Is Professional Blogging A Sustainable Business Model?

By Yaro Starak
59 Comments

This is part one of a series of articles on professional blogging as a business model. We begin with a discussion of what is wrong with the strategies most bloggers implement when they first decide to become a professional blogger.

The Professional Blogosphere Today

There’s a good chance that if you are reading this you make money online or want to. There’s also a very good chance you are a blogger and you currently make money from blogging. Unfortunately most of you who blog and make money from it, do not make much money.

The sad truth is most bloggers, even those who incessantly work on monetization strategies, end up sitting around the few dollars a day mark and find it difficult to rise above this level.

Looking at the on the surface cause for this predicament, the natural conclusion is lack of traffic. More traffic leads to more income – that’s a fact in nearly all cases.

You don’t need super amounts of traffic to generate reasonable income and small amounts of quality traffic can bring in the bucks, but let’s face the facts – those true professional bloggers who make a full time income from blogging, do so with a readership in the multiple thousands.

Even five hundred visitors a day, a difficult amount for most bloggers to reach, is not enough to push you into the illustrious category of full time income from professional blogging, which I consider to be around $2000 a month.

There are probably a handful of bloggers who could prove me wrong, but I expect the number is well below one percent of the total blogosphere, or even of the sample of bloggers who aim to make money from blogs.

I trust most bloggers reading this have also come to the same conclusion and thus aim to one day have a readership in the thousands to become a true professional blogger.

Studying the wisdom of successful bloggers reinforces the assumption that traffic is the key ingredient for big money and more often than not the advice given to solve the traffic problem is produce more content that people love. Producing content makes sense on many levels and you won’t find many true professional bloggers who haven’t risen to the top thanks to their ability to dish out the goods on a regular basis.

Is Content Really The Answer?

Assuming content is key to the lack of cash flow from blogging, the answer is to knuckle down and attempt to replicate the big-time bloggers and follow their advice.

Some people, again unfortunately a minority group, stick to it long enough, hit a tidy niche and know enough about it to deliver the goods on a consistent basis. These bloggers taste the fruits of their labors, enjoy an increase in revenues, which further spikes motivation to work hard to earn more. This is a good positive reinforcement cycle that only a few bloggers enjoy.

Despite this successful scenario I don’t consider it ideal if you plan for blogging to be your business long term, and I’ll explain why.

The greater majority of average bloggers increase their content output, but for various reasons do not notice an increase in income, or it comes in such tiny increments that it just isn’t enough to fuel motivation for long and they get bitter or bored or distracted.

The root cause of the lack of success may be many reasons -

Content that people don’t love is not good enough. Reading between the lines in the list above, you can infer some of the necessary conditions to successfully build traffic. If you want more information on this topic, join my blog traffic tips e-zine.

Blogging As A Business Model

In my case I’ve had two unique advantages as a blogger because of my background and personality – I know what it takes to build a successful business online and I am lazy. These two principles go hand-in-hand. If you don’t want to always work you need to create something that doesn’t require your participation as a critical component – you can’t be a vital cog in the system.

Can you see where I am heading here?

Blogging, and in particular successful professional blogging, is dependent on content – we know that. Most would-be professional bloggers presently produce their own content and no doubt as they continue to learn more about blogging, figure out the relationship between content and traffic and money.

The outcome is a bunch of solo-bloggers attempting to churn out great content consistently to replicate the success of their professional blogging heroes.

The end result – blogger burn-out and disappointment.

In part two of this series we begin with a look at one of the top professional bloggers, who appears on the surface to be an exception to the rule that solo-bloggers can’t succeed long term on their own. I bet you can guess who that might be!

Click here to continue and read part two of this series…

Yaro Starak
Blogging Strategist.

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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59 Comments

  • This is definitely a very interesting article in the form of finanical profit through the blog. My anime blog per se has only started for around close to 5 months and achieving a decent 1700-1800 visitors everyday. However, using adsense and the likes did not yearn me much just yet, even though I have only recently started adopting it 1-2 weeks ago.

    Still, a very interesting article and i look forward to reading your 2nd entry on it.

  • I’m pretty glad this issue came up at this time. Tonight I was talking to my wife, telling her what I would give to become a full time blogger, even if it meant a pay cut. Ahh, but to be your own person, to do what you love and make a living out of it…

    You’re absolutely right about the income deal. I have a readership of about 200 people per day and make a grand total of $13/month using AdSense. Sure, it pays the hosting bills, but do the words “labor of love” apply here? I think so. Then again, my main blog, the one I put the most work into is my personal blog, and therefore by nature suffers of “A lack of consistency with too many posts varying from topic to topic, with no clear focus.”

    Do you recommend starting spin off blogs based on the most successful topics within a personal blog, and if so, how would you recomend this being done?

  • Good advice. And in my new quest not to be an “insular blogger,” I’m leaving this praising comment!

  • Hey Yaro,

    Great opening post of the series and this has got me really hooked – I cant wait for the next one!

    I like the way you’ve linked the whole blogging experience together:

    Need money > need more readers > need more traffic > need more content > might lead to burnout.

    Im intrigued to see what you’ll give us as a solution to this neverending problem.

    And hmmmmm…..that “top pro blogger” wouldn’t happen to be Darren Rowse by any chance?

  • [...] Yaro asks is Professional Blogging a Sustainable Business Model? – I think so, but not for everyone. [...]

  • A good write up and as Yaro said, it has got me hooked. Note that there will be at least an single increment after this moment in your Feed. ;)

    I am one of the people who blogs, have come to a point where I understand that ‘need more revenue > need more readers > need more traffic > need more content’. I understand too that I would soon be facing burnout.

    To counter this, I have added few people to my blog team who should fill in the gaps I may leave. But reading through your post, I believe it is not sufficient.

    And I think I have committed that mistake of not sticking to a niche, and only lately have I started to keep the blog posts at a consistent rate.

    I am looking out for the following posts in the series – hopefully there would be some hints on the solution, if not the solution, that would give me some enlightenment on this issue. :)

  • your observations are interesting
    agree with
    Need money > need more readers > need more traffic > need more content > might lead to burnout
    But use blog for promoting your web traffic..
    It certainly helps
    Choose topic of wider interest..helps

  • Do you recommend starting spin off blogs based on the most successful topics within a personal blog, and if so, how would you recommend this being done?

    Hi Gnorb, It’s definitely a good idea to further refine a niche if you think you have hit upon a hot topic.

    For example a lot of people have been very interested in the articles I write about buying and selling websites and I think there is a market for a blog on that topic, however in my case it’s better to write about it on this blog because I already have an audience here.

    I would suggest if you hit a hot topic that you experiment some more with it on your existing blog. There’s no reason why you can’t change focus at a blog if you think the adjustment will help.

    One tip though – don’t announce that you are changing focus, just start writing more frequently about the topic and see how your audience reacts. You don’t want to publicly proclaim that your blog is going to become the new great source of your hot topic then discover you can’t deliver on it or your audience disappears.

    Hope that helps!

  • Interesting Article .. looking forward to other articles in the series.

    - Vicky
    http://india2.in/blog

  • Richard

    I think your success as a blogger has to deal with your sites content. Not the fact that it’s a blog or not.

    Of the top bloggers out there, how many already had a background in sales/marketing/advertising? And why are they top bloggers, is it because of their content or teaching others how to blog??

    As to the future of blogs, its anybodies guess. I don’t even like the term ‘blog’. I believe it’s a trend and will morph into something else. Maybe a hybird blog/wiki format??

    One doesn’t need to have a blog to be successful in the online world. They need to produce a product or service (aka content) and get that product out to their audience. The blog format is a convenient way to do this and search engine friendly.

    I have a site that’s a ‘blog’. It ranks well, gets several thousand visitors a month and growing. A good month for this site is maybe 50 cents. However I have a site that’s static html, the content is ezine articles and gets less than 20 hits day. This site regularly brings in a dollar a day or more.

    A website is only successful as its content or service offering. The blog format is just a nice way of getting it out there on a consistent basis.

  • Thanks for this post! This is a very timely discussion for me. Having just started out on the “professional blogger” journey, I’ve been seriously concerned if it is a sustainable one. I don’t want to “own a job” as Kiyosaki refers to it in Rich Dad, Poor Dad. So I’m looking forward to hearing more about the successful pro-blogger!

  • Jeh

    Yaro,

    Although increase traffic is needed in order to produce a full-time income with blogging — do you not think that it needs to be new traffic …. for instance I find that regular users of a website will typically click and ad or two when they are new to the site, but after they use your site for a long enough time…they no longer click the ads as often — I have noticed this on my own personal website…my regulars rarely click….unlike if I advertise and I get new traffic …they tend to “click out” of the website….by clicking the ads.

    what do you think?

    Jeh

  • Hi, good article and I have subscribed to your tips. Wonder if possible to exchange links to my blog. My blog is at http://reviewszone.blogspot.com.

    Hope to get tips on improving my blog successfully.. that is more traffic to my blog.

    Best Regards.

  • I got my site up to three figures pretty quickly. However, I do have a background in both marketing and writing. I think that helps. But I urge other bloggers to look at other ways of making money from their blogs. I really think blogging helps provide a natural transition to something like consulting, where you can make $75 or $150 an hour, instead of that much per month.

  • Hi Yaro:

    I’m not sure that the average person can become a professional blogger. To blog professionally is not a part-time endeavor and making a few thousand dollars a month in advertising revenue is not only difficult, but it is also not nearly enough income for most people to support themselves on.

    I’m a corporate blogger and do not rely on advertising income as the basis for my blogging efforts. While I consider myself a full-time, professional blogger my rewards come from adding value for my clients, increased personal branding, new consulting assignments, speaking engagements and the like.

    Unless you happen to fall within a very select group it will take more than advertising revenue to sustain a professional blogging effort.

  • [...] Darren Rowse wrote Does adsense suck for bloggers?. Others talking on the same subject are Touchstoneelive, Chris, Chris again, Guy Kawasaki, Nik, Yaro. [...]

  • I am happy that I’ve found this serie. I am making money with my blogs (I have several blogs, but only 2 are active), $700 a month average. Traffic is not high enough, but I hope to reach this $2000 a month soon.

    The most difficult is to keep posting useful content. Like Darren said, blogging take times, and you need time to edit your post before posting too.

  • [...] Yaro Starak: Can professional blogging be a sustainable business model? In order to be successful, (some) people need to love your content. [...]

  • you don’t ignore the impact of being introduced to others, as potential customers of your service, using a friendly atmosphere like blog, do you?
    i.e. for SEO experts weblogs are one of the most important places to attract webmasters I think.
    thank you for your great article.

  • [...] Is Professional Blogging A Sustainable Business Model? [...]

  • seb

    Excellent post!
    It is funny ’cause I’m currently writting about RSS, and my next post will be about RSS business model.
    RSS – blog – RSS – the egg or the chicken? :-)

  • [...] Is Professional Blogging A Sustainable Business Model? [...]

  • [...] Part 1: Is Professional Blogging A Sustainable Business Model? [...]

  • Though i have a few adsense sites which have started generating revenue ,blogging is something alien to me. What i have realized is blogging model can only be successful if you are passionate on a subject and can engage a visitor and make him come back again and again. It ‘s a far cry from the traditional content sites where the writing style can be impersonal .

  • [...] Media. It’s pretty scary when you look at it that way. You might want to go read my series on blogging as a sustainable business model before you follow in the footsteps of Jon. Of course I’m glad Jon is doing it, otherwise we [...]

  • [...] Of course none of this will impact my blogging. Given I had ample time up in the air traveling I wrote a few articles for this blog and starting this week I have a two part series coming out on how to outsource your blogging, continuing the theme of my blogging as a sustainable business model series. [...]

  • [...] recent series of articles I wrote on blogging as a business model sparked a few queries about how I have gone about outsourcing the writing of my blogs. In the [...]

  • [...] bloggers out there who think and act as I do in this regard, which is why I enjoy writing about blogging as a business model so much – it’s not territory many people cover since they just don’t think about [...]

  • Yaro, what an interesting article! I enjoy the clarity and the style of your writing that so well conveys the very relevant content.

    I’m into the whole blogging as a business myself, and I’m just launching a Blog Carnival on this subject. I would be very honored if you would consider submitting one of your excellent articles for publishing in the first issue. It won’t mean much to you in terms of traffic, but it would mean a lot to me. :)

    Sincerely
    Jesper

    PS. I also enjoy your newsletter. Brilliant.

  • Thanks Jesper. I’ll get that article submitted now for you.

    Yaro

  • [...] it takes to be a professional blogger. Whether you manage them or are one these articles will help. I – Blogging as a Sustainable Business Model II – Can you be a professional Blogger III – Advantages Top Bloggers Have IV – Key Resource For [...]

  • [...] would also highly recommend that you read the 5-part series on Professional Blogging by Yaro Starak. He strategically goes through the structure of a blogging business model, what it [...]

  • [...] Is Professional Blogging a Sustainable Model? [...]

  • [...] May, 2007 A blogger called Yaro Starak has written a series of articles on professional blogging as a business model. He contends that professional blogging is not a sustainable model because generally it is [...]

  • [...] Is Professional Blogging A Sustainale Business Model? [...]

  • Blogging seems to be the next get rich quick scheme of our generation. People make it out to seem like you make a couple of posts and the dollars keep rolling in. I really like the point of having current and relevant entries.

  • [...] asks is Professional Blogging a Sustainable Business Model? – I think so, but not for [...]

  • [...] blogger called Yaro Starak has written a series of articles on professional blogging as a business model. He contends that professional blogging is not a sustainable model because generally it is [...]

  • This is timely to my current journey to blogging. Thank you so much sir for coming up with this article series. It will surely benefit many.

    Jose Santiago Tan
    http://www.siampinoy.com
    Bangkok, Thailand

  • I thought that I was doing well with my visitors numbers until you said thate I need 5,000 a day. Wow that’s a challenge but with your help I’m on the starting blocks so just watch The Business Coaching Blog take off.

  • I teach a workshop on Internet Marketing and your post and the follow up ones will be very useful to my class. I will show your links on my slides.
    Thanks

  • Hi Yaro,
    I just happened to find this post while Stumbling. Great article, more new bloggers should read this post and series and consider what is the direction they want to go. As for me it really is not about making lots of money with my blog, but giving people lessons on my trials and tribulations of earning a living online whether through Blogging, Adsense or Affiliate Marketing.

  • Hi Yaro,
    I found your blog only very recently and got very interested in it.
    So I started reading your posts one after another, and while reading this one, this one thought hit me:
    I figured out how you and other “internet gurus” make such a big money.
    Here and in other posts you say … many bloggers doesn’t success…
    many bloggers try to make money but make little of it…
    etc…
    And you make money by teaching those bloggers to succeed… but there always will be millions who doesn’t succeed and continue to look for somebody to show them how to do it.
    So, actually, your success depends on those millions of non-successful bloggers :)

  • Thank you once again, Yaro, for keeping the basics in focus. It takes a lot of hard work to turn a blog into a success. Right now my numbers aren’t where I want them to be and I can see why……

  • Yaro,
    This article makes some good points. I think the motivation and consistency is a big pitfall for many. I’ve worked harder than I want to admit for the income and traffic I generate.

    I’ve been branching out to different topics and have had some success building one of my blogs into a team project. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series… which I will go do now.

  • Yaro, this post is a beaut.

    I think that the content is 70% of the package. Also it is good to stay in touch with your readers – it helped me many times to find topics for posts. Sometimes people email you questions and you suddenly know what your next post will be about.

    Great point about insular bloggers.

  • Thank God I like to blog, because it is extremely hard to get traffic. I do admit I would like to see more traffic, and reading articles similar to yours, keeps the hope alive.

    One of the business models I use is trying to transfer visitors, into purchasing, my services as a graphic designer, compared to trying to get visitors to click on ads. I think you need hundreds of thousands of visitors, to get a few to click on your ads.

    Bottom line, I think if you have a viable business behind your blog, you will do well, because the way blogs are set up, the raw traffic you receive is FREE, compared CPC, with Yahoo or Google.

    Thanks for a great article.

  • The biggest problem for new bloggers who try to earn money through blogs is that they get impatient when they can’t even earn a penny. Learning to become a professional bloggers takes a long time. A lot of bloggers quit because they don’t take the time to learn and accept constructive criticism from others.

  • [...] hour. You don’t even have to try to make money with it (but if you would like to, check out these tips). You don’t have to write life-changing content on your blog. You just have to hvae something [...]

  • Hi Yaro!

    Just some FYI about this article from a searcher’s perspective, for what interest it may be to you. This particular article title comes up frequently in the search engines when I have been researching for my IT classes, and e-commerce. In my opinion, it has been the most valuable for me from an academic point of view (meaning it has given me solid information to help me as a student researching for papers). So thanks for that!

    I just thought I’d let you know that, as you stress the importance of content. It works not only for successful search engine results, but can get a reader who keeps coming back. According to my business courses, a return customer is a good thing (skipping the academic language it’s being taught in). I am also getting inspired, and after a month of thinking, feel a content-creating streak coming on.

    Debra

  • Thanks for your informative post. I’ve tried blogging many times in the past and I don’t find it easy one bit. Made little money from it too.

  • Thanks, Yaro, for this wonderful blue print. I have been scammed by many so called work-at-home promising mouth watering income but which in the end has led me no where.

    I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for this gracious offers of yours and please keep the flag flying and if there is a way you can continue to help a newbie like me, please do not rest on your oars. More grease to your elbow.

    Ade

  • It would be near impossible to make your primary income solely by blogging, especially if your relying on Googles AdSense or something similar as your source of advertising. To really make some money install OpenX and start marketing your blog to advertisers.

  • Joe

    Though i have a few adsense sites which have started generating revenue ,blogging is something alien to me. What i have realized is blogging model can only be successful if you are passionate on a subject and can engage a visitor and make him come back again and again. It ‘s a far cry from the traditional content sites where the writing style can be impersonal .

  • [...] don’t have to try to make money with it (but if you would like to, check out these tips). You don’t have to write life-changing content on your [...]

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