Strategy

How to Discover if You’ll Ever Make Money Blogging in 5 Minutes

Brad Smith
July 15, 2012

Blogging provides many benefits.

You can use it to meet other interesting individuals, leverage it to build your personal brand, and even land speaking gigs.

But what if you want more than that?

What if you want to sell products and services? What if your dream is to become a full-time blogger?

And how do you transform a blog that’s a side project or hobby into a revenue-generating asset?

Success Is Not an Accident

If you want to grow a professional blog that will pay the bills, then you need to set goals, and then figure out how you’re going to get there.

You can’t hope for more traffic and wish for subscribers.

Set a goal six months or a year in the future, and then reverse-engineer your success. What steps will it take each month, week and day to reach that goal?

Then you need identify actionable metrics that help you evaluate your current progress, and identify what it will take to move forward.

But there’s an overwhelming amount of blog analytics at your disposal. How do you narrow it down?

For the best results, your metrics need to align with your marketing funnel. This will give you an idea of how people are turning from strangers into loyal customers.

Let’s take a look.

The Copywriting Guide to Selling

There’s an old copywriting formula for direct-response marketing. Many of you probably already know it.

AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

Before anyone will buy something from an advertisement or piece of direct mail, they need to pass through the other three stages.

The same is true online. No one will hand you their credit card information the minute they land on your website.

Once you have their Attention, you need to get them Interested and build Desire before asking for the Action.

These are the same steps in your own internet marketing funnel.

Keeping an eye on this funnel is essential because it keeps your focus on actionable metrics. These are the important metrics that actually mean something, and get you closer to your goal (of making money).

If you prioritize vanity metrics like Klout or Twitter followers, then you’ll make bad marketing decisions.

Instead by focusing on a few key metrics that you can improve over time, you’ll see better results where it counts (your bottom line).

Here are some examples of actionable blog metrics you can use:

  1. Attention: Visits and Traffic sources
  2. Interest: Bounce rate and Pages per visit.
  3. Trust: Conversion to subscribers
  4. Sales: This part is for you to figure out 🙂


Now Start with the End in Mind

For example, say you want to make $1,000 per month by the end of the year. And you’re going to do that by selling a $100 coaching product. That means you need 10 customers per month.

Now how are you going to get those 10 customers? Remember, it’s not very likely these people will be total strangers on their first visit to your site (for a premium, high price product).

Those people will probably come from your email list.

Now we’ll assume your conversion rate from email subscribers to customers is 1%. That means you need 1,000 total email subscribers.

Great. Now we’re getting somewhere. But where are these email subscribers going to come from?

Figure out what your current conversion rate is from visits to email subscribers. Let’s say that rate is 2%. And you want to get 100 new email subscribers each month, so you can hit your goal in 10 months.

So in order to hit your goal of 100 email subscribers per month, you’ll need to get 5,000 visits each month (100 email subs / 2% conversion rate). That breaks down to approximately 167 visits a day.

How are you going to generate web traffic on a daily basis?

Now you can start forming tactics around these goals, and measure your progress over time. Maybe you’re not converting like you want to, or perhaps you need more traffic.

You can also narrow down to the individual online marketing channels you’re using. How does Twitter traffic convert? If the conversion percentage is less than average, then you need to drive more traffic somehow.

Whatever the case may be, you now have a solid blueprint for achieving your goal.

Conclusion

If you’re not using metrics to monitor success and set goals, then you’re never going to succeed.

But that doens’t mean it has to be brain surgery.

You just need to pick a few core metrics based on your marketing funnel, and set realistic targets to hit. Because it will give you a path to focus on. And most importantly, you now have a goal that guides all of your daily actions.

This will keep your eye on the ball and help you avoid wasting time unnecessarily.

But more importantly, it will help you turn your part-time blog into a business and help you achieve your dreams of being a full-time blogger.