I've been blogging since 2006 and the common knowledge that's thrown around is that you should blog about your passion. Even though blogging has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years, I still hear this advice every day to new content creators.
I'm here to tell you that for most of us, creating anything around our passions is a waste of time.
The Truth About Your Passion
If you're reading this, I'm just going to go ahead and assume that you're thinking of starting your own website. First of all, let me say congratulations and good luck. You've made a great choice.
I'm just going to take a wild guess that you're wanting to start a new website because you want to make some money on the side. Whether you want to make a full-time income or you just want to do a little side hustle, that's awesome. Owning your own website and developing into into a business is a great thing.
However, let me caution you about the advice of focusing your website around your passion if you want to create a website that you can monetize. In many cases, your passion cannot be monetized. I'm not going to sit here and say that you can't monetize what you want to, but in some cases it's a lot more difficult than others.
Think about this: If your passion revolves around some obscure hobby that not very many people around the world are involved with, you might be able to monetize it but you're not going to make much more than a few dollars per month. However if you can get past hanging on to your passion and move into some areas that you're at least interested in learning a little bit more about you might have a winner.
My Personal Experience
Take me for instance. One of the first websites I ever built that actually made money was all about high-definition televisions. This was back in like 2006-2007. HD TVs were just coming on the market and started to be available to mainstream customers.
I didn't get a whole lot of traffic to the site because I still didn't really know what I was doing but it didn't matter. That site was soon making over $500 a month. Prices on HD TVs back then were fairly high and even though I only made about 5% commission when someone bought a $2,500 TV it was still a significant chunk of change. I didn't have to say or send a ton of people to an affiliate link and have them buy very many televisions for me to make a decent amount of money each month.
And the work that was required to make that kind of money was not really a whole lot the grand scheme of things. I posted some reviews of TVs I compiled from different sources, added affiliate links to Amazon, and let the Internet go to work.
Prior to building this site I knew little to nothing about HD TVs. I just had no experience in the market.
However, it didn't take me long to know enough about them to speak with authority when creating content that others found helpful.
Now, I'm not telling you you can't start a website about your passion, please don't think that I am. You can blog or create a website, Twitter stream, or a Facebook page about whatever your heart desires.
But if that topic is not something that can be monetized easily, don't be surprised when you don't make a lot of money from it.
Don't get upset if you only have two or three hundred Twitter followers.
Don't be surprised when you can't find anybody on Instagram to follow your posts and you can't get any followers on chat in SnapChat to see your snaps.
If you're going to start a new website, one of your first tasks should be to find out what the market is for that topic and see if that market can be monetized. If it can, start your plan and get committed to making it work.
If your passion can't be monetized easily, then in my opinion you should start looking for another topic.
And just because your passion can't be monetized through affiliate marketing or ads doesn't mean it can't be profitable. Maybe in your market there needs to be a conference or training event. You could be the leader and start that event.
Get creative if you need to, but don't be so stuck on your passion that you can't see other options.
What If Your Passion Isn't Profitable?
Should you start a website about a topic you know nothing about? It's not impossible to do, thanks to the power of the internet. Anyone could be an expert on any topic in a pretty short amount of time just by going out and reading some other websites on that topic.
As you learn new things, start writing about those things. Go buy some books about your new topic.
Read some magazines related to the topic. Check out blogs and videos on YouTube related to your topic. In a few short weeks you will have enough knowledge on that topic whatever it may be that you can start blogging about it and creating content .
When I started blogging about education technology, I wasn't even teaching yet. I was still finishing my bachelor's degree.
Yet, because I was hungry and wanted to make an impact, I read and watched everything I could.
In a short time, I was making a name for myself that significantly advanced my career in education very quickly.
Don't be afraid to start your new venture on a topic that you're not a hundred percent confident you know everything about. You can earn as you learn and expand your knowledge in different areas.
This is no different than anyone who has ever gotten a new job in the “real world.” When you first start a new job, you don't know everything about that job. You're a new hire.
But that doesn't prevent you from getting paid while you're working and learning new skills and new information. Your new website is exactly the same. And if your topic can be monetized, the more you learn about it, the more you will earn.
You will start building a treasure trove of content that other people who know less than you about the topic will start to reference and lean on.
Remember, what is ordinary to you is extraordinary to other people. As you learn about your new topic you will gain insights that many others will find beneficial and that they will either pay you for or take one of your recommendations. They'll either buy one of your products, click on an affiliate link, subscribe to your YouTube channel, or get on your mailing list.
Don't let the fear of the unknown hold you back from building a resource that can help build your dreams.
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