My 2011 blogging plan

I started blogging every day in early 2007, but I lapsed after a few months and then blogged on and off over the next few years. I don’t think I ever made more than a few dollars per month, until I started blogging again this year. In August 2010, I started a daily habit of blogging every day, and I put up some Adsense ads and started using my Amazon Associates code whenever I linked to Amazon. In the first month, I made about $40. Not bad. Then I made about $100 the next month, and it kept climbing. In November 2010 I made $650 and I’m on track to break $1000 for December 2010. All of this without really any optimization for income.

As a result, my goals for my blog have shifted a little. I originally started blogging every day without a clear purpose, but as my income has grown and I’ve received more emails from users who have enjoyed my posts, I’ve decided to make blogging more of a priority. I’m not in any hurry to do it full-time or anything, but I now think that’s a probable outcome in the next few years, and I’m going to focus my blogging efforts in 2011 on that goal.

Now, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking that I’m “selling out” or that I should really just be blogging for fun, not to make money, you’re not alone with your concerns. I’ve wrestled a lot with this question, because I really don’t want to just be adding to the noise and writing purely for the sake of making money. All I can really promise you is that I’ll do my best to add value with every post. I’ll leave it up to you to gauge whether I’m successful, and unsubscribe if not.

Speaking of unsubscribing, one of the big things I’ve learned is that I need to focus on building my subscriber base. My initial traffic came almost exclusively from Hacker News, which is awesome, and I’m really grateful for that push. But I’m increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of being dependent on the Hacker News audience for all of my traffic and income. The community seems to be deteriorating in some ways, likely as a result of growth, and it’s becoming a lot more noisy. Building a relationship with a subscriber base means that I don’t have to worry about winning my audience all over again every single day. It also means that I can have a better conversation with the people who enjoy what I write, and ensure that I’m adding value for them.

I’ll talk in a later post about the specific methods I’m using to grow my subscriber base, but I’m really excited to see how things turn out. If you haven’t subscribed already, please do so now; I’ll be posting tons of great content in the coming weeks and months and you don’t want to miss out. Subscribe right now.