We both know that if there was a post on rookie blogging mistakes, it would be a sumo-sized 15,000 word beast.
Because that’s how many there are.
Everything from making your writing terribly unreadable
…having an annoying web design
…Having dead ends with no clear calls to action at the bottom of a post
…expecting traffic to show up at your door when you hit publish and the list goes on.
But what if the very ideas that are pushed out to you in droves through webinars, ads and expert blog posts are mistakes?
Ideas that seem ‘yay’ up front…Ideas that you’d think you were crazy to disagree with in the first place.
Ideas that often lead new bloggers and solopreneurs astray.
This post is an exploration of the myths that are evangelized and splattered across the web.
Because it doesn’t matter if you attempt to correct every single rookie blogging mistake…
you’d still be fighting an uphill battle if you believed in one of these myths.
Myth #1 Blogging and having an online business will open the money flood gates
You hear all this hoopla about 5 and 6 figures….the laptop lifestyle…
And you feel like the only weirdo who isn’t consistently raking in the profits from your blog.
But let’s have a reality check for a second.
There are several surveys about how much money bloggers make on average.
The most recent one is from iBlogMagazine, for their 2015 Women’s Blogging Industry & Business Annual Report. It found that most bloggers make less than $2,500 an entire year from their blogs.
62% still haven’t made a $500/mth on a consecutive basis.
The next most recent survey is from Blogging.org, done in 2012. After quizzing 1,000 U.S. bloggers about their earnings, it found that 81% of bloggers never made even $100 from blogging.
As with all surveys, take these results with a pinch of salt. But the gist is this.
Don’t expect to make money directly from your blog in the initial stages.
Blogging itself is not the end-game.
Use your blog as a launch platform to offer services aligned with your skill set. Offer freelance writing, design services or web development if these align with your skill set.
Miranda Nahmias a blogging friend of mine, uses her blog as a launch pad for her graphic design and VA business. She has had to add people to her team to cope with the demand for her services.
Vanessa Mullen another blogging buddy of mine uses her blog Simple & Vanessa to promote her branding and web design business. She has worked on establishing a clientele and an audience before launching a set of courses this year.
My blog has personally been a launch pad for my writing. An online resume of sorts.
Look at this email that just came through a couple of days ago.
Be open to opportunities and build a solid presence starting from your own blog.
Have a couple of really good cornerstone articles and portfolio examples to showcase your skills.
Myth #2: Always build a premium course
I was one of them.
I thought I needed a premium course as my first product.
Premium = high quality
Since the price tag is high we also need to package it the right way. We think about equipment and platforms and big launches. We panic and struggle.
Very few launch.
And when they do, it flops.
What new bloggers thinking of product monetization should do is to focus on getting that first sale.
Research says that getting a first sale from someone is the most difficult thing to do. The second and subsequent sale is always easier than the first.
Would it be easier for someone to part with $397 or $39 on a course from a new blogger they’ve just gotten acquainted with.
It’s a no brainer. The $39 sale is easier to make.
It doesn’t take a lot convincing.
This sale is your introductory offer or trip wire.
Just because it’s low priced doesn’t mean it’s lower in value. In fact it should be packed with value.
The intention is not profit but rather to bag that first sale.
To provide insane value to your customer that they can’t believe the price.
To get them thinking that your high priced item would pack an even greater punch if this was that good.
You should have products of various price points and modes of delivery.
You could have a $19.99 ebook on how to get your first million. A $599 self paced e-course with videos, tutorials, worksheets and a private Facebook community on how to get your first million. A $999 e-course and private mastermind group and 1-1 consultation with you on how to get your first million.
See the difference?
The price points and modes of delivery differ.
If you’re just starting out, you can go with an ebook to test your product idea before building your premium course. It also gives you the opportunity to build your testimonial base.
The other way around it…
…build a solid, engaged community.
Build trust and then sell your premium course. This is something that Melyssa Griffin (previously Nectar collective) –someone I really admire – did before selling her flagship Pinfinite Growth e-course.
Myth #3: Be better than your competitors
You can’t be better than your competitors. You can only position yourself differently
Anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can start an online business in about 10 minutes.
The online marketplace is crowded and the only way you’re going to differentiate yourself, your product or your service is through positioning.
Positioning is not creating something new or different
…because let’s face it, there really isn’t anything that’s absolutely different anymore.
…Positioning is creating new connections to information and products that already exist.
It’s the story you tell that they buy into.
It’s the perception that your customers or readers form about your brand in their minds.
If you position yourself well, you don’t really have to worry about the competition. Positioning is also about your price point and the way you deliver your products.
So, don’t build a premium course because everyone says you should do so…
…build a premium course only if its right for your market.
Myth 4: The bigger the list the better
The size of your list doesn’t matter.
There are several examples of people who capitalized on a small list.
Cathryn Lavery who launched an immensely successful Kickstarter campaign with a list of just 2000. Her product, the Self Journal which I have personally used is a 90 day goal planner, raked in $40,000 in just 4 days
It doesn’t matter about the numbers as much as the type of people on the list.
Do they look forward to your emails?
Do they open them?
Here’s what Tor Refsland (Time Management Chef) had to say about it in a guest post for unsettle:
Because you really don’t want to get a lot of subscribers. You want targeted subscribers
In fact Ascend’s latest study about email list strategy shows that email list quality is the #1 concern of email marketers.
Maybe you have 1000, 3000, 500o subscribers.
If you have an open rate of say 3-6%, how many are you really reaching out to?
Pretty dismal right?
Focus on who you want to serve…
…get those people on your list
…your list size doesn’t matter if its filled with people who are not your target audience
…or people you dread serving.
Myth #5: The money is in the list
The money is not in your list
Don’t be fooled into thinking it is.
You’ve been told that growing your list should be one of your priorities as a new blogger.
But rarely are you told what to do after you get them on your list.
Sure, you send them weekly blog post updates through broadcast emails.
But is that going to cut it? Is that reason enough to stay on some one’s list?
How do you nurture your list?
The money’s not exactly in the list but in the relationship you have with your list.
How do you want your subscriber to experience your brand beyond your website?
The magic lies in email marketing.
Email marketing isn’t reserved for B2B and B2C companies. Even bloggers & solopreneurs should leverage on email marketing to nurture their list.
Start by setting up targeted autoresponders. An autoresponder is just a fancy term for an email sequence that goes out to your list.
Most bloggers don’t think beyond these sequences:
- Opt-in > Welcome Message
- New blog posts > Broadcast email
- Promotional emails on products or launches > Broadcast email
Here are some ideas to wow your audience and skyrocket your open rates.
A series of emails to acquaint the subscriber with your brand and story. It helps you create a connection with your audience and gives them a peak into how you built your business.
b. Discovery emails
These are emails that help you dial-in on your subscriber’s struggles, hopes and dreams. Derek Halpern of Social Triggers popularised this by asking the question ‘what are you struggling with?’.
Jonathan Milligan of Blogging your passion has a byline at the bottom of each and every one of his emails. He also checks in on his subscribers and reminds them to just drop him a note if they are stuck.
d. The teaser (Content + blog link)
This is a great way to get continuous exposure to your old blog posts.
You share a tool tip, or piece of content not found anywhere else on your blog. You also give a link to a related article on your blog for further reading. Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs-Journey does this very well.
e. Freebie + blog link
This freebie could be :
- Exclusive to your list
- A beta version or sample of a paid guide or ebook you are going to release
- An early release or preview of a lead magnet
If you’re looking for more ideas on what to send your list, steal my swipe file with 2 years worth of content for emails &
There isn’t a right way to set up an email sequence. You do what works for you and your audience.
An email sequence does not have to be cast in stone. You can tweak your subject heads and content based on feedback and your open rates.
The great thing is, your subscribers will feel they are part of an exclusive community…
…and that you don’t come to them only during product or course launches.
Myth #6: Set up your first opt-in freebie and opt-in forms and you’re all set to score!
Rather than score or convert like crazy, you’re going to be hearing crickets.
My first opt-in freebie was a massive 20 page ebook on mindset titled: 7 Beliefs that are holding you back’.
I spent almost 3 weeks writing it and paid someone to proof read it. It was an $87 mistake because I never used that lead magnet. I explain why in this post.
Be prepared to fail with your first opt-in.
The sooner you come to terms with it, the faster it’ll be for you to move on.
Here’s what will make it easy for you:
- Don’t spend money having your opt-in professionally designed. Quick & dirty is fine when you’re starting out. You want to get it out there fast and get feedback.
- Don’t take it personally. It’s not just you. Everyone has opt-in failures.
- Repeat after me. Long does not equal good
- Forget the mindset of having 1 and being done with it. The more targeted opt-ins you have for different offerings in your blog, the better it’ll be.
If you doubt your opt-in isn’t quite your best work, it probably isn’t.
Don’t be afraid to rehash.
Keep tweaking and testing.
Myth #7: Thinking it’s dumb to pay for ads
How I made $XXXK without paying for ads
How to build a 6-figure business without paying a penny on ads
What to do to have a 5-figure course launch without paying for ads
You’d read these articles and think paying for ads is sleazy, dumb, taboo and something to be cringed upon.
In fact hardly anyone speaks about paying for traffic when you’re a beginner.
It seems to be one of those things that everyone says should happen organically.
In this post – 11 Traffic Techniques That Are a Waste of Time for Beginners – Jon Morrow (CEO of Smart Blogger) says that only 4 sources of traffic work for new bloggers. These are guest blogging, advertising, interviews/podcasting and blogger outreach.
You can run a Facebook ad from as low as $5 a day. Yes, just $5. That’s lesser than what some people spend at starbucks in a day. There are no minimum days to run a Facebook ad either. You choose when to run and stop your ad.
Mary fernandez at Persuasiveblog.com makes an excellent point in her article How I Got 532 Subscribers in 43 Days Using Cheap Facebook Ads. She says:
….let’s say you spend 10 hours writing a guest post (another popular option for building your list) that nets you 100 subscribers. Even if you figure your time is only worth $10/hour, you’re still effectively paying $1 per subscriber.
Growing your list as a beginner does not have to be a long drawn out process.
There are several free resources on running Facebook ads. In face, Facebook own free resource http://www.facebook.com/blueprint is a great place to start.
Likewise, you can also consider promoted pins on Pinterest.
You don’t have to do them all at once. You can test out a couple of ads and see the results. Tweak and adjust.
There’s nothing to be ashamed about paying for traffic.
And learning the nuances of ads is a good skill to add to your belt and one that’s heavily sought after.
Myth #8: Don’t let people ‘pick your brains’ for free
If you’re just starting out, let them pick your brains.
Be free with your advice.
Be available to answer emails.
I’m not telling you to compromise your time or to be taken advantage of…
…I’m telling you to be willing to serve your community without crunching time or numbers.
In this post, Jonathan Morrow offers free consultations to subscribers and if he can do it, so can we.
Here’s an email from one of my lovely subscribers.
I don’t have a blog consulting page up but that didn’t stop her from checking with me.
People do value and appreciate you when you help them out.
So let them pick your brains…
Because when it comes to your time to sell, the community you’ve built will back you up.
Myth #9: Thinking you want 5 or 6-figure months
How I went from 0 to 5 figures in 6 months
How you can earn 6 figures blogging
These are inspiring stories that are great to hear but is that right for you?
Is it right for the type of community and business you want to build?
Here’s what many new bloggers fail to consider:
- the amount of time you have to put in to achieve 5 and 6 figures a month
- the logistics to carry out 5 and 6 figure launches
- the pressure of supporting a huge community
What looks like an overnight success or a blog to have suddenly ‘picked up’ or ‘came out of nowhere’ could have taken years to build.
What you need to consider is what success looks like to you.
House of Muses has an awesome article “Why your success doesn’t have to look like the success of others” that hits this topic right on the head.
Myth #10: Thinking that Google will hate you if you republish
Let’s set the record straight.
I can understand why most of us would think that republishing content on other sites can hurt your SEO.
Republishing means duplicate content and duplicate content is spammy and confusing.
I get it.
But that’s only if you’re blatantly copying other’s content on your own website and if your own website looks terribly spammy. So, it’s entirely a myth that Google will hate you.
In fact, Matt Cutts from Google says so himself here.
In this epic post, –How to republish content on larger publications for traffic, subscribers and backlinks – without having to guest post – the SumoMe team breaks down how to go about republishing content on other sites with an audience larger than yours.
No, it’s still best not to use your original article in its entirety. But some tweaks, a different headline and you’re good to go.
Myth #11: It’s easy if you know the ‘right’ strategies
Nothing worth your while comes easy.
Building an online business is ‘not easy’ even with the ‘right’ strategies.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
It’s more work than you can ever imagine – more work than a full time job
This is true especially if you plan on blogging as a business or blogging to make a passive income.
There are so many things to consider.
- Social Media
- Paid and organic traffic
I’m not even scratching the surface with this list. There’s so much you can do to optimize your blog…
…the way you use social media…
There are lots of systems to build and automate especially when you’re starting out.
If you’re looking to stay sane and manage your time better, I’ve put together a a guide on 27 productivity tools & hacks to help you build a thriving business.
Myth #12: Write about what you’re passionate about
Now, that’s not entirely silly.
But there’s another side to it.
Write about what you’re passionate about and what gives value to your readers.
If you’re writing a journal style blog for you own family and friends then by all means go ahead. But if you want to monetize your blog or build a community, your posts have to ‘give back’ to your reader.
Myth #13: Start with a ‘free theme’
Invest in yourself and your blog business if you expect people to invest in you.
The most basic is a an email marketing platform and a premium theme.
The moment you turn pro in your head, people will start to notice and treat you like wise.
Which of these do you agree or disagree with?
Want to stand out and start building an engaged audience? Download the blog strategy workbook and grow your blog in record time.