One afternoon, while I was surfing the web at work, I happen to come across a seminar for bloggers in the Philadelphia area.
Am I the type of blogger who feels compelled to meet and network with other bloggers in person? Sorry, no. I am more than satisfied to interact with bloggers by email, via comments, through blogging communities, and through social media venues like Twitter. YES, I AM!
When I first saw this event advertised, I dismissed it. But, as the days grew closer, I had a change of heart and actually began to look forward to attending.
The Day Of The Seminar
On the day of the seminar, everyone was on time – laptop in tow. There were about 50-60 of us in a room that could have held about 300 people. Obviously, someone had overestimated today’s turnout. They had carefully performed their research and were certain that their return would be well above their costs.
This theme would persist throughout the day as you will see.
The Seminar Was Awesome… At First!
One by one, all of us got an opportunity to go before our fellow bloggers and briefly share with the group what our blogs were about. We were asked to explain our target audience, how we came upon our blog’s design, how long we had been blogging, and what had and hadn’t gone wrong thus far.
Of the most recurring themes from that day was how poorly some of the bloggers had anticipated what their income was going to be from blogging. They were typically middle class to upper-middle class men and women, with degrees in business, who understood that most future returns require an initial investment. Alot of them had been duped by Stores Online or some design company in Pakistan to create their blog.
The atmosphere of the seminar quickly changed as the company sponsoring the event was launching a new and very expensive blogging platform that was going to “revolutionize the market”. We couldn’t wait for lunch to begin at that point!
About 3-4 bloggers came rushing over to me with their laptops and turkey sandwiches. We exchanged URLs and decided to head out early before the second half.
She asked if I had a few minutes to speak with her. And did I like… coffee?
At the Starbucks
Now, equipped with a venti latte’ in my hand, I was all ears!
She had explained to me that writing had been her passion since High School and now feeling like she had a pretty good balance between work and home life, had to decided to try her hand in blogging about 8-9 months prior.
Over the next 30 minutes (and a blueberry scone), she shared with me background on the 4 blogs she ran. One was about hair, one was about fashion, one was about black entertainment, and one was about interracial dating.
She had apparently started with all four blogs at once and felt overwhelmed to crank out scheduled content for them. Each blog cost her about $300 to design and she was using some odd hosting company that was recommended by the blog’s designer. She was fixated on two blog URLs that were already taken, and decided to purchased them from its owner costing her even more expense.
Her husband started to take notice of her blogging expenses and the time it was requiring to manage these blogs.
She spent a small fortune on Google AdWords and even tried her hand at advertising her sites on Adbrite, Bidvertiser, and Chitika. She showed me her clickthroughs which were relatively high, but garnered little conversions. (Was that surprising?)
She got desperate and spent a good chunk of money for an SEO company to evaluate her blogs, recommend some improvements, and implement some changes. When the work was done, the charges were obscene!
She was paying for some analytics service to monitor her reader’s visits / behaviors and was also paying another service a hefty fee for the “privilege” to RSS her feeds to some “exclusive” directory.
I don’t even want to tell you about the money she wasted on bogus digital products! Somewhere at the offices of ClickBank, her picture is hung on a wall.
Thanks For The Mocha, Lady!
Over the next few months, we met to strategize on methods to keep her blog spending under control. I shared with her many online resources that were more cost sensitive to bloggers.
Her blogs aren’t really doing much better, but her costs are now lower and her impulse to buy her way out of her blog “issues” is behind her… to the relief of her husband!
Have you regretted paying too much for your site’s design or hosting package? How would you describe your blog’s costing structure? Have you gone over your budget in the past? If so, did you get your money’s worth? How do you advertise? Are there some services that you have discovered that would like to recommend to the Source Blogger community?
I look forward to your comments.