Every blogger wants to get paid to blog. After all, it would be great to be able to write about what you enjoy and cover topics you’re passionate about while still generating revenue. Fortunately, there are many ways to make money with a website. Some of the most common ways people get paid to blog include affiliate marketing, premium content, advertisements, and sponsorships.
Still, most bloggers take years to turn a profit. This is because your website’s reputation builds over time, growing stronger with each page and building its optimization potential. The more you write and stay focused on the long-term goals, the more likely your website is to rank higher and start generating a passive income.
There’s a reason why so many successful bloggers today didn’t achieve success overnight; unless you’re already well-known, it’s virtually impossible.
A large part of making money with blogging involves waiting. But many bloggers rush towards profit and attempt to cut corners in an effort to expedite the process. While there are plenty of ways to skip a few steps, some of those steps are necessary for a healthy website. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest mistakes bloggers make in an effort to get paid to blog:
Not Taking It Seriously
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a blogger is to not take your blogger seriously. In fact, studies have shown that consistency correlates with success. According to a study from Hubspot, companies that blog at least 16 times per month were able to get 3.5x more traffic than companies that only blogged 0-4 times per month. This means that at the very least, you should be blogging once per week.
Dedication to your blog is integral to your ability to turn a profit with it. Producing quality, consistent content goes a long way. And let’s not forget—the more you blog, the more you have to show Google what you’re all about. Each new blog post is a chance to boost your SEO and appear higher in search engine results pages.
Sneaky SEO Tactics
Content is Google’s most important ranking factor. Without content, Google would have trouble identifying what your blog is all about and presenting it to the most relevant audience. Understanding SEO is important, but you don’t have to be an SEO professional to leverage SEO benefits. Here are a few sneaky SEO tactics that Google can (and most likely will) penalize you for:
1) Keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing is a strategy where bloggers put several keyword phrases in the content that they’d like to rank for. Sometimes this happens naturally. If you writing about how to bake a cinnamon roll, for example, the term “cinnamon roll” would appear several teams because it’s relevant in context.
Unnatural keyword stuffing is easy to identify. To avoid this, use a keyword density checker to ensure none of your keyword phrases are over ~1%. Here’s an example of keyword stuffing:
Source: G2 Learning Hub
2) Keyword cloaking
Keyword cloaking is the process of presenting different text to Google than text presented to users. This is typically done by making the text color the same as the background color so that, even though Google can still crawl it, it doesn’t hurt the user experience. But in this case, you’re only fooling the reader; not the search engine.
3) Link farming
Link farming is a complicated backlink strategy where a user or company purchases several domains that all hyperlink to other domains in the “group.” The goal is to increase backlinks and therefore increase rankings. Link farms are complex to execute and prohibited by Google; if Google discovers the same individual or group is responsible for the same “farm” of sites, they’ll deindex each of them, rendering the group ineffective.
Not Promoting Your Content
As the old saying goes, you have to pay money to make money. Promotional strategies—both paid and unpaid—are a part of your duty as a blogger and ultimately, it’ll increase your chances of making money from your blog. With so many other bloggers competing for attention, it’s important for you to stand out from the crowd and go the extra mile for the extra views.
Unpaid Promotional Tactics
There are a few unpaid ways you can promote yourself. The first is by sharing content across all of your social media channels and even reaching out to people personally and inviting them to check out what you’ve created.
You can also reach out to bloggers in the same industry or niche. Reach out to them with a friendly comment and share something you’ve created. This doesn’t always work in competitive industries, but you’d be surprised by how many bloggers respond in kind, going as far as sharing or commenting on your content.
Another great way to promote yourself is by guest blogging on other websites. Guest posting is a strategy where you create free content for other sites in exchange for a backlink to your site. Backlinks are another crucial ranking factor (think of each link to your website as a vote; the more votes you have, the better your blog will rank). Furthermore, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience by guest posting on other blogs.
Paid Promotional Tactics
Then, of course, there are paid ways to promote yourself. Paid promotion on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest can go a long way. Which platform you use depends on the type of content you produce. For example, as an interior decorating blogger, you might use Pinterest and Instagram more than other channels. These platforms allow you to promote and sponsor your posts at reasonable costs, and you’d be surprised at the number of new visitors you get from your paid ads.
Two other types of paid promotional tactics include working with social media influencers and launching Google Ads campaign(s). You can use platforms like Scalefluence to find social media influencers in your niche who can help spread the word about your blog and build brand awareness. Robust filtering options allow you to discover influencers in certain locations, cater to a specific type of audience, and have a certain amount of followers.
Purchasing Website Traffic
The primary reason any blogger would purchase website traffic is because they want to impress potential sponsors, partners, or advertisers. For example, if you want to work with a brand for a sponsored post, they’ll want to see your web traffic and other data to ensure it’ll be a worthy investment and mutually beneficial partnership.
However, purchasing website traffic almost always does more harm than good. Here are three primary reasons you should refrain from buying web traffic:
1) You’ll usually get low quality traffic. Google doesn’t just care about how much traffic you get, but the quality of the traffic you get.
2) Google doesn’t like it. Google is all about the user experience, and when when you purchase website traffic, you essentially “trick” Google (at least temporarily) into thinking that your content is useful.
3) It looks suspicious. A sudden spike in traffic doesn’t look, well, legit. Google tends to manually investigate anomalies in the system, like sudden traffic spikes. They’ll want to know what caused it. In some cases, traffic spikes might be traces back to a viral Facebook video. In other cases, it could be a clear case of buying traffic.
Overdoing Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a technique where a blogger uses a custom link to refer readers to products and services. If the reader clicks on that link and makes a purchase, the blogger gets a small commission for the referral. Many successful bloggers use affiliate marketing to make money with their blog, but they make several key mistakes that prevent them from leveraging its full potential:
Mistake #1: Prioritizing the link over the content.
When you know that you can make money off of a simple link, it’s tempting to just, well, link to everything. But when you dilute your content with affiliate links, not only do you negatively impact the user experience, but it makes it clear to the reader that you care more about convincing them to make an affiliate purchase than providing useful content. Always prioritize helping over selling.
Mistake #2: Including any affiliate links.
Don’t include affiliate links for the sake of including them. Every affiliate link you add to yoru website should be personally recommended and vetted by you. For example, if you run a finance blog and make a post that features a roundup of your favorite finance books, you could include an Amazon link to the books you read and loved.
But on the other hand, if you manage a travel blog and include Amazon links to a bunch of travel gear you’ve never tried, your authority in your niche will quickly start to dwindle. You want your readers to trust your recommendations and you can’t achieve this by guiding them towards products you’ve never used.
Mistake #3: Not writing evergreen content.
Evergreen content is content that can stand the test of time and remains consistently relevant. When you use affiliate links, try to incorporate them into evergreen content where possible. For example, books can be integrated into evergreen content. Some services can be integrated into evergreen content. Products that get updated every year, like iPhones, are difficult to integrate into evergreen content (and still get paid).
It’s easy to make mistakes as a newbie who wants to get paid to blog. But the fact is, blogging takes time and so does making money. It can be difficult in the beginning when you have trouble seeing the fruits of your labor, but when you’re passionate about what you’re writing about, you become accustomed to the routine. You can never predict when the dollars will start rolling in, but when you stay on the right path, it will almost always surprise you.