As a delightfully faddy sort of thing to be doing, blogging attracts waves and waves of newbies to its folds, all looking to get a blog started and for it to rise to success. Today I reflected on some of the tasks involved in blogging that have turned out to be a lot harder than I had expected.
1. Making Money
The well known blogger Steve Pavlina once wrote in his must-read post on blogging:
Can you make a decent income online?Yes, absolutely. At the very least, a high five-figure annual income is certainly an attainable goal for an individual working full-time from home …Can most people do it?No, they can?t. I hope it doesn?t shock you to see a personal development web site use the dreaded C-word. But I happen to agree with those who say that 99% of people who try to generate serious income from their blogs will fail.
What makes this such a deceptively hard task is that the success stories of blogging have very loud megaphones and can leave you thinking your road to riches is just waiting to be trod. Unfortunately that road happens to go up and down some pretty big hills and monetizing any blog, let alone a brand new one can be a challenging task.Sure anyone can make a few bucks with Adsense. But making a decent, healthy income is no mean feat. Fortunately there are plenty of people ready to help you, my two favourites are probably Maki’s aptly named DoshDosh and JohnChow’s less imaginatively titled JohnChow.com
2. Making Lists
Perhaps you are familiar with the blog SmashingMagazine, if not suffice to say that if you looked up giant linkbait lists in the dictionary, the Smashing logo would be right there next to it. Here is a sample of their articles – rather aptly about linkbait. Whenever SmashingMagazine so much as coughs it makes it to the Digg homepage, Delicious popular and generates hoards of comments and linkbacks.This has led to some criticism of the site for not producing original content and simply copy+pasting other people’s hard work. Here is where the deceptively difficult bit comes in. If you have ever actually tried to make one of those gigantic resource lists you will no doubt have some appreciation for just how time-consuming, mind-numbing and painful it can be.Now try doing that every two-three days AND keep coming up with winning formulas.Yes making huge lists IS great linkbait, and the reason it remains so is because it’s too much of a damn pain-in-the-ass for the majority of us to actually do. So when someone like Smashing comes along and hands you a giant list of bookmarks on a platter, you know what you feel like doing? You Digg/Delicious/Vote for it in whatever way you can to show your appreciation for someone else lugging that giant burden!
3. Getting Dugg
We all know about the Digg-Effect and the torrents of traffic that follow a frontpager. When you peruse the front page of Digg on any given day you could be forgiven for thinking “I could have done that”, but alas it is much harder than it looks. Many times have I tried and only on a few occasions have I succeeded – mostly with formulaic pieces designed for digg.Getting dugg seems to take a special combination of luck, cleverness and skill. Either that or having an inside story on Kevin Rose!
4. Getting a Readership
When I started blogging I assumed that all I would need to do was start posting and the readers would start arriving…magically…from somewhere…like the magical world of readers. What actually happened was well not a whole lot.You see it turns out that to get a readership takes an awful lot of work. Not only do you have to write great content, you have to market it, interact with other people, publicize your blog, format your blog and do a host of other things to get your blog to the point where a readership can grow organically.
5. Breaking into a Niche
Sometimes one chances on an untapped niche, when that happens then strap yourself in and just keep blogging. But for most blogs it is a struggle to get noticed in your niche. There are usually existing players with existing readerships and probably a whole lot more experience. So how do you break in? It all comes down to time, hard work and finding an angle to differentiate on. If you can’t differentiate, there probably isn’t much point to your blog.
6. Posting Regularly
When you first start a blog posting regularly is not so difficult. You’re new to the game, excited about posting and have plenty of ideas. As time goes by – and this is particularly true if you have not taken a giant leap and committed to full-time blogging – some of this enthusiasm can wane and posting regularly and on schedule can become more labour than it used to be.The secret to getting past it? Just push through. It’s like exercise, you just need to keep going because soon it becomes habitual and blogging gets easier.
7. Not Giving Up
It’s been said many times before, but I’ll say it again. Blogging is a long distance race. If you can just not give up you will find you pass many of your early competitors. Blogs dies by the bucketloads so just by surviving you will outdo most.Unfortunately there is a reason many blogs die, in fact it’s in the title of this post. Because at the end of the day, blogging itself can be deceptively hard.Luckily it’s also the best job in the world. So the way I see it is that if blogging wasn’t a little bit hard, if it wasn’t a bit taxing, if there weren’t some challenges, then perhaps everyone would do it and I wouldn’t get to have so much fun telling people I am a blogger!