Don’t Make Money Blogging

July 20, 2008

Do you sometimes get bored by the “blogosphere”? No matter what is the topic you read blogs on, most of them are all saying the same: Tips on how to do X and Y (tips that you know for years), “news” that you can read everywhere, contests, and same old talk. I don’t mean to offend you if you are a blogger – certainly there are some interesting reads and some very creative bloggers. But they are the minority.

Make money blogging image
Photo by jimw at Flickr

It wouldn’t be boring if all people who write blogs had something to say

Most bloggers don’t blog because they have something to say. They blog because they think they must blog – usually because they want to make money.

What does it take to make money blogging? Most recipes say: blog every day, publish a lot of how-to articles, lists, controversial stuff, interact with other bloggers, get linked, get RSS subscribers, get on Digg, and so on. What the recipe writers miss to tell you is that’s this is a damn hard and inefficient way to make money (online or not). It’s hard unless you are a genius or at least very creative – but then you will have something to say to the world and would not blog primary for money.

Blogging for the money leads to several crappy outcomes that you notice every day in your feed reader:

  • Many boring blogs
  • How-to stuff that you know
  • X reasons that… that you don’t care about
  • Mindless interviews
  • Pointless contests
  • Biased product reviews
  • Rehashed stuff that you have read many times

Look at your own blog and honestly say how many of the above paddings you post on regular basics. If there are more than 3, chances are you are blogging for money and your blog is boring.

And how much do you make from it?

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There are better ways to make money online and offline

Honestly I don’t know where that idea about “make money blogging” come from. My bet is that some of those boring “make money online” gurus has come with it. And he has really made money from his blog on “how to make money blogging”, because few million newbies subscribed to his feed, clicked on his ads and bought the recommended e-books.

Since most bloggers make less money in a month that they would do for a day by cleaning windows, it comes to my mind that there are much better ways to make money (like cleaning windows for example). If you are so freaking fiery on making the money online*, there are much better ways to do it. Just look at the list and if interested, search Google for more info:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • PPC marketing
  • Selling on Ebay
  • E-commerce
  • Freelancing and consulting
  • Telecommuting
  • Making niche sites and earning from ads
  • Keyword sniping, spamming, scamming, black hat, porn, warez (all the gray stuff)
  • Creating membership services
  • Writing e-books and selling them

I came up with this list in just 5 minutes. Certainly there are more. I have not tried all the methods, but all of the several ones I have tried make more money easier than blogging.

Once again, think if you are writing your blog because you have something to say or you are writing it because you hope to make money. If it is the latter, stop blogging today and try something else. Well, except your idea about making money from the blogs goes behind direct monetization. Read below what I mean.

Blogging as a business

I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying to make some money from your blog. There are few ads on this one as well (and they are making money for few burgers as you can expect).

But the main reason to run a blog should never be ads. If you blog for business reasons, so be it – use the blog to profit because of it and not directly from it. What do I mean? Blogs are good social marketing tools. Your blog is efficient for showing your expertise, for networking with other people, for building a subscribers list and for receiving genuine feedback.

When you have a successful blog with a good number of subscribers and regular readers, you are ready to establish and promote your paid products and services. It sounds like using the blog for advertising, but it is not. It’s the authority of your blog that will help you build a business around it – it’s not only the number of readers that can directly receive the message.

Said in other way, if a popular blogger goes to another blogger and asks for a joint venture deal for his new product or service, chances are the deal will happen (unless the offer is crap). If “Mr. Noone” goes to let’s say Lifehacker blog and offer them a deal, his offer probably won’t get any attention.

* As I am in the software field and software is easily distributed online, it comes natural for me to look for ways to make money without leaving my desk. “Online” fits that well. But I will never understand why wouldn’t someone who knows best how to fix cars open they own offline car fixing service instead of trying to write a blog about fixing cars? If I drove a car I would prefer a good professional to fix it for me instead of reading how to fix my car on his blog. He will make $0.05 from my visit to his blog, I will lose my time reading it and trying to fix my car myself. And finally I’ll end up paying to another professional to fix the stupid car. Me and the blogger are both fooled because he wants to make money online. Seriously, WTH?

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22 Comments

  1. Curt

    I think you’re on to something. Making money blogging can be an illusion. A good strategy is to use a blog to establish yourself as an expert and then use your blog to market your professional services.

  2. Jakob Dupont Knudsen

    Oh my! This is soo true! Reading thru the different RSS feeds which I subscribe to, almost feels like homework! I agree with you!

  3. Four Pillars

    Hey, you’ve just described my blog! 🙂 Just kidding (I hope!)

    Great post – I’m not saying we don’t do some of what you say but some blogs are just terrible for it.

    Mike

  4. admin

    Actually I was trying to describe mine 😀
    Thanks for the comments mates, sometimes browsing my feed reader is pissing me off – especially when I reach the folder called ‘online marketing gurus’ *grin*

  5. Andys

    Great post mate. I love these straight up, fair dinkum posts.

  6. Francois Viljoen

    You’re right, trying to make money off just-another-blog is chasing pennies.

    I suppose if you want to blog, have something you’re passionate about, and know a lot about, and let your primary motivation be to share that passion.

    If money should come off it, it’ll happen naturally!

  7. NtJS

    Thanks for having the guts to say it.

  8. alan

    lool..yep indeed. Excellent article 🙂

    I know for sure that my blog won’t replace my day job anytime soon – heck as you say I’d be better off cleaning windows.

    Cheers, and best of luck to all the bloggers out there.

    Alan

  9. admin

    Hey Alan, nice to see you around. Back from your long vacation?

  10. BradM

    I agree. I can’t even count how many “mark all as read” I have done in my RSS reader to an ENTIRE blog because it turns out the topics were all ill planned boring rehashed BS. There ARE blogs out there with regular good solid content but they are few and far between. I read maybe 5 good ones every single day – aside from that most blogs about say “Green” just share the same content every month.

  11. Wendy

    I originally started my blog to collect traffic for my online business (selling necklaces), but it turned out that I enjoyed blogging for its own sake and have kept with it because of that.

    I agree completely with what you say about the content padding (I say as I scan my recent posts). Thanks for the reminder.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of putting up some ads, but am hesitant to open it up to most of the companies willing to pay for ads.

    And as for choosing between making money blogging and being a window cleaner, there are lots of other things to take into account. Like the fact that I’m a stay at home mom who homeschools. A job at home would fit nicely into our lifestyle.

    And I don’t think that all information on blogs is stuff that people already know (or that they couldn’t do anyway). Wasn’t there a story about a guy in Africa that built a wind turbine for his village using plans he found on the internet? I think information is the most valuable commodity we have. And under the right circumstances, you should be able to make more money providing the info for how to do something than you would doing it yourself. In theory.

  12. admin

    Thanks everyone for the comments. It looks like I am definitely not the only one who uses “mark all read” feature in the feed reader. I do it most often in the “online marketing/make money online” category, but it happens even to PF blogs.
    @Wendy, yes, there is plenty of good information online, I am far away of saying all is crap. But the useful to noise ratio is probably less than 1:100 with blogs.

  13. Abdmalik

    Thanks for a good read. Truly describe me and my blog. Frankly, I start blogging with the intention to make money online, focus on it for about 3-4 months but still can’t get much.

    Recently I started to join ppc program and my earning for 1 day is more than my one month income from blog advertising (maybe because i’m just a crap blogger).

    Anyway, good read and keep writing.

  14. Chin

    Yep, there are lots of ways to make money online. I try to make mine in a mutually beneficial way, though. I provide tips that help people save money, but put my service out there in the off-chance they might use it.

    I agree with you on another score: monetized blogs have crappy entries.

  15. Benjamin Dinsmore

    🙁

    And all this time I thought that visitors to my site actually wanted to hear what I had to say!

    You’ve made some great points Shark! I’ve long given up on hopes of getting rich off my blog, I still enjoy writing the articles though and hope that I can keep up the writing for a while!

  16. Rick Vaughn

    I agree quiet often I get bored with blogging. However, if I were doing it straight for the money I would have been out months ago. Interesting business model you promoted there in the end I will need to look into this.

  17. So

    it seems to me that youre in fact a succesfull blogger. and even though you are right in this, it is suspicious 🙂 LOL!!!!
    I started blogging because i like it. Now, I hope to earn some money just enough to publish a book!

  18. admin

    It depends how you define sucess, So. If it’s about money, I still have a long way to go *sigh*

  19. Shaun Connell

    I couldn’t agree more. Plus, when you DO start making money, you have to constantly work the blog. Every day is the same, but with a static website you don’t have to kill yourself consistently thinking up new content. One new addition a month would be fine, if that much.

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  22. Ace

    I think the problem isn’t the blogging, most of it will be repetitive ideas anyway. Most bloggers get into it without a goal or reason for blogging. If the reason is make money without a clear outline on how to achieve it, things will get boring really fast.

    People who blog about how much they love their cheesecake probably gets more views/money than something useful.