When we start up a blog or website there’s a specific reason why we do so. Most of us start up a blog for economic reasons: We want to generate revenue. Whether we do this revenue generation through advertising, selling products or selling services it rarely matters. What does matter in most cases is that we do make a profit off the blog. And so the concept of monetisation comes up very early in your strategy.
Some people say you should monetise your blog from the very start. Others say you would be better off putting off the money and building an audience. So where do you start?
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Let’s split this up into two distinct parts.
Trust is a great reason to start up a blog. The trust story is pretty simple. You start up a website or blog and you put great content. You create a personality. And people start paying attention. People start visiting your blog and soon enough you’re starting to build an audience. All built on trust. That’s how the story goes anyway.
We run our website at Psychotactics.com. And today we have loads of traffic and customers all over the world. But when we started our website we had nothing. Actually it was worse than nothing. You see I wasn’t in marketing back then. I was a cartoonist. And there was no way on earth that someone was going to trust a cartoonist with his or her marketing. So I did what any sane person would do.
I started up a website and created content that wasn’t so much portfolio based, but rather information based. And that was the way to build trust. So people came. They saw. And they signed up for the free newsletter.
Ten years down the line, we’re doing exactly the same thing. You may have heard of me, but for the average casual person on the web, they’ve never heard of Psychotactics. And no matter how big and amazing you get, there’s always a huge audience that doesn’t know you at all. So for the person who first gets to your website, you have to build trust. And the next 10, 20, 50 years will be spent in creating that factor of trust.
Some people will say you should take the time. Some people say you should postpone monetization till later.
The answer is no.
There are several problems with non-monetisation
Even if you’ve built a great blog, and have outstanding support from your visitors, there’s no real moment when you can mark in the sand as a “monetisation moment”. So how do you decide when to monetise? And how do you monetise?
Most people monetise with whatever’s convenient. So let’s say someone else is selling a product/service or doing some launch and offers a generous affiliate fee, then you’ll feel this pang to monetise. Or you’ll do something like putting in some pay per click ads on your site, or do something crazy (and desperate) to monetise. And there’s a difference between selling aggressively to create revenue vs. monetisation.
The biggest problem with the monetisation debate isn’t whether to monetise or not, but “HOW” to monetise. And most of us are at a loss to to work this one out.
We started our website in the year 2000, but I didn’t monetise till the year 2002 or so. And the biggest resason why I didn’t monetise was because I didn’t have anything to monetise. And no one was bugging me to create anything either.
And the reason I say this is because the monetisation both online and offline took me totally by surprise. The first time we monetised (sold the e-book to a live audience) about 70-80% of them bought a digital, downloadable product (even though many didn’t have email addresses). The first time I put our books online as a concept, I had emails from people getting frustrated that they couldn’t buy. All of this totally took me by surprise.
If I’d waited for audience build up, I might have waited too long. So if you asked me: Would you go back in time and “not monetise”, then I know my answer. I would not wait a minute more than I have to: I would monetise as soon as I possibly could. And that’s just the first reason for monetisation.
There’s a massive difference between writing articles and selling product. And without monetisation you don’t learn how to sell products/services effectively. Then you fall prey to the form type of “guru” sales letter format and you wonder why things aren’t working for you like they should.
If you monetise earlier, you’re selling to a much smaller audience and you can afford to learn on the job and make mistakes. And this sets you up for much bigger sales both when selling products and services. But the third reason is the easily the biggest reason you should monetise.
When you sell a product, even if it’s a low-cost product, someone is electing to buy that product. They’re now saying they’re interested in what you have to say. And yes a blog or website with solid information can still create an interested audience, but when you sell product and services, you are really cementing that relationship.
Many of our clients who bought products/services from us way back in the year 2002 are still around today. The reason is simple. When the client is hungry for a product/service, if you don’t have something in place, the client doesn’t wait for you to “build your audience”.
Buying something for cash is a very powerful control factor. It’s a lot like pocket money. You don’t take your pocket money and put it in the bank. You want to spend it. And that gives you control.
Anything that’s free gets a far lower level of consumption than something that’s paid for. It’s easier to dismiss something that’s free. Yet when the customer pays their hard earned money, they tend to consume the product/service and then if they like it, they go back for more of the same. This builds building an ongoing chain of revenue, as well as respect for you. And yet many folks will tell you to build an audience first.
The average person builds a blog or website and hopes that traffic will come.
It never has. It never will. You have to find some wave and ride it to shore. Paddling your own way is close to impossible. If you wait forever to build that audience and then start the revenue system, you’d be hungry for a while. And that’s soul-destroying. You may never get to monetising anything at all. And if you ask me, that’s a big risk to take.
“How” to monetise it.
And start monetising now.
Because time and monetisation wait for no audience.
While compiling this list, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great tips. Feel free to share it with us.