Arwen Taylor asks:
I wondered if you could talk about “Personality” blogs. These are blogs that people have built solely based around their personality and things happening in their life. An example of this would be Dooce.com and TheBloggess.com.
What do you think it takes to build that type of following? Do you think that is a viable business model? To become Internet famous and then profit off that fame?
I think there are two categories of personal blogs (i.e., a blog that gravitates around the personal life of the author himself and his experiences) that end up becoming popular and making a lot of money for the author (if he decided to monetize it)
The first one refers to the bloggers who were already famous before they jumped on the web. This includes television and movie celebrities, sport celebrities, music celebrities, business celebrities and so on. These people already have a big following, so if they start writing a blog tomorrow, regardless of the topic and content, many people will want to read.
The second category refers to bloggers who were not famous before starting their blogs, but who are incredibly funny, or incredibly insightful, or live an incredibly interesting life, or preferably all of these.
The two examples you mentioned fall in this second category. I am not a reader of either blog, but after a quick visit to the first one you realize the author has many interesting experiences to share, while the second blog is plain hilarious.
If you fall into one of these categories and like to write, then perhaps you could create a viable business model out of it.
However, I still think that creating a popular blog on a specific niche is much easier and can be much more profitable. It is easier your visitors will understand upfront what your blog is about, and whether or not they are interested in it. It can be much more profitable because by focusing on a specific topic you’ll be able to find advertisers and sell products more efficiently.
But what about you, do you think that personal blogs can be a viable business model? Would you try to build one?