Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blogging Myth #2: Blogging is an Easy Money Maker

Welcome to the second post in my new series for bloggers, Blogging Myths. We'll be covering some common misconceptions that many bloggers (and readers!) have about blogging. If you want to start from the beginning, you can click here.

Myth #2: Blogging is an Easy Money Maker

I think that the majority of bloggers open a site because they either want to post family related updates and stories, or because they need an outlet to share creative thoughts and projects.

But there are people out there who see some of the bigger blogs with sponsors, expensive Giveaways, and ad networks and think, "How hard can it be? It'll only be a matter of weeks until I'm counting my money bags."

This weeks' myth is slightly misleading because it is really twofold:

Blogging is not Easy. And it is most decidedly not an easy Money Maker. 


I think it's easiest for readers, and perhaps for new bloggers, to click on a blog wondering, "What's the big deal? I'll just slap some pictures and words on the screen, hit "Publish," and link up to a bunch of blog parties."

Why is Blogging Hard?
It's really not difficult, if you are genuinely starting a blog for fun, and you don't care about reaching a certain number of readers and you're not looking to make an income from your work.

But before you can even think about making money from your blog, you have to look at certain variables that go into growing a blog beyond publishing good content:
  • Networking
As we discussed with Blogging Myth #1, you can have great content, but if no one knows you are there, they aren't going to stop by and read. There is a fine balance between over-exposing yourself by linking up to too many blog parties, annoying your Twitter/Facebook fans with too many links and not enough you. Basic, genuine networking with fellow bloggers and readers is your best bet to loyal readers.
  • Time
A lot goes into writing weekly posts beyond just taking photos and jotting down the accompanying words. Coming up with ideas, making drafts, editing and uploading photos, proofing, making sure to update Twitter and Facebook...and let's not forget those days that you have a bit of writer's block and you still want to produce fresh content for your site!

Add more man-hours if you're working on a craft or a project to update your home. I don't know of any DIY bloggers whose board and batten has finished itself!

  • Pressure
Pressure to perform, pressure to be funny/crafty/creative/brilliant (insert your pressure here), pressure to keep up with everyone else. How do you think I became a Pinterest addict? Everyone else was doing it! (And, okay, it's a pretty awesome way to catalog all those neat things you see online)

Bloggers who are blogging for an income (even if it's a small one!) feel pressure to post regularly, stay on top of comments, host blog parties, and come up with fabulous things to write about.

Why isn't Blogging an Easy Money Maker?
I suppose there is something to the old adage "you have to spend money to make money."

When you become serious about blogging, you have to think about site redesigns, blog buttons, paying for link party hosting sites, photo hosting services, and more.

I haven't dealt with any ad networks or Google Adsense (yet), but I can say from experience that thinking about adding Sponsors to your blog is a big deal, and it certainly does not make blogging easier. In addition to everything listed above, you have to stay on top of a whole new ball game.

Why I recommend waiting at least a year before you add Sponsors:


This has nothing to do with competition, because anyone can see there are enough Etsy shops, small businesses, home businesses, online businesses, and corporations to keep us all afloat.

Instead of jumping in to finding sponsors for a fledgling blog, I challenge you to get your feet wet first. Find your voice, find an audience, and establish your blog before you try to earn an income off of it. Sponsors want to know all sorts of things beyond your stats. They'll check out your blog to see how often you post, what your niche is, and what kind of content you offer.

Take some time to work on your writing skills, beef up your projects, get some good photos, and build up an audience before you venture into the world of Sponsorship. Remember that with paid ads comes the pressure to perform/post regularly/stay motivated and on a schedule.

And, most importantly, readers need to be able to trust you. If you've collected hundreds of Followers in two or three months from linking up to blog parties like an insane person, chances are you haven't done much by the way of real networking. Readers are smart. They know when they see a fakey fake plug for a product you have no business hawking. Do the work to win loyal readers and you are more likely to get a better response when you do take on paid ads.

Is blogging easy? No. Can you make money off of it? Yes.

But don't stress about it. When you are ready, ease into things. Forget about the frantic rush for success that seems to be so prevalent in the blogosphere these days and focus on your work.

Good things come to those who wait.

Hope you'll join me next week to check out Myth #3!

{What's the most difficult thing about blogging for you?}

38 comments:

Dogmom Diva said...

Hi Amanda, I think the toughest part of blogging for me, is 1) finding a snappy title; and 2) blogging ideas..lately I have been fresh out of ideas..any good places to get ideas or prompts?? My mind gets really blank!

Barb

Kelli @ RTSM said...

Great post Amanda! The pressure to be just as crafty and creative as everyone else can get to me sometimes. But then I remember that I really want to blog to share my creativity and to make myself be more creative, not to compete with anyone else. I have had such a great time with blogging and if I make a few dollars here and there it's nice but mostly I blog because I love it not because I make money doing it:)

Yvonne@StyleBurb said...

This is great information, Amanda, a lot of your points rang true for me. Even though I'm blogging purely as a creative/idea sharing outlet, I still feel pressure to post- and I have a teeny blog following. One thing I like about having such a small group of followers is that we are really getting to know each other!

Annie said...

I find it exhausting to network. I have done parties, but doing it ALL the time exhausts me. I'm like Yvonne; I have a small following that I keep up with, and it's very cozy and sweet. I get frustrated that my following isn't bigger because I've been blogging 3 1/2 years now, and the feedback I get is great, but I don't have the time to get out there so much. :-/

Kierston Shae said...

I just recently came acorss you blog and have been reading your posts about blogging, from this series so far and the last about commenting. I really appreciate when an experienced blogger takes tame to encourage and give advice to those who are still trying to start out. Thank you for the pointers, I'm looking forward to next weeks post on this! And of course your other posts too! =)

Kelly @ View along the way said...

My favorite quote about blogging is: "The hardest part about writing a blog is writing a blog" - meaning coming up with great topics, consistently. Especially in our niche, where you can't just sit down and write - you have to DO a project first (most of the time)!

This post is very timely for me because I just debuted my new, redesigned blog (on wordpress) yesterday, and am just starting to dabble in sponsorships. (Scary!)

Thanks for this series!

It's Just Me said...

Amanda, what a GREAT post. I use the same mantra that I used for my YouTube channel, it will come when it comes. Even though I made partner and now make money on my YouTube channel, it took me over a year. I know my blog is starting to get it's footing but it's taken over a year. What can I say, I'm a late bloomer : )
~ Deanna

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

You have some great ideas! I think the hardest part of blogging is balancing the virtual world with my "real" world.

Jennifer said...

I think what frustrates me is getting my blog "out there." I enjoy turning lifes ups and downs into humorous stories but I haven't gained followers that way. I get followers from crafts I have shared. I agree I was one of those people who thought getting followers would be easier.
Jennifer
www.bigdandme.com

Jen @ My Own Road said...

Great post! Thank you so much for the tips. I have no experience with sponsors and I've been wondering how things work, so this was very helpful

Holly said...

As usual, you are right on, Amanda. It's not easy to run a blog as a business, but I think you've really found your stride lately!

Jen @ The Decor Scene said...

What a great post Amanda!!! It is hard. You want to see your follower number grow of course, but you want to write good posts and come up with great ideas. But we must all be patient and hopefully gain followers over time. I need to network better. I love this series Amanda!!! Your doing a great job with helping out others. Have an awesome day!!! :)

maria said...

Hi Amanda!
Great post!
Time! Time! To find some free time is the most difficult thing for me!

Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage said...

Great post!! Easy money maker -- pfft!! What a myth!!

Moddy Bee said...

At first it really bugged me I was getting more followers. But, I figured out why....I wasnt gearing myself towards one audience. My blog isn't all about one thing Fashion, decorating, DIY projects, or photography! I thought about doing that...but, I just can't! My life is so much more and I wanted to share it. I guess have a "lifestyle" blog. I love sharing about kids, recipes, trips, DIY projects..ect. Oh, and I really love looking at everyone elses blogs!! I just love hearing from other women whom I've never met (like you) ...it makes my day!!! Btw..I won't invest into blog until I hit a 100 followers, that's my personal challenge ( which might never happen and that's ok)
www.moddybee.blogspot.com

The Mommy Therapy said...

Starting to blog more and more has definitely been a lot more work than I thought it would be. Your post was filled with truth about trying to think of quality content, make genuine connections, etc.

It all takes time and energy.

I recently was accepted in to BlogHer's network and I feel like it is a good step, but now I feel extra pressure to write well and often.

I love these series you are doing. Thanks for taking the time!

theteo5 said...

I love the advice on this one. I was just toying with the idea of how to make some money or search for advertisers. Blogging takes some time, it would be nice to make money doing what I love to do on my own terms. I just want to make sure it doesn't become me blogging because of advertisers or money, but still keep it fun and in my voice.

Thanks! Rachel
http://www.holy-craft.blogspot.com

Katie @ Newcomb Home said...

Thanks Amanda! This is so true, thank you for sharing! My blog's a baby and I'm not focused on making money, I'm just trying to stay afloat and grow a loyal readership.
The most difficult thing for me is time - I have a million ideas in my head and want to do and write about all of them but 'real life' gets in the way. My problem is that I try to fit it all in and don't sleep very much, then I get cranky and my husband doesn't like that. :)

Kassi @ Truly Lovely said...

The most difficult thing as far as blogging goes is keeping up with everything. Like you said if you want to really network there's a lot of ways to do that. And once you start something you can't just stop and drop those followers/fans/friends!

Richella said...

You know what's funny? Making money takes hard work. That's true whether you're flipping burgers at a fast-food place or working as an executive in a big corporation. No one pays you just to exist; you have to work hard to get paid.

So I wonder how blogging got the reputation of being an easy way to make money? Perhaps it has been easy for a few people. And of course blogging at its best is fun--but it's still not easy.

My biggest challenge is finding balance between doing things at home and interacting in the blogging world. I've relaxed some with posting--there was no way I could post often this spring, and I just couldn't deal with the stress of feeling like I HAD to get a post up. I know I could have arranged for some guest posts, but I didn't have the energy to do that, either! But I've been blogging for a long time, now, so my blog has continued to grow a little bit even as I've been less active. I'm grateful that I "paid it forward" for many months so that I wasn't too stressed when things were uber-busy in my home life. Now to figure out a good balance for going forward! Maybe four posts per week?? I guess I'll have to learn by trial and error!

Mercy! What a long comment! I think I need to have a chance to chat with you! I'm so proud of everything you've done here in the past year--it's been great to watch! :) I know you've worked really hard, and I'm so glad to see it paying off for you!

Jennifer S. said...

Thanks for sharing and working so hard to teach us this invaluable information!

Leah said...

Great advice! I know from experience that it is not easy to earn money blogging - I made a {very little} bit from my old blog, but used it more as part of my etsy business. I think I spent as much time blogging as on the rest of the business.

Becky@Organizing Made Fun said...

I absolutely agree about waiting for link parties and sponsors...I see so many blog that are so small trying to do that and are just getting started. They have posts that are unscheduled or just rushed. I have been approached {now after a year of blogging} to consider advertising but I just don't have the desire. I am enjoying blogging and do it as a hobby. I'm not ready to start making a business/job out of it :) Not even ready to think about doing a link party - that looks like too much work too. So, I'm so happy just to motivate, inspire, and help others organize their spaces and lives!! Thanks, Amanda, for such insightfulness! You're doing such great things with YOUR blog!

Becky B.
www.organizingmadefun.com
Organizing Made Fun

Karen At Home said...

Great post Amanda! I really love these, so thought out and very well written! I just started accepting paying sponsors after 4 years of blogging and it's a whole new ball game! There is so much more pressure but it's worth it. I am enjoying building my blog lately and have been trying to build a network and find my niche. It's not easy!
I couldn't agree more with your statement about spending money to make money. I just signed up to sponsor a big blog within my niche to hopefully get my name out there.

Looking forward to niche #3

Karen

Karena said...

You are so right on target, Amanda.

I never intend to make money from my site, which did start out as a way to promote the arts and my art.

Now it is more about giving back/paying it forward.


xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

I have a New Giveaway from the Shabby Apple on my site! Come and enter!

Kirsty said...

I got my first sponsor not too long ago and it was just before my blog hit the 1 year old mark too. Definitely agree with you, you HAVE to get out there before you can even consider advertising or it just won't work and will only cheapen your site if you're not well established already.

Paula said...

Great advice! My biggest struggle with blogging is time. It is hard to write for my own blog plus do all of the visiting that I like to do plus work full time plus have a life outside of work. There just aren't enough hours in the day! I would love to make a little money from my blog since I spend so much time working on it but I never follow through to do so. Perhaps I should consider Google Ads. I'm enjoying this series!

Sarah said...

Thanks for the advice! The biggest difficulty for me is finding the time. I work full time so extra hours in the day are very few. It would be great to make some money blogging but I've decided to blog because it is something I enjoy. Maybe someday I'll have the time to create more! :)

Amy @MoMomma said...

Thanks for the great posts about blogging. I think your tips are very relevant. I'm a fairly newbie to the blogosphere and still feel like a small fish in a big pond. But, I'm having fun and I like it!

melissa * 320 Sycamore said...

You are right on. I really think the key is not starting for money, but simply doing something you love and the money will eventually come.

Christina (I'm a Mom...What's Your Excuse?) said...

Hi Amanda!
I love this series and to be honest with you, I'm so new to blogging that making money off my blog has not crossed my mind! Yes, I visit many blogs and I see how they have these tabs that say, "Thank you to my sponsors". I never really knew what it was until today :0) tells you how much I know, hahaha! Love your blog and thank you for the link party :)

a' la mode said...

I love your series Amanda! My blog took off REALLY quickly but it happened organically and so I don't stress over it, I just blog to keep my sanity as a new stay at home mommy. I think when you stay true to your original purpose it helps keep it fun. Seems like just yesterday you were teaching me the basics =) xoox shel

Laura O in AK said...

Awesome post! I've been blogging for over 3 years and did start just to share with friends and family. I added affiliate links, but haven't pushed them and hence don't see much from it.

But, I made the decision to GROW my blog this past year and will say that I can easily spend HOURS of my day on just that task. It's paying off..but it is a real investment of time.

Upcycled Charm said...

Hi Amanda,

Thanks again for another well written and very informative post on blogging myths. So far the most difficult thing for me when writing a post is to know what to say and what pictures to post. I'm new at this so, in time, I'm thinking it will get a lot easier and I'll be more comfortable with it. I read somewhere that on the average a good post will take, at least, an hour but more than likely up to two hours or more depending on the topic. When writing my posts I always try and keep that in mind. Then I'm not so hung up on how much time I'm taking. It keeps me better focused and affords me the attitude of enjoying by blog. :)

Christine

Katy said...

Amanda, thank you so much for posting this. I've recently been experiencing all of these things with my own blog and all of your tips are so helpful! I'm really enjoying this series, I have never read your blog before but I will definitely be following along from now on!

janet said...

Hello Amanda,

I had to laugh a few days ago. I stumbled onto this new blog that had 12 followers and not much organized content...and she was asking for sponsors!!!!

what she was charging was also out of the ball park...she won't last long I thought to myself.

Great post!

Janet xox
http://theemptynest-janet.blogspot.com/

One of Many Jens said...

I just found your blog via Pintrest, and it's very helpful. Thanks for the tips!

Mary Belle said...

This is wonderful Amanda! I have been blogging in blogspot for merely three months now and whenever I see blogs offering services like blog design and sponsorship, I want to do it as well. But I guess I'll have to wait then :)

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