If you’re like me, chances are you’re trying to increase your finances by creating a little content-based income. In this case I mean blogging, ebooks, YouTube partner videos, or anything else that gets you money per view or click. Adding content-based income to your portfolio is one of the top ways to earn $50,000 a year, according to Mr. Money Mustache.
This content-based income, of course, quickly becomes passive income, as you get paid every time someone visits your website, whether or not you’ve written anything new. If you write a fantastic, memorable blog post, like Penelope Trunk’s “Five time management tricks I learned from years of hating Tim Ferriss,” you can end up making money off that single blog entry for years to come.
Of course, as soon as people start creating their blogs, ebooks, or podcasts, they start writing me to ask “How do I get viewers to my website? Why is no one reading my blog? When is the money going to start rolling in?”
For the purposes of this instruction, I’m going to assume you already have all of the key attributes of a well-run website: a professional domain name that doesn’t end in “wordpress.com,” a sprinkling of attractive, non-tacky ads like the ones from Project Wonderful or Google Adsense, and a sense of web design that’s a bit more than “I chose the default template.” (Never choose the default template.)
So. What’s the secret?
(Are you ready?)
To get viewers to your blog, or to any other type of content-based website, you have to solve a problem.
For some sites, this problem is way-super-obvious. Take finance-favorite I Will Teach You To Be Rich, for example. What problem do you think Ramit Sethi is trying to solve, and what do you think his blog readers are searching for?
“Now wait a minute,” I hear you say. “What about my favorite Pinterest that is just about pictures of cats and weddings? What problem is that solving?”
To which I answer: aren’t you looking for the best pictures of cats and weddings? Problem solved.
The next question is “what if everyone else is already trying to solve that problem?” (Also known as “how can my finance blog stand out from all the other finance blogs?”) Look, if you’re writing about finances, weight loss, parenting, travel, even about cats and weddings, you’re going to have competition. Lots and lots of competition.
There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to get yourself a gimmick. Adam Baker of Man Vs. Debt, for example, moved his entire family into an RV to save money, then blogged about it.
Another option is to showcase your expertise in a particular niche by putting out quality, educational, content. Jonathan Fritz of SILI (Simplified Issue Life Insurance), for example, does this by regularly blogging on their site to create a regular flow of free content that benefits his customer base.
His recent Guide to Life Insurance is a fantastic example of developing a content niche that solves a specific problem. Ramit Sethi and Adam Baker aren’t experts in life insurance, which is why people looking to get their life insurance questions answered will go to SILI’s blog and/or guide and not theirs.
So, the next time you ask me “why doesn’t my blog have more viewers,” I’ll ask you “what problem are you solving?” If you aren’t yet solving a problem, your viewers don’t yet have a reason to visit your blog. If you are solving a problem but don’t have blog visitors, you haven’t fully defined your gimmick or your niche. If all of those pieces are in place, then it’s simply a matter of marketing and getting your work out there, like any other product – and there are plenty of guides on the internet ready to help you solve that problem.
How about you? Have you had success making money from a content-based product? What types of problems does your product solve? Let us know in the comments.
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