How to Turn a Blog into a Business and Make More Money in Your PJs!
If you want your blog to pay your mortgage you need to stop treating it as a hobby. Here’s 10 things you need to do to turn a blog into a business and make more money in your PJs!
This post contains affiliate links.
1. Make a plan and then stick to it
Starting a blog is super simple compared to opening a store or a restaurant. You can have an idea for a website in the shower and have it up and running by lunch time. No business plans, no hunt for premises, no huge rent bill to pay.
But the downside is that it can be all to easy to start a new blog every week, or to decide that you need to start a Pinterest account, and a Facebook page oh and be on Twitter, and build an email list…
Before you know it you’re trying to keep so many plates spinning you end up sitting in a heap of broken crockery.
The day I decided to focus and be willing to let some things go was the day my online business actually started making real money.
I had an email list with about 2500 subscribers, but I hated writing the newsletters and it never made any money, or brought that many people over to my site. So I cancelled my Mail Chimp account.
I spent years building my Facebook page up to 3500 likes. But I spent so much time trying to find posts that people would engage with, and encourage people to click through to my site, and getting so despondent with the results that I even started paying Facebook to show my posts. One day I took an honest look at my analytics and realised that I was just throwing money away. So I simply stopped posting to my Facebook page.
Shock horror I know! All the blogging experts say you NEED a mailing list, and you MUST HAVE a Facebook page. I must be crazy! But you know what? When I cut out the things in my business that were a time suck or a money pit and focused on the things that actually worked for me I started making more money.
Right now I am focusing on making money with Amazon and promoting my content on Pinterest. That is my plan and that is what I am sticking to.
Having a plan stops you getting sidetracked. It stops you spending money on training and tools that you don’t need. And it allows you to spend time on the parts of your business that will generate an income.
2. Stop chasing pageviews
When you’re on Facebook how many adverts do you see from gurus promising to share their secrets to get more traffic?
If you hang out in blog groups how many people say to join linky parties, or Facebook chore groups (where you trade a pin for a pin, or a share for a share) in order to boost your pageviews?
For years I participated in share groups and linky parties. Hours spent tediously clicking and liking and sharing.
It was dull, it was boring, it was the biggest time suck. And in the end it didn’t amount for much. Because more pageviews doesn’t equal more income.
You don’t need more visitors, you need the right kind of visitors.
Which brings me onto the next point… understanding keywords.
3. Make sure you understand keywords
If the words SEO or Search Engine Optimisation make your blood run cold because they sound technical and scary then stick with me for a minute.
Getting green lights in Yoast is not SEO unless the keyword you are optimising for is one buyers are actually using to search.
If you want to make money as an affiliate marketer then you want people on your site who are ready to stick their hand in their pocket and pull out a credit card. They might be looking to solve a problem or pursue a passion but they need to be ready to buy.
Those people could come to your site from Google, or from Pinterest, but if you want them to find your post you need to get inside their heads and figure out what words they will be using to search for the solution to their problem.
4. Make sure you keep track of your finances
When I gave up my day job and started blogging I made a BIG mistake and that was not keeping an eye on my finances. I knew I was making some money but every time I saw some training I liked or someone told me about a new tool I went ahead and bought it.
At the end of the year when I sat down to do my taxes I was shocked to see that I had been living off my savings and frittering away the money I had earned.
So I made myself a budget. I worked out what I needed to contribute to the household finances each month, and then I worked out which tools I actually needed to run my business. Each month I had to make enough to cover both sets of expenses.
The good thing about getting paid a month or two in arrears by the likes of Amazon is that it allows you to look ahead and see which months you might have a shortfall.
When that happens you have to make a tough call and temporarily cancel services like EPD or Jaaxy or cut back on your personal expenses like day trips or takeouts for that month.
Alternatively you could try to make some short term money by taking on some Virtual Assistant work which is what i used to do.
5. Open a business investment account
As part of my budget I have opened a business investment account (just a plain old savings account).
Each month after my personal and business expenses (including tax planning) have been settled I transfer 20% of what is left into the savings account.
That is the account that funds my training for the following months.
If I see a training course I really want to take but there isn’t enough money in that account to pay for it then I write it down on my wishlist and I wait until the funds are there (no more spending money willy nilly!)
6. Level up each month
Whether you’ve been blogging for 10 weeks or 10 years you will always need to learn new skills because things are always changing.
If you have money in your business investment account then you can invest in a course. I highly recommend that you work your way through the Pajama Affiliate courses and then move onto PotPieGirl’s What Work’s Now guide. Following the advice in the PJ courses has allowed me to double my Amazon income over 12 months, and implementing just one of the tips in the PPG guide generated $200 in Amazon commissions in December alone!
If you don’t have enough money in your account one month then don’t skip the training, there are plenty of tips and strategies you can read about for free right here on this blog!
7. Invest in automation
As well as investing in your brain each month you should also think about investing in your workflow.
By that I mean finding a way to automate tasks so that you can do them more quickly and spend that time on money making activities (like writing new blog posts) instead.
Last year I spent a few months testing and tweaking my Pinterest strategy until I was happy that i was promoting my content on a regular schedule as well as sharing great content from other bloggers. I did that manually until I was happy and then I invested in Tailwind to automate that routine. Now instead of spending 20 minutes a day on Pinterest I spend a couple of hours once a month filling up my Tailwind queue.
8. Find a partner to challenge you
We have bi-weekly sessions in the diary where we get together online to tear apart a blog post and try to see how to improve it. We also chat almost daily about things we’ve learned and new strategies we want to test.
And we hold each other accountable. Often before either of us invests in a course or training guide we check with the other. And they make sure that it fits with our plan and will help us meet our goals before we spend that hard earned money!
The trickiest part about finding a partner is choosing someone who you trust to be completely honest with you. That means if they think the new post you just wrote really sucks they need to feel comfortable enough to tell you, and you have to listen to them. But then they also need to be willing to spend time with you helping you to improve it.
9. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Have you ever found yourself working on something seemingly simple, like an image in a blog post which just won’t line up where you want it to, and you suddenly look at the clock and you’ve lost 3 hours of your life frantically searching Google, asking in Facebook groups and tearing your hair out?
The truth is that a reader probably wouldn’t even notice a slightly wonky image, but it bugs you enough to want to fix it.
At times like that you need to do one of two things.
- Turn a blind eye and move onto the next important thing on your todo list (like actually publishing the post so it can start making money) or
- set a timer and give yourself 10 minutes to try and fix it. If you’ve not managed to do it by the time you hear the beep then move on. Nine times out of ten the solution will suddenly ping in your brain at 2am the following morning or while you’re in the shower!
10. Never compare your start to someone else’s middle
Lesley has some truly AMAZINGLY jaw dropping results and reading those numbers can do one of two things.
- It can inspire you to work your butt off so that your site can fulfil it’s potential (because that’s what she did) or
- it can put you in a funk because you only made 3 bucks on Amazon last month and she must surely have some secret strategy that she is not telling anyone else about (which isn’t true because she lays it all out for you right here!)
My point is you must not compare your start to someone else’s middle. Success like Lesley’s doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of hard work and you have to be willing to put in the time and effort.
In the meantime set yourself small goals and when you reach them reward yourself for a job well done!