Posted June 29, 2007 5:09 pm by with 16 comments

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Okay, maybe not really, but this week not once but twice I’ve been thinking about a topic and then within minutes come across something Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress has said or written about the topic.

Case One: (Hobby) Blog Monetization
Now, let me say that I totally think business blogs, quality blogs about making money online, and business models based around blogs are valid and can be monetized effectively.

But as a someone somewhat active in a hobby blogging field, I am getting so tired of seeing AdSense blocks placed before or in the middle of articles (oh, come on, are you going to trick your readers into clicking? Or just annoy them like you have me?) and animated sidebar skyscrapers. I just wonder whether annoying their readers is really worth the few cents a day they make off them.

In an interview with Daily Blog Tips, Lorelle had this to say:

How long should a blogger wait to monetize the blog?

Ha! Forever!

I do not think bloggers should monetize their blogs. I think that people who want to get into the business of blogging must make a business plan on how they will use blogging for their business or as their business, thus creating a plan for monetizing their blogs.

But general bloggers? Why should your hobby make money? If you want to work your way towards professional blogging, then blog for a year or two to get a feel for blogging and make your business plan. Then move towards being a professional blogger.

Blogging, in general, is a hobby. Blogging for business is a business. There is a big difference between them and I’m a fan of a hobby for enjoyment. Not every hobby has to make money.

I was pretty shocked to hear that. It’s a pretty controversial statement to make these days—I mean, isn’t everyone supposed to monetize his/her blog? What do you think?

Case Two: Updating Ranking Posts
Say you “accidentally” rank in the top 10 for a keyword—one you weren’t targeting, but are now getting some pretty nice traffic for. If you’re not already #1, I suppose, should you go back to that page and re-optimize it for this keyword (assuming it’s a keyword that you like and the page is relevant to it)?

On the Blog Herald on Wednesday, Lorelle’s column was about exactly that topic, and her answer was a resounding yes. Among her tips:

  • Revitalize the title tag
  • Include better keywords
  • Rewrite from a new perspective
  • Rewrite it with more blogging experience
  • Add a list
  • Spell check

She also mentions ways to draw more attention to your old posts, including using a Related Posts plugin, incorporating it into a series, linking to it again and revisiting the subject. And of course, you can do this to try to help old posts that aren’t ranking, too.

There are a few issues here. There’s a chance that search engines might automatically ding your ranking because any links leading to that page may not be “votes” for what’s now on the page (albeit probably a remote chance). Obviously, if your page is already ranking, you don’t want to make substantial changes. But, on the other hand, if you can optimize it for conversions or stickiness—user friendliness—then I would say go for it.

What do you think?

  • No, everyone *isn’t* supposed to monetize their blog. But it is nice to make enough money from AdSense to pay my hosting costs for the year and still have money left over to upgrade my RAM.

  • “Why should your hobby make money?”

    Why shouldn’t it?

  • Tony

    I always re-optimize pages if they rank, by checking grammar and spelling, and then maybe tweaking a page description if its warranted. But normally I add new content to further entice the keywords.

  • On accidental rankings, we are accidentally 8th on for the search PR firms and have been wondering what to do with it. Has to be useful somehow, right…?

  • Thank you for the recommendations and for the great way you are getting people thinking about these issues. They are so critical and often overlooked, which is why I love bringing them up.

    It has long been believed that a hobby is something you do that is not a job. It’s what you look forward to doing while at your job. It’s something that brings you enjoyment, wisdom, and develops your creativity and imagination. It brings you joy.

    Should your joy bring you money? That’s a complicated question.

    The key is that once you put a monetary value on your hobby, your hobby changes. It becomes about the numbers. It’s about the responsibilities that arise from producing income and making contracts and agreements, paying taxes on that income, and all the rest – your hobby becomes a business which makes it no longer a hobby.

    When you change a thing, the rules change with it.

    As for the question of proper categories on your blog, I’m still looking for the two “best” answers to my challenge.

    And yes, your old posts are invaluable resources we often ignore, so thanks for pointing that article out, too. Much thanks.

  • “Should your joy bring you money? That’s a complicated question.”

    um, not really, because both answers are correct. This question has no right or wrong answer from my point of view.

  • “The key is that once you put a monetary value on your hobby, your hobby changes…your hobby becomes a business which makes it no longer a hobby.”

    I’d say this is more of a personal mindset. Just because you turn your hobby into a money making enterprise does not mean you have to change your approach to it (especially if you haven’t quite your day-job).

  • My Turkish blog is ranked at top for some computer tech related keywords. But not getting enough traffic from other content on my blog.

  • Primary goal for blogs should be blogging. If you start making money later it is only good but noone can start blog to make money.

  • Personally I feel that if your hobby can generate some sort of residual income, then so be it. If the monetisation changes the shape and tone of your blog, then yes, this is where it stops becoming a hobby and becomes a job. The acid test is asking yourself the question: If I had to stop this for a month, would it be a problem? If you miss it because you enjoy it, it’s a hobby. If you worry about paying the bills, then it’s not.

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  • I think any hobby should be able to make money. Some people consider making money a hobby. Just because you enjoy doing something doesn’t mean it should be relegated to non-profit status while your “job” should be a dreary chore. Every hobbyists dream is to quit his day job.

    On re-optimizing, I don’t waste my time. There are other ways to boost a page’s ranking. Inbound links are one important way to do this and specifically anchor text. I recommend the following approaches to give your “accidentally ranked” pages additional search juice:

    1) Ask bookmarking friends to rate it
    2) Visiting forums and linking specifically to that post
    3) Commenting on other blogs with a link to that post
    4) Writing articles and including a link to that post in the resource box
    5) Revisiting the topic in your own blog and linking back to it

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  • I don’t think it’s wrong to make money out of a hobbie. People sell handmade baskets and wooden carved statues every day. How should a blog be any different? I also think it’s wrong to fill a blog with a hundred ads. Just my two cents.

  • It’s not an issue of right or wrong. It’s an issue of “difference” and “change”. If you are blogging for fun and you start to monetize your blog, your blogging style changes. Trust me. It does. Your thinking changes. A lot of people think that their hobby has to pay for itself. It doesn’t. There is nothing wrong with having no ads on your blog. There is nothing wrong with having ads (though, too many is too much).

    It’s about the mind set. As mentioned, when the joy goes out of it and it becomes a job, is it worth it to lose your hobby?

    And if you do decide to monetize your blog, make a plan. Research. Study. Learn from the experts who made the mistakes first before you start the monetization process.

    Enough folks have blindly gone forth and made all the blogging mistakes, so learn from them and plan accordingly to do better. And you will find that your blog is now a business, hobby or not. Things change from when it was for fun.

    Biggest change of all? The tax man cometh. 😀

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