I’ve suddenly been seeing a ton of growth in my blog traffic and subscribers. My subscribers have jumped from a daily gain of ~20 a day to over 150 a day in the past week. It’s all relating back to a post I did which gave away a budgeting printable pack.
My blog expenses are growing rapidly with my increasing subscribers but I’m not sure my income is going to do the same over the next month. What would you do in this case?
I’m thrilled to see my subscribers and page views increasing, but I’m a little scared by the financial commitment I’m making to pay out a larger sum of money without the money guaranteed to back it up. –Kaitlin from The Simply Organized Home
This is a fantastic question! Seeing blog growth is a big indicator that you’re doing something right. But what most people don’t think about in the early stages of growing a blog is that your expenses will also grow as your audience does.
It’s a wonderful problem, however, it can also be scary and overwhelming. You might worry whether or not you’re soon going to have to dip in your family’s grocery budget just to pay for your blogging expenses. You may wonder if your expenses are going to skyrocket and soon cost you more than you can afford — all while your blog just isn’t bringing in a lot of money.
If you’re worried about your expenses exceeding your income, I totally get it. I’m constantly having to be strategic and plan ahead to make sure that our income is growing faster than our expenses! And there are definitely times when it can produce stress — especially during periods when your blog has a huge growth spurt!
Here’s what I’d recommend:
1. Don’t Panic!
One of the biggest things I’ve learned over 12 years of blogging is that there are ebbs and flows to every business. Some months, you’ll have amazing momentum and income. Other months, it will be rocky or just downright pathetic. That is totally and perfectly normal.
I’ve learned not to panic on a month-by-month basis, but to look at the overall trends and to base decisions upon that. When you panic, you tend to not only have more stress, but you also usually make hasty decisions that might not be in the best interest of your blog and company longterm.
2. Analyze Your Current Systems
What are you currently doing? Are you tracking what’s working and what’s not working? If not, now’s the time to stop and really pay attention to what income-earning systems you currently have in place.
I’m a big fan of making sure that you have multiple streams of income set up. You do not want to put all of your eggs into one income-earning basket.
So stop and ask yourself:
- What are my streams of income? (Blog sidebar advertising, sponsored posts, posts with affiliate links, products, etc. Need some fresh ideas for new ways to monetize your blog? Sign up for my free download on 10 Ways to Make $100 From Your Blog here.)
- Do I need to add more income streams? If so, what types and how?
- Do I need to do a better job of maximizing my current income streams?
3. Think Outside the Box
If your income isn’t growing as quickly as your blog is growing, it’s time to put on your thinking cap and come up with some creative ideas for better monetizing your platform. Here are some suggestions:
- Write more posts with affiliate links. Well-written posts on helpful topics that educate, inspire, or inform people and also include a few well-placed affiliate links can be highly effective. Consider writing a post on your Top 10 ___ or My Favorite ____ or Why I Love ____ that plugs products you absolutely adore and recommend. Use affiliate links for these products. (Need some helpful ideas on how affiliate links work? Read this post.)
- Add a few more advertising slots. Could you add a few more ads through Google Adsense or more Media.net text links to your sidebar or the bottom of your posts?
- Consider writing more sponsored posts. Did you know that companies will pay you to post about their products? There are many opportunities out there — probably some for products you love and use! (Read Erin’s post for all the details on how to be successful at writing sponsored posts + a list of companies that offer sponsored post opportunities.)
Your Email Newsletter
- Email out at least one or two affiliate links/promotional-type things every month. Of course, be sure you really love and feel you can get behind these things wholeheartedly. Email marketing is highly, highly effective when it comes to being able to actually encourage people to click through and buy something. Plus, when you’ve built a relationship with a reader and they trust your opinion and experience, they are much more likely to pay attention and take your recommendations very seriously. (Read more about affiliate marketing here.)
- Set up a good followup sequence when people sign up for your email newsletter that sends them an email every few weeks that points to one of your top posts on your blog from the archives. Make sure that these top posts have great affiliate links in them.
- Remember: Quality over quantity. A large email list is great, but if you aren’t nurturing your list and increasing your readers’ engagement by providing them good content and opportunities, your list numbers won’t reflect well in your payouts.
- Produce a new product. Could you write an ebook, design a new printable pack, or offer a course?
- Run a sale on a product you already offer. If you’re feeling like you’re in a financial slump, run a sale on a product you’ve already created to drum up some cash to help in the immediate future. (This isn’t a technique you want to employ often as I suggest that you be strategic and intentional about when you run sales. However, if you are in a bind, it’s always an option.
- Promote your own products to new sign-ups and regularly in your email newsletter (if you don’t have any of your own products, it’s time to create at least one or two!). As soon as people subscribe, send them a series of 2-3 emails that introduces yourself, introduces what you do, and offer a special coupon code for your products.
4. Keep Experimenting
Blogging is a constantly changing media. What used to work 10 years ago doesn’t work at all now. Which is why it’s important that you are continually learning, growing, experimenting, and trying at least one new thing at a time.
If possible, network with other bloggers to learn what strategies are working for them and to share what you’re trying and experimenting with, too. Pay attention to what other bloggers are doing and see if there are ways you can take parts of their ideas and remake them into ideas that would work for you and your brand.
And never stop experimenting. If one idea doesn’t work well, tweak it and try again. Or, go back to the drawing board and try another idea. The more you’re willing to keep experimenting, the more chance there is that you’re going to find something that really, really works and the more you’ll be guaranteed to ride out the ebbs and flows of blogging without drowning in the process.
Have you ever struggled with your blog expenses growing faster than your income? If so, what advice do you have for Kaitlin?