hate because you think other people will like it. Don’t tweet out a quote you don’t believe in because you think it will get retweets. Don’t post something on Facebook you aren’t excited about because you think it will get shares.

Once you’ve established the foundation and, most importantly, done the leg work, how are your readers responding? Are they loving your content? What does your traffic look like to your blog? Is it consistently growing (even just a little bit)? Maybe it’s time for you to look into ways to monetize your blog now. If you’re looking for something to keep your daily tasks on track, I have a free printable designed just for that. Print it out and keep it with you throughout the day.

3 things you must do before you even think about monetizing your blog

Bonus insight

I know a lot of people get into blogging because they want to make money and I 100% understand that feeling. I’ve been blogging since I was 18 (about 9 years) and so I speak from experience. If your #1 goal is to work with brands and become an influencer and buy into the idea that you will easily make $1,000 blogging if you follow the path of another blogger, you won’t. It’s as simple as that. I’ve seen a number of people in social groups, proudly declaring they’re starting a blog or have only just launched it a week prior (go you!), already asking how they can work with top-tier brands and monetize their content. I want to save you all some time, as someone who has worked the influencer game from both ends: The people you connect with at brands and companies that make the decision to work with a blogger or influencer are really good at what they do and having a nice blog with good photos isn’t enough. They know how to look for your true social reach, beyond the superficial likes on your Facebook page.

This is all to say that I hope you lead your blogging adventure with passion, above all else. It can be, and will be, such a rewarding endeavour for you, both mentally and emotionally. I’ve somehow learned more about myself while blogging than I have through almost anything else in my life. It has given me time to reflect on who I am, what I feel, and what I believe. If you’re looking to find the same about yourself, let’s connect.

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  • James Beam

    Useful stuff for a fellow blogger. Thanks

  • Maria DeCotiis

    You’re absolutely right! I think if you’re passionate enough about it, the rest will come and the hard work will pay off.

    Maria | http://finastyleblog.com

  • This is a great post, thanks for sharing. I truly believe that if you do something with passion, it will make you a happier, more productive person, even if the monetary benefits take a long time to appear.

  • Akialah

    YES! I definitely started my blog from passion but also with the intention to monetize. I’m glad I did take time and set up social media and choose a good theme for my site. I plan to keep this going for a long time.

  • Stacy

    YES!! I haven’t really wanted to monetize my blog because I want it to be great. Money would be great but I want it to represent me first. Thanks for this post.

  • Margaret Stuart

    These are great tips! I think it is so important to keep the passion alive while blogging. You shouldn’t just start a blog in order to make money because it will be so difficult to be successful that way. I have found it discouraging sometimes when I am not making money through Google Adsense or my page views etc are going down, but I always remember how much I love blogging and sharing my passion with others that I keep going and writing. Thanks for sharing

  • hannah ijih

    Great advice thank you for sharing!!

  • Wow! I love your brand voice. Straight to the freaking point! lol This post has some AMAZING tips! I am only one year into blogging. I have tapped into affiliate marketing this year and have earned. I am taking my time to do things right though. I want to master affiliate marketing as well as passive income. I will get there.

    My favorite tips are to find your social influence and in so many words “stay realistic” with your goals. Amazing!

    Natalie

  • Super important points made in this post and I love your writing style! Authenticity and passion must always comes first before monetizing, it’s just plain and simple as that.

    http://www.insearchofsheila.com

  • Kasia

    Great tips. Passion for blogging must come first. Then when you get your footing and feel right about what you’re doing you can take the next step to monetizing it. I just launched my blog less than 3 weeks ago. It’s a lot of work. But it is very rewarding.

  • Katie Thomas

    This was so helpful to me because I think I’m nearly at the point of wanting to monetize my blog. I’ve got a few adverts on there already, but thats about it. I have just got it the way I like it. But I still want to get a bit more content up first. I’ve been super concerned I’ve been spending way too long on the design compared to how much content I’ve been creating, but I feel like I’m on track after reading this article and reassured to hear you spend hours perfecting every little thing too. I want my blog to look professional from the get go. I totally agree with you that the passion is the most important part. I feel like what I’ve discovered through blogging is what I want to do now, I just love creating the content, designing my page, creating videos, learning how to promote through social media, etc and the passion for all of this stuff IS the reason I need to monitize my blog to sustain this so I can hopefullly keep doing what I love forever. Thanks for the helpful post!

  • Jade Chesser

    This is so true! As someone who is a blogger that’s been blogging about 6 months, you have to really enjoy blogging enough to do it without the expectation of getting paid. It’s so much work that I feel like money just can’t be the only motivation. I know some people talk about affiliate programs and things like that can be great for beginner bloggers to monetize, but honestly I want to spend all my time dedicated to growing my blog and gaining a following. This is such a great post, and I definitely enjoy your candid-ness! 🙂

  • Julia

    Such a great post! I admit that the desire to blog was fueled when I knew that money was a possibility. But now I find myself not even focused on that aspect (advertisers etc.) I find that writing and creating awesome pictures is much more rewarding! I have only been blogging about 1 1/2 months and I literally can’t wait until my posting days because I have so many ideas and inspirations that I want to share. I am so glad I found your blog it has really given me great insights!

  • Thank you for sharing your insights with us. I think, lot of us don’t realize, how much work blogging actually is before getting into it. I like that you have filtered it to 3 key points. Passion and loving what you do and being able to stand behind the content you produce is so important!

  • Thanks for sharing. These are good tips. Im new to the blogging community so everything I can learn helps. My name is Brandy and its nice to meet all of you, have a blessed day http://whimsicalwolfblog.com/

  • Cori Lynn Cathemer

    Great post especially for a new blogger like myself! Thanks so the info and helpful suggestions!

  • Cori Pullin

    This is really a great perspective on beginner blogging. I have read several posts about monetizing your blog but many omit the fact that it has to be something done out of a love for it. Authenticity really does play an important part if not THE most important one of all. Content should be based on things and topics you truly love to create, talk and read about and basically be what you breathe. Love the truthfulness you put into this post! And that coffee cup. Yeah, I NEED that one 😉

  • Monnka Jewelry

    I’m a brand new blogger. I did not really think that I could make money on this. For now, I just want to concentrate on writing and making good shots. I absolutely agree with you!