How I Failed at Building my First Blog

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At the beginning of 2008, I set out on a journey to build a passive income empire that would change my life forever – or at least that is what I was hoping for. After reading the popular book at the time – Rich Dad, Poor Dad (by Robert Kiyosaki), I was ready to go out and buy up a bunch of assets instead of buying liabilities.

I was energetic.

I was motivated.

I was hungry to start earning an online living that would keep paying me every month without lifting a finger.

My first order of business was to start a new blog where I would earn thousands of dollars every month. It all seemed like a great plan. Build a website, throw some ads and affiliate links on it and live off the income.

My First Blog – Passive Family Income

In April of 2008, I launched my first ever blog called – Passive Family Income. In my mind everything was great! I would build this personal finance blog and community which I could eventually make a living off of. My goal was to be the authority site for all things passive income.

Now, almost 6 years later, I am sorry to say the site is really in shambles. For a while things looked promising. From November 2010 to October 2011 I was actually starting to make some good money from the site. I earned $3,407 from the site just in AdSense earnings during that time. Certainly nothing I could retire from but a promising sign that I could make over $300 per month from people clicking ads on my site.

During that same time, I wracked up another couple thousand dollars from affiliate income. I was also writing content for eHow (another passive income failure) and sharing my knowledge with others on Passive Family Income. I was using my blog to help promote several eBooks on making money from eHow, which was earning me lots of affiliate income from sales.

My Decline

Sometime around the end of 2011, I started to see the decline of my site. Most of my organic traffic was drying up and I was just another personal finance blog. Most of my content was just regurgitated information on “how to save money on gas” or “stop drinking coffee to save money”. Boring!!!

Nothing original was coming out of my site.

Nothing to separate Passive Family Income from the other personal finance sites.

The search engines were changing how my site was ranking and it wasn’t good.

Like many other bloggers at the time, I was frustrated and worn out. I had poured hundreds and hundreds of hours into my site. And just like that – my promising success was gone.

The Reasons I Failed

I can point to several reasons why I failed at my first blog. Here are a couple of the important ones that I have certainly learned from.

No Focus – I look back at the older articles on my site and wonder why I ever wrote some of them. The original goal of Passive Family Income was to write about passive income. Then I switched gears to talk about any and every topic concerning personal finance. From paying off your mortgage to ways to eat healthy – I covered it. The problem was – I lost my original focus for the site.

Lost my Passion – The once energetic, motivated me was tired of writing articles. It felt like I was on an assembly line just cranking out another useless article because I thought I needed “fresh content” – no matter if it was good or not. After 3 years of writing, I lost my passion and started hiring out my article writing to a collection of staff writers. The staff writers I hired all produced very good content. The only problem – there was still no focus with the content. I had no direction with the site, with the only goal being to – crank out another article no matter what.

I Stopped Trying to Help People – If you look any successful online entrepreneur – they all have one thing in common. They all make it their goal to help people first. I stopped doing that after a while. Even though I was targeting some great keywords in my articles, I wasn’t really providing any real value to my customers. While my content wasn’t necessarily bad, it wasn’t useful for my long time readers and they got bored.

Too Many Eggs in One Basket – While I had many different income streams I was focusing on, I had way too much of my future success riding on others. When it comes down to it, my success was almost tied directly to search engines. At the flip of a switch, my site went to crap. At almost the same time, eHow was cleaning up their content and buying back articles from their writers. My previous success from my blog and from eHow went to instant failure in the matter of a couple weeks because I had all my eggs in one basket.

Not Writing for People – Not only was I not trying to help people, I stopped writing to them as well. I got wrapped up in writing for search engines and keywords than writing for actual people. Not unlike others, I was forming my content on the site around what I thought the search engines would like – not for what people would want to read. It wasn’t complete spam by any means, but it wasn’t great writing either.

Lessons Learned

For over the past 2 years, it has been hard for me to think about Passive Family Income. I have left the site up and running – it is still there if you want to go check it out. A few times, I actually listed it for sale on Flippa but was always insulted by the offers I got. I had too much pride to sell it and put in way to many hours to take a measly $500 for it.

I am not sure what the future holds for the site. I have thought about resurrecting it from time to time. There is still some good content there and the site has been around for a long time – although it needs a good cleanup for sure.

What I do know is that I have learned from my experiences from building my first blog. I have now launched my new site here at The Money Sprout. I have a new focus – building multiple streams of income.

I won’t talk about living frugal here. I can’t even believe I bought into that hype. I don’t want to spend hours and hours each week clipping coupons to save $10! I want to enjoy life and spend that time doing something fun.

I won’t talk about ways to eat healthy while still saving money – although that is another passion of mine now. Unless it has to do with building new income streams – I will save that content for somewhere else.

I definitely won’t talk about 52 ways to save on gas or Cut your Cable Bill or Don’t Go Out to Dinner to Save Money or Stop Drinking Coffee. I actually love coffee by the way and am more than happy spending good money to drink it!

I have new focus now. I have a renowned passion for earning income from different sources. I want to write to people again and don’t really care about the search engines anymore.

How about you? Have you had any failures from building a blog? What about successes you can share?

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