Everyone wants to get fast results. I want you to get fast results. Your business isn't going to build itself though, so you'll have to put in some work to get the results you want.
In this post I want to break down 3 stages of blogging that I've been through and what I see as the most valuable way to focus your energy.
Table of Contents
Beginner: The Value Of Time
In the beginning, you know very little. Learning is part of the process. You not only have to learn by watching training videos, but you also have to learn by doing, and take action on your blog.
In my opinion, your time is most valuable in this stage. You need to spend time figuring out how everything works. You probably have a very small budget (if any), so you'll be doing all the work yourself. That's more time.
The time spent in this stage will provide you with the skills you need later in your blogging timeline. Even if you start outsourcing, and having other people do the work for you, you'll be able to better analyze the work and your ROI.
For example, as a beginner, could you really tell the difference between a quality article written for $0.05 per word and a quality article written for $0.08 per word? Can you distinguish the value from a $0.02 per word, 2000 word article and a $0.04 per word 3000 word article?
The answer is subjective, but you need an opinion on it in order to make educated business decisions.
I started out just with time goals. 1 hour doing training. 1 hour working on my blog. I couldn't envision what was “most efficient” for myself at the time, so I just focused on time spent doing stuff as a measurement.
I was in the stage of knowledge of “not knowing what I don't know”, so I solely focused the amount of time I was spending on my business because I didn't know if what I was learning and doing was actually useful. I was just walking around in the dark with my hands stretched out and hoping that I'd end up finding something cool.
Intermediate: The Value Of Volume
Once you start getting the hang of things, you need to turn up the heat and get to work. Get your foot on the gas and keep it on as long as possible. When you start seeing results, double down. Then double down again.
There will be many mistakes made, but there will also be many successes along the way. Cut the crap and save what works. Do it again and again.
A high volume of content means more chances to rank. More chances means more data. More data means better decisions. I consider myself like a blogging cyborg, part human, part machine. I'm generating data by blogging, feeding my Google Analytics, then interpreting that data and taking action on it.
With just 10 blog posts, I don't have much data to take action on. Maybe I got lucky with that one post. With 100 posts I can start to see patterns, and modify my strategy to do more of what works and less of what doesn't.
By this time, you may also have a budget. Whether that budget be due to income generated from affiliate sales or just a bigger confidence in your business venture, you can also start to leverage outsourcing tools like UpWork to hire people. You can write 5 articles per week with your busy schedule, but with a couple of writers you could be publishing 10-15.
Advanced: The Value Of Quality
While volume of content worked for a long time (about 8 years for me), there does seem to be an upper limit of how effective this can be without a strategic plan in place. There's only so many things to talk about in a specific niche without getting hyper-specific (very expensive to outsource and usually low traffic results), or going too broad (cheap to outsource, but may be less relevant to your affiliate offers). That spells negative ROI for your efforts.
Over the years I've wasted quite a bit of money with both of these strategies. I deleted hundreds of articles from my blogs in recent years because I went back and checked on them, discovering that I published a lot of garbage.
Sometimes that garbage was due to me assigning dumb keywords to good writers. Sometimes it was due to me not providing enough clear instructions to writers. Sometimes it was just due to me being busy and not checking their work, only to discover that a huge mistake was repeated over and over again for many months.
From all those wasted articles I learned that high volume publishing activity has a limit, and eventually, you need to scale back a bit and focus on quality. Once you have that data mentioned in the previous section, you need to take strategic action. Move your chess pieces less often, but make big moves when you do.
The new focus on quality is twofold. One, anything new you create at this point should be evergreen, or have a distinct plan for updating in the future. Two, any old articles worth saving should be updated to either be evergreen, or have a plan for consistent updating. Everything on your website should have a purpose. If it doesn't it can be cut out. Otherwise, what's that point of having it there?
What stage of blogging are you in? Are you putting in the time, or the money to see your blog & business succeed?
Looking back, I think the biggest contributor to my success in this space was the willingness to take risks.
In the beginning, I was willing to risk my time to do the training and build a website even though I had no idea if it would work out in my favor. Later on, I was willing to risk my income from the blog to scale up my business, even though the ROI on those expenditures could end up being zero.
Lately, I find myself sacrificing time again. I'm thinking more deeply. I'm giving quality brain energy to consider what my business will look like in 10 years, and how I can properly execute today, to see those results tomorrow.
Just speaking about this website in particular, that's why in 2021 I've started to do a lot more motivational and brand-building content here on One More Cup of Coffee.
These are not keyword-focused terms. These will not bring in a lot of traffic. However, I think long term I'd like to have a website which tackles all aspects of building a successful affiliate blog, beyond just the “how to” part. You can find that anywhere. You know what you can't just find anywhere? Awesome insight from my brain after 10 years or blogging 😉
Will it work out? Who knows. That's all in the risk. So far taking risks hasn't disappointed me in the long term, and I think I'm ready to grow beyond a basic “How To Make Money” blog.