According to Wikipedia, a blog is a portmanteau (a blending of two words) of the terms web and log. It’s a discussion or informational site published on the Internet, usually consisting of “posts” with the most recent post appearing first.
Really, a blog is nothing more than an online journal where you can record your reflections, opinions, and thoughts on a topic of your choosing. Posting to it is a matter of regularly writing your best, most interesting stories in a public journal.
Before 2009, blogs were generally the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject. Recently “multi-author blogs” have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited.
Many people have made fortunes writing blogs. The topics range from business and politics to health, fashion, and everything in between. The most successful blogs include:
- The Huffington Post is a news-oriented blog founded in May 2005 by Arianna Huffington. AOL acquired it in 2011 for $315 million. The Huffington Post rakes in an estimated $2.3 million a month in pay-per-click revenue alone.
- Mashable.com is another wildly successful news blog. Peter Cashmore started the site in 2005 as a teenager. Today he is worth approximately $95 million.
- Another popular blog launched in 2009 is Business Insider, founded by Kevin P. Ryan. Today it is one of the most trusted sources for business news with over 5 million visitors daily.
- Lifehacker.com turned something as simple as tips and hints to make your daily life easier into an advertising cash machine. Its creator Gina Marie Trapani is worth an estimated $109 million.
I know what you’re thinking, “These are the exceptions, not the rule.” Now I’m not promising you millions, but making a few thousand dollars a month in your spare time is realistic.
My Own Story
I’m not an expert on blogs, but I did spend 10 years writing essays on business under the pen name of Michael Masterson. These essays were sent to some 80,000 people and then posted on a website called Early to Rise.
I never thought of it as a blog. But that’s what it was – an online journal of best business practices for entrepreneurs.
In the beginning, I wrote all of the essays. As time passed, I included other experts writing about business, which increased the value to my readers and reduced my workload.
The project started as a hobby. But before long it turned into a business. Within a year, it was making money. Within three years, it was generating millions of dollars in revenues that gave me a good additional income stream and provided good income for at least a dozen talented people.
I met quite a few bloggers during the ten years that I worked on Early to Rise—most of whom weren’t making much money. Most of these folks didn’t seem to understand the first thing about writing or marketing. So their lack of success was no big surprise.
Recently I’ve been reading articles about people who are earning very substantial incomes from their blogs. You can find stories from three bloggers who are making six-figures on the Great Escape Publishing page, here.
While only one of these three hires guest bloggers to write posts like we did at ETR, they are still all very successful for a few important reasons. Like the blogs I mentioned above, they focus on a particular theme and they’re interesting to read. They’re well written and they’re good at attracting new readers and pulling old ones back each day.
If you’re able to hone in on these things with your blog, too, you’ll no doubt find success- whether you choose to invite other authors to post or just keep it as your own individual journal for the world.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]