Most blogs go through a fairly predictable lifecycle from start to profitability. To make it to the point where your blog is making significant income, you’ll need to go through all of these stages. Each and every stage has its own challenges and rewards.
Here are the five stages every profitable blog needs to go through to reach success.
1. Conception: No Traffic, No Rankings
You’re selecting your WordPress themes, have less than ten posts and are still experimenting with your tone and various options.
A lot of people underestimate how long this stage can last. Unfortunately, you can actually be getting just about no traffic for as many as twenty posts, sometimes more.
In order to succeed, you’ve just got to press through it.
2. Infancy: Trickles of Traffic, Still No Rankings
At this point, you’ll start to get a trickle of people coming to your website from a variety of random sources. Perhaps you have a link in your signature in forums. Perhaps you’re commenting on blogs that interest you.
People may be finding your site through totally random searches that you’re not really optimizing for.
At this stage, you start to have an audience, though a very, very small one.
3. Toddler: Some Traffic, 1-5 Pages Ranked, Some Trust
Though you’re not the top guy in the industry, you’re beginning to get a small following of people who listen to and trust your advice.
You have a couple of pages that are ranked in the search engines. This isn’t great per se, as by this point you’ll probably have at least fifty posts, but it still feels great to see some of your pages getting decent rankings.
At this stage you may want to consider beginning to build a newsletter. If you’re still using a free theme or design, you may want to pay for a custom design.
4. Young Adult: Moderate Earnings, Strong Reputation
At this point you’re making enough money from your blog to just about support yourself. You may even get 1-2 direct advertising deals.
You’re getting backlinks without having to ask and a higher percentage of your pages are getting ranked.
When you recommend a product, people begin to take it seriously. Sales come easier because people are starting to trust your reputation.
5. Adult / Expert: Strong Earnings, Known Brand in the Industry
At this point your blog is one of the top 3-5 in the industry. If someone mentioned your name at a conference, more often than not people would recognize the name.
Most blogs never reach this stage. However, if you do make it to this point, you’ll get to enjoy many perks.
One perk is that in addition to high levels of traffic, often direct traffic, you also get paid more for that traffic. Your CPMs from direct advertisers are many times higher than AdSense or the CPMs of other sites. You’ll also generally be selling your own products at a very decent conversion rate.
These are the five typical stages in the lifecycle of a successful blog. The key to moving from one stage to the next is to continually provide top-notch content, while being patient about building a strong reputation. It may take time, but it’s worth it.