A November 16th article in Economist magazine is says “more people are quitting their day jobs to blog for a living.” Maybe so, but not that many. Certainly not enough to suggest this is something you should consider doing.
The article classifies blogs in three broad categories: personal diaries, which comprise the majority of 57 million blogs in existence; blog magazines (networks) which exist solely for the purpose of accruing income; and, most recently, what the magazine referred to as “mom and pop” blogs such as Heather Armstrong’s Dooce.
While I think, for many, blogging can be a great sideline revenue source, if you are serious about doing this full-time, let me share some personal experience:
Success in blogging requires hard work. (Talk about stating the obvious.) Once you start, you can’t stop. I mean that. Once you stop, you have to keep going. The most successful blogs are those that have been around for a long time time and which are very frequently updated. There are “overnight successes” I suppose, but most have been doing this at least a year, and usually longer.
Success requires that you stay on top of your niche. It calls for almost constant monitoring of industry news and posts of other bloggers in the niche. Pro-bloggers virtually own their niche.
Success requires multiple updates per day. I worked for Weblogs Inc for several months while building my consulting business, and they required a minimum of five posts per day. Eventually, I was blogging on three different blogs writing 10 posts per day.
Success depends on significant traffic. Even though blogs are niche-oriented appealing to small audiences by comparison, most successful blogs depend on advertising for income. If you hope to get more than just beer money, it’s going to take lots of passionate readers to earn enough PPC income to pay the bills. The same holds true for attracting sponsors.
Of course, the blogs both the Economist and I are referring to are those created by individuals or small groups of people. Some companies are creating full-time blogging positions. Some, but not many. Most simply include blogging as an additional responsibility.
I compare pro-bloggers to pro-athletes. Think of how many kids play high school varsity sports in hopes of making it to the NFL, NBA, or MLB. How many of them actually make it? Same with the acting or music business. Only a few make it to the top. Similarly, only a few by comparison will make blogging a full-time profession.
I don’t share these thoughts in an effort to deter you from attempting to reach professional blogging stardom. Go for it! You might make it. I just want you to know what you’re up against.