Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Making a Living as a Blogger

Making a living blogging is a reality, but the idea of "full-time" is a misnomer. Blogging is an activity that cannot be monetized, i.e., generate revenue. What can be monetized, however, is the traffic that comes to your blog. The issue with every person putting something on-line is the expectation that if you write it, they will come, and you will make money off it. To make money, you are required to not only build a product (e.g., write content to generate traffic), but apply traditional on- and off-line marketing strategies to monetize it, be it banner advertising, contextual advertising, sponsorships, revenue sharing, content sharing, etc.

To sell on-line advertising, you need a critical mass of traffic and demographics. There is a media kit to build. Pricing to be established - all that sales stuff most people don't like to do. You need to get an account for serving ads and reporting CTR (click through rates) and conversions to your new clients. All this has nothing to do with the actual blogging, hence the misnomer "full-time".

Other bloggers have gone in a slightly different direction by blogging well and often, focusing on a branding push which can then be monetized through merchandising. Some companies like cafepress, make this easy for the smaller blogger, but care is required to produce carefully (and professionally designed!) branded materials. These types of companies make it easy for a blogger to earn residual income.

There are many other ways to monetize a blog, and these two are just suggestions. The main concerns for any blogger should be to write about what you love and write well. Develop a voice and establish relationships with other bloggers. Grow your traffic focusing on the quality of the visitor and your readership and support the community to which they are loyal. Taking a long term approach to this can change a hobby to a career in a split second on the web. It's all about timing and circumstances.

In a perfect world, the blogger with the most passion and the best writing skills on most subjects should conceivably be able to blog full-time. Unfortunately, it is the Perez Hilton's of this world that still somehow manage to survive and thrive on-line. :-)

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