Guy Kawasaki: It’s Hard to Make Money Blogging

First off, if you aren’t a regular reader of Guy Kawasaki, head on over. There’s a reason why he rose to stardom in his first few months of blogging.

Now, Guy is sort of an outside/n00b in terms of webmastering, and he brings a fresh perspective on issues we old hats have beaten to death since 2001.

His recent post The First 100 Days: Observations of a Nouveau Blogger, is a succinct but accurate collection of truisms. In particular:

10. It’s hard to make money blogging. The advertising revenues don’t add up to much, but there are other significant rewards like helping people change the world..

Amen to that. One of the major themes of Performancing is that of making money from blogging. But the truth is that the vast majority of people do not make much money from their blogs… and even if they do make a decent bit, if you amortize it over the hours they put, it’s still likely they’re effectively earning less than minimum wage while blogging. (There are exceptions of course, but they are outliers.)

I think all of us in this space are driven, in part at least, by something besides money. (Well, except for me and Rich.)

What motivates everyone to blog? Are you mostly in it for the money (or something that could bring money, like if your blog gives you exposure that leads to a job offer)? Or do you do it for fun? A passion? A hobby? A part time job? A bit of all of the above?

(I’ll go first… I’m in it 90% for the money… 10% as a hobby…)

19 thoughts on “Guy Kawasaki: It’s Hard to Make Money Blogging

  1. i believe that the best way of making money online is still monetizing your blog with Adsense or Adbrite. my income from blogging is still low but i am working hard to get more readers.

  2. As a beginner, I’m starting with Adsense on my blog for monetization. But seeing probloggers like you who do not have any adsense ads, I get a little confused. I suppose it’ll change when my blog grows as well.

  3. In the good old Atari days (end of the 80’s) we had hundreds of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and all the techies were eagerly awaiting their chance to get connected with their sophisticated high-tech and pretty illegal (in Germany) 9,600 bps modem to upload gossip and software.

    Only a very very few people tried or managed to make some money with such a BBS service.

  4. eh, if I don’t I could die with having only shared what I know with a few dozen or so, clients.

    Besides, none of my friends around here will listen to anything that starts with “tech” or “web” or “inter” and I just need to get it out. Does anyone know or remember how lonely it was for technologists outside of the valley, ten years ago?

    yeah, maybe I write to feel more connected. nah, I write because it’s cuurently the only way to express what I’m feeling. Maybe that’s why I started doing podcasts. Nah. It’s for the money!

  5. Right now blogging solves two purposes for me: it is making me generate lots of content on my field — content writing/copywriting. It also got me two blogging gigs recently. Traffic-wise it isn’t much right now — it hardly generates 50 impressions in a day; but I’m working to improve this.

  6. dkessaris you have made a very nice and interesting point! I do also believe that a good five pages old school website can have success also from the money point of view.

    If somebody is not willing to work on fresh content all the time it might even be better to design a classical website with a classical structure and leave it alone most of the time.

  7. My experience tells me that traditional sites perform much better than blogs. I have sites that are just 5 pages (original content) that make me the same kind of money as my blogs. However the beauty of those sites is that they are low or no maintenance, and that allows me to create a large number of them without having to worry about updating them. It’s just the process of creating them, do some link building and promotion and forget about them. As a matter of fact for some sites I spend more time on keyword research than the time I spend creating them.

  8. I sort of fell into blogging for the second time just before Christmas and this time I got addicted. I found it was a great way of sharing information and getting feedback and of publishing creative writing that I couldn’t put anywhere else. The fact that I could make money was a bonus. While I’d like blogging to pay me, at the moment it’s a get-rich-slow scheme, so it’s just as well I love writing. And getting comments is absolutely the best thing. The comments I’ve had have helped me find a direction for one of my blogs. I’ve also ended up selling a couple of articles that started as blog posts.

  9. Blogging can be about the money – but if that’s the case why have a blog at all and not just another affiliate site? I’ve got my blog because I want others to read about what I have to say about computer and video games. I like to think it’s more ‘Edge’ than ‘GamesMaster’ – though to the Americans on here that might not mean anything! I hope to have run something in the future where I might make some cash – it’s a nice idea – but it’s certainly not the primary reason behind the site…

  10. I have been able to come out of nowhere and earn decent money consulting all because of my blog.

    Writers for magazines, etc. don’t make any money so if you think you can make money just blogging on the net you are high.

    what blogs are good for is creating a reputation, and showing people what you are about.You won’t make money writing but you can make money selling them something else.

  11. I’m making decent cash with my blogs… I’ve sold over 10K worth of art in the last year and initiated commission talks that might double or triple that. So yeah, that’s not a bad reason.

    Blogging has resulted in a lot of offline media coverage: magazines, radio, TV, newspapers. All have contacted me as a result of my blog.

    Community-building is a big part of what I like. The blogs allow me a good way to share info that helps others move forward with projects, etc.

    People send gifts, which is nice. Books, phones, CDs… Yay!

    Blogs are a great way to connect with my audience and find out what they want… A lot of the things I make have been improved by reader suggestions.

    Blogs make it easier to connect with people who are doing and thinking interesting things. I’ve made a lot of good friends through blogging who might not have been as accessible otherwise.

    I find it much easier to maintain my blogs than I did my static website. Redesigns are easier, new content goes up faster.

    I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff also, but that’s a fair number of the reasons I blog.

  12. Well, for him anyway! He has, for a start, $1500 per month from his blog ads (I think he’s underpricing himself), all his Amazon affiliate links, and if he added AdSense or the like, with 15,000 hits per day, I’m sure that could pull in another $1,000 with no effort, which I don’t think is bad for what appears to be under an hour four or five days a week.

    I agree with the others – he could just post cat pictures and still be getting five-figure hits per day just because of his name. In fact, another A-list blogger that I follow does effectively that; 50% of hit postings are about him playing an online game yet he still has huge traffic figures because he is a name.

    For me, I’m in it for partially making a bit of a name, partially just to prove to myself I can do it, partially educational, partially to perhaps establish myself as a translator, and of course money would be nice, but even after six months I can’t even earn my hosting fee!

  13. Since blogger is free and they have a 300MB limit for posting images, with good-enough tools for doing so, I looked at it as a way to SAVE money (they host everything FREE) at the same time I am trying to make money selling my paintings.

    I won’t drop a link here, but if you google my name “David R. Darrow” and my theme; “Everyday Paintings” you’ll see that I get a pretty good art gallery for free, and it gets used well enough. 1300 hits in the first two months… I’m sending people to eBay, and eBay gets people to look for my work. Nice deal.

    And the blog lets me present a mailing-list “add yourself” feature that is self-growing. People interested in my artwork add themselves to a mialing list so they can receive image of my new work in their INBOX.

    Is that a long way to say I blog for the money?

    Heck, I also really enjoying hearing what I have to say about my paintinhs, too. Sometimes I kill me!

    –David R. Darrow, Artist

  14. I’ve spent many years looking for satisfaction in my work. Communicating, particularly writing, is among the most enjoyable occupations I’ve ever experienced. I don’t write for the money but if there’s money to be made in writing then I definitely want to discover that relationship.

    Blogging, as writing, particularly interests me for the relative freedom one appears to have: researching what one wants, when one chooses, and adopting a perspective on the thing that does not betray one’s convictions… these are the ‘heavy hitters’ that attract me to blogging as an occupation.

    I’m hoping to discover a way to make enough money to support myself from this occupation and thereby find my heaven on earth. In the meantime, it’s back to the commute-and-grind on Monday

    Happy weekend to all!

  15. > The man has been a permanent fixture of the IT publications industry since his days as an evangelist for Apple.

    Fair enough. But he still became an amazingly popular blogger overnight…

  16. I started blogging like an exercise to improve my writing. I blog since 2004 in english and spanish and have learned a lot about both languages and writing, although you never end learning.

    I also blog because there are things I need to express or maybe I discover something (a CSS bug, a nice feature in software or just an interesting new web site) and I like to share it and help others.

    Recently I’m blogging more and working on increasing traffic and getting some money from ads. My current target is getting buyers for one ebook I’m currently writing.

    I think the answer to why I’m blogging keeps changing as time passes.


  17. The man has been a permanent fixture of the IT publications industry since his days as an evangelist for Apple. All he had to do was say he was blogging and people would flock to him. It is the same as saying Dvorak decided to blog and became popular after just a few months.

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