Written on November 30th, 2004 at 01:11 am by Darren Rowse

Blogs Are Business Support Tools, Not Direct Money Makers

Pro Blogging News 8 comments

Fredrik from CorporateBloggingBlog has an interesting post on making money directly from blogging and writes:

‘I’m not sure why so many people are looking for direct revenue streams from blogging. Or, well, I understand why. We all have to pay the mortgages. But I don’t think that blogging as such ever will be more than a small niche business.’ Read more at : Blogs Are Business Support Tools, Not Direct Money Makers

I have to agree with Fredrik - but also disagree. I think the majority of money to be made from blogging probably comes from other activities on the edge of blogging and not directly from the activity of posting articles. For instances blogging tools, support services (like providing advertisers for bloggers) and blog consulting are obvious examples of how people can make money indirectly from blogging - however I think its been proven that it is possible to not only make a few dollars directly from blogging - but to make a decent income from it. I know of a growing number of full time bloggers who sustain their total income from their blogging (most of whom are not willing to go public about it for fear of being copied). Of course this is a small number of people and is an activity that will become more difficult as more and more bloggers give it a go and compete - but I really believe that the market is big enough to sustain a good deal of bloggers taking this approach.

Written on November 28th, 2004 at 12:11 pm by Darren Rowse

Pro-blogging >> My two year Journey of Discovery

enternetusers Site News 0 comments

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of the very first blog post that I ever did on my first personal blog.

It has been a very interesting and rewarding two years. I’ve been reflecting today a little about the journey of blogging so far. There have been a number of movements that have brought me to the place I’m in today as someone who now who earns a living from blogging. Let me reflect a little on the journey so far….

- The first year of blogging (almost solely working on my own personal blog) was mainly about connecting with other bloggers, learning some basic coding (I knew nothing at all when I first started), testing different blogging tools, developing some writing skills, testing what worked and what didn’t in terms of topics etc. It was largely about familiarization, experimentation and gathering of skills and knowledge.

- Another side benefit of the first year was that it built my ‘livingroom.org.au’ page ranking in Google. I did a number of projects in that time which caught the attention of a wide variety of other bloggers and involved them in my blogging. This had the side benefit of thousands of inward links to my blog which built my domain ranking significantly and gave me a great foundation for the launching of new commercial blogs.

- At the end of my first year I discovered Google adsense and added it to my blogs to discover that I could pay for my ISP and hosting costs with it. Nice. I also had a play around with Amazon affiliate-ship and made a few dollars on the side - enough to buy a book or two each quarter.

Dpblogo- Around this time I accidentally started my first commercially viable blog - Digital Photography Blog. I say accidentally because it was a complete fluke. This blog was originally a personal photolog with holiday pictures that I’d taken on a trip to Europe. I also had a review of the camera I used on the trip which included links to a number of other good reviews on the camera.

After a few weeks it became very evident that the pictures were getting no hits but the camera review was ranked quite highly on Google (due to my domain having risen in ranking over the previous year). I also noticed that one or two people bought the camera I’d recommended through my link to Amazon and that my Google Adsense figures seemed a little higher. A light went on in my head as I thought - ‘what if instead of having just one page of reviews - I had 100 pages on digital cameras?’

This began my intentional journey of developing a niche news blog on digital imaging. Today that blog has thousands of pages and has become a regular read for hundreds of thousands digital imaging enthusiasts each month. Whilst not the biggest digicam site out there it regularly features in the top 10 returns for hundreds of Google and is slowly growing in readership and reputation.

- A few months into this new blog I started experimenting with a number of other topics and have since rolled out around 13 blogs including the mother of them all (well it was for a month) - the Olympics Blog which I worked on with a friend in the months leading up to the games in August. The traffic graph (below) for this blog is pretty amusing (click to enlarge) with the blog receiving around 1.5million visitors over the month of August. It was hard work with us each working virtually around the clock on it during the games - but it was a worthwhile time which saw us not only financially rewarded but also learning many lessons about commercial blogging.

Server-2- Some of the blogs I’m involved with are more commercially more successful than others of course - but all in all they have become my main source of income. As they’ve increased in earnings I’ve been freed up to dedicate more time to it - which in turn is rewarding. Next year I will be a full time blogger as my last part time job ends.

- As I look ahead at the next 12 months of blogging I’m excited by the potential that I see for the medium. I’m currently working on some new projects which I’ll talk about here over the next few weeks and am thinking through some ways of making blogging something that not only benefits me financially but a medium that can bring about social change. I see that it is a powerful tool that could really give a voice to the marginalized and even be a way of generating income for those less fortunate an unable to work in traditional work places for reasons of health, location, disability etc.

All in all its been an amazing two years in which I can hardly believe the progression. I would never have imagined that blogging would progress from a hobby to a career as it has.

Written on November 28th, 2004 at 11:11 am by Darren Rowse

Another Blogger for Hire on EBay

Other Income Streams 1 comment

Friday we mentioned that Jeremy Wright was Darren has also started an auction on ebay - but instead of starting at $100 he’s decided to kick the bidding off at $500. No bids so far - but I’m sure he’ll get there.

The publicity for these two alone will be worth the effort. Here’s what they should do - start bidding on each others auctions. Get it up really high - like $10,000 - it would cause a massive stir in the media. Then at the end when they both buy each others services for the same price - they don’t have to shell out any money but they surf on the fame of it all.

Written on November 27th, 2004 at 01:11 pm by Darren Rowse

ecto blog: Amazon

Blogging Tools and Services 0 comments

The wonderful people who developed ecto - a tool that has revolutionised the way I blog - has added a feature that I requested in forums a few weeks back to their MacOSX version - the ability to add Amazon affiliate products to your blog all remotely! This means not only can I blog this entry without having to log into MT - but I can now also add links like this one to “Blogging: Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content” (Biz Stone) or the image based one in this post with just a couple of clicks!

Have I mentioned that I LOVE ecto?

Written on November 27th, 2004 at 07:11 am by Darren Rowse

Product Placement hits Blogging

enternetusers Site News 0 comments

‘On Monday, a squad of around 15 independent bloggers will begin inserting mentions of Marqui’s hosted communications management services into their blogs for money.

The bloggers will get $800 a month to mention Marqui with a link once a week in their blogs and post its emblem on a page. They’ll get an additional $50 per qualified sales lead they send to Marqui.

“We hit on the idea of [connecting with] heavily read, influential bloggers who create public discussion groups and get feedback,” said Stephen King, Marqui CEO. “But there are no mechanisms for them to make money. So we came up with idea of paying them.”‘

Read more of this article at Marc’s Voice: Marqui product placement ads

Also talking about this story is Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion, who writes ‘I am on the fence on whether this is smart strategy or not. On the one hand, the company gets to reach influentials in a very cost-effective way. On the other, I feel that it’s tainted.’

I tend to agree with Steve and feel like this is something of a risky experiment both for Marqui and the bloggers taking on the job. Does this approach run the risk of disenchanting readers?

This will be an interesting story to follow - if its done carefully and the bloggers chosen are writing on related topics to the product they place in their content then it could prove to be a worthwhile move - however if it becomes an unsubtle and obviously money grabbing exercise that dominates the blogs chosen then I’m not so sure.

Written on November 26th, 2004 at 10:11 pm by Darren Rowse

Blogger for Hire on EBay

Other Income Streams 2 comments

Blogger Jeremy C. Wright is in the news again - this time he’s auctioning his services as a blogger to the highest bidder! Yes you heard me right - Jeremy of Ensight is willing to blog for three months for the highest bidder - posting 5 to 10 times per week. The auction is at ebay and the bidding as of tonight is at $112.73.

He posts about it on his blog answering the question - Isn’t this all a little stupid? - Maybe. But, like all free market stuff, you never know if there’s a demand for something until you try. If there is a demand for this, there may be a demand for more blogger trials at more companies in which case - who knows - maybe I’ll end up brokering such deals for other bloggers with other companies.’

This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned Jeremy on this blog - last time he was selling his blog in another attempt to earn money from his blogging.

So why is he auctioning himself? - ‘To be honest, I’m doing this to raise the profile of blogging, plain and simple. Plus, being a writer as well as a consultant in a past life, I know I can help companies figure out if blogging is the right space for them to be looking at.’

Interesting move - not only is he raising blogging’s profile but again he’s raising his own and hopefully will earn a few dollars on the side. $112.73 would be a bargain but with 7 days and 3 hours still to go in the auction I’m sure the price will rise - if not I know I’ll be putting in a bid!

Written on November 26th, 2004 at 03:11 pm by Darren Rowse

Pay per Click Advertising Trading

Advertising 0 comments

A lot of Bloggers are earning good money as a result of being publishers of pay-per-click advertising but those that are making the most out of it are also bringing traffic to their blogs via the same method.

It sounds all wrong when you first think about it - why would anyone spend money on getting readers to their site in order to get them to click an ad to earn money? Wouldn’t it cost more to get readers than you’ll make from it?

Well it all depends how clever you are really. Let me explain a little…

Imagine this - you spend 5 cents to get a reader to your site but when they get there they click on an ad or buy something from an affiliate you link to and you earn anything from 50 cents to $20 (or more)! Sounds like a good investment to me.

This is what many webmasters and an increasing amount of bloggers spend their days doing. Its a little like share trading - you are looking at the fluctuations of prices on buying ads and timing it just right so that returns are maximized whilst also searching for affiliate programs and high paying contextual advertising terms. The hope is that a high enough percentage of your readers click those high paying ads or buy those lucrative products you sell to not only recoup your investment but also make a little on the side.

Of course you don’t even really need a blog or website to make money from pay-per-click ads. Here is another strategy that many are using. You buy ads cheaply and instead of funneling people to your own website you send them to another site which you happen to be an affiliate for! An increasing amount of the ads that you see advertised on Adsense and Overture are actually placed through this method - not by the site you visit when you click them, but by an affiliate hoping that a high enough percentage of clickers make a purchase and earn them a few dollars.

The method is risky and it takes some good well thought out strategy and precision execution but the rewards are potentially great.

I talked to someone using this method earlier in the week and he told me that his sites now earn him $US10 million per year - but that he’s spending just over $US5 million in advertising. Food for thought.

Written on November 25th, 2004 at 05:11 pm by Darren Rowse

Building blog traffic for newbies

Blog Promotion 2 comments

The Blog Herald has a good post on Building blog traffic for newbies - pretty basic tips but well worth a read if you’re new to blogging and wanting to get some traffic over to that blog you’ve been working hard on. Here is their last tip:

‘The most important feature of all: post regularly and post often. It not only brings readers back regularly but it means the spiders from the search engines will return more frequently indexing your entire site, and you’ll start getting hits from the search engines. Some may argue but these aren’t that valuable but I would argue that’s rubbish. It exposes your site to a new audience for free, and even if only a few return you’ve still built up your readership for free. Take the Blog Herald for example, we get 5,000 views per month just from clickthrus in from Google and another 2,500 from other search engines (Google is the only real game in town though). Even if only 1% return to the site later, that’s 75 new regular readers per month or nearly 1000 per year, and what I also find is that this traffic also responds well to advertising on the site if they’ve stumbled in for the wrong reason.’

Written on November 24th, 2004 at 05:11 pm by Darren Rowse

Mailing List Services

Blog Promotion 6 comments

Does anyone out there know of any plugins for Word Press and Moveable Type that are for collecting and generating a mailing list for your blog? I’ve been using a paid system for the past year that has been very unreliable. I’m sick of writing up emails to send to those that have signed up for my mailing list only to find that the program which is billed as seamless and easy to use doesn’t end up sending anything 50% of the time.

It doesn’t have to be a plug in for WP or MT - I’m looking for something that will allow me to collect email addresses (opt in style) and shoot out weekly emails. It needs to be cheap (free is good, but willing to pay) and able to handle lists of over 3000 recipients. Any suggestions would be gladly received.

Written on November 24th, 2004 at 11:11 am by Darren Rowse

Essential Pro Blogging Tools

Blogging Tools and Services 2 comments

Hypothetical question time - If you were stranded on a desert island (with dsl broadband and a laptop) and the had to make a living (to pay for your boat ride home) from blogging - what would be your top 5 blogging tools/programs/services?

Ok - silly question - but someone was just asking me about my blogging and the tools that I use - I told them that I LOVE…

1. Google Adsense - my wife loves them too - They give me money to research and write about stuff that I’m really interested in and probably would have researched and written about for free!

2. Bloglines - These people find me the stuff that I write about in a 10th of the time it would have taken me to find it otherwise. They also tell me if others are writing about it within minutes of them doing so.

3. Ecto - I still remember the day I first fell in love with this little program. It makes uploading blog entries so quick and easy. What you see is what you get editing - one click publishing - purrrrr.

4. Google News - Once again the nice people at Google come to the problogging party and kindly email me news on any topic that I might choose. Articles from around the world that I’d never have heard of land in my inbox daily.

5. Topix - Once again this service sources news (for free) from around the globe and shoots it into either an email or an RSS feed for my blogging pleasure.

What are your top 5 blogging tools??


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