Almost everyone should forget about making money directly from blogging. It’s so unlikely that it’s a total waste of your time trying. I am actually shocked at how ubiquitous the idea is that blogging is a get-rich-quick scheme. Or even a get-rich-slowly scheme. It’s not. Blogging is a great career tool for creating opportunities for yourself. But here are eight reasons you should stop thinking about money from blogging:

1. Big bloggers come from big media.
Usually I’m the first person to rip on print media as outdated and a dead-end career. But here’s something that maybe you don’t realize: Most big bloggers today have a strong background writing for print. For example: Erik Schoenfeld (TechCrunch), Owen Thomas (Valleywag), and I all wrote for Business 2.0 magazine at the same time. Ten years ago. Which means we had a ton of national media experience before we started blogging. Anya Kamenetz (Yahoo Finance) wrote for the Village Voice and had a very serious book published—before she started blogging.

2. Sure, there are exceptions. But you’re probably not one of them.
Let’s look at some people who have big blogs who didn’t come from big media. Heather Armstrong at Dooce. She’s a good one. Here’s what she has that you don’t: She’s a talented writer and a talented designer. She’s married to a developer who does all her tech stuff for free. And she has an amazing story to tell. She has the ability to translate her genius across many media—photography, memoir, twitter, and so on. She is a marvel. And you are not. None of us is. That’s why she is making so much money from her blog.

3. Even if you can do it, supporting yourself with a blog is crazy hard.
Most people had to do their day job and experiment with their blog and figure out what works and then do two, pretty much full-time jobs, and then quit their day job when their blog earned enough money. JD Roth did this at Get Rich Slowly. I did this with my blog (and nearly fell apart). Most people who do this do not have kids. Because if you have kids and a job you already have two full-time jobs, so you cannot add another. Blogging to support yourself is a complete full-time job. Read Gina Trapani’s post about how she is taking a break from blogging because it’s so life-consuming.

4. You probably have to be controversial to make money blogging.
Yes, there are some topics that do not require controversy: Productivity tools, for example. I think it’s safe to say, though, that that market is pretty saturated. You will have to find a good niche for yourself in order to stand out from the crowd. So you will have to be different, and the bloggers who are different have surprising things to say. And if you have surprising opinions, you’ll have people who tell you you’re an idiot. And if you are making good money from your blog, you’ll have hundreds of people telling you how you’re an idiot. Do you want that? Really? Will you be able to write another controversial opinion the next day or will you be too nervous?

5. You can make more money flipping burgers.
If you want to get your opinions out into the world, or you want to write a diary about your life, whatever—do that. But why do you have to make money at it? Most of you would probably like to write a bit, to get new opportunities, and then leverage the blog to do something fun. Most of you do not want to write blog posts optimized for advertisers. Really.

6. Please shut up about your book deal.
Books are not cash cows. They are time sinks. And they are marketing tools for something else. Like a consulting business or a speaking career or a blog. And people who are great speakers are seldom great writers, and vice versa. So don’t tell me you are doing a blog to get a book deal: Dead end. And don’t tell me it’s not a dead end because you’ll turn that into a speaking career. Show me someone that has worked for. Don’t tell me about Seth Godin. He had huge books before he started blogging. Not the other way around.

7. Blog for better reasons than money.
There are a lot of reasons to blog, but for the most part, money is not one of them. In the book, Blog Blazers: 40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets, Stephane Grenier asked forty bloggers what their definition of blogging success is. He talked with people like Seth Godin, Neil Patel, Ramit Sethi, and me. We all make a living online, and we all have big blogs, but almost no one in the book said money was the definition of success.

Bloggers defined success as things that mattered in their life: influence, connections, friendships, the ability to lead a conversation that matters to people. Some talked about a blog leading to other business opportunities.

8. Banner advertising is the mafia.
I have not had banner advertising on my site because I am so adamant that people should not blog to earn money—I don’t want to encourage anyone. I did take one ad. For Career Bags. I’m going to tell you something: The amount they paid for that ad was insignificant to me. But they let me do a lot of shopping on the site for free. Which was a huge treat. Shopping was fun. And I think about how much I love my blog every time I put my laptop into my Casauri bag.

I would never say that about a banner ad. But I am about to capitulate and sign a contract with Federated Media, the by-far-biggest company for online ad sales. Federated is sort of doing me a favor. I mean, I have about 400,000 page views a month, which I think is less traffic than any of their other clients. I’m grateful to be part of Federated because I do, in fact, need to make money from my blog. But what I have done to get here—work two jobs at once while raising kids, sell equity in my blog and then almost go out of business, and spend about four hours on each post—you probably wouldn’t want to go through all that just to make money on banner ads. You probably have a way more efficient mechanism for earning money and you can blog on the side.

This seems like a good time to tell you the advice my writing teacher gave our who class in graduate school: Writing for a living is a very, very hard life. If you can do anything else for a living, you should.

So the idea that blogging will help you get rich: Forget it. Your chances of that are so slim, while your chances of gaining the other benefits of blogging are very high. So blog, yes, and do it to reach real goals, just not financial goals.

317 replies
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  1. Vic
    Vic says:

    Yet again Ms. Trunk you’re trashing something that you yourself are doing. Some time ago you posted about “don’t write a book”, but you wrote a book. Now you’re attacking blogging, but your company is based on blogging – isn’t it? According to your blog, you even sold equity in your blog to fund your company – right?

    While I don’t have a blog yet, I have plans and would like to make a little side income from it.

    Maybe we should take this as a friendly challenge?

    Vic

  2. TheDailyBlonde
    TheDailyBlonde says:

    Great post. I started my blog two years ago as a therapy session for myself. When I was in a car accident and required several “stay on the couch for months” surgeries, I started blogging. I wrote whatever I wanted and didn’t care who read it. Free therapy in my eyes.

    I still write, have a nice little base of readers and don’t use affiliate ads. I tried it because I’m a single Mom of 5 and could always use fourteen cents a month, but I hated how they looked. I love connecting with others who start small businesses or fun blogs. In an effort to raise money to have a blog hosted outside of blogger, I asked if people would advertise on my blog. I approve who goes on and promote their businesses like crazy….because they are struggling small business people in a big world. It’s worked wonderfully and the feedback was great. I wasn’t looking to make a ton of money and set the ad price low. I love promoting their business and it helped me immediately raise the funds to host my new blog.

    I write because I love to. I Twitter because I love the connections. I don’t worry about who likes me or doesn’t…it’s my “home” and I do with it what I choose.

  3. Chris O.
    Chris O. says:

    Wow,

    This has been my favorite read of the day! I totally agree and am astonished how everyone and their uncle says “You Should Start a Blog”. Authoring a blog is a big commitment and certainly not a good use of time for the majority of small business owners.

    We covered this very issue on the Referral Key blog.

    best,

    Chris O.
    Referral Key
    "Your Trusted Referral Network"

  4. Shawn
    Shawn says:

    I think the value of blogging has more to do with the communication it allows on many different levels than any direct profit from AdSense etc.: 1. the ability to find and communicate with those who are interested in your particular product or idea 2. the ability to mobilize and interact with volunteers or partners who might be interested in participating in your organization or product 3. The ability to communicate with a smaller group of trend setters who will share your product, service or message with their friends virally. What we tell clients is that blogs are a way of promoting and spreading information about their product, organization or business much more effectively and cheaply than traditional media can, not because it targets a huge audience but simply because it targets the right audience.

  5. Mario Remedios
    Mario Remedios says:

    Very interesting point of view. I think you could make money from blogging, but it’s definitely not a quick money solution. It takes a large audience and many quality posts to attract good advertisement. Yes most niches are saturated but adding your own personal flair might differentiate your blogs from others. Being a little controversial does help. People should consider blogging for their own personal pleasure and stop focusing on making money.

  6. CJ
    CJ says:

    I think I have finally read my last post on this blog. Yes, most of what you say is true (maybe all of it) and maybe it’s something people need to hear, but wow Penelope. Maybe i need to go back and read what your intentions are for this blog, maybe I’m simply in the wrong place. I mean, there are plenty of -great- reasons to blog as well. That aside, for a site that appears to be centered around helping people develop themselves and their careers, there is an awful lot of hate; a lot of ‘don’t bother’ ‘you’re just wasting your time…’

    speaking of wasting time.
    ###

    • Mario Remedios
      Mario Remedios says:

      To CJ,

      If you write about things you truly have passion for, you’ll get readers and fans and you’ll be able to monetize your blog. Many do it through affiliate programs as well as advertisement but it does take some time. I think the main point is to forget about making the money in the beginning. Me personally, when people tell me I can’t do something, I usually try harder to prove them wrong. It’s just me. This post is controversial but yet again, it does take being a little controversial sometimes to keep readers entertained.

  7. Casey
    Casey says:

    The best career advice I’ve received over the years has been the kind that has talked me out of things. This is in the same vein and I appreciate it. You’ve saved me time and energy. I think I’ll keep my blog, but I’m simply going to use it to keep friends and family updated with what’s going on in my life and the lives of my husband and kids. That will make it fun again. I plan to redirect my energy to my career and try to shine more in that arena, rather than looking for ways to escape it.

  8. Sally
    Sally says:

    Someone mentioned ‘Vintage Penelope’. I agree. I love these posts. They stick in my mind. Like the one about changing yourself, rather than trying to change others.

    I didn’t read: don’t write a blog. I read: be realistic. That’s what I need to hear. Gives me clarity and drives me forward.

    Jamie – we all dreamed of writing a book as soon as we opened one. Just like every kid that auditions for Idol sang into a hair brush and has always wanted to be famous. Dreams are great, but if PT blows them up with air and encouragement – they’re just going to go pop with one pin prick of rejection/failure/threat of hard work. I’d rather know about the tough stuff, rather than listen to some aunt who keeps telling me I’m going to be famous.

    And those who referred to pyramid schemes. Yes! You have pulled the curtain back…pointed at the emperor not wearing any clothes. I joined up on twitter and suddenly had all these people following me. Why? They wanted to help me market my blog, market myself…I asked the question: If there are all these social media marketers who help you write blogs. And there are all these people writing blogs. Who reads the blogs?

  9. jenx67
    jenx67 says:

    I started blogging at the open diary more than 10 years ago – long before monetizing was heard of or the ads that made it possible had been created. I hadn’t even discovered “Dogpile” yet. (Imagine if that search engine had come up with a better name. Talk about brand impact.) At any rate, I’ve done modest advertising on my blog and I’m half way to buying my new Nikon lens. So, you can earn a little – very little – a little at a time. But, what a great post this is. You are so right.

    And, I think this Anna is kind of mean. I don’t even know Jamie Varon, but hey – if she’s like you – thanks, Anna, for introducing her to me. Can’t wait to check her out. hahahaha!

    On a completely different note, several months back you had a post where you said something to the effect of “Life is so hard, you have to do wonder why anyone would do it.” I thought it was funny, though I understood the point you were making. Life is hard. Period. So, I hope you will write something soon about the increasing number of suicides among white, middle-aged America. The numbers are out there. I wish the Surgeon General would start talking about this.

    Today’s news of the Freddie Mac CF/CEO and the NY guy who took his life and then his family’s – just so sad. Reportedly, they both seemed to “have it all.” In Oklahoma City, we lost two prominent men (41 and 47) in a matter of 8 days, and here, we’ve hardly seen the economic fallout. I know this is a long shot, but I felt like I had to turn to someone who might help get the conversation started. I tweeted this today -and not so much as one retweet. I am retweeted sometimes – not often – I understand this is a mark of brand strength. Mine must be weak among my 325 followers. Still, it’s unreal that people must bore us all with their bodily functions when given the opportunity to turn their attention to something so serious. As I understand – average increase among all is 0.7%. But, white middle aged men – 2.7 percent and women – 3.8 percent.)

    Thanks for listening, sorry for leaning – taking up this space on your post. After the loss of a father of three in OKC – I just had to take this step. Maybe it will pay off. Maybe not.

  10. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Cynical much?

    I always find that people who are as cynical and pessimistic as you clearly are from this blog are just not doing what they love in life. The fact of the matter is that every point you’ve listed is potentially wrong. I say “potentially”, because every single point depends entirely upon the blogger, their content, and their own specific disposition and tenacity. The lazy bloggers with nothing to say might indeed find truth in your article, but anyone worth a salt should ignore it wholesale.

    It is not only possible to make money from one’s blog — it is the ideal way to make money for certain types of people. To dismiss something outright is obnoxious at best, offensive at worst. Imagine someone with something truly revolutionary, truly inspiring, truly world-changing to say, who reads this article: You’ve just killed their ambition, and denied the world the value of their insights. Even if that’s a fraction of 1% of your readers, that’s still a potential value you’ve wiped off the face of the Earth. All so you could be controversial and troll for a response like mine. There ya go. Happy? Good for you.

    This was the first and only article of yours I’ve ever read. It begs the question: Then why exactly are you bothering to write your own blog? Hypocrisy is indeed an ugly beast.

    Ridiculous.

    • Tsh
      Tsh says:

      I was crafting my own comment in my head, but Jeff said exactly what I wanted to say. No need to reinvent the proverbial wheel, so I’ll just say “ditto.”

      I’ve got a book deal because of my blog that’s a little over a year old. Before I started, I read posts like this and they discouraged me. Now I read them and just shake my head.

      Why try to dissuade people from doing something big, something unexpected, something frightfully valuable with their time? If blogging is that, then go for it with gusto.

      I’m so glad I did. It’s changed my life.

  11. DR
    DR says:

    While it’s true that most bloggers won’t make much money, it’s not for the reasons you’ve articulated. The whole concept of the “big blog” with lots of subscribers and social networking is NOT where the money is. And frankly, the folks who’ve come from print media and now run well known blogs are NOT making the big money. I could point you to dozens of mediocre-looking sites run by folks you’ve never heard of that make 5 and even 6 figures PER MONTH in affiliate income. The truth is that most bloggers won’t make big money because they don’t know how to and aren’t willing to put in the time to do it.

  12. david rees
    david rees says:

    Oh I like this one very much.

    I have never thought SM was a good vehicle for making (direct) money (for me). I don’t pay to read blogs and I can’t remember the last ad I clicked on.

    Then there is this news story about how 452,000 people make a living off their blog and I think, for about a day, I should do that! I love to write – it’s PERFECT!

    Then I come to my senses and realize that nobody is going to pay me to write clever little posts. I would have to write about kidney medication or anti depressants or something else equally esoteric. Horrible.

    I am quite content in my job and I am happy with whatever tiny tiny droplet of efame I can muster in my field through a casual attempt at various SM platforms.

    At the end of the day, I think my effort to reward ratio is probably better that the average professional. Maybe not in pure minutes to dollars, but I get to be myself and write about what is interesting to me. I have to reign myself in just a bit because I like to argue (argument as blood sport is more like it) and that is unseemly to clients so I stay nice.

    No stress and I enjoy having the feeling to be my authentic self online. I always use my real name and I always remember that anything I write could come back down the road. That’s a relatively low bar and it’s fun.

  13. Balrulto
    Balrulto says:

    You are right, so damn right, that it is painful, ouch!

    It is interesting that blogging cannot make money, but all other businesses riding on blogging can earn money, e.g. selling items based on blog connections, Google selling ads on other people’s blogs, selling pdf ‘books’ on money making blogs…etc.

    So, it’s ‘you won’t make money from your blog’, but ‘you can make money from affiliates riding on your blog’. Right?

  14. Helen Romeo
    Helen Romeo says:

    Ok my long comment seems to have disappeared while posting it so I’ll paraphrase:
    1) Agree that reality and pragmatism are needed, dreams are not enough!
    2) Talent of course is a pre-requisite;
    3) So is hard graft, there seems to be a 10-year hard slog minimum before most talented people hit real success;
    4) DREAMS ergo GOALS shouldn’t be discounted, though, as they can drive a talented person to success through the bad patches, by bolstering determination and persistence, so I’d never discount ‘Shooting for the stars’ (as long as there’s talent with it).
    Re: blogs, if there’s heart and talent in it, then there can be success. As with anything else, human beings ‘dig’ (and ‘buy’) passion and inspiration combined with talent. If little else, the exposure/contacts made could lead to increased revenue. I ‘mailed penelope, she ‘mailed me back, she gave me advice as a ‘frustrated stay-at-home mum’ happy to have kids but needing to fulfil my crative potential. I set up a blog as a result, and have just (as a result of an off-blog conversation with a reader) organised a meeting with two TV producers next week to talk over an idea for research on mother/daughter relationships for a project. Little, maybe, but still valuable contacts…so I wouldn’t discourage anyone who wants to blog for the love of blogging. But anything done PURELY for the love of money, without real talent and passion behind it, is unlikely to succeed…www.frustratedstay-at-homemum.blogspot.com

  15. James
    James says:

    Even though I run ads on my blog, I was glad to see this post. There are so many sites on the web that make blogging sound like an easy path to riches, so I think a bit of balance is needed on the subject. Sure it is possible for some people to make a living blogging, but I would bet that those who have succeeded put in WAY more than 40 hours a week to get to that point.

    The primary reason that I blog is to share ideas that are important to me. I have never really cared much about site optimization and those types of things, but my traffic has grown steadily over the years (close to 100k views a month at this point) because I write about a subject that I am truly passionate about. If I really tried, I could probably grow the blog bigger, and make more money in the process, but that would take time away from my real job, which is product design. I love design- the very reason I started the blog in the first place- so I am not really looking for a replacement job.

    I believe that passion for the topic is the key to blogging success, but most people who are strictly in it for the money just don't seem to understand that.

  16. Sophie
    Sophie says:

    I think the conclusion that most people won’t make a ton of money blogging is absolutely true. The numbers from the recent WSJ and other publications on blogging and how people are making a living are indeed over the top & not accurate.

    Most people don’t start their blog with a sound business idea or strategy. Usually it’s let roll the dice and see how much money I can bring in with this idea or my off the wall topics. A personal blog will rarely turn into something that can pull in a full-time income.

    With all that said, there are those out there that have put thought into their blog(s) & have determined numerous ways to monetize, get traffic, create sticky sites, & are very realistic about the time and effort involved in building the business into a profitable one.

    I would say that most of us bloggers that work full-time (or that are close & have that vision) don’t rely on one single blog to bring home the bacon. It’s kind of like diversifying your investment portfolio in that you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket…in this case it would be putting all your hopes into one site. Building a network of sites over a stretch of time is a much better strategy because some sites will do better than others and so on, but collectively the income can add up. Test as you go and see what works and what doesn’t…research and keep building your skill sets as this is what it will take.

    Now this type of dedication and perseverance is not for everyone and most will probably stop before they realize the true potential of what could be. I agree a lot with what Penelope has mentioned but the premise (at least to me) assumes that a person may run 1 or 2 blogs and that will not work for us little guys out there that don’t have capital or the networking to turn them into mega sites!

    My suggestion for people that are really interested in making money blogging or running sites in any capacity really to check out abestweb, problogger, forums.digitalpoint.com, webmasterworld.com and so on.

    Sophie

  17. Chaalz
    Chaalz says:

    LOVE the reality check here. Statistically 99.9% of blogs make less than $100 a year. (not exact but you get the point) Its helpful to bloggers to know what they are up against.

    I’ve been blogging for 1 month now and find the general advice given just stupid. Sorry, gotta call it like I see it. Things like “choose a theme”, “become and expert”, LMAO. Come on. Really?

    Tell me when was the last time you went to a Dr, or a mechanic and thought that 10 months experience actually made him an “expert”. Yet majority go around calling themselves that and just repeating what they’ve read last week. (AND they expect to make “expert” level money? Instant gratification 1, hard work 0) In this regard I completely agree with PT. Since most of us aren’t experts we should not expect to make money.

    However, and here’s where false hope for bloggers comes in, the sad part is that many from the younger generation find these “experts” and worship them, hang on their every word. It amazes me. Its like the whole generation is depressed, has low self-esteem, lacks common sense, etc and constantly needs and seeks out these self-help type blogs. “5 ways to blah…”, “Top 9 things you can do blah blah blah…”. Its all about whats the least amount of work I can do to get the biggest gain. Don’t get me wrong, some of these blogs are necessary, but every blog I see seems to be about that or about social media.

    And if I want to trust my company’s name to someone’s hands, its not going to be to the 20 yr old “expert” that spent the summer reading up on social media and has a slick blog/site trying to make money.

    PT…I’m begging…please write a post about how people (and companies) can cut through the crap out there! I’ll consider it your goodwill to the world.

    I prefer the senseless blogs about the guy taking his daughter’s Leap Frog instead of his laptop to an important meeting. Much better than the blogs that try to convince me they’re an expert at anything with only 1-2 yrs experience.

    So I’m taking a stand
    1. I am NOT going to choose a theme
    2. I am NOT going to try to be an expert
    3. I AM going to put ads on my little blog, Just Too Logical. (because quite frankly, making $1000 over 2 yrs will cover a new iPhone plus AT&T’s damn $30/month data plan)
    4. And finally, I am going to stay true to my friends, true to my blog and true myself.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my comment.
    @chaalz

    • Kerry
      Kerry says:

      Well, except that Brazen Careerist features a whole bunch of 20ish-year-old experts. They give career advice, with 1-2 years of experience (sometimes less…sometimes it’s just 1-2 weeks).

      So this may not be the best place to rail against that particular pet peeve.

      • Chaalz
        Chaalz says:

        You call someone with “sometimes just 1-2 weeks” experience an expert?

        And then you call my saying this is crazy, a “pet peeve”?

        Thats surprising coming from someone with 14 yrs experience in his field. I wonder if a 21yr got hired where you work and claimed the same level of experience, how you’d be feeling.

        To each his own I guess.

  18. Kerry
    Kerry says:

    No, Chaalz, I don’t call someone with 1-2 weeks experience an expert. I’m saying that this website that you’re on right now gives people with very little career experience the opportunity to give career advice. Some of them have made quite a splash.

    I’m agreeing with you. I don’t care for this trend either. I’m just saying that this website that we’re both on right now, Brazen Careerist, is built on exactly the model you’re complaining about, and based on that, you may want to take the advice with a grain of salt. Some posts are meant to advise, and some are meant to drive traffic, y’know?

  19. Akhila
    Akhila says:

    I think this is definitely true, but I also think that blogging could potentially make money if you don’t put all your eggs into that basket. I’m not doing blogging to make money, but because I genuinely love writing and want to make a difference, and get my words out there. I want to make connections and improve myself. It’s working, for all those reasons.

    But say I became an insanely popular blogger. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t want to cash in on that for a little extra revenue. I’m not saying I’d work full time as a blogger; very few people want this. But there’s nothing wrong with trying to monetize your blog if you are popular.

    Moreover I see plenty of people writing books – ebooks at least – after blogging. Dan Schawbel, Jonathan Mead. I think what they are doing is great. I think blogging CAN get you places, but obviously you shouldn’t think you’ll make millions off of it.

  20. Richard
    Richard says:

    Wow. Are *all* your posts just like this one Penelope? I land on your blog, read my very first post ever on it, and seriously *not* want to dig in any further.

    I just find it saddening to see someone with as much influence and voice such as you shoot down those with *potential* influence and voice before they’ve even started.

    Too much hate Penelope. I know that there really is a solid message you want to pass here, but it would probably have been better done in a more conservative manner, but that’s just me.

  21. chris
    chris says:

    nice blog post, but its not that hard to make money blogging, one of my blogs does about 10k month revenue, and has for the past couple years.

  22. K.A. Brown
    K.A. Brown says:

    Interesting blog. Yet, I refuse to take Penelope’s words to heart. I WILL become a successful writer and blogger.

  23. k8thebloggerwannabe
    k8thebloggerwannabe says:

    Why, ain’t you something, girl? You picked the hardest game on the planet and WON!! Very kind of you, too, to take time out of your busy, busy schedule to advise mere mortals to fageddaboutit. Congratulations on all of your uber achievements.

    Humbly, k8thebloggerwannabe

    P.S. I used to work in Bell Labs so I know how your mind works, tootsie.

  24. N
    N says:

    A good essay, but there’s a missing Part 2 — transitioning from writer to publisher. That’s how you can make money.

  25. Dave
    Dave says:

    Excellent post, glad I found it.

    I am currently using (or planning to use) blogging to share ideas, and promote my other endeavors (as a speaker, comic, writer, etc.). I have no delusions about the content of your post.

    Another really good point I would like to add, is that even if someone IS really talented and willing to work hard, that is not enough.

    As soon as you want to make a living at something, you need good business sense (or can hire someone who has).

    There is a reason so many business ventures fail, at many levels, and it is lack of basic business skills.

    (I had one client who did not even thank they needed a budget…).

    again, great post.

    ~ Dave
    “life is a game, the winners play” -dpak

    • Antonia deMaltby
      Antonia deMaltby says:

      Paul, with respect, it is “none of us IS” not “None of us are.” None is a contraction of “not one.” We don’t write or say, “Not one of us ARE” do we? I’ve been a journalist for over 35 years and I cringe when someone writes, “None of us are…” or “None of them were.” Whomever you were attempting to correct was not in error

  26. Daryl Bowls
    Daryl Bowls says:

    What I find extremely annoying is how many people these days are creating blogs that fill up an internet search with amateur garbage. Many times the information provided on a topic of interest, is simply wrong.

    For example, when I do a search within Google for a topic of interest, I’m now given thousands of mostly useless results. Keep the amateurs out of blogging; you’re wasting my research time.

  27. Shawn
    Shawn says:

    Hey Dan and Daryl,
    A turn through any book store or a listen to any top 40 radio station just goes to show that the great gatekeepers of culture and intellectualism the “cult of the amateur” is poised to tear down has done little to save us from mediocrity. And I’ve worked too long in the newspaper business to believe that pro journalists always trump amateurs on accuracy or balance. So here’s a novel thought. Suppose we stick to the method of social, cultural, spiritual and intellectual progress the human race has been using successfully for thousands of years: experimentation and innovation. I know things are just fine the way they are right now fellas and can’t possibly get any better, but just humor us. You guys would have pooh-poohed the printing press.

  28. Dan Erwin
    Dan Erwin says:

    Hey Shawn: Don’t be too quick to draw conclusions on my response. A little bit of thoughtful analysis would have enabled you to see that my comment could have been taken literally, tongue in check, or, god knows, any number of ways. Furthermore, the comment reveals nothing about my own perspective on amateurs. Indeed, if you were to check out my own blog on personal branding today, you would notice that I consider myself a novice on the web…a novice is one new to a calling (in effect, an amateur). Sounds to me like the term amateur pricked your balloon. It wasn’t bothersome to me!

    Actually, it was an indirect comment to Daryl to get over it…the web is never going to make the changes he seems to want.

    Dan

  29. Shawn
    Shawn says:

    No balloons pricked. The Web is young so we’re all amateurs. However, some professionals in other fields feel their expertise should somehow be valued above everyone else’s contributions in the new medium. I admit to being somewhat touchy on this subject. The sob stories sung by people who write books like the one you mentioned are the same as the complaints of those who at one time were unable to get a record contract, or to get published or whatever. I read your blog post today and must admit some skepticism at the statement that everyone can have a personal brand. The wheat will be separated from the chaff in every medium. No offense. I sometimes overreact on this topic.

    • Dan Erwin
      Dan Erwin says:

      Shawn: Thanks much. I certainly understand… No offense taken. Sometime let’s talk about the whole business of amateurs, professionals, world-class experts, etc.

      Dan

  30. Laura
    Laura says:

    Dooce is totally over-rated – that gravy train will come to an end one of these days. ps 400,000 is nothing to sneeze at!

  31. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    If you want to make money from your blogs you eventually will. Download and follow this action plan, Clickbank. Even if you don’t succeed with your ultimate goals you will eventually start to make some great money.

  32. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    If by “blogging” you mean “Writing an online diary of your life by which you attempt to gather a huge following of people fascinated by your stunning wit and personality and then sell banner ads at $.01 ECPM”, then I agree.

    If by “blogging” you mean to imply that one cannot make money online, then you’re dead wrong. Money can be made online when you present an offer and get people to buy. You can do that through affiliate programs, selling your own product, or through dropshipping. Even adsense, though your earnings per visitor will be much lower. Each method has its pros and cons. You also have to learn how to generate traffic–PPC (Adwords), SEO, recruiting super-affiliates, article marketing, etc.

    The biggest obstacle with making money online is that the first $10,000/yr is extremely difficult to do–much harder than flipping burgers for $10,000/yr or going on welfare/unemployment. Most people get discouraged and quit at that point (or they are following some idiotic strategy that will never work).

    However, the people who persist after they start making $500-1000/mth find that scaling that number up is far easier than scaling up a day job’s income. If your site is making $1000/mth, it’s a simple matter of math to go to $5,000/mth–just make 4 more sites like it (should be easier now that you’ve done it once), or increase traffic/conversions at your existing site, or some combination. Going from $5,000 to $10,000/mth is the same math.

    There are only two reasons why people stop at the hobby/parttime income level of $500-2000/mth — they like their day job and consider their online money “fun money”; or they are too scared to take the plunge to fulltime.

    But how hard is it to double your day job income? Very. Often, you have to enter an entirely new career and go back to school. For the cost of the years in school + tuition, you could learn how to make money online.

    As far as buying “How to Make Money Online Products”, as a former info-junkie, I can tell you this:

    All of reasonable systems can work if you work them. The biggest reason for failure isn’t that you picked a bad system, but because you didn’t do any work.

    My most successful earning site did $850 last month on autopilot (it was doing $1000+ late last year before the economy turned down). It is the “least brilliant” of all my million dollar site ideas. And yet it makes the most money BECAUSE ITS THE ONLY ONE I ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTED AND TOOK ACTION ON.

    I’ve got all kinds of ideas and ebooks and systems sitting on my harddrive. And yet the only one that gets clickbank checks and google direct deposits is the site I actually sat down and MADE. Amazing, the difference between action and “pondering”.

    Sorry for the long rant, but people need the straight story on making money online:

    1. It’s possible.
    2. It’s hard.
    3. It takes emotional courage because their is little social acceptance for what you’re doing and results take time so you look like an idiot for the first X number of months/years it takes to start the money flowing.
    4. There are a lot of scam artists who will sell you crap to fulfill your hopes of making money online, and they have ruined the reputation of making money online so that a lot of smart people have decided MMO is bullshit and thus you can easily be discouraged by reading articles from smart people like penelope who say that MMO is not possible.

  33. Gabriel
    Gabriel says:

    Making money online from blogging is for those how already have a well established name on the web. There are many ways to make money from blogging but you will have to create your blog around that product or service you are selling. All there is the option of selling post reviews and backlinks which will bring money but not big time money

  34. Dan
    Dan says:

    I used to write an (amatuer) blog and would get small checks every month from San Francisco from a firm that posted ad links on my site. I think if I were really committed and developed it more it would have been some nice extra income.

    I don’t totally agree it’s impossible, but I wouldn’t quit my day job to do it either. The people who read my blog, though, were very loyal and I had a lot of links.

    I disagree.

  35. EnnisP
    EnnisP says:

    If you can do anything else for a living, you should.

    Every professional says the same thing about their particular profession. None are easy but all are gratifying, some (most) even materially rewarding.

    This post has a few helpful ideas but is overall a bit negative. Somewhat out of character for you. Most people come to you blog looking for ways to “do it” so it runs contrary to popular expectations. Maybe you are using your own advice about “controversy” (item #4).

  36. Ale R
    Ale R says:

    An online store is a better idea to make money online but I agree with Gabriel is all about how creative can you get when it comes to make your blog or website profitable just like off the net business

  37. SiteBetter
    SiteBetter says:

    Thanks for a great blog post. I agree with most of what you say. As a one time website developer, I had the experience of working with entrepreneurs who wanted to slap up a website and start advertising to make money. I had to explain to them it just doesn't work that way. Google AdWords pays about 2 cents a click. You get ten people to your site a day and two clicks; you have netted yourself four cents. Congratulations, you are on a roll.

    Now with blogging and people like John Chow telling you can make loads of money is just not real.

    Also, people need to understand that certain subject blogs that do make money (how to make money blogging, etc.). Many blogs about making money do pretty well because most people are interested in making money and they will buy whatever they are told to buy in order to make money.

    Blogs about personal development also do pretty well. But the thing to remember is that these blogs that make money do not make money from advertising, they make money from product promotion. They promote a product and "endorse" products for those who are selling them.

    I think item #7 is pretty much a universal truth among bloggers. You have to do it because you love it and maybe want to make a little extra, but don't do it because you think it will be a cash cow. Not that many people want to hear what you have to say.

    Also, remember that blogs are popular for that fact people can add comments like this one and submit a link to their site for a little credit. Without that, the vast majority of blogs would go unread. It gets back to the "What's' in it for me?" syndrome. Blogs succeed because there is something in it for the reader, or rather the commenter.

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    Blogging For a Living…Or Not…

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