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9 Things I Learned From Building Two 6 Figure Blogs

It’s official.

2017 was the year for Digital Nomad Wannabe. After a lot of blood, sweat and tears I passed the six figure mark for this blog for 2017 two months to go.

The best part about hitting this milestone a second time is that I did it in a completely different way.

This income is not related to SEO.

It’s related to quality content, being myself and doing what I love – teaching. With some kick ass email marketing and sales funnels in there and a Facebook group as well.

I already knew I could repeat my SEO + affiliate marketing success thanks to implementing it on a blog and multiple niche sites. It felt very good to know I could have success in a completely different way where I had no experience.

So what have I learned and how can this help you?

To be honest many of these things I already knew but I have had my beliefs confirmed.

1. There’s more than one way to skin a cat

While this may be one of the worst proverbs created, it is very true when it comes to making money from blogging – in fact when it comes to any aspect of blogging.

I’ve always been annoyed by bloggers who insist there is only one way to success (their way) and now I can say from experience that this just isn’t true.

Both my blogs have had very different business models but have ended up in the same place.

What you can learn?

While I highly recommend courses to show you how to have blogging success faster and more easily, there is not just one way to do things (and run a mile from anyone who says theirs is the only strategy).

You don’t have to follow what someone else is doing to have success. Find a strategy that works for you and your audience.

2. Facebook is not dead

Anyone who says this just hasn’t found the right way to use Facebook for their advantage.

Facebook is the only way I market this blog.

I have learned so much about Facebook this year thanks for starting a Facebook group that isn’t just successful but I love (you can find it here).

A Facebook group is such a great way to interact with your target audience. It’s an easy way to show why you are an authorityto show who you are and to really help people.

I am in a niche where there are a lot of fake people and it’s also a great way to prove that I’m authentic, knowledgeable and trustworthy.

On top of this, I have also learned that Facebook can be more than a social media channel where you can promote your blog. It’s great as another channel of content creation.

By this I mean that I don’t use it just to try to get people to my blog.

I use it as a way to host my original content meaning I have content in there that I don’t put on my blog. I’m not trying to get people to my blog all the time.

It’s just not necessary.

I think about the goals I want to achieve with my blog and they are:

  • Helpful, actionable strategies that make a difference for people growing their own blogs and niche sites
  • Familiarise people with my brand and become their go-to place for blogging and niche site help

The reality is that I don’t need people to actually click on a link to my blog to achieve that. I find it very effective to do this directly in Facebook.

My page views have not changed since I started the DNW Facebook group in March but my income has changed dramatically.

What you can learn?

Think beyond using Facebook as a place to promote your blog content. Can you achieve some of the goals for your blog without getting people to click on a link to your blog?

3. Blogging is not dead

This is such a stupid statement and it especially annoys me when bloggers viewed as successful say it. Equally so when they say it’s so so hard and it will take years to see any reward.

As I have proved, twice, it certainly takes hard work but it is far from impossible. It also doesn’t take years to see a reward with a good strategy.

This is the second blog where I have seen a financial pay off as soon as I focused all my energy on receiving it.

A recent post in my Facebook group had a whole lot of people commenting that you shouldn’t get into travel blogging if you want to make money.

I think their responses said more about them than the question or the poster.

I did originally get into travel blogging as a way to keep family and friends informed. But I only got back into it and turned it into something more than a journal to make money. And I did so. Within a year.

This wasn’t luck. It was coming up with an educated strategy, implementing it and not giving up when it seemed hard.

I went 100% in.

This blog I started with the intention of making money. I just had no idea how at the beginning then with my other sites and a new baby, I did not get time to start working on it until the end of last year. I am sure I could have got it to six figures earlier had I had the time to devote.

What you can learn?

You can have a profitable blog. This needs to be your focus and you need to work at it but it’s completely possible within a year.

You can copy my strategies by joining Build Blog Freedom. In here, I take you through step by step the strategies that work.

4. Quality content can get you far – as long as you really do offer value that no one else is

I am the first people to groan when people say it is all about quality content and you don’t have to market yourself.

But then I look at this blog and I really did zero marketing until March this year when I started my Facebook group.

I’ve never built a link either but have made it to DA40.

So why do I think it worked in my case?

Because I do offer value and advice in a way no one else is.

I was also patient. I started this blog just over 4 years ago so it didn’t happen overnight although financial success did happen as soon as I started working on it.

It seems sometimes it is (mostly) about quality content. I still wouldn’t recommend this as your sole strategy though!

And this is completely the opposite of what I did with my travel blog where I worked hard at SEO.

Read my advice about marketing plans here.

What you can learn?

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and come up with something original but it does help if you can find something that you can do better than anyone else. This is what has helped me on both my blogs.

5. It’s not about page views

This piece of advice is one I have been saying for years – but it was hard to get people to listen to me when I was on hundreds of thousands of page views with my first blog.

My average page views for this blog over the last 12 months? 12,107 per month. This means I have nearly made $1 per page view! Especially when I take out January when my income was only about $700.

So what is it about?

A targeted, quality audience that is engaged and has the right reader intent. This is the same whether you are selling your own products or making money from affiliates or advertising.

On this site, the reader intent is different to the reader intent I try to attract on my other sites. On those, it was about people in a buying mindset – ready to click on my affiliate links and buy.

On this site, I want to attract people who want financial success with blogging and niche sites.

I educate them on what they need for that success – and that naturally includes paid tools and the big assistance I can give them with one of my paid courses or my book.

What you can learn?

If your goal is to have financial success, stop chasing page views for the sake of it!

It’s in bold and italics as it’s the biggest mistake I see bloggers make.

Chasing page views is a never ending game that’s likely to leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed and like giving up.

Have a plan for how you will make money from your blog instead and chase the target audience who will make that happen.

I would much rather have 12,000 page views and a six figure income than 200,000 and a three figure one.

6. It’s about hard (and smart) work

This success did not happen accidentally. And it was definitely not luck.

I worked hard. There really is no escaping that.

Digital Nomad Wannabe has been my focus since I returned from maternity leave in October last year. The majority of my effort goes into it.

I initially saw working on this site and building products as a way to diversify my income so I wasn’t so dependent on SEO and Amazon.

However, I fell in love with it and it’s become pretty much my only focus.

This does not surprise me. I always thought I would teach online when I decided to build an online business. I love teaching and I always have. It’s the main reason why I focused on courses this year.

I decided I had earned my chance to work on what I really wanted to do in my business after growing my income levels to the point where we had plenty of money.

It’s been great to combine my passion for teaching with my passion for growing an online business and it does not surprise me that success has followed me following my passion.

It does feel like everything has aligned to help me do what I should be doing with my life which is why I had no hesitations (and not a single regret) about selling my other blog recently.

What you can learn?

Do you really want blogging success?

Do you want to spend time writing about your niche and helping others?

You need to be able to say yes to both of those questions before anything else as you need that drive to keep working hard on your blog so you reach the success you want.

Then it’s about finding a good strategy, implementing it and keeping working on improving it.

7. Mindset is so important

I had no idea about mindset when I first started being successful in blogging. Lucky for me, I had a very good mindset. Unlucky for me is that this came from being so miserable that I was driven to make huge changes.

When it came to building up this blog, I didn’t have being miserable as a driving force and I have had to work hard on my mindset – I work on it every day in fact.

I found it much easier to have faith in myself this time around with less doubts, but it didn’t make the doubts any less strong when they came around and it is still hard to keep working hard on building a new business with no guarantee.

You can read more about having a success mindset here.

What you can learn?

The biggest reason you are likely to fail is because you don’t believe you will succeed.

The only way to stay motivated, to keep working hard, to work smart is to believe that it will all work out and lead to the result that you want.

Don’t listen to your doubts when they say it’s not possible and definitely don’t listen to others when they say it is not possible. Believe in yourself.

Something I have found very helpful lately is the 30 Days to Money Mindfulness by Caz Makepeace of ytravelblog.

It’s really helping not just with my mindset, but uncovering the why behind my doubts and negative beliefs. It is a paid course but you can also do a free live training on it here.

It would be awesome to have you join me inside.

8. Having a good mentor is the path to speeding up success

One of the best things I did to help me reach success this time around was signing up for a mastermind group which is a combination of personal mentoring/coaching/mastermind group.

I love it.

It is great to have someone to ask every question to, to read through and give feedback on all our sales funnels, sales pages etc.

I did group courses which helped me get to where I wanted to be with my last blog and they worked fine, but with the level I’m at now, I wanted personalised help and this has been very beneficial.

What you can learn?

Don’t do it alone – get help!

A mastermind group like mine does cost the big bucks but there are plenty of more affordable options out there – like Build Blog Freedom, my blogging membership course.

This will help accelerate your success and I would love to help you build your own successful blog.

Click here to be notified when I open the doors to Build Blog Freedom again.

(Spoiler: I’m thinking about giving away access as a Christmas present! Watch out for an email about this)

9. Following my dreams is the best thing I have ever done

Well, apart from having my kids. However, the process of having kids was definitely much easier than the sheer determination it took to put my self-doubts and exhaustion away while I worked on making my blogs successful.

I am so proud of myself.

I just hope you don’t give in to the doubts in your head and walk away from blogging before ever giving it your all to make it work.

Success really is possible.

About the Author

Sharon Gourlay is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle.

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