This little tome came across my desk last week, How to Make Big Bucks from Big Blogs.
I’ve reviewed books (hard copy and eBooks) in this genre before. Frankly, I’m always a little curious to see what each new (to me) author believes s/he is going to share that’s new and different information.
The truth is, there’s not really any big secret to a successful, monetized blog. It’s more like… well, a recipe. Everyone has their favorite recipe for pound cake (or bread, or chococlate chip cookies). The truth, however, is that all of these favorite recipes (the ones that work), have certain elements in common. What makes each recipe unique are the ratios… the techniques the writer of the recipe uses… and your personal preference for the end product. After all, if you like chewy chocolate chip cookies and the recipe produces cakey cookies… it might be the perfect recipe for someone else, but just not for you.
Which brings me back to How to Make Big Bucks from Big Blogs. I read through the book yesterday afternoon while enjoying some fresh air on the patio. It’s short – I got the print version, and it’s 44 pages long. Don’t be fooled, though. It’s not short becuase it’s short on information. It’s short because the author, Brandon Colker, doesn’t waste paper (or your time) rehashing ideas. He states what you need to know in clear terms, and organizes the book well so you can refer back.
Here’s the thing: Just because the book is a quick read doesn’t mean the realization – the making real – of a solid, well monetized blog will happen quickly. Colker gets the idea across quickly and succinctly, so you (in turn) can spend your time better by actually putting his ideas into action.
The book is set up with an Introduction (read it, it’s short, and it lets you have an idea of what to expect from the rest of the book), followed by ten chapters:
- An Introduction to Passive Income through Blogging
- Outlining the Appropriate Use of Branding and Self-Promotion
- Identifying a central Subject or Concept
- Establishing Trust through Expertise
- Understanding the Importance of Consistency, Clarity and Quality
- Building the blog and Attracting and Audience
- Passive Income Explained
- When and How to Monetize
- Expanding Reach through additional Mediums
- Leveraging Expert Status to Generate added Opportunities
Unlike other titles I’ve read on blogging (and reviewed here), Colker doesn’t make a pretense of telling you more than he actually does. For example – in Chapter 9, he covers our (branded) presence on social media. I really like two things about his approach.
- He tells you that you must have this. This is honesty, and I appreciate it. If you were selling a book, you wouldn’t keep all the copies at home — you’d put them in book stores where the customers go. The truth is, no one is going to find your blog unless they know it’s there. And those readers? They’re on social media. Too many other blogging advisory books pussy foot around, saying to “Do it when you’re ready…” Um, being ready is a myth. Do it, be yourself (see chapter 2) and learn as you go.
- He doesn’t’ pretend that he’s telling you everything you need to know about each social media channel. This is a good thing. He gives you perspective to approach your social media presence from, and he uses plenty of good solid, keyword search terms so when you turn to Google, you should get solid, helpful results off the bat.
One thing that surprised me about this book. There’s very little — in fact, virtually no, self-promotion. I’ve read other how-to-make-money-blogging books where I skipped out to check out the writer’s blog only to discover (as I suspected) they’re not truly making any money on their blogs, and sometimes they’re not actually even implementing any of the practices they espouse. Colker’s writing seems spot on, but in the book, there is NO reference to any blog of his own. On the back cover, there is a head shot (of the BACK of his head – okay, so he wants his privacy when he’s popping out for a latte), but no links, no urls, no domains, no nuthin’. For someone who has written what appears to be a well put together book, we (again) are seeing an author who’s not following his own advice (chapter 10). This time around, I went looking for Colker’s blog because I thought, after reading this little book, I’d enjoy reading it. Insstead, I find my confidence slightly undermined. Why didn’t he share his url? Why isn’t he driving traffic to his blog?
So, you know me (or if you don’t, here’s a little insight). I went looking. Online.
Can’t find Mr. Colker. Well not this one. I mean, I found several Mr. Colkers. But none of them sound like a match for this guy.
Taking a look at his Amazon author page, I found some blog posts. Eureka, right? Well, not so much. The blog posts were from a site, brandoncolker.wordpress.com. So, yes, that’s the right name…. but any newbie who’s done the LEAST little bit of research will tell you that you do NOT use a WordPress.com site if you want to monetize your blog. You use a self-hosted site, which, if you want to use wordpress, means wordpress.org. And the posts…. the most recent posts are from May 2014. There’s a couple from April, and a couple from March… and that’s it.
And the topics — they’re all over the place. COMPLETELY the opposite of what he says in the book. So, I’m thinking, hm, maybe he’s using this site for writing samples. Sometimes we writers take on writing for others (I have). This is a good solution to have a fast way to send potential employers samples of your writing on different, unrelated topics. But… Seriously, you’re selling a book about blog writing (for money)… show people a blog worth emulating. This isn’t it. So don’t use it as the sample on your Amazon page. It undermines your credibility.
The thing is… There’s good solid content in this book. Did he write it? Probably, I have no reason to think he didn’t. ON the other hand, he could have hired a ghost writer and is now marketing the content that he paid for an owns. If that’s the case, I really wise he’d hired the ghost writer to write a good, exemplary blog.
Here’s MY bottom line: It’s a great starting point for a new blogger, and I think it’s a great blue print for an experienced blogger starting a new site. It’s NOT something I’d rely on for long term guidance. All those unanswered questions, frankly, make me question how much of an expert Mr. Colker really is.
The good news is, if you have Amazon Unlimited, you can read the book at no cost and make up your own mind. If you don’t have Amazon Unlimited, the cost is 99 cents for a Kindle edition, and less than $6 for a paperback. Let’s face it, you’ll pay way more than $6 for an eBook with this content that is 40+ pages long, so, if you’re a beginner, you might find this is a decent expenditure of your money.But if you put these ideas into practice, you’ll soon be looking for more, newer, fresher, and more reputable guidance.
I received a copy of this book at a discount in exchange for an honest review.
Any opinion expressed is mine alone.
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