A-List Blogs Are Not Good Examples to Follow

Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski

When I first learned about problogging, I definitely looked up to the A-List blogs. You know, the TechCrunches, the Gizmodos, the TMZs, the Daily Koses, the Mashables. These were the blogs that had made it. They were the most high profile blogs. They had the most traffic. And more traffic meant more money, right?

Therefore, I thought of them as good examples to follow. I patterned my first couple of blogs after them. But after a couple failed blogs, over the last couple of months I’ve realized that for most of us those blogs are not the best examples to follow.

An Easier Way to Make a Living

I realized that it’s very difficult to reach A-List levels of traffic. Just from a odds perspective, only a few can reach A-List status. Not everyone who seeks A-List status will achieve it. There just isn’t enough demand for many A-List blogs in any given industry.

Think of the classic bell curve. Most of us will languish in the middle of the curve.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t make a decent living. I realized that there are many mid-level bloggers that make a good living. They don’t get a lot of press because they don’t have nearly as much eyeballs as the A-List bloggers. But they love what they do and they provide value to their industry.

If your goal is to earn a decent living with blogging, those mid-level bloggers are much better examples than the A-List ones. It’s much easier to get the mid-level traffic than A-List traffic. Sure, you probably won’t earn millions of dollars but you’ll have a much better chance of being able to quit your job.

One thing I noticed a lot with the mid-level blogs is they have their own product. This is one of the main things that separates them from the A-Listers. A-List blogs need a ton of traffic because their main income source is advertisers. But mid-level blogs have learned how to make more money per visitor.

Creating and selling a product is the key. With a product, you can earn more with less traffic because you don’t have to split profits with advertisers and affiliate programs. It will take more work to create a product than to manage ads and affiliate products, but once you’ve done it, you have a recurring income stream all to yourself.

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10 thoughts on “A-List Blogs Are Not Good Examples to Follow

  1. I agree with you but I think if you start out with the attitude that there’s no room for another A-List blog for my niche, you’ve started out in a deficit already.
    I always begin by thinking, “I’m gonna make the best darn site I can” and believe it or not, positive thinking can work wonders!

  2. I agree with a lot of what you wrote here. The odds of becoming an A-list blogger are pretty extreme. It’s like the odds of becoming an NBA All-Star, but I am sure the NBA bench warmers are more than happy to accept the check they get. Just as I will be happy to receive whatever I can get as a blogger.

  3. Good tips. I’ve always tried to do the things that I think will work. I know that just because someone else is doing it doesn’t mean I should. Still, it is easy to want to try to do something that has helped someone else be successful. I guess it all depends on the goals of the blogger and the vision they have for their blog. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  4. Great post Dee. I used to think it would be idea to implement the strategies of the top blogs in your niche, but realized that it’s not that easy. You have to be opened minded to all the possibilities out there and there are a lot in your example of the mid-level bell curve. I think it’s also true that a lot of the income of the highest traffic blogs do come from advertisements and the mid-level blogs have a product to sell. Thanks for this; I will keep these aspects in mind as I continue on with my journey of blogging.

  5. Hi Dee, this is a great post and speaks truth for me. I’ve redesigned my blog countless times. It originally was my design portfolio then became a wannabe problogger, then now Im sticking to the basics and building upon what works. Although I do believe in following what works, but just because you do, doesn’t mean things will turn out the same for you. Now, Im focusing on what I know best and what I do best; thats my formula right now. Thanks Dee.


  6. Dee I agree,

    I think it’s better to be happy with a mid level blog that makes a decent income. I think there is less pressure and more freedom to try new things with your blog and readers.

    “Creating and selling a product is the key” – It has taken my a long time to realize this. I make most of my income with adsense and while it is a nice paycheck, the buyers that I’m sending these other advertisers could just as easily buy a product from me and I would make so much more.

    Plus I’d be more comfortable knowing that they are getting a quality product (since I created it) rather then some of the questionable ads/sites in the adsense network.


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