This is a guest post by Michael Schechter.
I’m noticing a pattern lately: the moment that a blogger starts to monetize his or her site can usually be tracked back to moment the content begins to suck. The minute that optimization becomes the priority, creation tends to quickly take a backseat. It’s not a perfect theory, but it is quickly becoming a common one.
Now, I’m fairly new at this whole blogging thing, but I have a pretty clear call to action on my site: I want you to read the crap I wrote on the page, with the desired reaction being that you derive value from said crap. If you really found it useful, who knows, maybe you’ll even comment. Apparently, this is wrong and I just don’t get how things work.
Apparently, I need you to engage, to end on a question no matter how obvious and patronizing it is. I need an offer to get you to sign up for my email newsletter, to get you to trade your first born for an ebook. I need to coerce you to come back, because apparently compelling you just isn’t going to be good enough.
I don’t want you to get me wrong; I’m not against making money. I love money… a lot! Hell, I may even throw in an affiliate link or ten on my site. What I am against is those making money at the expense of their audience. I’m against those who care more about you clicking a link than reading the words on the page. In other words, I’m naive, and that is just fine with me.
It’s been sad to watch once-great bloggers leveraging past trust in exchange for future dollars. We used to get your A-game for free, but now you expect us to pay for a subscription to your 8th website (you know, the super secret one where you really put all of the “good stuff” now) for the watered down version. Worse yet, we fall for it every time. Even those of us who should know better (Read: Me). We want to believe, badly, that the trust we once put in you is still worth it today.
I don’t see things changing any time soon, so for now, the best advice I can offer is the same steps that I am trying to adhere to myself: unceremoniously unsubscribe your attention from anyone who is working harder on selling you than teaching you. Take that time and start writing about something you care about. Pour yourself into it, even when no one is reading. If and when people do start reading the crap you put on the page, don’t ever take that for granted.
So am I alone, or do you see what I’m seeing out there? Damn, there I go with the patronizing question and I didn’t even monetize…
About the author: Michael Schechter is the Digital Marketing Director for Honora Pearls, a company specializing in freshwater pearl jewelry. He writes about all things digital over at his blog, and you can connect with him on Twitter at @MSchechter. He also knows his way around a fine single malt scotch.
image: The Sun and Doves