The Downside of Starting a Blog for Money
There is plenty of talk online about blogging being an excellent opportunity for the average person to make money online, and I know many Blogtrepreneur readers are bloggers themselves. In general, I agree that there is money to be made for the blogger that is willing to put in the effort and have the patience for real results. However, I also feel that there is a downside to this approach that doesn’t get enough attention.
Of course, most of us as bloggers enjoy talking about the upside and the potential, but I think it’s only fair to present a balanced look at the topic. If you are a new blogger or an aspiring online entrepreneur, I hope you will look at both sides of the issue before deciding if blogging is the right path to pursue in your entrepreneurial efforts. Obviously, what’s right for one of us is not always right for everyone else.
The Dirty Aspects of Blogging to Make Money:
Constant Work – I enjoy blogging, at least as of today. At some point I expect this will change, whether that’s six months from now or six years from now. Making money as a blogger requires constant effort, constant writing, constant idea generation, and constant maintenance. Stop posting and most likely your blogging income will dry up pretty fast.
There are other ways to make money online without this type of constant effort (for a great series of articles see Courtney Tuttle’s keyword sniping). Adnan has also written a few times about pay-per-click marketing, which is a method many affiliate marketers use. Blogging on the other hand, forces constant effort to get on-going results.
Susceptible To Trends – If you build a popular blog on a particular topic that is hot today, it could just as easily be gone tomorrow. Blogging trends, like any other type of trends, come and go. In order to capitalize on a current trend you may spend a lot of time and effort on something that can be unappreciated in a matter of time. This can also be an issue with other methods of making money online, but building a successful, money-making blog takes far more time than many other online efforts, so it’s harder to drop a blog and move on to another project.
Blogs are Generally Not Good for Ad-Clicking Revenue – Any type of pay-per-click program that you use on your blog (such as AdSense) will generally perform below average on blogs. Of course, this varies greatly and it partially depends on the niche you’re in, but generally other types of sites are better for ad-clicking. Blog visitors come to the blog to read content, so they typically will look right past the ads.
Monetization Can Be Somewhat Limited – Selling banner ad space or text link ads is clearly a leading method of monetization for many blogs. Readers and visitors tend to accept these advertisements as necessary and they don’t get too put off by them. On the other hand, some specific monetization methods are shunned by a percentage of blog readers, including affiliate links, paid reviews, and contextual ads. Again, this depends on your audience, but blog visitors can be a bit fickle at times. If this is the case with your blog, you may find monetization to be more difficult than you had anticipated.
Burnout – As I mentioned earlier, I doubt I’ll blog forever. But even blogging for about a year I have already outlasted most of those who started at the same time I did. Every one of us will face at least temporary burnout from time-to-time. A more serious and longer-lasting burnout will make it difficult or impossible to maximize the money-making potential of your blog.
Vacation? – Have you ever tried to go on a vacation from your blog? It’s not very easy. In fact, I think I’ve managed only one weekend away from blogging in the past 9 months. Sure, you can prepare posts ahead of time, but there is always the maintenance of the blog and the constant flow of comments and emails. Run a static website on the other hand, and vacations should be a non-issue.
Competition – With literally thousands and thousands of new blogs being launched each day, blogging is probably one of the most competitive ways to make money online. If you’re confident about your abilities and willing to put in the work the competition may not bother you, but it eventually gets the best of most bloggers. Yes, there will be competition with any worthwhile online venture, but I feel that blogging may be at the top of the list.
Something For Nothing Mentality – Because of the nature of blogs that involves constant publication of new posts, many blog readers and subscribers have developed a mentality that nothing online is worth paying for. If you are hoping to build up a blog in order to promote a specific product, a subscription-based service, or anything else along those lines, it may be more difficult than you are expecting. The best bloggers and marketers can do this successfully, but not every good blogger is able to.
What Are Your Thoughts?
As I said at the start of the post, I do believe that blogging presents a great opportunity to make money online, however I think all of these issues should be communicated as well. Where do you stand on the issue? Do you blog? If so, do you blog in effort to make money? Please share your opinions and lessons that you have learned from personal experiences.
This post was written by Steven Snell.