In this month's Business 2.0 (yes I still read it) is an article called Blogging for Big Bucks where it examines some of best and well known blogs started by Michael Arrington, John Battelle, Jason Calacanis, and Drew Curtis all of whom I read almost every day. The best points of the article are how with little to no overhead it is possible to make a great living with nothing more than a laptop, URL, and some content. Everyone in that article should be applauded because they are getting well deserved money. I guess the one issue I have with it is how it makes it seem that it is relatively simple to make money. In fact, maybe if you follow their 7 habits of highly effective bloggers you too can make money writing posts in your boxers. Here are their top 7:
- Focus intently on a narrow niche
- Setup blog so each post gets its own permanent URL
- Think of your blog as a database
- Blog frequently and regularly
- Use striking images in your posts
- Enable comments and interact with readers
- Make friends with other bloggers
If only that was it. No, I'm not complaining that I've made about $50 in ad sense and I'm not starting the A-list, B-list, C-list argument of blogs. Look this is America and blogging is democracy at its best. Anyone can start one with little money and take your best shot at making some bucks. Before I jump in with some additional steps based on my own experience, let's take a look at what you are up against.
According to LeeAnn Prescott at Hitwise, the top blogs are either political, tech, or just great links. So, if you are not in one of those categories how can you compete? Don't you need more than just the top 7 listed above? Yes. However, you need to figure out one thing first - why are you blogging? I do it for personal PR and maybe find more business opportunities. I should have started this a while back while at Harrisdirect because I probably would have built a following sooner. The next thing you need to realize is, that there are 50 other people already writing on your topic. So with that backdrop, here are my top 10 other best practices to earn money based on my experience and if that throws you back into reality, well Pardon My French.
Pardon My French Additional Best Practices in Blogging to Make Money
- You need to have a following of people long before you start posting
- It is all about your content; posting links to other blogs unless you have an easy URL is a waste of time
- Using just the standard template for blogging is not good enough, try customizing
- Having your ads running across the side is not good marketing; they need to be embedded within your comment (fyi - I haven't had the time to redesign, but I plan on updating)
- Get off your blog and visit other blogs; that way you can see what other people are doing (thanks Mack)
- Other than your content, nothing matters more than links to your site
- When you visit other sites, leave a comment and trackback if necessary to get traffic back to your site; also Techorati is your only friend
- Write about politics, tech, or celebrities because that's what people care about the most
- Try and get picked up in a network or post for a more popular site like I do for Marketing Profs
- Finally, figure out why you are blogging and stick to it. If that means you don't care about ad dollars because you are after a new job or consulting opportunities then that is great. Just be true to yourself.
That's it. I hope you didn't find this negative because it wasn't meant to be. I really enjoy all of the people I've met online and I am really upset I didn't start this sooner. Imagine the following I would have had while at Harrisdirect when I had multi-million dollar ad campaigns in market. If only....