There are tangible and intangible benefits to blogging, but for most of you the primary source of income will come from working as a Java developer, Java lead, Java architect, etc for an organization. Blogging can bring in a supplementary income and most importantly the intangible benefits like continuous proactive learning, networking, better employ-ability, fast tracking your career, etc. So, blogging is a great way to open more doors, but you need to have the right expectations. In terms of earning a secondary passive income, having a blog with 100+ posts and advertisements sprayed across is only going to earn you peanuts.
#1: Work out your revenue generation model
It could be the combination of one or more of the following options.
- Pay per click via Google adsense or other networks. Some ad networks require a reasonable size page views before your site gets approved. Income from adsense will be very small unless you have 1 million plus page views per month. This is not 2006, and there are lots of blogs out there and revenue from adsense is not that attractive. Adsense may work ok in some niches and with very high volume views. You can’t have this as a revenue model. This revenue might pay for your coffee or tea whilst proactively learning and blogging to become a better Java developer.
- Selling your products, services, time for one-on-one or group coaching, and books. This can generate a decent income depending on how well your products, services, expertise and books are received by your readers and followers. My blog helped me promote my services as a freelance Java developer and my books (sold 35,000+ copies).
- Subscription based model. It can generate a decent income with fewer well targeted subscribers compared to the first 2 options. It is not easy to get your readers to pay for your subscriptions. Your content must be unique. For example, online training courses. If you are confident that subscription model will work for you, then choose the right blogging or content management system that supports subscription and paypal integration. WordPress is a good example. My blog “java-success.com” is subscription based. It is easy to get started, but getting subscribers to pay for your premium content is not at all a walk in the park.
- Selling advertising space and getting sponsors. Find service and product providers relevant to your domain and sell advertising space by contacting the suppliers. You need to have a decent page views for this like 500k+ page views per month.
- Your Blog can lead to creating educational courses for online training sites like Lynda.com, Udemy.com, TreeHouse.com, etc that work on a revenue share model.
#2 to #5 are going to be your ultimate goal. So, start with the right blogging platform with facilities (i.e. plugins) for paid subscription, eCommerce, pdf downloads, private videos via Vimeo, image light box, etc. Registering a domain name may cost $9.95/year and shared hosting around $9.95 a month.
#2: You need to be very patient
On average it can take 3 to 4 years of hard work to get a decent number of readers and followers. This is not 2006, and there are so much noise out there. Many give up after 1 or 2 years. If you can’t be creative to produce unique and very useful content, then you can’t create a business model or brand yourself.
#3: Stop tinkering with your blog post design & look/feel
and spend more time on 1. writing unique and quality posts 2. promoting those posts via social media and industry forums. Social media includes LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. A decent layout and look/feel are important, but it is easy to fall into the trap of spending more time on look and feel. Another trap is to monitor your page views and adsense revenue every hour or so. I have fell for this trap many times :). It is quite easy to loose focus. Spend maximum effort on producing unique content and promoting them.
#4: Your blog is a great repository of your experience & knowledge
and can become an inspiration for your books, products, services, and personal branding. It has never been easier to self publish your books with the advent of Lulu.com and createspace.com at a fraction of a cost (e.g. $0 to $100.00). Your content can be used to create video tutorials at udemy.com or lynda.com, and enjoy the decent revenue share model.
#5: Content is the key
so, aim for 1. quality content 2. concise content (who has the time to read paragraph after paragraph?), favor bullet points 3. diagrams and videos will add value to your content 4. produce authentic content as people will be more interested in hearing about your experience and views than reproducing what is already on the net 5. your content must add value as in learning a new piece of technology/framework, preparing for job interviews, fast tracking his/her career, etc.
Note: You will be up and running with your blog after watching a few YouTube videos, but your main challenges will be along the lines of
1) Many dream and start, but only a few do and persevere.
2) Many have academic abilities, but only a few have good imagination.
3) Many follow or reproduce, but only a few lead or invent.
When it comes to blogging and social media, there are no hard and fast rules or theories. Most things are experimental. You will learn from your experience as to what really resonates with people.
So, blogging is a great tool to fast track your career via proactive learning and branding, but in terms of opening it up to be a business model is not at all easy. I will pick the “learning by blogging” to certification as it has greater potential to open more doors.