“Blogs don’t make money. But people with blogs can.”

Dave Winer says he’s made more than $2 million with his blog over the last 12 years. And he’s never put a single ad on it. He explains how this came to be –and the role of a blog– in this excellent post:

“…it’s a way of communicating what you’re doing. Companies, consultants and authors need to do a lot of communicating, and blogs allow you to go direct, and be more efficient, less diluted. People get a real feel for who you are and how you think and what you’re like as a person. Why would I ever let someone else hitch their “message” on this — it would get in the way of me making money!

If I had any advice to offer it’s this — get in the habit of communicating directly with the people you want to influence. Don’t charge them to read it and don’t let others interfere with your communication. Talk through your blog as you would talk face to face. You’d never stop mid-sentence and say “But first a word from my sponsor!” — so don’t do that on your blog either. I can’t promise you’ll make any money from your blog, and I think the more you try the less chance you have. Make a good product and listen to your customers to make it better, and use the tools to communicate, and you may well make money from the whole thing. To expect the blog alone to pay your bills is to misunderstand what a blog can do.”

If you’re a blogger or think you might ever be, this post is worth a read.

3 thoughts on ““Blogs don’t make money. But people with blogs can.”

  1. True. Unfortunately, I need at least enough of a reward to pay for my kids’ doctor visits …
    (hence the hand-wringing among my fellow journalists)

  2. Michael:
    The real nugget for me is that you don’t have to make ANY money from blogging. Our make it a promotional or marketing tool. Blogging can be its own –and only– reward.

  3. No argument with the take-away from Winer’s piece — namely that ads aren’t the only way (or even the best way) to make money through blogging.
    But I’m not sure his financial model will work so well for, say, the newspaper companies that are floundering about in this new media. Most of Winer’s millions came from creating an online product/brand and selling it. It’s a variation on the model that’s worked very well for tech companies over the decades. But (for example) if I create a great blog for the newspaper where I work, neither I nor my bosses can ever turn around and sell the blog.
    That said, his point about self-promotion, building an online following and “keeping my name and ideas on people’s minds” is solid — it’s a lesson we printies continue to work on.

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