Earlier this week, I was explaining what I do for a living to someone I was meeting for the first time, and he asked me an interesting question:
Blogging seems to only be growing. Did you see a dip in income due to the recession? Or would you say this is a fairly recession-proof industry?
I don’t pretend to be an expert in economics. In fact, I know very little about economics. What I do know, however, is that my wallet is a bit lighter, and I don’t think their are as many blogging jobs floating around as their once were. In addition, it is slightly harder to sell products, since consumers have less money to spend. This industry is definitely not recession-proof.
Blogs have failed over the past year because of the recession, though. Good blogs. Great blogs, even. If you work for someone else (like I do for BlogWorld Expo), you could get “laid off” essentially because they don’t have the money to upkeep the blog anymore. Bloggers who work for themselves, running their own blogs, have also had to make tough decisions – blogs have died because the blogger just couldn’t turn a profit, even with great content. Times are tough.
So, I’d like to go over a few ways in which you can recession-proof your blog, especially if you’re thinking about starting a new blog. As an experienced blogger, you might be able to adjust what you’re doing already to keep your blog functional, even when you’re seeing less of an income. Nothing in any industry can be truly recession-proof, but hopefully, these tips will help your blog make it through to the other side.
- Create content that people need.
In a recession, people have to make hard choices about how to spend their money, and it comes down to cutting the “wants” so you can afford the “needs” in life. So, be a blog that people need, not just something they want. No matter what you niche, you can identify how to tap into a person’s core necessities for happiness. If you write a parenting blog, your readers want cute stories and pictures, but they need to know how to keep their kids safe. If you write a travel blog, your readers want travel tips and information about cool destinations, but they need to know how to save money when traveling. If you write a relationships blog, your readers want to know flirting tips, but they need to know how to get through a bad breakup.
You get the picture.
You can create free content on your blog that attacks a reader’s wants, but if you’re asking them to shell out money in any way, such as by purchasing something through your affiliate program or buying an information ebook you’ve written, you need to attack their needs.
- Price products for your target market.
One of the biggest problems I see on blogs that I read is that their products (affiliate or otherwise) cost more that I can afford to spend. Yes, I would love to buy that video camera for $700, but unless I give my landlord the middle finger this month, there’s no way that’s going to happen. Even when you’ve created a product that people need, not just want, you have to remember that your readers are on a budget.
That’s not to say you should under-price an item. If you create a video course and booklet about budgeting for single parents that gives your readers 100 hours of unique information, you shouldn’t sell that product for $20. That doesn’t make sense. What also doesn’t make sense is why you would create that product in the first place if your market is single parents who need to learn how to budget. If they need to know how to budget, that probably means they’re living paycheck to paycheck. Sure, they need your course, but they need groceries more. Instead, you could create a series of products, starting with an ebook that sells for $20. That’s much more affordable for your audience.
- Automate your daily blogging tasks.
One of the main reasons that blogs don’t survive during a recession is that the blogger can’t justify the time put out versus the profits coming in. So, work fewer hours.
Let’s say you work at a full-time job and also work on your blog about 20 hours per week and make about $1000 per month in sales, ad clicks, etc. You’re making a cool $12.50 per hour. Is that blog worth it? Unless you’re just starting out and focused on building up the blog, probably not. You do have to strive for long-term goals, but if you’re holding steady at this rate after a year or so, you could probably make a better living just getting a second job.
But what if you could work 10 hours per week and still make $1000? You’d be making twice as much per hour and would have more free time, which you could use to start a second blog, get a night job, or just spend more time with your family.
You can save time as a blogger by automating the process as much as possible. Write your posts of the week all at once when you’re on a role. Use a simple theme that works with time-saving plugins. Connect your blog and your social networking profiles to cut down on the time your spend on promotion.
A lot of other bloggers have covered ways to save time blogging; here are some of my favorite posts:
- 10 Ways To Save Time While Blogging at Find Blog Ideas
- 3 Business Blogging Tips to Save Time—even if you hate writing at The Publicity Hound’s Blog
- How to Organize Ideas and Save Time at Blogging With Success
- Using ‘Canned Responses’ to Save Time While Helping Readers at Problogger
- How to Blog on Company Time…Without Breaking the Rules at Blogging Pro
Got a time-saving tip or link? Post it as a comment!
When the economy sucks, we all suffer. That’s going to happen even if you’re the smartest, most diligent blogger in the world. People can’t spend money they don’t have, even if they absolutely love you.
I’m curious – have you guys and gals seen a decrease in your income due to the recession?
Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She knows so little about economics that she looked up “recession” on Wikipedia to make sure she was using the term correctly.