I’ve been writing online since 1999, and had my first blog in 2003 or so. In 2004 I had a blog really take off, and I’ve been blogging in some for ever since.
Back in the day no one knew you could make money blogging. That’s why blogs were good.
Today most blogs suck and I rarely read them. Pop-ups overtake my mobile browser and most bloggers act like used-car salesmen.
But let’s not be nostalgic. There were many problems with earlier blogs, and today is the best time ever to have a blog.
Times have changed, although old habits from my early years stay with me. That’s why my site grows while most others stagnate.
You put the reader first.
When you blog without any expectation of riches, something funny happens.
You care more about having people read you than in reaching in their pockets.
You think about what the audience wants to learn from you. You work hard to educate and inform them. You show what you know rather than talk yourself up like some sort of guru.
The “one really cool trick” about putting the reader first, as I learned how to over a decade ago, is that when you do sell something….People are lining up to buy it.
You put other writers second.
Before Google changed the game with SEO, your only source of readers was other writers.
If you wanted people to find your blog, you learned how to play respectfully with others.
Yes, we argued in the early days, but there was always a tone of civility to it.
You had to treat other bloggers with respect, as they were your primary source of traffic.
These days people rip off posts hoping Google will index their sites.
Little effort to “pay your dues” is made.
I always and to this day am “paying my dues.”
If I see a cool book or blog, I write a review.
The author or blogger will find my review. Maybe he’ll link to me. Maybe he won’t.
Years ago Roosh was a massive source of traffic for me. I asked him how he found my site. “I started reading your site after you wrote about me.”
Vox Day and I are also making some moves together and he has been helpful.
Milo is a big star, and yet to this day he is about bringing others up with him.
How did I meet them? I linked to and wrote about them.
My mindset even today is one of “paying dues.”
No shortcuts. If you want someone’s attention, you don’t ask them for links. You write about them.
Blogging was a hobby; it was fun.
People didn’t start blogs to win fame or fortune. People wrote because they thought they had something to say, and it was fun.
Or people started blogging in hopes of getting a book deal. Before self-publishing (more on that, below), people actually sat around waiting to be discovered! Or they’d pitch book ideas to publishing houses, which are staffed by 22-year-old Women’s Studies majors.
Now everyone wants to write for one hour a day and earn millions.
When you write for fame or fortune, it shows in your writing. Every post has the, “Please pay attention to me and buy my stuff and hire me” tone to it.
It’s a hard tone to explain, although Aristotle wrote about ethos in Rhetoric.
I write because it’s fun. Even though it’s how I learn my living, this website is the time of my life.
There’s not a day where I have anything approaching writer’s block. How could I? This is a blast!
Blogging was a conversation.
No one ripped off each other’s articles. Not giving attribution – called a “hat tip” – to someone was seen as unethical and would lead to ostracizing.
If someone wrote something interesting, you’d quote what he said, add your comments, and join the conversation.
Today people steal concepts and re-write entire articles.
No one had massive pop-ups or annoying offers on their websites.
I don’t have huge pop-ups on my site, and yet so many others do.
Where are people learning how to Internet these days?
You couldn’t get enough page views to sell ads.
Not many did clickbait back in the day, as you need a lot of page views (far more than anyone could get on a one-man blog) to sell ads.
The emphasis was on quality content that would build up your own readership.
Click bait attracts trashy readers, and if you’re a one-man operation blogging for fun, you don’t want trash on your website.
I live that mantra today. “No trash on my websites.”
That’s why long-time readers notice trends
I’ll write about SJWs, Trump, and some policy for us.
But once the outrage seekers shows up, it’s back to all high-minded mindset and esoteric topics.
How Self Publishing Changed Blogging
People tell me every day that I don’t make any money off of this website. They missed the memo on self-publishing. Since I’m not in the, “Get rich, buy my course” game, no exact numbers will be given. I will say that I earn a comfortable six-figure living online.
All of my life I wanted to write a timeless book. I had one in me.
People have always liked my writing because it’s a bit wild, or as my good friend Norm Pattis said, “off the reservation.”
After writing Danger & Play (and other websites for free), I learned how to string together a few words and get people reading.
- Gorilla Mindset has sold 15,164 copies, with an average royalty of [you can figure this out with some Googling]. I sell on average 70 copies per day.
- Essays on Embracing Masculinity has sold 1,500 copies with an average royalty of [it’s not hard to find]. I sell on average 8 copies per day.
- Juice Power has sold 1,500 or so copies (maybe more, I don’t care about it and don’t keep track) at an average royalty of [go find it]. Juice Power sells a copy or so a day.
- Last Man Standing will outsell Gorilla Mindset, and comes out in early 2016.
I also have various affiliate income, but since I’m not and never have been in the “Get Rich On the Internet” business, it’s no one’s business.
Old School Blogging + Self-Publishing = How to Make It Online
Rehashing what other people have written is a way to ensure you fail at the online game.
You must find your own voice.
If you’re struggling to find a voice, join a conversation.
Posting on Internet forums or comment sections is a better use of your time than “hacking” articles.
Engaging with people lets you know what they want, how people respond to your writing style, and teaches you to anticipate objections.
(I know what people are going to say before they say it, as I’ve been around long enough to understand how to anticipate and address objections in advance.)
There are no shortcuts.
I’d never tell anyone to quit his day job to go make it online. Work a real job to earn a steady income, and then you can take bigger risks with your side hustle.
I worked on Danger & Play 30 minutes a day while working as a lawyer.
In 2015 I’ve visited 14 countries on three continents based exclusively on D&P-related income.
The “Look to how you can help others” stuff does work.
I used to think it was bullshit when people said, “Find a way to help others and the money will come in.”
Yes, a lot of people are shady and will try taking advantage of you. That is 10% of people, and you need to find ways to identify and eliminate them from your life – the sooner the better.
- How to identify leeches may be a post in itself. A quick test: When someone asks you a question, and you answer it, does he ask a bunch more? If so, that person is a selfish time suck. The person who asks one or two quick questions, thanks you for your time, and moves on is legit. The one who wants to suck your time (time leeches) by asking question after question has got to go.
While 10% of people are haters and leeches, there’s an inverse.
There are 10% of D&P readers who would buy anything I sold, at any price.
The rest of humanity may or may not be grateful for what you’ve done for them, although they are neutral.
Don’t let the leeches drain you. Get rid of them from your personal and online life.
Focus your time and energy on those who are grateful for what you’ve done and want to see you succeed.
Again, that may sound trite, but there are a lot of great people in the world.
Now go find them.
P.S. Yes, I have books. You can buy them here.