One of the first bits of advice you’ll receive from almost any seasoned blogger is that you should always blog about something you like, something that stirs your inner passion. In most cases, that’s true. But you know me… I beg to differ. First, let’s take a look at two successful blogs based on “Passion.”
The Style Rookie
Tavi Gevinson of TheStyleRookie started her blog when she was just 12. At the time, it was hosted on Blogger and she blogged about things like school, music and fashion. It’s important to note that, in the beginning, Tavi’s blog was not monetized in any way, she was simply blogging for fun.
Tavi’s 16 now and her blog is one of the most successful fashion blogs on the Web. She has thousands upon thousands of followers, including big name fashion designers and fashion magazine editors, and she gets front row seats at fashion shows all over the world. She’s also the owner and managing editor of her own online magazine for teens and she’s frequently a guest speaker at fashion gatherings.
Tavi’s blog still has no visible advertising and you won’t see any on her magazine either. However, it’s safe to assume that Tavi is earning a substantial income in the fashion world.
Go Fug Yourself
The bloggers at GoFugYourself are also passionate about fashion, but the fact that it’s fashion is just a coincidence. Heather and Jessica started their blog about two years before Tavi started hers. In the beginning they were just blogging for fun with no intentions of monetizing their site. However, with their acerbic whit and eyes for detecting ultimate fashion faux pas they quickly became the darlings of the fashion police.
Now, GoFugYourself is a division of Buzz Media Entertainment. Jessica and Heather also attend fashion shows all over the world and they also live-blog at red carpet events like the Oscars. In addition, they’ve already published one book and I think I read they’re working on another.
So, it’s true that when you’re passionate about your topic you have a better chance at success. However, here’s where I wander off the beaten path…
The reason both of these blogs – and many others like 11Points and WaiterRant – have been so enormously successful is because they blogged first, and only thought about monetization after they’d developed a huge, loyal following.
Right now, the Fug Girls have Google AdSense ads on their site – ads for pizza, Pinterest and auto insurance and sponsored ads from Celebuzz. Why such a wide range of ad topics? Because they can’t focus on specific keywords. They cover celebrities and fashion and movies and TV and the list goes on.
These examples prove that if you’re passionate about your topic you’re going to attract a huge audience. But you still need to find ways to monetize that traffic and the best way to do that is to engage with your readers until you find out what it is they’re really looking for.
On the other hand (Because there’s ALWAYS another hand, right?) I also firmly believe you can build a successful blog if you’re passionate about building a business. If not, why would so many bloggers build sites devoted to acne medication, hemorrhoid relief and how to get rid of man boobs? Surely these successful bloggers aren’t passionate about these topics.
These bloggers start off with the intention of building a blog that makes money and they go after the trends. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just another way of doing business.
Who makes money faster? That depends. Either way, you’re going to have to develop traffic, and until you have that traffic you won’t be making the big bucks.
So whether you blend business with stuff you like, or you like building a business, it really doesn’t matter. The key is to define your goals and build a blog you can be proud of.