No one knows for sure how many blogs there are, but it's almost certainly got to be in the millions; it seems like everyone and his cat wants a little soapbox on the Web, though these days the motivation is not to have one's say, but to make one's living. If you've toiled in the backwaters of blogdom for more than a few weeks, you're probably laughing: "Yeah, right," you'll say, but it turns out that they're serious. They read up on search-engine optimization, and bought into it the way the ancients bought into astrology, for almost exactly the same reasons. And they spend their odd hours wanting to know what keywords are best, how they can get quality backlinks, and most ludicrous of all, where they can get content. Allow me to set you straight:

You are never, ever, going to make a living blogging. Like, ever. And here's why:

Your expectations are absurd. The whole idea is not having to work nine to five, right? Well, to make a go of this you're going to have to work at least forty hours a week, if not more. If you were thinking you can wake up at noon, knock out 500 words, and then spend the rest of the day playing Xbox, you are sadly mistaken.

Everything they tell you is wrong. Any professed SEO expert is going to tell you that you need this, a heap of that, several of those, and just a pinch of spice for Google to rank you. Well, Google isn't going to rank you: they're wise to all these schemes, and once they find out you've been spinning articles — copying stuff you find, sending it through some sort of verbal Cuisinart to make it look less like a copy, and then claiming it for your own — they're going to bury you nine hundred pages down, where you belong. If it's important to you to get on Google's front page, send them a check. It's legal, it doesn't require you to steal anything from anyone, and it's amazingly effective. "But I shouldn't have to do that," you cry. Yes, you should. There has never been a free lunch, and you're not going to get one in blogdom.

Your content is far from compelling. This is especially true if you're spinning articles (q.v.) to fill in the space. And what points can you make that haven't been made seventeen, or seventy, or seven thousand times before? Either you go for the nichiest niche that ever scratched an itch, or you give it up and try to cover the whole world at once. (Which, admittedly, is what I do, but then I'm not trying desperately to get people to click on my Google ads.)

You're a greedy son of a bitch. Behold this Quoran:

Can I claim an abandoned Facebook page? There is a page that hasn't been updated for a year that has a similar name to my new business plus it has 25,000 fans. Is there a way to get ownership of that page? I've tried reaching out but no answer.

And Zuck will smite thee for thy presumption, thou loathsome locust.

Then again, there are worse people out there. Ladies and germs, I give you: the wannabe YouTuber. Some insignificant little flyspeck like PewDiePie has fifty zillion views, they think, so why can't I? The answer, of course, is that Pew (may we call you Pew?) works his butt off at his side gigs, so he always has something going on. And at the moment, you're even behind me: YouTube for some reason assigned me a channel, and it has two actual subscribers despite a complete and utter lack of videos. Okay, there were three, but one dropped me.

The Vent

  24 March 2019

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