There are many types of methods that support the monetization of a blog: PPC ads, affiliate marketing, lead capturing, banner ads, and other variations of these strategies. All of the strategies work to some extent, but ultimately, your credibility will make or break conversions.
You don’t have to stop fine-tuning your ad campaigns, but if you want to generate a higher level of income from your blog, you’ll need to shift some heavy focus toward developing your online credibility.
What credibility is and why you should seek it
As explained by IncredibleMessages.com, credibility is the power to inspire belief. “For example, a credible witness is one whom we have reason to believe. Credibility implies a commitment to truth, fairness, and objectivity. In addition, we assign high credibility to people who have clear moral standards and who are known to stick to them.”
Key facets of credibility include transparency, trustworthiness, and moral predictability. Nothing bolsters trustworthiness more than keeping your promises. When you’re the owner of a blog, keeping your promises to visitors is vital.
A promise is something that creates an expectation
You might assume that you haven’t made any promises to visitors. However, many promises are implied. To assess what promises you might have extended, you need to expand your awareness of what constitutes a promise.
If something creates an expectation, it carries a promise, even if the word “promise” never surfaces. You could argue forever that you never made any actual promises, but that won’t let you off the hook from your visitors’ perspective.
Not following through to meet their expectations inevitably fosters disappointment, and if you disappoint your visitors, you lose credibility. Many of them simply won’t believe you anymore.
Lead magnet titles are implied promises
Nothing offers a better example of an implied promise than a lead magnet. If your lead magnet reads something like “How to Get Published in a Popular Magazine in Just 30 Days,” there’s an implied promise in there whether you intended one or not. In effect, you’ve just promised readers they would be published within 30 days.
Marketing psychology dictates that a solid title will get you more downloads and therefore more leads; however, when people don’t get published in 30 days, the title you used to entice them may well be the reason those visitors will choose never to return.
Others who have been through the repeated experience of being let down by other sites’ lead magnets may not even download yours; they’ll read the title, decide it’s a scam, and move on.
Tips for boosting your credibility
What are you promising your visitors? Does your content deliver on those promises? Scour your site for implied promises and expectations. Remove or rewrite anything that looks gimmicky, especially lead magnet titles. If you’re an affiliate, be transparent about it. It’s now required by law.
Credible sites follow through on promises and deliver the content their visitors expect. Affiliate relationships are stated transparently, and there are few to no surprise shifts into subjectivity.
Mattress Clarity is an example of a monetized blog that meets the criteria for credibility. Reviews are objective and based on personal experience. (The owner literally sleeps on all the mattresses and uses all the products that get reviewed on the site.) In addition, the reviews often cover the points where products fall short.
Be dedicated to your visitors’ success. With regard to lead magnets, you walk a fine line between inspiring your visitors and letting them down.
Rework lead magnets so they produce the results they promise. Make yourself readily available for questions if someone gets stuck. Only write about what you know and have experienced directly. If you’re not qualified to write the report, hire someone who is.
Be committed to the notion that everyone who downloads your material will achieve the result you’re promising. Write from that point of view. Don’t just write reports with the intention of generating leads. Write them to provide real value to your visitors. Holding yourself to a higher standard will increase the quality of your material and (over time) your credibility.
Whose coattails can you ride on? Credibility can be strengthened through associations, which is why businesses display the logos of recognizable companies with whom they do business.
Have you been published anywhere that’s well known? Have you worked with anyone who has a great reputation in the industry? If so, seek their permission to display their logo on your website.
Know what you’re selling. Don’t sell affiliate products from a company you haven’t personally interacted with. Be willing to purchase the product and experience it directly, because that’s what your visitors will experience, as well. If the event is substandard, your readers are going to hold you responsible.
Your credibility is in your hands
Building credibility is as simple as meeting the expectations you set for your visitors. All you have to keep in mind is that you can control the expectations you set.