What to do if your blog isn’t making money? [It’s not what you think!]

What to do if your blog isn't making money? [It's not what you think!]

Oh well, the very popular “make money blogging” theory doesn’t work for you as you expected, does it?

You started blogging hoping that you could also publish awesome income reports like the ones published by the leading bloggers.

You had hopes to make blogging your business that generates a steady source of income so you can be free. You wanted blogging to be the salvation for your 9-5 woes.

But none of this happened. And you are dragging your feet every day in a hope to get there.

You try every course, and every “make money blogging” technique. You Google that term at least once a day hoping to find that magic bullet that would finally work for you.

But still, nothing happens.

See, I am not going to give you advice on make money blogging here. This is not another post on 100 or even 10 ways to make money blogging.

Rather, I am going to discuss what you should be doing in terms of changing your strategies, thinking and approach when your blog is not making money.

Well, you might think that when a blog is not making money the right thing would be to do a Google search for tips to make money and then start applying those “tips” – that’s partially right.

But you should stop trying out money making techniques blindly. Here’s what you need to do instead.

Analyse your blogging/business plan

Do you have a blogging plan? If not you should not stop doing anything right now. Continuing to blog (I mean, publish posts, do some social shares and hoping that its business) without a plan is plain stupid.

You need to have a clear business plan and a clear goal. You EXACTLY need to know what you want out of this blog of yours.

Write down your business plan before you think about making money!

Otherwise you won’t make any serious money – I’m sorry if I sound rude and pessimistic. But I don’t want to feed you false hopes!

You could make pennies here and there, but if you want to make your blog a serious business, you should have a plan upfront.

By “plan” I mean the following:

(i) You should EXACTLY know what you want to achieve with this blog of yours

(ii) Your goals should be precise. Associate numbers when appropriate.

(iii) Your goals should have a definite deadline to your big and small goals

(iv)  Your plan should have an action plan so you know “how” you will get to your goals – this bit is VERY important!

Pause and analyse your progress

No matter whether you have a business plan or not, when you are not making money via your blog you should pause. You should put things on hold.

It makes no sense to keep doing the same things over and over again when you are not getting the results.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein.

So you should stop – not altogether; I might say “pause”. Put things on hold for a while and analyse your progress so far.

I hope you have the data. I hope you know how many signups you have got till now – every month, so far. I hope you know your traffic data. Dig into your data and find out what’s working and what’s not working.

Based on your findings you should be prepared to change your strategies. You should be willing to try new things; ditch the old methods that didn’t work.

In short, do more of what works; drop things that don’t work any more.

Observe what works for the others

You could have read quite some income reports. Many leading bloggers like Pat Flynn not only share income reports but also detail how they generate that income.

Not only from income reports, you can learn about the income streams of successful bloggers from their regular blog posts too – many bloggers casually spill the beans.

Also when you read those “make money blogging” tips, don’t just blindly go after applying them on your blog. See which bloggers are using which techniques/streams to make money.

For some bloggers, affiliate marketing works great. Some bloggers earn via their own products (e-books, courses etc.). Some bloggers offer consultation, and other services (like website design, website audit etc.). For some bloggers speaking in conferences is the major income source. For some, advertising, like direct ads, banners, Adsense, sponsored posts, etc. could be the main source of income.

Observe what works for the others so you can implement those strategies accordingly to your own business.

But I have to warn you here – if it works for someone, it doesn’t mean it should work for you too. You should always keep your blog’s context in mind before trying out a money making technique.

See if your money making methods are relevant

I still see many bloggers making this lame mistake. Contextual advertising is what works.

If you run a photography blog, and if you display ads that promote sewing products, do you think your ads will work? Do you think your readers will click on the ads if they are irrelevant to the content?

Here’s the thing – your readers are on your site because they are interested in reading about what you are writing – in this example, photography tips. The chance that a particular person who came to your blog to read about photography will buy your sewing product is remote.

Analyse all your current money making streams/strategies. Are they relevant and in context with your blog’s focus?

Are your money making streams relevant to your blog?

If not, it is time to revise your strategies and make them more relevant.

Take stock of the material you have, the skills you posses, the man power you’ve got (if you have additional staff) etc. that align with your business. And then find out what you can offer (as a serve, product etc.) in alignment with what you’ve got, what you are capable of and what your business is about.

If you are not interested in offering your own products or services, then you should look for affiliate products that you can promote in your blog.

Either way, make sure everything is aligned and intact.

Go step by step but develop multiple streams

You know the famous saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. That’s something very important when you consider building income streams for your business.

For one, having multiple income streams lowers your risk of losing everything overnight. If any one income stream fails, you don’t have to go bankrupt. You still have other streams of income as cover.

Second, it is refreshing to have multiple ways to make money so you don’t get boring or burned out with your business. For instance, if one of your income streams is offering 1-1 consultation, doing too much of it can burn you out. But if you have other streams, you can fall back whenever you feel that you need a break.

Third, with multiple income streams you can always try out new things and learn a lot of stuff.

At the same time, don’t attempt to develop multiple income streams all at once – since that will also lead to burn out. You might not be able hold on to everything at once.

So start with one at a time. Once you stabilize with that one income stream, move on to developing the other and so on.

So, you have the immediate next steps!

I know how frustrating it is to run a blog for a while without being able to make any money out of it. Even if some say money is not important, it is not something comforting to hear, right (let’s be honest here)?

But what most bloggers do is to try out money making technique after technique without setting some basics right. I’ve shared those basics here.

If you have landed on this blog post with hopes to have 100 ways to make money blogging, you will be disappointed by now (if you managed to stay until reading this sentence I mean).

But I am pretty confident that I’ve done some justice to your hopes to making money. Without setting these basics right, all your money making efforts will be wasted.

About the Author

I'm Jane, the owner of Best Hosting And Design, where I help bloggers and website owners to create and maintain their websites. Check out the services I offer here so you can make use of them. For cutting-edge business tips, please head over to Jane Sheeba.

Leave a Reply 23 comments

Nanda Rahmanius - April 23, 2015 Reply

Hi Jane,

Awesome and inspiring article! 🙂

After reading this article, I hope you publish it early.
Well, 6 months ago I suffered a setback in blogging. Indeed, as expected, I do not know if everything I’ve done has been correct or not.

It was an unpleasant experience to remember, but I made the decision, thanks for that experience too.

Interestingly is I do almost all of the points you mentioned in this article. It makes me feel that I was on the right path right now.

That’s why I said, if you publish this article some time ago, maybe I will not struggle to find a solution alone back then..hehe 😀

Thanks for sharing this great post, Jane.
I love it so much. Have a splendid week ahead!

~Nanda

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hey Nanda,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I am sorry about your setback. But you are not alone.

    I am sure almost all blogger had one or more set backs in their blogging career!

    But what counts is the experience we gain. Every little and big step in blogging teaches us a lot. As long as we are continuously learning and keep going, things shouldn’t affect us 🙂

    Thanks once again for your comment. Have a wonderful week!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Adrienne - April 23, 2015 Reply

Hi Jane,

What a great post and such solid advice. I just spoke with someone this week who has this in mind and he had mapped out what he wanted to achieve but like most had the goal of accomplishing everything within just six months time.

One of the issues though was that he hadn’t chosen a niche yet and we both know when you’re creating a site around a particular niche you better either know a heck of a lot about it or be so passionate on the subject that you’re a learning machine.

It still takes time to put everything into place but I’m going to be sure and send him this post. Just in case he needs more direction because you’ve definitely helped with that my friend.

Thank you for sharing this and enjoy the rest of your week.

~Adrienne

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hey Adrienne,

    Oh very well said about the niche. I’ve suffered a lot in my early days – I’ve started many sites on niches that I thought would earn from Adsense. The problem was that I knew nothing about those niches.

    Neither I was willing to learn (not interested). So I had to shut down a lot of sites. But I learned the lesson.

    Fixing on a niche is only of the very crucial decisions one has to take while starting a blog; because this is a long term commitment 🙂

    Thanks for your wonderful comment. Have a nice week!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Carol Amato - April 23, 2015 Reply

Hi, Jane,

What a good article, and great tips! 🙂 I definitely agree with your advice and think a person could get much faster and better results with a coach. I made that investment because I needed continual advice and accountability.

Analyzing the business plan is definitely a good idea. You’re right that it should be in writing (and goals too), that’s for sure.

Yep, that quote by Albert has stopped me in my tracks more than once, and you added it here which is so relevant. Sometimes searching online and observing what others are doing doesn’t tell the whole story for what I should be doing based on my skill set and my target audience.

You’re absolutely right when you say ‘for some bloggers…’ this or that works great… 🙂

I couldn’t agree more with your advice about developing multiple streams of income. That’s why I have a PLR Shoppe, Web Hosting, Coaching membership, etc. It’s pretty dangerous to lump everything into one chance to make money. That’s no better than a J.O.B. and is pretty risky, in my opinion.

Loved your message of being proactive and taking control of a potentially devastating situation, Jane, excellent!

Thanks for sharing. Talk to you soon.

˜Carol

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hey Carol,

    You are right about having a mentor. I too had one when I started. It saves us from making a lot of mistakes (I still made many before taking up a mentor).

    Think of the time and efforts we can save by having someone guide us – that someone should have travelled the same path as us and should be experienced – that’s it 🙂

    Diversifying the income streams is one of the lessons I learned in a pathetic way. I now diversify my income streams as well as investments 🙂

    I strongly believe that if we are proactive, we can take control (at least to some extent) so that we simply don’t blame it all in the “situation” 🙂

    Thanks for your wonderful comment. Have a great week!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Gordan - April 24, 2015 Reply

Hello Jane,

Its been a long time since last time I visited here. Coming to the post I guess we must have to check the stats and figure out whats the issue which is causing the problem of not earning money.

In major cases the blog fails to get traffic and I guess we must need to learn how to generate targeted traffic.

Thanks

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hey Gordan,

    Thanks for choosing to check out my site once again 🙂 And I hope you liked the post!

    Indeed, traffic is one of the crucial elements that directly relates to the income of a blog.

    Thanks for your comment. Have a nice week 🙂

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Andy Ramkal - April 24, 2015 Reply

Hi Jane,
Maybe many beginners are confused how to start making money with their blog. It is not easy to start instantly and it will take the time and patience.

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hi Andy,

    Very well said. It takes time. So lot of patience is required. And a lot of learning too.

    Thanks for your comment! Have a nice week!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Steven J Wilson - April 27, 2015 Reply

Hey Jane,

I really enjoyed the post. I came into blogging for that reason and made many of the mistakes you mentioned here.

There is so much information online that is misleading and it is ashame.

They throw up these how to make money post etc and send people on the wrong path and probably causing people to quit due to little success.

Hopefully they make it here and learn what’s real.

Take care Jane!

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hey Steve,

    Very well said. There is so much hype-coated tips online about making money online and it is such a shame. Not only they are impractical but they are also so false and misleading.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Steve 🙂 Have a great week!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Andrew M. Warner - April 27, 2015 Reply

Hey Jane,

Really great post there. And so very true with everything you said.

You definitely have to analyze your plan before you even attempt to try to make money. Because if you just go into it blindly and try to “go with the flow”, it won’t end pretty. Rarely does.

Also, you should observe what others are doing, but don’t blatantly copy them 100%. You have to try to find certain things that work best for you. They obviously found what’s working for them.

Lastly, multiple streams of income should be the goal for everyone. You can’t rely on just one means to make money. That’s not the smart way.

Great post here overall, Jane. Great job.

– Andrew

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hey Andrew,

    Yup, going with the flow doesn’t always end well. And in most cases the results are horrible forcing many bloggers to go bankrupt and obviously quit.

    By observing what others are doing, we can learn a lot of course! But we should always have our own ways of adopting a strategy 🙂

    Thanks for your nice comment Andrew 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Bonnie Gean - April 27, 2015 Reply

Hi Jane,

I didn’t start out blogging to make money. I was simply happy to be a blogger who could share valuable insights with anyone willing to read them.

Oh sure, as time went on, I realized I had to brand myself, but, at the beginning of my writing career, I just wanted to get my “words” out into the blogosphere.

Perhaps that is the secret sauce to my success? I don’t wake up each morning to consider what I can write today that’s going to make me money. I worry about HELPING people – not selling to them.

Should the fruits of my labor be a cash payment, it just makes my writing career that much sweeter. I have to be honest though, I dislike the idea that blogging for fun turned into blogging for money.

Why is it that every time something wonderful comes along to do online, somebody has to race in and turn it into a way to cash in? Why can’t an entrepreneur just do what “makes them happy” instead of always worrying about making bank?

The world (and life) should not evolve around making money, and neither should my writing. UNLESS, of course, I am a freelancer, and that’s how I pay the bills. 🙂

What do I want out of my blog? I want to serve people. I want to help as many people as I can with what makes them “stuck” so they can get unstuck. Does that mean there always has to have a price tag attached to my help? No, it does not.

However, if you’re a person who wants to make money blogging, go for it. I do agree that multiple streams of income is the way to go. Not only to keep yourself from getting bored, but to maintain a healthy cash flow. If one stream dries up, there are others to take its place.

If making money on a blog is your thing, you definitely have the knowledge to make it happen! Great post.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have a great week!

– Bonnie

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hi Bonnie,

    Thanks for sharing your views about making money blogging. Sure it doesn’t have to be this way for everyone. Some bloggers can blog truly for fun and there is no harm. There needs to be no race and no pressure about making money!

    But for some, yes, that is not the case. They could be freelancers; or they want to build a business so they can have financial freedom.

    In my case, I want to build a business that can help with extra cash flow – so I can also be an earner supporting my family. I also want to be financially free and independent.

    It is very important to have clarity on blogging goals 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful week 🙂

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Donald McLeman - April 28, 2015 Reply

Hi, Jane, what an inspiring post!

It is very easy to try tactic after tactic on those make-money-blogging-lists but you are so right – that is the time to stop and think where you’re going.

I think the problem is that’s there’s so much to for a blogger to do you don’t feel you have the time to pause! But it definitely makes sense to wait rather than try another tactic without thinking about it.

And of course that quote by Albert Einstein is so true, and I’m often reminded of it…

My plan is in my head, I do know where I’m heading, but I do understand it would be much more powerful if I wrote it down. Let me think about it, ok?

Thanks for a friendly nudge, have a good week!

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hey Donald,

    Very well said. It is quite easy (and very tempting) to try out technique after technique in an attempt to make money.

    Even if one is not doing the same thing over and over again in this case, one is just blindly doing things – which again relates to the quote in the post!

    As far as you have the plan in your head and you know what you are doing (very important) you are good to go!

    Have a wonderful week Donald!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Lisa Sicard - April 29, 2015 Reply

Hi Jane,
I started out too like Bonnie to help other people with their online businesses and explaining what worked and what did not work. I have tried a few ways to make money online mostly to check things out and share my findings. I love helping people and think more of my blog as a resume now.
It is not easy to make money online as people who haven’t tried think it is. It takes a lot of time and some money to invest in marketing to make real money online.
Thanks for your info and sharing it with us Jane. Have a great rest of the week.

    Jane Sheeba - May 5, 2015 Reply

    Hey Lisa,

    You are so right – making money is not easy as people think! Especially those who haven’t tried it before – they have so many colorful thoughts about this whole money making concept.

    Once we don’t stand firm on our feet with a solid plan, things usually go out of control and disappointment remains.

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment Lisa. I appreciate that 🙂

    Have a wonderful week!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

Vinayak Sharma - May 8, 2015 Reply

Hi Jane,
I’m regular visit your another blog pro blogging success.The same problem I’m facing,my blog ewebtip.com alexa is 184+k and monthly unique visitors 10000+ but my blog do not earn a single amount of money from adsense ads what should I do.

Mitch Mitchell - June 13, 2015 Reply

Good point about people following someone else’s success and immediately believing it will work for them. There are many steps where following them can help, but often there are other factors that might keep some people from having the same type of success.

Many people think the money is in the email list. That’s one I’ve fought for years, even though I’m now thinking about going that route. Instead, I think the money is in the traffic. If you can drive people to your sites, you have a better chance of making sales. Sure, some of those folks might sign up for your list as well, but overall finding ways to get people to see your stuff works much better. In that regard we need to all be paying more attention to Ana of Traffic Generation Cafe; I certainly need to anyway. 🙂

Aisha - February 4, 2016 Reply

I really like what you have acquired here, really like
what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. i want these topics, thanks

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