Duncan Riley> Yep, I’m really on a roll of upsetting people in the last few days so here I go again: its time for a long, cold shower on blogging pay rates, but I could have made the title “sticking up for Calacanis on Weblogs Inc pay rates” as well, because it would have covered what I’m going to write.
I ran the story last week on Weblogs Inc’s pay rates because I honestly thought the starting pay at Weblogs Inc would be of interest to readers, and what a reasonable pay rate for bloggers is a question that I’m often asked. What I didn’t expect was the level of criticism directed at Weblogs Inc., over the figures.
You see, if I’d been asked by Jason Calacanis to write for Weblogs Inc 12-18 months ago for a gaureenteed $500 USD starting rate per month I’d be writing for Weblogs Inc., today and I probably wouldn’t be writing the Blog Herald. Sure, if he asked me today I’d be wanting more money because I’m now making more.
But it took me a very, very long time to get to $500 USD per month.
And the reality is that most bloggers will never get to see this sort of money, even if you don’t think its a lot of money.
Now I don’t want to discourage people because the opportunity to make money from blogging is real, but the expectations in terms of dollars are unrealistic. Darren over at Problogger wrote recently about a guy who was quitting his day job because he was going to make a living out of blogging, and the most he’d made from Adsense to date was $3. Loony stuff.
On Weblogs Inc.
My understanding is that the pay rate offered at Slashfood is a starting rate and that other bloggers blogging for Weblogs Inc., are paid more. As a blogger myself I also know that most new blogs take months to bring in any decent money as well.
I will note I have some personal concerns with the exclusivity agreements in the Weblogs Inc., contract particularly given the pay rate, I’d note that I’d think its fair to say that Jason is not forcing a gun to anyones head either. If you don’t like it you don’t have to sign it.
The reality is that $500 USD/ month for blogging about something you love is a bloody good gig. It’s not a full time role and if you look at it this way you’d be mistaken because most of the bloggers on the Weblogs Inc network blog part time. If your blogging away now and are struggling to get a check from Adsense keep reading the Blog Herald and get your application skills up to scratch because we frequently have details here on Weblogs Inc jobs.
The Weblogs Inc opportunity is also much more than the $500/ month because you are also getting the support of an amazing team of people, the power and promotion skills of one of the industry leaders: Jason Calacanis, you’ve got no overheads and you haven’t got to worry about design, marketing, hosting and promotion, and you’re going to get seen by a lot more eyeballs than you’re going to get seen by if you do this by yourself.
I would note however that some other networks are offering better money than this. A number of people have compared Weblogs Inc., to McDonalds. Although I’d think this is a little rough, who wouldn’t want to own McDonalds, and although the culturally elite in society criticize McDonalds as providing awful food that no one wants to eat, millions of Australians and Americans for that matter eat McDonalds every day. Millions of readers dine at Weblogs Inc., every day. Calacanis is entitled to make a quid and if people don’t like his pay they won’t take it and Weblogs Inc., will find themselves without writers very shortly. The opposite is true.
On pay rates
If you’d asked me 12 months ago how many bloggers would make $100 per month I’d be telling you hardly any, but the reality is the ability to earn money from blogging is getting easier all the time. But I’d still think that 90% of bloggers who are actively trying to make money from their blogs would be making around $10-$50 US per month. Maximum. The next 5% (or more) would be making maybe $50-$150. The top 5% of bloggers seeking dollars make up the $150 and more category. The same figures 12 months ago would have been $1-$10, $10-$75, and $75 and above, so you can see the movement there as well.
I know when some people see the figures I’m quoting they are going to be asking themselves: why bother? why bother indeed, because if you’re into blogging strictly for the money you shouldn’t be. Email me the details of your blog and I’ll see if I can find someone who might pay you to get out of it, because you are not going to make it. Blogging has, and always will be more than just about the money. Darren Rowse started his camera blog (the one that makes him all the money) because he was into digital cameras. I started the Blog Herald because I was into blogs (as a concept and market). If your not interested in what you’re writing about it will show in your writing no matter how hard you try. Blogging is about passion. You should be blogging because you like blogging, you enjoy the interaction, and if your blogging on particular topics you should at least have some sort of interest in that topic. Once your enjoying writing and interacting and learning the money component comes into play.
I can imagine some one at ThreadWatch writing in response to this that if pay rates are so low with bloggers why not get into some other business (like being a black-hat SEO for example). Sure, you know from strictly a business perspective that statement would be right, and in my case I could make more money in business consulting (although the over heads and risk profile would be higher) but if I didn’t make a cent from the Blog Herald I’d most likely still be writing it because I enjoy doing it.
I tend to think of the money I make from blogging in relation to what it can buy me. In the very early days I wanted my blogging to cover my internet habits, mainly server costs and domain names (of which I still own far too many than I need). Once I reached this goal I wanted to double this. Then it got to $100, $200/ mth etc. My current goal is to cover the cost of the mortgage on the house I’m building at the moment. To me that’s real returns. The $500/ month from Weblogs Inc., if your writing for Calacanis might cover a new computer, a membership, credit card or utility payments….you’ve got to look at the money in terms of what you’ll get from it, not on what you could be making elsewhere or in terms that its not enough, because if you continually think you’re not making enough money your not going to remain focused on the task at hand, and that’s writing a really good blog. When I get my Adsense check or my BlogAds payment I think in terms of what I can do with this money. I’ve just landed an ad contract for some of the Weblog Empire blogs that will deliver my wife a new dish washing machine. Think positively.
Good things come to those who wait
I cant say this enough, if you think your going to be a star overnight from blogging you deeply mistaken. Hard work and perseverance are vital. Good things do come to those who wait and the good news is that you can make more than the $500/ month offered by Weblogs Inc., for Slashfood. The question is though, how long will it take and would you be better off with the $500/ month on offer from day 1 as opposed to day 200, 300 or 400? There’s an opportunity cost to most of lifes decisions, and no matter which route you take you’re not going to be in my bad books. But never forget that it takes time.