6 KEY Reasons Why Your Blog isn’t Making Money (And How To Change It)
Do you have a blog on WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, or any of the other popular blogging platforms?
And have you ever earned something or a decent amount from it?
If you haven’t earned, then your blog isn’t alone, but it is in the company of millions of blogs that unfortunately never earn enough money even to buy a bunch of bananas.
Even I was working tirelessly like you on my blog for years without gaining any monetary benefits. Until I learned a timely lesson about why most blogs never make a dime & end up broke.
And instead of keeping it up as a secret inside me, here I’m going to share with you my lessons which every blogger must know before they can turn their dream of earning into a reality.
This post will help you to avoid the mistakes that most bloggers commit and which in turn blocks their blogs path to the castle of its financial independence.
Without the following lessons, I wouldn’t have got this amount credited to my PayPal account for the previous month before this article was published. It was through affiliate marketing & doesn’t include my AdSense earnings.
Disclaimer: This article is written from my personal experience along with a study of several bloggers ranging from the highly successful ones to the very unknown ones.
1. You are on the Wrong Platform
If you already have a self-hosted site preferably on WordPress.org or any premium version platform, then you have chosen the right platform, and you can directly jump onto the next section.
For the rest, Before starting a blog, Did you know everything about How you were you going to monetize your blog?
I did NOT research well & blindly created a blog on WordPress.com, only because it was termed as “FREE” & recommended by many bloggers. I used the platform for two whole years & kept writing relentlessly & hoped to get huge volumes of traffic & loads of appreciation.
However, it turned out to be a wrong decision, as I earned nothing despite getting some visitors. After searching on Google & scratching my precious head, I learned that the users of the free version of WordPress.com can not monetize their blogs, or they don’t have the right options to do so.
Although, Automattic (parent company of WordPress.com) has stated that affiliate marketing is allowed for free WordPress.com users with certain restrictions.
(Above comment was made by their employee on WP.com Forums & it reconfirms the statement)
But the actual fact is that most reputed brands & affiliate networks will NOT give you an affiliate account to promote their products, because your domain includes (abcd.wordpress.com) and their policies don’t consider such sites even if they get loads of traffic.
Automattic doesn’t allow you to display any third-party ads of Google AdSense, nor you are eligible for WordAds (WordPress ads) either with a free plan (default URL), and they have mentioned the same in their WordPress.com User Guidelines & WordAds FAQ respectively.
On the other hand, the company of Automattic automatically displays WordPress.com ads on your site to promote themselves & you get nothing.
(Source: WordPress.com Terms of Service)
This is not only the case with WordPress.com, but platforms like Tumblr & others offering “FREE” services are all alike, as you will not be able to monetize your blog with their (xyz.tumblr.com), etc type of domain. On Blogger (Blogspot), you can display AdSense ads with certain requirements, but still, you’ll NOT be able to use affiliate marketing with their (qwerty.blogspot.com) domain.
Now, I analyzed & researched the WordPress.com community & gone through various blogs there and also personally interacted with those bloggers, but didn’t find ANY blog with a free WordPress plan earning anything.
Not only that, but I also searched on Google but unfortunately found NO website without a custom domain earning a decent amount.
Finally, if you read about the journeys of successful bloggers, you’ll find that some of them had initially started on free blogging platforms of either Blogger or WordPress, but they later changed their platform & that was the turning point in their journey to success.
This blog you are currently reading is also an example who changed tracks and thus got traffic from SERPs & also started to earn.
Solution: Blogging is like a journey where you have to start on the
right platform to reach the correct destination of success.
You’ll not get any real options to monetize your blog on a free blogging platform.
So, On which platform are you currently blogging?
If you are using any of the free platforms other than WordPress.com like Blogger, Tumblr, etc, then you should directly leave them & start a self-hosted WordPress.org blog using a web host preferably BlueHost.
And if you have a free WordPress.com plan as I had, then you have got two options either to upgrade your WordPress.com plan or start a brand new self-hosted site.
The first option is simple, as you can easily upgrade your free plan to a paid plan. They have got five plans with varying benefits. And then WordPress.com will take care of everything & also directly provide you with their ad network of WordAds & remove its WordPress.com branding on certain plans. Your subscribers & audience, etc will also remain intact, but it comes at a comparatively higher price than the self-hosted option.
The second one is that you get a self-hosted WordPress.org website from BlueHost. It offers the best services at a very reasonable rate. But there you’ll have to start all over again & you also lose all your subscribers, WordPress audience, etc. As you are basically making a brand new site right from scratch.
Yet, I took the second route because it was cheaper & gave me greater freedom to customize my blog the way I wanted.
Tip: You can purchase any of the given paid plans & test it for a month, as you’ll get a full refund if you don’t like it within 30 days of purchase. But only by having a self-hosted site with a custom domain does not ensure that you’ll start earning instantly, take note of other factors listed below as well.
2. You don’t have a Specific Niche & Useful Content
All over the Internet, you’ll find that most bloggers recommend having a specific niche or topic before starting a blog.
Did you pay heed to that advice?
I didn’t bother and started my first blog on WordPress.com without having any particular niche.
I kept on writing & publishing whatever random idea came into my mind. But, whenever I wrote informative articles & reviews, a lot of people actually found it useful & really wanted more of it.
Later, I realized that if my blog was dedicated only to providing informative content & reviews and didn’t have any other unnecessary stuff, it could certainly make a big difference.
And I was right, because when I created this blog of Review Guru with a definite niche. It not only got appreciation but this year my traffic levels & earnings have also increased drastically.
(Above is my blog’s Stats till April 2020)
If you look at the successful bloggers in Google’s search results, you won’t find their blogs having random content out there.
And selecting the RIGHT NICHE is also equally important because the topics you write must be USEFUL. If people don’t search for the topics you write on the Internet, then you won’t be able to get visitors and ultimately earn less or even nothing.
For Example, Poetry is a niche, but it isn’t really necessary nor USEFUL. Not many people search for poems on the Internet, nor are they willing to spend any money to read poems. The demand for poetry is less, and the supply is very high with innumerable poetry based blogs on WordPress alone & forget the Internet.
Therefore, these blogs mostly remain unnoticed on Google & also never earn a meaningful income.
Tip: If you have the talent to write exceptional poetry, then only a personal blog isn’t enough to showcase your poems.
You should write for magazines and other platforms where you’ll get recognition & monetary benefits than only mere appreciation.
Solution: Having a niche is the first step towards an SEO optimized site.
So, I would recommend you to read this article on Blogging Wizard to learn the importance of a niche & to select the best niche for your blog.
Also, don’t make a blog based on multiple niches, as it is equivalent to having NO niche.
3. You didn’t learn everything about SEO
What the heck is SEO & anyways What real difference can it make to my blog?
It sounds Greek to me & who’ll waste time learning that stuff, as it wouldn’t be easy to understand. I need to simply think outside the box & create unique & original content.
Then I wrote some random but interesting articles (I thought so) and published it on my first blog, hoping to get traffic & appreciation from everywhere.
Did you also think & do the same thing?
We have something in common if you did that, and of course, you might have guessed that it is popularly known as a MISTAKE.
After researching & going through several blogs on WordPress.com & Blogger (Blogspot), I found that many of them didn’t have any knowledge about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and only some have applied it on their blogs but that too incorrectly.
Create any type of blog post, Publish it, Visitors will “someday” flood my blog. This is what most of them believe.
Their dreams will not come true without properly applying SEO techniques & NOT rectifying the other five mistakes on their blogs that are listed in this article.
So, for this blog of Review Guru, I started learning about SEO using articles from the Internet, YouTube videos & even an SEO course.
And my efforts did pay off as when I applied SEO to my content, Search engines like Google could understand my content better & started to recommend them on their search results & this year even for its first pages.
(Above is my blog’s traffic source for this year till April 2020)
If you want to make a good amount of money from your blog, you’ll need traffic or visitors from multiple sources & the majority of it from the search engines.
It is possible only by LEARNING, UNDERSTANDING & APPLYING SEO techniques to your blog. You can also earn money without using SEO, but that will NOT be a decent amount & would be inconsistent.
Here’s How Google explains SEO:-
Solution: You are learning about SEO even now while reading this article, but it isn’t enough & you need to dedicate HOURS & WEEKS to learn everything about SEO.
The following are the articles that I personally referred to learn about SEO:-
1. What is SEO? (by Backlinko)
2. SEO for Beginners (by SEJ)
3. A Complete Guide to SEO (by SEJ)
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide (by Google)
I would also suggest you use the Yoast SEO plugin and subscribe via email to Brian Dean’s Backlinko & SEJ (Search Engine Journal) for the latest SEO trends & also to learn more about SEO.
And there is also an SEO course (Video) on Udemy that will help you to learn everything about SEO in one place & also save your time & energy.
Tip: You can simply learn from everywhere. But, it takes time and patience along with the actual application of SEO on your blog to really understand everything.
4. You unknowingly go for Quantity over Quality
You might have already heard that “Quality is always better than Quantity“
But the fact is many bloggers are unknowingly following the opposite path.
Take a look at your blog and count the number of articles that you have published in a calendar year.
Is it a TON or more than that?
Wow!, You can certainly boast about the number of articles you have written, thus you may feel you are an experienced hard working blogger headed in the right direction.
Whereas a blogger, who has only TEN articles is a beginner or a newbie lazy blogger who’ll head towards nowhere.
Do you consider it that way?
Also, Have you ever read an article on the Internet that tells you to post frequently to keep your audience engaged?
And also that it would be beneficial for SEO & will get your blog more visitors.
I have read about it, and they are absolutely correct, as you should post frequently or must have a definite period of interval in posting an article.
Because then Google will NOT consider your site dormant, & CONTINUE ranking it on the search results & may bring more traffic to your blog.
But many bloggers are in a misconception that having several posts on your blog is considered as a direct ranking factor on search engines, including Google.
It is NOTHING of that sort.
To rank your articles on Google’s search result pages, & get AdSense approval, you need to satisfy the most important factor which is useful & quality content.
And a useful & quality content provides real value to your readers, should be error-free, must be original & SEO optimized, and also well researched & organized and so much more.
If you work hard & publish more than 3-4 articles a week, then most likely it will be really short & unresearched, that is ridden with a lot of mistakes & will NOT be thus USEFUL & QUALITY. Your chances of ranking it on any search engine become very low.
Because my blog publishes only a maximum of 1-2 articles per month, but it is of the best quality with well-researched content, includes relevant images/graphics using Snappa, edited using a grammar checking software called Grammarly, SEO optimized, & lot more things are done.
Therefore, my articles rank on Google’s search results, and even my blog was approved by AdSense with less than 10 articles.
On the other hand, if you analyze the posting frequency of the highly successful bloggers.
You’ll find that they publish very often, but the fact is they don’t do it alone. They have a highly skilled team who does the work, and thus they can easily produce High-Quality Content frequently.
Another example is of the High Authority sites such as Reuters.com, CNN.com, & BBC.com, etc owned by the media companies who publish several articles a day, but you already know that they too work in a team & only produce a content of the highest quality.
Solution: Simply stop posting unnecessary low-quality random articles for the sake of regularly updating your blog.
And start to put all your mind & energy into creating a single useful & mesmerizing piece of quality content based on your niche.
5. You have a Wrong Notion about a Successful Blog
This is solely for WordPress users. So, if you are using any other blogging platform, then you can skip this section & directly jump onto the last section.
On the blogging platform of WordPress.com, giants such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc and also your little misconception have created a wrong notion of a blog’s success.
Even I made that mistake when I created my first blog on WordPress.com.
I thought a blog’s success mainly depends on the number of FOLLOWERS, LIKES, COMMENTS, & VIEWS it gets like YouTube or the other social networking sites. A lot of bloggers on WordPress.com still consider it as a factor to judge the success of their blogs.
Also, you might have read on the Internet that you must have Email Subscribers to get more traffic & income to your blog. But, the difference here is you aren’t getting any Email Subscribers. You get Subscribers through WordPress.com and NOT directly from your website.
First, clear the air as Followers, Likes, Comments, & Views on WordPress.com are important but NOT directly equivalent to SUCCESS OR MONEY.
You might agree or disagree, but success is measured based on the amount of wealth an individual possesses in the world where we live. In the virtual world of the Internet too, money is considered a benchmark for measuring success.
A Blog’s success is mainly measured by the volume of visitors & the earnings it has generated for the blogger.
Let’s take an example: There are several blogs on WordPress.com who have 10,000+ Followers still, they haven’t been able to earn even $100 since they were created. Their blogs get tons of daily Views, Comments, Likes & even more Followers.
But, these bloggers have to ask for donations/tips to earn whatever little they earn. They don’t receive the majority of their traffic from any of the search engines, but only from the WordPress community.
Such sites haven’t been able to earn a meaningful income because they made the same mistakes that are highlighted across this whole post.
Another reason is that their targeted audience revolves only around those WordPress users who mostly read their articles using the WordPress Reader & not directly from their original website.
And as NO ads get displayed on the WordPress Reader, therefore they earn very little.
Another misconception is about AWARDS. You might have already received pingbacks & comments saying you have been nominated for XYZ awards like some Liebster, Sunshine & other so-called awards.
These aren’t any official awards, and they circle only around WordPress.com. It can be created by any blogger & passed onto others. No actual voting takes place & “nominating” here means the same as “giving”.
I’m extremely sorry to reveal to you that posts containing such awards on your blog destroy its chances of earning money than making your blog successful.
Because they are nothing but a piece of random & useless content that eats up your QUALITY & USEFUL CONTENT, and on top of that gets your blog low-quality backlinks of other blogs.
After you learn about SEO, you’ll get familiar with backlinks, which are considered as a key factor for ranking your articles in Google’s search results.
Thus, these WordPress.com awards are bad to your blog’s chances of breaking into Google’s search results, as it decreases your blog’s value in Google’s algorithm due to those low-quality backlinks. Also, it wastes your time where you could write a USEFUL & quality content.
Solution: Stop being OBSESSED with Followers & Likes & don’t accept awards on WordPress.com.
Start writing quality plus SEO optimized articles related to your niche, to taste the real success of being listed on Google’s SERPs & in return earn money for those efforts.
6. You didn’t Follow the Advises
Have you read an article about starting a blog & making money from it on the Internet?
You must have like I did, and if you notice they also recommend starting a blog on a paid platform with a definite niche. Also, they highlight the importance of “useful” & “quality content”, and more towards SEO to be able to generate consistent earnings.
So, you & I didn’t pay enough heed to all those advice and started our journey on the free blogging platform and then later wondered Why I’m not making money from my blog?
Note that only by following one, two, or three advice doesn’t make any big difference, but properly following all the advice does.
“It is better late than never“
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday“
With these thoughts, I started all over again and made amends to all my mistakes. And if you too have a burning desire to earn money from your blog, now is the perfect time to change your route and follow the right way that’ll lead your blog to its castle of financial independence.
Solution: You have got another opportunity.
So, based on lessons that you have learned from this article, if you follow these lessons the right way without making the same mistakes again, then success will not be beyond your reach.
If you are reading this article, that means you WANT to make money from your blog.
Because there are bloggers who say that they don’t care about money, and they blog only for fun & to share their knowledge. If you are amongst them, just stop pretending and acknowledge the fact.
So, your brain doesn’t get confused and completely focuses on its aim.
I was blogging with a free plan of WordPress.com for 2 years and earned absolutely nothing.
And when I created this self-hosted blog of Review Guru on new year’s day of 2019, then also it took me another 6 months to earn my first income of $1. But as the year of 2019 ended, I nearly touched the $500 mark through affiliate marketing.
I couldn’t earn anything from AdSense in 2019, because I was rejected twice by AdSense that year and only got approved this year of 2020, which was my 3rd attempt.
I conclude this post by advising you that failure is NOT a door to the exit, but is a secret ingredient to the recipe of success when blended with persistence, which will help you to achieve whatever you desire.
If you have any other doubts or queries related to this topic, you can easily get them resolved in the comment section. Also, don’t keep our lessons a secret and share this article to help your fellow bloggers find success.