Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why you shouldn't expect to make money blogging

Technorati Ranking & LinksImage by manoellemos via Flickr

According to 2008's State of the Blogosphere, the most successful blogs are the ones that post at least five times per day. Success, in this case, being the highest Technorati Authority rankings. These rankings, by turn, are based on the number of other bloggers that link to your stuff and the authority of those bloggers.

This seems to paint a picture of a small cudgel of high-volume bloggers massively cross-linking each other, possibly because compulsive five-times-daily bloggers would theoretically always be in search of new material, and seeing what everyone else is doing (and reacting to it) is a fertile ground for blog fodder. This is mere cynical supposition, mind you, but I'd lay some money on it being at least partially true.

Whether Technorati rank translates to actual fiscal success is a muddier cause-and-effect to fathom. The majority of bloggers don't make any money at their blogs, but the average household income of most bloggers is over $75,000 a year. (Granted, this is only the subset of bloggers that have listed themselves in Technorati, but that would likely include anybody who either gets paid for blogging and/or does it at least five times daily.) This suggests most blogging is a hobby for college-educated middle-class folks, not a serious money-making venture.

What I'd really like to see is a breakdown of the Top 100, Top 1000, and Top 10,000 bloggers by authority as applies to income. Simply, does Authority convert to money? My guess is at the very high end, it might correlate, but that the correlation declines sharply and disproportionately as you drop out of the Top 100. I'm also betting the volume of posting declines as you decline the list, too. I don't have the means or the werewithal to post 25-30 blog entries per week--not without quitting my day job--and I never will.

Blogging is a hobby. Some folks can be professional hobbyists--I mean, there are guys that make their living trading baseball cards, after all--but they are rare. And most people who play the guitar never make a dime off of it. Dreaming of being a pro blogger is a lot like dreaming of being a pro musician or pro athlete--most of us just aren't going to make it. Don't stop playing, just stop expecting to get paid.
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