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If It Was All about Money I Would Really Need a Drink

03/07/2009

Most of the people who pay for my internet marketing services are trying to make money. They run a business, and see the web as effective advertising that is relatively inexpensive. But not everything on the web is a business. Some people are just expressing their opinion, especially in blogs, and most can’t resist the chance to make a little change from their effort.

The web is monetized now, ads are everywhere. As someone who provides all kinds of things on the net for free (like photographs for use in visual arts presentations), I like having AdSense and a few affiliate programs to at least help me pay for it all. While I was developing my skills, it was more of a hobby, and I didn’t make much at it. Ads made just enough to keep me from bouncing checks because of hosting charges. Usually.

But occasionally I get a request for help with a project that’s not primarily about making money. I was recently contacted about starting a blog for a San Francisco Bay Area commercial and residential cleaning service, as a way of adding more content to their web presence, hoping to get more business from a better marketed web site and some SEO. Now that the Housekeeping Blog is up and running, I’ve realized that this client really wants to help people keep their houses clean. It’s not just about advertising for her.

Margaret has an old book she wrote, out of print now, about how people can more easily and effectively clean their houses and keep them that way, but she’s not really interested in selling the book. A lot of the blog posts are rewritten from material from the book, and it is well-written advice on keeping your home clean. These articles will occasionally attract a potential customer from the bay area, and she might even get an occasional conversion from it.

But mostly, she’s going to attract people looking for cleaning tips. And she’ll make a difference to some of them. Enough of a difference, in fact, that those people might recommend her blog, subscribe to it, even link to it or comment in it. This will help her blog get a higher authority rank from Google, known as PageRank. The higher the rank of her blog, the more valuable the links from it become. And since a lot of those links will be to her web site, especially deep links, say, to the commercial cleaning services page, her web site will benefit greatly from them.

And that will make her more money. But look at all the collateral occurrences! Thousands of people will read and subscribe to her blog. Their houses will be cleaner. They will pass the helpful household hints along to their friends who will benefit. Since most of this will happen somewhere besides the Bay Area, it will not be directly for money. This ad-free blog, provided by a very small cleaning business in Contra Costa County, will help houses all over the world get, and remain, clean.

Another client is a philosopher friend who really wants to make a difference, no matter how small, in the way people think about religion. He had a thought experiment that he wanted to institute as a blog, where he would challenge deeply help religious beliefs with a thoughtful and provoking theorum:

Satan Wrote the Bible: Leave your leap of faith behind and use your God-given mind.

There is no way this blog will ever make money. Most advertisers would never want to be involved. But, more importantly, the creator of Satan Wrote the Bible wants no ads on the site, and wants to remain completely anonymous. It didn’t cost him much… Maybe a thousand in all, initial marketing included. But that’s a serious outlay for someone that is adamant that they never get a dime back. It’s philosophical charity, basically, with political implications. So, there’s a case of a blog that’s out to just help make the world a better place.

As far as that kind of blog goes, it’s hard to beat Drinking Liberally. Here’s a blog by a man who says it’s “only a scratch pad” yet, through interesting political content, has become a very authoritative blog, with a PageRank of 5. In this case, we have the typical all-American Boy Blog with good intentions: not financial, not greed, but pure political altruism, with a healthy shot to help it all go down better (apologizes to Mary Poppin’s spoon full of sugar).

So, remember, internet hobbyists: no matter what your reason for blogging or starting a web site, internet marketing is just a way of spreading your message, even if your message doesn’t include any dollar signs. Or perhaps especially so.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 05/06/2009 2:05 pm

    Great post. It’s nice to know that everything’s not just about money. Sure would like to meet that San Fracisco chick! 😉

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