Struggling With Your Blog? Try These Three Simple Tips

It’s hard building a successful blog! You can have great content and post often–follow all the rules of the top bloggers–and still not get the traffic, visitors, and sales you deserve.

There are three big rules to a successful blog that many up-and-coming bloggers miss. In this post, I will share them with you…and show you how to implement them quickly!

Rule #1: Get a real email autoresponder service before it’s too late.

Many bloggers make a critical mistake: They only put RSS subscription icons and/or Feedburner email subscriptions on their blogs. Let’s break down each of these and look at why these will severely hamper your money-making abilities with your blog:

  • RSS icons: Most blog readers still don’t know what RSS is or how to use it. Unfortunately, even with the advent of Google Reader, RSS still isn’t mainstream.

    Even for technical blogs, I still don’t recommend RSS as the primary option. Why? If you’re offering products to your audience, you want to create urgency. Email does that–people consider email that shows up in their inboxes more urgent, and often take action immediately. RSS is a more passive method; many blog readers don’t read their RSS subscriptions every day. If you’re selling products or doing a limited-time sale, an email subscriber is worth far more than an RSS subscriber.

  • Feedburner email subscriptions: It seems like a great idea, doesn’t it? You can just plop a piece of code onto your site and Feedburner will automatically email your subscribers your latest blog posts.

    Unfortunately, Feedburner suffers from many of the same issues as RSS. It can take up to 24 hours to send the email, which means if you’re holding a 1-day sale, your Feedburner email subscribers may miss out. Also, you can’t send separate emails (other than the automated ones) to your list. If you want to remind your list that a sale is ending, or to get in on a product before it’s too late, you have to write a blog post instead…and then wait up to 24 hours for Feedburner to mail it. It’s a bad solution, and one I regret ever offering on my blog. (I still have hundreds of Feedburner subscribers “stuck” on my list, who aren’t on my Aweber list.)

I recommend Aweber for any serious blogger. Sure, their solution costs money. But you will make plenty more money with it…so much more than you pay for the solution. I pay Aweber about $66/month for my 5,500+ blog subscriber list…but I recently sent one email that made me about $4,000 to that same list. Since the promotion was time-sensitive, I wouldn’t have been able to make that money with Feedburner or RSS subscribers.

The old Internet marketing saying “The money is in the list” holds true. Don’t hamstring your list by keeping it on an inflexible platform like Feedburner. Use Aweber, or another paid list tool that lets you send out custom emails and autoresponders, and reap the rewards.

Rule #2: Know the popular affiliate products in your niche.

Too often, bloggers start blogs about a subject they are interested in. Unfortunately, you may find you have a blog in an industry where there are very few affiliate products to promote.

Always start a blog in an industry where there are a lot of products you can promote. You don’t have to promote all the products, of course…as a blogger, you will be most successful by being a filter and promoting only excellent products to your audience. But know what products are out there before you start your blog, or as soon as possible if you’ve already started writing your blog.

This will also give you an idea of what your potential readers are buying–and which products you can make yourself. Good ebooks in your industry? You can make an audio or video program teaching similar concepts and sell it at a higher price point.

You don’t have to be in the “make money” niche to make money online. In fact, there are thousands of niches out there that are even more profitable. To find a good niche, search the best-selling non-fiction books on and the best-selling products on Clickbank and Commission Junction. Pick a niche you can see yourself writing in without getting bored, and start writing!

Rule #3: Tell people why they should read your blog.

Another mistake all too common, especially with beginning bloggers, is to put a blog header up that doesn’t describe why your readers should read your blog. “X Y’s blog!” the header says, or a nonsensical name. But there’s no tagline.

Some of the most popular blogs have taglines that are easy to remember, and even infamous:

  • Yaro Starak: “Down-to-Earth Advice and Tips for Bloggers and Internet Marketers”
  • Steve Pavlina: “Personal Development for Smart People”
  • John Chow: “I Make Money Online By Telling People How I Make Money Online”

All of these blogs clearly identify their target audience right in their tagline. Put some thought into your tagline, and make sure it features prominently at the top of your blog in your header graphic.

Bonus tip: If you can put your photo and a few sentences about yourself toward the top of your blog, too, your readers will become even more interested. Your readers are curious and want to know more about you!

These three simple rules will help you catapult your blog into one of the most popular blogs into your niche–and help you start making thousands of dollars by writing your own blog!

What tips work well for your blog? What doesn’t work? Let us know in the comments!

About the author: After selling her online business for $1,100,000.00 at age 26, Erica Douglass “temporarily retired.” She now shares advice from the trenches on starting your own business and growing your business to $1,000,000 at Quick link: Download her free Blog Success Manifestoβ€”30 tactical tips to grow your blog faster than you ever have before!

66 thoughts on “Struggling With Your Blog? Try These Three Simple Tips”

  1. Harshad says:

    Great Tips! Email auto responders work great to keep readers involved.

    1. d3so says:

      More updated or engaged rather than involved.

      1. I wonder about the photo…I personally would think to put the photo and a few lines about the author in the “About” page…do people agree?

        1. d3so says:

          What “about page”? For “about the author” a left align photo would look nice.

          1. Yes that will be nice and I recommend to add Gravatar photo, so that whenever they will comment or reply to comments people will come to know more about them.

            This is something missing in Guest Post.

    2. Salesfist says:

      Exactly, auto responders are a great way to capture your prospects.

  2. Melvin says:

    Not really that I disagree but even though, these three still wouldn’t guarantee anything. I assume if someone is struggling blogging and making money online then I guess he/she doesn’t have any capital too to pay for an email list. Im sure $19 per month is darn cheap but in reality, for most people its not.

    Same with Assuming they have little to no traffic, its impossible to generate any commission.

    For me, its all about building on previous work and trying to get that momentum. Most bloggers struggle even famous ones have gone down into that path but its just about trying to work your way up.

    1. Wess Stewart says:

      Right, but these are still some good foundations to use in order to help build the income. I think the point is more to focus on the fundamentals.

      Personally, I can’t afford Aweber, so I use a free mailing list from Bravenet. Compared to Aweber, they aren’t really that good, but it’s better than nothing…for my massive 19 person mailing list…heh.

      It’s all in how you lay the foundation. If you don’t have a solid base, no matter how big your blog gets you won’t find super success.

      1. d3so says:

        When you think about it these services can easily be affordable. Aweber is $19 a month, I spend over $100 on fast food each month without even knowing it. And you can pretty much guess my solution, cut back on nonprofitable/unhealthy purchases and invest the money in something that is.
        Since aweber is $1 the first month, you can challenge yourself to build a list and earn from it within that month. If you do make a profit, then you’re cut out for internet marketing.

        1. Melvin says:

          hahah, thats a wise move d3so..

        2. Lol nice tactic mate πŸ™‚

      2. Well… here’s something you should remember: First Class Mail gets First Class Delivery and First Class Delivery gets First Class Treatment.

        Using a free mailing list… well most are been block or drop in spam mail, so it’s hard to get to the recipient.

        Putting $19 a months is like investing some sort of first class delivery which I believe it doesn’t matter whether is your reader or customer or any other sort of people including you… wants to be treated first class… am I right?

        1. Well yeah most of the time, you will get your money’s worth. But i’m sure any of them paid solutions will be much better than any free email marketing solution

      3. @ Stewart,

        Please see my comments below… You want to start off with the right service as it is difficult to switch after your list grows.

        My list grew overnight very quickly and caught me off guard and has put me in an awkward position since it will be difficult to move my subscribers to Aweber or another professional service.

        I did not want to pay the $19/month either, but in hindsight, I wish I would have!

    2. Hi,

      I’m the author of this post. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

      Most of the people who start blogs in the U.S. have day jobs or other income, and are starting them as a side project. $19/month isn’t that expensive here. I know for other countries, it may be a stretch.

      I ran another promo to my list last night and this one generated just over $5,000 so far from a single email…so the returns are worth it. It does take a while to build up a good list, though, especially if you’re doing it with free traffic like I am.


      1. d3so says:

        I can’t imagine how much earning potential lists would have if traffic were laser-targeted.
        Congrats, on earning $5000, care to make a donation? πŸ™‚

        1. So are you using awebar now ?

          1. d3so says:

            Yeah, I started it last week. I made it a goal to make a profit from it the first month so it can pay for itself.

          2. Since the first month is $1, I hope you manage it! πŸ™‚

  3. Great tips John. Easily implementable too!

    1. This is Erica who wrote this post my friend …

  4. Excellent write-up, Erica! As for Feedburner suffering from a time delay, you can actually synchronize your blog and the feedburner notification: It takes a bit of tweaking and discipline in planning your posts, but it works well. SY

  5. Hey Erica,

    Nice Post. Mailing list is very important. List building is something that everyone should do from beginning.

    Thanks for sharing this great Post.


  6. Imran Yousaf says:

    John i liked your third point which makes a sense as well. Among crowd of blogs, why people shall read your blog? Answer is we shall deliver something extra from other blogs. Here comes your point Number 3. Deliver some extra point.

    1. This is Erica my friend … and her website is

      John I think you should write guest post blogger in bold so that guest blogger can get due respect.

      A gravataar photo will be also nice.

  7. Addy Kho says:

    I guess the main problem of blogging is to attract more readers. This is the main problem online as we are competing against so many other blogs, not to mention πŸ™‚ any Good tips John?

    1. Do a guest post on a popular blog. I’m the author of this post. I spent about two hours yesterday writing and proofing it, and sent it off to John last night. Now it’s on his blog, and my author box will drive some traffic back to my blog.

      I’ve gotten as many as 4000 new visitors and 750 subscribers from a single guest post. If you want to know more about it, feel free to check out my blog at or email me directly.


      1. d3so says:

        Nice stats! I think people should guest post when they’ve gained a considerable amount of credibility.
        Who would accept a guest post from a newb blogger?

  8. Thanks for the nice post Erica.

    I started a blog and used a free plugin for my newsletter.

    With a little promotion, I got over 600+ subscribers in 24 hrs.

    I was excited about this at first, but then I got worried about my free newsletter plugin because it has some issues. It also does not have autoresponders.

    I wish I would have went with Aweber from the start, as there is no easy way to transfer all of my subscribers to Aweber now:(

    So for future blogs, I am using Aweber because it’s sooooo worth it!

    1. Same thing for me! I have over 600 people stuck on Feedburner. Sigh. Wish I would have gotten Aweber much sooner. It would have been worth every penny I paid Aweber and then some.


      1. Yes agree Aweber is worth every dollar, feedburner is basically worthless imo.

    2. What promotions did you use to get so many subscribers?

  9. I agree with you John. Money is still in the list. Whatever we do online, whether it’s blogging, selling ebooks, promoting someone’s product, ebay, forum marketing, we should build our list and that should be our #1 priority.



  10. I agree with you John. Building our list should be our #1 task whatever we do online. Real money comes from the people who are trusting us, so build long-lasting relationship as well.



  11. Rick Byrd says:


    Great post! I am new to blogging and it can be frustrating at times.

    I used GetResponse for a little while but I have now switched over to Aweber.

    I do need to come up with a better tagline. I also do not currently have a picture of myself or a bio my blog. I guess that is the next step for me.


    – Rick

    1. Yep! I traded time with a photographer to get head shots, by the way. There are many semi-pro photographers who would be happy to do this if you have a service you can offer them in return. I typically help them with SEO/marketing.


  12. Off topic: Hi John,
    I read your ebook Ultimate Blog Profit and it is the last part, the bonus part that really moved me. You are right that we should appreciate what we have because a lot people in this world are below poverty. Thanks for that inspiring life story of your which is really the essence of everything in this life including blogging.

    Eventhough we buy every kind of blogging money making online books in this planet but we lack that “positive mental attitude”, then the result will always be failure. We can always read and read but never learn. So is the saying “you can lead the horse to water, but you can never making it drink”. Thanks again and more power!

    1. By the way, to those interested in the Ultimate Blog Profit book from John, here is the link:

  13. The first and third rules are awesome.Thanks for the information.

    1. d3so says:

      Hey Bradley I’ve been wondering, are
      you already making money online?

  14. Thanks for tips John this should help many bloggers.

    1. exactly including new and old bloggers

  15. It’s all about the small things isn’t it? Small tweaks and great tips like these can make your blog soar high!

  16. Dino Vedo says:

    err maybe join the blog profit camp too eh? πŸ™‚

  17. These are really great tips. At what point should someone really look into getting aweber to capture emails…100 unique visitors a day…500….1000?

    I guess it depends on the niche, but curious as to what you would personally accpet before making the purchase…I’m still debating…

    1. Yesterday, and barring that, now.

      I mentioned above I have over 600 subscribers “stuck” on Feedburner. I could have started promoting to them far earlier and made back the money 100x over that I spent on Aweber. I don’t promote too often–don’t get me wrong–but when I do promote, the list delivers far better traffic and conversions than a blog post or Feedburner email.


  18. hey, great tips, im just starting out with my blog although im not using it as my primary source, im mainly creating it to build my name in the internet marketing niche. Its a way for me to build trust with people.


    jonny balfour

  19. William says:

    Thanks for the tips John, I’ll definitely have to keep these in mind

  20. Great tips all around. Having a mailing list/autoresponder is so important. I’m still baffled at the people that only use RSS & nothing else.

  21. Rule #3: Tell people why they should read your blog.

    This one is really good one and will make you different from other fellow bloggers as well.

    1. Love this tip the best.

    2. Really nice one ZK πŸ™‚

  22. Thanks John for these great tips. My husband and business partner forwarded me your link to help me improve my blog.
    I’m it it for the fun of sharing ideas, knowledge and other happy things with other women and moms. It’s good to know your niche and stick to your style…. but I’m still learning lots. It’s only been a few months for me πŸ˜‰ but I feel like it’s part of ME already.

  23. Stefan says:

    I just downloaded your ebook. Great stuff !

    I am trying to get up a list but I am using free software at the moment. I know I know…

  24. Thanks for this very informative tips you had posted here applied all of this on my blog and by the site I was promoting just by reading and rating articles this is a sure plus. I was able to earn more with your tips and apply it to the affiliate program that i was using. You can take a look on my blog

    and check if im doing it right.

  25. Nice tips John. Thanks a ton tbh these will help me πŸ™‚

  26. Note to self: Make a slogan, and bookmark this website.

    Thanks for the information John. I really like to be anonymous but I guess if you’re trying to sell yourself, a picture and a few words won’t hurt much.

    Thanks Again !

  27. Paolo Volpi says:

    Good tips! Plain and simple to follow.

  28. David says:

    John…got your FREE ebook and love it. Also, I just took action on what you wrote above on this post and came up with my own tagline “”Make Money Online: If others can do it, I can too and so can you!”

  29. Lucky says:

    Great tips. I like the, ‘ tell people to read your blog tip.’ Goog tips John.

  30. Ed Hands says:

    Just found your site. I am really enjoying the wealth of information here. Thanks.

  31. john you are God sent. awesome post in how bloggers should captivate their readers

  32. Didn’t think I would get much from this, but I did end up making a couple of changes.

  33. Ary says:

    I believe that the bonus tip makes a difference in my blogging style. As for Aweber, sounds funny but I’m still not sure if it’s the best way of sending emails. I’ll give it a try though, in the future (basically I want to be at least a month old to try it). Because if you have a low audience it’s hard to get that many emails, even though you’re using Aweber.
    You say that you can also cover Aweber’s costs easily, but I guarantee that it will be difficult at the beginning, because you don’t have to many blog readers.

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