Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why Do You Blog?

What is the purpose of my blog? ... What am I "selling"?

This is a question that I suspect many of us never really ask ourselves until we've been doing this for quite a while. Yet ironically enough, it's probably THE Question that we should have absolutely known the answer to before we ever even got started.

The good news is, it's not too late ...

Simply "start over".

Before you change your theme again for the 21st time, or write another post about a subject that you're not really all that interested in, but it's the "niche" you've chosen, STOP ...

Think about why you started your blog. What is your goal?

NOW ...

Build your blog around that goal. DON'T get DISTRACTED by other things.

If you've decided that what you're really selling is YOU ...

Then why the heck are you running off to check your adsense statistics every 3 hours? (and btw why do you even have adsense on that type of blog?)

On the flip side, if you've decided that your goal is to make money from ADVERTISING ...

Why are you writing posts about your kids, your dog, and the pretty picture of a flower you took last week?

Different goals, REQUIRE different STYLES of writing.

Real quick and dirty ...

If you're selling "YOU inc", then obviously you want a blog full of posts that inspire people to want to know more. You should be writing posts that invite questions and comments. You should make it EASY for people to EXPLORE other areas of your site. And finally, this is just my own personal opinion, but you SHOULDN'T flash a bunch of ads in front of your readers ... unless of course the image you are trying to sell is "I'm a salesman".

If you're trying to Make Money from your site, here is a description of your IDEAL "READER" ...

Someone who arrives via a SEARCH ENGINE (hopefully after entering a "buying term"), then LEAVES fairly quickly, by clicking on a RELEVANT AD that offers a SOLUTION to their PROBLEM.

IT DOES NOT MATTER whether or not they even READ anything that you wrote !!!!

... and it certainly doesn't matter if they leave a comment or not.

Here's a little "secret" for you ... people who leave comments are generally OTHER BLOGGERS ... and other bloggers generally DON'T CLICK ADS.

Ok, that was my rant for tonight. I'll have more thoughts on this subject "later".

In the mean time, feel free to OPINE away in the comments section
(I'm Not trying to make money withThis blog) ;-)

28 comments:

  1. I find this an interesting post, and only have one thing I disagree with.

    Man, I want people to read what I wrote. If I didn't, I wouldn't spend so many words trying to engage the reader, and I wouldn't have that audio program on the blog so people can listen if they're not in the mood to read.

    Even if I were only getting buyers, which I don't, I want them to read my stuff. Have you seen how much I write? Oh yeah, it's attached below. lol
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..How Much Do I Write? =-.

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  2. Hi Mitch,

    Nothing wrong with wanting people to read and engage with what you write. That tells me that what you're really "selling" on your blog is YOU.

    And again, there's nothing at all wrong with that ... in fact, having people buying into the concept of You can actually be quite profitable ... just be aware that the potential profit opportunities probably won't manifest themselves in the form of 125x125 banner ads ;-)

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  3. You know, as soon as I posted my comment, I thought about that for a moment and came to the same conclusion. I really am trying to sell myself as much as things on my websites, because my long term goal is to be a professional speaker, and the more content I put out that, hopefully, people enjoy, the more opportunities might come my way to be paid to present.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..Be Sure You Know Your Audience Before You State Your Case =-.

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  4. Good points. I think even those that are blogging for personal aspects often want to make some money for their efforts. But you point out some very true aspects of blogging. You do want to have decent content though. I've seen so many blogs that look like they are written by a program rather than a person.

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  5. Todd great post. It certainly rings true for me and I agree with uou and Mitch about the selling yourself thing.

    I know how you blog is a very personal thing, but I do like readers to be engaged. That said I also take your point about generating revenue and perhaps not mixing the two
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Thai Widow Ghost-Phi Mae Mia =-.

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  6. Wow, that's some good advice! My blog is a personal one, but I do want to make a little extra money to help out around the house. I just monetized my blog a bit ago, but nothing's really coming of it. I'm going to re-think the whole thing, and perhaps remove the ads and concentrate on making extra money via alternate avenues.

    You always make me think! Thank you!
    .-= Heather Kephart´s last blog ..Interview: DiTesco of iBlogZone =-.

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  7. Hi Heather,

    Nothing wrong with making a little extra money ...

    But for the type of blog that you have ("social"), adsense probably isn't the best solution. Think about it ... you're a blogger, when was the last time you went to make a comment on a friend's site, and got so distracted by that cool little text ad that you just had to click it? :-)

    Now imagine again, when say you were considering buying that fancy blog theme (which by the way, you're advertising for free in your footer ... sign up for their affiliate program !!!), did you just click on the first random ad you came across? Or did you read a "review" (and by review, I don't mean one of those fake ones written only for the purpose of trying to sell stuff) from someone you already know, like and trust? If it was the later, hopefully you bought through their link.

    "Stories" sell when it comes to people you are already connected with.

    Just something to consider.

    Todd

    p.s. if you really want to continue to serve up adsense ads, I would at least look into a plugin such as Ozh's Who Sees Ads ... which will allow you to show the ads only to your search visitors.

    p.p.s. if you only show ads to your search visitors, don't be afraid to use the big block ... the 338x250 rectangle ... right there at the top, in place of where you have that 468x60.

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  8. I'm selling me and I still check adsense. Sure I like to see the dollars add up, but if I was blogging just for the money I would have given up long ago. If I was to utilize the amount of time I spend online in the real world I would be making some real money. But where is the enjoyment factor.

    The one blog that was aimed clearly at making money was my sex blog, and being the prude that I am I'm too scared to promote it. :D
    .-= Sire´s last blog ..Will Commenting Harm Your Blogging Success? =-.

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  9. It took me a little while to figure out the best way to monetize my blog effectively, without taking away from the content, but I think I'm finally getting to a point where I can spot what works vs what doesn't pretty easily.

    That being said, it's always nice to have questions and comments, ya know...the "community" part of a blog, and I'd like to find a good balance between a social blog and a money making blog - if that's possible.

    With the sizable number of subscribed readers to my blog, it's interesting and odd at the same time that more don't participate at all in comments. If I remember right, I think it was Darren who recently posted something about getting to know your readers and their needs (for post topic ideas) by asking questions directly to them. Tried that some time back and it flopped, as expected, so I just do what I do - writing posts from topics on my list and if readers like it... they like it and if they don't... sorry.
    .-= Lin´s last blog ..Zhu Zhu Pets Toxic? Zhu Zhu Pets Investigation by CPSC for Antimony =-.

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  10. Well, you have stated a good perspective about why we blog. Mine is to share my lessons about life. :-)

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  11. Hi Walter,

    I've just now discovered your blog and am hooked. I can't get off your blog! Ha! Very deep, well thought out posts. Talk to you there soon.

    Todd, your linky love posts are helping me fill up my reader more than I can reasonably handle. ;)
    .-= Lin´s last blog ..Zhu Zhu Pets Toxic? Zhu Zhu Pets Investigation by CPSC for Antimony =-.

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  12. Hi Lin,

    I'll tell you what, I would definitely suggest Telling It Like It Is as a very good example of a blog that probably makes more money every month than 99% of the jokers who spend all day blogging about "how to make money".

    I do understand where you're coming from, when you say that more comments, and a sense of "community" would be nice. But honesty, right now I would suspect that a good majority of your visitors are pretty close to that "ideal" that I described above ...

    They arrive via search engine, to a post (well written enough to attract "natural" links) that has information relevant to their query ... then a decent percent leave your site by clicking on an ad in your sidebar, an Amazon link in your post, or one of those big rectangular Google Adsense blocks that you (smartly) show only to search engine traffic.

    I would kill to have a blog like yours. Although I must admit there's no way I'd have the discipline or the knowledge to write like you have for the past 3 1/2 years.

    Keep doing what you do. I swear I read every article. And I'm sorry that I don't pop in to comment more often. lol, I think you're just so good, I usually don't feel like I have anything useful to add. ;-)

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  13. Walter,

    I totally agree with Lin. You have some very thought provoking posts on your blog. And I also really like those little sort of stick figure guy images that you use in many of your posts. Are those your images? Or did you find them from another source?

    One last question, as long as we were sort of talking about monetization in this post ...

    Are you using that new wpaffiliate plugin to serve up those clickbank text ad blocks on your posts? If you so, how are you finding it, as compared to other methods you may have used in the past.

    Thanks in advance if you happen to get back over here, and feel obliged to answer. :-)

    Todd

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  14. Hi Mike,

    Unfortunately, for the most part, when it comes to blogging, making money or socializing is probably pretty much an either/or proposition.

    I think it's possible to meld them. But given the choice, I'd I say it would definitely be easier to take a blog that already makes money, and consider how to increase the "stickiness" of the readers, then to take more of a "social" type blog, and try to figure out how to effectively monetize it.

    As for your blog. I sure hope I'm not being served "personalized ads", because your Google adsense blocks seem pretty convinced that I'm trying to "Find my Thai Beauty today!". Pretty girl in the ad ... but my wife might not be too thrilled if I was to pursue it much beyond just looking ;-)

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  15. Hi Dave,

    Yes, I agree ... if you really want to make decent money with just one blog, then you do need to have content that is good enough to attract links (see my comment below about Lin's blog).

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  16. Thanks Todd. I know you read every post, and I also know you're swamped over there doing what you're doing, so don't sweat it.

    You're right, the traffic I get primarily comes from search engine visitors, which is exactly what I've targeted for a long time, so I'm doing really well at the "ideal" you mentioned. I do make money from my blogs and it's great to see those numbers continue to rise each month.

    I suspect it's only going to get better and better as time goes on, and if I could click my heels 3 times and make it so I could quit my job tomorrow....I'd be thrilled. I'm not there...yet.

    I used to pressure myself into feeling like I HAVE to have a post up at least once or twice a week, but I don't worry about that anymore. If I have something to say or something to post about (thank you Google Trends...lol), I will. Who needs the added stress freaking out about how often to post to our blogs anyway? Not me.

    I think you need a candle blog for your candle biz my dear man. ;)
    .-= Lin´s last blog ..Zhu Zhu Pets Toxic? Zhu Zhu Pets Investigation by CPSC for Antimony =-.

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  17. Hi Sire,

    LOL, yes, there's no doubt at all that you have fun doing what you do.

    As for the sexual aids blog, I suspect that you may have gone a bit too "risque" ... I'd probably have a pretty hard time myself trying to figure out how to leave comments, or write articles with links that lead to posts about "crotchless panties" and "mastomatics" :-D

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  18. Yes, I really should spend some time developing a site that focuses on search engine visitors looking for information about candles ... especially when I wouldn't even have to worry about trying to figure out how to monetize it once I get the traffic.

    Maybe I should just hire you as a consultant :-)

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  19. Yeah, Todd, well that is the one blog that I'm actually trying to make money on :D

    Still, if nothing else the amount of stuff on sexual aids just continues to amaze me. Did you know there's furniture around to improve positions, so you sit on them when guests are around and then when they're gone you can use em to go at it hammer and tongs ;)
    .-= Sire´s last blog ..A Recap On My Hottest Poems =-.

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  20. It's true that most commenters aren't the ones that actually click on ads. However, comments contribute to the discussion and add more content to the article, which helps search engines "understand" more about the post. Ultimately, that should lead to more traffic from new visitors coming from searches.

    So in other words, the increase in comment activity help boost that revenue indirectly.

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  21. It's really hard to write blogs that you're not really passionate about. You'll usually tend to write posts with the intention of getting some profit from it. That's why it's important to really think first why you want to write a blog in the first place. Write your passion and expertise. People usually follow experts, not products. So if you market yourself as an expert in the field that you're writing in, people will start coming in. Of course, a little knowledge in keyword marketing would help.

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  22. Now if I want to talk about myself, which I do A LOT, I do it on FB. I've been told by many of my friends that I crack them up, which puts a smile on my face. :) I also have to watch myself that I don't post too many political articles. That tends to get some of my "friends" fired up.

    You are right when you say to know what the purpose of your site is and stick to it. I do not put anything personal on a business site. I am even hesitant to put my name. But I get what you're saying when it's a personal blog and they are selling a bunch of stuff. One site I found by some "mom" wants you to send her stuff for free so she can "review" it for you. That just bothers me. With all the endless possibilities on the internet folks should have no problem creating more than one outlet to express themselves.
    .-= Jennifer @ Natural Hair Restoration´s last blog ..Do Follow Blog, Keyword Luv, Comment Luv & Top Commenter =-.

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  23. As much as I love writing, blogging can be quite a challenge. First, there's this big headache of choosing the template and setting up the blog. Next comes a greater headache of acquiring "healthy" traffic. I've recently created a new blog with hopes that a fresh beginning would provide me with means of becoming a great blogger. But, I'm off to a pretty slow start.

    Despite my aforementioned concerns, my question really is about the main theme a blog should have. Most sites suggest that a good blog should be niche or, to be less terminological, the blog should revolve around one main theme. My blog is pretty much a blend of personal and general contents. This uncertainty of whether or not I'm on the right track has been bugging me. So, do you have any suggestions or views with regards to my yet-to-be-solved problem?

    Thanks and have a great day... Cheers!
    .-= SHZ´s last blog ..Monologues of A Murderer =-.

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  24. Hi Shz,

    My personal opinion is that before you can become a "great" or "successful" blogger, you have to define exactly what it is those terms mean to you. Don't worry about how anybody else might interpret what they mean ... the important thing is to determine what your (long and/or short term) goals are, then take actions that move you in that direction.

    I don't really know you, so I can only guess what it is that you hope to achieve ... but your about section says you ultimately want to be a famous writer.

    This seems like it would give you some options when it comes to what to blog about. The only real question is, who are you hoping to attract? Potential readers of your stories? ... or other writers, who you might be able to network with? Either way, it sounds like what you're really selling is "you" ... so that's your "niche".

    Note: Selling "you" is a long-term endeavor, that probably won't pay great (if at all) in the beginning, but can have a very big upside. On the other hand, if a blogger needs immediate income (such as from advertising), then the suggestions you've read are correct. The more targeted the visitors, the more likely they are to be interested what's being advertised.

    Hope this helps.

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  25. Thanks a lot for your views. I am that much closer towards determining the best approach in making my blog effective. Your suggestions have indeed widen my perspectives. Thanks again.

    Cheers!
    .-= SHZ´s last blog ..How To Be A Good Blogger? =-.

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  26. Interesting post Todd and comments. My self-promotional blog is quite funny cause the very last thing I want to promote is my "personal brand" - public speaking is my idea of hell and I don't want to write a book either! However you can start a blog with no idea what you are doing and then develop it over the years! Reviews work great for getting engaged readers and sales - even negative reviews can get sales :-)
    .-= Lis - Online Income´s last blog ..Improving Time Management to Improve Passive Income =-.

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  27. Hi everyone!

    I must say, Lis's views on blogging has indeed injected me with quite a motivation to go on blogging despite my uncertainties. For that I thank you. I reckon Todd Morris Blog is going to be one of my all time favorites. Thanks again Todd for having created such an interesting space for those who share common passion in blogging.

    Cheers!
    .-= SHZ´s last blog ..How To Be A Good Blogger? =-.

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  28. I have different blogs with different goals , many are commercial, a couple are personal that I also try to make cash from , and one is just my own random mindless drivel intended for anybody with no life to read
    .-= lee@Bonsai Trees´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

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