Dukeo has been an extremely interesting testing ground for me for the past couple of years.
Since day 1 of this project, I’ve made it very clear that this blog was going to be some kind of Lab for me to test various assumptions about SEO, Blogging, Social Media and Making Money Online.
I’ve learned a lot about SEO by playing around with the site structure but that’s not really the point of today’s post.
In fact, I’d like to focus on the biggest virus that’s infecting the blogging world.
Your blog sucks… big time.
You see, there are many big time bloggers out there who are doing an absolutely amazing job growing their audience and growing their list.
When you take a look at these bloggers, it may appear that blogging is an easy way to make a living online.
From my own experience, I can tell you that blogging is actually one of the most difficult ways to earn money online.
If you just started blogging recently, or are planning to start a blog in the next days/weeks/months, I would strongly advise you to reconsider.
First of all, I’d like to address one of the biggest mistakes made by beginner bloggers: starting a blog about either blogging, social media or making money online.
Ok, so you read plenty of blogs, giving advices about blogging… After some time, the only idea that’s still on your mind is that you should start your own blog… And since you spend so much time reading about blogging, it appears to be an easy niche choice.
The problem is that, if you want to take a blog from zero to hero, you need to provide value for your readers.
If I want to learn about monetization strategies, am I going to read a big blog with plenty of value, and first-hand experience, or am I going to read your blog that is rehashing the same generic posts over and over again, because you simply don’t know better.
The same goes with social media.
Nowadays, everyone is a self-proclaimed Social Media guru.
Ok, I get it, you have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, a Pinterest account,… And you’ve managed to grow your followers/friends count substantially. But what makes you different from the other 100,000 social media blogs out there?
You keep churning out hollow 500-words posts about what you read on Mashable last week or the last change on Facebook or Twitter.
Seriously, I could care less, and it’s probably the same for your potential readers.
How many second-zone blogs have you been reading on a daily basis for over 1 month in a row?
The answer is probably none.
Because, as much as you want the world to understand how unique and different you are, you are probably just contributing to the overall increase of noise in the blogging world.
It may come as a shock to you, but contrary to popular belief, the best way to start a successful blog, is to choose a subject you are knowledgeable about.
Starting a blog on Passion is the worst advice ever.
Passion appears and fades.
And no, reading every social media blog out there doesn’t make you knowledgeable about social media. It just makes you an unimaginative sheep.
Where do people go where they want to learn about blogging or social media?
On the biggest sites in the blogging and social media space.
Just like you do.
Why the hell would people be interested in your 500-words regurgitation?
They probably aren’t.
Let me save you a few months by predicting your future: you’re going to start a blog about blogging and social media, even though you never had a successful blog, you won’t make a dime, and you’ll most likely give up in 2 or 3 months because nobody will be interested to read the 50th rewrite about Google Authorship this week.
And this leads me to my second point.
There’s no easy money in blogging.
In the past 3 months or so, I’ve been experiencing with hired authors on Dukeo.
I browsed several blogs which are known for accepting guest bloggers, and I emailed these writers.
To spice up the experiment, I’ve not just emailed them to ask them to contribute to Dukeo, but I offered them some cash to do so.
Of course, when I presented the offer to the writers, I insisted that, on top of the money, they would get more exposure for their own blogs by posting on a somewhat popular blog such as Dukeo.
I also explained that they had to do very basic SEO on their posts, and I required 1500 words minimum.
- 52 people were invited to write for Dukeo.
- 29 replies were received.
- 13 of these replies were positive.
- 11 people actually submitted articles.
- 4 people submitted more than 2 posts.
As an incentive for people to do more than just submit articles, I also organised $500 monthly author awards.
The idea was to reward authors who would encourage sharing of their posts on social media, get people to comment and reply to them…
The results of these experiments have been quite revealing when it comes to people’s motives.
Out of the 11 people that submitted articles, 3 submited 400-500 words articles and asked for the same compensation as everyone else. I let them go.
3/4 of the 8 remaining people didn’t even bother following the SEO requirements when submitting articles. Upon discussion, they all agreed to revise their work.
1 of the 8 writers did absolutely 0 promotion for his articles, didn’t reply to comments, then emailed me to ask why he didn’t qualify for the $500 bonus…
What I find particularly interesting is that, even though the rules were very clear from the beginning, some people accepted them only to try to bend them and make as much cash as possible.
This is probably in our nature to try to get the biggest reward for the smallest effort, but some people are taking it to a whole new level.
What’s the point?
The whole point of this post is that people still believe that there is some easy money in blogging and writing.
What they fail to understand is that with blogging and freelance writing, the cash reward is proportional to the created value.
If you’re not bringing any value to the table, don’t expect to make any money.
And for God’s sake, stop creating blogs about blogging and social media! Your blog will suck anyway.