How 1 Year of Blogging Changed My Life

flickr staircase photo by Flipped is now officially 1 year (and a few weeks) old, so let me sum it up: blogging is awesome. It has changed my life, but not quite in the way you’d expect.

Blogging For Dollars: Not So Easy

For starters, I haven’t made one dollar from blogging. This is considered a major failure by many but not to me. More on that in a minute.

The main reason I haven’t made money from blogging is because I find myself at odds with the “make money online” mindset. Many (but not all) marketers in this so-called niche are not actually trying to help you make money, they’re helping themselves make money by selling you something to believe in.

Does “$250,000 per year or more by working just a couple hours per day” sound realistic? This is an actual quote. What part of your psyche do these outlandish offers appeal to?

Any experienced blogger will tell you this claim is next to impossible. Perhaps a tiny fraction of one percent of the population will achieve this–but not likely you or me.

But seeing I wasn’t experienced at the time, and I needed to make money, I fell for it. I purchased the books, subscribed to a cleverly packaged blog training program (it admittedly contains good blogging fundamentals) and followed the masses who were sold the same manufactured dream.

Tempering the Marketer Mindset

Why has marketing become such a ridiculous obsession on the internet? Doesn’t it seem there’s more marketing of things than there are things?

The first months of blogging for me were turbulent. I was trying too hard to sound like an expert—someone to be trusted with other people’s time, attention and money. I lost my voice.

Without a genuine voice, I was becoming nothing more than a hollow marketer.

The first epiphany I had after these initial rough patches helped me embrace publishing for publishing sake. I linked up with colleagues with the same pedigree as me: writers and journalists from the print world who—despite being caught in the crosshairs of a crumbling industry—stood by and defended their editorial integrity.

The truth about blogging and any type of content marketing is this: the content comes before the marketing.

The content is where you’ll find the value. Each and every time. Marketing of course is important, but only if you have something of value to market.

Have Vision, Will Work

So how did blogging change my life in one year?

For starters, I’m no longer under the impression that blogging exists to make money. Money is a by-product of content that’s been fined-tuned for its market.

I’ve also gotten well-educated. I’ve learned that blogging cannot exist without design, platforms (like Wordpress), social marketing, SEO and content strategy. These are all subjects I had no choice but to learn about along the way.

Best of all, I have a vision and a plan for the future of Wordful: commercially branded content. And if you’ve been reading the past couple of moths, you’ll get a sense of what I’m shooting for.

Now the real work begins. Over the next year, Wordful will be focused on leading impassioned communities online. Details on this are forthcoming.

This blog will remain the think tank and conversation hub of my adventures. For you, dear reader, this means more thoughtful, real-world lessons on content marketing, editorial strategy and 21st Century publishing.


Photo by Flipped Out
  • Have you thought about blogging for “Sponsors”?

    I have some paid ads which helps pay for the time I do spend on my blog, but I have found that getting sponsors works much better then getting “Paid” to blog.

    For instance, I trade products with local companies at a rate that is much cheaper to them then if they were to have to pay money for an ad in the paper.

    My ads start at $30.00 a month. However, I mandate they do a 6 month or 1 year contract. If a sponsor can provide a service to me that I may need… whether it’s clothes, airlines, travel, food, etc., I simply give them the ad for the same rate in cash as it would be in sponsorship.

    I make no real promises and I disclose all I do for them in any post that I may write about the company.

    However, I rarely will blog about a sponsor… they already have their “Ad” on the blog… so no need to “Pimp” their company so to speak.

    I think you got a great thing going and I’ve enjoyed learning a lot from your blog.

    I don’t always listen to the lessons you have given… but the ones that I have taken in, sure has helped me as a blogger.

    Now if I could only figure out how to frigging proofread my comments before instinctively hitting submit.

    Congrats on a year!

    • Charles

      Damon, thanks for another thoughtful comment. I really appreciate you, and am pleased to know you’ve learned something from me, too!

      I admire the enterprising approach you apply to your blog. You’re working out the rules as you go, keeping things ethical and fair and continuing to produce great content.

      I don’t see how you can’t go wrong with this model, and in time, for all your diligence and hard work, the opportunities (and money) will start manifesting for you.

  • My very first blog post made it to the top of the programming sub-reddit. 20,000 people visited. They left a few comments on my blog, and a whole bunch of comments on reddit.

    In the 18 months since, that has never happened again.

    That was a tough lesson, and I wondered what I was doing wrong. I thought that was how blogging was supposed to work: you write an article, 20,000 people read and discuss it, then you write another and repeat. It was tough to accept that my first post was just lucky and caught the attention of the right redditors at the right time.

    I had ads on the blog at first. Even if I managed to repeat the reddit feat every single day, I’d still be making way less than minimum wage. So I removed the ads and now focus on it as a way to improve my writing and gain a higher profile.

    • Charles

      Sounds like a tough lesson indeed, but a necessary one. I’ve been through similar (but not nearly as huge) situations before where I get a bump in readers then it drops off the map.

      What this does for us is levels the unrealistic expectation that we’re going to get rich or famous overnight. The universe just doesn’t work that way. People don’t care about us until we prove we care about them (over and over).

      I totally agree with what you’re doing — writing to boost your profile and improve your writing. I’m doing the same. It’s humbling but also a great way to refine our ideas so that when we are “discovered” people will say to themselves — ‘I wish I had read this guy a long time ago!’

      Anyway thanks for sharing your very interesting story. I hope you’ll come back.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention How 1 Year of Blogging Changed My Life --

  • Pingback: Sunday Siesta - All About Blogging()