The Crazy Good Results of Treating My Website Like a Business

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After 4+ years of owning this blog, I am finally treating it like a business…and it’s paying dividends. When I first started my blog, I was basically in it for the money. Sure, I liked to write about personal finance, but I really just wanted to make some bank through advertisements like everyone else out there on the world wide web.

The Greedy History of Life And My Finances

After about a year of blogging, it actually worked. I was earning upwards of $2,000-$3,000 a month with my website! But, with the methods I was using, my site was doomed to fail. Advertisers were coming out of the woodwork to pay for sponsored posts, text links, banner ads, and social media shout-outs. I accepted them all without regard. Casino ads, cash advance ads, payday loans – they all made it on my site for the right price. I’m obviously ashamed to say that, but don’t worry, I was punished for my greedy behavior. The Google giants decided they didn’t like the way I was running my site, and they downgraded my rank to zero (for those of you that don’t know website lingo, that’s extremely bad…). My $2,000-$3,000 per month suddenly shrunk to $200 each month at best.

My cash flow was down, my visitor numbers were cut in half, and my most loyal readers were hanging on by a thread. You know the saying, “The perfect time to restart is when you’re at the bottom”? Well these chain of events created the absolute perfect time to retool, revamp, and restructure this website. It was time to actually do good with the gifts I was given.

This realization came about six months ago, and this site has been growing ever since.

website like a businessMy Site Became a Business, Not a Hobby

Do you know what the number one impact has been for my site growth? The six inch space between my ears – my mind. For the first 4 years of my blog’s existence, I was treating it as a little hobby on the side. You know, something that was moderately fun and put some extra money into my bank account, but certainly not anything worth mentioning to others.

When people would mention my site, I somewhat sheepishly said, “Oh…yeah…I have a website about personal finance. It’s decent – just a hobby.” Since I thought of it as a hobby, that’s the way I portrayed it to others. And, since I was totally not excited to tell them about it, they just figured it another piece of crap website (which it kind of was). I was not proud of my site and did not believe it to be valuable for others to read. This is absolutely the main reason it never grew.

Today, things are different. When I write an article now, I write it to the best of my ability and have a hope that it will get picked up by Yahoo Finance or the Wall Street Journal. This is my mentality for every single one of my articles, and this makes them dang good! So, with these high-quality articles, do you think I am sheepish when I talk about my site? Heck no! I tell everyone I can think of and send them to the best personal finance site that I know of, MINE!

The Results of My Business Mentality

In just the last week, things have really been booming for my site, and I can tell that this is just the beginning. Here are a few examples of what’s been happening.

1) I’m earning affiliate income again

In the past, I never mentioned my site to my work friends. They knew I was a financial analyst by day, and that was all. Since I have recently turned my site into a powerhouse of information however, I have really started to talk about it and promote it. At the very least, I figured this would end up helping a few people and provide me with a few new readers each month, but I didn’t really expect it to increase my affiliate earnings.

At this moment, I promote a two affiliates, iPage (a web-host that I use for this awesome site you’re reading now) and Personal Capital. I believe in both very strongly and don’t think twice about giving them my full seal of approval. Little did I know that one of my friends was thinking about starting a website and used my page, “Start Your Own Blog” as a resource to do so. In the end, my simple action of telling my friends about my site netted me $105 through affiliate income. And, it seems that many others intend to start their own sites soon as well, which will only continue to bring in more revenue yet!

The absolute best part of this story is that it’s a win-win. I earn a commission for their sign-up, and they will likely earn some decent money with their website ideas (they’re pretty awesome – wish I would have thought of them!) that cost them only $30 for their entire first year of operations. Beautiful!

affiliate_link

2) My site numbers are skyrocketing

Since I have begun putting quality articles on my site, I’m sharing it with everyone I possibly can! I reached out to a number of my Facebook friends and have asked them to Like my page, and I am getting serious about my Twitter followers as well.

In an effort to increase my followers, I started by dusting off my account. Instead of only sending out automated tweets when a new article went live on my site, I began to tweet out other personal finance messages like, “You see that TV? It’s off. That’s how I earn my money.” and “If you really want to have control over your life, you first need to take control of your finances.” As I began to get followers from these awesome statements, I personally thanked them for following and left them a link to my site. To my surprise, many of them began to retweet and favorite my messages, which only brought me more followers (who I of course thanked as well)! Take a look at what has happened to my Twitter account in the last week alone:

website like a business

I went from 1,789 followers to 1,823 in just 7 days! It’s crazy what can happen when you start treating your hobby like a business!

3) My articles are getting noticed by big-shots

It definitely didn’t happen overnight, but my articles are finally starting to make a splash with the bigger names of finance. While I haven’t yet gotten published on any of the huge finance sites, there have been some moderately large sites that have picked up my work. Have a look for yourself:

Treat That Hobby Like a Business!

The act of transforming my website has been an extremely fun road so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and this site. If you currently have a side business that you are treating like an embarrassing side hobby, throw down your pitiful thoughts and start taking action on your business today! Chances are that your business is amazing and could earn you an impressive following if you would just get your mind out of the way!

Will you treat your side work like a business or a hobby? I’m choosing business!

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17 comments to The Crazy Good Results of Treating My Website Like a Business

  • As a reader, I definitely appreciate the real articles! My blog is new and I’ve been a bit sheepish to share it with my friends and family. Thanks for giving me a little push.
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom recently posted..Interviewed by Debt Discipline

    • Hi Emily. I just checked out your blog and you should definitely share it with your friends and family! It’s awesome! Plus, it looks to be pretty popular already with 30+ comments on each post. Nice work!

  • Wow, who would have thought some of your insights on Twitter would lead to such gains in followers? Maybe your next ebook should be about utilizing Twitter to the max! πŸ˜‰

    What did you do about coworkers who think poorly of blogging? A lot of my coworkers are older and don’t think highly of blogs, which is why I haven’t shared mine with them.
    Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver recently posted..Weekly Update

    • Bagh, who cares what those co-workers think! Now, to be clear though, I don’t shout about my website from the rooftops at work – that just wouldn’t be appropriate. I am there to work. But, if after-work hobbies or financial topics come up, then I certainly make mention of my site! If you really want your site to grow big, then you have to stop thinking small about your blog. Did you know that there are some bloggers that have made a million dollars or more from the sale of their sites? I’d say that shows the legitimacy of blogs! Maybe you should educate your coworkers on this fact. πŸ˜‰

  • Nina @ RichLife.io

    Great article, just what I needed as my blog has been rather stagnant these last few months. I suppose my issue is that I don’t know where or how to promote it really. I tried to get involved in a few forums, and there was the Fall Team challenge, and that has been about it. I think the content I write is worthwhile, and my friends do say so, but they’re not really blog readers. Will need to figure this out, as in the past I had a gaming blog, and that just seemed to grow by itself.
    Nina @ RichLife.io recently posted..Declutter your life with the four RE’s

    • Don’t worry too much about it Nina (my blog was stagnant for two years!), just keeping working at it and trying new things. If something works, keep implementing it. If it doesn’t, throw it in the scrap heap for now. Best of luck to you and your site!

  • Great to hear about the positive results! I need to get more active on social media myself. Right now though, I am working on getting ahead of schedule so that I have some posts on standby just in case I need one here and there. I’m also getting more active in guest posting as well to help get my name out there.
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted..Investing With A Small Amount of Money

    • Great job on the guest posting – that’s one area that I’m pretty weak in. Also, since my latest house payoff, I’m thinking about pitching my success to a few magazines and news stations. Who knows, maybe I’ll get featured! If you have something similar, try it out yourself. I figure it’s worth a shot.

  • New reader here and new to the blogging world πŸ™‚

    This is exactly what I needed to read today! It’s so refreshing to read articles like this. I’m glad you touched on the highs and lows of blogging and were so transparent about everything! It’s so nice to read about all the changes you made to your blog and how you transitioned to treating it more like a business!
    Kristin recently posted..Bad Spending Habits You Need to Break

  • I’ve just gotten back into running my blog (after taking a short hiatus after the birth of my daughter).

    At the moment I’m concentrating on building up my website stats (including more social media such as yourself), before I try to monetise the site.

    I had AdSense on there, but someone decided to prank me be clicking on ads and getting me banned. So at the moment, I’m all about increasing traffic before working out how to make money.

    Any tips?
    Mr Ikonz @ Project Ikonz recently posted..How to live large in the US

  • Post like this are great inspiration to those of us who are still working to get a following. Hearing about the missteps, as well as the achievements, is really important. Thanks for sharing with us, and congrats on your successes!
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted..Where Does the Money Go?

    • Glad this post could help you out, Gary. This is the whole reason I write! Be sure to check out the upcoming Sunday post as I’m getting a real handle on Twitter and how to maximize its potential for my site and brand.

  • Ansley

    It can become easy to lose focus, especially when you are passionate about the subject of your blog. But is important to treat it like a business and make sure you are making money from your efforts. Way to go.

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