Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Like Most Blogs: not in it for the money

There are tons of articles out there touting the ways to make your blog pay--to earn money for writing articles at home in your pajamas. Indeed, "get rich quick" schemes and "work from home" plans are getting increasingly popular and many people believe the internet is the place to go for most of these schemes.

My mother, helpfully, pointed out that people make money on the internet and I should give it a go. Really? People make money on the internet? Why didn't I think of that? Never mind that I've had a personal website for over 10 years, several other websites for 6 or more years and an Amazon Associates account for 8 years which has yet to earn me enough for them to ship a check to me.

The thing is:

1. most of my websites were never intended to make money. Most of the sites, like this blog, were meant for my own personal enjoyment and to share my interests and knowledge with others who wanted to read it. I don't run ads on the sites or otherwise try to monetize them. I did start up a web-based business earlier this year, you might say, and I've been earning between $30-$100 a month on it since April when I started it. I will probably continue it next year and hope to increase the sales (we have a Cafepress store and Lulu store--so essentially we are designing and selling products online). However, that isn't the way I approach most of my web work.

2. Most people don't actually make a living from blogs or websites. My mom made it sound like something I should start up and it would replace my lost wages right away. Most people will never make a living wage off of their blog or website. Sure, some people do. I read Zen Habits back when it first got started (when it was still good) and I know that the writer, Leo, succeeded quite rapidly by web standards (and he isn't the only blogger I've read who has done well for him/herself with book deals, ad income and other income). However, the statistics show that these people are actually quite unusual. To make money with a blog, I'd need to be working almost full-time on promotion. First I'd need a niche market where I could write good content. Then I'd need to write a lot of good content and work very hard to get it out to a large number of people. If I was lucky I could start to build an audience and monetize my blog in various ways. Frankly, it isn't for everyone and few make it.

I know from experience that it is hard to keep up with writing content for a blog. I write on this one three days a week and this is the first time I've started a blog and kept with it on a posting schedule. It helps that I'm anonymous here and that this is essentially a personal blog--about my experiences and my self-improvement--something I obviously know a lot about. Writing about an exterior topic would probably be even harder.

I may not get any money from this blog--I don't expect to, that's for sure, and have never tried to--but I gain so much more. I enjoy the chance to write for an audience (true, it is a small audience but that's okay) and it gives me a chance to clarify my thoughts--allowing me to grow as a person. That's worth more than money to me right now. If I can become the best I can be, hopefully the money will follow the passion for what I decide to do with my life. It's that passion which I am searching for--this blog is about the life I want to have and the struggles I find along the journey. Money isn't the only thing in life.

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