The world’s favorite, crazy, southern fly fisherman, OWL Jones started a bit of a feud this week between the fishing community and millions of mommy bloggers. It seems Owl is exploring new ideas for ways to monetize his fly fishing blog and in doing so wrote a post called “The Sleazy Side of Blogging”. His post is calling out what Owl sees as an unfair tactic to making money on your blog .
While Owl is a great fishing blogger and buddy, neither him, nor I, nor many of you, will ever make a worthy sum of money on our fishing blogs.
Here’s five reasons why your fishing blog will never make money:
1. 90% fishing passion
Passion is at the heart of all great works of literature. You love fishing and you love telling the world about fishing. Good for you. While you may be an amazing author, you aren’t going to make money.
If blogging were your only source of income, you would die a poor deprived fisherman, rod in hand, pocket full of sinkers, DOWN BY THE RIVER.
If you write your blog with 90% passion and 10% business sense, you may as well hang up your aspirations of ever making money. You can be a phenomenal outdoor writer but if you don’t spend 50% of your time working on “ethical” ways to monitize and promote your blog, you have a hobby not a source of passive income.
2. Trying to make money feels dirty
What is an “ethical” way of making money? Do you feel dirty about posting affiliate links or placing banners on your site? DON’T. Making money should never feel sleazy. As long as you’re not harming anyone else or being dishonest, you DESERVE to get paid. Add up the hours that you spend working on your site, taking pictures, and writing content. The time you’ve spent working on your site is time you didn’t spend with your family, working a second job, or fishing.
I make it a point to click ads on sites that I read because I know money will go into a writer’s pocket. That writer has sacrificed their time to make the content I enjoyed and they deserve the .20 cents a click will bring.
How does the real world work? Head on over to your favorite news source, are there ads? YES.
Top tier news sources that millions of people turn to every day run ads and no one cares. I’ve even seen news sites like Fox News work ads inbetween their “fair and balanced” content to the point where you can’t tell the difference between news and an ad. And you’re worried about placing a small banner ad?
My point here is this: People expect to see ads.
Making ads and affiliate links unobtrusive and relevant will eliminate any pain for your readers and in some cases may even help them find something new.
I’ve tailored the Google ad on this page to serve mostly outdoor related ads. Is it over the top? No. If you’d like help doing this on your site let me know.
3. You have an addiction to fishing
Hi my name is Matt, I’m a Functioning Fishaholic. While I can’t tell you how to fix this problem, I can tell you about my life. I fish three or more days a week. I spend countless hours reading posts and engaging the fishing community on social media. I tie flies, I make my own lures, and at least once a week I shop for new fishing gear. I think about fishing when I eat, when I sleep, and yes even when I poop.
Sound familar? If you are anything like me you may think to yourself, “gee how do I ever focus on making money on my site, I have all of this great content to post!”
Guess what? If you spend all of your time being a fisherman you won’t have any time left to make money on your site. What’s worse, all that “awesome content” is probably made up of daily updates most people don’t even care to read.
Try this: Take one night a week and focus on monetizing your site. Once you start getting paid for your efforts I can almost guarantee the quantity of your posts will go down but the quality will go way up.
4. You write for your fans and not strangers
Do only a few loyal blogger buddies get your jokes? Are the same 10 people always leaving comments? Perhaps you are writing for your fans and not branching out to new readers. It’s easy to stick to what you know. Look at my page, most of the posts are average fishing reports that talk about the same bodies of water and the same old crap. BORING!
Make a habit of shaking things up on an constant basis. Take a look at Troutrageous!, Mike makes a healthy habit of throwing in what he calls “utter nonsense”. His posts include sports, technology, hot chicks, and a healthy dose of fishing. His variety keeps people coming back for more.
Readers eventually get tired of field reports and fish porn.
Mix your topics up a little: Write a post that teaches something, do a product review, interview someone. Make a habit of keeping your readers off guard. Mix it up and more people will come. More traffic = more opportunity to make money.
5. You don’t write about making money online
OK this one isn’t your fault. Ever notice that the people who claim to make the most money online are the ones who write about how to make money online? Take the website, Pro Blogger for example, it is full of great information. The author Darren Rowse is an awesome writer with a HUGE collection of information on monetizing your blog.
Let’s look at his business model: Every blogger would like to make money | Most bloggers will research how to make money online | Some bloggers will even buy info and eBooks on monetizing their blog. <- See what he did here?
Lesson: Create things that are useful to your readers. Don’t be afraid to invent a non-traditional business model. If it provides value to you, someone else in the world will pay for it. Innovation = $
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I know it is light on pictures and heavy on information. So as a reward, leave a comment below and I’ll email you a PDF of over 100 of my personal ideas and resources for making money on your fishing blog. Yes I’m giving away my precious cache of ideas for making money online but I don’t care.
Times are hard. If I can help a fellow fisherman feed his family it is worth more to me than a little extra $$ in my pocket. Leave me a comment – get the guide.