Is blogging the perfect low-cost home business?
While trawling through my many news feeds, I came across an article entitled Internet Home Business Ideas For Those Without Any Money: Blogging.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I’ve been on the Internet for long enough to become a little skeptical (perhaps cynical) when I read anything to do with “Internet Home Business”, despite the fact that I believed for a long time that I would earn a living primarily through the Internet, and in fact am now doing so.
So what set the alarm bells off here?
The article doesn’t tell any lies, although it’s a very short article so is quite simplistic in nature.
What’s more worrying is that it could be read by someone who is already looking for a potentially easy way to make money online, who is then lulled into a false sense of hope that blogging is the end to their money woes – and best of all, it’s free.
Diep Tran, the author’s concluding paragraph includes the sentence:
“In conclusion, blogging is an effective method to make money online”
As I said, he hasn’t lied. Blogging can be an effective method of making money online. Though he hasn’t said it’s an easy method, I worry that many will read it in this way.
I’ve been blogging for three years, and blogging full time for one year, and I’m still earning less than I was in a regular 9-5 job, working longer hours, and without the automatic ‘perks’ of full-time employment (sorry if I’ve shattered anyone’s illusion after posts about making it as a problogger!)
Of course, I’m enjoying it a lot more because it’s what I love doing, and I can see new opportunities ahead.
Yes, it’s possible to start a blog without any money (assuming you are already paying for your Internet connection), but before long, if you want to make it as a professional blogger (or at least, one who makes money) you’ll need to spend money on at least domain names and hosting. Lorelle has already asked when is it time to leave a free blog? and that’s a very important point to consider.
Tran briefly describes a few methods that bloggers can use to earn revenue from their site. Of course, AdSense is one, but he also mentions affiliate networking. Now, I know there are a number of marketers that excel at affiliate programs. I’m certainly not one of them, and even the pros like Darren Rowse are only just starting to see the fruit of years of persistent link building.
Given that his concluding paragraph also states that blogging:
should be considered by some one who is new in internet marketing and by who have been in internet marketing for a significant period to improve the business from their websites.
I’d be concerned for anyone new to online marketing who considered that income from affiliate programs is easy. I’d suggest for a large proportion of bloggers, it’s not.
Another of Darren’s recent articles — Pressures of Blogging and is there an EASY way? — is also well worth a read.
OK, so the article is a far cry from the spam emails and web sites that promise riches for little work with “genuine home based online business opportunities”, and I’m not suggesting that Tran is deliberately trying to mislead people. However, in such a short article, the picture painted is a little too rosy for my liking.
I’m all for encouraging bloggers who have a passion for writing about subjects they love, can commit to the long haul, and would do it even money were no issue, but it has to be emphasised that, except in exceptional circumstances, even modest sustained financial success from blogging comes from dogged determination and persistence.
Andy Merrett is a London-based full-time blogger writing for several Shiny Media technology blogs and various other projects. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.
You are so smack on right about this. I’m so sick of the “get rich quick” schemes that plague everything not just the net. Blogging, just like any hobby you want to turn into a business, takes work. Hard work. It takes a plan, setting goals, networking, learning how it all works and what doesn’t work, failure, and even crashing and burning while you figure out how this blogging thing is supposed to work.
It’s no different from turning your photography, writing, carving, pottery, sewing, or any hobby into a business. You have to treat it like a business before it will become a business.
Thank you for being one of the business cheerleaders!
I’ve had people ask me how to get published and when I ask them what they have written, they say, nothing, but I was thinking about it.
So I won’t consider myself a bonafide blogger until I have that first year under my belt.
In the meantime, I’m busy stuffing envelopes at home!
No question, great topic.
Success in blogging requires so many “core” competencies its actually mind boggling. And the hard reality is that when you’re starting out it can be an intensely lonely activity without any returns.
For the precious few who make a real go out of it, I tip my hats of to them. For many others, you’ll find that you have to love what it is you — whether it be the love of writing, or the joy of community or what have you, or else it can be be a disillusioning activity.
As with any business there will be a small amount of individuals who accumulate a great reputation and make massive amounts of money while there will be many who will have a difficult time working their way up the ladder due to over crowding in that field of work. This is true for Blogging, paid or not. One thing we have to learn is Blogging shouldn’t be your only job. You should rather use it a building block to gain access to higher paying jobs as a journalist, author etc. Also I cannot begin to describe the many responses my friends give me when I tell them I get paid to Blog.
They perceive it as “If I can write I can get paid and guess what, I can write!” This may not be that easy as you need to identify what you like to write about and whether or not if you’re passionate or not about it. If you’re just in it for the money then no doubt you will fail, it takes to build yourself up and even then it may not be what you want it to be.
I don’t intend for Blogging to buy me everything I want or pay any bills when I eventually get them, I want to use Blogging as a learning experience and to build myself up so I can reach higher levels of writing.
You got it right, Andy. Blogging for income is not exactly the rosy picture that some would paint. It can be hard work. But it can be very rewarding, too. Thing is, not everyone gets to achieve the same level of success in blogging money-wise.
To me what’s important is to encourage people to try it out. Maybe they’re fit for this kind of work/business. Maybe they’re not. But just like any career or business, we have to work hard and work smart to achieve our goals.