Tuesday, March 22, 2005


taking the lead in blogging

I just had a commentary on the topic of blogging published in the LED (pronounced lead) Digest. I recommend subscribing to the Digest, but since I know some of you won't I have included a copy of the commentary below.

In LED #1946 Ronni Rhodes asked if we might have a down to earth discussion on blogging, which is a lot like asking a group of singers to have a down to earth discussion about Stardom. There are people that are all hype and self promotion, people who are in it
mostly to amuse themselves, and people who have little ambition beyond entertaining family and friends. That is blogging. And often the best bloggers are doing it purely for the fun of it.

I just recently got into blogging (on my favorite topic of online marketing) and I did so for several reasons:

1. It helps me to practice writing.

2. It provides a handy place to collect the tips and links that I find useful.

3. It gives me an excuse to read all the tech news I read anyway.

4. It allows me to share what I have learned with anyone who passes by.

5. It will let me spotlight and get feedback when I test my own online marketing tactics.

But I didn't start the blog to make money.

As for as I can see the vast majority of online blogs (like the personal homepages that preceded them) have nothing to do with making money. Most don't even include affiliate links even when relevant products could be found. But some do try to generate income (or at least cover costs). Here are the approaches I've seen:

1. Adsense and Affiliate Links. A good example of this is cookingforengineers.com. It has a quirky topic and includes links to relevant merchants as well as Google's new famous text ad tower. They also highlight special deals at the top of the page.

2. Book (or other product) Promotion. Many people start blogs to help in promoting a new book or product that they helped to create or to distribute. They use the blog to highlight events and activities as well as highlight how the product can be purchased. A great way to use such a tactic would be to create a self-help book or ebook and then use the blog to answer reader questions.

3. Shameless Self Promotion. If there is any real business model for most blogs then this is it. Whether you are a designer, radio talk show host, doctor, or car mechanic there is nothing like walking into an interview and being able to tell your future boss "just google for my name and your problem and you will see that I've written about it extensively."

The reality is that if you create a really popular blog then you can make thousands of dollars a month in Advertising. But who can count on that? Blogging is about building a relationship of trust between the reader and author and is a very poor way to make a quick buck. That said, when it comes time to sell my condo I would gladly work with a Real Estate agent who's weekly blogging on the local market I had come to rely on.

That's my two cents anyway. I look forward to the discussion and I'm sure I'll learn a lot as I always do.

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