What Do You Think About Personal Blogs?

By Daniel Scocco

questions and answersThis post is part of the Friday Q&A section. If you want to ask a question, just write a comment below.

Arwen Taylor asks:

I wondered if you could talk about “Personality” blogs. These are blogs that people have built solely based around their personality and things happening in their life. An example of this would be Dooce.com and TheBloggess.com.

What do you think it takes to build that type of following? Do you think that is a viable business model? To become Internet famous and then profit off that fame?

I think there are two categories of personal blogs (i.e., a blog that gravitates around the personal life of the author himself and his experiences) that end up becoming popular and making a lot of money for the author (if he decided to monetize it)

The first one refers to the bloggers who were already famous before they jumped on the web. This includes television and movie celebrities, sport celebrities, music celebrities, business celebrities and so on. These people already have a big following, so if they start writing a blog tomorrow, regardless of the topic and content, many people will want to read.

The second category refers to bloggers who were not famous before starting their blogs, but who are incredibly funny, or incredibly insightful, or live an incredibly interesting life, or preferably all of these.

The two examples you mentioned fall in this second category. I am not a reader of either blog, but after a quick visit to the first one you realize the author has many interesting experiences to share, while the second blog is plain hilarious.

If you fall into one of these categories and like to write, then perhaps you could create a viable business model out of it.

However, I still think that creating a popular blog on a specific niche is much easier and can be much more profitable. It is easier your visitors will understand upfront what your blog is about, and whether or not they are interested in it. It can be much more profitable because by focusing on a specific topic you’ll be able to find advertisers and sell products more efficiently.

But what about you, do you think that personal blogs can be a viable business model? Would you try to build one?

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35 Responses to “What Do You Think About Personal Blogs?”

  • Josh Garcia

    Hey Daniel,

    I’m not a big fan of personality blogs. Just like you mentioned I think it’s a lot easier to build a niche blog to monetize from. Plus readers that visit niche blogs are learning from it. Thanks for posting this question.

    Have a great weekend…
    Josh

  • Jean Sarauer

    For most people I doubt that a personality blog would be a good foundation for a business model. The success of the ones that do catch on tends to even take their creators by surprise. That said, I love reading personality blogs because they’re entertaining to me. In most cases, that has just as much to do with the writing ability of the blogger as anything else. Some people have the unique ability to find something extraordinary in ordinary moments. I don’t have that talent so will stick with niche blogging 🙂

  • Onibalusi Bamidele

    Great Question! I think it all matters on the person who owns the blog, how he promotes it and how it is being monetized.
    I will definitely build one soon.

    Thanks
    onibalusi

  • Dev | Technshare

    Hey Daniel,

    Well Said bud really Personal blogs are hard to maintain while niche blogs are so easy to maintain and profitable too.

    I strongly agree with jean some people have the unique 🙂 ability to find some extraordinary in ordinary moments !!
    Thanks for posting this question bro.

  • Jon

    What’s up Daniel!

    Correct if I’m wrong, but I believe niche blogs can be fused with a lot of personality to make it a niche/personal blog. This allows readers to not only enjoy reading the blog but also take away lessons from that niche.

    What do you think?

    • Daniel Scocco

      Yes I believe this is the case too. Examples that come to my mind are Seth Godin and John Chow.

  • Nate @ Practical Manliness

    I cannot stand “cat” blogs (those where people write about their cats).

    Personally, I feel that I cannot live my own life while also reading about other people’s lives. Therefore, I do not read or write personal blogs.

    On the other hand… I have seen a few that seemed to make some good income.

  • Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire

    I think that most people get enough personal blogging through social media now. There is only so much “I just ate a donut” and “what to wear today?” chatter that people can handle.

    However, if you are on a personal mission and you document it from the beginning, like the girl in the movie Julia and Julia, or someone that is trying to lose weight or gain muscle, I can see a lot of business potential in that.

    Just like what Nate says above, the site can’t be about crap. People have no time for that, and the ones that do, aren’t buying.

    The personal site MUST be niche focused, just like any other viable business blog. I can see it happeneing.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  • Nick

    Well I have a personal blog, but it’s not always personal. I write about everything, I will do hardware reviews, software reviews, website reviews, anything I want to share. I’m not going limit my thoughts to one thing.

    I don’t care about making money off from it, so it’s not that big of a deal. I also do a lot photography and I will sometimes post photography tips, you know I just post anything that interest me. I like to share my thoughts with out people out there, some people may not like it, but it’s almost like a journal and the more I keep doing this, I think more viewers will understand my blog and will read them and hopefully comment. It takes time, but it works for me

    In the past I did try to stay focused on technology, but it wasn’t working out because I am so interested in many other things that I wanted to blog about.

    If you like what you doing, then who cares what people thing, right? As long as your happy.

  • Kevin in Manila

    My personal blog lead to the publication of two books. It has also been an extremely good way for me to communicate with a large audience.
    But the blog itself has never been very profitable.

    My fitness blog, on the other hand has made some money for me.

    I think highly profitable personal blogs are the exception, not the rule.

  • Harrison

    No more blogs about cats!

  • keith

    Can you offer any tips or resources in trying to approach a local business about advertising on a site? I’ve searched high and low and everything about advertising online is through Google Ads or other affiliate programs, nothing on approaching a local business. A majority of my readers are all local and I think it’d be a great way to monetize my site. Thanks!

  • Jarrod @ Optimistic Journey

    I’m not a big fan of personal blogs either. Most blogs I read are blogs that are informative in nature and that I can learn and gain personal value from. I might read a celebrity blog for entertainment every once in a while but I’m so busy while on line doing business that I don’t have time to read personal blogs and when I’m done with all my business work my brain is fried and all I want to do is close my laptop.

  • Daniel Wong

    Some personal blogs are making a killing from Advertorials. Kennysia.com is one of them and he revealed about making 4-5 figures monthly (in RM). Now he owns a fitness center. He is only 27.

    A few cross my mind too, like kinkybluefairy.net and xiexue.sg who are full time blogger, blogs about their lifestyle. Xiaxue.sg has her own engagement party fully sponsored… with extra profit too.

    However these are not a suitable business model for everyone.. but they are having fun while earning bucks, so why not?

  • Jennifer Brown Banks

    I think that personal blogs have their place—and if well written and executed, provide enlightenment as well as entertainment for their reading audience (s). They can also serve as business models.
    The one that comes to mind is Ittybiz.com, which is sometimes a whole lot of a lot of different things—professional and personal.

    I immensely enjoy both. Would I build one? Time will tell…

  • Vivek @ InfoEduTech

    it all depends on the author of blog that he wants a personal blog. A you have already described that personal blog is fruitful only when you are popular and you can make more money from it.
    Niche blog totally depends on the hard work of the author and if he get support from the community then he can rule that niche

  • Mary E. Ulrich

    This is a question I wrestle with. To have several blogs, each for a different interest in your life seems sort of schizophrenic, a lot of extra work, and confusing to the people who are following you. It drives me crazy when I find a blogger and then learn they have 3-4 different voices. We all each multi-dimensional, have multi-interests and lead complex chaotic lives. I want to see how one person does the juggling act and figures out life. I want to follow the whole journey.

    Of course, this is why I am still trying to get a handle on the big picture so I can start a blog. Any advice greatly appreciated.

  • Kim Luu | Money and Risk

    Making money from a personality blog would be the most difficult business model because the writer needs to be consistent over a long period of time. This is much more difficult to achieve than people think.

    As a personal blog, you need time to build the audience. You also need to maintain that audience while more readers are being added. If your posts are not engaging enough and it is taking you months or years to build the base, the readership may drop off quickly overnight.

    However, once you catch on and have a fan base, it gets easier and you get free passes to fail now and then.

  • paul Naybour

    I find a personal blog it the best way of managing your own personal brand. It is almost impossible to make money of a blog, but it can let the world know what you think and raise your professional profile.

  • David Walker

    I think in order to make money from a personal blog it truly takes a unique individual. However, I don’t think that most personal blogs are started out with the intent to make it profitable. The ones who succeed are very lucky!
    I think personal blogs are more for the entertainment value than the prospect of making a lot of money. I can’t help but respect those who have made it work for them!

  • Tyler

    Well, I think most people who start a blog have high expectations. Which are dashed at the realization of how hard it is to gain traffic to a website. Usually, most personal websites fail because of the discouragement that follows.

  • Gwen Blackman

    I can speak with authority that personal blogs do not make money. However, I started mine when I moved to an area of the country far from family and friends. It keeps them up-to-date on how I’m doing, my experiences, and provides a bird’s-eye view of my new community. They appear to enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it. No cat stories here!

  • Linda

    There are some deadly dull personality blog and that includes celebrity ones. There’s one in the UK though that has a bit of a naughty title i.e. My Sh*tty Twenties that has quite a cult following. The woman certainly gave it a different name and attracted an audience quickly as there was a real curiousity value.
    So think carefully when naming your blog you may not have to work to hard to gain an audience if it’s a good one.

  • Karol K.

    I think that monetizing a personal blog would not be easy. Personal blogs tend to attract more general audience (somewhat similar to main stream websites, only smaller). But you can always try to promote more general products/offers, the ones that will be interesting for everybody.

  • Lightening

    I think it’s really HARD to make any kind of decent money from a “personal” blog. Pocket money, yes. And income, not so much. The hardest part about it is making money from your friends. Because you’re sharing so much of your own life, your readers become your friends and view you as a friend. Adding money to the mix can complicate things.

    I have a personal blog that is gently monetized and I’ve started a couple of “niche” blogs that are fast catching up to the personal blog in earnings because while they don’t have anywhere near the number of subscribers/regular readers, they are easier to drive search engine traffic to (and that anonymous traffic is easier to make money from than regular readers).

  • Julius

    I agree that readers and advertisers would be attracted to blogs if they had a clearer idea of what the blogger is trying to provide and/or sell. I believe that most of the time, people who do personal blogs are those who see monetizing as a smaller priority.

  • YinTeing

    I agree with Kevin- personality blogs that make lots of money are the exception- not the rule.
    Because so many issues and topics catches my attention and made me want to write about them, I find that I’ll be shooting myself in the head if I start a niche blog for each. So I put most of these musings in my personal blog.
    But what constantly amazes me is that a blog I did on health will drive 85% – 90% of my revenue- and I have close to 10 blogs that I monetize. In that blog, I keep all the posts related to health.
    It’s true- no matter how much I try to deny it, niche or blogs zooming on more specific topics by norm do make more money.

  • Chester

    I have some favorite bloggers who do personal blogging and they’ve got tons of followers. There’s one who even got to monetize from it. She’s a beauty queen and talks about a lot of her beauty regimen and all that and I noticed her ads are mostly beauty products. Personal yet there’s a certain niche as well.

  • Yasagun K. Michi

    I’ve seen some personal blogs that telling people about the owners’ interesting. They tell anything what they get in their life. these blogs got huge of traffic since they’re optimized. Slowly but sure, they become popular. recently, I see they monetized their blogs and earn money through personal blogging.

  • Anette

    I honestly think there is enogh of personel blogs telling about everydaylife and normalities. I am sure there is no business/greater income in that field… But the personal blogs are perfect for personal diary ment for friends and family.

    I totally agree in focusing on a specific topic to reach an audience and make a profit.

  • jack

    Nice article but can you offer any tips or resources in trying to approach a local business about advertising on a site? I’ve searched high and low and everything about advertising online is through Google Ads or other affiliate programs, nothing on approaching a local business. A majority of my readers are all local and I think it would be a great way for my site. Thanks!

  • Mike

    I like personal blogs, however some are target on marketing and those are famous names in the industry…..may be niche blogs are more useful but personal blog gives your more insights about marketers and how do they work

  • Slim2k

    I am finding it hard to generate content for my site, I think this is due to lack of planning on my behalf. But I fully agree that good content is key, and keeping the blog up to date.
    I am trying to work out if you are betting fighting for mainly articles that the big blogs are posting on to or more niche articles that suers can stumble on.

  • Andry

    I agree with Slim2k, it’s hard to generate content for my blog, especially quality content.

  • Arwen Taylor

    I know you posted this forever ago but I wanted to say thank you for answering my question. I really appreciate that.

    I think you really have to have a strong personality that attracts people to make a go of it especially if you are trying to become well known. However, I think if you can tell good stories in an interesting way then a personality blog could be hugely successful.

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