I’ve had a lot of people email and tweet me today asking for my opinion on a Wall Street Journal article – America’s Newest Profession: Blogging.
In it the journalist writes about how there are almost more people in America making their living from blogging than as lawyers and that bloggers outnumber computer programmers and firefighters.
I’ll let you read and give your feedback on the article but here are a couple of reactions of my own:
Full Time Blogger Numbers Are on the Up
While the stats can be debated (and they are being around the blogosphere) there’s certainly an increase in the numbers of people for whom blogging is their primary source of income.
I’m not sure that the number is as high as the 2% of blogs that the article quotes – but I know that I’m coming across new bloggers that I’d not come across before carving out a full time living from blogging every week.
Most Bloggers Continue to Earn Peanuts
The reality is that while this article is full of impressive figures about what bloggers can earn that most bloggers earn nothing or very little from their blogs.
Note: this is certainly covered in the article – however most of the commentary I’ve seen about the article seems to be focusing upon how much bloggers make and how there are more full time bloggers than computer programers.
Even here on ProBlogger where most of our readers are attempting to earn money from their blogs every time I ask readers about their earnings the vast majority don’t earn much.
Last time I did such a survey 39% of respondents said they didn’t earn anything from their blogs.
Of the 61% who did make money 54% reported making less than $100 a day.
While the same survey also revealed quite a few of or readers are making good money from blogging the take home message is that it’s not a reality for the majority.
It’s not just an advertising game
There’s a sense in the article that online advertising is the main way that blogs earn income. While most bloggers I talk to do focus upon this model many blogs are also exploring a variety of other models.
Of course there is also the affiliate/commission type model that many bloggers also do quite well from but a trend I’ve been noticing for a year or so now is to see bloggers releasing their own information products for sale and increasingly leveraging the profile that a blog brings them personally to make an income indirectly from their blogs. Even smaller bloggers are finding success as a result of releasing e-books which they sell from their blogs.
I’d like to finish this post with a link to another where I answer the question – Can You REALLY Make Money Blogging?
In that post I attempt to give a realistic picture of blogging for money and getting your expectations right as you enter into the field of making money from blogs.
- Make Money Blogging – a list of the ways that I personally make money from my blogs.
- A Reality Check about Blogging for Money – another attempt to bring a little balance to the make money blogging hype.
- Making Money from Your Blog – Direct Methods – a variety of ‘direct’ ways to make money from blogs
- Making Money from Your Blog – Indirect Methods – an explanation of some of the more indirect ways that bloggers leverage their blogs to make money.
- Should I blog for Money? – not every blogger should. Here’s some thoughts on making that decision.
Update: Penelope Trunk has published a good read in the last day or two – Reality Check: You’re Not Going to Make Money from Your Blog.
Penelope’s put it perhaps a little more bluntly than I would (I actually think that there’s a little more hope than she says) but makes some great points. I particularly think point #3 (supporting yourself with a blog is crazy hard) and point #7 (Blog for better reasons than money) are good.
It is possible to make money from blogs without a background in media (I was working as a minister and putting myself through a Theology degree when I started) or without a background in design or with a web developer partner (My first blog’s design was like an explosion went off in a candy store and I remember one day taking 3 hours to work out how to align an image to the left) and I did get a book deal and a fair bit of speaking work purely from my blog – but it is a lot of work and takes a long time.