Photo Credit wilhei55’s photos

On two of my favorite blogs, both authors have written about gambling, in December 2007, Hunter published an article titled “I won the lottery”, and recently, Nez wrote a post titled ” Who Are The Gamblers?”

Lotteries and casinos, are notorious for aiming their marketing toward those that should not be risking their money on odds that often exceed a million to one. Sure, the casinos and state lotteries post signs that say something like this “Gaming should be used for entertainment purposes only, and should not be used for investment opportunities”

But, many people, even if they are, will not admit they are gamblers, let alone, addicted to gambling.

Today’s Lesson

Bloggers are actually big gamblers.

How, you ask?

First, we take a gamble when we get a blog. We don’t know if we will actually like blogging, but we flip a coin, and give it a try.

If we pay a web host, we are spending money on something we’re not certain will give us a return on our investment.

We write, what we feel/think, taking a gamble that others will want to read it, let alone comment.

Then we sign up for free, time consuming, affiliate programs, gambling visitors will click on our links.

Have you ever played a slot machine? I have. You give it some money, hit the button/pull the handle, and wait for the little characters to line up. If they do, you win, if they don’t, you try again….spending more money.

With blogging, we do the same thing, We publish posts and think we are going to be “lucky”. We hope to get lots of traffic. If we don’t, we keep trying, publishing more and more articles. We know, with just the right post, we will get discovered and become an overnight success. As gamblers often mutter, “just one more time”, we do the same thing.

Let’s look at stat checking. That’s just like watching the numbered balls as they roll out of the Power Ball cage. We set our traffic goals, and hope to see the exact numbers, but as they roll out, we realize we’re not a winner. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Blogging can also be compared to poker. The dealer quickly throws cards your way, you peek, put on your best “poker face” and cross your fingers. You win and get more chips (traffic/credibility), if you lose, your chips are taken away (decrease in traffic/credibility).

Look at the big name bloggers. They are like the dealer. They might throw you a “21” (link), but chances are, no matter how many times you comment on/link to their site, they won’t. They know you’re a sucker for a link, and take advantage of it. They’re laughing all the way to the bank. I believe the saying in gambling is, “the odds are always in favor of the “house””.

You might say, but I love to blog for the sake of sharing and helping others.

That is great motivation for blogging. In fact, that’s why I blog.

But, we are also gambling..

Just like all bloggers, our biggest investment in blogging, is time.

Are you getting a “return” on your (time) investment?”

That’s a question, only you can answer.

Today’s Assignment

Are you winning with your blog?

Is your (time) investment paying off?

Is your dream to be a “dealer”

If you were a “dealer”, would you throw more “21’s” (links)?

Do you feel like the “house” and have the odds in your favor?

Or, is it time to give up this addiction, and find more useful things to do with your time?

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  1. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – this is an interesting post. I don’t personally see myself as a gambler, as I love writing anyway. But, I think those who start a blog with the primary aim of making money are definitely gamblers.

    I wonder what percentage of bloggers actually don’t like writing at all? I’m guessing it’s high.

    But, as you say – we are all still taking a risk in blogging. And I really think it helps to have a plan – an idea of where your blog might wind up. And of course the risks involved and deciding whether you can cope with the downside if you don’t score a 21.

    I feel as though I’m winning so far. I’ve done this slowly, but getting a cool theme and marketing my blog wasn’t something I ever intended to do until I had a reasonable number of posts.

    And I’ve definitely beaten my traffic targets for this month and last month (unless nobody visits my blog for the remainder of February!)

    Now, I don’t really monetize my blog so much yet. But, it never really was my intention to monetize through affiliate programs etc – especially not in the beginning. And besides, I figured that until I had a decent amount of traffic, it just wasn’t worth the time involved.

    For me, the hard work comes first and the return on my investment comes later. Many people – especially certain members of my family, get annoyed with this attitude. But, I’ve shown that being patient pays off in other things I’ve done. And I developed a thick skin and began ignoring their impatience and negativity a long time ago.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Are You Too Perfect For Your Customers?

  2. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    That’s what I like about you. It’s that ” I can” attitude. And isn’t it amazing how patience is rewarded?

    I would guess a large number of people don’t like to write, but read they can make millions with a blog, so they dive in. Then they find out they need content…some write it, some steal it, and some drop out.

    I doubt you have to worry about no one visiting your blog for the remainder of the month. With the great advice and thought provoking questions you ask, we can’t stay away.

    Barbara’s last blog post..And You Say You Are Not A Gambler

  3. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Barbara – I think patience is the most important thing. New bloggers have to ask themselves whether they’d be willing to do this for months, or even years before they have a return on their investment.

    Talking of patience – I overslept and didn’t get up till 6.15am. And I just can’t seem to get my post completed because everyone is needing something done. I’m not so good on short term patience!

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Are You Too Perfect For Your Customers?

  4. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    That’s one of the most thought-provoking blog posts I’ve read for a while.

    I have been wondering “Why?” a fair bit. I think the real reason, regardless of anything else is to be listened to. And for that to happen, you either need lots of repeat traffic or regular comments.

    An audience in other words. The satisfaction really comes when you see people not just stumbling in on a page, but digging through. I wonder “are they someone struggling in business?”. And “did anything I say help in any way?”.

    If the traffic was really low, and devoid of visitors who dig through, I’d probably give up. But that is happening. I’ve accepted that people who need the blog are probably not bloggers and besides they probably don’t want to talk about their situation publicly even if they were brave enough to find the comments button.

    But I must say that I feel really fortunate to get comments from the more successful people of the world like yourself.

    I think your point about setting targets is an interesting one. I’ve never considered audience targets. And if getting the audience hits my goals in feeling listened to, then maybe I should consider that.

    Cath’s point about patience is interesting. I do get the odd twinges of impatience that I don’t get enough “failing businesses” digging through. But that impatience is because I feel as though there’s a deadline! All over the world, businesses are failing. And I’ve written some posts I would like to have found in my darker moments before failure.

    And for that reason I do crave the audience sooner. I’m a bit too busy right now because of an upswing in business. So I sense a little slowdown is needed.

    But I shall ponder these things nonetheless.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Snooker – Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane

  5. DebNo Gravatar says:

    I would agree, for me, blogging is a gamble. I do enjoy writing, but there are financial reasons for it as well. I know they will not pay off tomorrow and that is part of the reason I don’t advertise. I don’t get enough traffic. However, I may change my position on that someday. I want control over what is put on my blog, though. I more hope my blog will eventually lead me to paying gigs. That’s where I would like to make my money and that is absolutely a gamble.

    I have a couple questions for you (and your readers if they are interested) that don’t have anything to do with this post:

    1. I have been playing around a little with the idea of switching to WordPress. I’ve been seeing a lot of advantages of it with linking, tags, etc. I don’t know if it’s free. I’ve done no research, but that would be a deciding factor. I thought it might be better to do it now while my readership is still building, but I don’t want to read the readers and subscribers I do have so how do I protect that? What are your thought?

    2. I’ve been doing a Thursday Fiction post on my blog that received lukewarm response in the beginning and none recently. Do you think this type of weekly post is a good idea or do you think it might drive readers away? I do it to challenge myself to write because someday I would like to pursue a career in a children’s book series. I realize everyone may not like or have a comment on my material and I am ok with that, I just don’t know if it may be “annoying” to others. I’m new to blogging so I don’t know if this is something bloggers just don’t want to see. I considered putting this question on my post, but I don’t want it to look like I’m shopping for compliments. I need some honest, objective opinions on the concept itself.

    Told you I’d have some questions for you in the future. 🙂

    Deb’s last blog post..Rainy Days

  6. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Deb – yes you can get wordpress free. But you’d be mad to move it onto a wordpress hosted account – that would be defeating the object.

    You need to get a domain and an account like Bluehost, install wordpress and import your blog. Then when you’ve done that I would remove everything from your old blog except a link to your new home.

    As for your fiction posts. I’ll be really honest here – I don’t know if it was your blog or another, but I hit the back button. Not because it was bad, but because I didn’t know what it was and it wasn’t what I was expecting. So maybe that’s what’s happening – it doesn’t mean your writing sucks.

    But, if you want to showcase your fiction, there’s plenty of magazine style themes for WordPress that would enable you to do it without alienating your readers.

    Are you showcasing it for critiques or potential publishers? It might be an idea to put that on there too.

    Barbara probably knows more than me and she’ll have links, so I’ll let her explain.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Online Marketing: The Snowdrop Effect

  7. DebNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for your response. In regard to the fiction, I think I was mostly doing it for practice and to push myself to write something weekly. I was also thinking it might give me a little nitch on my blog, but you raise some very good points. These were things I was kind of thinking myself. I haven’t decided what I will do yet, but I will certainly keep this in mind.

    I will wait on the WordPress thing. I don’t see the point of putting too much money in until I think I might be seeing some kind of return. (But I’ll check out the magazine part you suggested.)

    Deb’s last blog post..Random Questions – Groceries

  8. Thanks for the link, Barbara. Hmmm, I thought I was opposed to gambling, and yet I’m doing it! Actually, I think gambling can mean different things. When you take a gamble on a blog, you’re certainly taking a risk, but one that you expect to pay off in some way (money, fame, enjoyment, etc), and you have some control over the outcome. To me that’s very different from gambling in a casino, where you’re basically paying people to take your money.

    Deb, you might consider writing children’s ebooks. That way you’re still writing your fiction, but distributing it in big chunks once in a while instead of small chunks weekly. People who aren’t into fiction can easily ignore an occasional ebook, and the ones who like your fiction would probably prefer to read a full story instead of a snippet.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Want To Dodge Bullets? Maybe You Don’t Have To!

  9. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Patience is very important. At first when I stated blogging, I just looked at where I would be in six months, but then I realized if I was going to be serious about blogging, I had to look way into the future. It changed my perspective, and probably also changed the way I blog.

    Hi Ian,

    We have talked about this before with regard to your blog, and how it may be helping others, but they are not sharing due to the subject matter. If you are getting traffic, and find they are digging through those old posts, that’s a good sign. In actuality, I can see those old posts becoming even more popular based on the current economy.

    I think I would dig a little deeper and figure out how your visitors are finding those older posts. If it is due to search strings, I would write another post, using those (or similar) keyword phrases, and then link to the old posts.

    You are definitely helping others, however, without them sharing their thoughts, you’ll just have to “believe”.

    Hi Deb,

    With regard to monetizing your blog, I would so a little of that now. Why? it takes time for earnings to build up. If you use Google AdSense, they don’t even send you a check until you have earned $100…with some ads paying only cents, this takes awhile. (Watch for a post about that subject here within the next week).

    If you are interested in free lancing, I let your audience know. In your side bar, you could put a little “ad” type block, plus do some legwork of your own, enter writing contests, do guest posts (I know you have done one), etc…Sell yourself.

    Like Catherine said, you can get a WordPress blog for free, but it is on a WP hosted account. To get yourself familiar with how WP works, you could sign up for a free account (using a different domain name), and see what you think. This would entail a time investment on your part. However, before doing that, I would suggest you watch the video tutorials on Business Blogging 101 and see for yourself what WP is all about.

    At this point, I wouldn’t worry about your RSS feed, as you can do a redirect when the time comes.

    Your fiction post may not be working since that is totally different than your normal posts, thus changing the message on your blog. Stick with what works and gets readers.

    For practicing writing, I would use either a “word” type program, off of your blog site. Save your work, and it could become part of your “portfolio” Or, have a category on your blog, that is your fiction work.

    In the past I wrote how bloggers have ADD…they love to read other blogs, however, they want it to be a quick read (or a long one that holds their attention),….then they move on to the next one. With that being said though, and based on your comments, I think your visitors are more moms like you, or parents of children with special needs.

    Hi Hunter,

    You said: “To me that’s very different from gambling in a casino, where you’re basically paying people to take your money.”

    With blogging, we are basically giving away our time by the amount of it we invest in our blogs. Our time has “value”, but too often, we don’t think that way.

    We need to ask: “When I blog, do I receive “something” for the time I’m putting into it? It may not be a monetary return. In fact, it could be priceless.

    Each blogger has to answer that for themselves.

    Barbara’s last blog post..And You Say You Are Not A Gambler

  10. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I love reading about topics that are familiar but done so in a new, interesting twist, like what you’ve done here.

    It really points out how our languages, choice of words, points of view all present information and experiences that are at the same time digested differently by different people. And yet, sometimes we’re all talking about the same thing, and we all understand it at the same time.

    ooh, I think I’m rambling…must have been a long week, yay for Friday!

    Thanks for the insight, and yes, we “gamble” all the time: jobs, relationships, child-rearing, etc.

    Our biggest gamble should probably always be, “Live the life you want (without hurting others).”

    Nez’s last blog post..7 Principles I’m Teaching My Kids

  11. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Nez,

    I’m glad you liked the post…and like you, am glad it’s Friday.

    Have a great weekend.

    Barbara’s last blog post..And You Say You Are Not A Gambler