Professional blogging?

I saw a story on Slashdot today where Darren Rowse was claiming he makes more money off Google Adsense ads on his blogs than he makes off his real job.

That’s interesting. It’s believable. But normal? No. Comments on the story said, to the effect, that they can’t wait for it to happen to them.

I don’t think that’s automatic. Anything but.

I have ads on my blog. In my own experience, Adsense revenue can buy groceries for a week or two, or pay the electric bill. My blog doesn’t make me rich, it’s not a substitute for my 40-hour-a-week job, and it never will be.

Secret one: Multiple blogs

Reading further reveals this suddenly wealthy professional blogger runs several blogs. And he is reluctant to reveal which ones, for fear of copycats. Which is understandable, from my point of view.

But the fact that he runs multiple blogs suggests something: While he’s making a lot of money, he’s also working hard for it. We already know he has a regular job. I’m willing to say that a typical 600-word post takes me 30-60 minutes to write, depending on how much research I have to do. If he’s running five blogs, it’s entirely possible he’s sinking 4-5 hours into the venture. It sounds like he’s making good money, but it’s not what I would call easy money.

His experience makes me wonder if I ought to launch another blog, maybe two, on very specialized subjects that I enjoy writing about and, more importantly, know something about. What I don’t know is whether the efforts would net $10 a month, or if it might net $100.

The real secret to making money online

I do believe that over the course of the last couple of months, I’ve discovered the secret to making money online. Unfortunately it’s not the secret that everyone’s probably looking for. The secret to getting rich online is pretty much the same as the secret to getting rich offline: Find something that brings in a steady stream of revenue over a long period of time that doesn’t seem like work.

Obviously, this professional blogger enjoys what he’s doing. Otherwise he wouldn’t be spending so many hours a week doing it. Some people would probably tell him he needs to get a life. (I say this because people have told me that when they found out how much time I used to spend blogging.) Obviously I don’t agree with that sentiment; if you enjoy doing what you’re doing, you have a life. And if you enjoy doing what you’re doing and you have no difficulty paying your bills, then you’re way ahead of the majority of Americans.

There are lots of ways people make money online: Filling out surveys, selling stuff on Ebay, selling ebooks, advertising their offline business, and now, apparently, blogging. The one that works for Darren Rowse may not work for you.

But if you can find something that you can provide with low overhead (buy low, sell higher) and is something you would do anyway, even if you weren’t being paid for it, you’re on the right path.

Secret two: Multiple streams of income

Further research indicated that professional bloggers, including Rowse, generally do more than just Adsense. Perhaps when they first started, Adsense was enough. But today, they use a combination of Adsense, affiliate links, selling self-published e-books, podcasting, and funneling traffic to consulting businesses. Most of them seem to be working 40 hours a week, if not more. Blogging is just a way that helps them find a week’s worth of profitable work on a regular basis. Oh, and they all have their own tricks for getting more traffic.

There’s never been a ton of money in writing. Lately it seems there’s less. So I’m glad pro blogging exists as an avenue for some people to write for a living.

One thought on “Professional blogging?

  • July 18, 2005 at 9:10 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for taking the time to write the articles I love to read. I had never given thought to the time it took to put one together. Gracias.

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