Does Blogging for Money Work or Not? 6 Noob Mistakes

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CC: True Fans by Vanderlin.

Recently a Newsweek article by the “fake Steve Jobs” [Daniel Lyons] blogger basically denounced blogging for money or in other words depicted problogging as a myth. Well, not really, it said

you can’t make “huge amounts money” or “grow rich” by blogging.

I’m a professional blogger by now, that is I earn most of my money blogging. Although my path to become a professional blogger was rather unique and I tried to achieve that since at least 2005 it shows it’s possible. Also along the way I learned what works and what not.

The author of the Newsweek article tried to earn money blogging as if blogs were the same as main stream media. Blogging is different and requires a different business model.

There are many different business models out there that work, the old media copycat business model does not work apparently. I want to outline why. Also I will tell you what works instead.

The Newsweek author was blogging for huge non targeted traffic and monetization by Adsense: It was not enough, just pocket money.

He did 6 things wrong here:

  1. Blogging for just one blog
  2. Blogging all by himself
  3. Blogging for huge traffic.
  4. Blogging for non targeted traffic.
  5. Blog Monetization by Adsense.
  6. Nothing to sell/offer

He could have done better by changing one or a few things.

Blogging for just one blog
You won’t make a living by blogging for just one blog. This is a fact. You need a few blogs. Even the original Problogger has at least 3 of them.

Blogging all by yourself
Most successful professional bloggers work in teams. Either they are paid writers on group blogs by companies that pay them and/or other people blog for them either for free or for low pay.

Blogging for huge traffic
Monetization of huge traffic works best by CPM (cost per mille/ thousands page views) ads. Huge untargeted traffic means people flock to a site take a short look and leave to never come back. They especially don’t click ads. With CPM ads they don’t have to. Just the act of opening a web page and seing the ad completes the required action to get paid.
Most bloggers won’t have such huge traffic though. Most people will have to aim lower. Thousands of visitors are already many for bloggers.

Blogging for non targeted traffic
Nowadays the mass market does not work whether it’s in music, art or writing. It’s all about the niche. You have to find a niche, a following of people who really care for the subject and for you as an author, the so called 1000 true fans.

Adsense
Apart from the people who’d subscribe to your blog you need to write for Google, that is for search traffic. In case you want to use metaphors as headlines it won’t work. You have to name things. In the best case you write about products, mention their names and people searching for them find your blog and buy them through your blog. For this purpose Adsense is not the best option.
In case your blog is really crappy or spammy Adsense might work, but for real blogs it does not. The only way it might work is when people coming via Google search do NOT find what they seek and they click the ads hoping to find it there instead.

Nothing to sell/offer
Once you have your 1000 true fans you have to offer something of value to exactly these people. Be it

  • consulting
  • a digital product like an ebook
  • a membership forum

or anything else that might be of use to them. These things might vary. It depends on your niche. You could sell videos in the health niche for instance.

This is not the whole story, just a short overview of the typical 6 noob mistakes when it comes to blogging for money. Stop acting as if blogging is TV, radio or print.

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