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coffee-cupI read an interesting post at David Risley’s website that pretty much sums up what I know to be true. No, this isn’t an article that focuses on the negativity of blogging.  There are plenty of reasons why you may want to blog that has nothing to do with money.

But if you are hanging your hopes on blogging as a way to earn a living, here are the facts….

  • Free content is cheap.  Even good content that has “value” is cheap.  It is a very low barrier to entry for most.
  • If you want to make money, you have to look at a website for what it is-  A giant ad in which you are trying to move them to another place in which there is a commitment between yourself and the reader.  Michael Martinez has an excellent article on the ironies of content creation.
  • The content is the carrot that moves the visitor from the page to your offer.  If you aren’t trying to move the visitor then your motivations will need to be something other than building lots of great content.
  • If you don’t have something to sell, you are sunk.  You are also sunk if you can’t get even a small commitment out of your visitor to take the next step.
  • The real way to making money is to make something yourself, not sell other people’s products.  A service, product, application, book, tutorials, videos, etc.  The higher you can go in terms of quality product creation, the higher barrier to competition you will have (ie. an instagram application is a whole hell of a lot harder to produce than a few how-to videos so therefore, the how-to videos will be easier to replicate.)

In other words, you can get more done by simply working on something for a few weeks non-stop and then coming up with ways to sell it, than to start a website and spend all day writing and campaigning your name in blog comments in some rush to cash in on fame.

Or, build a website with the intention of ranking organically and then spend weeks prognosticating how well your links will help you rank.

Marketers that create products and don’t build blogs know this.  They are productive on the things that they need to be productive (creating products, building traffic) and all the other stuff falls by the wayside.

Create product.  Find ways to generate traffic to product.  Capture email addresses for future sales.  Repeat ad infinitum.

Shit like consistency of posting, post length, etc. is completely worthless unless you have a goal in mind for your visitor to do once they reach your page.  It content fodder for other bloggers to talk about.  Completely useless in the grand scheme of things.

Once you can define the goal, then you can optimize the page to make the funnel easier to see and your intentions more explicit to the visitor.

Once you have these things in place, you generate traffic. You don’t spend time betting on whether your meal next week will be produced by a link building prognostication campaign.  You go where your market is or pay others to make the offers that are ingrained in the market itself.

Personally, I blog (on this blog anyway) to improve my writing, gain clarity for personal understanding and to become part of the community.  2 out of 3 objectives isn’t that bad. ;)

But if you are hanging your hopes on competing by way of lots of free content, good luck with you.  You are choosing a method that has low barriers to entry which ultimately means that it will come with high competition and make it a race to the bottom of the content heap.

 Image attribution-http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/434937445/