The Dirty Word In The Blogosphere

August 22, 2008

On my travels through the blogosphere, I’ve noticed a dirty word that keeps cropping up. And it’s not the F word - it’s money.

It seems to be everywhere I go. The topics vary but money and blogging always seem to be connected in some way. Like in these articles:
“How Can I Make Money From Blogging?”,
I Don’t Read Blogs With Too Many Ads/Monetized Too Soon,
Advertising Alternatives For Bloggers,
How Top Bloggers Earn Money,
Use A Blog As A Powerful Marketing Tool.

And when it comes to money, there seems to be many different types of blogger, including these ones:

1) The Blog Whores: The ones that want to make a heap of cash and don’t care what they write.

2) The Creative Bloggers: The ones that love writing and hope to monetize their blogs eventually.

3) The Brand Bloggers: The ones who are aiming to use their blog to promote a product or service eventually.

4) The Diary Bloggers: The ones who just blog for fun, or blog about their daily lives.

5) The Savvy Bloggers: The ones who are already making money through their blogs.

6) The Anxious Bloggers: The ones who would like to make money from their blog but don’t want to admit it, incase it drives their readers away.

7) The Dumb Bloggers: The ones who are disgusted at the idea that anyone would want to make money from their blog.

If you were working 20 hours a week - you’d expect some sort of payment or reward eventually. You’d deserve it - so why should blogging be different? Did you ever hear anyone say, “I love Oprah, but I’m not going to watch her program anymore because she gets paid for working?”

Lets face it, if you have no plans for your blog, other than for other people to read what you’ve written, then you’ve got to have one huge ego.

And, although you’re unlikely to generate much money, or publicity from blogging in your first year or two, it can certainly pay off for those who are persistent, including these bloggers, who were featured on business week.

What do you think? I know people don’t want to share their plans on the Internet. But do you hope to use your blog to make money eventually - either directly or indirectly. Or do you think it’s a terrible sin?

Image Credit:

Are You Blogging Like A Barbie Doll
Will You Become A Corporate Blog Whore
Blog Marketing - Do You Make These Commenting Cock Ups?
The Blogging Advice That Kept Me Up All Night

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44 Responses to “The Dirty Word In The Blogosphere”

  1. Brett Legree on August 22nd, 2008 6:02 pm

    I would say I will make money from my (current) blog indirectly. I’m learning a lot, meeting a lot of great people, great people who encourage me to continue to work on other projects that *will* eventually make money (such as my books). People who also encourage me to keep chasing my dreams, until I eventually catch them.

    So I guess for me, it is a social thing - a way to meet like-minded individuals.

    If folks want to make money directly from their blogs, that’s great! And if someone just wants to goof off and not make any money, that’s great too.


    Brett Legree’s last blog fridays - a shield for its shelter.

  2. cathlawson on August 22nd, 2008 6:05 pm

    Hi Brett - I think you will too. A blog will be a great place to promote your books from and you already have a wonderful network of people who will tell others about them.

    And you’ll be able to do all that from New Zealand too. But in the meantime you can still have a lot of fun with those Vikings.

  3. Brett Legree on August 22nd, 2008 6:23 pm

    Hi Cath,

    That’s the plan - location independence. I think many of us want that.

    And ask you say, until then, Friday fun with Vikings is a great thing :)
    Brett Legree’s last blog fridays - a shield for its shelter.

  4. Mike Goad on August 22nd, 2008 7:08 pm

    I guess since I’m retired and have what looks like a recurring opportunity for contract work doing something I really like to do, it’s a little different. I can write/blog when want to, where I want to, and on the topics I want to. And, on occasion, I’ll provide a hook to my on-line stuff that does help buy a few tanks of petrol each month.

  5. Mike Goad on August 22nd, 2008 7:11 pm

    (… a hook to my on-line stuff…,) which I inadvertantly did in my previous comment. (00ps)

    Mike Goad’s last blog post..What does ?Gay New York? mean to you?

  6. cathlawson on August 22nd, 2008 7:41 pm

    Hi Mike - That’s a pretty good situation to be in. And with the cost of fuel these days it can’t be bad.

    Hi Rita - 16 hours is a lot. But you do tell exceptionally brilliant stories. 20 hours was a ballpark figure - I guess some people put in a whole lot more and some put in a whole lot less.

  7. Brad Shorr on August 22nd, 2008 7:55 pm

    I’d be thrilled to make money directly from my blog, but my attitude is much like Brett’s. But I wonder, why there is such a stigma around making money from blogging? Is it the blog whores who are giving all blogging a bad name? If so, it’s a real shame. Some of my favorite blogs monetize like crazy, and I’d rather check out their ads than ones I see elsewhere.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Timing Is Everything for Your Blogging Style

  8. cathlawson on August 22nd, 2008 8:03 pm

    Hi Brad - That’s a good point. Maybe it is the blog whores that are to blame. Mind you - I think it’s only a small number of people who complain.

    Steve Pavlina quoted the number of complaints he received when he began putting ads etc on his blogs and it was just a tiny fraction of his readers.

  9. Brad Shorr on August 22nd, 2008 8:30 pm

    Cath, It’s good to know complainers are only a small number. I thought the feeling was more widespread.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Timing Is Everything for Your Blogging Style

  10. Graham Strong on August 22nd, 2008 8:34 pm

    Hi Cath,

    I’m just exploring this topic right now, debating whether or not a blog is a viable marketing vehicle for freelancers. I think that most people do want to make money from their blogs, but they are vague on how to go about it. They just hear “social marketing” and figure it will work.

    It certainly has for some, but as you say, is it worth the 20 hours per week you put into it (or however long you spend blogging…)?

    Then there is the “building time” to consider. It takes a while to attract new readers, so the payoffs certainly won’t be immediate.

    I’m not sure where I’ll land on the subject ultimately, but I certainly think it is worth looking into…


    Graham Strong’s last blog post..Why Not Throw Stones at Our Glass Houses?

  11. Barbara Swafford on August 22nd, 2008 8:40 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    I don’t see anything wrong with someone trying to make money with their blog. Done tactfully, ads often just blend into the content.

    I often wonder where my blog will take me. I believe some day it will create an income source; I just don’t know how, yet.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Four Day Open Mic - 8/21 to 8/24/08

  12. cathlawson on August 22nd, 2008 8:49 pm

    Hi Graham - I certainly think it is well worth exploring the idea for freelancers.

    I was chatting to a friend last night who works for a national company and he’s also considering a blog. I think if it’s for a business, or a freelancer and they can afford it - having a blog built is the way to go. Or even better - do like I did and get someone to customise an existing theme.

    And I know the time factor is a big thing - but I know Liz Strauss does say that it’s not the frequency of posting that matters so much as the consistency.

    Hi Barbara - It’s easy to get ads that blend in isn’t it - even for folk like me who are virtually colour blind. I know your blog will definitely make you an income someday. It’s not an instant return but part of the fun is getting there. And I know you love it enough to keep going for as long as it takes.

  13. Vered on August 22nd, 2008 10:37 pm

    “Dumb bloggers”. Ha. :)

    Of course it’s not a sin!

    MomGrind has two sides: it’s an outlet for my creativity and a great way to communicate and get to know new people. And it’s also a business that earns me some money through ads - very little money right now but a little is better than none.

    I’ll never understand why people are OK with ads everywhere except for in blogs, or why people need to APOLOGIZE for trying to make money from blogging.

    Vered’s last blog post..Obsessed With SEO?

  14. cathlawson on August 22nd, 2008 10:41 pm

    Hi Vered - it is ridiculous isn’t it. And I’m betting it’s only a minority that don’t like it. I didn’t get the article that didn’t like people having too many ads early on - I don’t understand how the age thing matters.

  15. Janice Cartier on August 22nd, 2008 10:48 pm

    Cath-Funny how people are about money. I do intend to make money from what I do blogging online directly and indirectly. We get this “taint of money” all the time as artists. As if the mere nearness of it to our work some how makes the art less ” pure.” How am I supposed to pay for that 200.00 brush I used to make it? Hm?

    Where an artist does not want money or rather the *taint* of it is in the studio while in process. Boundary line there.

    I think what people find objectionable is the bait and switch or strip mall kind of money for money’s sake kind of thing. Feels hollow, that.

    Janice Cartier’s last blog post..Not this Color, Exactly

  16. cathlawson on August 22nd, 2008 10:59 pm

    Hi Janice - I know what you mean - maybe they expect you to eat that 200 brush when things get really tight.

    Totally agree on the bait and switch and strip mall type of thing - that really sucks. I could never sell something I didn’t believe in.

  17. cathlawson on August 22nd, 2008 11:12 pm

    Hi Rita - I know exactly the folk you mean - The Blog Whores. I don’t understand why they do it, as it’s obvious they don’t even like writing.

    Talking of writing - I have to come and confess to Bruce soon: I hate confession time. It’s just that first one - I think.

  18. Lance on August 22nd, 2008 11:39 pm

    I think it’s ok to make money from your blog. If you want to. And ok if you don’t want to. Different people will be attracted to different blogs for many different reasons - so there’s room for many styles.

    I wouldn’t mind making money from my blog - either directly or indirectly. In fact, when I began, that was one of my thoughts. As I’ve blogged, though, my thoughts have changed. First for me is building community with others. It is very soul-satisfying for me.

    Lance’s last blog post..Sometimes You Just Have to Take That Leap

  19. cathlawson on August 22nd, 2008 11:42 pm

    Won’t be long Rita - have just gotta quickly put something on that site you’ve fallen out with. Sorry - needs must.

    Hi Lance - community building is satisfying isn’t it. I think if you’re capable of building a great community - you can build just about anything you want.

  20. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 12:10 am

    Rita - It kinda rhymes with Greenday.

  21. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 12:16 am
    Don’t be silly Rita - you haven’t offended anyone - I’ll email you.
  22. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 12:23 am

    LOL - I emailed you.

  23. Marelisa on August 23rd, 2008 12:41 am

    Hi Cath: I definitely want my blog to make money. I have ad sense, a few affiliate products (the Sedona Method and the Silva Life System) and amazon stuff. So far I get a few clicks on the ad sense ads and people have gone in through my site and have bought stuff on amazon, so I think it’s a good start. I hope to do a lot better in the not-so-distant-future though. I would also like to write a book and use my blog as a launching platform.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Five Simple Ways to Create Passive Income

  24. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 12:46 am

    Hi Mare - that’s a brilliant start. I knew you’d have lots of great ideas. I loved your five ways to create passive income post. And I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.

  25. Ellen Wilson on August 23rd, 2008 12:52 am

    Hi Cath,

    I’m number two and three. I never had a problem with Adsense. I like my ads and I hope other people do to! Seriously, I’m not making anything with them. But they are kind of interesting decor.

    Your damn right we should make money from our blogs! Yes, let’s be honest here. I can spend at least 1 to 2 hours on a post. And I don’t even know how much time I spent putting my blog together. At least 2 weeks at around 4 hours per day. And I knew nothing. I mean nothing!

    But in the mean time I’m promoting my writing and photography indirectly with my blog. Sometime in the future I’ll promote my photography more directly.

    I never really knew what blogging was all about. I’m just glad we can meet fellow bloggers and all learn from eachother.

    I agree with Graham, the social marketing is rather fuzzy. It is long term learning process.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..The Forward Momentum of Bloggery (continued)

  26. chris on August 23rd, 2008 12:56 am

    I would love to make make money of my blog and have a steady income. I’m still experimenting about my content and see which posts receive the most traffic.

    I actually got started blogging because I read about problogger and and I figured that I would give it a try.

    chris’s last blog post..It Is In The Eyes of The Beholder

  27. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 1:02 am

    Hi Ellen - it’s time consuming stuff isn’t it. And the pay from Adsense sucks. I have a really low traffic site that makes more off Adsense than this one does.

    Totally agree - it’s brilliant to learn from each other. I knew nothing about the whole blogging thing before I began. I was lucky I met Barbara Swafford pretty early on.

    Hi Chris - a lot of it is just experimenting isn’t it. I always get the most traffic off the posts I least suspect and vice versa. Problogger is the first site I found too. I think he must rank highly for dozens of blog related keywords.

  28. Lillie Ammann on August 23rd, 2008 1:04 am

    My blog isn’t monetized, and right now I plan to keep it that way. For me, the blog is a chance to write what I want rather than what a client wants and a chance to connect with others. I think if I monetized it, blogging would become too much like work. :-) However, I do promote my clients’ books—that doesn’t make me any money since I link to the clients’ Web sites, though I may put Amazon links. It does help keep happy and loyal clients so indirectly it could make money. And I’m going to be promoting my novel … starting very soon. So indirectly I hope to make some money (though probably not much). I have no problem with bloggers who make money through ads, affiliate links, etc. That’s just not my goal\—right now, anyway.

    Lillie Ammann’s last blog post..Barter—Part 1: What Is It?

  29. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 1:08 am

    Hi Lillie - That is a great use of your blog. I would be happy to have an editor that promoted my work.

    And don’t forget to tell us all when your novel comes out so we can tell folk too.

  30. Alex Fayle on August 23rd, 2008 6:39 am

    I’ve decided to monetize my blog the way I use other blogs.

    I never click on ads, so I won’t be adding those. I often buy from Amazon so at some point I might add an Amazon widget.

    I do, however, buy information products from other blogs, so that will be the focus on my monetizing.

    Alex Fayle’s last blog post..My Summer Someday List

  31. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 6:47 am

    Hi Alex - that’s a really smart idea. Thanks for sharing. I suppose many of us, me included float through different blogs, not really taking any notice of what we click on and buy and what we don’t.

    I think I’ll start taking a bit more notice now - and use what I learn to make changes to my own blog.

  32. Alex Fayle on August 23rd, 2008 7:03 am

    For me it’s all about asking my readers to only do things that I’d do on someone else’s blog. That way I stay authentic and keep my personal sense of integrity. For others integrity might mean something different, so they’d go about monetizing in a different manner.

    My way might mean I don’t earn as much as I could, but I’ll be happier (poorer, but happier ;) ).

    Alex Fayle’s last blog post..My Summer Someday List

  33. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 7:08 am

    Hi Alex - it’s better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable. I use adsense a lot because it’s supposed to be contextual. But all I’m seeing on the front page right now is some new online golf game - so I’m starting to wonder.

    I think that’s the trouble with Adsense - you don’t know what ads are going to show up. I’m really against MLM but I’m not sure if I can stop ads like that showing.

  34. Alex Fayle on August 23rd, 2008 7:12 am

    I don’t even notice AdSense on blogs. I see it but it doesn’t actually register.

    Alex Fayle’s last blog post..My Summer Someday List

  35. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 4:51 pm

    Hi Alex - a few people say that. I notice if it’s an ad I haven’t seen before - usually these brain training type tests and things.

    Mind you, on a blog it depends if it’s positioned close enough to what I’m reading to see.

  36. Davina on August 23rd, 2008 4:55 pm

    Hi Cath. I do plan to promote myself through my blog eventually. I’m currently developing a website for a new business. With this business, the success is highly dependant on the connection I make with my clients.

    My blog will be an avenue for prospective clients to visit and get to know me, be entertained, learn something and decide if they want my business or to just read my blog.

    Davina’s last blog post..My Turn To Be Seen

  37. cathlawson on August 23rd, 2008 5:25 pm

    Hi Davina - if it’s the business you told me about - a blog will be an excellent way to promote it. Will email you soon to see how it is going.

  38. Al at 7P on August 24th, 2008 2:33 pm

    Hi Cath - this was a great thread to read (though I’m not sure what you and Rita are talking about… what rhymes with Greenday? :) )

    I cilcked on that BusinessWeek link and saw the A-list bloggers they had (including Michelle Malkin, whose blog makes my blood boil). Thanks for that article!

    I also noticed that a lot of these bloggers were around for a long time, so my take is that the path they took to money-making will be hard to duplicate, and newer bloggers will have to be more innovative. Case in point is I Can Has Cheezburger - that was the one listed that was a newer blog.

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..Why Should I Help You?

  39. cathlawson on August 24th, 2008 2:52 pm

    Hi Al - it probably wasn’t a great word to choose but I couldn’t think of another off the top of my head.

    I’m getting the feeling you don’t love Michelle Malkin’s blog. I have it in my reader but I haven’t got round to visiting much. I do recall reading that her blog hasn’t broken even yet though, so I guess she must have more expenses than the other ones featured.

    Totally agree that new blogs will either have to innovate, or be extremely persistent or both. I guess the persistence thing is really important. More posts should attract more visitors. I Can Has Cheezburger is one wacky blog isn’t it? Who would have thought it would become so popular.

  40. Al at 7P on August 24th, 2008 7:37 pm

    Hi Cath - hope I didn’t put you off regarding my rant on Michelle Malkin! I didn’t appreciate how she promoted fear and stereotypes with her Dunkin Donut boycott because Rachel Ray supposedly wore a “terrorist scarf” in an ad.

    OK, let me back off from politics and bring it back to business. I’m surprised that Michelle Malkin isn’t breaking even on her blog, but she’s a brand name and is frequently a guest analyst and an author, so the blog can be written off as PR expense. If Arianna Huffington is the uber-blogger for liberals, then Michelle Malkin can be the uber-blogger for conservatives if she plays it out correctly, and that can be real lucrative.

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..Why Should I Help You?

  41. cathlawson on August 24th, 2008 7:57 pm

    Hi Al - I didn’t see that - but it sounds like she made a bit of a blunder.

    I was pretty surprised that she wasn’t breaking even too. But as you’ve said, she can write it off as a PR expense against her other work. And it definitely looks like its an expense worth paying.

  42. Robin on August 25th, 2008 2:09 pm

    Hi Cath - I actually first started a blog because I read about making money with it, and thought a few people I know could do it (and they needed the money). So I started two blogs so I could show them how (only one of them started a blog, and he has since discarded it - shame! - he’s a great writer).

    Now I am just going with the flow, really - I’ll see where it takes me.

    Robin’s last blog post..On Overcoming Obstacles

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