Earn Money Blogging: Bulls**t or Balance?

I see it all the time. Tips, titles, and essays that all claim the same thing:

“Start a blog in 10 minutes.”

“Earn big money from your blog in three easy steps.”

“Turn your blog into a money making a machine in 30 days.”

And I’m here to lay some truth on you: Yes, you can make money blogging (I have done it, and I still do it.)

Yes, you can make great money blogging.

But it’s not all as easy and 1–2–3. If it were, we would have millions of millionaire bloggers out there.

That is not the reality.

Not to take away from all of the “it’s so easy” shops, but I’m going to do it anyway. Great blogs are not born; they are made. They are crafted through hard work, fire, brimstone, sweat, tears and lost hair — I’m only semi-kidding about the last one.

While “anyone can” set up and start pounding away at a keyboard or broadcasting videos online or Tweeting about what they ate for dinner, it doesn’t mean that everyone should. I have read blogs rife with poor grammar, spelling and full of nonsense that isn’t even halfway decent writing for a preschooler. In short, there are those of you creating content now, or who have created content that no one in their right mind would give a s**t about. It’s not entertaining; it’s not informative and poorly done. So yes, while “anyone” can create a blog, content, videos and the like, it doesn’t mean that everyone should.

And, like it or not, all good content, be it video or vlog or blog starts with one basic skill: writing. So here are a few simple tips, tools and tricks of the trade to evaluate yourself as a potential blogger, using a few time-tested, honest to goodness truth bombs.

TRUTH BOMB #1: IF YOU AREN’T A GOOD WRITER, YOU WON’T BE A GOOD BLOGGER EITHER.

If you aren’t a good writer, learn how to become a better one.

But how do you tell if you are a good writer or not?

Never, ever, ever (and did I mention ever) solicit the options of friends and family. They will often tell you that they think you are a fantastic writer, just in the name of not hurting your feelings. So, instead of relying on grandma or grandpa or your aunt Mildred, take it to the internet.

There are several methods to test whether or not you are a good writer or not.

1. Grammarly

Grammarly is a great writing grader, plagiarism checker and online editor all in one. For most bloggers, the free membership will suffice, but if you are truly committed to honing your skills (and building a real top-notch blog), it’s wise to subscribe to one of their many low-cost monthly membership programs.

2. Market tests

I have found that one of the best ways to check your writing prowess is to jump in with both feet and (in the words of Nike) just do it. If you want to start seeing how quickly pennies in your blogging piggy bank can begin to add up, before having your official blog up and running, try a market test on Triond. It’s perfect for novice bloggers because the traffic isn’t insanely high (so if your content sucks you won’t have to live with that constant online reminder) but it does give you an idea of whether or not people will be interested in reading what you have to say.

Since Triond publishes all types of content from all sorts of writers (or would-be writers) just about anything, this will allow you to showcase your expertise, as well as give you insight into the world of online publishing, seeing as their publishing platform is similar to Wordpress.

Submit five to eight test pieces to Triond, and if they get more than 150 views, you can rest assured that your content is good enough to start a blog of your very own.

3. Enrich yourself

Take a course, spend more time reading books longer than 200 pages that don’t have pictures in them. Note how established authors use prose and descriptors to evoke emotion and inspire folks to share or take some action.

Take a writing class (there are thousands of these online on sites like Udemy). Pay close attention to how other blogs are formatted with font sizes, font faces, and bold or italicized text. Do something to improve your skill set before taking up the mantle of blogging. You’ll thank me later.

TRUTH BOMB #2: IF YOU DON’T MAKE TIME FOR BLOGGING, YOU MIGHT AS WELL NOT HAVE A BLOG

Great bloggers make time to blog every day, every week, every month and all year long. They take the time to create content marketing plans, get organized and know what they are going to write about before they are going to write about it. It takes as much commitment to keep up with a blog as it does to pen a book. So check your commitment levels at the door.

If you are the type of person to have a billion unfinished tasks and zero follow through, blogging is probably not for you. Audiences look for consistency…after all, that is what earns you repeat business. That isn’t to say you can’t leverage technology and use (or hire) other good writers and create a digital empire that makes money for you in other ways, but it probably means you shouldn’t commit to a post a week unless you can truly commit to a post a week.

TRUTH BOMB #3: IF YOU CAN’T CREATE ORGINAL CONTENT, BLOGGING MIGHT NOT BE FOR YOU

With that said, a post a week isn’t always just what you “feel” like writing about, and (above all) it shouldn’t be boring generic been-done-to-death-already content. There are hundreds of content mills that hire mediocre writers (or down on their luck great writers) to pound out sales copy, ad copy and stupid articles like “Five ways to pluck your eyebrows.” If you want to have a successful blog, it needs to be real, authentic, genuine and different than the other content on the internet, so you will need to commit to creating some original content on your own, regardless of the format you select. Granted, you might not need to create original content all the time, but I can say, in complete honesty that readers are more interested in original content as opposed to content that has been done and redone to death.

TRUTH BOMB #4: OWNING A BLOG IS NOT FOR EVERYONE

Owning a blog is not for everyone. However, if you are more of the wild type, and you’ve made it this far, it doesn’t mean that you can’t put your writing skills to good use by writing great content for other people’s blogs. If you are the squeamish sort when the C-word (commitment) is brought up, you can still write and guest blog for other sites and earn a good (if not highly above average) ancillary income all while driving more traffic to your website at the same time.

So fear not commitment-phobes….we have you covered.

Blog owners are committed, dedicated and consistent. If you lack any of these three traits, owning a blog might not be your cup of tea. Intermittent bloggers tend to perform best by posting guest blogs elsewhere and using those blogs to drive traffic back to a website or sales page. However, not having, or keeping up with a blog of your own can be detrimental to your site traffic and SEO — so you might want to consider building better personal habits that puts blogging back into the cards if you’ve already fallen off of the blogging wagon.

For more blogging tips, tricks, advice, and information, visit us at www.valkeryie.com. And watch for my new book, “Blog Hustle” in stores and online in January 2016.

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