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There’s gold in them there blogs – the truth about how to make money online

Let me ask you a hypothetical question: what’s the best way to make money during a gold rush?

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: the best way to make cash during a gold rush is to sell shovels.

All those crazy people dreaming of getting rich, they all to need to buy a shovel or two.

What does this have to do with blogging? Well, the dream of making easy money online is kinda like a gold rush.

Someone makes a pile and word gets round. Sooner or later, someone else makes money too. Suddenly everyone rushes in.

There’s a mad frenzy of excitement. Most people do an awful lot of digging, an awful lot of work for little or nothing. But so long as someone somewhere is making money, there will always be new dreamers hoping to strike it rich – and lining up to buy a shovel.

So they start their blogs and get writing. But there’s so much they don’t understand, and so much they need. Like hosting, and a template, maybe some design. They might buy some e-books on how to make money online, or how to blog, or how to sell ebooks. You get the drift.

Who’s making the money? The people selling the shovels. They people selling the tools which allow you to live the dream.

Which is why most of the people who seem to make cash blogging are those who are selling information on how to blog, how to make money blogging, how to sell ebooks, premium templates and so on.

There’s nothing wrong with what they are doing, and if you want a shovel, why should they give you one for free? After all, you’re not going to cut them in on your share of the gold, now are you?

So, the moral of the tale is clear: if you want to make money from the blog rush, open up a shovel shop. Sell people the tools they need, be it information, templates, whatever.

You won’t get rich quick. But you can always run a blog or two on the side, just in case you strike lucky.

Pic by ToOliver2 via Flickr

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • fairyhedgehog January 27, 2010, 6:24 pm

    This is a very perceptive post. Luckily I’ve never seen blogging as a way to make money but your point is well taken.

  • seo packages January 31, 2010, 9:52 am

    One in a million makes money. You are right about the shovels. Amazingly, people still believe the internet is easy to make money on. Wrong!
    Lyndon

  • seo packages February 3, 2010, 10:22 pm

    decided to go into the shovel business myself.
    Lyndon

    • Simon February 16, 2010, 6:21 pm

      Smart move.

  • lissie March 25, 2010, 3:46 am

    Yup the water sellers did extremely well in the Ausralian gold fields – for obvious reasons!

    • Simon March 27, 2010, 8:06 am

      I guess selling the essentials is always a solid business model – especially in a recession.

  • Allison April 13, 2010, 10:28 am

    I am new to the world of blogging and think your perspective is simple and brilliant! I have a lot to learn so I hope someone is selling big shovels.

  • Simon April 13, 2010, 3:44 pm

    Allison, if you need a shovel, I’m sure I have a spare one around here somewhere. I could do you a good price.

  • Sam May 5, 2010, 4:51 pm

    That is very important indeed. It is the people who do not take advantage of that who are the ones who normally do not succeed. If you stick with it and learn the ways, this industry can earn you a lot of money!! Good article, nice work.
    ~Sam~
    (G.O.R)

  • Donald F. May 5, 2010, 9:52 pm

    Much as I suspected. A most helpful distinction between blogging as a mode of self-expression and the kind that can actually make a buck. Many thanks for saving an immense amount of time and trouble.

    Now, back to work at writing articles for paying clients in dinosaur print magazines.

    TD

  • Matt Davis August 18, 2010, 7:24 pm

    I think a shovel is what you need to get through the ads to the useful information. The ads for shovels is getting overwhelming on the web. I am blogging just for sanity’s sake and to vent my overactive brain. I’ve played with Adsense on Blogspot.com and can see how it works. I think for the most part, if you have interesting or original content you have the chance to get noticed with some time the right reader base. You have to have readers first. I do like the freedom of expression aspect. I’ll be checking in…like your blog and your dog. I had one like him/her. Airedale named “AP” for “Ann’s Pup”. Great farm dog!

  • Simon August 19, 2010, 12:07 pm

    Matt, thanks for the comment. Good to hear from a fellow Airedale fan. Best dogs in the world, I say, although I am a little biased.
    As for Adsense, though, I’d say forget about it. I don’t think many bloggers make money from it. Most get a few cents / pennies here and there.

    • Matt Davis August 19, 2010, 7:28 pm

      Thanks for reply Simon. I agree, thankfully that’s not what I’m blogging for. Google profits from the clicks. I’m really on your site for writing insight. I’ve been corraled into helping write for a TV show idea so, being a beginner, I’m reading about screenwriting. If he’s got the money. “I’ve got the time” as Willie would say. Just a fun project so I’ll be here often. Yes, I have a farm in Texas Plains which is a home for wayward animals. Where there is a bowl there is a way. They roam, get wet and come into house.

  • Simon August 20, 2010, 2:48 pm

    Matt, we don’t have much on here about screenwriting to be honest. Not something I’ve never done. Some of the more general advice on writing might be of use, however.