Every single person in the world has an innate desire to feel important, to matter, to count.

No matter how we look at it, recognition from the outside world plays a tremendous part in how we feel about ourselves.

This desire or even necessity to feel respected carries into almost every nook and cranny of our lives, including our online business.

And this begs a question that’s been haunting me for a while now:

Would you rather be recognized as a true authority in your niche, invited to speak at conferences and give interviews, asked for opinions, etc., but not necessarily see much monetary gain from all this recognition…


being a nobody in the blogging world, but quietly making a nice income from your online business?

Fame or money, in other words?

It might come as a surprise to you, but many A-list bloggers don’t make much money from their blogs.

It’s true.

On the surface of things, they look quite successful, get hordes of traffic, social media attention, and comments, but have very little to show for it as far as their bank account goes.

We all think that we want to be just like them some day – a recognized expert in our field, but do we really?

I recently had the pleasure to be a speaker at a closed webinar for a paid product.

The two other speakers were Jon Morrow of Copyblogger.com and Marcus Sheridan of TheSalesLion.com.

One of the topics discussed: how important networking was to any blogger’s online survival.

The consensus was that this was one of the most vital steps bloggers needed to take from the very conception of their blogs: get to know other bloggers in their niche, form friendships, and alliances.

Jon Morrow even said that in the beginning stages of any blog, a blogger should spend 20% of their time working on writing incredible content for their new blog and 80% of their time networking on other blogs.

As a result of your blog being more and more recognized among your peers and even those who are way ahead of you, THEY will be the ones who’ll spread the word about your blog and will send you their readership as well as quality one way link building.

When you start seeing this shift, you can slowly move towards spending 80% of your time writing stellar content for your blog and 20% of your time networking.

It does make a lot of sense, right?

Once your name gets around, your readership will find YOU and not the other way around.

However, let me ask you this question: does your popularity have a DIRECT correlation with the amount of money you’ll make online?

Unfortunately, not.

Allow me to introduce a different way of doing things.

Are You In It For The Money?

Those of you who are regular readers of Traffic Generation Cafe are well aware that I am a strong proponent of SEO traffic.

And why wouldn’t I be?

It’s free, highly targeted, and can be leveraged long-term, meaning that once you obtain high rankings, you have a good shot at staying there with minimal upkeep.

Unlike getting targeted web traffic via networking, namely things like guest posting or commenting on other blogs, which requires CONSTANT effort or there won’t be any traffic, traffic from the search engines will come on autopilot.

Sure, it takes time to learn how to truly generate the kind of targeted traffic that will convert into loyal readership/subscribers/customers, but it’s well worth the effort.

So a couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to dominate the search engines for any search terms related to traffic generation.

Ambitious, but doable.

As I starting doing my competition research though, I noticed something: one particular blog kept popping up on the first page of Google for just about every single keyword I was looking up.

Here are some notable things about this blog:

  1. Nobody has ever heard of it.
  2. They don’t care about building true readership – no comments or active social media sharing.
  3. The author is very prolific as far as content production goes; he posts daily, sometimes even a couple of times per day.
  4. The content itself is mediocre; the kind of information you can find anywhere.
  5. The backlinking strategy is exceptional – a great number of high quality links from all kinds of sources.

So here we have a blog, the sole purpose of which is to be listed for as many high-trafficked terms as possible and have the readership come to IT.

Just in case you are wondering, their Alexa ranking is not that great, but still good compared to so many other blogs out there.

And I bet you ALL their traffic comes from the search engines.

Some carefully placed paid ads, Google AdSense, and affiliate products combined with completely free hands-free traffic equals a blog nobody ever heard of that most likely makes more money than many authority blogs.

Clearly, the owner could care less about networking; all he needs is some good SEO skills to bring in just as much traffic as most bloggers would through time-consuming guest posting, commenting, and hanging out on social media.

It’s not about recognition. It’s about making money online.

And in the end, isn’t this the final goal for most bloggers?

Rags For Riches

So here’s my ultimate question to you: do you spend more time building your online presence, trying to carve out your well-deserved place in the blogosphere, while sacrificing doing things that directly affect your bottom line?

Or would you be OK with being a nobody online, but at the end of the day, bring in a nice income from your efforts?

Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer here.

I do believe though that answering this question will help you to find the right balance in your business.

If you definitely fall into the “building your online empire” category, but still don’t see much financial reward from all your hard work, maybe it’s time to come up with a better plan, a better balance.

If you could care less about networking and you are just in it for the money, in which case you most likely wouldn’t be reading this blog post to begin with, just be prepared to shift your business with the capricious search engine behavior.

It’s always nice to have a backup plan in case that next Google update will send your site crumbling down from the top.

As for me, I used to be in the former category. Networking is how I built up Traffic Generation Cafe and I am not about to give it all up.

I know that in the end my readers are the ones who’ll make or break my business.

However, there’s no reason why there can’t be a balance between serving others with great content, making friendships, and connecting with other bloggers, and making money while you are at it.

We all just need to find ours.

One size doesn’t fit all in this case.

Would definitely love to hear your thoughts on where you are at with your business. Fame or money? Have you found your balance yet?

Ana Hoffman