Blogging is occasionally tossed out as a way of bringing in passive income. But as someone who earns money blogging, I don’t think this is quite accurate. It’d be better to describe it as a very involved source of income with a passive side.
How Blogging is Active
Pretty self-explanatory, right? At a minimum, you have to write posts. Next, you probably respond to some comments and answer reader e-mails. Then there’s networking, blog optimizing, commenting, etc. If you let it, blogging can easily eat hours out of your day. Nothing passive about that.
If it were just the initial effort of setting up a blog and writing a few good posts, it wouldn’t be that bad. But unlike a book, some good writing isn’t enough. People will expect more every day.
I’m ok with that because I like the conversational side of blogs, the relational side. And most of the time I love writing too. I don’t expect it to be passive.
How You Make Passive Money Blogging
There are a number of ways to make money blogging. The BlogHer ads on the right pay per impression (page view). The AdSense pays per click (though regulars are not encouraged to click because AdSense is quite touchy about valid vs. invalid clicks). There are links which pay a set amount each month just to advertise on the blog. Or because they hope it’ll get them higher rankings to be linked to by a site with a good page rank and whatnot.
Each of these has a strong passive element element.
For instance, a number of people visit my site every day because they ran a search and it pointed them to a relevant topic on my blog. Their visit makes an “impression.” They may also click on an ad and produce revenue there too. They end up on pages I created in the past, pages I have nothing to do with now. So that is passive, I just let the pages sit there and they earn some money.
Or people link to pages I created in the past, same result.
Then because my site has achieved a certain rank, people want to keep advertising on it. That probably wouldn’t change if I simply stopped writing today. I might not be able to renew them or find new ones, but some of the factors haven’t changed. My site would still have a good rank.
Some bloggers stepped away from their blogs months ago and yet continue to make money from ads. For them, blog income is truly passive.
But like retirement, making money off a blog requires an initial commitment. The more you put in earlier (more pages for people to find, more money in your 401(k), etc), the more you get out of it later.
Starting a blog won’t make you loads of money, but there is a certain passive element to appreciate. It just won’t happen unless you put in a lot of effort first.