When someone decides to start a blog (specifically with the intention of someday earning some revenue), of course they want it to be successful. Who in their right mind would create a blog with the intention of failure? Nobody. Well my question is, if people want to be successful bloggers, then why are they setting themselves up for failure right off the bat? Let me elaborate…
There are three questions one should ask him or herself to determine whether or not they should start and/or continue blogging with the intention of making money from it in the future.
For the purposes of this post, my definition of successful is a blog that will someday earn a reasonable income (yes, vague, I know) through any means, including but not limited to advertising, selling products and/or services, and selling the website. In addition, and probably most important—a successful blog is one that does not seem like a burden to keep alive by it's owner.
Question #1: Can I Commit?
Creating and maintaining a successful blog takes a lot of time commitment. If you're not committed to it, there is no doubt that it will fail. I wish I had run a poll about this, but I think that generally a solid, quality blog post can take up to 2 or 3 hours to write (or more). At least this is the case for me and a few other bloggers I've corresponded with.
Depending on how often you plan on writing a blog post, this can add up to several hours a week. So the question is, can you commit to this? A better question is: can you see yourself spending this much time writing for your blog one year, two years, five years from now? If not, then why do it? It's a waste of time, in my opinion and you're setting yourself up for failure.
I compare it to dating.
For me, there was no point in dating someone who I couldn't see myself marrying someday. I never understood those people who when asked if they could see themselves marrying their significant other, they would respond with a “no”, or even a “maybe”. I didn't get it! So you're saying you're going to break up, just not today or tomorrow, but someday? Sure, some people date around and have fun with no intention of marriage, but in the blogging world with the goal of earning an income, you can't score without commitment.
Commit the time it takes to be successful, and you open up the possibility of being successful. Without committing the time, you can have the best content, products, methods, whatever in the world—it just wouldn't work.
Question #2: Why Will People Come to Me?
With new bloggers entering the blogosphere each and every day, getting noticed is not an easy task. Before you even begin the design of your blog or writing anything, you have to ask yourself, “Why will people will come to me?” “What do I have to offer that will make me stand out from everyone else in the same niche?” If you don't know, you'd better figure it out because that should be the strategy and focus of your blog.
If you just follow the masses and create a blog that's similar to another, or write posts that have already been written somewhere else—then you're instantly making it harder than it should be to succeed.
One way I believe I stand out from the crowd of “online income” bloggers is by breaking down exactly what I do and how it affects every cent I earn, and passing on that info to you. People are always telling me it's really cool that I am willing to share my income and everything I do to earn it—so I can definitely tell that my strategy for standing out from the crowd is working.
There are plenty of other ways to be unique and stand out in your niche:
- The style that you present the material is different and unique.
- You are able to create the material and/or find it before anyone else.
- You have a different take on the subject.
- Maybe you've done something unique that not very many other bloggers can say they've done (i.e. Erica from Erica.biz, who sold a business for $1,100,000.00 dollars at the age of 26.)
- Or maybe you have unique “secrets” or “methods” that no one else has.
These are just some ideas, but definitely not all of them.
Think about this: anyone online can choose to get their information from anybody. Why should it be you? Figure it out, and milk it.
Question #3: Is a Blog Even Worthwhile?
Based on the two previous questions, you might think it's just easier to not blog at all. The committment, the time and effort and writing content on a schedule, blah blah blah…it may seem like too much. And how will you know you'll even make a dime?
My answer to that question is, you don't know. But, you'll never know unless you give it a shot, and by committing and finding out exactly how to stand out from the crowd, you will give yourself the best chance to succeed.
A blog, in my mind, is the best vehicle to help you earn money online. Why?
- It's dirt cheap to start.
- Hardly any technical know-how is needed.
- You can setup a blog and start writing all in one day.
- You can test out a niche for a period of time—if it doesn't work, move on to a new one with minimal losses.
- A blog is more personable, which will help you develop relationships with your readers must faster.
- You can easily build a loyal group of followers who you can communicate with through your blog and it's comments.
- The blog can be used as a way to promote other products you may have created, or membership websites related to your topic. It's also an easy way to recruit an affiliate sales force too!
When I started intheleed.com, it was in fact, a blog. It still is. I had used a free wordpress theme and paid less than $100 for the domain and a year of hosting. I wrote 1 or 2 new blog posts a day, and after a few months, I had a loyal following of readers.
Then, I came out with my ebook which I sold through my blog, and it was surprisingly easy to sell. This is because:
- People already knew exactly who I was. I wasn't a faceless company. I was Pat!
- People trusted me in being able to provide great information, which I did for free on the website already.
- I was directly available to answer people's questions, via the comments in the blog and through email.
After that, I came out with my Audio Guide that went along with the ebook, and again, it sold just as well, if not better than the ebook. This was all possible because of the blog.
If instead I had just created a normal business website that directly sold the same ebook and Audio guide—I would have had no loyal followers (or just followers in general), and no trust. People would be asking, “Who is this guy and where did he come from?” My blog answered this question for me.
Just think—if you were given the option of buying the same type of product, let's say, an ebook about how to make money online—who would you rather buy it from?
Person A, who has a single page website with a long sales letter with pictures of himself next to Ferarris and impressive income reports; or
Person B, who has a blog about making money online, 5000k subscribers, 20k twitter followers, and numerous free articles about certain tips and tricks on making money online on his website.
I pick trust person B.
So, let's ask ourselves the question again: Is blogging worthwhile? Yes—if done correctly and with patience, it can be very worthwhile. This third and final question is important, and is one that you should constantly be asking yourself throughout your blogging career, especially when the times are tough and you just don't feel like blogging or writing anymore. Is a blog worthwhile? Absolutely.