Type “how to make money blogging” into the Google search bar.
- “How I Made 100K in My First 6 Months Blogging!”
- “How to Make $200 a Day With a Blog!”
- “How to Make Thousands in Passive Income Every Month with Blogging!”
(the user clicks)
Here are my income reports. You can trust me. Here is how you can make as much money as me: Find a niche. Purchase hosting (affiliate link). Install WordPress. Buy a theme (affiliate link). Install plugins (affiliate link). Write five blog posts. Place ads in the posts. Add affiliate links (affiliate link), blah, blah, blah.
We are all saying the same thing; some are just holding out a bigger and prettier carrot.
How do I know? Because I’ve done it myself many times over the years. Because we have been hawking the same formula for blogging success since Google started allowing us to run ads and someone added their first affiliate link to a post.
Look at the headlines of some of the posts on my blogs:
- How to Make Money Blogging — A Closer Look
- Double Down on Blogging
- Blogging Resources I use to Start and Manage Money Making Blogs
- How to Make Money Blogging (Not a Hack or Secret)
Why do I, and thousands of others like me, continue to write the same old advice repeatedly? To be honest, this formula we all use (niche/hosting/theme/plugins/5 blog posts/monetize/drive traffic) actually works.
So Why Am I Complaining?
The problem is not giving away the formula for creating a successful blog. This process has been proven time and time again to work. None of us are cheating anyone by sharing what works.
The problem is the carrot. The problem is what happens after our users finish our seven-day course, build their blog, add content, and wait.
The problem is we are getting them excited to make thousands the easy way because how else will we get them to break out the credit card? Do you think people would be willing to buy a $999 course if we told them the truth from the beginning? Some would, but not enough to support the thousands of bloggers offering courses to the same group of people.
It has gotten out of hand.
Let’s Step Back for a Moment on This Blogging Thing
Let look at the stats for a minute (from optinmonster):
- The number of bloggers in the USA is expected to grow to 31.7 million in 2020.
- There are more than 500 million blogs that exist in 2019.
- As of 2019, there are roughly 1.9 billion web pages, 600 million have a blog
- Each month, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages.
Good news, right? Let’s look at a few more facts about blogging from LifeHacker:
“A survey of 1,000 bloggers by Blogging.com in 2012 found that 17% are able to sustain their lifestyle or support their family with their blogs, while 81% never make even $100 from blogging. The other 2% spend less than 2 hours a day blogging but make more than $150K.”
Sure, that is only a sample of 1000 bloggers, but it gives you insight into what I am trying to tell you.
We Must Be Honest. Everyone Can’t Make Money Blogging
Yes, I understand that there is only a small pie for a big group of bloggers. I appreciate that Marketing 101 tells you that you have to make your offer attractive, but do we have to lie by omission?
Most of us don’t tell these people that blogging is a competitive industry, and there is a lot of time and hard work involved to get to even making $100 a month.
Most of us try to act like anyone can be a blogger. Yes, anyone can write and publish, but only a few people are successful, internet famous, or outliers. Blogging, like vlogging, takes a special person with a unique look, writing voice, personality, life experience, motivation, drive, and talent. It’s not true that anyone can be a financially successful blogger just by force of will or want.
We don’t explain that nothing about blogging is passive. Sure, once you have everything set up, your workload decreases sometimes, but how many of the outliers would truthfully say that they are earning passive income?
We don’t prepare people for the investment of time and especially money they have to put into running a blog. Yes, there are some free things available, but I’ve been trying for 20 years to start and manage a blog that is free of investment, and it is not possible. People need to know that because some people go into this without being able to pay for their own internet, expecting to pull themselves out of poverty in a short time with blogging.
I know I did.
We don’t tell everyone that 80% of people who get into blogging to make money will fail to make over $100.
In a rush to show off our income reports and promise people that they will make money by following our formula, we have millions of dead blogs lying fallow, millions of angry people with a bad taste in their mouth about blogging, and a reputation for being liars and cheats looking to separate people from their hard-earned money.
In a rush to sell courses and subscriptions, we inspired the real crooks and cheaters to use our formulas to dupe the innocent with big claims and pie-in-the-sky earnings. We aren’t picky about who takes our courses as long as the credit card isn’t declined.
I Will Ease Up, I’m Sorry…
Why am I so passionate? Why would I feel so strongly about this that I would risk ridicule from my friends in the blogging industry to say my piece? I am just like all of you. I have expertise in blogging and writing, and I want to share what I’ve learned and make money in the process. My formula for building a successful blog is the same as yours out there.
Why? Because it works.
But I’ve grown dissatisfied and disillusioned with pushing the same game to a new generation of bloggers. I thought maybe the life changes forced upon me by the pandemic were what changed my mind, but looking back on my writing over the past year showed me that this is a long time coming.
I don’t want to sell the same old snake oil. I want people to know what they are getting into to make rational and realistic decisions about whether they want to buy my courses or ebooks or click my affiliate links.
I want to lay out all my cards from the beginning and stop using questionable marketing tactics to trick people into swiping their credit cards. And I want you to join me.
Why? Because if we are all on the same page and are honest from the start, the real crooks will flush out. Yes, our sales may decline for a while, but if we are above-board, the tricksters will fail.
Look at the new generation. Look at what is going on in politics. They tire of Trump and the republicans lying and cheating. They tire of being told to take what they are given. They tire of working their asses off and the Bezos’ of the world getting rich.
They no longer want smoke and mirrors. They don’t want the hard sell and the funnels. They don’t like ads flashing pizzazz in their faces promising them the world in exchange for their hard-earned money. They want us to be honest.
After the blogger’s Armageddon, when the criminals wash out and run out of town, the new generation of consumers will come to us because we were honest and straightforward with them from the beginning.
When the shock of COVID-19 has lessened and people start spending again, they won’t be looking for the old-school capitalists and shady marketers to buy from; they will be looking for you and me. Let’s be ready for them.
What We Have to Do Right Now Because Everyone Can’t Make Money Blogging
I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that things need to change
We can tell them that blogging is a great way to make money for many, but not for everyone. Not everyone will be a success.
We can stop using questionable words to describe blogging like: passive, easy, guaranteed, and free.
We can stop wowing people with our income reports because, while there is nothing wrong with giving people hope, we need to stop convincing people who will never put in the time, money, and work to be successful. We always come out looking worse than they do.
We need to realize that some of us benefit from things that others don’t, like good education, money, good health, and skin color that no one finds objectionable. It’s harsh, I know, but many are trying to act like they are self-made when their parents paid for college and the trip around the world that they write about on their blog, and they have never struggled to make ends meet or put food on the table.
We can stop making decisions based on the almighty dollar and start benefiting the people who are scraping by and the planet some of us are trying to save. Start giving more than we are receiving and see how it changes you as a person.
I don’t want to speak from a high horse like I am better than everyone else. I’ve been blogging for 20+ years, and I am one of the reasons that the blogging industry is what it is today. People like me are why blogging turned into such a big business, and our journey paved the way for the crooks and cheaters to come in and turn it into a shitshow.
So, blame me, but take my advice and change how you make your money with blogging. Stop telling everyone they can be a successful blogger; you know there is more to it than want, need, and passion. Stop telling people they don’t need money to get started because some investment is required. And, stop telling people they can be just like you when only a tiny percentage will.
Change what needs to be changed, but don’t change who you are. I love the blogging community and look forward every day to be interacting with all of you. You are good people, but it’s time to change business as usual.