Why bloggers don’t make money online

By | March 29, 2009

I’ve been intending to touch on this, for a while now. When you talk about making money online (it’s a much spammed term but highly popular, I must say) I see a lot of misguided people as well as opportunists who are taking advantage of desperate folks, especially during these trying economic times. A lot of new bloggers jump headlong into this, whip up a blog, and then wonder why they don’t make money online. Too much hype floating around? Is blogging an easy pathway to riches? Time to clear up a few things.

First of all, can blogging make money online? The answer is yes. But can you make a lot of money online by blogging? The short answer is no. You might make some dough here and there to pay your bills, but forget about getting rich from this. According to statistics, 95% of bloggers don’t succeed (depending on how you define success). Be realistic, and you’ll be happier and healthier for it. Or, you can break your back trying.

Basically, making money online with blogs is all about traffic. Haven’t we heard that before? If you’re trying to make good money with a blog, frankly speaking, we are looking at a few hundred thousand to more than a million unique visitors a month. A few thousand (or ten thousand) visitors a month is what most bloggers get. I’m not talking about making a few hundred dollars a month here and there (which most don’t even make). There are better ways to make a buck besides PPC, but that’s for another day, and it doesn’t suit every blog, or blogger.

A lot of people seem to think blogs are the best way to make money online when they are not. Love them or hate them, blogs are ubiquitous; maybe the reason why the failure rate is so high. Anyone can start a blog nowadays, even kids and grandmas. But not everyone is cut out for blogging at a pro level. For every successful blog out there, there are so many thousands of unsuccessful ones. That’s not a very encouraging statistic, but it’s the truth.

How many blogs are started every day and how many are abandoned? It boggles the mind. In a lot of cases, blogs do not reach their true earning potential with the amount of traffic they get. Because most blogs rely on PPC like Adsense, they are going to need a lot of traffic just to make some coin, and there is only just so much (quality traffic) going around. In simple terms, people who are inclined to buy something, and this is not some bottomless bucket like many new bloggers assume.

blog-symbolA blog is but one of millions of other blogs. It takes a lot of work, talent, and luck to make a blog good. A blog needs to be updated regularly. Generating new ideas all the time is tough. The most successful blogs on the Web have multiple bloggers at the helm.

Consider the present time as well. Pre-2008, making money online was easier. You could surf and get paid for it. You could write sponsored reviews and get paid for it. You could sell crappy maps of your country and make loads from it. But times change. Even Google, the biggest company on the Internet, is having a tough time with the economy and all. While there were only less than a hundred million sites in 2006; today, there are probably more than a billion sites. And today we have Google Earth, so who needs maps?

It’s difficult even to get a nice domain name nowadays. If you’re serious on making money online, be willing to invest some money to get one. Buy it if you must. And get proper hosting for it. There are no more fairy tale rags-to-riches stories any more. So quit dreaming because it’s only going to get harder from here!

Think of making money online as a pie. This pie sure isn’t getting bigger. There are laws of supply and demand at work. Are we going to reach absolute saturation point one day?

Sure, new markets will open up, and new trends will emerge. New ways or methods of marketing will take over from the old ones. Maybe Twitter is one of these? But the days of successful mom and pop publishing are probably numbered, going by present trends. The difficulty quotient for the regular Joe-Web-success-wannabe has definitely gone up, not down.

A word of advice. Be wary of dubious schemes selling you easy money with little or no work. Just a little objectivity. There are no shortcuts, neither guarantees. That’s the bad news part. And it’s only going to get harder. There is no such thing as working an online business for 20 minutes a day, and spending the rest of the day playing golf or watching TV. Did I just say serious bloggers should treat their blogging like a second job, or business?

Now, the good news is you can make some money with the required effort applied. You need to have critical thinking. An online business is really no different than any brick-and-mortar business; all the basic rules still apply, albeit in a different setting. The same applies for blogging. Yes, it’s possible to make money online with blogging, but it’s just not as easy as you think! Sometimes, a reality check helps.

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12 thoughts on “Why bloggers don’t make money online

  1. John Hunter

    You are right that bloggers should be much more realistic than many are. Making significant money is not easy and is even more difficult to do quickly. In general, if you don’t enjoy blogging you are not going to see it as worthwhile. A few have been successful making money but they are a tiny fraction of those who try. There are many more bloggers who are happy, but don’t have a huge amount of income from their blogs.

    If you are interested in profiting from your blog one of the most realistic ways (for some) is to further your career via your blog. You don’t get cash directly but if you can find a new job (especially in this economy if you get laid off) that can be a huge monetary benefit. And this is a realistic goal for some careers.

  2. Emilio

    good post , i just remembered my experience of buying domain names .its too difficult man . all the good domain names are occupied by squatters . I saw one who is record and that person has 50,000 domains . Lolz 🙂

  3. The Richest Man

    The problem is sometimes , the “Best” bloggers are unprofitable, and many mediocre or poor bloggers end up doing well because they can monetize the content well.

    I know plenty of people that are very poor at the quality of their posts , but really do well money wise.

  4. Tom Gurney

    In my experience the best writers make the best blogs, but not the most money. SEO experts and people in the know end up better off, but their content is never as sticky or enjoyable. I am trying my best to balance monetary gain with quality content for my future blogs, as simple spamming damages the overall use and quality of the internet. Emilio is right that many good domains are simply sat on, so i tend to opt for wordpress / blogger subdomains instead. For those offering good quality blogs without interest in earning money, why would they do anything different?

  5. Morgan - The Directory Link

    this topic is interesting, since many beginners start building their blogs with a purpose to gain money. That is not wrong, but far too much to make them focus on how to make money, not to create a good blog that is useful for the readers.

  6. Wisp

    Hi!
    How can I put the link in the web-site form here??
    There is a white screen, when I put my link…

    Sorry.

  7. DarrinW Post author

    @ Wisp

    Depends on your URL and comment…Try again?

  8. Cubic zirconia

    I have to admit that I am one of those new bloggers jump headlong into making money online, just as you said. That is the reason why I was brought here. I did not expect to hear comments like this and really was dicouraged. What I was expecting is 10 tips to the richs something like this.It seems that it is the right time for me to have it a critical thinking.

  9. Matt Hayden

    Yes, it’s very difficult to make money directly from a blog. As you say, it’s all about getting heaps of traffic. And there are so many blogs out there now that this is very difficult to do.

    I think the best way is to take an indirect approach. That is, use your blog to give you credibility and raise your profile, then leverage that in other areas such as teaching or freelance writing.

  10. DarrinW Post author

    @ Matt Hayden

    The internet has “expanded” a great deal over the past 2 years, and this means there are many more websites competing for eyeballs now, than at any time. My post just happens to expound on the practical side of things, and not gloss things over.

  11. Sarah Marks

    I think most bloggers are looking for side income for than a real full time business. It is important to have you expectations set (whatever they may be) before you start.

    The two most important things are to pick a niche you are interested in and to have realistic goals and expectations.

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