Blogging for Money (aka Bobbing for Apples)
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

Blogging for Money (aka Bobbing for Apples)

Readers also want to know how to go about making money from a blog.  Here is a typical question:
 
Congratulations to all of you for starting and maintaining successful blogs. I'm sure this question has been asked a million times, but how does someone get the word out on their blog and monetize it?
 
My first response was this:
 
There are many different approaches to establishing your blog.  It all depends upon your goals and the topics you are writing about. I'm going to skip lightly over your question about monetizing a blog, because I've never attempted that.  I know that a few people blog directly to make money and are successful at it.  Those folks, however, already have a huge blogging audience before they start carrying ads and making money.  Your worthwhile material comes first.  Getting readers comes next. Once thousands of people read you every day, you might be able to get rich.  Until then, however, I would put that goal aside and concentrate on building a good blog.
 
Another writer agreed with me:
 
Trying to monetize a blog with ads is a big mistake, especially when you are starting out. You are only going to make a few pennies for your ads while the advertisers make a bundle. The other thing those ads will do is irritate your readers. Pop-up ads are the worst type to use because they interrupt the reader from your content and they will drive your readers away.
 
The best way to "get known" is, as Carolyn and many others have said, is good interesting content. Publishing your best trafficked postings to article directories like EZineArticles.com and ArticlesBase.com.
 
Good advice is to be patient and write good articles. Distribute them. When your blog is well established you can think about compiling an anthology, selling it for smart phone applications, and you'll be on your way to a much better income than pennies for advertising.
 
If, however, you are determined to try to turn your blog into a cash cow, there are several things you need to understand. First, almost all bloggers who expect to make money from a blog will fail. They fail because they are amateurs at marketing and half-hearted in their efforts to monetize their sites. You can't just put up one little ad in a corner somewhere and hope readers will click on it often enough to generate a cash flow. You will have to choose the products you advertise with care, so that they appeal to your specific readers.  Don't try to sell sporting goods on a writing blog; try pens or computer software  instead. Be sure that what you advertise is reputable and of high quality.  If your reader buys a pen that doesn't write from your site, you will receive the brunt of his anger. In that process you may end by losing a reader.
 
Be sure  you have thought through your business plan.  This is particularly crucial if you are planning to sell your own books through your blog. You can't sell items until you have figured out the details of accepting payments (PayPal may be the safest and easiest method). You also need to look into shipping methods and costs, and the tax laws of your state. You may need to incorporate your business and file regular quarterly tax reports.
 
Even the host of your blog is important.  If you choose a sponsored blog, you need to know how much control the host will give  you over your postings. Don't try to sell items on a blog if you do not own the URL of that blog. WordPress is a good choice; I would avoid Blogger because of the URL issues. I use a paid hosting service that lets me sell items through PayPal, but I cannot use ads provided by Google's Adsense. The arrangement suits me, but it may not suit  you.

You can't run your blog as a business if you are computer-illiterate.  You will have to be able to use blog publishing software and social networking sites.  You must understand such things as HTML coding, RSS syndication, SEO (search engine optimization) tagging, pings, and trackbacks. And if those terms mean nothing to you at this point, you're just not ready to monetize your blog.

All of those warnings bring us back to the original point.  For most people blogging is NOT a way to make money.  Like bobbing for apples, you may end up with nothing but a face full of cold water.  It is, however, a great way to get your name out there. Many publishing companies now insist that their authors have blogs because a great blog provides a  potential reading audience for the next book you write. In the long term, your blog may result in increasing your income, but it will probably be a catalyst, not a direct revenue source.