Over the past couple of months I’ve come across a number of ebooks on the topic of making money from blogs. I bought them with the hope of finding some quality products to recommend and in the hope of discovering some new techniques to try out.
My reaction after reading them (I bought and read five) and after perusing the sales pages of others is that there is an increasing amount misinformation circulating on the topic of Professional Blogging.
Here are some of the lies (or half truths) of Professional Blogging Resources:
1. Don’t Get a Job, Get a Blog
Over the years I’ve heard a number of people saying they’re quitting their jobs to become Pro Bloggers without having any actual income from blogging first. Here’s a reality check post on this lie.
2. Reaching the Six Figure Earnings Mark doesn’t take long
Some of the material circulating on blogging for money makes it sound like all you need to do is follow a simple process and you’ll quickly earn your fortune. The truth of the matter is that it takes almost all successful Pro bloggers at least a couple of years to get enough momentum on their blogs to earn much.
3. Blogging for Money is Easy
I’ve heard the words ‘Passive Income’ used to describe Pro Blogging on numerous occasions. Unfortunately this couldn’t be further from the truth. While there is an element of passivity to it once you’ve been going for a while (the way your archives work for you for example) the truth is that blogging is something that needs not only a long period of time but regular effort to keep posting frequency and quantity up.
4. Pick High Paying Keywords
One Blogging for Money resource that I recently read wrote that the key to making money from blogs was to target the highest paying topics to blog about. This is a poor strategy on two fronts. Firstly to sustain a blog for the long term (see #2) it’s much better to be writing about something that you either enjoy, are interested in or have some knowledge of. Secondly the problem with this approach is that the web is flooded with others writing on many of these topics and only a few get to the top of the pile. In my experience it can be just as profitable (if not more so) to pick a smaller niche and dominate it (or be a big fish in a small pond)
5. You Will Make More Money than your Wildest Dreams
I’m not sure what your wildest dreams are but while some bloggers do make reasonably good money from blogging – there are very few who have attained a level of being able to retire to the Bahamas. Perhaps we’re a few years away from this sort of level of achievement for top bloggers – but the reality is that the vast majority of bloggers are barely able to earn enough to keep them in coffee.
6. Starting a Blogging Business Won’t Cost you Anything
This is an interesting one because I actually saw it written on the sales page for a blogging product that cost a considerable amount of money. Now on many levels blogging can be a very low cost thing to get into. There are plenty of options for free hosting, blog platforms etc – however to make money you generally do need to spend it and blogging cost you both in financial terms but also in other ways (time, energy, emotional stress etc). They might not be massive overheads (in fact friends of mine with their own businesses are amazed by my lack of costs) but there are costs (hosting and design for example).
7. You Don’t need any Experience or Qualifications
This is another one with an element of truth to it. Blogging is a very accessible thing for people of all walks of life, education levels and cultural backgrounds. However I’ve ‘met’ (virtually) quite a few successful Pro bloggers over the last year or two and most do have a certain level of education, many have had another profession and many have a history in some creative or communications industry – either that or they’ve had a long history of blogging and have accumulated a lot of experience along the road. I’m not saying that it’s impossible for the uneducated, young or inexperienced blogger to become successful – however the sad reality is that it’s a fairly rare thing (hopefully this will change).
8. Lots of People are Making Lots of Money
My poll of readers earnings earlier in the year begs to differ with this one. Yes some readers are making some great money – but they are in the minority.
9. Build a blog Network, you’ll sell it for Millions (Weblogs Inc did and so can you!)
Yes WIN did make a lot of money when they sold their network of blogs to AOL – millions even. It’s an example that is regularly pulled out to prove all kinds of things – however Weblogs Inc is one of hundreds of blog networks and in my memory it is the only one to sell for millions. Blog Networks take a lot of hard work and while I’m sure more will be attractive purchases in the future I’m not convinced that the majority of them will attract the big dollars.
10. Follow these Ten ‘Rules’ and You’ll Make Money Blogging
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about teaching people how to blog for money – it is that as soon as you come up with a rule for bloggers to follow you’ll find that it only works on some blogs some of the time. Ten step plans that promise amazing results all of the time don’t really fit with my experience of blogging. I find that blogs often perform best when bloggers break away from the ‘rules’ and find their own way.
11. Just use these ‘tools’ and You’ll get Free Content that Will Make you Money
Unfortunately the majority of promises like this present people with ‘tools’ that are dubious (at best) and downright unethical (at worst). The underbelly of the ProBlogosphere is full of all kinds of ‘tools’ that create blogs with thousands of pages of content in no time at all – unfortunately this isn’t really blogging – it’s called spamming and while it seems to make a small amount of people some money – it seems to leave most users of these tools with little or nothing at all.