If you are considering blogging to make money, just STOP.
No really, stop.
Because blogging sucks as a strategy for making money and I can tell you why.
5 Reasons Why Blogging Sucks
1. Blogging isn’t easy
Posting random thoughts on the internet is easy. Successful blogging is incredibly hard. If you want to compete with the best blogs, you have to put in a massive amount of work. Just to get started, you must design an engaging website, draft compelling content, implement search engine optimization (SEO), and create marketing strategies for various of social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) to promote your site.
Many bloggers spend weeks, if not months, laying the groundwork for their website and social media platforms before ever publishing their first word.
2. Blogging is expensive
Start-up costs may seem minimal, but they quickly add up. Just to get your new blog, up and running you must pay to register your domain, purchase a blog publishing platform, buy and install various widgets and plug-ins, and purchase additional upgrades to enhance site functionality and security.
While blogging services lure you in with promises of low rates, you will likely pay hundreds to thousands of dollars more to structure your website with the capabilities you need.
3. Blogging is time-consuming
Beginning bloggers quickly realize they must either pay for advertising or spend hours daily promoting their blog on various social media outlets. Bloggers need to be active on at least two social networks, spending time connecting with other bloggers, commenting on their posts, liking, re-posting, re-pining, re-tweeting, and on, and on, and on. The practice of supporting your fellow bloggers on social media is commonly called “sharing the love.” It’s simply this:
You promote me, I promote you back.
This blogospheric group hug mirrors a multi-level marketing scheme. How? Most experienced bloggers make money by convincing new-blogger-wannabes to start, you guessed it….a blog! Experienced bloggers get paid when newbies click on the links or ads embedded in their blog pages which link to companies that provide blogging services. These service companies have agreed to compensate the experienced bloggers through affiliate marketing or paid advertising agreements.
In fact, the main way bloggers make money is by posting corporate sponsored content on their site. When posting sponsored content, the blogger gets paid to push a product and couch it in the form of a practical blog post. Blog posts with titles like “10 Best Ways to Make Money While Shopping” or “13 Reasons I Cut the Cord from Cable” sound like helpful advice, but, in fact, they are paid advertising.
The Effect of Blog Monetization
When bloggers decide to “monetize” their sites, integrating corporate advertising into content, they run the risk of alienating readers and losing page views. Readers can often see through the sponsorship subterfuge: where once they found trustworthy opinions and advice, they now find corporate links, ad banners and pop-ups. Readers, turned-off by advertising-heavy content, will cease returning.
This is one of the ironies of blogging. Just as fledgling bloggers start to build a readership from all their hard work, they think, “I should be entitled to make some money for this; at least to cover my costs.” Advertising seems the obvious next step. But, as they begin to advertise, their readership often drops and they earn next to nothing on the pay-per-click ads. These bloggers eventually become disillusioned with blogging as a viable way to make money.
4. Blogging is crowded
According to Forbes:
Nearly 1000 websites are created every single minute of every single day
Wait, did you say EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF EVERY SINGLE DAY? Yes, I did.
With over a billion websites in operation, the amount of content in the blogosphere is staggering, and very little of it gets any notice whatsoever. Even if you have mind-blowing insights or fresh perspectives to share, you are unlikely to find an audience. In fact, the odds are so heavily stacked against new bloggers finding the slightest success that 90% of bloggers quit within the first 6 months.
Blogger “burnout” is so common that it’s actually one of the most frequently blogged about topics in the blogosphere. In fact, griping about burnout often generates more site traffic than many other posts on bloggers’ websites. Why? Because I feel your pain, man. Bloggers open up and share their feelings about how hard blogging has been on their life, sucking time away from family and friends. But then, these burnout blog posts will take a positive turn and conclude on a high note, with the authors simply realizing that they need to tweak their blogging habits (such as putting time limits on their blog-related activities, or stepping away from these activities for a weekend or two). It’s all good! Except, that in reality, it’s not; and most of these bloggers end up folding-up shop and moving on.
The New York Times explored blogger burnout in a piece titled, “When Blogging Becomes A Slog.” The bloggers featured decided to step back from blogging due to escalating stress from overwhelming blog-related demands. Often, these demands consist of self-imposed blog posting schedules, doggedly enforced out of the fear that if the blog failed to continuously produce new content, readers would look elsewhere. This grueling schedule, noted one blogger, takes its toll and “in some predictable period of time, it consumes your life and sucks the joy out of it.”
In his take, “Blogging’s not a job – it’s an expensive addiction,” James Delingpole of The American Spectator summed up the effects of blogging in equally bleak terms:
When I looked back at the last 18 months and wondered why I’d got so ill, the answer became pretty self-evident: it’s because every spare scrap of time that had hitherto gone on stuff like pottering the garden, having the odd game of tennis, taking the kids to school, listening to music, reading, walking and relaxing, had been almost entirely swallowed up by blogging.
In fact, he decided to quit blogging cold turkey to avoid driving himself to an “early grave.” Whoa. But he’s right.
5. Blogging is not a way to make money
If blogging’s a slog and the failure rate is sky-high, why do so many people pursue blogging as a way to make money?
Because of stories like these:
“This 28-year-old earns over $100,000 a month blogging and traveling full-time.” CNBC reports on Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, and her husband Wes, who quit their day jobs in 2013 to blog and travel full-time. And yes, it’s true, the couple’s blog now regularly earns them over $100,000 a month.
How motivational, right? Wrong. Do not use exceptional tales like this as motivation to start blogging for money.
Ms. Schroeder-Gardner is the exception, not the rule. While she clearly worked hard to be in the position she’s in today, her blogging story is not a blueprint. The likelihood that you can follow in her footsteps and achieve the same results is infinitesimal. Ms. Schroeder-Gardner’s success is due to a unique blend of her hard work, timing, insight, talent and luck. Her story is true. It happened. But can it be duplicated? Unlikely.
If you are looking for a reliable way to make money, cross blogging off your list. It is a red herring.
If Blogging Sucks, What the Heck is This?
I’m trying to approach blogging as a creative hobby. If I can maintain that perspective, I plan to keep it up. If not…well, I’m not interested in an early grave either.
Fortunately, I’m not counting on blogging to put food on the table or fund my retirement. Instead, I’m comfortably earning passive income through my side hustle of real estate investing. Of course, you might think real estate investing, like blogging, is some kind of scam – especially if you’ve been hounded to enroll in expensive seminars, or pay for investing “mentors” or “coaches.”
But here I am, blogging, to convince you otherwise.
Hello? Is there anybody listening?