Here’s a business pitch: I have an opportunity for you where all you have to do is work like crazy for six months to one year writing more than one hundred articles. You won’t make a nickel for a year and once you do start making money it’ll come to about 5 cents per hour. Are you in?
Sounds dreadful. Who in their right mind would want to jump on that business opportunity?
You’d be surprised. That, in a nutshell, is what starting a blog is like. That’s what it was like for me. That’s what it’s like for most people. You work like crazy for no money for a long time.
But at some point it changes. Your traffic starts growing; in some cases growing fast. Your blog starts making money. You’re getting paid. You keep at it. In all likelihood you work harder because it’s working. In year two revenue triples or quadruples or more. You’re not getting well paid for all that work you did in year one. Year three arrives and by December you tally up your revenue and you made more money in year than than you do at your full time job. You quit your dreaded job so you can work on your blog full time. That’s when you really pour on the gas.
Year four and onward you take your blogging business to the next level earning more than you ever thought possible.
Starting a blog is tough at first but if you love it and you stick with it and you pursue a proven strategy, the above can happen to you. It’s happened to many.
And that, in a nutshell is why blogging is so popular. Let me break it down though.
Here’s my list explaining why blogging is so popular.
1. Work when you want – do it on the side for a few hours or 100 hours per week
I’ve been a full time blogger for so long I forget what it’s like setting an alarm and being forced to start/end work at some prescribed times. I think I’ve set my alarm clock 5 times in the last 5 years and when I did it was for something other than work. Each time I’ve had to set an alarm, I’m reminded how fortunate I am that it’s a rare occurrence. Being able to work whenever you want is a huge perk.
Now that more and more people work from home they have more flexibility. That’s probably a good thing for many people. Being in control of your own schedule improves quality of life big time. Some folks are morning people. Some are night people. It’s a real bonus when you can work during your peak-performance hours.
I do work regular hours… they just happen to be hours that work for me. I’m somewhat of a morning person. I like starting at 7 to 7:30 and quit at 2 which is when I work out and chill out. More importantly, I appreciate being able to start working whenever I want. Yesterday, for instance, I woke at 5 am and got to work by 6. Today, I woke at 7 and got to work by 7:45.
2. Work where you want – holed up in an apartment, in your suburban home office or trotting around the globe
Working where you want is probably as much of a perk as working when you want. I rent a condo 2.5 km from my house. I can walk or bike to it. I could work in my house if I wanted to. I’ve worked in coffee shops, waiting for my truck to be serviced and of course in hotels while traveling. Frankly, my living in the burbs and working in a suburban condo isn’t exactly exotic or exciting but it works for me at this time of my life while having young kids.
Other successful bloggers work while traveling continually or holing up in some exotic location.
As long as you have an internet connection, you can work. Ideally, you’ll have a laptop or desktop. While you can blog on a mobile phone, it’s not ideal.
3. It’s fun (at least it should be)
If blogging isn’t fun for you, don’t bother doing it. There are easier ways to make a buck and more of them.
Many of the reasons is list out here explaining why blogging is so popular are really collateral benefits. They’re great perks of the biz but they will not sufficiently motivate you. I know firsthand because I’ve helped many folks set up blogs and tell them what to do but at end of the day, they didn’t like it so they quit.
I love writing so blogging is fun. I also love chasing traffic and figuring out ways to improve SEO and Facebook traffic. I love checking out Analytics and Search Console scouting for opportunities. I particularly love digging for great keyword opportunities. You could say I pretty much love every aspect of this business. I chalk up a good portion of my success as a blogger to the fact I love it and that it’s a pile of fun for me every day.
Each day I’m excited to go to work. As long as it’s fun, I think I’ll continue doing well and will stick with it. That’s not to say I don’t have setbacks. I sure do. I end up on the losing end of Google updates sometimes. I deal with poor content I paid for. I end up hiring folks that aren’t very good. Yet, through it all, I carry on because it’s fun and I enjoy it.
4. One of the best marketing channels for local and global businesses
I got my start blogging for a local brick and mortar service business (my law firm). I needed clients. I couldn’t afford Yellow Pages. So I started a blog. It worked like gangbusters. I ranked for everything. Business boomed. I also got bit by the blogging bug.
I have friends who own successful local businesses. They ask me for online marketing advice. I always say they should invest in an info-based blog. Some take me up on it. Some don’t. If I owned a local biz, I’d put a huge effort into the blog. Content gets free traffic and sells. It’s not all I’d do, but it would definitely be a part of my marketing mix.
5. It’s the best way to get free website traffic
Whether you sell stuff, run an email newsletter, promote products as an affiliate, run a local business a quality blog with excellent content is the best way to get free traffic. Okay, it’s not exactly free. After all, you need to put in the time to produce the content or pay writers. But once published, it can work for you for years.
I liken content as building blocks. You keep adding content that works in tandem with existing content to create a traffic powerhouse. You then do with that traffic what you please… whether directing it to buy something, join an email newsletter, hire you, etc.
6. No limit on how much you can earn
This is one of my favorite perks of blogging. It’s also one of my beef with regular jobs. With a regular job, while you might enjoy raises, you’ll never be paid what you’re worth (unless you’re a shirker who flies under the radar).
With blogging, I get to pocket all the profits. If I do a great job, I’m rewarded for it. I can grow revenue as high as possible by publishing more content, launching more blogs or getting more traffic to existing content. More traffic means more revenue. While there is probably a max amount of traffic for every blog, I know that I’m not anywhere near that max for any niche site I own.
7. Easy to scale up
I have scaling my publishing biz down to a very simple workflow. My secret weapon is WriterAccess (read my WriterAccess review here). With WriterAccess, I have access to thousands of great writers. I’ve curated a terrific list of my favorite writers over the years so pretty much all delivered content is excellent. I can literally order 300 articles all at once and have it delivered inside 2 to 3 weeks. It’s amazing. The bottleneck is getting it published. I employ 5 VAs to format content but there’s only so much they can do. Five VAs is sufficient for me at this point but if ever I want to publish more content daily, it’s just a matter of hiring more VAs. I have SOPs (standard operating procedures) in place for VAs so onboarding them is easy and fast.
Scaling is dead simple as a blogger. Just pay for more content. Easy peasy.
8. The allure of easy and plentiful money
The reality is it’s not so easy and it’s certainly not fast. Most folks think it was easy for me to grow my online publishing biz to 6 figures per month but it wasn’t.
But the allure is there and that’s one reason blogging is popular. Folks jump in and think they’ll be on easy street in a few months. I thought this when I started. It took me 18 months to earn my first affiliate commission and by that point I had great success blogging for my local brick and mortar business.
The fact it’s not easy or fast acts as a significant barrier to entry or filter. Only those who become obsessed with the business stick it out.
9. It’s addictive
Those who become obsessed with blogging and stick it out can get addicted to this biz. Clicking “publish” never gets old. It’s very gratifying. So too is seeing traffic growth, increasing revenue, successful affiliate promos, course sales, etc. Whatever metrics you track, it’s thrilling watching them improve. I’ve been at this 10 years and I still get a thrill when I sell a course, a new niche site earns its first dollar, existing sites hit new ad revenue records, etc.
I think I’m less addicted to it now than I was a few years ago. I’m much more able to step away and do other things such as work out, hang with my kids, play sports, take care of my house etc. But there was a time when it was hard to peel me away from this work. I was truly obsessed with growing it.
I believe a big reason that it’s easier for me to step away is I have quite a few people working on my business 24/7. I have writers always writing. I have VAs always publishing. Much of it runs without me. Some days there really isn’t much for me to do so it’s pretty easy stepping away. When it was all me, I worked like a maniac.
10. So many different approaches that it never gets boring
I’ve been blogging full-time for ten years now. I’m never bored. Every day I wake up excited to get going. What’s interesting about the blogging business is there are many approaches and aspects you can focus on so that it doesn’t get boring. I love to write but if I’m not in the mood, there’s plenty of other things I can do. I can do keyword research. I can update and improve old content. I can dig into Analytics and Search Console. I can play around with email optin forms. I can test new Facebook ads and posts. So many different value-add activities I can do on any given day.
11. No start-up costs and no overhead
Okay, there is a start-up cost for hosting. You must pay for website hosting. The good news is you can get decent hosting for $5 per month. That’s it. That is the grand total you absolutely must spend to get started. There aren’t many businesses out there that can get up and running for only $5 per month.
Yes, there are plenty of other things you can spend money on but hosting is the only necessary expense. The rest can be done for free.
Over the years my monthly expenses have grown. I pay for various software platforms and VAs. My monthly overhead is about $9,000 per month. But I could cut all of that tomorrow if necessary except for the $1,400 I spend on website hosting. That’s the only expense I must pay to stay in business. FYI, my hosting is so much higher than the $5 plans because I have millions of monthly visitors across 19 websites. If you have to pay more for hosting, that’s a good thing. I never balk at hosting costs going up because that means my traffic is growing.
Each month I reinvest a portion of profits into more content to fuel growth. This is an optional outlay of cash. It is not overhead. For tax purposes, it’s an expense but in reality it’s an investment into growth.
If I need to save a pile of cash for something else, I can not order content for two months. That would put a lot of money in my pocket. The reason I do invest so much each month into content is it’s probably my best investment opportunity right now. Because my sites grow so nicely over time, the ROI after 2 to 5 years is way better than I could get investing in mutual funds. That said, in recent years, I’ve diversified my investments by buying some real estate. I plan on buying quite a bit more real estate over the next five years. Real estate is a safe long-term investment that complements my digital holdings nicely.
12. No degree or qualifications needed (no red tape)
This is probably a huge reason that blogging is so popular. You do not need a degree, certificate or anything to start blog. There’s no red tape. It’s an unregulated industry. I love it. I loathe red tape and bureaucracy. It really is a survival of the fittest industry.
13. No boss, no clients and no customers
Speaking of favorite collateral benefits, this is also one of them. Bosses, clients and customers aren’t fun. Okay, I do have customers who buy my Fat Stacks course but because it’s an info product, it’s really hands-off. I don’t have to talk to them or deal with them to make the sale. It’s self-directed.
I don’t answer to anyone other than the parameters necessary for getting website traffic. That’s my boss. I get traffic from Google and Facebook. That means I must play by their rules so in that sense they are my boss. However, it’s not like I get called into the Google office and have to talk to anyone.
14. No meetings (no telephone, zoom, hangouts or any other time-sucking nonsense)
The most successful email newsletter I ever sent out was this one which I titled “3 dreaded words”. It explains this final point on why blogging is so popular perfectly. It was interesting how this email resonated so strongly with tens of thousands of Fat Stacks email readers.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.