Learning to build a successful affiliate marketing site takes a lot of research and maybe some classes.
But, first and foremost, it takes traffic, and lots of it, to make money, and not just one the site.
See why I’ve dedicated myself to building my audience before I monetize my site.
Enjoying this series?
It’s all about how I’m turning a hobby site into a money-making blog.
Vlog and Blog
If you want an audience, then you’ve got to have content for them to consume.
That’s why I took two months to research my niche and develop an editorial calendar.
It’s about writing with intention.
Each blog post has a purpose.
At this early stage, for me that purpose is to grow the Heartwood Art YouTube channel as fast as possible.
That means creating videos as fast as possible and embedding them on my site.
Of course, in the videos, I’m telling folks to subscribe to the channel.
But more importantly, I’m telling them to come to the site for more.
The whole point of the videos, and any other place I promote, is to ultimately drive traffic directly to the site.
After all, the site is where the money makers will be, eventually.
A site without ads is just cleaner looking and more enjoyable for the visitor.
Even the ad agencies will admit to that.
And while I’m growing my audience a lack of ads is actually a good thing.
I may not make money this way, but a clean site gives me the best opportunity to create a loyal fan base.
They have such an enjoyable experience that they keep coming back for more.
And they tell their friends to come too via sharing my posts.
Creating raving fans is THE best way to grow and get known.
There is no substitute for word-of-mouth advertising.
By the time I have enough audience to warrant ads, I’ll also have an established audience that will forgive the intrusion because they are happy with the content they have been enjoying.
Developing New Habits
There isn’t a whole lot of evergreen content on BlogAid. In fact, most of my post content is so transitory that it is dead in less than a year.
And, I have to admit that I haven’t done a good job of revamping the potential evergreen content to extend its life simply because I’m so busy keeping up with new.
That is not going to be the case with my woodworking site!!!!
The beginner and DIY shop projects I’m doing right off the bat will be good forever.
Folks are always going to want to know how to build a workbench, or how to use a mitre saw.
So, I have to get into some new habits with promotion.
Not only do I have to create an editorial calendar for the blog.
I now have to create a promotional calendar and recycle and repurpose that content.
READ: My editorial calendar post for 15 ways I plan to repurpose my content, and a link to the woman who taught me how.
Experimenting is Key
I could never make sense of how to use Instagram for BlogAid.
But it makes perfect sense for @HeartwoodArt because I’m having so much fun that I want to share it.
And I’m learning all about the power of hashtags there too.
I’m finally starting to see ways to use IG for BlogAid now too.
Now, I don’t see IG as a big driver of traffic back to my site.
But I do see it as gaining audience and staying in direct touch with my niche.
And that has its purposes too.
Be Social, Have Fun
And, I’m starting to enjoy being more social again, instead of just reporting the news.
Back when I started Heartwood Art, Twitter was just catching on, and Facebook was still new. And I met so many wonderful folks on those platforms.
IG is feeling that same way now and I’m having a blast.
I’m also looking forward to experimenting with more short video on several platforms.
And while I can have fun with BlogAid, the nature of the topics I cover just aren’t appropriate for silliness.
I am so thankful I have an outlet for my wit and to share some silly grins more often now too.
And I am beyond grateful to follow more of my peeps and share in them having fun as well.
It’s all spilling over into BlogAid, and I look forward to trying new things with it as well.
The point is – it’s important to stay open to new things and try new platforms.
Emerging platforms is one of the best ways to gain new audience.
Fun is contagious!!
New platforms have new energy and are just plain more fun than those that have an established “way” of doing on them.
While there is no way to have enough time to be everywhere online and keep too many platforms going at once, I do believe it’s just as important for a platform to be fun for the creator as it is for the viewers.
That energy comes across in what I post.
I’ve had more folks comment on my big smiles from my wood posts, and how it’s clear that I’m in my happy place, as any other type of comment.
Only my overalls have gotten more engagement.
READ: How to Make Your Brand Instantly Recognizable for more on my bibs.
Feed Your Audience
You’ve heard the saying, “Do what you love, the money will follow.”
Yep, if you know how to promote or someone helps do that for you.
Remember, Van Gogh would have never sold a painting had it not been for the support of his brother.
It’s not enough anymore to just love what you’re doing.
And here’s how I know that.
I started the Heartwood Art site just to share my carvings with families and friends.
That garnered features in magazines and a book deal.
READ: more about that journey.
I never made a business out of it for a variety of reasons you’ll see in the post above.
But, the biggest loss was my audience because I quit feeding them. And they left.
Now I’m having to start over from scratch.
And now it’s not so easy because the niche is a LOT more saturated.
However, I know if I keep creating high quality and entertaining content, my audience will grow.
I just have to work harder to promote it in more places now.
And I have to keep focusing on my audience, and my traffic, even when I grow it to the point of monetizing the site.
How is Your Traffic Focus Going?
Did you start a blog for fun and then get serious about monetizing?
Or did you start with making money in mind right off the bat?
How did you grow your audience?
What did you do to bring that traffic back to your site?