The Future of Thoughts

So there I go, thinking about blogging again. First I admit my schizophrenia, then I cut back, then I admit to being a blogaholic and talk about doing more, then I actually start doing more. Sheesh. Just when I think I have this habit under control, I go and read about six-figure bloggers. I’m hopeless.

But actually, it’s filled me with a lot of hope. I’m just not sure what to do. [this is going to be one of those long rants, so most of you may want to bail now]

Reading about the six figure blogger, Darren Rowse, has actually been pretty inspiring. The guy started a personal blog back in 2002 and it’s spawned into 17 or so different blogs and the guy makes big money doing it. He stays at home and blogs all day. That may sound pretty lazy to some of you, but it’s actually a lot of hard work. And it sounds great to me. Sitting at home and writing all day. That’s sort of what I do now, though having a network of money-making blogs would set me up as a publisher of sorts, not just the bottom-feeding freelancer I am now. There’s a little more stability in that.

So I’ve been reading Rowse’s ProBlogger for the past week or so, filling up on ideas about what it takes to make real money from a blog. For the record, I’ve probably made less than $50 in the past year directly from my blog (indirectly is another story). So the idea of making $50 a day is pretty tempting. Heck, $50 a month would be nice. Anything to make a dent in those loans. (The savvy Thoughts readers out there will notice a new ad that’s actually in the content area on my individual post pages. It’s all a part of my experimenting to see what works. Does it? In the short term it does. But I make so little money from AdSense that it’s hard to gauge trends from tweaks like this. A dime here and a dime there isn’t much to go on.)

The conclusion I’ve come to is that for a blog to be successful it helps to have a tightly focused niche. That’s exactly what I don’t have. A random look at the home page shows posts on my new dog, a college friend, a book about being homeless, a Christian rock spoof movie, fun with satellite images, the top worries of young adults and Seth Godin being nice to Minnesota, just to name a few. Talk about random.

All of which makes me thinking breaking up the site into specific topics would be more effective. I’m not sure everyone would agree. Part of me likes to think all my visitors like reading whatever I have to say because they’re interested in who I am, and if I think it’s interesting, they’ll think it’s interesting. Pretty full of myself, aren’t I? Honestly, I think these personality driven blogs that cover everything under the sun only work for a few, select personalities who are either already famous for being blog pioneers, or were already famous in another field. I’m neither. (as a bone to the folks who like all Kevin D. Hendricks, all the time, I’d probably set up a page that pulls in feeds from all the various blogs

6 thoughts on “The Future of Thoughts”

  1. I enjoy blogging, but I might not like it so much if I HAD to do it, ya know? It’s sorta like, I write professionally so why would I want it to be my hobby? I guess you could go in a lot of circles with that. Maybe I should just go to bed now. :)

  2. You should feed some of your blogs from other blogs. Basically, write once, blog anywhere. You can use php to parse RSS feeds and make your posts seems like they came from you directly but rather it is you behind the curtain, blowing the steam and working the levers. I don’t know how to do it exactly but I am trying to do something like that for a new academic page I am making using WordPress. There is a better solution, I know there is …somewhere…finding it is the problem.

  3. I’m not sure I get what you’re saying Andy. Are you saying I can use some PHP thing to tell the RSS which blog to send stuff to? Or does the PHP figure out which RSS to post? And how does that help me? I’m not so worried about how I actually write the stuff, or even post the stuff. I’m more worried about people finding and reading the end product.

    I also realized while walking through Barnes & Noble tonight that I basically laid out a potential business plan on my blog (albeit a rather lame one). Rather open and honest of me, huh? Kind of fitting for a blog.

    And Jaime, writing has always been something I’ve never grown tired of. Not sure how that happens, maybe it’s the variety of stuff I write about, but I love it. I’d do it for a job, I’d do it for a hobby, I’d do it for a vacation (wait, I’ve done all three).

  4. Kevin, you’re the blogging inspiration for a whole circle of bloggers, myself included. I can remember wondering, “Why does he journal online? I guess it’s a writing thing.” That was way before the word “blog” had entered the general lexicon. You were doing this years before the rest of us were, and you may be doing it years after we give up, too. ;-) I’m really only bringing that up to point out that you’ve already been a huge success in at least some fashion. So before you turn your eyes to the future, pat yourself on the back. Seriously.

    It’s a difficult call as to how to split things up. The main motivation for splitting things is the desire to have more readers, and more of those readers happy, right? So I figure that as long as anyone can keep up with any or all of your blogs easily while also simultaneously weeding out the content they’re not interested in, they’ll be satisfied. If you’re the first one to link to interesting things or give interesting insight into those things, they’ll keep coming back.

  5. Hey Kevin,

    From a Joe-reader standpoint, I actually dig all of your stuff thrown into one spot. I can always scroll over stuff and skim, though I usually end up just reading everything – unless it has something to do with Nascar. I don’t think you’ll succeed in roping me into that :)

    But from a “making money on blogging” standpoint, the multiple, narrower blogs maybe makes more sense. I dunno.

    I just realized none of that was incredibly helpful. Well, my two cents, at any rate.

  6. I think blogging is good, it give people different points of views, some people just look at one source of something, and just believe that’s the only definition or answer. But blogs give us different opportunities and varieties of comments. I do think that Dave made a point up there, narrower blogs maybe makes more sense.

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