The Failure Of “Blog Monetization”

Last Updated on October 27, 2010  

In blogger circles, the word “monetize” is a huge buzzword. Everybody is looking to “monetize” their blogs. Typically, you already have a blog and then you think, “Hmmm, how can I make money with this thing?”

The language we use says alot about our approach. It can also place an artificial limit on our mindsets and ultimately keep you from ever making money.

In thinking about this, I think that the phrase “blog monetization” is a symptom of going about it completely wrong.

Let’s Put This In Perspective

Jordan Cooper used this example during our panel at BlogWorld Expo. He talked about a pizza shop.

So, you set up the space for the pizza shop. You put tables and chairs in there. You put some pizza ovens in there. Then…

You sit around and TALK ABOUT pizza. You don’t make and SELL any pizza, you just talk about it.

Then, in your metrics, you measure things like numbers of people who come in and talk about pizza. You measure the number of mentions of your setup outside the room. You measure the number of times you speak up in the middle of the room and spill your opinions about various pizzas.

But, nowhere in this equation have you actually cooked and SOLD a pizza. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Then one day, you think to yourself, “Hhhmmm…. I should probably monetize this establishment.” Pizza shop monetization. New buzzword. ๐Ÿ˜‰

OK, great. So, you go out and look for people to pay you to stick pictures of pizzas on the walls. Maybe you can refer people over to Dominoes and get referral commissions. Look, mom! I monetized!

But, income is pretty low. And you’re putting a lot of work into talking about pizzas, so you feel you should make more money. You see other people making a full-time income from their pizza shops. You know, people like Pizza Hut, Little Caesars. But, they must have figured out some secret. They’re in a secret “syndicate” or something. They’re just special. But, you’ll keep reading about pizza shops. Maybe you’ll put some more pictures on the walls. After all, I saw space up there in the corner… near the ceiling. Maybe you can cram another ad in there…. give it a red frame to make it stand out a little in the mix.

Stop. See the problem here?

These people are in YOUR PIZZA SHOP! Make a frickin’ pizza, will you? Sell the damn thing! Don’t send them somewhere else.

Bloggers Versus Business Owners

Business owners recognize a need and they fulfill it with a product or service. They get good at it and they market and sell it. They make money. Even if they don’t get it just right at the beginning, they’ll make adjustments and learn from their mistakes. See, they realize that businesses SELL THINGS. They don’t use words like “monetize”. It is a BUSINESS! Monetization should be a mute point.

Bloggers? Well, they like to talk alot. That’s about it. Then they want to get paid for talking. They want people to think fuzzy thoughts and follow them on Twitter. And the money? Well, it doesn’t usually happen like that. Because bloggers think they’re reporters or journalists or something. Or that their opinions matter and people should pay for them.

I hope I’ve made my point clear.

Because THAT’S the difference between a broke blogger and one who is making a full-time income. One works toward and measures things that are exchangeable for money. The other one just talks alot and wonders where the money is.

You’ve got to build a real business.

Does that sound more complicated than “blog monetization”? I don’t think it is. Because with “blog monetization” you’re constantly chasing the tactic of the day, never building any real foundation. When you build a real business, you’ve got a real framework and the rest clarifies and gets easier.

Sure, it means longer-term thinking. It might be more work than sticking some banner ad tags on your sidebar.

But, one approach can turn into a real full-time income… one that you and your family can live off of.

The other approach stands a damn good chance of failing. Sorry, but I gotta keep it real with you.

With the kind of traffic you’d need to even make $500/month with Google Adsense, you could make a LOT more than that (maybe even a full-time income) if you actually marketed your own products to that audience. Of course, you’d need to be serving a market which actually cares, but that’s just part of the strategy.

I see the survey feedback, my friends. Too many people want the easy button. They’re not thinking long-term. They’re not building a real asset.

Moving Forward

My long-time readers know that I’m the guy who will pound you over the head when needed. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t want to be one of those “pro bloggers” who builds a real business, yet teaches my readers about the easy crap like ad placement.

I’m actually contemplating some adjustments to my online brand to accomodate this focus and not so much on “bloggers” and “blog monetization”. You don’t have to worry about me abandoning you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not even close. In fact, exactly the opposite.

But, the language we use can help or limit us. And I think the language typically used in this market pigeon-holes us into a corner, and people like me are in a position to not feed that particular monkey. Bloggers need to think more about business building than “blog monetization”. A mindset shift is in order.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Post a comment and let me know. And, I’d love to hear what you think your potential stumbling blocks might be here when it comes to thinking about businesses and not “monetization”.

Stay awesome. I’ll be in touch in a few days. ๐Ÿ™‚


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  • Informative piece. I prefer reading blogs, but now I think I might want to actually do something myself. The ussually read SoGoSurvey blogs because I like to follow up on this oline tool. I have also seen some awesome survery samples here. I wonder how do they monitize their blog.

  • Web Design London says:

    ย Very interesting Topic keep up good work.

  • Web Design London says:

    ย Very interesting Topic keep up good work.

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