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Summary:

Alex Iskold writes on Read/WriteWeb that there’s no money in the long tail of the blogosphere. What he means is: if you’re trying to make decent money by selling advertising on your niche blog (i.e., your blog that caters to the needs of a few in […]

Alex Iskold writes on Read/WriteWeb that there’s no money in the long tail of the blogosphere. What he means is: if you’re trying to make decent money by selling advertising on your niche blog (i.e., your blog that caters to the needs of a few in the long tail) you’re going to have a hard time of it.

But you can earn money because of your blog instead of with it. Blogging can be the centerpiece of your professional promotional and networking activities, leading indirectly to new money-making opportunities. Plus, blogging offers psychological riches — through the opportunities for personal expression and social connection it brings you.

The best reason for an individual web worker to blog isn’t to make money directly with the blog. It’s to boost your online persona, to make professional connections, to learn about your field, and to attract new opportunities, whether paid or unpaid. And note that unpaid opportunities are not necessarily less important than paid ones — because they can provide you with attention, reputation, education, and new connections.

Social media consultant Stowe Boyd describes how blogging has been his number one professional activity, and not because it earns him money directly:

I have been rededicating myself to /Message in recent months. Like Gaping Void, it doesn’t directly pay the bills, but it is the wellspring of everything else….

I was interviewed by some journalism student earlier this year, and when asked what was the single most important business decision that I had ever taken I responded “blogging.” It has trumped every other action I have ever taken, including getting my master’s in computer science, which I now consider second biggest.

Yes, you might attract a massive-enough audience that will earn you money Steve Pavlina or Darren Rowse-style. But most bloggers won’t. That doesn’t mean that blogging isn’t invaluable in your toolset of activities that lead to a successful professional life, and I mean successful both financially and psychologically. Because in addition to leading indirectly to income-earning possibilities, blogging can offer the payoff of personal satisfaction and social connection too.

  1. I absolutely agree. I don’t make any money directly off of my blog, but it has made a huge difference in my career.

    My career was in a bit of a lull until I started blogging a few years ago. Through blogging and getting involved in a bunch of unpaid opportunities (organizing BarCamp, Ignite, etc.), my career has improved in so many ways (financial and job satisfaction).

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  2. I concur. I read that blog post earlier today, and felt exactly as you do. I have several blogs that would be a ways down the tail, but I have no intention to earn money from them (most don’t even have ads), but they are intended to drive clients to my main company. It is a practice I have just started the last few months, but it has saved me a ton in advertising already.

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  3. Both popularity and respectability have a currency all of their own, even more so in the ‘bloggosphere.

    The tangential and peripheral opportunities should not be seen as less favourable than the the more direct advertising angles.

    If as a ‘blogger you’re serious about making money, then it’s as well to get serious about writing a marketing plan…

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  4. I’m not sure if I buy the fact that you can’t make money on a niche site. I guess it depends on just how niche it really is. You could argue this site is fairly niche and I guarantee it makes money. My blog is even more niche and I make some money.

    But, if you have a blog about your high school curling team in Delaware, probably no money there, but that’s also not going to increase your professional credibility either.

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  5. [...] mein alter blog wieder ein, an dem ich mich vielleicht auslassen könnte. Dann ist mir noch gerade “How to get rich by blogging” über den RSS Reader gelaufen und zack bin ich auch wieder am bloggen. Dann sind mir gleich noch [...]

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  6. It’s true that blogging ‘down the tail’ isn’t a great way to make money, but I agree that your business can benefit in intangible ways. Potential clients can find out a little bit of what you’re all about before jumping in with your company, sort of like a personal branding exercise. You can also use it as a kind of sounding board as you work out what direction your business is going to take.

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  7. [...] really liked Anne Zelenka’s response on Web Worker Daily. Her take is that you can earn money because of your blog instead of with it. Blogging can be the [...]

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  8. Right on Anne. I think that blogging is the best self-promotional tool today. The trick is to do it with passion and persistence.

    Alex

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  9. I run a niche freelance site, and I’ve built-in blogging functionality linked into user profiles. Besides developing their own SEO, this gives the profiles more personality, creating a better relationship between business and client.

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  10. Anne

    Great take on the topic.

    Personally, after 2 and a half years of Serge the Concierge I continue doing it first and foremost because I like discovering new people, topics and services and writing about them.

    I get a chance to attend a number of food and wine related events and restaurant openings and tastings plus web related happenings which is a great side benefit.

    As for advertising, I make a little bit of money from Google Ads.
    I also signed up with Adify (I like the fact that I can choose the Ads) and BlogAds (it is not running yet).

    I will also take part for the second year (December) in Menu for Hope where bloggers around the world join forces to raise funds for the UN Food Program.

    Last I will host a panel titled Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet at South by Southwest Interactive.

    My apology for the long comment.

    Have a great day

    Serge
    ‘The French Guy from New Jersey’

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