Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why my blog will never be a business

Spend a little time online and you'll surely stumble across some corner of the internet touting how amazing starting a blog can be for earning income and how it's a great little business empire to build.  If you've spent more than a little time on the internet you'll have realized what a crock of shit that is.  Pardon my French.

It's true that there are people out there who make a full time living from blogging.  Some who make a very good one.  But put our skeptical hats on and we'll see why it isn't roses and rainbows all the time:
  • Often there's a service business tied in beyond the blog.
  • They work crazy hours
  • It comes after years of working at effectively far below minimum wage
Though I think some of these blog owners make great money and some of them even have great work life balance to boot, I'm never going to be one of them. Why?
  1. I'm a terrible sales person.  A lot of blog money is made pushing products be it your own ebook or paperback, credit card offers as I'm sure you've seen on other PF sites, or something else.  It's not interesting to me and I'm not good at it.  It's not a really viable way to generate revenue for me.
  2. I hate pyramid schemes.  A particularly financially successful group of blogs is the "I'm so great, read my blog to be like me" blog.  This is especially true of the blogs that write about how great blogging is as a business.  There are only so many suckers out there and odds are you're at the bottom.
  3. You have no life.  Until you reach the pinnacle of success in the blogging world where you can afford to have a staff to cover all technical difficulties and comment moderation, and you have a large stash of prewritten material, you are married to your blog.  There are no real days off.  You have to beat down technical issues at a moment's notice.  It only gets worse as your blog grows until you can pay for someone else to deal with it.  Oh, and by the way, that service costs a good chunk of your monthly earnings.
  4. You write about the same damn things.  Think about the blogs you know that have daily posts.  Do you actually read and enjoy everything they have to say?  I'd say I skip through about 80% of the material that comes up in my feed reader because it's the 500th post someone on the internet has written about why Roth IRAs are the best.  After experimenting with this I know it can't hold my attention and I don't feel good about writing content like that.  It's in no way fulfilling for me.
  5. You have to write about topics that Google likes and in a way that their algorithm loves.  I have never been able to bring myself to do any SEO beyond what logically makes sense for the blog reader.  So if I've written a post in the past on a topic I reference in a new post I might link back.  But the rest doesn't seem worth the effort.  It takes a lot of work to pursue SEO and have your site still be interesting to read and have style and tone to the writing.

I've made a small amount of money with this blog, but it will never really be a business nor even a a consistently money-making hobby.  The challenges involved in monetization of this blog are not ones that really interest me right now and the money for its own sake is not big enough for me to give up the time it would take right now.