Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Long time no see...

Hello out there...   Wow, I wonder if that echo I just heard was a sign that no one is still out there?  I know I have been TERRIBLE at posting on a regular basis for quite sometime now, but I have a really good excuse!  I will tell you all about it sometime..right now though I need to post a blog post for a class I am taking.  The class is called Intro to Mass Media and the instructor is Bruce Hartley.  This is one of my final assignments for his class and it is a paper about blogging.  So I thought it only fitting that I turn it in via my blog!  So I blew the dust off and cleared away the cobwebs to bring it to you here.  So here you go....enjoy!

Lisa Laxton
Intro to Mass Media
April 21, 2014

Blogging for Bucks
            Are you a know it all on a particular subject?  Do you have a unique hobby? Do you have an interesting writing style that pulls people in and makes them want to read more?  Are you funny or quick witted? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then blogging for a living might be a career option for you.
            The internet has changed all of our lives in one way or another.  For one group of bloggers it has become their way of making ends meet and paying the bills; it has made them quite wealthy in fact.  You might even go so far as to say they are now filthy stinkin’ rich!  There are many reasons why someone might start a blog.  Maybe you want to express an opinion, promote or market a product or service, help others or share an expertise on a specific subject.  When blogging first started in the early 90’s I doubt very many early bloggers thought it was a platform that held the potential for them to make millions of dollars from their blog.  Today people know this and it is this knowledge and/or a need to be heard causing more and more blogs pop up each and every day.
            According to Incomediary.com, following is a list of the top 5 Money Making Blogs, who owns/operates them, their monthly income and what their primary income source is. 
1.     The Huffington Post owned by Arianna Huffington, income of $2,330,000 monthly from pay per click.
2.     Mashable owned by Pete Cashmore, income of $560,000 monthly from Advertising Banners.
3.     Perez Hilton owned by Mario Lavandeira, income of $450,000 monthly from Advertising Banners.
4.     Techcrunch owned by Michael Arrington, income of $450,000 monthly from Advertising Banners.
5.     Smashing Magazine owned by Vitaly Friedman, income of $400,000 monthly from Advertising Banners. (Dunlop)
The content of these blogs varies widely proving that a multitude of subjects have the ability to be successful.
            So, now that you have decided you want to be a millionaire, uhm I mean you want to start a blog, what is your next step?  Deciding which format you want to use for your blog is a good starting point.  Using Blogger, WordPress or your own URL are all potential ideas.  There are many other options to choose from.  If you have an existing website for your company, then just adding a tab for your blog to your website would be a quick and easy way to go.  Do your research and determine which option is better suited to your goals and skill set before you make your final decision.  Some formats are more user friendly than others and do not need a huge amount of technical knowledge.
            Once you have nailed down which format you will use it is important to make a final decision about what the subject or topic of your blog will be.  Are you going to write about your family home life and share the details with the world in a funny or satirical way?  Does your family face a challenge on a daily basis like reactive associative disorder (RAD) or autism that you could help educate other families about?  Do you have something you are passionate about?  Maybe photography, religion, cooking, sports, politics, wildlife, scrapbooking or another hobby could be a potential subject for your blog.  It could be helpful for you to research existing blogs prior to making your final decision.  If you find lots of blogs already existing about your potential subject, then you might want to go with another idea.  This research will also help you determine what you do or don't like about what other bloggers are doing.
            Now that you have determined your subject material, it is time to get started.  Designing your blog and crafting your writing style to match your chosen topic are very important steps.  Start out with a solid simple design that flows well.  You can worry about adding cool add-ons and widgets later.  Your design will be the first thing your readers notice and could decide if they read anything you type at all.  If you are writing tech reviews on cutting edge new technology your visual design needs to be sleek and techie.  The use of Crayola fonts and fuzzy bears on your background would totally conflict with your subject.  On the same note, your writing style needs to match also.  You need to be able to speak on the same level as the audience you are trying to reach. 
            With your initial design layout in place, it is time to posting to your blog and building your fan base.  For the non-techie side of this a great place to start is social media sites.  Using Twitter to post links to your blog when you make new posts and at other times offer snippets of information or tips and then link back to your blog.  Facebook and Google + are also great places to start promoting your blog.  Reddit and Linked In are two more of the many remaining options you can utilize.  One of the keys to this type of promotion is consistency.  It is critical for you to post on a consistent regular basis in order for people to take note and remember you.  According to Carol Tice, “The more often your site is updated, the more often search-engines come back to see what's new. That helps drive up your rankings in search -- and send more readers to your blog.(Tice)
            Once you are all set with your social media cross promotion, it is time to start working on your search engine optimization (SEO) and your key words.  SEO and keywords and used to route traffic to your blog when someone searches for something that is relevant to what your blog is about.  If you focus on photography, it is important that you think of every possible tag word or key word that might be tied back to your subject.  Photography could result in the following tags:  photo, photographer, photography, photog, pictures, picture, camera, cameras, dslr, and digital camera.  These are just a few of the possible words that could be used.  If you get more specific and the subject is newborn photography, then there are even more words that could be added.
            Ok, your blog is up and running and you have been typing your fingers to the bone bouncing from one social media site to another commenting, tweeting and getting your name out there.  You have poured your blood, sweat and tears into building this and now you want to know “Where is the dough?”  How do you start seeing an income for all your efforts?  Most bloggers first turn to AdSense as their initial ad revenue source.  AdSense is an advertising placement service by Google. The program is designed for website publishers who want to display targeted text, video or image advertisements on website pages and earn money when site visitors view or click the ads.  Another popular revenue stream is the Amazon and other affiliate programs.  An affiliate program is a marketing program where you can receive commission for helping a parent company (such as HostGator) generate sales.  Sponsorships and E-book are yet two more ideas that could be utilized to generate income.  Personal appearances and speaking fees are additional opportunities that could open up for well-known bloggers. Kelly Anderson, states “If your blog really becomes popular, you might be able to expand your income opportunities beyond the web and into the real world.” (Anderson)
            Starting a blog really isn't rocket science and anyone can do it.  All it takes is an idea and a commitment to making it happen.  Doing this research might be the spur I need to get back to posting on at least one of my blogs on a regular basis.  Maybe I will even try to add some advertising banners or AdSense and see if I can make a little extra cash somewhere down the line!

Works Citied

Anderson, Kelly. Mintlife.com. 23 05 2013. Story. 22 04 2014.
Dunlop, Michael. Incomediary.com. n.d. Web Story. 22 04 2014.
Tice, Carol. Business.tutsplus.com. 31 01 2013. Article. 22 04 2014.