There’s an old saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I read an old article at Problogger last week that bemoaned the fact that in 2004 most bloggers were blogging for peanuts. We’ve come a long way since 2004, but in some ways, nothing has changed.
According to the article, in 2004, very few bloggers made any real money at all, certainly not enough to live on. Most had only a “Donations” button on their blog, and those who were making money were making it somewhere else, not on their own blogs.
But 2004 was a long time ago, especially in blogging years, and a lot of things have changed. Now, you rarely see a donation button on a blog, there are too many other options.
For example, almost every manufacturer has an affiliate program now and, at the very least, they’re paying for Adwords promotion.
You also don’t see donation buttons because readers just don’t make donations anymore. With hundreds of blogs in every niche, why pay for information they can find for free all over the Web?
But is that enough to make blogging a reliable source of livable income? Nope. That still hasn’t changed.
There still isn’t a single blogger on the Web who earns a six-figure monthly income simply by blogging about his favorite hobby. If you want your blog to lead to financial prosperity, you have to do the same thing those bloggers in 2004 did – you have to learn to be creative and you have to focus on building a business.
In 2004, Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, had an A-list blog that most assumed was making thousands of dollars a month because he accepted American Express and PayPal donations and he had a lot of traffic.
But Sullivan admitted that if it weren’t for the money he earned with his freelance writing and public speaking appearances, he’d be standing in line at a soup kitchen.
Sullivan’s blog wasn’t earning any money itself, but he used it as a promotional tool to build a writing and speaking business.
In 2012, most new bloggers look at the Problogger blog and think it rakes in the bucks, too.
It does, but only because Darren Rowse has built the blog into a business, selling advertising space and job listings and promoting his own infoproducts.
Rowse also owns several other blogs and belongs to multiple blogging networks. In short, Rowse does a LOT more than just offer up blogging tips every day.
If you break Rowse’s income down, you’ll probably find that very little of it comes from the blog itself, it’s what he’s doing with his blog that brings in the money.
Like the bloggers of 2004, successful bloggers are still earning very little money with their blogs. It’s only when they get creative and turn their blog into a marketing tool that they realize that financial prosperity.