The one thing I wish I knew before my first blog?

2019-08-29

I was recently asked by a person new to blogging, ‘What is the one thing you wish you knew before your first blog?’.

My answer was simple, ‘Target a professional audience if you’re looking to make money with blogging’.

What do I mean by this? I mean you should target a business type/vertical/industry or individuals who think like a business (i.e. self-publishing author).

This is not to say you can’t make money targeting a more general audience, it just means that it’s a lot harder and you’ll need a lot more traffic to make the same amount of money in most cases.

My first blog was an example of what not to do in my opinion. I decided to follow my passion, and that passion was music. I started a punk rock blog and at its peak, it was generating about 500 visitors a day from Google.

While I wasn’t necessarily in it to make a buck, it would’ve been nice if the site was a little more self-sustaining. I eventually had to shut the site down due to me having to spend time on more lucrative projects. Looking back, I understand why I had a hard to monetizing. It just wasn’t the culture back then to buy digital music. Even today most people will just pay $10/mo to subscribe to Apple Music or Spotify.

At the time people were only interested really in downloading mp3’s for free. I tried ads and even selling vinyl but nothing really stuck or amounted to anything significant sales-wise.

Honestly, vinyl sales have trended up since I shut down my blog so maybe things would be different today? Part of the reason I failed on the vinyl front is that I wasn’t offering any exclusive vinyl and I wasn’t the cheapest option either. I just wasn’t prepared to be a vinyl record store or record label producing my own vinyl. Writing a music blog and running a record label are 2 very different things.

Unless you don’t mind having a ‘labor of love’, pick a professional audience for your first blog if you’re looking to turn it into a business. Why? Because they spend more time and money on improving themselves and their skills. They purchase products based on the value they produce. They think like a business and therefore spend more money to invest in their business.