Can You Keep Up with the Joneses?

A few days ago I’ve watched a very intriguing movie called The Joneses. It’s about a seemingly happy family who is moving to a new city. Their main motive is to sell products though.

How do they do it? They meet a lot of people and they sell by example, they use the newest gadgets they have to advertise and simply talk about them.

The stealth marketing of the Joneses reminded me of large parts of the blogosphere these days.

It’s not the just the obvious parallel I mean here. Yes, there are lots of bloggers who sell you the one and only WordPress theme, a web hosting package they pretend to use and some software you must have. Indeed I almost made the mistake to behave like this as well.

A few scattered affiliate links can still be found in the archives here but I don’t lie to you.

No, I mean the bigger picture. In the movie it’s about keeping up with the Joneses money-wise. They don’t have to pay for the latest sports cars, flat-screen tv sets or smartphones. Everybody else has to though.

On the Web it’s also about time. Web celebs like Robert Scoble or SEO industry icons like Rand Fishkin always use and write about the latest social site you have to be on (OMG, Quora is the best thing since the water toilet!), they visit lots of expensive conferences all over the place or better speak there.

I have spoken at the local SES twice as well but second time was awful.

Two speakers were scheduled, me and a guy from Mister Wong, but then the organizer decided to add three more speakers because he thought we’re not attractive enough probably. So when finally my presentation came there was no time left and he interrupted me after a few minutes so that I couldn’t finish it.

I was quite angry an decided not to speak at SES ever again but they haven’t invited me anyway a year later as it’s their policy not to invite people who need too long for their presentation.

It’s not all glamour in the shiny SEO world. You get treated without respect even by people you work for without pay.

It’s not just the conferences though. It’s the latest hype as well you have to invest your time in. People who earn 500$ or even 1000$ an hour and have dozens of wage slaves who do their low level work can afford to spend half the day to hang out on the latest “no ROI yet but in two years probably” social sites.

Can you keep up with them? No, of course not. You can’t keep with the Joneses. You don’t have to. Why? Let me come back to the get rich quick make money bloggers again. They are the worst kind of bloggers I have mentioned at the beginning of this post.

There were several projects out there that sounded quite similar so I can’t even remember their domain right. They were called the million dollar blog project or the likes. They wanted to make a six figure income from blogging in one year etc.

You know what? I’ve recently started to monitor my broken links more closely.

What did I find? Hundreds of comment links were broken. I checked many of them manually to find out what happened and amazingly many sites and blogs have disappeared. Some blogs after just a few months. Several of the million dollar blogs were among them while most of the lay low solid SEO blogs were still there.

So unlike the movie were the the neighbor who can’t keep up with the Joneses finally commits suicide on the Web the Joneses disappear much faster. Not only you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses you shouldn’t even try!

Look at me instead. I make a quite modest income by blogging but I’m almost a full time blogger for a few years by now. I have to do some SEO consulting or other SEO work as well but my dream of business blogging for a living has come true and it lasts.

I don’t mean to tell you that you can’t become a millionaire by blogging. There were cases where blogs have been sold for millions of dollars and I don’t even mean the sell out of Huffington Post to AOL.

You don’t have to everywhere and follow the latest hype. You don’t have to spend hours and hours on social sites nobody outside of the Web geek circles even knows.

I’ve learned the hard way in some cases. I wasted time on a few sites where I either got banned, where they vanished or got sold out and abandoned by most of the cool kids.

Make small steps that makes sense, earn enough money and don’t try to get rich quick or even rich at all. This way you may be around next year as well. Don’ try to keep up with the Joneses of Web.

You can even blog less to succeed.

Most of my blogs don’t need more than two posts per week and they earn money anyways. Here on SEO 2.0 I don’t even need to earn money with the blog directly unlike other SEO bloggers who remove blog comments and substitute them with ads.

Last updated: June 30th, 2015: Broken link fixed. White space and text formatting added.