So I'm still semi-employed, and thinking more seriously about using my general writing ability to bring in an income. That naturally makes me think about blogging, and I know of at least two bloggers who have parlayed a personal blog into a writing career: Jen, of Cake Wrecks
, and Steve Dublanica, who also turned his blog about his waiter career, Waiter Rant
, into a book deal.esrblog
thinks I should try to build an empire based on one of my historical blogs. As most of my readers probably know, I've been writing a blog about historical costume, Loose Threads: Yet Another Costuming Blog
for four years, and a historical food blog, Table Scraps
, for about three. I enjoy writing them a lot, and I think I've made them into interesting and useful information sources.
But they are not blockbuster material. They are both Blogger blogs (because I wanted a platform that was free and would let me do some formatting without having to spend lots of time wrestling with HTML), Blogger automatically collects viewer statistics (since it's hooked into Google's AdSense monetization software), and those statistics have disinclined me even to try to use AdSense on either site. Consider this:
I update Loose Threads
, on average, about 5 times a month. (In good months, I manage three times a week.) As of today, Loose Threads
has 118 followers and a lifetime total of 124,186 page views. It averages about 100 page views a day. A lot of the page views are probably me, looking up some of the features on the site or correcting things in posts. Granted, there are probably people who read my blog regularly who haven't bothered, for whatever reason, to "follow" me on Blogger. But even if I assume my readership is 5 times, or 10 times, my "followers" figure, that's still not a lot of people in terms of making an income out of the blog.
I make a point of updating Table Scraps
at least once a month, though I will write more posts if I am inspired to do so. It has a smaller following. As of today, Table Scraps
has 17 followers and a lifetime total of 22,744 page views. It averages about 30-40 page views a day.
These figures in and of themselves don't bother me. I had been hoping, however, for more and livelier comments. By observing the sites over the past 3-4 years, I have finally figured out why I don't get more comments.
Simply put, most of my posts are about history, and history is a subject about which most readers know very little. So they are reluctant to comment. When I move into areas on which more people are knowledgeable--e.g.
, weaving, or sewing, or other types of craft--I get more comments.
Then I started thinking about blogs I read, and blogs that I know have been very successful, and I'm seeing trends from which I've made the following deductions.
1. The most financially successful blogs collect lots of readers. Having lots of readers doesn't automatically mean that you'll make money--but if you have lots of readers it becomes possible to monetize your site. This is not surprising.
2. The most financially successful blogs also collect lots of commenters. Granted, a relatively small percentage of readers of a blog actually comment, but all things being equal, a blog with lots of comments from lots of different people has a lot of readers. This is not surprising either.
3. The most financially successful blogs have subject matter that appeals to people from all walks of life and different interests. This makes sense--if you appeal to lots of different people, you're more likely to get the kind of volume to make a financial success of your blog.
4. All things being equal, people are reluctant to comment unless they know, or at least believe they know, something about the subject matter of the blog post. This did surprise me (though I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, since I certainly am unlikely to comment on topics on which I am ignorant).
5. It follows, from #4 above, that the most successful blogs involve subjects as to which most people believe they can contribute a halfway reasonable two cents. (Whether they are *correct* in that belief is irrelevant; what matters is that they have something to say that they are willing to type into a browser.) What subjects are those? The top ones, it seems to me, are politics and religion--two subjects which I can barely bear to *read* about, let alone write about. I suppose sports, sex and movies are up there, but I know so little about sports I can't be sure how much it's blogged about.
You'd think this would make Table Scraps
fairly popular. Not so. More people are interested in cooking than they are in the history of food, and I cook more from necessity than enjoyment. So I mostly write about books and history, rather than about eating and cooking, and sure enough, I get few comments (and the comments I do get are mostly on the posts in which I discuss the historical recipes with which I've experimented).
So the question is whether I can manage to find subjects about which I could write about interestingly AND which would be popular enough to earn money. I'd really appreciate suggestions, even if they start with "I think your deductions are wrong!" Please feel free to comment!
One topic I'm not especially interested in discussing at this point is posting frequency. I do understand that it's important to post often, and I probably would get more readers for both Loose Threads
and Table Scraps
if I updated them daily. However, I fear the quality of the material I posted would suffer, and I don't think I'd get enough additional readers for either with daily updates to justify the effort.
Crossposted to LiveJournal. Comments either here or there are fine.