Blogging: a Poor Choice for Making Money

Blogging sucks as a way to make money or as a side hustle

If you are considering blogging to make money, STOP. Blogging sucks as a strategy for making money and I can tell you why.

5 Reasons Why Blogging Sucks

 

1. Blogging is not 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 for blogging 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 blogging service companies have agreed to compensate the experienced bloggers through affiliate marketing or paid advertising agreements.

In fact, the main way bloggers make money from blogging 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.

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 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. Blogger burnout gripe-fests generate more site traffic than most 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 blogging, or stepping away from blogging 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 blogging demands. Often, the blogging demands consisted 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.

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 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?

13 thoughts on “Blogging: a Poor Choice for Making Money

  1. I’m listening! And agree with you 100%. My blogging goals thus far have been 1) to write about and talk to people who actually care about finance (and want to talk about it more frequently than the people in my real life) 2) write down and follow through on financial goals and 3) seriously increase my savings rate from goals 1&2.

    And hey! Next month marks 6 months blogging. Go me.

    1. Thanks Tread Lightly! I really am glad that the post struck a chord with you. I think your goals are excellent and I hope you keep blogging for your financial inspiration!

  2. Looks like Tread Lightly, Retire Early beat me to the punch, but I’m listening too! Absolutely, blogging should not be pursued for money. I find a lot of blogs were started because they wanted to “get rich quick” and you can see it in the quality of the content and design. I personally started blogging because I wanted to learn how to design and administer a website. Now I am also using the site as a creative outlet to develop my writing skills.

    As someone who debated for a long time on whether or not to start a blog, I have some advice for others who are still debating: Start a blog if, and only if, you plan to use it for a creative outlet with no expectation or praise or pay.

    1. Thanks MissSaraBee! I was hesitant to post this because I didn’t want to offend too many of my fellow bloggers. But it concerns me that blogging is being marketed so heavily as a money making enterprise. I think it leaves many people deflated and in a worse financial position than where they started. It’s also very time consuming and I fear it can be damaging to people’s personal life as well as their finances! Thanks for your comment!

      1. Hit dogs will holler. There is nothing offensive about anything you’ve said. It takes a lot of work to even get a blog to be a $1K/month side hustle. If you’re not in it for the creative outlet then you’ll quit before the magic happens.
        And also, blogs get better over time. Even if you’re one of the best writers out there it can take time to find your voice and your blog’s guiding theme. I’ve been blogging for about 3 months and there’s been an evolution every month since I started. Hardly anyone even sees my blog and while I would love for it to one day generate income, I’m not depending on it any time soon and when (fingers crossed) it does reach that milestone I’m not expecting it to be a cash cow.

        I love your realism. Your whole blog is so focused on a very realistic way to build wealth and generate passive income. You’re walking your talk and it’s so appreciated.

        1. Hit dogs will holler…I love it! You always have a great saying handy. That, and your sense of humor, will keep people coming back to your blog for more. So I feel like you have a good shot at blogging success if you stay patient and stick with it. As for me…the jury’s out…but as long as I’m having fun, I’ll keep it up and see what happens. Maybe someday I’ll even have to edit this post, ha ha 🙂

  3. Totally with you on the don’ t do it for the money. I wrote a post on “Who said blogging was easy?” hoping people would read it before they start a blog. There is too much financial incentive to get others to start a blog for the wrong reasons.

    1. I agree Caroline, blogging isn’t easy and I think there’s not enough information available giving people the whole perspective. The time commitment of trying to create something worthwhile and promote it on social media can be staggering! So, I’m just hoping to add a tiny bit of balance to all the easy money blogging stories and advertisements out there. Glad you are getting the honest word out at Money Scrap too!

  4. I agree that blogging is not easy. I think those who get into blogging for riches are going to fail. I really enjoy blogging it keeps me motivated and connects me with like minded people.

    1. Thanks for your comment DM. And I agree, there are some wonderful reasons to blog. The personal finance community is pretty amazing. Creative, intelligent, funny, and very motivational. I’m so glad that I’ve become aware and involved in blogging, but I do worry for people who really need side hustle income and think blogging is a good solution. It is tough, and the return on investment is often non-existent.

  5. I completely agree with all points. I started my blog as a hobby and creative outlet. I’m trying to not fall into the self-imposed schedule trap. If I don’t post every week, so be it. It’s supposed to be enjoyable. Thanks for this honest post.

    1. Thanks for your comment MD. I sometimes wonder if I should leave this posted on my site because I worry it might be too off-putting or negative to fellow bloggers. But, as much fun as I have blogging, I really see some of the problems it can cause and I think there’s value in speaking about it. So I am glad you agree and thanks for the support. 🙂

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