Someone Please Tell Me the Secret

Someone Please Tell Me the Secret

I happened upon this post, I Blogged Myself to Poverty on a blog ironically named My Way to Success. In this post the author, Tony, laments his lack of success while blogging and asks, “Someone please tell me the secret.” Well, I thought I’ve give Tony, and others like him, a possible answer to his question. But first, let’s examine what Tony is doing wrong.



Lack of Work Ethic

Don’t Lay Down On The JobThis problem is common with low entry cost businesses like blogging. Unfortunately, this attitude permeates Tony’s post. He would rather veg out in front of the television than applying some self-discipline and doing some work. It is obvious that this kind of ’strategy’ won’t produce much of anything.

He seems understands some of the basics but doesn’t want to be troubled with implementing them. He doesn’t want to write articles or build links. If one doesn’t want to do that, then why blog at all? Find something else profitable to do.

Sometimes people procrastinate because they want everything to be ‘right’ from the start. I cover how to deal with this problem in this article from my October 2007 200 post blitz: Avoid the “If I only…” Trap.

The Wrong Topic

Going the Wrong WayYes, as you might guess, Tony is blogging in the infamous “make money online / blogging about blogging” niche. While success can be found in that niche, it’s a much longer term process than simpler niche blogs. Courtney “Internet Marketing” Tuttle is describing how to build a flagship blog in a series right now. He’ll be the first to tell you that building such a flagship around “make money online” or “blogging” is very difficult. I also wrote a somewhat cynical/satirical version of this last month in a series called The Secret Guide to Social Blogging Success.






Bad Monetization Strategies

Money TrapTony is using Adsense on his “make money blogging” blog. This is generally considered a bad move. Adsense doesn’t earn well on this kind of blog because the ads typically pay about 3 cents a click. Even worse, using it on this type of blog can result in the entire Adsense account becoming “Smart Priced” thus cutting the earning from all of your Adsense sites by up to 90%. My recommendation? Dump the Adsense on this blog, yesterday.

My monetization advice to Tony, and others like him, is to try something different, as I advised in my Big Honkin’ Ads series. Rotate ads. Try new things that nobody else is advertising on blogs. Watch your stats to find out what’s working and what’s not. Just don’t sit passively by with Adsense and other 125×125 ads that everybody and his brother runs on their blog and everyone sees day in and day out.

Turning it Around

Go That WayI’d guess that Tony wants to turn things around and really wants to make money online blogging. Assuming that this is the case, and procrastination time is over with and he doesn’t want to live in a van down by the river, let’s look at some ways to do this:

1. Drop the idea of a “make money online blogging” blog if you’re just repeating everything that the big time bloggers have already said. Instead, this is if you want to keep blogging in that area, find your own angle that fits your talents, where you’re at yourself and what you’re doing. Think outside the box and be unique. I describe how to do this here: Sacred Cows Do Make Great Steaks.

2. Re-examine your monetization goals and methods. I wrote this article series, Your Blog Monetization Options, not that long ago that describes some of my own experiences and research. The bottom line is that you are unlikely to make huge sums of money from a single blog or site. You will need multiple sites of various types to begin to see a real income. That’s why Niche Blogs are becoming popular.

3. (removed since sites are no longer available)

4. You probably should ignore some big time “make money online” bloggers who are either trying to sell you on some expensive training course or ramp up ‘review’ or who aren’t really making much money themselves but only building social fame.

The Secret

Finding Secret InformationThe ’secret’ is in finding your own voice while relying on the experiences of others who’ve been there before. Experience is the best teacher but it’s often cheaper when you learn from someone else’s experiences. Don’t expect instant or easy results. Have patience and wait for your plans to mature. Don’t be afraid to fail. It will happen from time to time. Pick yourself and move on when it does. It’s just that simple and just that hard.

Do you have any advice you would like to offer Tony either here or on his blog? Any thoughts on what I said? Do you know what I did in this post other than offering some advice to Tony? Post a comment and let me hear from you.





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Comment by Tim E.
2008-02-08 17:43:43

These sound like good tips to me. I’ll have to bookmark this post for later, so I can check the rest of your stuff out.
A good work ethic is definitely important. Next you need a plan so that all that work isn’t wasted on just keeping busy.I’m guilty of working my butt off sometimes on a project that is doomed! Oh well, learning experiences.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-08 21:09:24

Hi Tim,

I’ve been on a few of those doomed projects myself. On my own projects, I’m pretty quick to drop a failing project, maybe too quick sometimes.

Comment by Vic
2008-02-08 18:28:00


Comment by jfc
2008-02-08 21:24:01

Thanks for stopping by Vic

Comment by Y. S.
2008-02-08 20:33:23

I have to admit that his post was very funny and I felt the hurt in his words!

Comment by jfc
2008-02-08 21:14:18

Hi Y.S.,

I’m not sure how serious the original post was but I’ve heard much the same story on other sites where it was definitely serious so I took the opportunity to write about it (and to do some internal linking ;) )

Comment by Robert
2008-02-08 23:02:40

It was very effective though. You work the stuff in well and it’s all very appropriate. Where do you get your clip art / stock photos? I’m working on integrating some of that in, seems to make things fuller and more pleasing somehow.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by jfc
2008-02-08 23:46:10

Hi Robert,

I wrote a post about that too: Using Images In Your Posts: Sources

Comment by Robert
2008-02-08 23:11:15

Just read one of the comments by Caroline Middlebrook, who is at once on top of things, and way off of them.

“Throw out the rule book! Do just what *you* feel like doing, not what somebody else tells you to do. It sounds like perhaps you are reading too many other blogs and getting bogged down in the advice that everybody is giving out.”

A: Those first 2 sentences are no way at all to make money. Nobody wants to read a whiny blog. He didn’t seem to want to write, based on the very random posting…a few spurts, nothing for weeks. He was talking specifically about doing well and making money, not happily blogging away about his breakfast for his own personal edification.

B: The third sentence can be pretty critical. It is easy to read to much, try to learn everything all at once, and get crushed by the weight of all you don’t know. You kinda have to go out there and screw some things up first and get the hang of it, and THEN do something that actually works. Information overload by itself is pretty daunting.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-10 20:41:02

Hi Robert,

I do agree with her that it can work to “throw out the rulebook” if you’re bogged down. But, then again, writing a post a month or so and expecting to construct a successful “make money online” social blog from that isn’t being creative, it’s just unproductive laziness (there can be productive laziness, though).

On the last one, it’s easy to get caught up in Analysis Paralysis sometimes. Often it’s better to do something somewhat wrong than wait and wait for everything to be ‘perfect’.

Comment by Y. S.
2008-02-09 07:46:11

Yeah, a lot of internal linking ;)

Comment by jfc
2008-02-10 20:03:42

Hi Y.S.,

Correct plus I also linked to the “3 Musketeers” using their favorite keywords.

Comment by RT Cunningham
2008-02-10 09:04:47

Y.S. beat me to the punch. Internal linking for double-indexing. I know because I do it all the time. :-)

Comment by jfc
2008-02-10 20:05:08

Hi RT,

One of these days I’ll have to have a “did you read the whole article” contest. :)

Comment by Grizzly
2008-02-10 09:16:47

As usual Frank you have boiled things down nicely. Great advice always.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-10 20:14:54

Thanks Griz,

I saw your AI article. It’s going to be interesting to see how badly last season’s shark jumping will hurt this year’s season.

Comment by Denise
2008-02-10 09:40:29

I love this post! I have spent a lot of time and money beating a dead horse myself. It wasn’t until I found myself flat broke and way into credit card debt that I finally found Courtney, Vic and Grizz’s blogs and now yours. I am now starting from scratch and trying to take more action.

I totally understand Tony’s situation. So many of us have been lead down the wrong path by a lot of the so-called a-listers. They take all your money and never give you a second thought. Some of us are just looking to make enough to survive not be famous or super rich (of course it would be nice to be rich).

After trying so long and failing miserably, you do become paralyzed with fear and end up doing nothing. We all expect to fail from time to time, but not fail all the time.

I too find myself looking for that missing equation that I am not getting. The so-called “SECRET”.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-10 20:28:17

Hi Denise and thanks,

I think one of the toughest things about making money online is that things change quickly. What makes you a tidy sum this month/year may stop working for some reason next week. An algorithm change, fee increase or so forth can put your hard work and earnings at risk. Sucks, but that’s the way things are.

Comment by hari
2008-02-10 10:47:19

The only way to blog is to write, enjoy writing and produce original, unique content.

And I am a blogger who’s been at it for around 2 1/2 years now and I do it as a hobby without any thought of making money off it.

Needless to say, what keeps me blogging is my passion for creative writing. Take a look at my blog if you don’t believe me ;)

Good article.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-10 20:32:47

Hi Hari,

I think it really depends on what your objectives are with a blog. If your objective is to make money with a blog, there are ways to do that. If you want to write for the joy of creative writing, you can do that. It’s kind of like writing for People Magazine or writing a novel, two very different approaches to writing but both can be rewarding in their own ways. However, mixing them usually doesn’t work.

2008-02-11 01:42:06

These are some pretty solid tips for anyone, not just the MMO crowd. Success is also a relative term, with different meanings for everyone.

It seems that too many people get bogged down in the details when it comes to publishing content online. Robert has it right when he says that we should do what we want to do, rather than what others tell us. Only this way will our content be fresh and appealing to the ever-changing sea of people on the interweb :)

Comment by jfc
2008-02-11 09:09:38

Hi Jason,

The problem is that if you’re wanting to make money you usually have to pay attention to what other people want more than you have to do your own thing. Otherwise you end up in the “starving artist” category.

Comment by Robert
2008-02-11 09:36:05

I didn’t say we should do what we want to. :)

You can do what you want to if you are only looking to entertain yourself and maybe a few others.

If you are looking to make any noticeable money, you need to figure out what you people will pay you for, first. The market for “my friends think I am interesting and I regurgitate other posts seen on the net (intentionally or not)” isn’t going to be that great.

2008-02-11 12:26:32

[…] a good domain name - it should help you position yourself easier.Bad domain names can even lead to interesting articles about your own domain name. You really do not need to be called Apple when you are selling oranges […]

Comment by Jason A Clark
2008-02-13 14:16:21

I think you pretty much said it. Good advice.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-15 12:06:53

Thanks for stopping by Jason.

Comment by Tony
2008-07-09 23:03:16

Just out of curiosity, do you think that monetizing any blog using adsense is a bad move? I have a hockey goalie blog and I’m planning to use adsense to monetize it once I start getting the traffic. What other options would you suggest?


Comment by jfc
2008-07-09 23:18:19

Hi Tony,

I would recommend using eBay Partner Network over Adsense for the Hockey Goalie niche. My general rule is that for product based niches to go with eBay and for service based niches go with Adsense.

2008-08-08 23:23:07

Wow, Frank, this post is such a nice example of interlinks, especially breathing new life into old posts. Plus you helped out your friends. You know, you just can’t find this information in any book online, or in any book at a bookstore or at a library.

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