I’m proud to announce that as of last week MyMoneyDesign.com is now 3 years old!
Running a blog is something that unfortunately not a lot of other people can claim to have accomplished. During my tenure I’ve seen a lot of websites start, a lot of them fail, and some of them just completely disappear of the face of the Internet.
But I’ve also seen a lot of the good ones carry on and take their sites to the next level. They’ve encouraged me, inspired me, and even challenged me at times to improve. I’m very thankful for all the friends I’ve made and for everything I’ve throughout this whole experience!
If someone would have told me 3 years ago that this would be my primary way of making money on the side, I would have told them they were crazy. I thought for sure I’d be investing in rental properties or researching hot stocks every day.
But that’s not the case at all.
Though I still love exploring different ideas in personal finance and finding my own little niche ideas to out-smart the tax man, I’ve found that what I really like about blogging is the way I can treat it like a business. (In fact to tie blogging back to personal finance, I found out earlier this year that I was eligible for a SEP IRA which allowed me to save hundreds of dollars in taxes!)
With blogging as a business I have monthly income goals. I have a budget. I have problems I need to solve. This has truly been about as close I’ve ever felt to being a real entrepreneur.
The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned:
One of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from the whole writing blogs for money experience is this: If you’ve got an idea for something, and it seems pretty reasonable, just go for it.
Don’t wait around for permission.
Don’t wait for other people’s opinions.
Don’t plan it out and talk about it to death.
Just do it.
I remember years ago finding the book Problogger at Barnes and Noble and having all kinds of questions and doubts about whether this blogging thing was really for real …
I could have never started blogging.
I could have sat on the side-lines forever always being envious of every web article I ever read.
But I didn’t.
Even after I started blogging (and just about every 3 months), some big-name blogger will write a scathing article about how “blogging is dead” or “SEO is done” or “there’s no money out there” or whatever.
Do you want to know what? It’s not. In fact, it’s all alive and well.
If I had listened to the nay-sayers like that three years ago, do you want to know how much money I would have missed out on (to date)?
Approximately $34,000. No, that’s not a typo. That’s approximately how much money I’ve made (gross) since I started this whole blogging thing.
And you know something? Every year my blogging income gets just a little larger.
Why? Because every year I get a little bit better at writing blogs for money rather than just writing for the sake of having a blog.
Every year I get just a little bit smarter about marketing my content and I take things just a little bit further than I did the year before.
I challenge my skills and push myself to evolve.
I love what I do.
What Else Have I Learned About Writing Blogs for Money Since Last Year?
Blog with a Purpose:
I love to visit and read all the new personal finance sites that come out every month. But I’m noticing a lot of new bloggers just put up sites with no clear direction or focus to the site. Their sites just seem to be a bunch of random posts and random thoughts that seem to go in a thousand directions.
If you care about writing blogs for money and want to see yourself someday making an income from it, then you need to treat your website like a business.
The biggest change for me as a blogger has been to think of my websites in this way. When I was first starting to make money with this website, I thought it would just be as simple as publishing a few affiliate links or taking on deals for direct advertising to pull in over $1,000 every month.
But that just wasn’t the case. As I’m sure many of you have found, its really hard to get people to click on your links or actually buy the products you promote. And if you think that driving more traffic to your site will solve your problem, think again!
I believe it was the website Think Traffic (now called The Sparkline) that said ““.
I found out the hard way that that statement was true and I needed to do something else to diversify.
So that’s how I got into making niche websites. With niche sites things are different. The topics are very concentrated and structure of the website is created with the intention to draw in readers. That usually helps with both traffic and sales.
Over the last year I’ve been slowly building up my empire of niche websites so that they are bigger and stronger every month (read more about them every month in my niche website updates). As of right now I’m up to 4 niche site projects and they are collectively pulling in over $1,000 per month!
Here’s something that might surprise you: My first two niche sites get a ton more traffic than My Money Design does – and that’s without hardly any promotion at all!
Almost all the traffic to these sites comes completely from organic visitors who find my websites when they search Google. If you’ve got any doubts about the effectiveness of targeting certain keywords and using good SEO when you write your content, I can attest – IT WORKS! Do yourself a favor and get a copy of Long Tail Pro Platinum to research good keywords before you write your articles. It will be one of the best blogging investments you’ll ever make for the long run.
Here’s another thing you may be surprised to learn: I’ve currently running / growing 2 other secret blogs that I’ve NEVER mentioned here on this website before.
Why? What do these other blog projects do for me?
They diversify my potential for money making opportunities!
Now when someone approaches me about advertising for this site, instead of making one sale, I can potentially make 3!
Lesson learned: Capturing multiple audiences and having multiple methods of generating an income is a GOOD thing. Each of the websites I’ve created has a different method or different niche that I will target to earn some cash. Sometimes it will come from Google Adsense using my slick equation. Sometimes it will come from Amazon. Other times it will come from private advertising.
If I had just stuck to one single model or put all my eggs into one “blog basket”, I don’t think I would be anywhere as profitable as I am today.
But keep in mind – Every new site I’ve created has started with a purpose or plan in mind first before I publish even one page of content.
Again – strategy!
It Pays to Upgrade Your Appearance:
This year saw the long-overdue re-design of my website theme. Around Christmas time we took My Money Design from its first crude free WordPress theme to a professional looking one from Genesis.
In case you forgot what it looked like, here is a blast from the past:
If you’ve got any doubts about whether or not to spend the cash to make your site look professional, I can tell you that it’s worth the $100 to go pro. I can’t even begin to explain how much better the site “feels” ever since I did.
To be taken seriously as a professional, you have to appear as a professional. You wouldn’t go into a job interview without looking nice, would you?
Since I’ve improved the appearance of My Money Design, I’ve actually applied the same logic to all my money making websites. I think the results speak for themselves. Not only do the websites look better, but they load more quickly and give the user an overall better experience.
In the end its your users that will make or break whether or not you’ll make any money from your blogging efforts. They will either trust your site and take you up on your recommendations. Or they will be put off by your crappy design and click off your site.
Do yourself a favor and don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Where Do We Go From Here?
So where do I want to be at with writing blogs for money by the time Year 4 comes to a close?
Lots of places! I’d like to:
- Connect with even more like-minded individuals that can help me just as much as I can help them.
- Be making consistently somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 per month from all of my sites.
- Increase the SERP rankings for posts on My Money Design.
- Really utilize Amazon as a money-making opportunity. That would mean getting my fourth niche website to really blossom.
- Continue to grow my network of private blogs.
- Publish an E-book. I’ve already got the content!
- Sell a website. I’d just like to see how this process works.
I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface as to what blogging and content marketing can actually do for you. I’m not afraid of the challenge of having to think more creatively as I continue forward with my websites. That’s what you do when you’re in business for yourself. You figure things out. You do what you need to make your results into a success!
Readers – What lessons have you learned from writing blogs for money over the years? What kinds of challenges do yourself facing as you take things to the next level?
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net