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10 Reasons Why Many Blogs Don’t Make Much Money

Chris Garrett writes a good post on Can Anyone Make Money From Blogging? and says that the answer to the question is ‘yes’ – but then qualifies his answer with a number of factors.

My own answer to the question would be very similar.

I would also say that it is possible for anyone to make money from a blog (I’ve seen people from many countries, of most ages – from children to elderly people – male and female, able bodied to people with a variety of physical hardships and people of different education and social levels make a go of blogging for an income). It is possible but the reality is that most who try don’t make a lot of money.

The reasons for this include the list that Chris comes up with and more. The reasons why many who try don’t make much money blogging are many but here’s 10 reasons that come to mind:

  1. Not enough time – as Chris writes, it is hard work and takes time on an ongoing (daily ideally) basis
  2. Giving Up too quickly – most successful blogs don’t hit their strides til they are at least 12 months old
  3. Non commercial Topic – some topics are easier than others to find significant income streams for
  4. Lack of writing skills - like it or not, blogging is a written form and unless you are able to write you’ll almost always struggle
  5. Breaking the Rules - some bloggers get greedy and break the rules, either of the ad programs they use or the unwritten rules of blogging
  6. Distractions for the core functions of a blog – many get caught up in one of the many distractions that challenge bloggers and forget to concentrate on their actual writing of quality content
  7. Unluckiness – sometimes a blog’s success hinges on a lucky moment – miss it or fail to take the opportunities that come and you might miss significant rewards
  8. Taking Readers for Granted – I’ve seen a couple of blogs over the last year or so that fell over because the blogger became so self important that they forgot that a blog rises and falls upon whether it’s readers find the blog useful to them.
  9. Spreading self too thinly – many bloggers have the gift of being visionaries (a good thing) but fail to have the gift of realism. The result is that many start things that they have no way of seeing through or spread themselves across too many projects too quickly (to the detriment of all of them).
  10. Lack of Focus – hyperactive bloggers who flit from one unfinished project or idea to another without seeing anything through tend to fail to build sustainable blogs

Even as I wrote this list I realized that some of the above factors (and others that continue to come to mind even now) are within the blogger’s grasp and some are not. Like any business there are both internal and external threats and risks – blogging for money is no different.

Chris sums it up well with the last paragraph in his post:

“Anyone could make money from blogging but only a percentage of people actually go all the way and succeed. Critical to success is having staying power, not being defeated by minor setbacks, being willing to put yourself out there and put in the hard work. If you stick to it and can do all those things then yes, I am sure anyone can do it.”

I hope you found the list helpful – it might be worth bookmarking it an coming back to periodically to run through as a bit of a filter for one’s blogging efforts.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jen says:

    Thanks for the timely reminder, Darren. Timely because a friend is interested in getting into blogging and we spent a few hours just yesterday, talking about this whole topic.

    One thing I see a lot, reading among the blogs — and no doubt you’ve seen it thousands of times too — is that people start out a blog with a decent idea, acceptable talent level, and plenty of enthusiasm. They post frequently to start with, several times a day at least. Then there’s a pressing deadline on the day job, or the baby kept them up all night… real life intervenes, a day gets skipped, the posting rate falls off… and all of a suddent the blogger is up against a mental wall. It seems that there are no new ideas, nothing to write about — the “juice” has been used up in that first mad flurry of activity…

    It truly is a bit like falling in love, if you’ll forgive a hackneyed metaphor. Anyone can start up a potentially successful blog while in that first delightful flush of infatuation… but can you stay married to your blog for the long-term, keep the spark in the relationship in good times and bad?

  2. Adam says:

    Darren, could you expound on the “unwritten rules of blogging?” Perhaps an entry dedicated to it?

  3. jimmy says:

    imho, point number 2 and number 9, is a reality for a solo when there’s too many things.

    2. Giving Up too quickly – most successful blogs don’t hit their strides til they are at least 12 months old..

    9. Spreading self too thinly – many bloggers have the gift of being visionaries (a good thing) but fail to have the gift of realism…

    jim.

  4. paul says:

    i resonate with the whole 12 months deal. It takes time to get this stuff going. Also, people really underestimate that. They hear others making money off of it and think they can just post a few times and make a lot of money. It’s like most things in life – people want the end result, not the hard work to get there.

    I would also add that blogging really is about the relationships. Sure, there are tasks to do and things to accomplish, but people stand in the center of all that. Honesty, integrity, and respect really do play a big role here. Don’t cut corners, be up front with people, and do not lie to them.

  5. I agree with you, and specially for The “not old enough”. You got to prove that you can give useful informations first.

  6. I’d say #2 is the biggest problem with people. I’m getting Started myself I’m not even going to worry about making a dime until a year is up. That’s just a realistic time frame.

    “The overnight success many times was 5 years in the making”

  7. Darren, Can you explain this point:

    “Breaking the Rules – some bloggers get greedy and break the rules, either of the ad programs they use or the unwritten rules of blogging”

    I want to add to what i said just before, for me (I am relatively new to blogging)
    Time is not enough, and I am very impress when I see the frequence of your post. How can you search for so much informations, then think about solutions, then post all that on your blog in one single day?

    Also, When I see a blog started in 2004, and frequently updated, I feel good about this blog. at least, it should be one year old.

    I hope I will overcome those 10 points, but it’s not easy…

  8. Jason says:

    Great tips. One of these tips definitely apply to a new blogger friend of mine. He was seriously pumping out blogs on finances literally every 20 minutes or so, morning to night. Lol…

    He got really frustrated one day because he didn’t yet make any money. I was telling him that it takes time to build readership, also to spread his posts out and not spread himself too thin.

    I have the tendency to get really enthusiastic about new projects and take on too many at once. Thanks for the heads up.

    Cheers,

    JP

  9. Manjunath says:

    Really good tips Darren, You are articles really inspiring to every bloggers.

  10. PBlogger says:

    I currently started a new blog I have been wanting to do for over a year but finally decided to give it a go. Sometimes it is difficult to see where your blog is going to go until 3 months, 6 months, or even a year down the road. The reason I hesitated was basically numbers 1 and 9. I have other projects I am working on and wanted to make sure I could devote enough time to it.

  11. zulhairy says:

    Most things takes times to be significant, and anything worthwhile doing needs focused and perseverance.

    Someone said, “have the mind of a marathoner not a sprinter in this business.”

  12. Razib Ahmed says:

    Great article. I read your blog daily and I think that this is the best article of the last few weeks. You have analyzed so well. I browse a lot everyday and I see that most people have a casual attitude towards blogging. They do not post daily, they do not give any significant effort on researching for a post either. I write many comments to many blogs but in return, I get 10% or 15% bloggers actually coming back to my blog and write a comment. Well, I am not annoyed for it as I am getting my backlinks but they are not. And I have seen a (disturbing) attitude that SEO is everything. ALl you need is to play some tricks with your blog’s design and content placement and play some tricks with Google Adsense.
    Thanks again, for this great article.

  13. jhay says:

    Another great post, it will surely help me earn something, just to cover the hosting expenses at least.

  14. Nick says:

    Great list. Until recently I was one of those hyperactive bloggers who flitted from project – project. Now, I have a 12 month plan laid out for my current blog, and it’s a broad enough niche that I won’t get burnt out.

    Thanks for the insight Darren.

  15. The banker says:

    Another thing blogs share with wifes is that they are usually thin in the beginning but then gets fatter and fatter…

  16. 12 months… that’s longer than it takes to have a baby!

  17. Markus Merz says:

    “Taking readers for granted” is pretty critical. But you also have to accept if a blog or news site only draws a certain amount of people. By analyzing the statistics and peeks you should be able to measure the ‘critical mass’ of necessary posts to hold the level. If you find yourself posting more then necessary about a subject you should try to build up another subject/niche on the same blog or on a new blog (or start a second business)

  18. Navin says:

    Yes, 100% true. Love it… thanks for the post.

  19. Andrew says:

    I truly do believe that if bloggers stop jumping from opportunity to opportunity, and simply stick with something they’re passionate about, they’ll have more staying power.

    For example, if you jump on the latest fad today (e.g. car blogging), what happens when the next big thing comes along (e.g. space blogging)?

    I used to be guilty of this. Now I know it’s much more efficient and effective to “strengthen my strengths.”

  20. Brian Turner says:

    I’d add that many blogs lack an actionable business plan, and also that you need to set long-term goals to achieve real objectives.

    Just my 2c, though.

  21. jennifer says:

    I have one blog that I work one daily and usually post about 2 to 3 times a day ,but the other ones I have I just try to update 5-7 times a week. I know what I can handle and I do not go over that limit.

  22. Solutions59 says:

    This is not true! The the reason why people’s blogs dont “hit their strides” in 6 to 12 months is simply because they are posting in poor markets with poor followings. You can get responses to your blogs, and articles, forum postings, etc quickly if you would take the time to do keyword research first! You can get a tool to help you do that. And once this is done, you can bet your bottom dollar that postings in those keyword dominated markets will always get you responses. Question…how long did it take for THIS post about the “10 reasons” to get responses? Apparently not long! And certainly not 6 months! You can also get posting software that submit your blogs to multiple blogging sites, forums, directories, etc. And, as long as you dont spam, you’ll be ok. The key is to put a link on your posts to your website. Not anything else! Let your website take them anywhere else. Nothing against Darren Rowse, and his knowledge. This site is impressive, but no2 in his 10 list simply is not true. As for no3, “lack of writing skills”, I have found that simply using a plain english, down-to-earth writing style works best. Remember, most people reading what you have to say dont have PHD’s. Yes you should use proper spelling, and grammar, but sounding too intellectual makes the reader seem like you are talking “down” to them. Remember you have to put yourself in “their” shoes. And you want them to come back. HOW you write to them will determine this.

  23. Harshit says:

    What i like about your posts is that you write small but highly effective articles which is the reason why you have some 33 thousand readers who have subscribed to your blog !!…..cheers

  24. anace says:

    I will try,thanks,I know this too later,I come from china。English is not easy to read and write。

  25. Jason says:

    This was very helpful. I too am new to this. I hope I can overcome the 10 pitfalls. Thanks again!

  26. Geoff R says:

    Something I’d like to add, I think #11 should be lack of relationships. Blogging on your own is a cold hard road, and you will miss out on a lot of great perks that come with having relationships with other bloggers. I won’t list all the benefits, because I bet you know them all Darren!

  27. hamdyy says:

    I have one blog and i have about 130 ckicks in 2 months

  28. Hi, Hyperactivity, flitting from one project to the next? That’s me! It’s my main struggle as a blogger, a website owner and a person generally, I change focus before I make a success of my current focus. But this can be reigned it and that’s precisely what I’m working on right now.
    Great post, thanks for your honesty.

  29. absorb says:

    i guess that the main point is that quantity always dismiss quality. of course you automate your blogging but you will be banned or penelized by search engines nerverthelss. meanwhile you can hardly focus on more that three-four blogs at the moment.

    but. there are lots lots of people, lot of bloggers worldwide. and all this buzz produce much much money. so let me disagree – the title of an article looks too provocative for me ;)

    cheers!

  30. Florin says:

    Hyperactivity will only bring short therm benefits while in long therm the readers will start to dislike your blog

  31. I have ADHD … so I’m permitted to flit from project to project. ;-)

    BUT, as I suspected when I started, I am finding that my focus is actually narrowing as regards my blogs. I am giving serious thought to whether I might trim the list and focus on the survivors.

    I am thinking about taking two ‘private’ in as much as I will stop promoting them and working on the commercial success of the other two.

    Love of money is the root of all evil … but it’s okay to simply have some.

  32. @Solutions59 “The the reason why people’s blogs dont “hit their strides” in 6 to 12 months is simply because they are posting in poor markets with poor followings.”

    Sounds pretty simplistic. I would argue that it is wrong to start with a keyword search and allow that to tell you what to write about. Almost certainly, you will be writing about a topic you are weak in and not from a position of strength based on knowledge and enthusiasm.

    Rather, I think it best to write well on a topic and THEN do the keyword research that will draw readers in.

    So there is certainly room for disagreement. I’ve seen the techniques for generating residual income with a string of mediocre blogs. They probably work. They don’t feel honest to me and I don’t like them. I have no plans to use them. I’d much rather pour my energies into a narrower range of topics and write well enough to actually ADD information to the discussion.

    I can do that … I’m not mentally mediocre.

  33. Andy T says:

    It just funny that this post [May 6, 2006] had only 43 commons before this [the traffic on this blog should make this post have more than 100 commons]. It seems like people just want to know how to get the traffic (make money) but don’t want to know why the blog fail (lost money). Very similar to stock market investor.

  34. Leon Bienek says:

    The post is very helpful. I am trying to write about the whole process of making money from blogging, right fomr the start, and its great to have posts like this to keep you focused on the correct areas :)

    Leon

  35. Renee says:

    It’s true blogging requires a lot of time, patience and dedication. I think passion for blogging should be there otherwise it’s easy to give up.

  36. Simon says:

    could some one look at my site and please tell me what i’m doing wrong with it I need all the help I can get
    thank you http://www.jsmoneymaker.com

  37. The reasons are great but I think that the biggest is number 10: The Lack of Focus.

    I myself have been online and after about 2 years I finally stuck to a blog but I still have a tendency of starting internet marketing but this time I think I will be successful.

    Mohammad Afaq
    Free Website Traffic

  38. Amy says:

    Time and a lot of patience is what I’m struggling right now. I’m glad it’s normal. It’s nice to know many people go through this too.

  39. lisa says:

    It’s true, most people are giving up too quickly. We all want immediate results but it takes time to figure out what strategy works and how to make profitable website.

  40. I think the most important thing is you must know the goal and purpose of your blog. Be it like your personal diary, or writing something very commercial. You must understand what are you doing.

    To make money, we have to stand from the commercial point of view. What visitors they need. What contents are most possibly to reach those visitors.

  41. Used Cars says:

    Darren,Your all points are totally valid.
    Lack of focus occurs when a blogger becomes greedy & want to achieve success at once.Money should not be the primary goal for any blogger.It should be sharing information.Once it is done money follows automatically

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 10 Reasons Why Many Blogs Don’t Make Much Money [...]

  2. [...] … then I read ProBlogger’s post on 10 reasons why many blogs don’t make much money. Some of the points rang true… for example – spreading myself too thin over a bunch of projects. D’uh. I know I’ve got that issue to deal with – but I’m dealing with it, trying to find software/programs to make things more automated for me. It’s hard to find “quality” software on a limited budget…. but I’m on a learning curve here people! Heh. Anyway – I think it’s a pretty good read. I think I’ll be building a better spreadsheet as to what I need to do – on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis – as needed sort of thing as Lynn said. Makes sense – and it gets me focused. I thought this May would be a good time to focus on one or two sites – for linking, content, and development. But I have other sites that need attention too. [...]

  3. [...] Steve Pavlina, Darren Rowse, Yaro Starak, and other bloggers have proved that it’s possible. Can you do it too? Maybe. (Read Steve’s How to Make Money From Your Blog, Chris Garrett’s Can Anyone Make Money From Blogging?, Darren’s 10 Reasons Why Many Blogs Don’t Make Much Money, and Yaro’s Analyzing Key Metrics in Your Web Site Traffic Reports – Part 1 and Part 2.) If you think you have what it takes to eventually make a living from blogging, then let’s continue. [...]

  4. [...] ProBlogger: 10 Reasons Why Many Blogs Don’t Make Much Money [...]

  5. [...] It seems that one of the main things on the table on many business blogs is how to make money from blogging. The newest article from Chris Garrett covers just that. The article itself is now being featured at ProBlogger.net which immediately gives it a lot of credibility, but if you read the article a couple of times, the message is extremely clear. This article covers the main things that you need to be a good blogger. It doesn’t get into technological know-how but instead talks about the mindset and work ethic required to achieve success in the blogging world. [...]

  6. [...] In response to a post Can Anyone Make Money From Blogging by Christ Garrett, Darren Rowse has added 10 more reasons why he thinks many bloggers don’t make much money [...]

  7. [...] 10 reasons why many blogs don’t make much money [...]

  8. [...] See Rowse’s recent post “10 Reasons Why many Blogs Don’t Make Much Money.” [...]

  9. [...] In addition to all of these great blogging tips, check out 10 Reasons Why Many Blogs Dont Make Much Money at Problogger. Darren Rowse gives ten “backward tips” – or ten negatives that you can turn around as a tip list, or make a point to avoid. [...]

  10. [...] If you’re serious about turning a blog into a revenue generator then you’re in it for the long haul.  Unless you are super-lucky or have super connections then expect to spend the first few weeks or months talking to yourself in your blog.  Once you get past that stage you then have the much longer stage in front of you.  This is where you’ll be gaining enough visitors so that you start getting clicks on your ads.  Again, unless you are super-lucky, don’t expect any real action for the first 6 – 12 months.  [...]