The Job that Blogging Built

The Boston Globe has an article this morning called Blogging for Dollars. It is interesting, if rehashed (we’ve all read articles from mainstream media sources that look at blogging as if it is ‘news’ and how some people, wait for it… actually make money from blogging).

The article, written by Carolyn Johnson, a staff writer for the Globe and probably handed to her by some editor who still has no clue about blogging outside of the buzzwordiness, cites folks like Darren and Shoemoney as examples of success stories for the blogging industry and claims that most people will never money from blogging. She is right, however the scope of the article is so very shortsighted.

Let me switch gears for a brief moment and talk about open source software (trust me, it’s related!). I was flying home from Toronto the other day and sat next to one of the guys from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition who owns a company that creates software for the “smart home”. It’s natural he would be called on for EM: HE because a brand new home given to a family in a high profile “look what we’ve done” kind of show will have the best bling available for the home. A smart home that is a well-connected computer to itself, allowing occupants to turn the heat on remotely, get the fireplace roaring or even kick the washing machine on via the internet, is a compelling sort of thing for a show on ABC.

While talking to this guy about open source software, he posed a question about why he should turn his software open source. A lot of people have asked for it but they make their profit on it. One of my key responses is in the aftermarket for such software. Whenever there is a community around a product, there will always be a demand for support and technical expertise. While the open source model may not be the best answer for him, history has shown that even with products like WordPress, the aftermarket on such free software is more than enough to employ a few dedicated people who want to earn out for their knowledge.

And thus we return to the concept of blogging for dollars. The Globe story limits the concept of blogging to websites with words written by people. I personally can attest to an entire industry surrounding blogging. The Globe notes that advertising is one of those markets. Technology and infrastructure is another. Content editors is a third.

Blogging is not simply the writing. That is what people see. Effective bloggers build themselves reputations as Subject Matter Experts. It’s about blogs replacing resumés. Support personnel become necessary to help the non-technical blogger with their blogs. Business deals are worked out surrounding sales of blogs, advertising,  and content sharing.

Blogging for dollars is not simply the writing. It’s all the little things that no one really notices but that can land people lots of money. It’s indirect revenue. I sure wish the Globe would look wider and see the bigger picture. But that’s just me.

Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.