Problogger’s Darren Rowse has a great article [link below] on the “unsexy truths” of monetizing your blogging. A lot of the truths that he mentions apply whether you’re monetizing directly or indirectly, whether you’re running advertising or selling products or services. Overall, I think that purpose and persistence are two of the fundamental keys of blogging success.
Why or For Whom Are You Blogging?
What Darren says, in a nutshell, is that persistence offers the potential (not the guarantee) of success online, but this often is the hardest aspect of blogging: that the return doesn’t come fast enough (item #2). This could be either because a blogging niche is difficult to monetize, or because not enough effort is made to promote, or several other reasons, including really sloppy or poor content. When you couple lack of ROI in a desirable timeframe with the loneliness (item #7) of blogging from home — which I’m guessing most bloggers do — and the challenge of long hours (sometimes, not always) and the lack of human contact together often mean one thing: giving up fairly quickly, if you’re blogging for yourself.
On the other hand, if you’re blogging for clients, then you suffer the “feast or famine” phenomenon, where you sometimes have too much work and at other times you have none. Too bad you didn’t budget for that. Now it’s time to find “a real job” to pay the bills.
If you blog for a business, as part of your job or for your own business, you might have it the easiest of all bloggers, in general. You’re more likely to have a steady salary, and you might even work in an office, which means human contact. Then again, you might be an entrepreneur blogging because you have to, but you still have a stronger “purpose” in blogging than if you’re blogging for yourself to “earn a living.”
Persistence and Purpose are Fundamental
I’m not sure what I can tell you in regards to persistence, because it really does depend on your personality and discipline as well as your situation. The fact is, if you quit, you won’t succeed at blogging. But if you persist, there’s still no guarantee (item #4) you’ll succeed in any fashion.
Blogging suits me because not only am I a long-time writer but my programming career was in transition and I actually had very little choice for the past 4-5 years. I had to persist, and I’m still persisting, but now use blogging as a means to an end, integrated with my mobile apps startup and other types of client work. The irony is that now that I’m also blogging for business reasons, there’s all the more need to persist. My non-client mobile blogs, for example, are eventually to be a marketing vehicle for my mobile apps and those of my clients. However, blogging is no longer my only hope for a career and it doesn’t feel as much of a chore as it sometimes has in the past.
Ultimately, then, you have to find your own purpose for persisting in blogging. If you don’t know why you’re blogging, or you have no unique reason for it, you’ll probably find persistence fleeting. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Define your purpose for blogging. If you’re just blogging for yourself and have no other expertise to promote, it’ll be a difficult road, but not necessarily an unfruitful one. You can build your expertise as you go.
- Have a plan. Depending on your objectives, a blog business plan may come in handy. Include an editorial calendar in the mix. A plan just serves to remind you of where you want to be headed and actually helps you to focus as well as find it easier to filter distractions and find inspiration.
- Get to it. Planning is easy, persisting much harder. You’ll want to regularly monitor your site metrics, leverage your time, and revise your plan and purpose if necessary. Bootstrap your site success if you have to.