Should You Really Write About What You Love If You Want to Make Money Online?
That is a common clichÃ© among bloggers, make money online experts and web entrepreneurs. I am sure you heard it before. Heck, I used to give this advice myself. It goes like this:
If you want to make money online, you got pick a topic that you are passionate about. You need to love it, else it will not work.
I used to agree with it, one hundred percent.
Lately, however, I started questioning that rule. Creating a website on a topic that you love is certainly a good strategy, and it works well for many people, but I am not sure if it is the only way to go, or the best one.
The first flaw I see on that rule is the following fact: if the niche or topic you love is not a profitable one, it will be pretty hard to make a lot of money online with it no matter what.
Suppose you love tea. Should you write about it if you want to make money online? I am not sure. You could certainly create a popular website around tea, but if you decided to go with a more profitable niche instead, while putting the same effort and time, you could end up making much more money.
One argument that people use to back up the “you got write about what you love” theory is the fact that if you choose a topic merely because it is profitable, soon you will lose the motivation. If you write about something you love, on the other hand, you will have content for years to come.
This is partially true, but not completely. Why? Because some people get motivated by the pure desire of making money or becoming successful.
In other words, if they start a website on a profitable niche and see that their efforts is bringing a good amount of money, they will get motivated no matter what the topic is. They will even do research and learn about it if needed.
So what is my position now? I think that both strategies can work. Choosing a niche or topic because you love it is a good route to success, but choosing a profitable one and approaching it scientifically can be equally successful.
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50 Responses to “Should You Really Write About What You Love If You Want to Make Money Online?”
This is all really subjective. I write about music as a way to scratch my creative itch. Have I made money doing it? Yes. Do I make enough to write full time? No, at least not yet.
The whole reason I started a blog and a podcast was because the tools are now available for anybody to publish what they are passionate about. If it was just about money I would stick to my day job. The reason it is important to be passionate about your topic is because it is a hell of a lot of work and that passion will get you through the inevitable rough patches.
I do a little WordPress Consulting and lately I’m seeing clients have a laser focus on getting paid–even though they can’t actually write! There are still some late comers to the blog bandwagon, but they are usually so clueless that I turn them away. For love, I write a small site about some old cookware that isn’t even made any more… but the occasional checks from that site are really extra satisfying.
If you write what you love and write it well, you can usually find a way to make it pay. This is what my friend, Emily Bullock, and I did. Four years after graduating from the UEA Creative Writing MA, one of the UK’s top courses, we still hadn’t found anyone to publish our unusual novels – hers focuses on a TB hospital on the Isle of Wight just before the Second World War and mine is a slightly surreal romp through the mind of an under-achieving twenty-something, featuring kosher sausage rolls and the sabotage of the UK’s number one daytime TV show.
After four years of trying, we stumbled upon an unprecedented internet scheme to publish 5,000 books for free before Christmas 2008. Both of our books are coming out through this scheme over the next month, and will be available on Amazon and through book stores in the UK and US. Of course, there’s no guarantee we’ll make anything from it, but at least we’ve now got a product to sell
🙂 Ok, I believe you, but still, this clichÃ© is totally right. It doesn’t matter how much you earn if you don’t love what you’re doing. Eventually you’ll give up, or worse, you’ll do something for a very long time that isn’t fulfilling at all. You got me with that celebrity gossip, I can imagine some people go crazy about that…
But there are lot of bloggers who try to make some money with the same topic (celebs) and can’t achieve anything.
So I suppose your friends are very talented guys anyway if they can be so popular, so they may succeed with other topics as well.
And I haven’t said that the topic is not a factor when it comes to monetization. I just said that you can make good money with any topic. Of course there always will be ones with more demand. But if you look at Problogger or your blog, it seems like you guys are doing prety well 🙂
I saw stick with your passion. No question.
Writing about what you love produces much greater substance and depth in your content, which in turn is the best way to grow a loyal readership, which in turn makes money.
It also brings you deeper into whatever your passion is, which makes it so much more rewarding.
IMO – Writing about what you love is a win-win.
@Jani, I have many friends that have popular blogs about celebrity gossip. Most couldn’t care less for the topic, but they are into the web publishing business, and that is a profitable niche.
Most make a lot more money that you could dream with a “make money online” or “blogging” blog.
Usually I love what you write Daniel but this time I don’t agree with you at all.
Can you show anyone who became really successful doing something he hates just for the desire of money? I mean: really successful? Or at least to the level you are?
Besides, if you blog only for money, there’s no way you can write such excellent articles as those who love the topic and really passionate about it. And also note that someone who does it for the money will never ever get to the level as someone who’s passionate and constantly seeking for more, learning and living it every day.
Regarding the first point, it’s true that making money from a “tea blog” may be quite a challenge, but it delivered in a unique, unusual way with some creativity, it can still be a huge success (well, this kinda inspired me to start a tea blog just to show you :D). And there will be no comptetition, that’s also beneficial.
“if the niche or topic you love is not a profitable one, it will be pretty hard to make a lot of money online with it no matter what.” -with this mindset, sure it will be very hard…
Only I see the money I will be motivated. My biggest interest is seeing whatever niches I entered profitable…
PPC marketer also look for anything that sells, they may or may not have passion, but I think money is their biggest passion!
There are so many resources online that allows us to make money by just taping into it, we just need to learn the basic knowledge of the niche and that enough to build the site and start making money!
Certainly if we have passion, we tend to do things better, but still, who don’t like the money?
I started with very little idea of blogging and just to make money without being really passionate about it. What happened to me is that as time passed by I started enjoying the subject (I added blogging tips too) and, after a lot of reading and research, now I’m totally in love with it. Making money helps with the motivation but I’ve been blogging for one year now and don’t want to stop because I have really good time with it.
yeah I agree. Greed is good 🙂
Even if you pick the topic you love, sometimes it gets tricky! For example, paid reviews can be really funny sometimes… Though you are writing about the topics you love, promoting a product or a new service or even another website/blog is very funny!!
Though paid reviews are one of the main source of income, I guess we should play it within limits even if it’s about your passionate topic. Else the readers can feel your ill-feeling within…
Just remembered John Chow’s paid review about some drug a couple of months back 😆
Gotta disagree with you on this one. You missed one thing in your post:
You really have to do what you love if you’re the only face behind your blog, if your the sole blogger. On the other hand, if you have a team of bloggers that post on the blog and you’re basically just the blog owner (you don’t do anything – you don’t market, you don’t edit, you don’t write posts etc, you just outsource all of it) then yeah, you can easily start a blog on topics you hate and it won’t matter…
But the 2nd option isn’t for new bloggers…
Yes, you are right. I started my first blog on the subject I love. I m a graphic designer and work in packaging co. My blog was on the packaging. I found that only 2-3 visitors received in 4 months.
by the way nice blog
I think you are right if what you love to blog about is not profitable then whats the point if the reason you blog is to make money from it
Totally agree with you. I’m being fed up with multiple blogs that always give idealistic advises. They always say things that inspires but do not give real executable solutions. A good example is the niche. The “write what you love” cliche is so overrated that’s why a lot of people go into niches that are not even profitable. In the end they lose interest because their blog is getting nowhere not only revenue-wise but traffic-wise. I usually skip blogs that give empty advises. maybe because I have heard too much of it and that the real solution is to really push people to move and begin their blogging.
Your response 9 # (Daniel Scocco on October 29th, 2008 3:41 pm) above answers the main question.
One blog should be about what you are passionate about and 2nd blog can be for making money.
Great post. Matter of fact, I’m working on getting several blogs up and running for the sole purpose of making money. For the fun blogging, I’ll continue to post on my original blog. Basically, the best of both worlds, fun and money.
Finally a MMO professional blogger agrees with me.
It all matter how much you are experienced on make money online and internet marketing field. With knowledge and knowing people who may help you / work for you then it’s possible.
Like in a “real” world, idea and marketing knowledge are the key for success, for everything else = pay someone or whatever ….
when people tell other to start blogging a topic they love, they say so caz they think people will be able to write enough content caz they love certain topics. I on other hand believe that you should go for the topic that you think you can write about and know enough about that (or research and write) so for me choose a topic and love it anyways 😉
Very good point to consider.
Curious as to what you feel are some of the “profitable” topics or niches are out there today – perhaps you have a post on that already?
@Rick, I love blogs, building websites and the Internet in general, that is why I post daily on DBT. It is not a money making machine though.
When I started it my goal was only to share tips and connect with people, and not to make money.
If today I needed to start a new website to make money online, I would aim for a very profitable niche, regardless of my interests.
I can “persuade” myself to have interest in anything if I have idea and motivation to go with it.
I would always choose niche where I”m more experienced. If you don’t know shit about web design, why would I think that I could start selling premium themes? Better focus on something else. If you are good coder, and don’t have a clue about marketing – code. greater chances you will succeed. Money is everywhere.
People often tend to think ( especially on DP forums) that profitable niches are only ones that pay good via PPC or CMP like money, business and health ones. That’s totally wrong.
I say that every niche is profitable if you have audience/ people interested in that topic. After all that’s what advertisers are looking, targeted audience. If you have audience, you can have money.
For example – business and entertainment. Yes, you can make more money peer person with business niche, but look at the audience entertainment niche has online. Of course I will go with the entertainment niche if I don’t have a clue about business, banks etc.. Almost every niche can be profitable.
Completely agree, Daniel. An example is the number of MMO blogs we can find.
MMO has been something a lot of people are “passionate” about and unfortunately, most of them are not making much money from their MMO blogs due to its heavy competition.
It doesn’t have to be something you love, but profitable will also do.
Great question Rick! I would be interested to hear the answer too.
Do you love Daily Blog Tips or are you just in it for the money? 🙂
(Seriously, I think it’s obvious you love it.)
A mix of both can be very beneficial. In my case I love blogging about Linux but as major audience is using Windows. I have to include posts about Windows. Still my majority posts are about Linux but I think balancing act should be there to get a right composition.
this totally applies to me. at first i had no thought of making money from my blog but now — after a couple years of hard and harder work — i’ve built something wonderful and i’d love to monetize it. but there’s nothing to sell.
i am just a volunteer, lol.
Oh wait .. the column 1 and 2 should interchange .. hahaha .. my bad
I think its a matrix of 4 quadrant.
Column 1 : You write what you like
Column 2 : You write what is profitable
Row 1 : You like something that cannot profitable
Row 2 : You like something that can be profitable
So if you are in the 4th box (Column2, Row2), you hit the jackpot .. god helps those who are in 1st box tho …
I bet its not impossible to profit, bit its not gonna be easy!
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