What does it take to make it online? In this interview with Amy Lynn Andrews, we chat about her blogging journey and the ways she has survived algorithm changes, rebrands, and a huge drop in traffic. She is the writer of one of my favorite emails, The Useletter, and so of course we also chat email lists.
Listen to Episode 54!
Connect with Amy Lynn Andrews
What Does It Take to MAKE IT Online?
Tricky question, right? If I had to choose one word that would describe someone who is going to find long-term success, it would be SCRAPPY. You have to be willing to fight and scruffle and work and hang in there through changes. (Can I get an Amen from people who were rocking Facebook before the algorithm changes??) The online world is not static.
So if you want to make it online, you can’t be static either. You need to be ready to adapt and regroup, or you may die off.
Does this sound dramatic? I don’t mean to be. But making money online consistently for years means you can’t be no punk. Amy Lynn Andrews ain’t no punk. (Tweet that? Maybe not.) She has been blogging forever and has a lot of wisdom to share about what it takes to make it for the long haul.
Tips from Amy Lynn Andrews
Don’t try to transition your personal blog into a business blog. (6:56)
Unless you want to confuse, anger, or lose all your readers, that is. (This is something we talked about in the Find Your Perfect Audience series!) If you want a rebrand that is largely different, you can choose to start a wholly new blog with new readers (and probably will take some of your current superfans) or you CAN choose to just scrap your blog’s old focus and rebrand, but you will likely alienate that readership used to the old.
Be helpful. Which comes from continually learning. (9:58)
Consume information and stay current on trends and apps and updates. Things change really quickly these days with algorithms and platform changes and new platforms. If you can’t stay current on your own or don’t like to do the research, subscribe to email newsletters that will keep you up to date! (See my list of must-subscribes HERE.)
Make smart choices with free verses paid content. (14:45)
I’ve talked before about how much free is too much. It’s a very personal decision that should flow out of your personal goals. If you are working for pageviews (to make ad revenue, for example), then you will want to be pushing out tons of free content to bring people to your site. If you are creating a paid product, make sure that your product has something special or unique from the free content (yours or other people’s) online.
Realize that people will pay for curation. (19:00)
Even if people can find information for free on their own, for the sake of ease, people WILL often pay for curation and organization. Many bloggers sell books that are made up of their blog posts, all free on the site, but arranged into a readable book format. It saves people TIME and people will pay for that savings.
Be YOURSELF. People follow people, not websites now. (19:47)
We are drawn to people who share information that we are interested in, especially if they have a similar mindset to our own. Don’t try to be someone else. Be yourself and you will draw the people who want the information presented from YOUR point of view.
Think outside the box. (25:50)
Amy Lynn Andrews started the Useletter as a way to present so much ever-changing information quickly and in a way that didn’t clog up the blog. When you consider what it is you’re trying to accomplish and why, don’t shut yourself into thinking that there is only one way to present the information. Consider what platform or tools you can use.
You need an email list. (26:30)
You own your lists. You don’t OWN your traffic. By that I mean that you have access to those readers anytime you want to shoot something into their inbox. This is HUGE. What you send is totally up to you and should fit your goals. (For help with figuring out how to apply your why to your blog and your email, you should check out my Foundation Series Mini-Course, which will help you get started.)
Be valuable and unique. (30:08)
“It’s all about something that people are getting from you that they’re not getting elsewhere very easily.” -ALA
Stick with What Gets You Excited. (32:09)
If you love writing blog posts, write blog posts. Don’t stress about having some kind of crazy awesome newsletter. Send your posts via RSS and focus on what you LOVE. Don’t stretch yourself so thin to follow the trends. Ask your readers what they love. Check your traffic and stats to see what people are interested in.
Don’t just monetize the same way other people do. Ads are NOT the only way to make an income. (36:20)
Experiment and find what you love and what works for YOU. Ads may not be the best way for you to make money. There are also affiliate sales, creating your own digital products, coaching and more. Try things out and see what fits for you.
Find a way to diversify so your income is not ONLY tied directly to traffic. (42:04)
If your income is only tied to traffic, when Google updates or you get a penalty or Pinterest changes or Facebook changes, you could take a huge hit. Consider how you can diversify your revenue streams by trying things other than just ads that are tied to CPMs. Traffic is fickle.
Consider what you can sustain over the long haul. (45:35)
There will be peaks and valleys in your blogging journey. What can you do and keep on doing? This doesn’t mean that you can’t change as you go, but don’t choose something that will leave you in a burning pile at the end of three months. Plan for the long game.
Take the Time at the Front to Establish Your Reputation. (49:49)
If people trust you, it will be easier to weather the storms when they come. If you are known for creating great content, this will take you further than anything. If the business jumps ahead of your reputation, it can be harder to work backwards. Establish your expertise and trust at the front end.
Don’t Compare Your Success to Someone Else’s Success. (52:01 )
This is a biggie. Especially if you are helping people grow a business or brand similar to yours. Probably every one of us will experience the feeling of giving someone a leg up who is just starting out and then watching that person totally ECLIPSE you with their success. It happens. Remember YOUR personal bottom line. We all have been in the starting point and struggled through growth. Stay in your own little world of what’s success for YOU.
For Big Amy Lynn Andrews Fans…
- How the Useletter was born (24:05)
- How not to stress out about email and freebies (31:17)
- How many pageviews she typically gets a month* (50:11 ) *recorded in 2015
Do you feel encouraged? Do you think you have what it takes? Dig in, my scrappy friends. Let’s do this for the long haul.