I was looking today at a question I had answered on WebAnswers, about having truly passive income from online websites. The person was asking about whether it was possible to just put something online, slap some Adsense on it and then leave it there. Now, traditionally writing articles, static websites etc. were considered to fit that bill, however I pointed out that articles aren’t really such completely passive ways of earning money. Various people on HubPages forum have been pointing out that, unless they keep publishing new hubs, their traffic dies.
This is generally thought to be because Google likes fresh content. Google, in fact, doesn’t say it always needs new content, it merely tries to recognise when a search requires really new information, as opposed to the search queries that can be answered just fine by a site that is several years old (the so called evergreen content). Whatever the truth of the matter, it is definitely perceived wisdom that Google likes fresh content, and that a domain will loose ranking unless new pages are added, or old pages modified significantly at regular intervals. Squidoo has in fact formalised this gossip by requiring users to refresh lenses every once in a while, lenses lose lensrank, if they are just left there to fester, clearly not a completely passive way of earning money.
Anyway I wrote something like that in my answer, suggested that perhaps youtube videos represented truly passive ‘plonk it there and earn money’ content. The question gained more answers and I was curious about what other people wrote so I checked it out. One person very authoritatively answered that blogger blogs were the best way of earning money.
According to him, once a blog was 6 months old, and had about 50 posts, traffic would surge and money would start flowing. This was very interesting, I would love to have surging, money-making traffic to this blog, and the idea that I just have to double the number of posts and wait another 3 months was music to my ears.
The guy sounded so sure of himself, that I thought I would try to find his blogs. Now admittedly he didn’t state anywhere that he was a successful blogger, but it was strongly implied. After all would you answer a question by saying, this is the way to do it, start blogger post, have 50 posts and wait 6 months and the traffic will come, if you didn’t actually have direct experience of this?
I wanted to see those successful blogs, see what they were about, how well they were written. I guess I just wanted to see a successful blogpost blog that had traffic and made money. I do of course follow successful blogs, but they’ve been around for years, and they are written by ‘semi-professional bloggers’.
So I searched for this guy’s username, and blogspot. And yes he has a profile, and three blogs. Each blog, has two entries, and as far as I can tell no traffic, no followers and no comments, as you would expect from blogs with two posts. Then I found another username I thought was used by this person. Of course playing online detective might not provide the right data, but the username was similar, and it had dugg one of the original username’s blog entries and all his WebAnswer awarded answers (without much success, nobody else dug them).
So I checked the second username’s presence on bloodspot, and yes there is a profile, it has a couple of blogs, which have a couple of entries, no followers and no comments. It is completely possible that there is a third username, with a really successful blog, with good traffic and earnings, but my gut instinct is that this person is full of shit, and that he has no experience running a successful blog and getting traffic.
What puzzles me, is why would he write this really confident answer about blogspot being the best way of earning money, if he had no experience of it? And if he really believed that it was the best way of earning money, why wasn’t he writing on his blogs to get those magical 50 posts (some of his blogs were over a year old).
Why do people try to make themselves sound a lot more successful that they really are?What do they get out of it?
This person also has very few hubs on HubPages, and as far as I could tell from his Digg profile, WebAnswers was his main way of earning money online. To be honest, I don’t think anybody who was successful in earning money online, would be on WebAnswers. The site is easy to use, and you see Adsense impressions and clicks almost immediately, which is nice when you are just starting out and earning anything is a relief, but the fact that it seriously is not a passive way of earning, unless you answer many questions daily you don’t earn from the stuff you’ve already written, makes it a really bad way of spending time online.