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March 18, 2005

Professional blogger?

James Joyner links to and comments on a John Hawkins interview with Henry Copeland of BlogAds. The interview is interesting if not a bit overly sunshiny as well as vague. James seems to think the 100,000 visitors per day is the marker for full time blogging, but according to the Ecosystem Traffic Ranking, only 5 blogs are at or past that mark.

I think the earning potential for blogs is underestimated because of the lack of real exploitation of the traffic. I get the impression that for most bloggers it's simply a hobby or even a therapeutic release. Profit is a secondary consideration. Some see it as an avenue for career advancement in writing, which, if your blog is successful, it certainly seems to work that way.

With any money-making venture the laws of supply and demand rule. On the supply side, quality is a key factor, although not by itself. Exposure has to be there. There can be quality blogs that lack exposure, and unfortunately also low-quality blogs that have somehow managed to get lots of exposure. Those that make the best of both succeed in drawing the visitors...which is the demand.

On the demand side, I feel that the quality of blogs will have a large determination on the number of blog readers there are. I generally don't qualify statements with words like “I feel” but in this case there are factors that could make such a prediction meaningless, and they are fairly unpredictable factors. People who wouldn't normally be a blog reader, could be pulled into it if exposed to the right blog. As blogs become more and more popular, more and more people will seek them out. The natural, “survival of the fittest” of free consumerism will elevate the good blogs to the top, and leave the bad ones at the bottom.

If a blog is used as a focal point for promotion of something the blogger himself  (or herself) is doing, then the usefulness of the blog as a part of the author's source of income multiplies significantly. For instance, La Shawn Barber is using her blogs as exposure to become a writer. Roger Simon is already a published author, and apparently uses his blog to help widen his exposure and therefore his books as well. Many in the upper ranks of the Ecosystem are routinely used on cable news shows, creating a cross promotion of their own value as expert guests as well as their blogs.

Relying on ad revenues alone is really an inefficient way of making your blog pay, and hoping for one of those spots in the “100,000 visitors a day club”, is a bit of a pipe-dream for most of us. 

Posted by Danny Carlton at March 18, 2005 11:09 AM

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