Graffiti, USA, 2014
Graffiti, USA, 2014

If you have a blog, you’ve probably heard of the term “monetizing“. Just a few years ago, it was claimed to be the quick and easy fix to all your money problems. Can’t get a job in real life? Hit by the recession? Start a blog, and you’ll get the big bucks!

Unfortunately, unless I missed something, legal get-rich-quick schemes don’t deliver. Yes, you can earn money with your blog—ahem… I kind of do. It’s pocket money, mind you, and it just pays for the hosting fees. Most bloggers don’t quit their daytime job to become digital nomads, at best they enjoy a few perks here and there. Those who do make a living out of their websites put a lot of effort into it, and yes, it becomes a full-time commitment.

For most, blogging remains a side gig. Yet, you’ve probably been contacted out of the blue by marketing specialists, people dealing with SEO solutions, website ranking and other aspects of the Internet economy—and chances are you’ve heard one of these pitches.

The “I have a magical solution” pitch

These ones usually go straight into the “spam” folder. Just for you today, I opened it and ta-da! Four different pitches (although in two, the wording looks suspiciously similar).

An innocent soul may think blogging is basically the art of writing fun articles, and that creativity will be rewarded. Fools. There is a science to blogging, and the main ingredient is SEO (search engine optimization). That’s why you need to “convert visitors into revenue”, set up “calls to action”, “increase your ranking” and “improve your ROI”.

They can help you. At least, that’s what they say.

I wanted to shoot you a quick note regarding your website. I can make changes (aesthetically / design) so your site will convert more visitors into revenue by allowing your website to be mobile friendly for phones and tablets including more focus on your “call to action” areas.

I would just need to know if you’re open to checking out information about a website re-design. Would you be open to seeing more info and a quote for what I would like to accomplish?


How would you like to get your company in front of 10,000 new prospects every month?

Now you can! Using our email marketing platform – you can send emails to our opt in databases.

> Send 10,000 Emails for Only $99
> Use our Whitelisted Outbound Servers
> Use our Opt-In Targeted Databases
> Web Based Tracking Available 24/7
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I wanted to send a quick note regarding your website. If you want I can make a few changes that will make your site convert more visitors into revenue and to get it placed higher in the organic search results, for a few of the select terms.
Would you be open to seeing more brief info / quote for what I would like to accomplish? If so please let me know the best number to reach you.


I wanted to send over a quick note regarding your website. If you want I can help drive purchases or phone calls starting immediately to create revenue using proven tactics.
I would just need to know if you’re open to checking out information regarding the massive return on investment for your business. Would you be open to seeing more brief info / quote for what I would like to accomplish?


I wanted to send off a quick personal invite to my free website webinar for this week only. I think you will love it and be very pleased. Why? Because I will be discussing the “Top 3 things YOU can do on your own to increase your website rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines.” There is no charge for this webinar and it will surely help you to raise your website rankings fast. But do not delay, seats usually fill up fast.

Here is where you register: LINK

One more thing, I will include a free download link during the online webinar with the easy step by step instructions.

So register here: LINK

I hope to see you on the webinar!

The “publish my shit on your blog” pitch

Once in a while, I receive emails from other websites who insist I should publish their awesome infographic or their fantastic article. Why should I? Well, this is not very clear, because the content is only very loosely related to my own topics. For instance, I was requested to publish an infographic about legal drinking ages around the world. Another one was for an article featuring the best ways to save money in Boston.

Why do they do that? Because they want a link back, that’s why. And why should you oblige them? For absolutely no reason, especially when the content is not relevant.

Relevant example I’ve just received. They want to put a link to an article about drives in the UK on one of my travel articles written when we were driving around Australia.

Hi Juliette

I wanted to get in touch and share a guide we’ve put together highlighting the best scenic roads in the UK. Take a look LINK

We’ve tried to cover all aspects from drive time and finding the routes to things to do in the surrounding area and times of year to visit.

I wondered if you would consider adding a mention of our guide on your website, it could be a good fit for this page –

The “I will write your blog for you” pitch

Look, I’m a lazy French. I would love to have someone cook for me, clean the house when I’m away and even handle the boring aspects of my job, like invoicing. Oh, and I’d like a full body massage as well, thank you.

But there is one thing I don’t need help with—writing. Not because I’m such a great writer, but because no one held a gun to my head and forced me to start this blog. I’ve been publishing articles since 2006 (…I know!) and I do it because I truly enjoy writing. If I have nothing to say, then there will be no new article from me in your RSS feed. As simple as that. I also find that three articles a week is my cruise speed, I would never be able to post every day (unless we are travelling, but a travel diary is a different form of blogging).

So no, I don’t want to pay someone to write this blog. That would be… awkward. “Eh, Stacy, can you write a 500-word article on how annoying my son is? Oh, you don’t know him? Never mind, make it up!” “Alright John, 750 words on Canadian food. Yes, you’re in India, so what?”

The “give me content for free” pitch

On the other hand, I sometimes get article requests. I’m oddly flattered (“look at me! My writing skills are in demand!”) until I realize that I’m supposed to contribute to a new website I know nothing about for free.

I don’t work for free. Why should I? I get irrationally annoyed with this kind of request. So Mike starts a website, he wants to be the next Lonely Planet/Facebook/New York Times, and I should provide original content, just because. “But you will get exposure!” “You will get a backlink!”

Yeah… no, thanks.

So, do you receive similar requests from “Internet marketing specialists”?


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  1. Cynthia September 21, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Please put a link to my website on this popular and relevant page and in exchange I will link to your blog on some remote and irrelevant page of my company website.

    or my favourite

    Hi, I have invented some gimmicky product and I would like you to write a review of it on your blog. Of course, they never offer to actually send you the product for you to test and they often tell me that if I don’t feel like writing it, they can provide me with a ready-made review!

    1. Zhu September 21, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Oh yes! Forgot about that one. I always reply I can’t review a product I have never tested… and then they tell me to buy it first. Uh… no?

      I don’t even do link exchange anymore. It’s a PITA.

  2. Holly September 21, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    All.the.time. Yes, I definitely hear you on this one Zhu! It drives me berserk! But I do like the e mails offering to pay me or to give me free stuff!

    1. Zhu September 21, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Some are legit, so yes, you do have to read between the lines!

  3. Martin Penwald September 21, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    About writing for free, it essentially concerns graphists and illiustrators, but it is well though (in French)

    « Mon maçon était illiustrateur, et il a gardé de bonnes habitudes. »

    Enlarge your … mmmh … customers database.

    1. Zhu September 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Mon père étant artiste/graphiste… je connais la chanson! 😆 Pas mal le Tumblr, bien vu.

  4. Gagan September 24, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    This was wonderful, I am not a blogger but this was warning enough; I mean not to not to blog (that was not a typo)

    Although w.r.t. my profession I got a similar “Job Offer”, I am reading through it and I find it too good to be true kind of a deal, I am a doubting Thomas, so I kept looking for the “give away” and there it was, the pitch “It’s not a Job, It’s a LIFESTYLE”

    I was like, ‘don’t worry about LIFESTYLE I have got plenty of it :)’

    1. Zhu September 24, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      😆 Oh oui, saint Thomas… Good eye, indeed people who promise you “a lifestyle” usually forget to mention that it’s a lifestyle of deception!

      Meh. You’re too grounded and smart to fall for that shit. I’m not worried about you 😉


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