Do customers read blogs? Yes, they do. Does blogging work for corporates? Yes, it does. Is blogging – as a phenomenon — on a perpetual state of rise? Yes, it clearly is. So, will blogging make money? That’s a million dollar question that seems to have all sorts of answers.
John Bardos, a location independent blogger who maintains JetSetCitizen.com, takes the trouble to show you at least 14 travel bloggers who are making money. He does understand that just an inspiring list of 14 rich bloggers won’t help, so he goes out and publishes a post to show the dark reality of blogging where he takes the pain to tell you why blogging is a lousy way to make money online.
If you’ve been thinking that there’s no recourse from this apparent lousiness – as far as making money from blogging is concerned – you are wrong. There are ways to do it, only if you shed whatever you know. Here are a few things bloggers don’t think about or do, but they could:
Blogging is a business; it’s just not treated that way
It’s easy to start blogging and everyone knows that. It’s hard to consider a blog as a business. Yet, when it’s considered as a business and if you invested, managed, and ran your blog as one, the results would be different.
Bloggers act independently, work all by themselves, and set themselves to a punishing schedule that their editorial calendar subjects them to. They hustle, bring in the traffic, do guest blogging, talk to other bloggers, link out to other bloggers, work on SEO, manage their content quality, develop content, do social media, and practically do everything by themselves.
What if this blog was run like a business? What if there were a team of writers, virtual assistants, researchers, marketers, and social media specialists? Would the blog see different results?
TechCrunch, GigaOm, BoingBoing.net, Neil Patel of Kissmetrics.com, and Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.org – all of them started off as simple blogs driven by one blogger at first. Later they grew to be publishing powerhouses all by themselves.
Leverage never fails, ever. Bloggers don’t do this, but they should.
Blogs have marketing weaknesses
It’s not about the blogger’s budget; it’s more about the attitude. Bloggers resign themselves to stay in the “little guy” category and they don’t invest in media buying. They don’t develop a systematic approach to a relentless series of campaigns using guest blogging, email marketing, PPC, and SEO. They spend less and less on actually developing copy that works and spend on nothing instead. There are affordable tools for social media management, for instance, and very few actually invest.
First develop focus areas that you know you’d have to spend on marketing channels that work for you. For instance, you might need to set aside a budget for content development. Then, set budget aside for social media management. Decide how much you can spend in a month and look at experimenting with PPC, banners, advertising on other blogs etc.
Bloggers consider themselves as small time publishers and not entrepreneurs, all the while thinking that all this marketing is for “businesses” and not “blogs” – now, you see why blogs end up where they are, don’t you?
Rotting in a blog directory, are you?
Ushered into self-publishing with an undying enthusiasm to make it big, bloggers set-up their blog, rush and list their blog on a blog directory, do some random social media thing, grow their networks, and set about writing content. After a while, they give up content development to professional bloggers. How long will this go on? Apparently, not long enough. Give it an adrenaline-filled 6 months, active 2 years, patient 4 years and then it’s time to quit.
One look at the popular blogs out there and you’ll realize that they went past this testing phase of more than 5 – 6 years of continuous blogging. Great blogs are characterized by blogging every day, multiple posts per day, relentless engagement with readers, and a never-ending zeal.
Are just posted on a blog directory or are making others chase you for a mention on your blog?
You are your own enemy
“I want my blog to look this way”.
“I will not use WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal”
“My blog post should be 500-600 words long”.
“Make sure that keywords fit into the first part of the title, the second line of the second paragraph, and the last line of the last paragraph. The keyword density should be 3 – 4% and should appear 8 times within the post”
“All freelance writers are fake. I’ll hire only in the U.S”
“Social media? That’s for losers with time on their hands. I am busy”
“Guest posts? For free? I ain’t writing a word without someone paying me for it”
“I don’t have the time to build an email list. Isn’t my blog enough? Why email?”
Do you see how these strong opinions could be killing your own blogging success? There’s no one way a blog should look like. How many times do you want to be slapped by one of those pet Pandas from Google before you understand that you got to write for humans and not spiders? Who says anything about X keyword density, publish frequency of Y times a week, and other such rules?
Most of what you read on the web is trash. It’s been written, and then others rehash it write it all over again. While very few are experts and they do know what they are talking about; everyone else is out with their opinion on their fingers. On the Internet, you are the only one you should be listening to.
Where are the rules? Who makes them anyway? Wasn’t this supposed to be your blog? Defy conventions (which isn’t much, taking 10+ year old web into consideration), focus on quality content, reach out and maximize your engagement.
No blogger exists without a community
Some bloggers shut off the comments section of their blog, forever. They don’t participate in forums or communities. They are not to be seen on social media. They don’t connect, interact, and respond. Perhaps they have grown too big to bother responding to others (did you ever try to get Darren Rowse or Chris Brogan to respond to your Twitter tweets? Try it out. They most likely won’t). Well, they can pull it off; not you.
Build a network; go after every ReTweet, FB fan page message, email, and comment. Reach out to others. Let them know you are there.
Pursue an active communication program out on the social web. Communicate, resolve others’ problems, motivate or inspire someone, add more information to an ongoing forum conversation. Engage on Quora and LinkedIn – all of this, continuously, forever.
Form active relationships with other bloggers by writing awesome guest posts for them (for no charge). Support them by mentioning them in your blog. Write about them, interview them, or just mention them on Twitter.
Look for your own kind. Danny Iny did all of that. Why can’t you?