Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chasing Page Views and Ad Clicks: Is it Worth It?

As an online writer you may have already discovered that the thrill of chasing page views and ad clicks dies long before you are in a position to retire. You may experience disappointment with your success and wonder if its even worth continuing. Believe me when I say we have all been there.

That first moment when you realize that "following all the rules" for online writing simply gets you in the door--but doesn't guarantee success--is the worst. It is then that we must face the uncomfortable truth that we have "sold out" to make the almighty dollar without even realizing it.

In our zeal to bring in readers, to build residual income or to be recognized by our peers, we often forget the reason we began writing in the first place. For some, it is easy. For them writing isn't about sharing a message or baring the soul--its about earning a living with a skill that comes easy for them. For those unfortunate souls, writing is merely the means to the end. Writing is a way to earn money online.

Finding Balance
But, for those of us who seek something more, the road is not as smooth. But there are ways to reap the rewards of both worlds and keep your writer's soul intact. I like to think of it two different kinds of writing. One is for money. I do that writing for specific clients. I set my hours, I put in my time and I consider it work. Writing for money pays my bills.

I always reserve time for writing for fun. That writing belongs to me. It has my voice. Its in my style and it expresses who I really am as writer. Sometimes, it is keyword-rich and aimed to a specific audience or written on a highly searched topic. Sometimes, it is obscure aimed at a small audience who I'd like to share with. Sometimes, it is a personal rambling that satisfies no one but me. But it is always mine, untouched by the obsessive chase for page views and ad clicks.

If you find yourself in the uncomfortable position where you question whether the chase for page views and ad clicks is worth your efforts, it doesn't mean its time to call it quits. It simply means its time to set some boundries on how much you give to the craft of making money online with your writing and how much you reserve for only you. 
  • Start a blog about something you really care about. It doesn't matter if it is lame or unpopular. Its your blog and it isn't meant to earn money, although it can if you choose to monetize it. I must caution you though, that as soon as the ads go up, your thoughts will shift and you will suddenly find yourself chasing page views and ad clicks. If you want to avoid that pressure. Don't monetize it. Create other blogs for money--but keep one blog for you that doesn't require censoring or isn't tainted by the almighty dollar. My blog In Due Time has never been monetized, it isn't about making money and it provides me with a place to write without concerns about page views and ad clicks.
  • Take risks. If you publish on sites that allow you to choose your own topics, learn to take risks. Write some articles just for fun or to share your views with the world. Don't worry that it might not bring in thousands of readers or earn hundreds in revenue share. Write them because they are fun. Write in your voice and your style. You may be surprised by the responses you get. My blog In the Direction of Dreams is a collection of inspirational quotes followed by a brief reflection and expression of gratitude. It's not searchable. It isn't SEO'd--but it is personal. I am constantly amazed by the readers it draws in and the reactions it gets.
  • Have fun. Writing can be hard work, but it can also be fun. Get in the habit of having fun with what your write on a daily basis.

No comments: