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You Have to Write about Making Money Blogging to Make Money Blogging [Misconceptions New Bloggers Have #3]

This post is the third in a series examining misconceptions and myths about blogging that many new (and some experienced) bloggers have about blogging.

We’ve already discussed the misconceptions that blogging takes super-human effort (or is easy!) and that you must post every day on your blog.

Today’s misconception is all about money. It’s one I hear every day as I observe what people say about making money from blogging.

  • Only people who sell make money blogging resources make money blogging.
  • The most profitable topics to blog about are blogging tips or making money blogging.
  • It’s impossible to make money blogging on “normal,” everyday topics.

Why this myth exists

The reality is that most people who talk about making money blogging are those trying to create a name for themselves in that very niche. I guess part of creating authority and credibility is to show what you do, so bloggers in this niche are often not averse to sharing their earnings.

On the flip-side, many bloggers who are making a living from blogging in other niches either don’t have an avenue through which to talk about it, or don’t want to (for privacy reasons or because they don’t want to alert the competition to their success).

As a result, the impression that new bloggers often get is that nobody is making money blogging except for those writing about it.

The reality of the Make Money Blogging/Blog Tips niche

Lets look at a few of the realities of working in this niche.

  1. You can make good money blogging about blogging. It’s true—there is money to be made in this space. Teaching others to blog and to make a living from it can be profitable. I make enough to live (and some) on from ProBlogger each month, and know of at least five or six other bloggers in the niche who would be at a similar level. As with any topic that has anything to do with money, this can be a lucrative niche.
  2. It is a crowded niche when it comes to finding readers. As a result of the success of some (and the public broadcasting of the results), many others have joined the hunt for market share in this space. I’ve not seen figures on it, but I suspect the result of this is that it’s one of the more crowded niches. As a result, breaking into the niche and making a name for yourself can be tough.
  3. It is a crowded niche when it comes to products. If you want to monetize in the Make Money Blogging niche by releasing a product, there are not only a lot of other blogs, but a lot of products you’ll need to compete with. Not a day goes by when I’m not approached by another blogger wanting me to promote their ebook, course, or tool… Again, it’s hard to stand out, and I suspect that many bloggers have simply bought enough products already, and are not that interested in buying more.
  4. There’s a lot of suspicion about the topic. Due to the nature of the topic, there’s rightly a lot of suspicion about it. Unfortunately over the years, this niche has attracted its fair share of dubious characters and those who have used less-than-ethical-and-transparent tactics to make a name for themselves. This has created a lot of suspicion among the general public about the niche. I’m kind of happy about this suspicion, as I’ve seen a lot of people ripped off, but it does make this a tricky space to operate in. My recent banning (and then reinstatement) from YouTube seems to have occurred because many in the niche were tarred with the same brush (most of the accounts terminated had videos including the words “make money online”).
  5. Bloggers are perhaps more reluctant to spend money than other audiences. Let’s be clear: I’m not calling you cheap! But one of the factors to consider in this niche is that the barriers to entry for the blogosphere (as opposed to other pastimes) are extremely low. You can set up a blog for free, there are thousands of blogging themes, tools, and how-to instructions out there for free, and there’s plenty of free help within the niche. As a result, many bloggers don’t come to their blogs with the expectation of having to spend much money. This can impact the bottom line for those trying to operate in this niche (I’ll touch on this more below).

The reality of other niches

I’m not going to pretend that all other niches are lucrative. I know a lot of bloggers with decent readerships who struggle to monetize, since their topics don’t lend themselves to monetization. However, my experience shows me that there is certainly a lot of opportunity in other niches, and that, in many ways, they can be easier to monetize than the blogging tips niche.

Personally, I’ve found it a lot easier to build significantly larger audiences and higher profits in other niches. My photography blog has around five to six times the readership of ProBlogger, and is more than five to six times as profitable.

The photography niche is very competitive, but there are some other upsides including:

  • The market place is bigger: There are a lot more people around who own cameras than have blogs.
  • The audience is more of a spending audience: I mentioned above that because blogging has low barriers to entry, bloggers are often less likely to spend money. Photography is a little different. People increasingly are spending thousands of dollars on cameras, they buy photography magazines and books, they enrol in courses … there’s just more of a willingness to spend in that niche.
  • The audience isn’t as suspicious: While people still have a healthy suspicion of online marketers in this space, there are fewer barriers on this front.

This assessment isn’t just relevant to the photography space—plenty of other niches are similarly larger and have audiences that are more used to spending.

What should you blog about?

This probably isn’t the place for a full exploration of how to choose a niche for your blog (I’ll include some links below for more on that). However, my general advice on this is to choose a topic on which there’s a healthy demand for content (it’s hard to have a successful blog on a topic that nobody but you is interested in), and which you know something about (and preferably have a passion or interest in).

My co-author on the ProBlogger Book, Chris Garrett, presented last year at the ProBlogger training day in Melbourne, and used a slide which I think is a great visual on this point:

blog-this-niche.png

Further reading on choosing a niche to blog about

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. Jacob says:

    That is a common misconception and I’m glad you wrote about it. When I was younger, I started two separate make money online blogs because I thought I was going to be the next one to show people how to make money. Both, naturally, failed. I wasn’t experienced. I knew nothing about anything and I simply wanted to make money in a niche that I thought I could “fake until I got there.” And you simply can’t…

    Instead, it’s better to do a mix of what you like and what they want, like you said. By writing about something you like, you can do it for all the time it takes to succeed and by doing it on what they want, you have a readership who will want to read what you have to say. Unfortunately, there will be another 1,000 make money blogs by the end of the year and all of them will probably fail. It’s really too bad.

  2. Toy says:

    I have noticed this phenomenon when I started to blog in English. I saw at least three this kind of blogs and all of them are profitable. I am also writing a blog about my experience to develop my blog :D

    The content is important. If the blogs’ contents are about how to use free tools to drive traffic, then the result is that the subscribers of this blog will be more likely not to spend money.

    I saw one blog which told the readers how to use not-free tools to design the blogs and how auto-email not-free system the blogger is using. I also saw this blogger posing his revenue online and of course, he made money from referral of the tools, auto-email system and premium theme of wordpress.

    Above all, the content is an important factor to determine whether one blog has a potential to make money.

    PS: I am happy to be the first one to reply. You know, problogger has high traffic. It is hard to be the first one :D

  3. You are right Darren. On the time entered into blogging,I also thought that Bloggers who blog about Making Money with Blogs like you are the only earners in blogosphere. But now when I came closer I know that every Niche is good for earning if you are ready to put what you got.

    • Paul says:

      There are many blogs on the net and websites that offer nothing but generalities. When I was in real estate, I blogged on a non money making site, but my return was in leads and clients. Content was King, If you have a knowledge or skill, that you can instruct, teach, or solve a problem, The money will come. Now I am blogging in a new arena. A monetized site, have much to learn about it. But what I believe, is this:

      Know the people or audience that you want to attract. Find their needs, and fill it. Give solid, constructive information, and be a problem solver. JMHO

  4. Morgan says:

    Hey Darren!

    It’s interesting, there are those who think they can start a blog and immediately make money in only a few weeks. And why is this myth out there? Because of those who cater to the scarcity mindset; to those that fear if they don’t do A, B & C within the next week, they’re going to end up poor their entire lives!!! So, in turn, they buy whatever so-and-so tells them will make them rich quick.

    And lately, people have been starting to bust that myth, and yet, people are still trying to bamboozle honest individuals out of tons of money for crap products or information.

    Making money online can take a while. You’re building up trust & a loyal following, which takes time.

    I love the graph you displayed above! That’s the perfect area, and be prepared to stay in that area for YEARS. :)

    Thanks for the myth busting!

  5. Alex says:

    Thanks for yet another great post!
    I have no choice as to agree with everything said in here (years of experience).

    I have a few blogs and one of them is on “making money” and although all my blogs get similar traffic – the “make money” blog is actually less profitable.

    However, I noticed that when I concentrate on writing quality content on the subject I really enjoy, it also turns out more profitable than if I wrote content with a goal of making money from it. it’s like if readers feel it :)

    Alex

  6. Jamie Harrop says:

    Excellent post, Darren, as always. I’ve had a niggling niche in the back of my head for a long time. I’ve researched it in great detail and realised there doesn’t seem to be any other blogger taking the niche seriously nor have the contacts in the niche that I have (I have retail experience within the niche so I built lots of contacts during that time of my life). I’ve just never got off my ass to start a blog, but this post has inspired me. It’s about time I did it.

  7. Andy says:

    I use to feel this way about Internet marketing in general. It seemed like all the successful internet marketers sold to wannabe internet marketers. It seemed to me that they never sold anything else to anyone else. However, I found my niche eventually.

  8. Gayla Baer says:

    Of all the topics I’ve ever blogged about – and there have been many – blogging about making money has always been the least profitable by far. For me, it has been a labor of love in hopes of helping people avoid major financial loss or scams. It’s my niche sites that I see as my ‘job’ or income.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Gayla– I will check your site out later. This really is an area rife with scams. If you can help people separate the wheat from the chaff, you are doing a great service.

  9. Karen says:

    As always, you manage to put the blogging world in perspective. There’s a piece of the pie in every niche. The key is to have passion, drive, endurance, and market, market, market. I don’t start or end my day without reading one of your posts.

  10. StatsBlogger says:

    Very True,

    But it often feels like blogging about blogging makes up 95% of what people want to share online.

    It’s like an evil Vortex trying to suck you in.

    Try it…go on try it…everyone else is doing it

  11. Michael says:

    I’ve had a bit of success in the tech niche lately. But a few things contributed to that:
    1: I already had a huge library of keywords/phrases in my head (the whole keyword research as market research thing)

    2: I already had a handful of people to toss it to for some early traffic

    3: Tech is for people with plenty of disposable income

    Someone who’s been hiding in a bunker for the last 30 years would have trouble with the niche, but I’ve been in it my whole life. One of my earliest memories was dialing into the library BBS to look for a book.

  12. ErwinBSight says:

    when I started blogging 2 months ago, I didn’t expect anything but some nice comments and helping people, especially young entrepreneurs. Then I realized that more and more people are coming and they need more specific tips and solutions, so I’ve been thinking about making money from my blog.
    I don’t know if my niche really exists and is profitable, but perhaps in the next 3 months i’ll get the answer.

    But thank you for the article! At least now I feel more comfortable, when I start monitizing my blog later, that my audience isn’t as suspicious !

  13. Cathy says:

    I went back and read your selecting a niche blog post– thanks. I have so many diverse interests that I’m just blogging what interests me every day (hence the name oooh something shiny). I’m doing this, however with an eye toward seeing what topics generate the most interest and demonstrate the most monetization potential. And I’m having fun in the meantime.

  14. I make money blogging about email marketing! That works too ;)

    This does make sense though, since I feel like making money on YouTube is much easier by teaching others how to make money on YouTube… lol

    Thanks for the awesome post!
    Gabriel Johansson

  15. The truth is that the ‘making money’ niche is the best one online because internet marketers do spend money in order to learn how to make money – not necessarily by blogging – and it’s very easy to find JV partners in this niche.

    In other niches your customers don’t want to work online and promote the products they bought from you, and you have only many competitors who refuse collaborating with you, while internet marketers are not loyal to any product. They even prefer making money by selling other authors’ ebooks because they make more money through commissions.

    All bloggers who blog about making money online easily become friends. It’s very easy to find a good guest blogger in this niche, and very easy to guest blog about making money in numerous other blogs. This is a hot topic, and a very simple one that everyone can easily learn.

    Ask me if I can find a guest blogger at the level of my blog’s content who will agree on guest posting… Even though my knowledge is specific, I could find collaborators if my field was not so complicated: mental health. I have no hope on finding collaborators.

    Now, blogs about cameras and other products can be more successful than blogs about making money blogging or doing something else, because they are directly selling something.

    However, if you are in a niche where you must save and help without having the spirit of a marketer, everything is very difficult for you.

    If I only wanted to make money online I would create a blog about making money online, not only by blogging, but also through many other ways. However, I have a specific knowledge, and I have to write about what I know.

    I believe that if you want to make money online you cannot simply write about what you want to, or about what you know, even if there is demand and if the quality of your products is excellent, because you find a fierce competition online, while the demand in any other field besides internet marketing is never as high as the demand for content and products about making money online – somehow.

  16. That’s so true. Some of my best sites have not been about making money online. I got my start writing about earning money by working from home in general, a very scam filled topic, and it’s tough because you have to get past the trust issues. Other topics are often easier because there aren’t so many scams to worry people.

    Not that it’s always easy. Physical products are tough for me right now because I’m in California, so no Amazon or several other companies. Makes selling physical products much harder, but still not impossible.

  17. The personal finance niche has become extremely crowded as well but over time I have been able to build my blog’s readership over the last few years.

  18. When i had only my niche blog I was eager to start a make money blogging blog as soon as I start making consistent monthly passive income. Now I have a blog on blogging tips and it’s just like a blog for charity. I’ve been trying to create a sub sub niche out of it with zero result. I’m working on it though
    Thanks for sharing Darren.

  19. Darryl Burma says:

    All very good points but the one I’m having difficulty with is “It is a crowded niche when it comes to products.”. I believe you are spot on with this Darren, however, like most things there are always several different factors. What I mean to say is, although this particular category/niche might be swamped with a plethora of products, there are always fresh potential customers and bloggers joining the scene. Also, a product that is popular or top notch today might not very well be all that effective tomorrow, and no matter how saturated any niche is there is always room for improvement.

    I mean no disrespect Darren, I think you share many great points in this article and you obviously know what you’re doing since you are one of the most famous bloggers out there, but this is just my 2 cents on that particular point is all.

  20. Glynis Jolly says:

    Hi Darren

    Yes, you nailed it. The niche I started with does have some potential but it was saturated with info. about 10 years ago. The average ‘Joe’ isn’t interested as much anymore. They’ll read but they won’t get involved anymore. I’m talking about disability.

    I left my blog for 2 weeks because I felt I was just running in place. Now I have a niche that can touch on the first one but will attract more readers. This one is life coaching.

  21. cara says:

    Do you think you have to be passionate about the topic you’re blogging about to make money? Or is money enough of a motivating factor if the opportunity is there?

  22. I’ve been working on building a site for a couple of months now, but I don’t seem to get any google traffic. I mean, every once in a while somebody stumbles in, but it’s normally somebody who’s looking for something other than my topic and it turns into a “bounce.” Outside of continuing to create good content that is well keyworded, is there any trick to getting “noticed” by google, yahoo and bing? Thanks in advance for the advice.

  23. Colin Cronin says:

    This was a great article because it talked about a lot of specifics. I’ve seen this topic broached many times on different sites, but usually it is done in a very cursory way.

    I think the potential for you to draw in a large readership and monetize effectively has to do with market need for whatever it is you are providing. Really it has to be looked at from a business perspective of providing a service that is valued. That can also be thought of as a vague and imprecise answer, but it is essentially the bottom line. You have to know that people want what you have and then package it In a way that differentiates you from others in the same market.

  24. Andrew Cole says:

    Enormously interesting thanks, It is my opinion your followers might want a good deal more writing along these lines keep up the great content.