Blog Business World

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Blogs are money makers: Ignore the doubters

Blog income is always a topic of interest to almost everyone in the blogging community.

As micro-publishers, blogs are really small businesses. The differences are really only in the writing product offered. Some bloggers write about their personal experiences, others about business, politics, law, and technology. Still others discuss their hobbies and other interests.

The list of blog products is as diverse as the list of books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, television programs, and radio shows.

Like the other mainstream media formats, blogs arrive in all sorts of business models. Some are entirely not for profit of any kind, while other bloggers consider their blogs to be a money making venture in and of themselves.

There are many other shadings in between.

Just like any other form of media.

Some make money.

Many others do not, as is the way of the market.

This blog and media diversity aspect is not always acknowledged by observers like Steve Smith of EContent.

In a recent column on revenue sources for 2005, and later commented upon bt Darren Rowse of Pro Blogger and Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion, Steve Smith doubts blogs will ever be large revenue sources.

Steve says in his column:

Blog Bucks: The wild and wooly blogosphere itself will not make money for many, including blog networks like Gawker Media and Weblogs Inc. Nevertheless, blogs are already proving to be powerful audience retention devices for known media brands. Some B2B sites report that up to 10% of daily traffic now goes to columnist blogs. Blogging is less a business model than a thoroughly compelling communications model that keeps users coming back two and three times a day more effectively than standard content refreshes. Accept it and get sponsors for it.

While acknowledging and crediting blogs with increasing an online business's profile, he underestimates the ability of blogs to make money on their own. Some blogs will provide a strong revenue stream for their owners, while others will not bring in any money at all.

That is no different from any other business sector, and especially for small media businesses. Not everyone makes big bucks in all business sectors. That's the way the market works. That doesn't say, however, that blogs are not a potentially powerful business format in and of themselves.

As the blogging medium matures, more bloggers will make a good living from their blogs, with many times that number earning a sizable side income from their blogging efforts.

Darren Rowse believes that blogs will reach a critical mass as a business form, which he calls the "tipping point":

...there comes a tipping point where the growth becomes exponential. Most bloggers exploring the income side of blogging give up before the tipping point however and never see the reward for their efforts. Of course it is not just a matter of time and patience - it takes some smarts, hard work and a little luck along the way.

As blogs become more deeply entrenched, within both the mainstream media and the mainstream consciousness, money will flow naturally in their direction. If other companies discover the power of blogs, as an advertising vehicle that returns highly targeted buyers, you can be absolutely certain that savvy marketers will put their cash into blogs.

Steve Rubel believes that a blog's low business overhead costs, coupled with their growing media influence, almost guarantees many blogs will become profitable ventures:

...I bet in 2005 they will turn a profit if they haven’t already. You’re forgetting that they carry far lower overhead than what the big boys need to manage. More importantly, their blogs are equally if not more influential than the mainstream media.

Blogs are profitable for businesses in more than one way.

So far, the focus has been on blogs as marketing and public relations vehicles, as well as traffic and search engine optimzation powerhouses. Blogs have added some new benefits to that already impressive list.

Blogs can now be rightly considered as small, and growing businesses in their own right.

In fact, many blogs are showing a tidy profit already. Some blogs are serving as springboards to other blog related businesses. The possibilities are endless.

Along with their ability to enhance the exposure and communications levels of existing companies, blogs can provide the same service for themselves.

Don't overlook the revenue potential of your own blog.

Think of it as owning your own small business.

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