Here’s how to become part of the five percent.
It took me five years to make serious money with blogging.
I launched my first ever blog in 2012, but I didn’t make any money until 2017.
By 2021, I had built nine other blogs and sold most of them again. I made a profit on some but also lost money.
Fast forward to today, and I have three blogs that all make decent money — and allow me to travel the world full-time.
In other words, I traversed a trial and error cycle through hell.
I spent hundreds of hours blogging for myself without any tangible gains. I didn’t realize that I was on a path to becoming a starving writer. Worse still, I thought that my blogs were fantastic. I believed that the quality of my writing would eventually pay off.
None of that happened. I had to learn the hard way that if you don’t provide value, build authority, and treat your blogs as a business — you’ll remain in internet nirvana forever.
According to a survey by iBlog Magazine, less than seven percent of bloggers make more than 5,000 dollars a year.
For most of the last ten years, I was far below that threshold. My career wasn’t advancing, and I couldn’t build the lifestyle that I wanted.
The silver lining was that I was learning more about blogging every single day. And these painful lessons helped me change my strategy and eventually succeed.
I started to grasp the mechanics and economics of modern blogging. I have since gathered millions of views and made a decent living.
On this basis, here’s why 95 percent of bloggers fail to make serious money.
They think it’s all about them 🔗
The first mistake that new bloggers make is to organize their blogs in a self-centered way.
In simple terms, they think that it’s all about themselves.
These days, however, successful blogs aren’t personal diaries. They are interactive platforms that answer clear-cut questions in a specific niche.
Nobody cares about your breakfast unless you provide a recipe for that dish. Likewise, people will only read your personal stories if there are lessons and tips that they can apply.
If you want your audience to pay you — through traffic, sales, or affiliate clicks, you need to give them value. Without tangible value, your blog will remain just another WordPress blog.
They prioritize money over the quality of their blog 🔗
The next reason why most bloggers fail to make money is that they try to get paid before earning the trust of their audience.
I know the feeling. You get your first sponsored post request and feel invincible. You then realize that they ask you to promote some weird gambling site with a do-follow link.
In the short term, you’ll make 50 or even 100 dollars every few weeks. In the long run, however, Google will find out that you aren’t disclosing your links and punish you.
That’s why it’s crucial to build an audience before accepting sponsorships. More importantly, accept sponsorships that you would genuinely recommend to your audience, even if that means not making any money in the first year.
In short, waiting for the right sponsorships will pay off and increase your earnings in the long haul.
They don’t understand the difference between a hobby, a side hustle, and a business 🔗
If you want to make serious money with a blog, you need to treat it as a business — not a hobby and not a side hustle either.
The difference between the three is straightforward.
A hobby is something you do for fun whenever you feel like it. A side hustle, on the other hand, is a mini-business that doesn’t require too much time but can make you some money on the side. And finally, a business is a profit-orientated venture.
A business requires more than three hours of maintenance per week. It doesn’t grow by itself, and you’ll need to invest.
As long as you treat your blog like a hobby or a side hustle, it won’t make serious money.
Free themes, no content planning schedule, and the cheapest hosting plan are great for hobby blogs, but they won’t suffice to get to the next level: building authority.
They fail to build authority 🔗
Another reason why only five percent of bloggers make decent money is the following: there aren’t many authority blogs in each niche.
Yes, there are thousands of travel, fitness, and food blogs. But how many of those are actually trusted resources in their field? How many bloggers have shown their audience that they have the experience and expertise to back up their writing?
The answer is five percent.
So, how do we build that authority? Well, there is no easy route, but there are a few constants:
- Consistent, high-quality content for several years;
- Being a relatable person who practices what he or she preaches;
- Not promoting shady products for a quick buck; and
- Collaborating with other high-authority sources.
By consistently providing value to your audience, your authority — in the eyes of your readers, other bloggers, and Google, grows. And that’s when you’ll enter the five percent territory.
They don’t have a plan 🔗
Having a plan is essential for any content creator, and bloggers are no exception.
If you want to make money blogging, you need to set out a schedule on when to post — and how to grow. Similarly, analyzing your market — with Keyword research, for example, is crucial these days.
In this context, the days of going with the flow as a blogger are over. Today, there are millions of competing blogs out there.
Without knowing where your blog will sit in the current niche-based ecosystem, you can’t pick the right niche. And without planning how much valuable content you can provide regularly, there is simply no way to find a spot in today’s crowded blogging world.
They don’t diversify 🔗
Diversification is a primary part of today’s blogging success.
Gone are the days of successful bloggers who only do blogging. Nowadays, a blog is an interactive multimedia space. As such, modern bloggers have a well-thought-out social media presence. And finally, they adapt to the omnipresence of video and audio.
To make money as a blogger in the 2020s, you can’t just give people blocks of text with some images. To boost your earnings, you need an element of video and audio. It’s the only way to catch the growing part of consumers who don’t read anymore.
They still have a 2010 blog 🔗
Starting a blog is a great idea, but only if you adapt to the times.
It’s still possible to make a lot of money as a blogger, and there are still more than enough opportunities for blogs.
Blogging, however, has changed a lot in recent years, and only those who equip their blogs for the 2020s will continue to make decent money.
To conclude, providing value as an interactive authority blog is the best path to financial success.
In the 2020s, valuable content, diversification, and authority are the three primary aspects you should work on. Without these, your blog will remain part of the 95 percent who call it a day after 6–12 months.