For some reason a lot of people find this site and think I’m writing it solely for the money, that I’m selling something or trying to sign people up for some sinister and selfish purpose.
On one level I understand this – there is a lot of hype and spin out there in the ‘make money online’ field and readers are well advised to be cautious and a little skeptical about what they read. On the other hand however it is hard when you do have genuine motivations to know how to convey them.
Regular readers of ProBlogger know that I’m not just in it for the ‘money’ – I share what I know as openly as possible. Every way I know to improve a blog’s performance goes onto the blog at some point or another – it’s all in my archives for free.
Having said this – I do ‘get’ things out of this blog (including money) and want to declare it up front in the hope that it might give you a more complete picture of my motivations from maintaining ProBlogger.
So What do I get out of ProBlogger?
I believe in being transparent with one’s blogging so as part of that I want to tell you what I gain from this blog up front. Here’s what I receive from ProBlogger:
Money – Yes I do make a little money from this blog. You’ll see ads in different parts of the blog (sidebar, header, below posts) as well as some affiliate promotions.
I only promote affiliate programs that I believe in and that I think will be relevant to the readers of ProBlogger. I don’t note every time I use an affiliate link – this is a blog about making money from blogging, there shouldn’t be any surprises that I’m doing just that.
I have other blogs that make significantly more than this one (the topic of blogging for money just isn’t that lucrative) and if I was motivated purely by accumulating money I’d concentrate more on those. I do not and have never linked to anyone in my posts in exchange for money or other incentives. On one occasion I have done a sponsored post but clearly marked that as being sponsored and would do the same in future (although that’s not really my style of blogging).
Profile – This blog has without a doubt lifted my profile in the blogging (and wider) community. Talking about money gets a reaction out of people – for some it’s positive, for others its not. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping to build a profile through this blog. Whilst I’ll never be an expert in all aspects of blogging I’m committed to learning whatever I can about how people make money from blogging and in sharing what I do hope to carve out a niche for myself on the topic.
In doing so I do have the goals of writing a book and freeing up more time to do consulting work in this area. These of course are ways of making money so in a sense there is some financial gain to be made through this blog in the long term.
Satisfaction – I enjoy this blog. I enjoy writing the content and I enjoy meeting and helping readers. This is a genuine motivation for doing what I do here. People often ask me why I give my ‘secrets’ away for free – to be honest I just can’t seem to keep them to myself – I like to help people.
PR for my other Blogs – Something else I’ve discovered since starting ProBlogger is that in doing so I’ve actually raised the profile of some of my other projects. To be able to announce a new project or to highlight what I’m doing on another blog actually brings attention to my other work which is of benefit to my overall success as a blogger. I do try to keep in check the amount that I promote my other work (it’s not good business sense to constantly promote my own work here). When I do (and it is rare) it it’s almost always to illustrate a point I’m making in a post and I make it clear that it is my own blog that I’m linking to.
What does this Blog Cost me?
If I’m being transparent about what I get out of this blog I feel I should also be transparent about what it costs me (it only seems fair). Part of my philosophy of blogging is that an honest portrayal should always be given – I don’t want to paint ProBlogging as only a positive, easy, rewarding thing – this would be dishonest. I want to paint a realistic picture in order that readers make an informed decision of whether blogging for a living is something that they want to pursue.
Time – I spend more time writing posts for this blog than any of my others. The posts here are generally longer, better researched and more thoughtful than my other blogs. I also get a lot of comments at ProBlogger (it isn’t unusual to have moderate 200 or so per day) as well as many emails from readers asking questions and wanting feedback on their own blogs. Whilst I can’t respond to all of them I do endeavor to help as many as I can (it’s getting harder and harder these days) – this takes an increasing amount of time and energy. Blogging is hard work most days – I put in longer hours than I’ve ever put into any other job.
Competitive Edge – In blogging as openly as I do here at ProBlogger I give away many of the secrets that any smart business person would not reveal. Many of my readers (some who I’ve given free personal coaching to) have started up blogs in direct competition with my blogs in addition to that some have used my designs, stolen content (I take action on this – thieves beware), even used the same names for blogs as mine. To be honest I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I think it’s great and know that some of these blogs link back to my own blogs and have good working relationships with me. I don’t have a monopoly on any given topic and don’t want to stop anyone starting any blog that they choose to – but at times I feel rather ripped off and used. I guess this is the downside of offering any service for free and I’m willing to accept that – it’s just some days it’s easier to accept than others in all honesty.
Personal Attack – This is all sounding rather heavy here and I don’t want to get too gloomy but another cost of this site is that at times the response that people have to my writing here is to attack. I guess I’m writing about topics that people have strong feelings on (money and blogging) and people feel they want to have their say. Unfortunately the internet can be a pretty impersonal medium and people feel they have the right to write things that they would probably not say to the face of a human being. I try to respond graciously to such emails, comments and instant messaging interactions and don’t let them get to me too much – but at times it all gets a bit too much and takes its toll on me.
And so I Blog
So blogging here has it’s benefits and costs. Some days I’m energized by it and couldn’t think of too much I’d rather do for a job – and other days I am tempted to close up shop because it seems to take more than it gives. In the long run though the good far outweighs the bad and I so I blog on.