Squarespace Design Kit Review ● Station Seven ● Pre-Made Design

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible company behind the project!

I really love the makeover that I got for my website- it’s a minimalist, beautiful design but it took me forever to find! So instead of you also having to search through dozens of design templates for your own site, I decided to share with you what I found and talk about the one that I used.

So if you’re looking for a similar design for your website, I’ve included as much information as I could here in this review.

But first, a comparison! 

My Old Homepage...

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

My New Homepage...

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

This post contains affiliate links but I only recommend things that I love. Station Seven has incredible designs and I think you'll adore them too! You can read my Disclaimer here.


An Few Important Notes First

Before anything else, you should note that this isn’t a sponsored post. I found Station Seven organically and I used my own money for this design. My review here is completely based on my own experience and opinion.

The second thing is that this particular design is for Squarespace platforms only. I’m sorry but I don’t think you’ll be able to use this design if you aren’t a Squarespace user. (But Station Seven has incredible Wordpress themes here and I list some of my favs below. Yippee!) 

Lastly, some of my other websites are on other platforms too, but for AllisonLindtsrom.com in particular I’m currently on Squarespace. It’s got its pros and cons so if you’re interested in a post about a comparison between Squarespace and Wordpress, feel free to leave a comment here to let me know.

I talk about things I use with Wordpress and that's still 100% true. Just wanted to clear up any confusion.  :) 


1. Basic Information

·       Source

The design template I used is called Acadia (pictured below) and it's by the amazing team over at Station Seven. I don’t remember how I originally found Station Seven (maybe Google or Pinterest?), but they are honestly one of the only businesses I could find that creates these design templates for Squarespace.

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

·       Price

The Acadia design alone costs $79 USD. If you want to have them install it with a demo set-up, the design + installation cost is $249 USD.*

The fact that they priced a design kit for Squarespace for only $79 just blows my mind away! That is such a good deal, especially compared to other businesses out there. You’ve got to get one of their designs, it is such a steal!

*Prices may change over time. These are current at the time this post goes live. 

·       Files and Turnaround time

 As soon as you purchase a design you receive all the files right away. There’s no waiting or lag in between when you purchase and when you can start setting things up.

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

·       Return Policy 

Just like most (if not all) companies out there who sell non-tangible products, Station Seven has a no returns or refunds policy.

Be sure to really read through everything before you make a purchase. This policy is basically the same compared to any other company that sells themes so their it doesn’t come as too much of shock. But I wanted to state it here just in case you've never purchased a pre-made design before.


2. Main Features

·       Layout Highlights Products

I chose this design in particular because I really liked the main homepage layout. It caters to the different products, incentives, and features that I offer as a blogger.

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

Squarespace is easy to use but it’s also very basic. What I loved about Station Seven is that they took a basic Squarespace template and created a layout that was more fitting to my business. Acadia in particular just helps me take my design to the next level, while still reflecting my personality and my brand.

·       Video Tutorials

As soon as you purchase one of their designs, they provide video tutorials so that you can install it on your own. This makes it very easy for you to install since they walk you through (literally!) the entire process.

I've purchased designs in the past where they just leave you to figure it out on your own (talk about Stress 101...) but Station Seven doesn’t do that. 

I thought I knew Squarespace pretty well but I ran into some hiccups and I was very thankful they had those tutorials. Otherwise, I would have been really frustrated. 

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

·       Customizable Graphics

The next thing that I love is that they provide high quality customizable graphics that you can edit in Photoshop (you can get a free trial here). 

I really liked the general aesthetic that they created but I did want to change a few things and customize them to my particular branding. So it was already wonderful that they had pre-made graphics available, but the fact that I could customize them was even better!

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

And they offer what they call Blog and Social packs! These are pre-made blog post and social media graphics that match each blog design's branding.

Do you know what this means?! It means that all of your graphics (on your blog, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) will coordinate and look streamlined. They couldn't make the branding process easier! 

Here's a sneak peak at the Blog and Social packs that they have available for Acadia, but whatever theme you choose has their own set of graphics as well. Woohoo!

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

Only $19!

Blog post/Pinterest graphics. Yes, girl!

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

Only $19!

Social Media/Instagram graphics


Is This Product For You?

If you’re trying to decide whether or not this particular theme is for you, here are a few things to consider as well as some pros and cons:

  • The first thing you have to check is if you’re on Squarespace. Because the Acadia design in particular is only for Squarespace (at least at this moment anyway, who knows if that would change over time, right?). But Station Seven does offer designs for Wordpress as well so that's an option too. 
  • You have to be able to follow video tutorials if you don't hire them to install it. You don’t really need to be savvy with codes or anything too technical like that but you have to be willing and ready to put in all the hard work. There are parts where you’ll have to insert codes or move around the different layouts and areas, so it’s quite hands-on. 

They offer two options when you decide to purchase it:

1.     You can purchase the basic design and DIY it following the video tutorials

2.     You can opt to have them do the installation for you. The only caveat is that you can’t use this option for a blog with existing blog posts. Their installation means they'll create an entirely new blog. 

*Prices may change over time. These are current at the time this post goes live. 

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

PRO’s:

·       Very easy to install.

Even if you end up going with the cheaper option of the design alone, it’s very easy to install! Their tutorials take you step-by-step so you don't need to be a Squarespace expert to make it work. 

·       Pre-made Graphics

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible company behind the project!

Station Seven provides pre-made graphics that you can use and customize for each of their designs. So when you’re trying to decide which one to purchase, just know that any of the graphics that you see on there will come with the design (though I don't think this extends to the stock photos that are used- you'd have to double check on that).

Everything is pre-made for you and I can't tell you just how much that is a relief for me! I’m the type of person who will try to design something but still won't be done approximately 43 hours later...

·       Extremely Affordable

I know I’ve already mentioned it a couple of times, but I will say it again. I’ve done my research and Station Seven was the most affordable company that I could find. I never found anything even close to $100 for a Squarespace pre-made design kit!*

*Prices may change over time. These are current at the time this post goes live. 

·       Access your files on their site

You can access your files anytime. Once you purchase one of their designs they’ll send you all the files that you need, and all of that will be included in your account in Station Seven.

I've purchased pre-made designs where the file came as an attachment in an email. If I needed to re-install the design or access the file on a different computer, I had to play the "find-the freaking-email-they-sent" game. Not fun. 

Station Seven just has you create an account online and you can access that account and all of your files at any time. Hallelujah!

·       The Acadia design is great for displaying products

The layout that the Acadia design provides is really conducive to displaying your products/services/incentives in a certain manner that highlights them.

Instead of the old-school latest blog-posts-only homepage, you can go for the, “Oh wow! She’s an expert on this… and she’s got products like this…” vibe. When your readers land on your site, you can get them excited to really buy into the brand that you’ve created.

If you’re running a blogging business, you want to get a layout that can highlight everything that you’re offering. The Acadia theme in particular really does that very well.

·       The Acadia design has a sidebar

I think this was the only Station Seven Squarespace design kit that also has a sidebar. I’ve lived without one before and I really hated it (yeah, just call me Prima Donna) so it was my main priority when I started looking for a new design. 

·       The Graphics can be used with any brand

The graphics Acadia comes with are beautiful but also pretty minimalist. So it’s easy to customize them to fit your brand.

·       No code knowledge necessary

I can't stress this enough- you really don’t have to be a techie person. Just follow those tutorials and you’ll be fine.


CONs:

Honestly, I’ve had to dig in to find stuff to list here. It was hard to find anything I didn’t like! But here are a few things that you should be aware of: 

·       You cannot hire them to install on an existing blog

If you have to hire them to do the installation for you, you'll have to start with a completely new website. If you have a blog that has existing content like I did (I have content going back to 2015), they’re not going to be able to do the design for you.

On the flip side of this, you can opt to just buy the design and hire somebody else on Upwork to do the installation for you.

·       Photoshop required to edit pre-made graphics

You’ll need Photoshop if you want to customize the graphics. Now it does come with a free trial version so you can technically jus sign-up for the trial and cancel your subscription after you edit the graphics.  

I personally have and used this cheaper version of Photoshop for this project and it worked out just fine. 

·       The Acadia design is for Squarespace only

This particular design is for Squarespace only. So if you’re on Wordpress and really love this design, I don’t think you’re going to be able to use it.

However, they do offer a ton of other designs on Station Seven that can work on Wordpress so if you like the awesome vibe their designs give off, you can check them out their list of designs here. 

Here are some of my favorite Wordpress designs. 

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

Only $59!

Name: Analogue

Looking for an affordable, pre-made Squarespace design kit to give your blog a makeover? AllisonLindstrom.com recently got a facelift and I thought I’d share a complete review on the website theme and the incredible Station Seven team behind the project!

Only $59!

Name: Parker

OVER-ALL OPINION

First and foremost, you've gotta love their price! I’ve done my research and trust me when I say that you're not going to find a pre-made Squarespace design for $79 that looks this good anywhere else.

In addition, their customer service is pretty darn great! Mike and Brittni are actually the people that created Station Seven and they are so friendly. But beyond that, even the rest of the staff is incredible.

I had so many questions (yes, I'm one of those customers :) and they were really easy to reach out to. It’s not like when you send out an e-mail then 4 weeks later the company finally gets back to you. They are so prompt and kind.

Go check them out. If you like the Acadia design but you’re looking for something else they’ve got plenty of other Squarespace designs you can check out as well as Wordpress designs. 

Over-all, I definitely recommend Station Seven and this Acadia design, there are so many great things about it and almost no cons to getting it.

Unexpected Blogging Expenses

 Just like with any business, it takes money to make money. If you’re trying to build a blogging business, or even if you’re just a blog in general, you’ll come across some expenses that you may totally have not counted on.

So to keep you from feeling unprepared for these unexpected expenses, I’ve decided to list down four of the top expenses bloggers usually don’t expect. This is a short list, but if you’re looking for a more extensive list of what I typically see in my own business or in that of my students or peers, you can look up the lesson and an entire handout I prepared by becoming a member of the Blogging Business Club. 

In the meantime, here are the top expenses you have to prepare for as you get ready to roll into your blogging business.

This post contains affiliate links but I only recommend things I use or love! You can read my Disclaimer here. 

1.     CUSTOM E-MAIL

Want to become a pro blogger and wondering what kind of expenses might come your way? Today's video is all about spilling the beans on some of the most unexpected expenses we bloggers run into. ● UNEXPECTED BLOGGING EXPENSES ● STARTING A BLOG

One way to do away with this expense is to use a Gmail account with something like: myblogname@gmail.com.

However, when you’re getting ready to represent your blog on a more professional level you need to get a custom e-mail (i.e.: Hello@myblogname.com or info@myblogname.com ) because it shows you're an actual blogging business to readers and subscribers.

I got my custom e-mail through GSuite which costs about $5 or $10 a month. It’s not so expensive but it tends to be an unexpected expense because it rarely gets mentioned- nobody just thinks of telling you that it’s going to cost you to get a custom e-mail!

2.     PLUGINS

If you’re running your blog on Wordpress there are tons of free plugins. So if you’re just starting out, in the early days of your blog, you’re probably not going to spend a hundred bucks on any sort of plugin.

However, as you grow and realize that you need specific features to create a more exclusive experience for your readers, you’re going to have to start paying for those plugins. Plugins vary but let me give you a ballpark idea: just in the past month alone I spent about $50 on a certain plugin.

The cost of $50 in the long run is not a ton of money but it is an additional unexpected expense. No one warns you when you’re starting your blog that, “Hey, by the way, in 6 months, you’re going to need to buy a plugin. Just thought I’d let you know."

3.     EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE

This item isn't something you’re going to need right away. I don’t think I had to buy an external hard drive until around after my blog’s one year anniversary.

However, as I started integrating different forms of content (creating courses, doing videos, etc…) my files started to eat up more storage space on my computer. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a Mac Book Air. All of my pictures, graphics, and all the things I’ve been creating for my blog just ate up my storage in a snap. 

A hard drive isn’t that expensive (I think I got my 1TB for somewhere around $60 to $100) and it’s totally worth it. Here’s my favorite hard drive!

You don’t want to be deleting all the content you created, like subscriber incentives and graphics, just so you can make room for new stuff.  You’ll want to save all that because you might need them later on. 

4.     THEMES/DESIGNS

When I started my blog, I was so confident that it going to instantly look professional. I was sure there was a theme out there that I could just grab online. But no, that’s just not how it works.

It turns out that you really need to pay to look good.

When it comes to themes and designs, you can get pre-made ones or you can get custom ones.  If you get a custom design, it’s going to cost you a lot of money.

Personally, I like to save money, even though I know other people may have a similar theme on their own blog. You can opt to customize some colors and fonts with pre-made (cheaper) themes so you can kind of make it your own. Doing so will probably run you anywhere from maybe $60 to $100.  It may just be the basics, but that’ll last you at least a year or two.

However, if you’re really looking to get a custom design, get ready to spend some dough. From what I’ve found (at least from my area) it’s going to cost you at least $500 for the most basic package possible.

And if you’re looking to work with somebody who has a really good portfolio and a lot of experience, you’re definitely going to spend four figures. So start saving, girlfriend.

Meanwhile, here my favorite pre-made (and more affordable!) Wordpress and SquareSpace designs/templates here (this company has social media and blog graphic templates to match each blog design too!).

MY FAV WORDPRESS DESIGNS


1. THIS ONE...


MY FAV SQUARESPACE DESIGNS/TEMPLATES

1. THIS ONE... (WHAT I USE ON ALLISONLINDSTROM.COM)

So there you have it! It’s a short list but definitely the most common expenses that hit us by surprise. It always helps to be prepared so now you know what you need to start saving your pennies for! 

Good Reads for Inspiration // Non-Fiction July 2017 Reading List FOR BLOGGERS

Looking to get some inspiration outside of that blogger bubble? To get out of that world where you eat, sleep and breath everything blogging? Yeah, it happens to us sometimes, even to the best of us. So I thought I’d share something different today and cover some inspiration that is not necessarily about blogging.

Being a good blogger doesn’t always mean we read about “blogging” per se, 24/7- there are other books that’ll give us inspiration too! And as I’m always on the hunt for some good book suggestions I thought to share my favorite ones from this month. So here are some of my chosen good reads for the blogger/entrepreneur looking for some inspiration.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links but girl, I only recommend stuff I love. 

Looking for some good reads inspire you as a blogger or an entrepreneur? I’m always on the hunt for some good book suggestions and I’m sharing my fav ones from this month. Being a good blogger doesn’t always mean we read about “blogging” per se, 24/7- there are other books that’ll give us inspiration too! ●  GOOD READS ● NON-FICTION ● JULY 2017 READING LIST ● MUST READ BOOKS

1. #GIRLBOSS

By: Sophia Amaruso

I read this book last year around the end of 2016 and I still open it every couple of weeks to look through some of my favorite quotes. One of my absolute favorites was, “Money looks better in the bank than on your feet.” 

The author, Sophia Amaruso, created Nasty Gal, which started out as an eBay account where she used to sell vintage clothes, and it obviously grew into a great success because she’s writing a book about the whole thing!

I especially love how Sophia didn’t take the traditional route to finding success. She didn't get her business experience from a college degree- she just went worked with her instincts, work ethic, sweat, and tears. I love that kind of devotion because it's very similar to what we do in blogging.

To my knowledge, there is no bachelor’s degree of blogging. It would be great if there was because then the learning curve of blogging would not be so difficult. But being able to relate to that aspect of Sophia’s journey is just great for any blogger.

Sophia also has that kind of misfit vibe about her, and I feel like, as bloggers, a lot of us feel like misfits and that’s why we start a blog in the first place. So many of us just find our people online!

Every time I open this book, I feel so empowered! It’s definitely a good read; you should totally check it out.

Looking for some good reads inspire you as a blogger or an entrepreneur? I’m always on the hunt for some good book suggestions and I’m sharing my fav ones from this month. Being a good blogger doesn’t always mean we read about “blogging” per se, 24/7- there are other books that’ll give us inspiration too! ●  GOOD READS ● NON-FICTION ● JULY 2017 READING LIST ● MUST READ BOOKS

2. Subscription Marketing

By: Anne H. Janzer

If you’re interested at all in any subscription marketing service or having a membership club, or anything like that, this is a good read.

What I love about the idea of running a membership club is that it's so different and yet so similar to blogging. Obviously you're consistently providing content but you're also much more involved in the community and 1:1 aspect of connecting with your members. 

I currently sell courses to help people start and run a profitable blog. But what happens is that students buy the course, we work together for a little bit, and then they move on. I love that they're succeeding and progressing in their journey but I feel kind of bummed when we're no longer connecting!

I miss working with them, learning their story, brainstorming together, and chit chatting back and forth. So I started the Blogging Business Club because I wanted to nurture the community that I already had going.

BUT! Subscription marketing is just this beast that I don’t really know yet. I’m not very familiar with running a subscription site and, though I do see some similarities with blogging, I just feel like I’m way in over my head when it comes to this. This book has provided me with very helpful, basic tips to get my feet wet.

Looking for some good reads inspire you as a blogger or an entrepreneur? I’m always on the hunt for some good book suggestions and I’m sharing my fav ones from this month. Being a good blogger doesn’t always mean we read about “blogging” per se, 24/7- there are other books that’ll give us inspiration too! ●  GOOD READS ● NON-FICTION ● JULY 2017 READING LIST ● MUST READ BOOKS

3. Growing Up Social

By: Gary Chapman & Arlene Pellicane

I initially got this book with my child in mind. Obviously, in this day and age, our technology is just so different (with our iPhones, iPads, etc…) from what we had in the 90's when I was growing up.

I feel like my son James is far more technologically advanced than I ever was when I was three years old. I mean, hello! We had VHS tapes! Our kids don’t even understand the concept of having to wait and rewind a VHS before we can watch something. They just don't know the struggle...

So I grabbed this book because I thought it was going to be giving me some tips to make sure he isn’t totally obsessed with screen time 24/7. Then I found that some of these tips were really great for the whole family as well!

Kids these days spend so much time looking at screens, and that's all we do as bloggers as well. For example, if I’m not in front of a camera filming a vlog then I’m in front of some other device. I’m in front of one right now writing this and I'll be in front of one later when I'm editing graphics and sharing the post on social media. I’m constantly connected. 

One of the things that the author talks about is the importance of eye contact. When you spend so much time in front of a screen, you tend to move away from that and it’s a skill you don’t practice very often. A lot of lessons in this book really resonated with me, but that one in particular hit me pretty hard because I hadn't thought of practicing it at all.

So, if you or your family spends a lot of time in front of a screen, I definitely recommend taking a peek at this. It’s got some helpful tips that we all know is probably good for us, like turning off the TV an hour before bed time and things like that. It’s a good reminder for just getting back down to the basics and living without screens 24/7

Looking for some good reads inspire you as a blogger or an entrepreneur? I’m always on the hunt for some good book suggestions and I’m sharing my fav ones from this month. Being a good blogger doesn’t always mean we read about “blogging” per se, 24/7- there are other books that’ll give us inspiration too! ●  GOOD READS ● NON-FICTION ● JULY 2017 READING LIST ● MUST READ BOOKS

4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a…

By: Mark Manson

I loved this book! I had been avoiding it for some time because I have a young kid and I didn’t want that particular title just lying around the house. But it was at my library and I knew I had to check it out just by reading the first couple of pages. It is absolutely one of the best “no non-sense, get over it, you can do this” kind of books!

Warning: It’s definitely not for someone who wants to avoid that kind of language entirely, and that’s probably why I think I avoided it for so long.

If I could describe this book perfectly I would say that it's kind of like that best friend or sister that gives you the advice that you don’t want to hear but you desperately need to hear.

A good piece in this book is around page 100 where Manson talks about this boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. The girlfriend had done something wrong and the boyfriend was just feeling terrible about it. And then the boyfriend says, “Ultimately, while she was to blame for how I felt. She was never responsible for how I felt. I was.”

Looking for some good reads inspire you as a blogger or an entrepreneur? I’m always on the hunt for some good book suggestions and I’m sharing my fav ones from this month. Being a good blogger doesn’t always mean we read about “blogging” per se, 24/7- there are other books that’ll give us inspiration too! ●  GOOD READS ● NON-FICTION ● JULY 2017 READING LIST ● MUST READ BOOKS

I feel like this is the kind of stuff we need to hear because, as bloggers especially, we spend so.much.time. on social media and dealing with online relationships, which are sometimes kind of messy and not all roses and rainbows.

If you can get over the title of it (though I don’t think my mom would...ha!) you are absolutely going to love this book. It's so refreshing and it makes you feel far more optimistic about the path your life if going to take.

A Happier You Means a Happier Business

I know I’ve covered something different from my usual but running your blogging business doesn’t mean you have to read about blogging only, 24/7. Each one of these books helped me change my perspective on certain things and if I’m a healthier, happier me, I know that it will translate to my business and my blog. It can do the same for you too!

So if you’re looking for some inspiration outside of the blogging bubble, these books are a great start!

Do Most Bloggers Sell Products?

Today’s post is covering something that one of my students requested in my Blogging to Win course. (By the way, that course only opens four times a year. So if you’re interested in learning more about how to make money blogging or just building a successful blog in general, be sure to check it out here!)

My students wanted to know if most bloggers sell a product. It’s a really interesting question and I wish people asked it more often! A lot of bloggers (seasoned and newbies- we don't discriminate around here!) get stuck in the “ad revenue” or “affiliate income” boxes.

(DISCLAIMER: This post isn't to say that either way is "right." It was simply written to give you more information about what each scenario would look like so you can make your own educated decisions.)

While both of those income streams are great and wonderful in your business, they aren’t the only possible revenue streams for your business. So I’m really excited to be covering this topic and encourage more of you bloggers to make your own products! 

Think About Creating Your Own Products

I’ve never done an official survey so I'm not going to throw out a blanketed response saying, “Yes, most bloggers sell a product," because I don’t have actual data to support that. But I definitely encourage my own students to do so because of my own experience running my blogging business, as well as the experiences my peers have shared while running their own blogging businesses. 

If you’re a new blogger out there, I encourage you to think of creating your own products from Day 1! 

I know that doing so may seem like an enormous, unattainable project that you may never get to, but it’s really not as complicated as it sounds. It certainly requires hard work and has its own complexities but it’s not as hard and complicated as what most people make it to be.

The Scenario Where You Don’t Sell Products

Let’s talk about the blogs that don't have a product for a second- the one's whose income is based on either traffic or service-based sources. (And hey, like I mentioned before, whatever path you choose is the right path for you! This post isn't to say that either way is "right." It was simply written to give you more information about what each scenario would look like so you can make your own educated decisions.) 

One of my Blogging to Win students asked, “Do most bloggers sell a product?” I wish I got this question more often, especially when people are trying to make money blogging! Don’t underestimate the power of creating your own products. Let’s go over some math to make my point… ● DO MOST BLOGGERS SELL A PRODUCT ● MAKE MONEY BLOGGING

If you’re depending on traffic for your income, then you're busting your bootie every single day to get as many people as possible over to your website. 

Some examples of revenue streams that are dependent on traffic are ad revenue and affiliate income. Obviously, you're more likely to make an affiliate sale if you're increasing your traffic. But ad revenue is where you’re really counting on those pageviews because you only get paid when you get visitors to your site.

On the flip side, if you’re offering services then you're making money with each client but are trading time for dollars.

I used to offer services on my website but I don’t do it anymore because it took up a lot of my time. I have a young son at home and I realized that I was limiting how much money I could make to how many clients I could fit in my schedule. 

When my son was born (and all semblance of a typical schedule flew out the window), I decided that I needed more passive sources of income like ad revenue or selling products.

So yes, I'm an advocate of blogs that offer services because I did it myself. It's a great way to share your talents! But keep in mind that you’re always trading time for dollars and that as long as you’re taking time off, you’re not making money.

The Math – Ad Revenue

If I could go back in time and give myself a little piece of advice, it would be to stop stressing so much about bringing in new people and to start focusing on the readers I already had. I would say, "Allison, what are you doing?! Start making products and find other ways to make money that isn’t 100% dependent on ad revenue." While ad revenue is wonderful to have, it shouldn’t be the only thing I’m counting on.

Here’s an example of why most bloggers should try focusing more on selling products:

(This is an imaginary example based off of results I have had and the results my fellow bloggers have had. Results always vary based on niche, popularity, trends, etc.)

Let’s say that you work really really hard for a long time and that you’re getting 100,000 pageviews every single month. Let’s also say that you work with an ad company and you’re getting $10 CPM. 

(Cost per thousand (CPM) is a marketing term, meaning that you receive a certain amount for every 1,000 ad impressions on one page on your site.) 

So that means:

(100,000 pageviews/1,000) x $10 CPM = $1,000/month.

You’re bringing home $1,000 each month in ad revenue

The Math  - Selling Products

Now let’s look at what happens if you sell a product online.

Let’s say your focus is getting people on your email list through some sort of incentive that also coordinates with the product you offer.

We'll pretend you have 300 people on your list. This is a good size for a list but it isn’t huge and it shouldn’t take you that long if you’re bringing in the RIGHT people- subscribers who are interested in the topic of the product you're selling. It’s not 100,000 UNINTERESTED people, but 300 of the RIGHT people.

We'll also say that you have a product for $99 and that you’re average conversion rate is about 5% (That means 5% of the people that get on your e-mail list are also going to purchase your product). 

Let's do the math: 

(300 subscribers) x (5% conversion rate) x ($99 product) = $1,485/month

Obviously, bringing home $1,485 by selling products on your blog outperforms the ad revenue figure we calculated. But this also means you didn’t have to bust your butt, focusing solely on traffic. 

What you’re really doing in this scenario is capturing the audience that you already have even if it’s a bit smaller.

I know I’ve said this on the blog before but I'll say it again- integrating products into my business really changed things in so far as revenue and the audience that I’m attracting.

I love the fact that most of the people that are coming onto my site are very proactive and want to accomplish great things with their blog. I feel like by having a product on my site that encourages accomplishing and growing a blogging business, I'm able to meet a cool group of driven businesswomen. I love that! 

So there you have it- two scenarios to consider when you’re deciding whether or not you should sell products on your blog!

Love how the Math just shows it clearly. Having products to sell on your blog allows you to make income from your blogging business in a more efficient way. It means you can get the opportunity to earn the same amount of money (if not more) compared to relying only on ad revenue or services with less time and effort spent. I hope this has inspired you to start thinking about adding value through products you can sell. 

(DISCLAIMER: This post isn't to say that either way is "right." It was simply written to give you more information about what each scenario would look like so you can make your own educated decisions.)