Reality of Blogging
When it comes to blogging, it seems as easy a way to make money as breathing or walking.
In that it’s natural. Expressing your opinions that is. So what could be easier than that?
Except… how many opinions do you have?
Because, let me tell you, when you exhaust that five or six topics that you know really well, have experience of and a well thought out opinion on, and used them for your first posts (and they’ve been largely ignored by Google and the world)… what are you going to post on after that?
Even with subjects you’re genuinely passionate about, you’re going to run out of things to say, or get tired of saying the same things but in different ways.
When it comes to reviewing, it can get even harder. A good review delves into the product and tries to tell you something you couldn’t find elsewhere.
A review just to funnel you to an affiliate link tells you what several someone else’s wrote, and summarises it for you in 1,000 words or less.
So, be wary the ‘review’ sites that post every. single. day.
From the same author.
With post titles that always include the word “scam” or “legit” in them: that’s just click bait.
A lot of these sites are just essentially recycling the same review. It’s gotta be a grind too, churning out posts on a conveyor belt like that, and trying to come up with new ways to repeat yourself without violating Google’s “duplicate content” penalty, and not even getting your work ranked anymore.
I just couldn’t do that. On one hand I admire the dedication and discipline, on the other I’m wondering just where on the autistic scale do the people doing that, place?
Because there’s got to be something going on with a person who can post like that and not burn out or get bored with it.
You can see it, too, in the writing: it’s repetitive. There’s no ‘soul’ in it, no voice, no sense of who the author really is, or what they think.
It’s robotic. It’s by the numbers… It draws traffic.
Yup, it does.
If you’re really treating your blog as a business, that’s what you care about, so it does make sense on one level to posts as much as you can, and the hell with if you’re happy writing it or not: it’s your job.
But I have a day job… and a life… and I couldn’t write every day, even if I wanted. Even if I had a subject I was bursting to post on, and was totally au fait with.
I like to research a subject, get involved with it if I can, before I write up my opinion. That makes it all so much easier – to write out your own thoughts, rather than trying to artfully rearrange other bloggers’ opinions to make your own post on the subject.
So, like I said, I think there’s gotta be something “missing” in anyone who can write on the same subject daily.
That’s a machine, not a person, and as such you’re getting a “spun” post, not a real review talking from experience.
But like I said, that’s maybe not relevant when you’re treating this like a business. You just bash the posts out, and if you get enough traffic, you’ll make some money. Throw enough darts and some will stick in other words.
So, do you want to do that? Commit to post every day? To finding a new topic everyday and honestly researching it, and then honestly saying what you think? It can take me seven or eight hours to write up a two to three thousand word post. A couple of hours for anything over a thousand words – and that’s me just riffing on something I know well and don’t have to research.
Those posts don’t last long though, like I said, and you’ll exhaust them soon enough. Then the real work of blogging begins.
Especially when you read all those “how to get blog traffic” posts as you sit there with your single digit post count and a couple of visitors a day (if you’re lucky, and you’re not even sure if they’re not web bots), looking at blogs 10yrs old with a 100k visitors a month and a four figure post count.
That’s where you need to be though, to make money. The biggest earning blogs are invariably the oldest, and their authors had fortitude and discipline to keep going, when everyone else dropped out.
Of course you think that’s you too… but being honest with yourself, what have you ever really stuck at before in your life? The gym? That diet? Finish that book you started reading?
This is the long game, and there’s going to be no overnight riches.
There’s money to be made convincing folks there’s overnight riches to be had, those huscksters are all over the Facebook news feed, but the reality is, that it takes time, and the patience of a monk.
For long periods you’re going to publishing posts wondering if you’re speaking to yourself? And when they are read, as your Google Analytics tells you they are, you wonder if they’re any good as no one reading seems to feel compelled to comment.
You feel afloat on the vast sea of the Web, with ne’er land or another vessel in sight.
But you’ve got a compass and a paddle, and you’re just going to have to take it one stroke at a time.
It’ll be just as tiring too, paddling your way to port.
Which is why so few people stick at it and keep going.
You have to enjoy it. If it’s really a chore, really work, to do this, you are just not going to keep at it.
You day job is work, and yeah, you get into affiliate blogging hoping to get out of that, to make money living the laptop lifestyle, and reckon if you can put up with the day job, you can barrel through the blogging ‘job’ too…
Except, whatever you think of the day job, you get paid for being there. With this, you will spend hours for no reward. Hours that when you total them up will extend into days and weeks… all for nada; zip; nothing; not even a comment.
I won’t gild the lily, it’s disheartening.
So, you maybe think you’re doing something wrong – with all of your dozen posts or so – and look at something else… like ecommerce and drop-shipping maybe.
Maybe there’s easier money to be made there? A faster track to a five figure monthly income and a life of freedom?
There’s certainly the opportunity to lose five figures on banal programs purporting on how to teach that, all with a no refund policy and a guru who doesn’t seem to make a living by actually ‘doing’ what he’s teaching (and who you can find no mention of, outwith his or her own marketing).
Truth is too, a lot of the highest earning blogs you read of, they weren’t started with the intention of making a buck, it just sort of happened as they got bigger and drew more traffic. They cashed-in other words, and there was no grand strategy or plan, they just blogged and got noticed, and found an audience.
It was only after find themselves successful that a lot of these blogs sort of retro-actively claimed a “plan,” and now sell it or give away portions as “tips” drawn from it in exchange for your email.
The point that shouldn’t be lost though, is that those successful blogs were authentic voices, not a factory production line of posts.
I think there has to be a middle ground. You can’t be a machine and you shouldn’t do this solely for the expectation of financial reward either.
You have to do this – blogging – because it’s largely a pleasure. It won’t always be, but it should be more often than not.
And don’t expect to be a millionaire from writing up your thoughts on product reviews, be that within whatever niche. Just write them because they need to be told; because you need to let them out of you.
Like you need to tell someone what you thought of that film you saw, or the last episode of your favourite TV series.
And remember that you also watch a lot of stuff that isn’t worth a damn, or worth mentioning. So that’s not going to get your muse motoring if you try to go to the keyboard with it.
But, all that said, you can make money online from blogging. I’m documenting the journey of this blog, which at some fifteen months old is still an internet stripling- but has already made some money.
Nothing to retire on yet, but I keep my expectations managed accordingly, and approach this blog as an enjoyable “diary” and am careful not to sicken myself of it by forcing myself to it when I don’t want to write, or have nothing to say.
I still have discipline with it however, and try to post reasonably regularly (but some months have been better than others, I admit).
So, be realistic about this and don’t kid yourself. Don’t look for a return immediately or even within six months; it ain’t gonna happen for 99% of people who publish a blog amidst the morass of other blogs published daily, looking for elbow room or a space above the canopy.
And that’s what you’re doing, growing as a root from the ground up, reaching up to the sunlight, trying to get your head above the rest of the trees.
It takes time, and there’s no circumventing it.
But I’ll tell you, the time’s going to pass anyway, that year, or two years, or five years… it’s up to you how you spend it.
Me, I’m doing a little investing.
The resource that’s been most helpful to me, and set me on my blogging business path, is Wealthy Affiliate.
It’s not for everyone – you can chase internet riches by betting it all on red or black with money draining programs like MOBE – so for gamblers who think they’re going to have more luck than the odds predict, Wealthy Affiliate won’t be their thing.
If you’re a little more realistic though, appreciate Rome wasn’t built in a day, and have the patience and mentality I spoke of… this could really be your thing.
You can read my review here.
Recommended further reading:
I read this one a few years ago now, but the principles remain the same, and it’s a cheap buy.
How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog
By Bob Lotich