Is Snake-oil Damaging Blogging?

It’s a thought that has been running around my head lately but seeing this quote at WorkBoxers really crystallised it:

Below are some quotes I found on the Super Affiliate Cloning Blog from people who seem to be brainwashed by the idea of making money online. It’s damaging their lives and I hate to see it.

Even a year ago people would say to me “blogging? What’s that”, now people ask how they can “tell their boss where to shove it” and become a full time blogger. I think there are some unrealistic expectations being propagated.

We have said over and over that blogging is hard work and while you can make an income if you are in full time employment right now it is probably best to have your blogging as a side project until your blogging revenue is sufficient to pay your bills. Unfortunately it seems a lot of people are jumping in before they even have a blog.

My hope would be more bloggers can make some cash from their efforts when we release Partners, but even then I hope people are realistic about planning their income.

I have no evidence to back this up but I predict that the majority of people who earn a living from blogging make their money out of all their activities combined, it will have to be the rarest and most successful of bloggers who make all their money from one blog. Look at Darren, problogger himself. It’s not that earns him his crust, he has a share in a blog network, a blogging course and several of his own blogs.

Snake-oil sales letters are out there making all sorts of promises of instant riches via spammy scripts, guaranteed success plans and SEO-scheme-of-the-week. Do not believe it. If only it was true we would all be rich!

If you are hoping to make a living out of blogging here are some more realistic tips

  1. Don’t have any illusions about it being your sole income until you see evidence in your bank account
  2. Diversify, do not rely on one blog or one income stream
  3. Choose your niches carefully
  4. Experiment with formats, layout and article types
  5. Analyse your traffic and do more of what works
  6. Market yourself and your blog, write killer headlines, linkbait
  7. Network network network – a good portion of success comes from who you know
  8. Consider a paying gig as well as your own blogs
  9. Join a team or a network if you feel you haven’t got all necessary skills but can write
  10. Keep at it, the rewards take a while to arrive so it takes stamina

12 thoughts on “Is Snake-oil Damaging Blogging?

  1. Well, that is a harsh wake up call!

    I am hoping to make eventually a few quids on the side from some of the blogs I started but I am realistic it is more for fun than for money.

    Cheers for the reality check!

  2. One other thing to consider is where you live. If I was living in India, for example, my blog earnings would put be above what many people earn there. Despite recent declines, the US dollar can still go a long way in some places. You can make your blog earnings do more if you don’t live in expensive places like New York or California.

    Second, even if you achieve blogging success, you should have a backup plan (related to item 6). As with other gold rushes, this one will end some day. Will you be able to make the move to whatever comes next?

  3. Thanks for the great post. There is too much of the get rick quick nonsense out there.

    Thanks again.

  4. What we should do is point out that it is difficult to make a lot of money but it can be fun to do as a relatively cheap hobby.

    I’m tickled to have my adsense click of the day. It’s a good day when I get one click and a great one when I get more.

    But, the same problem comes up with novelists. Everybody wants to write the best seller so badly they forget to have fun writing their little book that only their friends and family will ever end up reading.

    Blogging is a little more frustrating because everybody has a chance to be published, but it is still only the good people that make any money.

  5. I wish I knew who first came up with that quote. Its all too true.

    Fact is, people have been looking for Get Rich Quick schemes since the Dawn of Time; You and I aren’t going to stop them.

    I guess that it takes between 12 and 24 months to develop a solid blog readership. Then, too, it depends what your goals are for your blog. Not all bloggers are looking to replicate Guy Kawasaki’s “success”. In fact, success can only be measured in terms of your own goals for your own blog.

    So relax! Let the SEO manipulators and Super Affiliate bozos go to it; the rest of us can focus on building real value – for whatever our purpose is: making money, finding fame, venting into the void, expressing our own uniqueness, showing-off our skills and knowledge, whatever.

  6. Thanks guys. It’s hard because I want to be positive but it seems that it just fuels peoples OVER enthusiasm! What we need is balance but it is hard to balance those “make a fortune with no effort” sales spiels.

  7. I frequently stumble into “mass blog generator” and “automatic content to blog” type of software. People are so excited to read these sales letters. Some of them take the time to research and ask in the forum for second opinion but still we could sense excitement in their forum posts.

    Unfortunately, this is a situation none of us could eliminiate. People learn their lessons the hard way everyday. They jump from one opportunity to another in the hope that one day they will find the pot of gold.

    What you have done is more than just a rant — like what I have done on my blogs so many times ;). You show them the right way.

    Thanks for the tips.

  8. I agree with you so much Chris. I had a friend who recently asked me about one of these get rich blogging video/ecourses (it wasn’t Darren’s). In the copy it even admitted to using black hat SEO tactics. I told the friend about splogs and about blog and ping.

    Even after explaining why it was so bad, it seemed like my friend was going to buy the product anyway. The sales letter sure made it sound like instant riches with blogging, but really even with black hat tactics how many people are going to instantly be making enough to live off?

    Anyway, great post. I wish that every new blogger trying to make money would read it.

  9. I have noticed quite a few posts recently (eg Copyblogger and Pro-blogger) on the topic of applying copywriting techniques to blog posts. I think this is recognition of the direction blogging is now taking with more and more businesses tentatively adapting it into their marketing mix.

    There will be a lot of small/medium businesses who do not have the time or ability to research and write engaging posts every week. This is the slowly opening door of opportunity that bloggers should be looking for rather than hoping to live off Adsense.

  10. … Google and Adsense is ruining the internet. I can prove it on an etch-a-sketch! 😉

  11. Yeah I guess there will be a 80/20 rule going on but I have seen in my own sites a star player will suddenly drop low and what used to be a ho-hum performer will have 15 mins of fame. Best to diversify I think!

  12. I suspect most of those who make a living out of blogging actually DO make most of their money from a single site.

    The trick is, you don’t know which site that is yet, so diversify until you figure it out.

Comments are closed.