Where’s the Money in Blogging?

Building Your Fan Club

The money’s not in your archives.

The money’s not in your Technorati rank.

The money’s not in your Google juice.

The money’s not in being on the A-List.

The money’s not in AdSense.

There is money in page views at this point, but you’ll need a whole, whole bunch of them (which means you’ll need a whole, whole bunch of return visits).

Since the old days of mail order sales, magazine subscriptions, and all the way up to permission email marketing, there’s a saying that remains true, even for bloggers.

The money’s in the list.

But blogging actually provides so much more than a simple subscriber list of people to market to. Blogging allows for interactive relationships that force you to be your best, all while allowing your message to spread virally.

So, when it comes to blogging…

The money’s in your fan club.

Sound like the start of a new tutorial, right?

And this one is soooo money. :)

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Comments

  1. I totally agree. I have decided not to chase advertising dollars on my blog site, but focus instead on building a mini “following” (though I would not go so far as to call my readers fans).

    So far, things have worked out nicely.

    Look forward to the follow-up articles.

  2. It seems like a recurring nightmare… you make money with a niche… I guess there’s only two ways of developing a following… number one would be write on a niche subject that no one else writes about but people are interested in or number two to be the expert in the field that everyone writes about and everyone is interested in…

  3. The niches are out there Jason. For instance, before the beginning of this year, no one was blogging about applying copywriting techniques to blogs. It probably still seems like an odd topic to many established copywriters.

    The key is to be both one and two. Think about segments. Geography allows for huge niche segmentation — which is why the rush toward local blogging is gaining steam. Look around where you live… what valuable topic could you blog about that no one else is?

    • Brian , the most valuable informtion given here is right under your nose.

      Great idea to look first in your own backyard (local area) to find a specialty niche to hit on.

      I know for a fact where I live , a small country town just outside of Sydney, Australia local blogging has not really been touched on…. within the retail sector… I think it’s time I shook them up a bit…

      Solid information always appreciated!!

      Sandy

  4. Sounds like you might be onto something, Brian. Now if only someone would design a tool to weed out the get-rich-quick schemers…

  5. Brian, your advice is once again invaluable. Because of of several of your recent articles, I’ve decided to take a completely different approach to my own blog about blogging:

    (1) I’m going to ditch the old blogging blog and tie together all of my writing blogs in a single place.

    (2) No subdomain. Main domain only.

    (3) No advertising. At least, not to start with, and maybe never.

    (4) I’m not doing sub-niche topics, but I am talking about writing, language, communications, and semiotics. It’s my favourite topic, besides music. I thought maybe it was all too esoteric, and have been holding back my better writing. Instead, I’ve put out crappy copycat posts about blogging. Not anymore. You’ve shown me that writing about writing can be interesting to others.

    How am I going to monetize? Well, reading your blog in general has taught me to once more think outside the box, like I used to before becoming jaded.

    I am now applying traditional marketing and PR techniques to several of my blogs OFFLINE. I have something in mind for my CountWordula Journal, but I tend to jinx things if I discuss them too early. All I’m going to say is that, as a seasoned, regularly published writer, I have skills that can earn me a living if I employ them properly – something I haven’t been doing!

    Once again, thanks for all the great advice.

  6. oh yeah, and full-text RSS :), despite how much I dislike browsing full-text feeds.

  7. How about “unless you started 2+ years ago?”

    And if you would be so kind as to show how to make people come back, then you’ll be a zillionare quick! I do agree with you about the return visitors. How you get them to come back is the hard part.

  8. Dear Copyblogger,

    I am a recent fan of your blog. I agree that money is in your fanfollowing. But when we say there is a fan following it is quite normal that there would also be some people who wont like your site.

    Am i right? Any thoughts?

  9. I agree to autor, but the biggest problem isn’t realize that you neet fans – the biggest problem is – how to get them?

  10. Peter Cooper :

    I know it’s different strokes for different folks, and I think your advice is good, but for anyone who might be wondering.. ‘am I going the wrong way?’ I wanted to say that my experience totally contradicts your advice.

    My blog has a following, but not a gigantic one, yet my blog makes a lot of money. Running ads, AdSense, etc, in various configurations on the front page resulted in almost nothing. Running things on the archive pages, however, is the cash cow. Why? Because I get over 1500 referrals a day from Google spread over most of my archive pages. These visitors convert, whether it’s with Amazon Associates or AdSense, or in getting me more work / training gigs. The money is definitely in the Google juice from where I’m sitting, but, of course, it’s not that way for everyone.

  11. hi copyblogger,

    sorry if my last comment hurt you. i put that comment becoz when my blog started attracting a very small fan – following some time back. at the same time there was a set of people who started abusing me. i dont know why. then i came to the conclusion that

    “when ppl start liking us, there will be some ppl who will also hate us.”

    this theory may be false for others. but it came true to me. so i mentioned that in the comment.

    i did not in any way meant to hurt you and your blog.

    Well, i want to say a few words about your blog. its Wonderful. i read your very resourceful posts in the archive section. I felt i missed your content all these days. Yoour blog will hold good inspiration for all other bloggers. And last but not the least your blog design is super cool.

    thanx again. Keep up the good job.

    Your friend,
    Steve

  12. I write a niche of a niche blog. (Customer Service being a subset of Business.) While there are many experts in the field, I set myself apart by reading the competition and trying to find the gaps they don’t write about. More importantly, I try to write relevant posts that tell a story, make a point, then state a benefit. I go from the micro-level (my last post was about business cards) to the macro-level (my next is about customer perception vs. “corporate perception.

    Finally, I try to limit my posts to 400 words although I usually exceed this by 10%. In other words, “Short, Sweet, and Simple.” (Unlike this comment:-)

  13. Great blog! I think it is true to find a niche. However, I write a food blog and there are quite a few of those out there. Any advice?

  14. Steve, no worries!

    Mac, Maris and Tami, I hope to give you some ideas on how to build your subscriber base with this series of posts (this is just the introduction).

    Peter, I knew someone would come out and challenge the archives / adsense / Google juice statements. :) But since you say you also provide consulting and training, I guarantee you’ll get more of that type of business by building up subscribers.

  15. Do you guys think Product Placement in a blog is more powerful than running adsense? Just a thought. I’m still building my readership. The money stuff is still way down the road.

  16. You’ve described my blog to a T! Nobody’s blogging on my topic, I have tons of pages (my archives and tutorials links get the most clicks) and I definitely have a “fan” club (average donation is $75). Some of them are closer to sycophants (I moderate those kinds of comments because they don’t add value). My income has doubled in one year which helps a lot because I’m disabled and can’t work at a “regular” job.

  17. Brian,
    I couldn’t agree with your more. I wish I could remember who I was reading last week that said, the “blog author is the advertising.” To me that basically is the same thing you’re saying from the other direction.

    Readers have to buy into the blog, want to be there and want to participate fully. I’m getting that part down and my page views are soaring. But I’m not sure I don’t need private lessons in converting that to money. :)

  18. Brian, great post man. I agree, I am always a sucker for the “get rich tonight” posts and websites, although my wallet says’ NO” now.

    How would you recommend builidng first off the bat? I have a decent enough site with a opt in email box.

    Should I use FeedBlitz?

    Your html emails are lookin’ good!

    Lawton

  19. Peter Cooper :

    Brian: The sad part is, though, while consulting pays well.. doing less work for a steady stream of income via advertising and affiliate programs is definitely more alluring! Ultimately I agree that building a regular audience is a good part of taking that to the ‘next level’ but it’s definitely the ‘juice’ providing the fuel so far.

  20. Brian,

    Great post. I love the fact that you’re not telling everyone to just put up content for the sake of Adsense income.

    I completely agree with you on this one. People will automatically and freely spend money, click on links, and yes, even Adsense, if they are devoted to your blog. This should be the main focus of any blogger, in any stage of their business… building a relationship with their readers.

    Tim

  21. Great post Brian, I, as I am sure of all these online media networks, main concern every second of the day is increasing page views and getting readers to come back daily (maybe even taking a few from competitors)

  22. Yay you’re growing 3k plus readers!

    and quickly too! lookes like you’ve hit the tipping point!

    KUDOS!

  23. I took out quite a bit of advertising especially from AdSense since I wasn’t seeing any clicks whatsoever.

    In my limited blogging experience I’ve learned that not many readers click on the ads. However, they will be loyal if I (or any author) will continue to provide quality content.

    I compare this to the rock band KISS. Gene Simmons said that many other bands think themselves artists and those bands don’t last very long. He said he considers KISS an entertainment band; a bombastic show and music.

    I have to agree with him. I much rather watch a rock and roll show rather than watch four guys just playing song after song. Yawn. I think that’s why KISS has been extremely successful to this very day as a brand.

    Let’s face it, I would much rather buy a Gene Simmons action figure rather than, let’s say, Mick Jagger.

    Give the readers quality stuff that will wow them and they will come back again and again.

  24. Brian,

    You make an excellent point. The money is truly in the readership. I have found that flooding my blog with ads and writing off-topic have caused me to lose readers who, once loyal, would have clicked around on ads just because they enjoy my site. Learning my lesson the hard way seems to be a less-efficient way to go about it, but I am getting there….

  25. Brian

    i would really love to monetize my blog as well… i give web traffic tips each week… and am aiming to build that readership by increasing my web traffic… obviously alot of on-page factors would play a role in successfully monetization of your my site as well?

    Im getting great traffic figures and increase it rapidly at the moment though need to monetize it

  26. This is great, I have just today started blogging and am far far away from having anything close to a fan club… but all these ideas will help me I am sure – copyblogger is already in my favorites!!

  27. I am certainly working to develop my list, and the fan base around my site to support it.

    I find it a great help that others out there are also working, and discussing how they are building their own list of ‘raving fans’.

  28. You’ve described my blog to a T! Nobody’s blogging on my topic, I have tons of pages (my archives and tutorials links get the most clicks) and I definitely have a “fan” club (average donation is $75). Some of them are closer to sycophants (I moderate those kinds of comments because they don’t add value). My income has doubled in one year which helps a lot because I’m disabled and can’t work at a “regular” job.

  29. Great post Brian, to make money blogging we really need fan club. We need people who love blogs content so that we can build a good relationship. But for a new blogger it takes lots of time.
    Thanks for the advice :-)

  30. Interesting insight, although there is still money to be made with affiliates and adsense from blogs as long as it is set up correctly

  31. The way you have started this article is awesome !

    blogging indeed is ” in page views” at the start ! everything else matters later on !