How To Autopilot Your Blog
For so many reasons, I decided to change my strategy for my online business in 2011.
I realized, if I ever wanted to sell my online business, it couldn’t require ‘me’. Michael wasn’t for sale, just the business. That’s something a lot of top bloggers get wrong. They work on building their brand, they make it all about them and then when they lose interest, they aren’t able to do anything with their blog.
It wasn’t just so it would be easier to sell, I just didn’t want to have to focus on it, day after day.
I decided I wanted my business to run on autopilot. Basically, It had to grow month after month, with no work required from myself. So..
- I didn’t want to have to write posts
- I didn’t want to manage blog post schedules
- I didn’t want to have to work with advertisers and continually monetize my site
- I wanted to continue to get lots of traffic
- I didn’t want to have to draft emails to subscribers, do my social media etc.
So who’s now doing it and how did I achieve what I have?
Table of Contents
1. Getting People To Write For Your Website
I didn’t want to deliver content that was less valuable than what I have published before. That wasn’t something I was prepared to do. I firstly tried guess bloggers, people I didn’t pay to write, but they got a link to their site. I got a few people ask to write but the majority were really bad. I found a couple good writers but they couldn’t prioritize me at all, which is understandable as they weren’t being paid.
I then decided to pay people to write. This has worked rather well. I have a set price and I tell my writers I want a post every Monday morning drafted so that we can schedule it during the week. I’ve had some ups and downs with this but overall it’s been quite successful, hopefully with in a month or so, I’ll have it nailed. One thing that has really helped is getting someone to manage it. My brother does this for me and it doesn’t take much of his time. If they don’t draft their post, he will get on them and make sure they do.
I have found a few good writers who don’t charge. Like I mentioned above, they can’t prioritize me. However, I think if I can get 8 good free writers, to publish one post every 2 months. It will be a day a week that I don’t have to pay for a post.
2. Publishing & Publicizing Your New Posts
A few months ago, I hired my brother to work for my business. Regular readers will be use to his blog posts. I installed a WordPress plugin called WP Editorial Calender and what it allows you to do is put blog posts in the calender and publish it at those set times. So for example, I can drag a post to a Thursday and then choose the time. By doing this we can see which posts go live when, we know posts wont conflict and we know they will automatically be published for us.
The majority of my regular readers subscribe via email for updates from the blog. Every time I publish a post, I had to draft and send the email via Aweber. Aweber rocks and does what I want it to, however, It was taking me 20 or so minutes each time to get the email out. What I decided to do, was to start using their blog broadcast function. It automatically emails your list every time a new post is published. It’s highly customizable which you will see below, I was able to make it look like I have written it, not only that, I got my web designer to design a great looking newsletter.
Every time a post is published. We automatically post a link on our Twitter feed. Details on this here.
3. Monetization & Passive Income
I knew that one thing that stressed me out and took up time was monetizing a site. If you have advertisers, you have to firstly find them, negotiate, work with them to get the deal and then they change their mind regularly, so you have to constantly, add/edit/delete the advert and sometimes, more often then not, have to start over again with the next person.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t require you. You link to a product, if a reader buys that product, you earn a commission. It’s not a guaranteed set income, however it saves you a lot of time and takes the pressure of you.
I also use a lot of space to advertise two of my products. Digital products don’t require any real support. If they don’t like your eBook, they can automatically get a refund via the merchant. Once purchased, the thank you page will notify them how to download the eBook. All very straight forward.
I do have one advertiser. Every month, he sends me a nice sum of money and he has his ad on my site. He’s been advertising since April and hasn’t been any trouble. What I recommend is go for one advertiser and charge threw the roof but at the same time, make them a priority for ad space. When I brought out my newsletter, I added his advert to it for free. Since he started advertising, the traffic has gone up a lot, the price has stayed the same. I know that money pays for my writers and It’s important he stays.
You could argue that an affiliate product could out perform an advertiser, this is true. But often, it’s not. Who knows? Who cares? It’s more important to me to diversify my income so I’m not reliant on one income stream. You can only promote an affiliate product so many times before it becomes irrelevant for a lot of readers. A great way to make adverts more relevent to readers and more successful for advertisers is by rotating 2 adverts with 2 different landing pages. This way your advertiser gets a much higher click through rate.
4. Conclusion and Moving Forward
I hope these quick tips helped. Month after month I grow my business yet I’m not around.
My main focus in 2012 is to get more writers and more blogs online. Writers are a large cost but for me it’s worth it. At least long term. Nick Tart wrote on his blog about how every new post is worth 1320 new visitors a year. For me it’s a lot more. Every time I publish a post, thousands of people rush to my site to read it. Out of all those people, I only need 3 to buy an affiliate product and I’ve made a profit on the post. Sometimes this isn’t the case but sometimes it worth a lot more. The importance of me telling you this is, you may not make your money back in the first day or even the first month but over a year, buying an article pays for its self and by not doing it, is really stupid.
INVESTMENT is king. People thought I was made spending so much on redesign after redesign, blog post after blog post. But looking back, if I didn’t do it, I’d not be reaping all the rewards I am today. An almost passive income.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear how you think the site has progressed.