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The Long-Term Approach to Blogging

Posted by on 22nd Aug 2007 | 3 comments

Building a business takes time. If you’re hoping to make a business out of your blog, blogging is no exception. Sure, there are some ways to quickly make a little bit of money, and yes, the risks are much lower than starting a traditional business. But overall, building a steady income through a blog is similar to any other business venture, it doesn’t happen overnight.

Many bloggers hope to launch a blog and start making money right away. When this doesn’t happen, bloggers frequently become discouraged and ultimately make a quick exit from the blogging business.

One of the keys to being able to make money from a blog is starting with a focus on the long-term, rather than the short-term. Focusing on the long-term doesn’t mean that there is a lack of effort in the short-term, quite the opposite. A long-term focus relies on consistent efforts over time to get to the desired results.

Why Do Bloggers Benefit from a Long-Term Focus?


1 – Over time you will experience an increase in readers.
Although there are a few exceptions, large subscriber bases are not normally built very quickly. Once the readers have been gathered, the income potential will be available.

2 – Current readers will become more loyal with time. Think about the blogs you read every day or every week. Do you feel more of a connection and more loyalty to those writers now than you did when you first came across their blog? In all likelihood you do. It’s a natural occurrence that comes from reading on a regular basis. A responsive group of readers is key to making money.

3 – Your content will build up. As you continue to consistently publish new posts, the amount of material that is on your blog will build up to something significant. This has a big impact on the amount of visitors you draw from search engines, and it also makes your blog a more valuable resource for visitors.

4 – You will have more time to gain links. Many of your visitors will come to your blog through links and referrals from other bloggers. These visitors often become your most consistent and loyal visitors. Gathering a lot of links will help to increase your number of subscribers as well as helping your search engine rankings.

5 – More trust from search engines. Search engines, especially Google, are very concerned with sending visitors to trusted domains. The longer your website has been around, the more trusted it will become (assuming you don’t do anything to damage that trust). Older domains typically have an edge over newer domains.

6 – Branding development is possible. One of the best ways to develop reader loyalty is to effectively brand your blog. Branding takes time.

7 – Increase monetization options. As you build up a larger subscriber base, and as your blog draws more traffic, more opportunities will be available to make money with your blog. Advertisements, affiliate programs, selling your own products, it all becomes easier and more profitable when you already have established readers.


The Downside to the Long-Term Approach

Although the long-term approach is necessary for most bloggers to be able to make an income online, there is a downside to it.

1 – It can be a de-motivator.
For many bloggers, not making money now causes them to loose some motivation. Without the will and desire to keep pushing on, many give up.

2 – There’s not much compensation for your efforts in the short-term. When building a blog with a long-term approach all focus is on future earnings. While this is fine for some, it can be hard to put in hours of work with little or no financial benefit right now.


The Short-Term Approach

While the long-term approach is best for most bloggers and provides the highest chances of success, some bloggers still prefer to take a short-term approach to making money. With the short-term approach:

1 – Whatever makes money today is the best option.
Building a business for the future is not relevant. Profit must be made now, and delayed gratification is not an option. (Made-for-AdSense blogs are a good example of this. Most of them have one goal – get visitors to click on ads. Building reader loyalty is not a priority.)

2 – You may be able to make money now that will compensate you for your time. While the long-term approach requires work with little or no short-term rewards, a short-term approach is geared towards compensating efforts immediately.


The Downside of the Short-Term Approach

1 – You may sacrifice greater long-term profitability in order to make a smaller profit quickly. This is a big sacrifice to make, and this is the reason most serious bloggers choose a long-term approach.

2 – There are no long-term benefits of building a blog. In other words, you’ll always have to work just as hard to keep making money. With the long-term approach it is possible that it could get easier to make more money as you build up a solid blog.


What other pros and cons do you see of each approach, and which approach are you taking?


Steven Snell designs websites and maintains a blog for Vandelay Website Design. You can read more of his writing and see his portfolio at www.vandelaydesign.com.

3 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Kevin on 22nd Aug 2007

    I think that a lack of patience is a big factor as to why so many blogs fail or are dropped after the first few months. A blog is no different to a website with regards to making money – it takes a while to establish a website and even longer before it makes decent cash

  • Posted by Steven Snell on 22nd Aug 2007

    I think a lot of it comes down to your expectations. If you understand that it will take a while and you're prepared for the journey, you're much more likely to succeed down the road.

  • Posted by Henk ter Heide on 26th Aug 2007

    I think it all comes down to why you are blogging. I blog as a means to publish my drawings.

    I've tried earning some money and probably will try again in the future but it doesn't matter that much if that doesn't works because I still will have my drawings.