There are scores of great websites that can give wonderful tips on how to make money with a blog. I regularly read problogger.net and a few others primarily to keep on top of the industry. I see the future of advertising being online and the content people look for migrating to user-generated stuff. (Examples – Popular Photography approaching me because of my Nintendo controller card reader on Instructables and Open Repositories using my photo of the Alamo from Flickr.) By some standards my blog is ancient – 2003 was the first that i used a blogging application to publish – and yet i rarely make any money from blogging. Here’s why.
- I write about many different things. I write movie reviews and link to music. I write about bacon. I post my photos and tell stories from my day. I don’t focus my blog on one subject – like travel or how-tos. If i did i would be much more likely to have readers that keep coming back. So my randomness appeals only to people that know me and wonder what i am up to. Know my market – i have none. But i have some people (Ok, maybe just Shawna) that i only know online and that found my blog and have read my stuff occasionally. They have never met me but come back every now and then to see what i’m up to.
- I have very few opportunities on my site to make money. If i do a movie review i sometimes add a link to the dvd on Amazon that links through my affiliate account. I also have a link to Amazon on the side that gives me a small kickback when people shop there through my link. On some of my more popular posts i have a link to PayPerPost’s “Get paid to review this post” (see below). I have had 15 people click through but nobody has completed the offer (I would be paid $7.50 and the reviewer is also paid $7.50). I have only done one paid review and that’s after registering with the three big companies that pay for you to write posts. See my review of the paid blogging services.
- I have a job that pays well and has benefits. On top of that, i really like my job too. But i moonlight as a DJ to help pay down the bills. And that pays quite well also. Add to that the bike shop i just bought which has been going quite well lately and frankly i have too many things that are guaranteed money makers to spend my time worrying about trying to get people i don’t know to do something to make me a few more dollars on the side. I’ll stick with the sure thing for now.
- I write original, personal, hard-to-find- in-a-search-engine -because-nobody-is-looking-for-it content. It seems like most of my incoming links are just linking to the same content. One project of mine gets picked up and then a dozen similar sites post the same project – often with the same words. I said “Harry Potter” in a post and a splog picked it up. Oooh… perhaps if i mention Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton, Bam Margera, and Ozzy Osborne then i’ll get more links! The opposite is to create original content. That requires thinking and writing. Sometimes it requires much more. Seven out of 10 of my most popular posts are detailing physical or coding projects i have done.
- I don’t take the bait. Link bait that is. If all your site does is try and post things that are going to be viral then your readers will get sick. (I like that analogy – let me throw a © 2007 Ryan McFarland in here.) I tire of certain bloggers that have half of their posts just giving link love to those that write reviews or otherwise kowtow to the link bait. Unless there is a really good prize up for grabs i will try and stay away from them.