Plenty of new and seasoned webmasters are getting on the “blog wagon”. But is it all that great as a revenue producing strategy? Is it possible to make a good income, even replacing your current job? How should blogging really be used, and what should be the focus of your blog? Basically, the question is “how realistic is the business model of a professional blogger”?
Before we begin our analysis, right off the top we should say, that professional blogging is not a bad business model. In fact, there are thousands of successful bloggers making incredible amounts of money from their blogs, but in reality in proportion to the number of blogs on the internet, very few make real money. The biggest problem can be traced back to what a blog was meant to be. It was a “web log”, a journal or diary of sorts where an individual could talk about her daily activities, and loyal followers came to watch her progress.
But with the advent of popular scripts like WordPress, Drupal and the like, people started using the programs as content management systems which is perfectly fine and actually quite smart, but then blogging digressed from being a journal. And that is why the business model cannot be considered realistic in most instances. The basic problem is webmasters do not know how to monetize their blogs because they have no clue what their blog is about, or they do have a focus but it is too broad and not concise.
Let’s look at two professional blogging examples and see the difference between a model that works and a model that proved to be unrealistic. We are not going to provide the website addresses here but will provide specifics about the methods, and will link to various known and unknown blogs doing ‘sort of’ the same, or showing the type of content we’re talking about.
Last year we started a website about electronics. The basic premise was that electronics were no longer black boxes in your home but they had to be multi-functional, they had to match your décor, and they had to be fashionable. Cell phones needed designer label skins, mouses had to be pink, and ear pieces had to be encrusted in Swarovski crystals. We found interesting products and wrote at least once per day, sometimes three times per day, filling the blog with plenty of quality content and great photos. We promoted the site, we got lots of traffic. We even ranked for specific keywords. But we could not get that site to make money. We tried Adsense, we tried linking a few of the more popular products to affiliate programs that sold the items, and we tried general banner ads, thinking that the pics might peek someone’s attention. We followed our methods for seven straight months, yet at the end of that time, all we could earn was less than $10. Only since we went very niche with this site about dashcams is when we started seeing some actual traction!
You see, the major obstacle with a blog like that (and we would consider it professional because of the time, money and effort spent), is that it is all over the place. The most popular page is a diamond covered Mercedes Benz. It still receives the most amount of traffic, but seriously, who is buying a Mercedes from our website. So the problem was – what do we sell our visitors since each one is interested in something so different. Plus, are they on the site to read or buy? Regrettably, just read.
Consequently, we have to conclude that the business model for this professional blogger did not prove to be realistic. In general, general technology blogs are tough to monetize. I’m pretty sure this cellphone weblog I kind of like actually struglles to make even a few dollars.
Now the second scenario is much more effective and is indeed profitable. Having considerable knowledge in the wedding industry, we started a blog to cross-reference with our bigger wedding planning site. The blog would specifically target “bridal shoes”. It would explain to brides, the female wedding party members, and the mothers-of the-brides and grooms how to choose their shoes, what heel height to buy, and anything else that made those ladies feel comfortable about wedding day shoes. Every once in a while, we ventured out a little talking about destination wedding apparel, but we kept it very niche-specific, and never really forgot the angle we were going for.
You see the difference here is the target market is controlled. It is a large market in total, but a small section of the greater niche. By providing the women tips and useful information, they were more than willing to buy wedding shoes from the site. And the site does well because we understand the focus. We know what the users need and we know what they will buy. We’re not trying to cover the whole wedding world – but we’re more succesful than we would if we did.
And you will notice that this type of blog is more in line with what an original blog was meant to be. In conclusion, we think it is fair to say that most business models from professional bloggers are not realistic, as you will find time and time again blogs that are just jumbled pages with info and ads serving no real purpose.