Are you getting traffic to your blog-based website, but not money? You're not alone. The Internet isn't going to magically bless you with riches, even if you post the best content in the world. What you need to do is obey a business truth that goes back to well before the days of computers.
Everybody has problems in their lives; consequently, we're all looking for solutions. If you want to make money, you need to figure out a way to solve your readers' problems – something that they'll pay for. It sounds really simple, but it isn't; just ask any blogger who's tried to make money online.
A couple of years ago, Sonia Simone of Copyblogger read a Newsweek editorial that featured celebrity blogger Daniel Lyons, also known as Fake Steve Jobs. This is a man who entertained lots and lots of readers for two years by pretending to be Apple CEO Steve Jobs and posting humorous blog entries. Lyons said that there was no money in blogging. As proof, he cited his best day, on which he received 500,000 visitors. What did he make in AdSense earnings on that day? About $100. For that entire month, he hardly broke $1,000 in AdSense earnings.
What does it mean if a celebrity blogger can't make money at it? It could mean there's no money in blogging...or it could mean that he wasn't solving anyone's problems. Simone correctly pointed out that we're used to not paying for entertainment online – and entertainment is really all that Fake Steve Jobs provided. “His readers aren't coming to his site to solve any kind of real-world problem, other than 'how can I kill 10 minutes before my boss gets back from lunch?'” Simone noted.
True, Fake Steve Jobs was using AdSense. Many content-focused sites include AdSense. We're used to the ad-supported model from television, but it doesn't always work well online with AdSense. Simone noted that “it usually works best when the reader is coming to the site to figure out a solution to a problem. If an ad presents a relevant solution to that problem, the ad can be effective.” But it's very hard to get that kind of perfect match.
If you want to reach your readers, and make money doing it, you need to offer solutions to their problems. How do you know what their problems are? Think about what keeps you awake at night. Find out what keeps them awake at night. Then find a way to fix the issue. As Simone observed, “The real Steve Jobs sells beautiful, easy-to-use, lovable tools that make his customers' lives better. If Fake Steve Jobs wanted to make money, he would have had to do some work to figure out how he could do the same.”
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