1. Tips and Tricks

Solve these 7 problems to make good money from your small blog

Great tips for making more money with a small blogby Carol Tice

Are you struggling to make money with your blog?

Maybe you’ve placed ads or affiliate links, or you’ve got an Amazon deals page on your site But nothing is happening.

Welcome to the world of micro-audience blogging.

While the big guys can pop up an ad and make thousands a month, that usually won’t happen for us without 100,000 subscribers or 1 million monthly views. (I only had 2,000 subscribers when I started making real money from my blog, and I tried the Amazon-Cart trick when I launched, so I’m speaking from experience here.)

Small bloggers have to sell differently. We need to develop close relationships with our readers — and then be very careful about what and how we sell them. Our blogs need to be welcoming places, where it’s easy to understand what’s going on and how signing up will benefit readers

I’ve reviewed hundreds of startup blogs, and I’ve found that there are some fundamental problems that prevent most from even making money. Fix these to turn your blog into a money maker:

URL/name/tagline confusion

Is your blog’s web address the same as its name? you do Have a short, punchy tagline Does that add more information about who the target reader is and what help they will receive?

If not, many potential loyal readers are probably turned off. Sync these key elements to your website so that a quick first glance orients readers — and makes them want to learn more.

There is no obvious, easy way to subscribe

As a blog owner trying to make money, you don’t want people to “follow” you on WordPress or feed your blog to them. You want to give them email.

That way, you’ll be able to shoot them an email when you want to sell them something. But on many blogs, it’s a quest to find out how you can sign up. Sometimes, what you get when you sign up is a little unclear. In an amazing number of blogs, there is no way to sign up!

Full disclosure is good here — do they get a free weekly newsletter? Regular email updates, bonus offers as new posts arrive? Spell it out.

Make it easy to sign up without asking for too much information. Lots of their first names and emails.

If you’re using a pop-up box to try to capture customers, be careful: I’ve seen many pop-ups that disappear after the visitor checks the ‘close’ box, never to be seen again. Or the pop-up is not visible on mobile devices, or Macs, or some Internet browsers Every time software updates happen on your chosen blogging platform, it’s an opportunity to break that pop-up. Then, your way to sign up is invisible to many visitors, and they leave without connecting with you.

Also, many people simply hate pop-ups and will never interact with them.

The solution? Have at least one static signup on your sidebar or ‘free stuff’ page. Different people are attracted to different signup pitches, so give your readers options

No free products

It’s hard to capture customers without an enticing free item available instantly when readers sign up.

Your free product doesn’t have to be super-comprehensive — my first was a 5-page PDF handout from a webinar I co-presented. You can even take a series of blog posts on a single topic and create a quick e-book or special report. This could be a list of useful tools or resources that your audience will love.

Whatever you choose, get a free product together and make it up. Then, start a good job. I’m on my fourth free product, and with each advanced offer, the subscription rate goes up.

Freebiz helps you bond with readers. They love you and think you’re awesome for giving them free stuff!

Visual clutter

Are there five different colors in your website design? Do things rotate or flash? Do you have multiple sidebars?

If so, you may be sending readers away because apparently, your blog is a turnoff.

The answer is simplify, simplify, simplify. Here is a list of things I usually find on blogs that are extraneous and should be removed:

  • The logo of the certificate you have earnedProfessional associations you belong to, blog carnivals you participate in, conferences you attend, etc.
  • Most recent post“Widget.
  • Most recent comment” widget.
  • blogrolls (list of blogs you read or like).
  • Social widgets which shows all your Facebook comments or tweets
  • Date calendar—These are included in many blog themes, but serve no real purpose.
  • Archives—In particular, searchable by month. No one remembers what month you wrote an old post!
  • sidebar– not more than one; Ideally, in the mobile age, no one is.
  • A search bar—Guide visitors to your page with tabs and sidebar links and keep old posts less accessible (so you can turn to their paid products later).
  • Meta data—This should not be visible, yet it appears in the sidebar of many blogs!
  • advertisement—Especially automated or displayed above or in the middle of blog posts.
  • Drop-down submenu Hidden under tabs.
  • Multiple rows of tabs– Boil it in one.
  • GarishFlashing, or rolling elements.

In short, ask yourself, on every page of your blog, what you want the reader to do What is the most important step they should take? then, Remove all distractions from that one goal.

But if the first thing I offer them is the $300 class, it probably won’t sell very well.

Not listening to readers

The secret to success in generating low traffic is to talk to your readers, find out what their problems are and then present them with solutions. But many bloggers operate in a vacuum, throwing out automated ads that feature products that may be irrelevant to your readers.

Instead, design your paid offers around the reader’s needs. Don’t guess what they are, either – find out. Do you chat with readers in your comments? Email them questions, or ask questions in your blog post to respond to readers’ comments? Invite them to reach you on Facebook?

You should, because you need to know your readers well if you want to make big sales. Listen to their complaints. Read and respond to their emails. That way you’ll know what you can sell them that they’ll write thank-you notes for, even when they open their wallets.

This is the sweet spot that low traffic bloggers will enter to make a lot of sales. So start chatting!

Any low-cost primary product

If you collect a few hundred subscribers’ emails and give them useful free information along with your free product, you’re in a position to start selling them some. The best thing to do to get this rolling is to find a product or service that you can sell for under $5. The lower the price the better.

Why? You want as many buyers as possible for this first product. The point of this cheap offering — which marketers call ‘tripware’ — isn’t to make money. It is to get a list of people who have bought from you. Once you have a list you can email about priced products, selling is easy.

I have a 99-cent e-book that helps me get buyers in the door. A few months after they buy, I’ll often see them come back and buy a $10 e-book, then a $20 self-study e-course, and then maybe join my $25-a-month community or buy $300-$500. class

If I start with a $300 class, I’m sure I won’t get many buyers. Realize that customers build trust as they go. The lower your price, the less trust they need to pull the trigger and make a purchase. Make it easy for them, especially at first.

Sold out very quickly

Once you’ve gotten to know your readers and assembled hundreds of them on your email list, talked to them, and found out what they need from what you can offer, you’re ready to sell them.

Before that, it would be extremely difficult to sell with a small list. You need to do a lot of marketing — marketing that can get your people to unsubscribe.

If you have ads or affiliate sales and you haven’t built an email subscriber list yet, stop. This disconnect sales offer alienates readers and unsubscribes them.

Start by selling nothing

Your first priority is to build a close relationship with your readers. Just focus on that.

You’ll know when it’s time to sell because you’ll be asking your readers if they’re interested in a certain type of offer, and they’ll be. You will do a survey and learn how they want to deliver it. You’ll beta-test it with them and take their feedback to improve your offering. Now, it really is a perfect fit for your readers.

All the while, you’ll be pre-selling and talking about your upcoming payment offer.

When you’re ready, all you have to do is email your list and say, “You want the item you asked me for – it’s ready now.”

Selling will be easier and more successful, because you involve your readers in every step of the process.

By Carol Tice Create a living text Blog is his new e-book Small Blog, Big Income: A Niche Blogger’s 7-Step Success Formula.

Click here for some great ways to make money blogging.

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