Sticking with a blog might.
I think there are three approaches to money in the blogosphere. The first is “This is a personal project and I’m not going to bother with any kind of advertising or money.” The second: “I’m doing this because I enjoy it and I think I can make some money at this point so I’m going to try it out.” (The second point of view is often an evolution from the first.) The third: “I’m going to start a blog and make lots of money.”
Being a blogger, at least one who makes money, means that you’re in here for the long haul.
I started this blog as something personal, a way to cope with the things in life that were stressing me out. Most of all, Micah’s student loans. Since I read mostly personal finance blogs, it became pretty PF-oriented. But if you look at the first few posts (and please don’t…*blush*) you can see it was essentially a personal journal. I wrote about random things like figuring out the phone system at work. Major personal triumph.
At some point, I tried awkwardly adding AdSense. That lasted a couple weeks until I saw that I’d probably never hit $100. (I have since then. But back then I had maybe 20 readers and it would have taken years.)
I didn’t actually make money off the blog until it was about 5 months old. Even now, I don’t make much compared to what people imagine successful bloggers make. I’m not raking in thousands or anything.
Part of that is because I’m not putting more effort into monetization and part is because I want to keep the site fairly clean when it comes to advertising. Oh, and part is because I probably don’t yet have the traffic to make thousands a month. 😉
Making any real money with a blog means being in for the long haul. I don’t think enough people in the third camp realize that. They expect that once they start a blog and get things in place the money will start coming in. But the uber-successful bloggers like Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and Jeremy Schoemaker of ShoeMoney have put incredible time and effort into their success.
It’s not something that happens overnight. And it’s not something you can be too eager about. Plastering your blog with ads, popunders, popups, redirect pages, and the like may make you more money than the average beginning blogger but it’s sure to drive away long-term readers. And it may keep other bloggers from linking to you, because they don’t want to subject their readers to that kind of thing.
There’s nothing wrong with starting a blog because you want to make money. You just have to realize that like any business, it’s a waiting game. While the starting costs aren’t as high as your average offline business, there’s still the time commitment you’ll need to put in. You have to write at least a few times a week and spend time networking. You also need to be passionate about or at least very interested in your subject. That’s what keeps you going.
If you’re looking for a way to make money with a bit less commitment, I’d suggest checking out Skellie’s Anywired article on “muse businesses.” It’s not going to get you rich quickly either, but I think it sounds much less time-consuming than a blog. Then again, I haven’t tried it.
Making money from a blog is like making money anywhere else. You may get lucky and end up getting rich quick. But if you stick with it, you’re more likely to get “rich” slowly (rich being relative, since it depends on how much money you keep vs. how much you make).
This post was inspired by Plonkee’s article Starting a Business Will Not Make You Rich.