Written on December 16th, 2004 at 12:12 pm by Darren Rowse

Doc Searls responds to Blogging for Money Criticism

Pro Blogging News 3 comments

Doc Searls has been on the receiving end of some criticism recently after some of what he said at BloggerCon and a quote that appeared in a recent Newsweek article on blogging. Today he posts a good post clarifying his postition on problogging:

‘So let me make this as clear as I can. I have nothing against making money with blogs. Hell, I’d love to make money with IT Garage, and I’m watching closely what Nick and Jason and Tony and Stowe are up to, because they’re among the leaders at figuring that out. Chris Nolan, too, as a stand-alone journalist. Also Dan Gillmor. Same are Doug Kaye, Marc Canter and too many others to name here, each in their own ways.

See, I think the future of periodical publishing, and of journalism itself, will be built mostly by individual bloggers and indivdidual blogs, and by a new breed of publishers who harvest and republish (and, yes, pay for) goods from the wide open ranges where bloggers roam, and post, free. The day will come when the top print publications will be comprised of prose and pictures provided by blogs and bloggers….

Meanwhile, I still think there’s more money being made because of blogs than with them. Problem is, I have no hard evidence for that. There also are not many people, besides myself and Dave Winer, who are interested in talking about it.’

Ok - I actually think that most of us are on the same page here. Whilst there are a few examples of bloggers writing off blogging directly for money as not being viable - I think its generally accepted that there are numerous examples of individuals or groups who are making a living from their blogs. Along side this I think we’re also seeing individuals and groups emerge who are making a living indirectly from blogging whether that be through consulting, blog design, blog services/tools or as a result of the credibility that they build through their blog in their area of expertise.

I for one AM interested in talking about all methods of earning a living from blogging. I watch with interest many bloggers experiments and myself am involved not only in blogging directly for dollars (it brings me the majority of my income these days) but also am beginning to explore some consulting opportunities here in Australia and overseas which have arisen out of this and other blogs.

As I’ve argued before - ‘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’ - however there are many ways to skin a cat (is that just an Aussie saying?) - and there are many ways to make a dollar from blogging and I think we all need to perhaps just take a ‘chill pill’ and allow one another to experiment and do our own thing - and somewhere in the midst of it all we may find the answer for our own particular circumstances.

Written on December 16th, 2004 at 09:12 am by Darren Rowse

Holiday Visits to Retail Sites Up 24 Percent

Pro Blogging News 0 comments

ClickZ reports that traffic continues to be up in online retail outlets which is a good sign for many enternetuserss who use affiliate programs to send their readers to such stores:

‘In another indication of the growth of advertising and retail opportunities online this holiday season, U.S. visits to shopping Web sites accounted for 9.7 percent of all Internet visits in the week ending December 11. That figure represents a 24.1 percent increase over the same time period in 2003, according to the latest Hitwise report.

But in targeting different retail sectors, the top three search engines appear to outperform their rivals in certain online niches, said Bill Tancer, vice president of research at Hitwise.’

Read more at Holiday Visits to Retail Sites Up 24 Percent Over 2003

Written on December 15th, 2004 at 10:12 pm by Darren Rowse

Weblogs Inc revise 100 blogs in a year prediction

Pro Blogging News 0 comments

Jason Calacanis reflects upon the end of Weblogs Inc’s first year of blogging in which they had predicted started 100 blogs but in which they will actually start approximately 75. He writes:

‘However, the main reason for us not hitting 100 is that we decided to shift our strategy from niche blogs (i.e. scuba or cigars), and instead do bigger category blogs like Gadling (travel, with a scuba section) and Luxist (luxury, with a cigar section).’

Read more at Hitting 100 blogs in year one…

75 blogs or 100 blogs it has been a pretty impressive start from Weblogs Inc who are getting a real foothold on many valueable niches of the blogging market.

Written on December 15th, 2004 at 03:12 pm by Darren Rowse

Feedburner Feedcount

Blog Promotion 1 comment

I have recently been using Feedburner’s RSS services and have found them to work quite well. A number of you now read this site via the Feedburner RSS feed (although most still track us on the old one).

In the last day or two Feedburner have added a new feature to help you promote your readership via RSS - its a little button like this one that shows how many of you are using this RSS feed to follow my ramblings.

Click it to subscribe to get the feed in order to add it to your news aggregator.

Written on December 15th, 2004 at 11:12 am by Darren Rowse

Marketers Spent $4 Billion on Search Advertising

Advertising 0 comments

Those of you running contextual advertising programs will be happy to hear these latest figures - ‘Advertisers will spend $4 billion in 2004 by year-end on search marketing programs, and are expected to spend 39 percent more on such programs in 2005, according to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO).

SEMPO, a non-profit professional organization that promotes search engine marketing, issued a report today that suggests the robust market for search services will continue. The report, “The State of Search Engine Marketing 2004” covers U.S. and Canadian markets and has a number of illuminating observations.’

Read more at Marketers Spent $4Billion on Search

Written on December 15th, 2004 at 08:12 am by Darren Rowse

Blog Predictions for 2005

Pro Blogging News 0 comments

Already I’ve seen three articles with predictions for 2005 - expect a lot more! The best of those relating to Blogging today is from Pete Blackshaw from ClickZ who writes a number of insightful predictions including one on blogs which he says will ‘absorb flak, yet stay on track’:

‘Publishers, site managers, and even message board managers will embrace (or in some cases, begrudgingly capitulate to) RSS (define). Big brands and their sites will find the “add water and stir” nature of blog publishing tools irresistible. That will humble overpriced agencies that view platforms such as TypePad and Movable Type as more evil than outsourcing.’

Read more at Buzz-Informed Predictions for 2005

Written on December 13th, 2004 at 09:12 pm by Darren Rowse

A Message of Hope for Depressed enternetuserss

Pro Blogging News 1 comment

Judging by my inbox this mornig it seems that my post examining whether contextual advertising is viable on a blog both inspired and depressed a few bloggers that had been thinking about running Adsense and Overture on their blogs.

In short what I was trying to show in the post was that making money from a blog through contextual advertising wasn’t quite as easy as some might think - but that under the right circumstances you could make quite a lot of money using it.

In doing so I posted some tables that outlined a variety of scenarios and how much bloggers could earn.

For example:

- a site with 2,000 daily impressions and a click through rate (CTR) of 1% and 5 cent ads would earn $1 per day
- a site with 10,000 daily impressions at 2% CTR with 10 cent ads earns $20 per day
- a site with 10,000 daily impressions at 5% CTR with 50 cent ads earns $250 per day

The variety of combinations are limitless - check out the tables in this post for more on this.

Ok - so it seems that some who emailed me were a little depressed by these figures. At the lower end of the spectrum, say $5 - $20 per day isn’t much is it!? True - its not. But let me share a messages from my experience that might give a little hope.

1. Blogging is a 7 days per week venture - Most traditional jobs are 5 days a week. When I first started blogging for dollars it took a while to get in the habit of not multiplying my daily earnings by 5. $20 per day is $140 per week or $600 in a 30 day month - or $7300 in a year….

2. Time for money - I have one blog that averages $10 per day in income (from a variety of sources) - its not my biggest blog and its not my smallest. A few months ago I was getting a little depressed about the performance of this site. $10 a day isn’t spectacular money at all and I was considering closing it. Even my 7 days a week point above didn’t lift my spirits that much. But then I asked myself - ‘how much time do I spend on this site per week?’ The answer I came to was that all it really took me to keep that little blog running was about 5 minutes per day. I post on average between 5 - 10 post each week on this site, mainly just links to other sites with a few comments and a short quote. $70 per week for 35 minutes work is actually pretty good income in my books - I wasn’t so depressed about my little blog any more.

3. Why stop at just one? - your blog might be only earning $10 - $20 a week (if that) - its not much - but what would happen if you had two blogs earning that much? Most of us would know enough about at least two subjects to keep a second blog running. In fact most people would know enough about three or four subjects.

Another lesson I learned early in my blogging enterprise was that one blog would probably never make me a fortune and that if I wanted to be a full time blogger that I’d probably need to diversify and run a number of them. This began my journey of starting my own little network of blogs and joining with others to work in a collective. At last count I had 14 blogs. Of course some are more successful than others - some might only earn a few dollars per day but the chances are at least one or two of them will be very successful whilst the majority will fall somewhere in between. When added all together however they make a nice little earner.

4. Exponential Growth and Long term strategy - I think too many bloggers wanting to find an income stream for their blogs give up way to early. If you’re not in it for the long haul you’re better to give up now. What I’ve learned is that if you keep blogging on your chosen topic your earnings should (if not WILL) grow. There are a number of reasons for this:

- as you add new posts your blog will grow in size. If you currently have 100 pages to your blog and you add two new posts every day - your blog will be 830 pages in 1 years time.

- as you blog your site should slowly increase its page rank. Search Engines like comprehensive sites, they also like sites that have lots of inward bound links to them. As you blog and interact with other bloggers you’ll find that if you’re providing worthwhile content that others will link up to you. This and your increasing number of pages should increase your page rank and the number of readers coming to your page from Search Engines.

- as you blog you will increase your loyal readers. A certain percentage of those finding you from Search Engines will keep coming back to your site if they find worthwhile content and if you’re smart about getting them involved in what you do. Increase this group of people and you’ll increase overall traffic.

- longevity and credibility increase click value? - This is just an untested theory - but anecdotal evidence suggests to me that as your blog becomes a more credible source of information, programs like Google Adsense may actually increase the value of your ads. As I say this is not officially in any of their explanations of the program, but in talking to other publishers it is something that many of us have noticed.

Ok - so as a result of all of the above reasons - lets hypothetically say that you increase your earnings from contextual advertising by 20% every month (this will vary from blog to blog - I know of bloggers whose monthly income increases by 100%+ each month).

If your blog is currently earning $5 a day and it increases by 20% each month, in a year’s time you’ll be earning $44.58 per day. Add another 12 months and it will exponentially increase and you’ll be on $397.48 per day! You do the calculations for another year at that growth and you’ll see a figure that makes all the hard work worth its while.

Of course its hard work - and 20% growth per month probably isn’t sustainable for 3 years unless you are a workaholic or have a lot of luck - but it is achievable for quite a while. The question is are you willing to take a long term view of your blogging and are you willing to work hard at adding content and promoting your blogs?

Written on December 13th, 2004 at 05:12 pm by Darren Rowse

PubSub LinkRanks

Blogging Tools and Services 0 comments

PubSub LinkRanks are a useful tool that help to keep track of how different domains are being linked to by the blogosphere. They define them as:

‘LinkRanks are a measure of how many pages link to each particular site, with more weight given to fresher links and to links from a wider variety of pages.’

They help you keep track of what is hot in terms of topics/sites but are also useful for tracking your own domain.

For example they will keep track of how your domain is going over a month with a little graph. For example my livingroom.org.au domain has been pretty up and down this last month in terms of inward links and has ranked anywhere from 580th to 460th in the sites being tracked. Also helpful is their list of sites linking up to your domain.

Get a full description of how LinkRanks works here.

Written on December 13th, 2004 at 05:12 pm by Darren Rowse

Making a Meal of Your Blog

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 comments

The Washington Post has a basic article on how to blog. One of their sections is on posting regularly with a quote from Biz Stone:

‘When a blogger adds new material, it’s called a post. And good blogging demands frequent posting. Biz Stone, 30, Blogger senior specialist at Google (
www.bizstone.com), recommends you “post at least as much as you eat.” That’s “three times a day [with] some snacks,” he says. But that requires a lot of time. So perhaps more important is to make your posts worth people’s while. Jason Novak, 33, who’s hosted the Washington entertainment guide LifeInTheDistrict.com since 2001, says that “what brings [readers] back is that every time... there’s something good.” And “good” extends beyond volume, which means you’ll want to avoid the dreaded “blogorrhea” — aka incessant prattle about your jerk boss or second-rate love life.’

Read more at Start a Winning Blog (washingtonpost.com)

Written on December 13th, 2004 at 09:12 am by Darren Rowse

The Alpha Bloggers

Pro Blogging News 0 comments

Newsweek has an interesting article this week on the Alpha Bloggers (A list bloggers) - There is nothing too new in it although I was interested in this last paragraph - complete with a typical Doc Searls back hander swipe at a enternetuserss.

‘And what do the alpha bloggers get in return? Certainly not riches. Though it’s possible to pick up a few hundred dollars if you enlist in the program that carries Google’s ad on your site, many A-listers don’t bother. “If you’re into blogs to make money, you’re into it for the wrong reasons,” says Searls. “Do you ask your back porch what its business plan is?” On the other hand, some alpha bloggers report better jobs, more lucrative consulting, speaking gigs and—if not groupies—a certain bit of glamour that comes from having people hang on your every word at the end-of-day reception at a tech conference.’

Call me stupid - but this is the second or third time I’ve heard the ‘back porch’ comment - and I’m still trying to work out what its Doc is on about.

Whilst I agree that blogging is so much more than making money - I don’t have an issue with people commercializing their blogs or even having making money as a motivating force for blogging. To me I look at it similarly to the way I see news papers, magazine and other traditional forms of media - most of which these days must have some way of sustaining themselves. Of course there are other motivations for starting newspapers and magazines - but we don’t complain that they are commercial also. Anyway - I think the debate about problogging is getting a bit old. Each to their own I say - lets just get on with blogging.

Read more of this article at MSNBC - The Alpha Bloggers


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