Why I Didn't Monetize My Blog in the First Year
Who doesn't want to make money with their blog?
Whether it’s a side income or your full-time job, many bloggers want to make some serious cash with their online space. While this is an amazing goal, many forget it doesn’t happen in a snap and I would argue that it shouldn’t.
What you need to ask yourself is are you and your blog ready for monetization? In my first year, I wasn’t, but waiting to monetize has been the best thing for my blog. Here are 3 reasons why:
I was able to rebrand freely until I found my niche
Let’s start with my blog history. My first blog, uPRise PR, was aimed to help young PR students and professionals who wanted to make it in the world of corporate PR. I launched uPRise PR with a partner and after we dissolved the blog due to being in different life stages, my partner left the blogging the scene and I quickly launched my own PR blog, exPRession PR.
Because I launched exPRession PR in just a week (call me crazy!), I had to choose my niche rather quickly. I focused more on the creative side of PR, but grew tired of the name and categories I was covering.
I was frustrated with how many changes I wanted to make, so I rebranded to focus on all things creativity. I wrote many inspirational and motivational blog posts about incorporating creativity into everyday life. It was fun for a while, but I missed giving my audience actionable content they could utilize to enhance their own online presence. That was my “a-ha” moment, so earlier this year I changed my categories to better suit my niche.
I know I must sound insane for rebranding as often as I did, but without these changes, I wouldn’t have found my true niche.
Once you start monetizing, it’s not as easy to change your niche. I’m glad I didn’t start monetizing before I found the niche I’m in right now which includes blogging, social media, branding, community - all the things I love most under the umbrella of PR. It took time (and a lot of patience) to find my niche, but now I know I’m here to stay and ready to monetize soon.
I got to know my audience really well
Instead of creating content to sell right away, I’ve given away a ton of free, actionable content to see what my audience connects with. When I do decide to monetize, which will be coming in the (near) future, I will have a better understanding of what my audience is interested in and what topics they will want to learn about in depth.
Also, giving away some of your best content can help you sell more digital products and services. Seriously. Just look at XO Sarah. She packs a ton of value into her free content so when she launches ebooks and ecourses, her readers become instant buyers. That’s what you want.
Use the engagement you get from your blog content to decide on what to monetize. Did multiple readers comment on your photography blog post that they want to know how to make professionally branded photos in a few easy steps? That sounds like a great idea for a training video. Listen and produce accordingly.
It allowed me to experiment with content
I’ve interviewed professionals. I’ve created branding boards. I’ve posted link roundups. I even tried vlogging (complete with awkward editing and bad lighting) when I first started. I’ll let bloggers like Maya Elious and Alex Beadon stick to vlogging since they are rockstars at it.
I tried all these different content types until I arrived back at the one I have always loved most: actionable, written content.
You need to allow yourself time to experiment with content. Maybe you’ve been wanting to launch an e-course. I’d suggest hosting a few free webinars on Google Hangouts to practice and see if your audience is interested in this form of content. Or maybe you want to design blogs and websites. Make some moodboards and post them on your blog and Pinterest to get some buzz going.
This post is not to say you can’t be successful with monetizing in your first year but rather to show the benefits of waiting to make money until you and your blog are fully ready. Maybe it will take you a few months to feel ready to monetize. Maybe a few years. No matter your timing, there are always things you can do today to prepare your blog for monetization success in the future.
Did you monetize in your first year? What’s your monetization story? Let me know in the comment section below.