The Blogging Trap

Blogging can be an incredible platform to build a business around. Blogging is a perfect way to become recognized as an expert in your field.

But blogging can also become a trap that keeps you from your real goals.

Let me explain.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you start blogging with hopes of building a business around your blog. You decide to blog for a while and “see where it takes you.” The months go by and you become more and more occupied by climbing in the Alexa ranks, gaining subscribers and getting your posts tweeted and commented on.

After some months (maybe years), you start to lose sight of your original intent. Did you start blogging for it’s own sake, or did you start blogging to accomplish another goal?

What was that goal again anyway?

Maybe you still have sight of a goal, but it seems harder and harder to accomplish as your blogging responsibilities and workload pile on.

You really want to release that first e-book or course or service offering, but you never seem to find the time. You have blog posts to write, emails to respond to and social networks to keep up with.

Or, maybe you’re just never quite ready. Your audience isn’t big enough. The perfect product idea never presents itself. You just can’t decide what kind of offering to work on first. You’ve dabbled in affiliate marketing or advertising but haven’t sold much.

If you did create a product, you’re not sure you could sell many copies (if any at all).

The Blogging Trap

You know deep down that blogging is a powerful platform and marketing tool. You’ve heard the success stories. You’ve listened to the experts.

But for some reason the pieces aren’t coming together.

You can’t seem to get enough traction to turn your blog into a business.

Blogging starts as a way to achieve your goal. It’s supposed to be a stepping stone. But blogging itself proves to be much more difficult than you thought.

Instead of earning revenue you’re stuck chasing that elusive “viral” blog post that will open doors and create a breakthrough.

But that magic post never comes.

And you’re left frustrated, wondering if this whole blogging thing is worth it.

On top of that, it’s also incredibly easy to talk yourself out of ever creating your first product because the time isn’t right, the opportunity isn’t perfect and your idea just doesn’t seem like a home run.

The difficulty of blogging and the uncertainty of creating your first product are a powerful one-two punch. A potentially deadly combination.

This is the blogging trap.

I’ve seen countless bloggers fall into it.

What’s the Solution?

Well, instead of blogging first, you could have created a product and then started blogging. And if you have a blog now, you could scrap the blog to focus on your first product.

But if you’ve read the Lean Startup, you know that the biggest risk an entrepreneur faces is the risk of creating something nobody will want.

As an entrepreneur you have to minimize this risk. You want to be as certain as possible that your product will have buyers before you create it.

Having a blog doesn’t guarantee people will be interested in your product or service, but it definitely brings you closer to potential customers. Knowing your customers well is a critical element of success. Being able to communicate with them on a regular basis is a head start. It’s vital insider information.

A blog also gives you the platform from which to tell the world about your product when it’s ready. Having an audience before you launch a product can be a magical thing. Most entrepreneurs have a hard time finding that elusive initial audience.

Bloggers start with the audience. It’s a clever strategy. An unfair advantage.

Brian Clark of CopyBlogger calls this the Minimum Viable Audience:

We started first by building an audience, and that’s how we found our scalable business model and became a “real” company.

Serving that audience with valuable free content revealed loads of useful insight into the problems and desires not currently met in the broader market.

Enough, in fact, for us to make our MVPs [minimum viable products] more “viable” from the start than we would have been able to otherwise. This led to better initial sales momentum, higher customer satisfaction, and ultimately more profit.

Using this process, we’ve developed six distinct lines of business (so far), and have never created a product that’s failed. This is why I advocate you start first with a minimum viable audience.

That’s the model we’ve used at Think Traffic, with similar results. We’ve never created a product that wasn’t worth the effort for us financially.

But you already know about the benefits of building an audience.

That’s why you started blogging. The trouble is, how do you get over the hump? How do you create your first product and know that your audience will embrace it?

How do you know when the time and opportunity is right?

Here’s the Pep Talk You Knew Was Coming…

I’m not going to sugar coat this.

You are going to have to make some tough decisions and take some serious action to get out of the blogging trap.

If you don’t make the right decisions and take strong action, the blogging trap could take you down for good.

Start by asking yourself the following question:

Is your blog big enough right now to launch a successful product or service?

How do you know if your blog is big enough?

Listen again to what Brian Clark has to say about it:

You have a MVA [minimum viable audience] when:

  1. You’re receiving enough feedback from comments, emails, social networks, and social media news sites in order to adapt and evolve your content to better serve the audience.

  2. You’re growing your audience organically thanks to social media sharing by existing audience members and earned media; and
  3. You’re gaining enough insight into what the audience needs to solve their problems or satisfy their desires beyond the free education you’re providing.

If you get enough feedback to adapt your content to better serve your audience, if you’re growing your audience organically and if you’re gaining insight into what your audience needs beyond the free education you’re providing, you have a minimum viable audience.

If you have a minimum viable audience, you have no excuse. By not creating a product or service now, you’re simply playing head games or avoiding the work in front of you.

Let me say that again.

If your audience is growing, giving you feedback and you have an idea of what you could provide to solve their problems beyond your free blog posts, there is no excuse for not creating your first product right now.

Stop giving in to the distractions. Get back to the original goal that prompted you to create a blog in the first place.

Take the next step.

If Your Audience Doesn’t Meet the Criteria Above

Now, if your audience doesn’t meet the 3-part minimum viable audience criteria above, you’re going to have to do some soul-searching.

Ask yourself the following question if you don’t have an MVA just yet:

Will your current blog ever attract a minimum viable audience, or are you wasting time on something that just doesn’t have the right formula?

If your blog is growing, your content is being shared, you’re attracting subscribers and commenters and getting links from other blogs, it might just be a matter of giving it time to develop.

If you’re at a stand-still and have been working for months to find your breakthrough, it’s time to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.

You might want to check out our How to Start a Blog that Matters course if you’d like a step-by-step action plan to follow.

Now Over to You

Tell us your blogging trap story.

How long have you been blogging? Have you been caught in the blogging trap? Why? Have you tried to get out of it? What is keeping you from launching your first product?

Please share in the comments below.

If you have a success story about getting out of the blogging trap, please share below. We’d love to hear your story.

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  • John Lee Dumas

    Thank you. We all start with a goal, and whether we meet that goal or not is dependent on our ability to block out the white noise that surrounds us daily. I love the acronym F.O.C.U.S. Follow one course until success. Unless you need to pivot that is :-)

    Chat soon!

    • Corbett Barr

      Nice acronym :) Whether you need to pivot – that’s the tough question.

  • Joel Clough

    Going in with an idea of what it actually is that you want to develop and sell is better than having nothing at all.

    I’ve been working on pre-launch content for Impart Value, so haven’t been blogging for that long really. It’s great to have this insight though; definitely worth setting aside time to lay out the framework of your initial, entry-level product before launching your blog.

    Credibility, fear of the unknown and putting yourself out there. Those would be the major restraints from launching your first product. I guess those are also similar when working up to your blog launch deadline; my countdown timer gets scarier by the day!

    Great post :)

    • Corbett Barr

      Hey Joel, thanks for bringing up some of the specific psychological hurdles. I called them “head games” above, but your list of three is a good start to breaking them down.

  • Mustafa Khundmiri

    Nice post Corbett!

    I think the easiest way to avoid the blogging trap is to have a solid strategy. Bloggers need to think ‘business’ from day one. No matter how much traction you gain in the market, eventually what matters is how your blog is helping you do business. How far it’s helping you convert your readers into customers.

    Even though my blog is new, I know exactly where I’m going. And I know how I’m going to turn it profitable when the time comes. Of course, there are many uncertainties. But the key to effectively leveraging your blog is to face every uncertainty that comes your way.

    In the end, your blog will remain a hobby if you don’t focus on doing whatever it takes to bring in the profits. Because a hobby does not pay bills. A business does.

    • Corbett Barr

      Definitely Mustafa, having a strategy can go a long way. It doesn’t guarantee success, but knowing where you want to take your blog from day one is probably better than winging it.

  • Alexandre B

    Hi Corbett,
    Lots of bloggers are trapped, I was too. I think I escaped from this when I decided not to follow my usual publishing rate. My obsession was to produce content, but it was only content. Now I publish twice less but it’s epic shit and I’ve more time to developp other projects (like my first product). I just needed to refocus on what I really want.

    I’ve also more free time to spend with friends and familly. It’s also why lots of people starts blogging in the first place :)


    • Corbett Barr

      Congrats on getting out of the trap Alexandre. Keeping a publishing schedule can certainly be one of those false goals that keeps you from what you need to be doing.

    • Natalie Sisson

      I agree. Great move Alex. That’s a hard thing to step back from at times and actually do. Congrats on taking that leap and seeing the results.

      Great post Corbett. I’ve done a lot of thinking around this as I’ve built my blog too.

      My problem now is which product to produce first given all the feedback and comments I get!

  • jared akers

    I don’t necessarily agree with some of this. It seems to suggest that you need an audience first to produce anything of value. Or that you need “enough feedback to adapt your content to better serve your audience.” Looking back, if I waited for enough feedback I would have never began that first product (which for me was a book). I had experienced something in my life, overcome it, and felt compelled to share my story. I wrote first, not because I wanted to build a business necessarily, but because I couldn’t “not” do it.

    And yes, I eventually felt the one-two punch for those years I was blogging while dreaming of writing a book. It’s human nature, after putting in hours and hours of your time and effort, to eventually ask, “what’s in this for me?” Which, consequently, is the exact perspective I take when creating anything; does it answer the question for readers/subscribers/clients, “what’s in it for me?”

    Although I don’t refer to my site as a blog or a community, it’s an outlet to reach people, showcase my personality and writing, and get people into my email stream through organic search and a home base for my personal brand. That’s not knocking bloggers or the term at all, I’m just not into a rigid posting schedule and sharing every little idea I have.

    Certainly the comments and personal connections with readers are gratifying, but in order to really reach people and make a difference I felt I needed to work more on my book and personal brand than really blogging. Which meant all sorts of things; social media, guest posting, podcasting, etc. Sure my website is a place to get my message out, but more importantly it’s about building organic traffic and getting them into my email stream more so than building an online community there. That’s just the nature of my niche though, not a lot of commenting goes on within my site. It’s more all very personal one-on-one communication with people through my list.

    I even had someone who’s been around product launches and successful in the same niche recommend I turn off comments on my site all together; to take the approach that I’m an author, not a blogger. I tried that for a while but it didn’t feel right at the time so I turned them back on. I don’t get a lot anyway, so it’s no big deal.

    I will say that along the way, after starting my site many years ago, many readers suggested I write a book; so I knew I was on to something. But since I’ve self-published a book this year, I can now get the direct feedback to adapt the content to better serve them. For example with different types of products such as short audio programs.

    It’s just simply a lot of hard work, persistence, patience, passion, and for me it’s really about being of service. It’s one of the few things in my life (besides marrying my wife) that I know without a shadow of a doubt I’m supposed to be doing.

    • Corbett Barr

      Hey Jared, thanks for the long thoughtful comment. Of course you don’t have to have an audience before you reach a product. Plenty of companies create products first, then seek an audience. I’m just suggesting that you can reduce the risk of producing something that fails if you grow, nurture and listen to your audience first.

      If you or anyone else releases a product before having an audience, good for you. If it succeeds, even better. But you have to admit there is more risk if the audience isn’t there first. Maybe that’s a risk worth living with. That’s certainly up for debate, and I tried to uncover some of those issues in this article.

    • jared akers

      That is certainly true. That it’s far more risky (if not stupid in many cases) to release a product before there’s an audience/market. I think my point was probably more that trying to find the right product or listening too long would have just added to my procrastination.

      Maybe a more eloquent perspective would be to find that convergence of scratching your own itch and identifying a market.

    • Lauryn Doll

      “I’m just not into a rigid posting schedule and sharing every little idea I have.”

      — This is part of the Blogging Trap so many of us get suckered into. We’re following all the metrics and getting carried away by the Blogtastic Hype Machine. “Reveal your personality! Conceal your personality! Create a personality! Make yourself loveable! Get a million comments! Purchase comments from Fiverr! Respond to everyone on Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest…”

      After a while, it’s all just too much and you’re stuck looking at your results – the ones which directly tie to your main objectives, why you created a site to communicate your message in the first place, and you see that you’ve largely missed the mark. You have all these friends… and e-homies, but “for why”?

      E-Friends may like you but they don’t guarantee sales. Being an authority is nice, but if you’re too friendly and personable, you’re going to end up losing your sales edge and remembering how to sell… especially if you “hate” selling to your friends.

      Admittedly, this is not directly responsive to your thoughtful comment but this is where things led me.

  • Kim

    I’m not in the “trap” necessarily, but that’s because I haven’t started yet. I’m still in the planning and setup phase, and I’m writing my first workbook. While I will be blogging, I don’t necessarily want it to be the main focus of my site. I want to focus more on having some really great content (I’d rather have less that’s better, than more that’s crap), writing guest posts, and promoting my book (once it’s finished). I want to make sure that I never get into that trap of blogging and blogging and getting nothing out of it.

    Great post!

    • Corbett Barr

      Hey Kim, that’s a great strategy. Focus on quality of content, publishing other content off site (guest posts), and working on your book at the same time. Let us know how it goes for you.

  • Tom

    Great post Corbett!

    The idea of a minimum viable audience is a nice (and necessary) addendum to the Lean Startup methodologies. Ries lays out a his framework assuming there exists a group of early adopters that you already have access to. Getting access to that audience is just as important.

  • Christy

    I agree with Alexandre. I stopped worrying about how many posts I got out in a week. Now I post less, but I feel good about the quality of each one. It’s been great spending more time with friends, family and doing other things that we love.

    Actually pursuing another project that was only somewhat related to our blog is what started this trend of caring less about numbers and subscribers. We didn’t have the time anymore, so the new project actually forced us to get out of our blogging trap. Funny how that works. The best part is that our blog numbers and income didn’t suffer. They got better!

  • Moses

    Corbett this is one of the better post you have written. Well maybe not that good because there’s so much awesome content on ThinkTraffic, but among the most important ones for sure.

    You pinpointed the exact problems with bloging nowdays.
    nowdays, the days of absolutely great content all around – who ever thought this would referred as a bad thing?
    So much good content everywhere so that it won’t be enough anymore, it’s just a prerequisite.

    Someone really should have said all that. The blogosphere may seem like heaven, but it really has some high obstacles.

    And for me, this post was just about time. I’m currently taking first steps into my bloging career, still on the planing level, and I’m facing these thoughts at this very moment.

    Thanks Corbett, this post will surely help me getting things done – the right way.

  • Gabe Johansson

    See I’m definitely not in the trap as my blog is just a tool to build my subscriber list. That and I just recently wrapped up my first month of this blog.

    I’ve built blogs before and there is a breakthrough point just by having the blog around long enough. After I had my last one for about a year, it was stupidly easy to rank in Google without any link building which was huge back then.

    I think my only slight problem with this blog is my domain name which is my name dot com. I feel like I could have chosen a better domain name that shows the message of my blog more clearly. Mine could be about anything.

    The main point I have here is that my blog is not my business, but I run a business and happen to have a blog as a medium to build it.

    At the same time, I definitely understand the feeling of “is this worth it?” since I have other ways to build a business that are easier, but much more expensive.

    Thanks a bunch,

  • Michael Chibuzor

    I got your point Corbett. But I don’t think I’m into any form of blogging trap. When I started my blog, what I had in mind was to build a business around it. And I succeeded. Because I offer my writing services through my blog and it’s worth it.

    Blogging trap however is a serious plight. I run two blogs. One in the make money online niche and the other a content marketing blog. I don’t know how to profit from the “make money online” blog, since people don’t trust those sales pages any longer. I’d get back and start updating the blog, but maybe early October 2012. Any suggestion?

    • Caleb Wojcik

      I think the best way is to go with a “soft sell” approach. Start by offering as much content and information for free as possible and build up the trust before the sale.

  • Niveen Khalifa

    Thanks Corbett for the post. I’m still new to blogging. I’m in the process of building my blog now. I personally know what my blog purpose is and what my product(s) is/are that will leverage my time blogging. However, my real concern is building the audience itself! Think Traffic? :) As much as content is valuable in blogging but having no audience to read, subscribe and opt in simply equals no business! I’m reading, learning and educating myself before I go live….soon! I’m a daily reader to your blog :) Thanks again.

  • Alex B. @DreamJobGuy


    Great post, as always my friend!

    I’m a student of your “How to start a blog that matters” from when you first launched the program, and I’m proud to say that I’m nearing the launch of my new blog! Your course helped me tremendously, and I look forward to impacting the lives of others, through my blog!

    I wouldn’t say that I’ve entered the blogging trap just yet (of course I haven’t even launched yet), but what I’m most excited about is how I’ve went about getting to the point I am today, with my blog. I decided to network with others in the field, “rub elbows” with some of the best, get myself out there, in hopes that it will create a more successful blog launch.

    I have a hungry audience, I’m vowing to delivering them epic content and enrich their lives, while injecting “me” in everything I provide them.. After all, what sets you apart from others, is you! :-)

    Thanks again Corbett for all that you do for your community, and thanks again for providing such an epic service through your “how to start a blog that matters” program! I’ve enjoyed the journey as your student, and I can’t wait to launch!

    All the best,

    • Corbett Barr

      Thanks for the kind words Alex, I’m happy to hear the course has been a big help. Please let us know how the new site turns out.

  • Jeanette Bolvary

    Hi Corbett,
    Yes I’m a trap victim :)
    Burnt out after a year or so, then took almost two years off. Came back refreshed and now take time to relax, stand back, observe and plan. When my head gets busy, I ….stop, relax, stand back….. :D it’s how I survive

  • Ayaz

    Hi Corbett!

    Well for me blogging doesn’t effect your main goal if you sort a plan before started blogging with where you want to go with the blogging and infact if you seriously do that than you will be able to introduce product through your blog.

    Its all about doing the things with proper strategy and managed them, at start its seems to difficult but gradually you learn the trade. :-)

  • Scott Dudley

    Hi Corbett,

    I think a lot of people are in this trap of just blogging for the sake of blogging. The question has to be answered whether what you are doing is a business, or just a hobby. A blog on its own does not make you any money – there has to be some sort of relevant business attached to in at the back end.

    I’m still in the phase of trying to build an audience, and I’m finding that difficult enough as it is without thinking about creating products. But I agree with you that at some point you have to say enough is enough and start taking action to monetize what you are doing.

  • Benjamin

    Here’s my story:

    I’m 11 months in and I’m just coming out of this DILEMMA.

    At 8 months I’d hit 1200 subscribers and was growing nicely. If I’d been more consistent (and not living it up as much), I’d probably have had many more.

    I was creating videos mostly about travel & adventure, but I had two big concerns:

    1. I’d realized that I’m not interested in Travel Tips. I was more interested in the best way to live and how travel plays a role in that.

    2. I didn’t want to make a book of travel tips, because it didn’t seem like the money made would be worth the time. And I just wasn’t interested in it.

    I thought, I soul-searching, I read, I drank, I smoked, I laid awake all night, and I meditated about what to do.

    Then, I created a survey and found a sector of my audience that was really shy and wanted to learn to talk to people while traveling. I knew their pains, because I used to be shy and had a compelling story around that and a video with almost a 1,000 people in it. So I figured I would create a coaching program (less time than a creating a course) to see if there was interest and if people would pay. I could also charge more money than a travel tip e-book, so it would be worth it financially.

    I’m rolling my coaching program out soon to test this idea, which ended up taking longer than I expected, because I turned my Free Report into an 83-page Guide to get people to sign up (I love the guide though and it is already rockin’ socks).

    I’m concerned I’m alienating some people on my list with the content based around Socializing and Confidence though. I’m also concerned no one is going to buy the coaching services, which will be priced modestly high.

    If there is interest though, I will create a video course with all the info I have about Shyness and that SHOULDN’T take too long. :)

    I do know that creating this has already POPPED THE SEAL, if you will. It felt like I was hacking through a jungle over the past few months, but I can see the light now. Even if the coaching BOMBS, I know I can Redirect and completely rock my next product.

    I don’t think it will bomb though.

    Hope this story helps!

    • Corbett Barr

      Hey Benjamin, thanks for sharing your story, I hope it’s helpful to others reading these comments. Congrats on making some headway. No matter what happens with this launch, I think it’s a step in the right direction for you. Please let us know how the launch goes.

  • Ricardo Caicedo

    Hi Corbett
    As always your posts are motivational and actionable. I just started blogging recently so the traffic is minimal. Yesterday was my biggest day, 15 visitors.
    I chose the “Japanese green tea” niche to avoid the competition in the “tea” and “green tea” niches. Sometimes I worry that perhaps I’m over specializing. What do you think?

    • Corbett Barr

      Congrats on the 15 visitors Ricardo. Treat them like gold.

      I’m a Japanese green tea drinker, so the niche sounds great to me :) It seems like a big enough topic to me, but you’ll have to go deep with the content and cover all your bases since SEO will probably be an important part of your traffic strategy.

  • Halina Goldstein

    Hi Corbett and thanks for another great post!

    I have found myself in a double blog trap. Part of it is that blogging took all my available time (with no time to write the e-books and the book that the blog is meant to build a platform for). And the other part that I found myself being so obsessed with writing valuable posts that I lost some of the spontaneity that is so important both for my blog and my topic (flow and joy).

    Anyhow, recently I decided to take a bit of a break from the blog and to spend more time writing. Including an e-book that I expect will add traffic to the blog too. Meanwhile, I still wanted to stay in touch with my subscribers and I found a real great solution for that using a new video player. With that I can embed other people’s videos, add some observations of my own and create content that is valuable and takes very little time to produce. You can see examples of that in my recent posts (and by the way this has tripled my conversion with regards to subscriptions to my email list!)

    So my present plan is to create an epic post from time to time and when launching e-books and other products and offer more inspirational stay-in-touch content in between.

  • Jkosuggests

    This is great insight, as always. I think many blogs are started simply for the wrong reason. One shouldnt create a blog simply for profit. You need to be able to provide added value to the Internet. There is so much information online – make sure Content is always fresh and new

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  • Dan Norris

    Great post, I think this is tough because often there are a few benefits of blogging. Yes making money is important but so are other things i.e.

    1. Building your own personal authority
    2. Creating a body of work
    3. Longtail SEO traffic to monetise in other ways
    4. Having a personal outlet
    5. Learning (this is one of the biggest benefits for me, forcing myself to study up on things to write about)
    6. Relationships built with other bloggers

    I agree the end game should be to make money but it’s kind of hard to know when that will happen, even if you don’t have a huge audience you might still be moving in the right direction.

  • Kyle Proctor

    Great thoughts. I have been trying to keep an open mind and just go for it. There is no perfect plan there just seems to be those who do and those who dream. It may not work out perfect or even great but you will never know until you try.

    Some planning and preparation is required but you will never know until you take the leap. so here we go!

    Thanks for some additional inspiration.

  • Ralph@Retirement Lifestyle

    There is more than one way to be trapped. I’ve done the one post per day schedule without significant success. I’ve pivoted a few times. I’ve upped my technical ability. But I never really had a plan that was more than wishes. I think I have that fixed now but I keep getting distracted with shiny objects that seem to promise quicker results and I dart off from time to time with the vain hope that this bit of knowledge or that technical application will get me going faster. I know that once in a blue moon one of these shiny objects might actually be what I need but mostly they just slow me down.
    What I lack is the experience to tell me what might be important and what is not. I do learn as I go but time is flying.

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  • Carmelo

    Getting your objectives straight and keeping them foremost in your mind seems quite important. I’m just starting out … blog is just now up and filling it with content. Now to fill it with visitors.

    My strategy is to adjust as I go. Sure, I’ll keep my main objective of building an author’s platform and helping my audience but exactly what they need and how I deliver will be fine tuned by the feedback that I’ll eventually get.

    Thanks for the posts and I’m glad i found your blog!


  • Darlene

    My issue is two fold. #1 I’m torn on too many directions. I work part-time (two days a week), I teach photography (twice a month or so), I do tutoring, I do photo editing (touch ups)!for other photographers. All those I do just to pay the bills. The tutoring I want to do more of at $70+/hr.

    After that I’m doing guest posts on another site which has 5 million viewers and getting huge traffic. And my own posts – shooting for once a week.

    So time is an issue and sometimes I just wanna sit and do nothing which is rare to happen.

    #2 is I think I’m getting closer with audience (800 on list now) and growing so feel confident I’m on to something. But I don’t know what to create as a product. Or how to implement it.

    I find your site in my top 3 of sites I read all the time, religiously in fact! Keep doing what you do I love your articlesm

  • RJ Cid

    WOW – I JUST GOT OVER THIS! I literally hit a rough patch with my blog – because I fell out of love with the niche and I been looking to transition into a new career. Anywho, I had created this idea for a product to teach others what I knew and I never put it out there, even after TONS of requests…

    I finally nailed myself to a chair, wrote out everything it needed, did it, used fiverr and elance for some graphics and editing and BOOM there you go – Created first ebook for $30 and sold 4 in first 10 days. No promo no marketing either, just added it.

    I am still uncertain how to create good auto responder for email and how to automate my blogging more, backlinks etc.. but i feel like i conquered a GIANT with my first product and sale.

    I am more confident than ever that I can actually MAKE MONEY ONLINE! that feeling is better than anything ive felt in a while. Seriously, like a new life.

    Thanks for a great post!

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  • Wade

    The blogging trap that I fell into was that of forgetting about my readers. I was too pre-occupied with getting Google to notice me that I was writing blog posts that had over stuffed keywords, affiliate links, and advertising. My trap was that I was focused on making money and not helping the reader!

  • Philippe

    I’ve been developping a product and I don’t really have a following yet. I just felt like it. And now, I don’t feel like blogging. It’s been 3 weeks since my last blog post. I just felt unsure about my blog and the original theme I set up. Something is off and I’m just not quite sure what.
    I’m not sure if it’s in the way I set everything up, or if it’s with me doubting myself. Well, I can tell that there is definitely some self-doubt but it has not stopped me before. I could just “force” myself to write something, but I want to really take time to ponder the question.

    Anyway, I’m going to figure it all out. And everything is not lost, I’m developping a product that I think is valuable, original and innovative. I’m not developping it with anyone in mind, but myself. But I really want to do it, regardless of the outcome. My stuff is too good to remain in my head. It’s just the way I feel. I have planned to take some people on for testing, and making sure everything is clear, and getting suggestions, etc. But beyond that, I’m really following my own guidance.

    I’m definitely looking forward to resume my blogging, as I really like to write and express myself on paper (although I do find it somewhat difficult).

  • Linda

    Good afternoon, Mr Barr.

    This is my first visit to your site, having followed a link from the wonderful Mr Iny’s round up of what he considered the week’s useful posts. I’m glad I came!

    My starting point for blogging was a need to market my holiday chalet. I’m not a marketer or writer by trade, but do love to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, as the case may be!). Whilst I knew quite clearly from the outset what my ‘product’ / services would be (the chalet and holidays therein) and what I hoped to achieve, I must admit to having ‘strayed’ from the narrowly defined path very early on.

    I have adopted a strict posting policy – self-author, 3 times weekly on set days. So I write daily and post whenever the bug bites, though never more than once per day. My readership remain very small, but those who come appear to spend a while having a ‘look around’ and the regulars are gradually growing in number. Best of all the blog is doing its job – putting bums in beds, though perhaps still not as many as I would like!

    But better still, are the offshoots from this blogging business. It’s spawned a whole new set of friends; a new business venture helping others build and blog for their own businesses; and a sponsored series of travel guides in the writing as we speak.

    However, I have to be honest and say that I don’t think much (if any) of this would have been achieved without the help of a marketing mentor supplemented by advice from people such as Mr Brogan, Mr Iny and Mr Sheridan through their excellent websites. I am now adding you to my list of helpful people.

    I would strongly recommend anyone who is struggling to invest not only their time, but their hard cash resources too in securing the services of a marketing mentor. There is only so far one can go alone and professional help is invaluable in terms of taking the blog and the ‘products’ to the next level.

    Kind regards,


    Corbett, i think building an audience is the first thing that can help in transform ones blog and make us generate traffic. everything you plan to do on your blog all depend on the traffic you are generating daily. other can take care of itself if your traffic is really encouraging. thanks for sharing

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  • Pat

    Hi. I’ve been a blogger since 2005 (admittedly, relatively inactive in recent years), but it has always been personal blogging. Not blogging that matters. Sure, my personal blogging was perhaps inspiring to some since it allowed them over the years to bear witness to my growing strengths and emerging triumphs: cancer survivor, victim-to-victor in an emotionally and mentally abusive marriage, thriving (not merely surviving) as single working mom, recovery from the financial disaster handed to me by my Ex, controversial leader, “silo-smasher”, and change-advocate at my corporate day job, etc. So yes, I do have a following (also on FB and on LinkedIn) – but I have no clue how to turn any of that into a saleable product or service. And now, I am soon to become a statistic of corporate age-sizing (“age” as in no employees eligible for retirement or social security left behind! No, they can’t say that, but I can. And it’s true.), and so I need to figure things out on an accelerated scale, not to mention that I’ve grown 100% allergic to the skilled trade (Executive Assistant) that has supported my family and me for the past 35+ years, other than to perhaps do so independently (do not want to work for the “man” in that profession ever again – talk about emotional and mental abuse!) So my current roadblock is the very question everyone has been asking me: “OMG – what are you (am I) going to DO (or sell)?” : D (Thanks for the luxury of the rather personal rant here – I have to admit it felt good. You can delete this comment if you like – no hard feelings).

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Which Comes First: Audience or Product?

In my first couple of startups, I built things in the traditional order: product first, then audience. With Think Traffic, I started blogging first, then figured out which products and services to deliver to the audience that gathered here.

The Sparkline — a blog for independent creatives and entrepreneurs building matterful things.

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