Today, Charles Wright, one of Australia’s best known local bloggers, cast a big, dark shadow over the potential of blogging as a professional endeavour when he revealed that he was about ready to give up the blog.
If ever there was an Aussie who had the capacity to make blogging pay the bills, it’s Wright, a veteran newspaper tech journalist and popular columnist. Last year, Fairfax, the media company that publishes Wright’s weekly tech column started paying him to also pen a blog called Razor, which has run on the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age websites (one of Australia’s biggest web destinations) for the last eight months or so.
Razor is about to come to an end. Wright said on his Bleeding Edge blog that the amount of money he’s earning blogging versus the time it requires, means it’s not a sustainable endeavour. He wrote that he’s hoping the fact that Bleeding Edge is now his sole blogging outlet increases traffic and therefore ad revenue. If it doesn’t, he’s set to give up blogging altogether.
As far as blog practices go, Wright has done everything right. He’s got a Big Media outlet from which to publicise himself and his blog. He’s getting a steady income to pen one blog, which one would think, might cross-subsidise the research time required to operate his independent blog. Charles has even managed to build up something of a community behind his blog by attaching a Forum to it, which is popular and well-trafficked. And let’s not forget that he blogs about tech, the most profitable blogging category and as a veteran journo should be able to pump out copy much quicker than your average blogger.
Yet, at the end of the day, the “three of four hours” per day it was taking him to sustain his blog meant that he wasn’t able to spend the time doing the writing that kept the bills paid.
Now, a bunch of you out there will say, so what if some journo can’t give up his day job and become a full-time blogger. Blogging is all about giving the ordinary people a voice, yeh! Cameron Reilly, for example, wrote yesterday:
All those things are great, but for the blogosphere to prosper, it needs a foundation of professionals who set a certain level of standards and whom become the hub of a blogging community. In tech, you get that, but it’s build on an artificial platform because you’ve got a bunch of people, who are either very passionate about the blogging medium and who’ll blog even if the rewards don’t justify the investment or you’ve got people blogging primarily as a marketing exercise.
Unfortunately, those underlying principles don’t translate for many other categories.
On the other hand, Entertainment is a thriving blog category because there are a number of big, professional sites out there who form that hub of the blogosphere from which the don’t care’s or the wannabe’s can leverage.
So the fact that Charles Wright is on the verge of giving up blogging IS a big deal. We need our professionals. Blogger’s without an agenda who can generate content equivalent to what Big Media produces. Because, the fact is, people with something else to do will tire of blogging if the rewards aren’t there. The more successful you are as a blogger, the more time it eats up and there needs to be a payoff that scales with that time and effort investment. Until then, I still maintain my pimple on the greasy back position.