Last week a student asked: “Can you still make money blogging?”
It seems that everyone and his brother is blogging today, with varying degrees of success. The answer is: “Yes, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing.”
Your passion needs to be about more than writing. When I started blogging in 2000, I looked on blogging as “instant publishing”. I’ve never changed my mind about that. The key word is “publishing”.
Passionate blogger Heidi Cohen’s pointed out that there’s more to blogging than writing and hitting the Publish button. You’re running a publication, a media entity. If you’ve ever worked with publishers, you know they’re not focused on the words. You and I think they should be, because we’re writers, but a publication is a business, first and always.
Start thinking about your blog as a business, and you can’t go wrong. Heidi Cohen publishes meaty blog posts every weekday. She makes money with affiliate marketing. Other bloggers make money in other ways.
Maria Popova of Brain Pickings for example, spends hundreds of hours blogging each month, and makes money via donations. However, she’s building a business while she’s blogging, and her blog is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. She’s supremely passionate: she blogs three times a day.
Then there’s Brian Clark of Copyblogger. He’s built a multi-million dollar company on a blog. He says that his company’s now a software and training company, and that company’s still focused on his blog.
Passion becomes profit: how passionate are you?
If you’re passionate about your blog, you will make money. It’s always been that way, and it won’t change.
Whether you’re about to start blogging, or have blogged for years, ask yourself: “What business am I in?”
As we’ve said, your blog’s a publication. You can make money in many different ways: by affiliate marketing, as Heidi Cohen does, by accepting donations as Maria Popova does, or by serving the needs of your readers, as Brian Clark does, with his software and training.
Alternatively, you can use your blog to support your writing: to get clients, or to sell ebooks on Amazon.
Are you passionate about blogging?
If you are, you can bet on yourself – you’ll be a success.
Bet on yourself for success
Start thinking about your blog as a business.
Heidi Cohen has what she calls “The 5 Ps of Blogging”:
Blogging-related activity can be broken into the five Ps: plan, pen, publish, promote and participate.
That’s a brilliant summation of successful blogging. You’ll notice that planning comes first. That can be a real challenge if you’re a new blogger, and even if you’ve been blogging for years. That’s the primary reason I created Websites for Writers. You need someone to help you to strategize and plan, otherwise self-doubt can overwhelm you.
Any plan will get you there
When I discuss planning with my students, they want to be assured of success, of course. However no plan survives contact with the enemy: feedback is what counts.
So you create a plan, and work that plan passionately. If you’re starting a new blog, you have a plan. At around 50 posts, it’s time to assess what’s working, and create a new plan based on that.
Take this to heart: ANY plan will get you to success, because your plan gets you moving.
How passionate are you?
“Passion” is a strong feeling or emotion. When I started blogging years ago, blogs were looked on as journals. In those days, before Google bought Blogger in 2003, you were derided if you tried to make money from a blog. You blogged because you were passionate about something or other.
From 2004, the pendulum started swinging the other way. Now blogging’s all about the money.
Aim for the middle way. Blog because you’re passionate. However, you also need to think about money – business. Become a passionate blogger. Then you can bet on yourself. You and your blog will be successful.
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