The Danger Of Reading Blogger Income Reports

Many people read blog income reports. I even used to post my own. However, I stopped long ago. Here are the reasons why I stopped posting them… and why I think you should stop reading them.

So, it happened that a few bloggers made a name for themselves by posting income reports. And it grew into quite a fad, to be honest.

I don’t know if it was started by Pat Flynn or not. He has been pretty well known for his income reports, although even he seems to have stopped doing it.

Even now, if you go and search for “blogger income reports” on Google, you’ll get quite a lot to sink your eyes into. Hell, I’ve even seen list posts of other people’s income reports!

I will admit, too, that I used to post income reports back in the day. In fact, my motivation for this very post was doing a content audit on this site and found several blog income reports from the 2008-2010 range. Frankly, I wanted to delete them and redirect them to something more useful. Hence this post. 😉

I have long since stopped posting income reports. I wanted to explain why. I also want to make the case for why I believe it does yourself a disservice to read them – and why I think those who post them are only serving themselves and are doing you no favors whatsoever.

Why Those Income Reports Exist

Let’s be frank…

Those bloggers who are posting income reports are not doing it for you. Sure, some may have convinced themselves that it is somehow motivational. Sure enough, even way back in 2010 when I publicly flirted with the idea of stopping my income reports, I had a few people tell me they liked them.

Comments such as:

No don’t stop! What you may feel as bragging is what others see as inspiration! Keep it going and may success bless you and your family for what you continue to teach the rest of us.

or…

Please do keep posting these numbers as often as possible. I find it inspiring and motivational.

Needless to say… I stopped anyway.

In almost every case, these income reports are posted for three reasons:

  1. Credibility in the marketplace of bloggers wanting to make money.
  2. An excuse to link drop the hell out of every affiliate link they’ve got.
  3. It attracts traffic.

The fad, like many things in the world of “make money online”, has even been taken to extremes. I’ve seen my share of blogs which my experience tells me are not functioning to the degree that their “income reports” show. The sites are poorly set up, not very old, etc. Yet, they report incomes that aren’t realistic. In other words, there are cases where some bloggers are outright lying about their income for the sake of credibility. Sure, I can’t prove it. But, I’ve been at this a long enough time now to sorta know if a site is making that kind of money or not.

Point is… these income reports are self-serving, for the most part.

Income Reports Give Off False Impressions

One of the primary reasons I stopped doing income reports quite awhile ago is because I think it misleads people even without that being the intention.

See, I think the mere act of posting it was leading people astray. And I think those who post them are also doing the same thing.

Here at the Blog Marketing Academy, my goal is to show people how to start, build and grow and online business around their blog. The keyword there is online business.

To create a business, one needs to fulfill a market demand. You need to solve a problem for people. You need to solve a problem that people want to solve bad enough that they’re willing to pay something to make it happen.

Put another way… a business SELLS things.

Not only that, but every market is different. What works in one market might not work the exact same way in another market.

Blogger income reports help nobody. What works in one market says absolutely nothing about what will work for you.Click To Tweet

My goal is to teach strategy and understanding so that it can adapt to other markets.

All these blogs posting income reports are focusing the reader’s attention so much on dollar signs. Often using affiliate links. And it is rather incestuous in that many of these income reports are in the market of teaching bloggers how to make money.

So, how in the hell is that going to help a blogger in another market?

You see these people posting their blogger income reports and tossing their affiliate links to Hostgator and Bluehost in there and NONE of that applies one bit to a blogger who serves an entirely different market which isn’t made up of other bloggers.

(Besides, I think even recommending Hostgator or Bluehost is problematic advice and here’s why).

So, if my goal is to help people build up value-driven businesses in THEIR markets, how the hell does it help them for them to read income reports for what I do in my market?

Answer: It doesn’t. Not even a little bit.

Income Reports Focus On The Wrong Thing

Hey, I like money as much as the next guy. And certainly, when you’re trying to build up a business online, you are sorta focused on money. I get it.

But, focusing on money isn’t going to get you an online business which makes any money.

Money is a direct result of how well you serve your market. Your focus should be on that, not the income.

If you want to build up a stable online business, you should be looking at things such as:

  • Listening to your market, finding out what they need and want so that you can make it for them.
  • Learning how to implement strategies in your business
  • Learning how to improve your own site, your list building, your conversions, etc.

Those things are actionable. What isn’t even remotely actionable is finding out how much money some dude in the “make money blogging” market made last month.

If you want to make money with your blog, there are certain things you need to be focused on. And how much money some other dude made with HIS blog isn't one of them.Click To Tweet

In fact, if you’re focusing in the money and not on truly serving a real market, it can easily lead you to feel like you need to model or copy the person posting the income report. After all, if it works for them, it’d work for you, right?

But, no. That’s not how it works at all.

Income Reports Paint A False Picture & Comparison

Bloggers who post income reports are doing it for the traffic. Obviously, they wouldn’t post those reports if the income amounts weren’t positive. That’s true in most cases. Certainly, I have seen some people post income reports where the dollar figures are rather low.

There are a lot of very successful bloggers out there who make good money and don’t go around posting about it.

But, let us not forget that there are a LOT of bloggers out there who don’t make much money at all. Or they make zilch diddly squat.

So, if you’re a blogger looking to grow your blog and make money from it, and you allow yourself to get that tunnel vision by reading income reports, it can paint a false picture of the potential success of blogging as an income stream.

I’ll be the first to tell you, as a guy who has been doing this for 20 years now, that blogging is a pretty crappy business model. In fact, it isn’t a business model at all. It’s a marketing vehicle. This is why I’m so adamant about building real online businesses, not blogs.

Income reports give off a false impression of the income potential of blogging.

Income reports give off a false impression of the income potential of blogging.Click To Tweet

It can also be rather deflating. You read these income reports and get all dreamy about the potential, but you’re left with that sinking feeling when you compare it to your own blogging income. It is totally setting off the average blogger with the wrong mindset.

Finances Are Best Left Private

In no other industry do people go around talking about how much money they make. You don’t see successful business owners in any other market in the “real world” go around posting their income reports.

Those things are between them, their spouse, their accountant and the IRS.

Some people just get weird about money. That’s life. And, it can lead to unforeseen issues when you’re out there telling the world exactly how much money you make.

It’s also not really a good look. 😉

You Do You, Not Them

Blogger income reports aren’t much different than reality TV. It might be entertaining, but it’s junk and it doesn’t improve your life one bit.

Blogger income reports aren't much different than reality TV. It might be entertaining, but it's junk and it doesn't improve your life one bit.Click To Tweet

Plus, if you spend a lot of time reading them, you’re much less likely to build a successful blog of your own. You probably aren’t going to find a lot of successful entrepreneurs watching much reality TV, either.

Instead of trying to get motivated by watching their successes, you should instead focus on you, your blog, your intentions. Focus on what YOU need to be focusing on. Focus on YOUR market and what works best for them.

So, yes, I stopped posting income reports a long time ago.

This post explains why.

Here at the Blog Marketing Academy, I have no interest in serving you up junk food. My interest isn’t to give you a little rush and get you addicted to coming back a month later for another hit of reality TV, blogger style.

No, my success here is directly tied to how well I SERVE  you and how well I deliver outcomes to my customers.

I cannot stop you from reading income reports. I cannot stop others from posting them.

But, I can encourage you to stop reading them. And I can stop serving up the junk. 🙂

And with this post, all of my past income reports will now be deleted and redirect here.

Got a question about this post? Just #AskBMA!
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About David Risley
David Risley is the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy, a 20-year veteran blogger and online entrepreneur. His focus? Building a reliable, recurring business around his "lifestyle" and the lives of his students. He has this weird obsession with traveling in his motorhome around the country with his wife and 2 kids. David also likes to talk about himself in the third person. In bios like this one. Read his full story.