How to Scale Your Blog Like a Startup
Adam Enfroy explains how he leveraged startup growth tactics to make blogging a full-time (and lucrative) job.
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According to an article in the New York Times, 95% of bloggers fail.
It's evident that blogging advice doesn't always lead to blogging success. And as the search engine landscape gets more competitive, it may seem like it's too saturated to make money blogging today.
Adam Enfroy begs to differ. He is an expert blogger who grew his readership to 450,000 monthly readers and told me he makes $80k per month in revenue — while spending $0 on advertising. I sat down with Adam in a recent interview and took the opportunity to ask him how he scaled his blog so quickly.
1. Focus less on writing and more on scaling
With limited time outside of a full-time job, starting and growing a side hustle can be challenging. "When I first learned how to start a blog, I had a stressful full-time job that took up 50 hours a week. I had to figure out how to scale my processes so I could spend my time in the most meaningful ways," says Adam. He began to outsource certain components of his blog — he hired a team to write first drafts and an assistant to help with link building and guest blogging.
"It didn't cost much and freed me up to spend my time on what I'm best at - building relationships and influence in the digital space," he continues. "If I was just a tortured writer spending my nights clacking away at the keyboard writing every single word myself, I couldn't have scaled. Jeff Bezos doesn't write every word for Amazon.com; bloggers shouldn't have to do everything themselves."
Adam's strategy worked. In less than a year and a half, he published over 120 articles on his blog and over 100 guest posts. Adam's blog income overtook his full-time salary and he left his job for good - just 7 months after launching his blog.
2. Plan your monetization strategy from day one
"Most bloggers are told to write about their passions and then figure out how to monetize their passion down the road," Adam said. "However, bloggers fail because they don't know how to transition from writer to business owner. They start with a passion in mind, write for years, get burned out when it's not working, and quit. If you flip the script and plan your monetization strategy before you even start, you're much more likely to succeed."
Adam says that this planning includes three core components: keyword research, content, and affiliate marketing.
"All three of these disciplines need to mesh. For example, before you even begin your keyword research to see if people search for your topic, you first need to ask yourself if your topic can actually make money." Adam says. "For example, if I'm a fitness blogger, I could rank for fitness tips but that post may be hard to monetize. What if instead I ranked for best fitness bikes and pushed people to my affiliate links? There's a big difference in potential revenue."
Adam's mixture of review list posts and how-to guides are the formats he recommends to generate not just clicks and traffic, but blog revenue.
According to Adam, "You need a mixture of posts that bring in high traffic and high-intent posts that generate revenue."
3. It's okay to make mistakes
Although it takes grit to launch a side hustle that lets you quit your full-time job, Adam says it's okay to make mistakes. "Blogs are living, breathing things. It's okay to experiment and fail; you just need to give yourself the freedom to pivot," Adam says.
"In the past, I tried to create hyper-specific niche sites and I'd quit when they didn't pan out. Creating a personal brand blog gives me the freedom to adapt and change my content strategy if one area doesn't work," Adam continues. "I made a lot of mistakes. I started my blog on Squarespace and switched to WordPress. I wrote a bunch of travel content that I've since deleted. I put ads to my site way too late and still haven't even launched my online course."
Adam is open about his mistakes and documents them to his 35,000 email subscribers and hist Facebook Group of 3,500 "Blogpreneurs" looking to follow in his footsteps.
"I documented this stuff so that others don't have to make the same mistakes I made. If I can help foster the next generation of bloggers, that makes everything worth it."