There are a lot of misconceptions between the reality of blogging and what is projected on the Internet. If there was a formal blogging school to promote how great blogging is to make money which required mandatory attendance before you could begin, these are the some of the lessons that they would conveniently leave out:
“Passive Income” isn’t passive: I hear time and again that one of the reasons blogging is so great is that it creates passive income. I’m not sure if they are living on another planet or simply have no idea what they are talking about. If working 14+ hour days for four years counts as passive income, then I suppose they are correct. While it is true that blogging allows you the opportunity to earn money 24/7 since your blog is always online, blogging is far from a passive form of income generation, especially in the early years.
Building niche websites off of the material that you create while blogging does offer the opportunity to earn some money passively, but this is in creating a static website and not a blog (and even then, it will require upkeep that will mean it’s not 100% passive). Blogging takes work, and a lot of it, to earn money doing it.
Blogging isn’t just writing: I guess I can forgive this misconception because those that read blogs only see the end result which is usually the writing. The fact is that I spend about 25% of my time actually on the writing. The rest of the time is spent doing various other aspects including promoting, updating, fixing, corresponding and any other thing that needs to be done to beep the blogs and sites running smoothly. You have to be willing to wear a number of different hats well beyond actual content generation to begin to earn money.
Blogging isn’t easy income: If a fraction of minimum wage for several years for the number of hours you put in equates easy income, then I suppose that blogging being easy income can be considered correct. The problem is that when someone begins to make money, you don’t see the hours upon hours of labor they placed into the blog before they attained the recognition. Either that or the media focuses on the lucky few, similar to lottery winners, that happened to be at the right place at the right time and were vaulted up to the A-list much quicker that most. Since that is the image often projected, people begin to believe it is the truth.
Good writing doesn’t equal success: Many people begin blogging because they believe that they can write better than many of the bloggers that are making money. They are probably correct in many cases, but they fail to realize that quality writing is only a part of the overall equation when it comes to making money. If it was based solely on writing talent, I certainly wouldn’t be making the money that I am. They will produce a number of excellent articles and wonder why they aren’t garnering the attention of post from bloggers whose writing is not as good. The fact is that part of blogging is building a community of people that enjoy reading what you write and before your writing will get the recognition, you have to put in the time and effort to build that community. That being said, quality writing over time will be rewarded — it just won’t be instantaneously in most cases.
You can simply write whatever you’re thinking: “So all you do is write about whatever you want and you make money?” If only it were that easy. Writing consistently over a long period of time with enthusiasm and new insights on a particular subject takes a lot of planning and effort. If you are like me, writing itself doesn’t always come easy and you make have to write multiple drafts before you have something that you feel comfortable posting for others to read. While certain blogs will give you more freedom to write whatever you want, many topic themed blogs need to stay on topic most of the time limiting what you can write on them. This is not to imply that you don’t have many freedoms, it’s just that “you can write whatever you want” is often not the case.
Knowing these lessons up front will go a long way to making your blogging experience and expectations more realistic on what it takes to be successful. You know that you have started to be successful when people think that what you are doing is as easy a pie and you sit with a smile on your face and say to yourself, “oh, if you only knew…”