Darren Rowse on the Future of Blogging

This is the second of a two-part interview of ProBlogger Darren Rowse. If you missed part one, here it is.

What advice do you have for new entrepreneurial bloggers or businesses looking to use this medium?
Niche it up baby – think very carefully about your topic/s. I am leaning more towards a niche approach to blogging these days. Yes there is a place for the more general blogs that cover a wide range of topics, but in terms of commercializing them using the methods I use it is probably better to narrow your focus a little.

It won’t happen over night - take a long term approach. It takes time to build a substantial archive of posts, to build your page ranking in search engines, to get linked to by other sites, to build credibility and respect in an industry and to earn the trust of loyal readers. My blogs have hundreds (some thousands) of posts on them, this doesn’t just happen, it takes years of work – initially without much in the way of reward except the satisfaction that you’ve done a good job.

Write with passion – start with something you have an interest, passion or some expertise in. It is possible to make money from a website or blog that you have no interest in, but its a lot more fun to do it with a topic that energizes you. Remember this is not something that might pay off quickly (if at all) so ask yourself the question - ‘would I be happy to blog about this for little or no reward for a couple of years?’ If the answer is no then it might be worth choosing another topic.

Blog til you Bleed – entrepreneurial blogging is is bloody hard work. Yes its fun, yes its a rush when you get Slashdotted or Gizmodo links up to you but it can also be a grind and slightly mind numbing. There is no getting away from the fact that to make money from it you need to be willing to work hard, post lots, build relationships with your readers and other bloggers. I blog between 3-10 hours every day (6-7 days per week). Blogging is a flexible job (you can do it around other things) but it doesn’t just happen, especially when you’re just starting out). Set yourself some posting goals (mine is 25 posts per day) and stick to them.

Diversify – don’t put all your blogging in one basket. My experience late last year of losing most of my traffic from a Google tweak reminded me how fragile blogging as a business can be. Diversify what you do in some of these ways:

  • don’t just blog on one domain (Google’s update last year effected all of the blogs I had on one domain but not on another)
  • consider a ‘real job’ - whilst I make enough to live on from blogging I also do a bit of other non blogging related work (research position) as well – partly to get me interacting with ‘real’ people but also as a back up income in case it all falls apart!
  • blog on a variety of topics – Digital Cameras won’t be the biggest thing for then next 10 years – something else will capture the attention of people position yourself to be there to cash in on the new craze. Its also a good idea for your mental health not to obsess about the one thing exclusively – get a life!
  • consider ways you can earn a non direct income from your blog – blogging creates experts (I wrote about this recently). As your blog builds consider other ways you can generate an income from it. Perhaps your blog will open up opportunities for a book on your topic, some speaking opportunities in the industry you’ve chosen, consulting on your topic etc.

Give us your thoughts on the future of blogs.

  • I don’t really know where blogging is going. I’m seeing things start to shoot off in all kinds of directions with podcasting and vlogging – I guess there is some future here although I personally have a few reservations with it.
  • I hope that blogging continues to grow as a medium and that more and more people start getting into it. However as they do the reality is that things are going to get more and more congested on the Pro Blogging front and it will be harder and harder to make it viable.
  • I expect that tools and services will continue to improve. I can’t wait for the day that someone comes up with an RSS news aggregator that is more integrated with an ecto like blogging tool.
  • I worry about blog hijacking and RSS feed stealing. Its getting more and more common to stumble across sites that have stolen content on them with no links back to their source. This concerns me and I’d like to see more tools for automatic detection and alerts of this.
  • Blog Networks like Weblogs Inc and Gawker will continue to be powerhouses in entrepreneurial blogging. Despite my recent posts on ProBlogger that ‘one person blogging businesses’ are a viable way of earning an income from blogging I do acknowledge that joining together with others to blog is probably where the big money will be. I suspect we’ll see more attempt to start similar networks (although there is probably only room for a few to do it on a large scale). I wonder also if we’ll see some new models of blog networks emerge also that are less centralized and controlled by one person (or a small group of people).
Posted by Susannah Gardner on 02/23 at 01:33 PM • Blogs and Business
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Comments

  1. Kiddies, I just discovered Buzz Marketing With Blogs and was surprised to find there is a "Dummies" book by the same name, but I digress….  You absolutely must read

    Posted by http://friendsinbusiness.blogspot.com/2005/02/prof on 02/25/05 at 08:47 AM
  2. Looking forward for Tim Ferris’s upcoming books, launching on Tuesday. My best guess is, the book will be a hit.

    Thanks Susannah and Darren for sharing out the great news.

    Posted by Evelyn Chai on 04/25/07 at 09:24 AM
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