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What comes first? Traffic or monetization?

Lesson 3 Module 1

​Back in the old days, you really could just blog your way to traffic. Things were different. You could create some halfway decent content, get indexed, and you were off.

But today it is totally different. That old game doesn't work very well any more, yet most bloggers are still trying to head down that road.​ 91 percent of all websites get no traffic from Google and even if yours does, it probably took ​a ​while to get there.

​There are over 2 million blog posts published every single day. In other words, when you hit your WordPress "publish" button, you're one of 1,999,999 other people doing the exact same thing.

There is a blog for every 7 person on Earth, it's impossible to place them all on page 1. New blogs need to prove themselves first.

​Traffic (and blog income) will most definitely seem really hard to get if you're stuck completely in the model of:

  1. Blog, publish and share.
  2. Cross your fingers and hope Google notices.
  3. Rinse and repeat.

That model doesn't work so well anymore as it used to.

Now, don't get me wrong, it still happens if you do it correctly. I'm not ​telling you that publishing blog posts ​regularly is going to be a total waste of time. In fact ​it is an effective​ strategy to do a content blast and post 100 articles in 30 days, but will you be able to write 3 long-form blog posts per day for 30 days? ​If you do, how much time will that leave you for everything else, like building links, creating your own products, spending time with family, sleeping, etc?) 

What I AM telling you is that, for most of us, this cycle ends up smashing into a wall of reality. And that reality is that it is HARD. Also quite unpredictable. Actually, it is far more accurate to predict that most bloggers trying to do this from scratch won't make it at all. You will pretty soon burn out...

The overall caliber of blog content today has risen substantially. There are a lot of people creating some pretty awesome stuff. Plus, Google tends to provide most ​traffic to the big authority sites.

So, when you combine the amount of authority sites (often with multiple staff and high budgets behind it) with the sheer amount of really great content out there, how are you going to come in there and get noticed?

This means we have to do things differently. The internet has matured... and that means the way we start blogs and blog-based businesses has to mature, too. It's time to grow up. 🙂

Three Methods of Getting Traffic

​Let's say you want to cook beans today. How do you get the beans?

​1. You can go out to your garden and pick them from the plants you planted months ago. (This is the rough equivalent of SEO.)

2. ​You can go to the store and buy it. (Paid ​traffic.)

Google and Facebook together control about 80% of the referral traffic for the whole internet. Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest... the way they primarily make their money is by selling traffic.

The very traffic that you want... they've got tons of it. And they're selling it, every day, every hour, every minute, every second. It's what they do. 

I know... I know... This costs money. And you don't need to go that way. 

​But... if your site is set up to make back the money that you spend on traffic, then it isn't really costing you a dime, is it? It means you can grow your audience reliably, predictably and maybe even profitably. 

3. You can go over to your neighbor that ​has an extra pack of beans and give something in exchange. (Networking with other bloggers.)

The Big Lie About Blogging

Now tell me if you've heard this one before...

"In order to make money with your blog, you first need to build up a lot of traffic."

​"Don't worry about monetizing your blog until you have decent traffic, which may take more than a year."

You have heard various "blogging gurus" talk about it. And surely, it seems like a ​chicken and egg scenario, doesn't it?

And based on this advice, most people will launch straight into ​publishing blog posts.

They'll try to figure out their niche and ​start cranking out blog content.

And sharing.

And blogging.

And sharing.

And blogging.

That one keeps on going rather endlessly, though, because it isn't really clear what else you can do. You NEED that traffic in order to monetize, right? And the only way to get the traffic you need is to blog even more. To satisfy Google. To get noticed.

You know what?

I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to be doing with my "free time" ​is sitting ​in front of my laptop blogging until my fingers fall off... for the next two years... and ​we don't even know if it will amount to anything.

But, what if I told you that traffic does NOT have to precede monetization?

That you DON'T have to blog your face off ​building up your traffic to 30,000 page views ​before you have a shot of any monetization?

​Because... yes... that's exactly what I'm telling you.

Monetization comes before traffic.

To prove this... here is the screenshot I just took of the traffic of FunnelXpert:

FunnelXpert Traffic 2-16-2019

​Less than 2,500 page views per month (​and I can't even say that it's increasing, because it's really flat).

And here is the screenshot of my affiliate account:

Thrive affiliate commission

The commissions are paid with a 30-day delay, therefore the February 2019 payment was earned in December 2018. My sales have increased in January 2019:

Pending commissions

All the commissions you see on the above screenshots have been generated by one single blog post that started out with 20 page views per month and is now getting 800 page views, as of February 2019.

Conclusion: ​If you're at the ​beginning of your online business development or you started ​already but not getting anywhere, you should NOT be spending your time trying to blog your way to traffic. Not like all the bloggers do.

Change Your Mindset On Blogging

I know this ​takes a mindset shift. But, I'm telling you... once you've got this going and see how it can work for you, you'll never want to do it another way. It becomes so much EASIER.

And no, I am not telling you to jump in and start wasting your money on paid traffic without knowing how to do it... Things would begin to feel ​very ​scary once money is involved.

There are still free ways to get traffic and we are going to talk about those, too. But this is something you need to start digesting...

If you are a solo blogger, cranking out 150 blog posts is going to take you too long to get there.

At the time of writing this course, I have 52 blog posts on my blog. It took me a year to write them, because I only write in-depth posts and this blog wasn't my only experiment.

​And guess what: There are only 10-15 of these posts ​that get traffic. What's the number for your blog? I bet the majority of your blog posts are ​just dusting without anyone looking at them.  

Pro tip: You don't ​need to write a lot of blog posts to get decent traffic: Brian Dean from Backlinko gets 150,000 visitors per ​month from just 32 blog posts...

Instead of ​publishing blog posts every single day, you need to become smarter in getting traffic... and start writing fewer but more in-depth blog posts and start converting your visitors into subscribers and buyers ​from Day 1.

​Stop writing more and more blog posts without end. Instead, start ​setting up a basic funnel structure which will allow you to funnel the traffic into a framework that will build your list and make sales. By the time you start (or continue) blogging, you will have already made your first sale.

I write ​blog posts infrequently, only affiliate posts, when I have something important to address or when I build links with guest posts. I spent ​the time that freed up

  • creating ​paid products,
  • figuring out how to set up a course like this
  • building links
  • writing emails,
  • creating opt-in forms,
  • networking with other bloggers.

​Instead of spending a year growing your traffic, you can create your own product, then sell it to the audience of other ​bloggers.

Pen