We all have different blogging goals and definitions of the word “success”.
But if you’re reading The Side Blogger, then it’s likely that your goals are to reach a lot of people with your blog and make some (or a lot of) money along with it, because that is how I define successful blogging. If your definition is the same as mine, then please, read on.
Back in 2017 when I first started to entertain the idea of starting a blog, I didn’t have a job and I was freelancing as a web developer. My life was kind of up in the air and I realized for the first time that I didn’t want to depend on anyone else for my finances.
So, finally, TSB was born in June 2018.
I didn’t give up on my dreams of being a successful electrical engineer, because that, after all, had been a lifelong dream. I wasn’t ready to give up on it that easily. But at the same time, I knew I could never rest easy unless I had a backup plan.
My blog was to be my backup plan.
And now, during this pandemic, my theory was put to test. Could I count on my blog to see me through this crisis?
Well, who’s to know? We’re still very much in the middle of it all as of writing this post. But that said, I’m definitely better off than many others out there who have lost their jobs or been furloughed. The money I made from this blog paid my bills and my rent. So far, I’ve been OK.
So far, I was able to fall back on this blog.
And for me, that is a HUGE blogging success right there.
But it takes a lot, you know. To go from nothing to being able to make a living from a blog. Not a lavish living, not yet for sure. But enough to get by without sacrificing my current standards. And that’s much more than many can say at a time of global crisis.
So, in today’s post, I’ll share with you three things you must do to turn your blog into a legit fall-back option as a side-blogger .
1. Blogging Success Takes Determination
Recall when I said that blogging was to be my fall-back?
Well, there’s more to it.
You see, it’s hard to think something is your fall-back and still work hard at it when you do not have a pressing urgency.
So, it took a lot of determination and a certain kind of mindset to make sure I kept working on my blog even when I wasn’t making a single dollar off it. Not only that I wasn’t making any money, but I was also spending on it! Basically, at the end of the month, I ended up with a negative balance.
That continued for quite a few months. I made one or two affiliate sales occasionally, but for the first 6-8 months, I was spending more than I was making from the blog.
During that time I had to train myself to think of what I was spending as an investment and not a waste. Trust me, there were days when it felt like a waste. For example, I had signed up for ConvertKit for my email services. Every month I’d see $29 go away from my bank account. For some, it may be a small amount. But for me, it wasn’t. Nevertheless, I kept paying for it every month because I knew one day it’d pay me back.
And it did. But it took a lot of determination and patience to continue paying for things when I wasn’t making anything. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Blogging Success Requires Patience and Persistence
During the time when I was spending and spending and writing without so many as five people reading them or making any money at all, it took a lot, a LOT of patience to continue doing it, every single week, week after week.
It took months before I figured out what I really needed to do. And that too because I had already been learning a lot about blogging even before I made up my mind to start this blog, thanks to my freelancing gigs. I was working with a lot of bloggers, and I was trying to understand the industry so that I could help my clients better.
Here’s the thing. There are a couple of ways to be successful at blogging. Be that increasing blog traffic, getting email list subscribers, or making money.
You either spend money to take courses and attend workshops, or you learn little by little, scraping up what you can from one blog here and another blog there.
The first method is faster because you’re learning from those who’ve already done it. They’ve made the journey and come out the other way. So, they know what they’re talking about. You can learn from the bests that way.
The downside? It takes money. Courses are not cheap, and for good reason too! It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to create a course.
The second method is by learning as you go. By reading blog posts, learning from the free content that’s out there. It takes a whole lot more time and a whole lot more mistakes to get it right when you’re trying to figure it all out from scratch by yourself.
I did both. I took some courses. I put the rest together on my own. And I took all the free courses and resources I could get my hands on. And you know what? I still do!
Here’s a secret to success. Not just with blogging but with everything! It is patience. You need to be patient and continue to learn and do the work. Even when it feels like nothing is working out. Even when it feels like you’re wasting money and not making anything for it. And you have to be patient enough to do all that.
Too many people start a blog and fail. Do you know why?
It’s because they give up. They lose their patience and motivation and they give up.
The fastest way to be a failure of a blogger? Giving up. As long as you keep at it, sooner or later you can make something of it. But you have to keep at it and that’s possible only when you’re patient and persistent.
3. Blogging Success Requires Investment
Blogging is like most businesses. It requires investment. Not as much as many others, but some, yes. Getting a custom domain requires 10-15 bucks, getting a good hosting for a self-hosted WordPress blog requires $70+ for the first year. (Go with the GrowBig plan on SiteGround hosting, for real! This very blog runs on SiteGround. It’s the best for the budget bloggers.) You’ll need to invest in a good email marketing platform because really, the money’s in that list! I have found ConvertKit to be easy to use while at the same time being a powerhouse.
Now here’s the thing. If you do not have the money, then yes, it’s better to start than not just because you’re short on your budget. However, if you DO have the money, but you’re not investing it thinking you’ll invest when you start making money, you’re making a mistake. It will only take longer and money won’t come in as fast as you’d probably like.
So, if you don’t have the money, then sure, start with whatever free options or cheaper options you can find. But if you do have it, then please, invest it and start your blog the right way. You can find all the resources you’ll need on my resources page. Some you need to invest in sooner than some others, but please, at least invest in a good hosting, a custom domain and a good email marketing platform from the beginning.
You have no idea how many times I get emails from people saying they’ve been blogging for a few months or a year or two years without any result, and they just gave up.
You need to understand a few things.
When you do something for months and years without seeing any change, then you need to change your tactics; switch things up a bit. Change the way you do things and pivot.
But the surest way to failure? That’s when you lose patience and motivation and you give up. Success comes to those who persevere.
So, want to be successful as a blogger? You must be patient and you must persist to continue doing this. The investments are important, they’re needed and the faster you invest, the sooner you’ll start seeing results. But the most important of it all is that you stay patient and persevere.
Oh, and if you want to learn how to start a blog the right way, I do have a free email course. Sign up for the course (and my email list) below:
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If you sign up today, here’s what you’ll get:
– 10-day FREE email course on how to start a blog, from choosing a niche to a clear strategy for making $1,000 per month.
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