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Pro-blogging >> My two year Journey of Discovery

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of the very first blog post that I ever did on my first personal blog.

It has been a very interesting and rewarding two years. I’ve been reflecting today a little about the journey of blogging so far. There have been a number of movements that have brought me to the place I’m in today as someone who now who earns a living from blogging. Let me reflect a little on the journey so far….

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Another Blogger for Hire on EBay

Friday we mentioned that Jeremy Wright was Darren has also started an auction on ebay – but instead of starting at $100 he’s decided to kick the bidding off at $500. No bids so far – but I’m sure he’ll get there.

The publicity for these two alone will be worth the effort. Here’s what they should do – start bidding on each others auctions. Get it up really high – like $10,000 – it would cause a massive stir in the media. Then at the end when they both buy each others services for the same price – they don’t have to shell out any money but they surf on the fame of it all.

ecto blog: Amazon

The wonderful people who developed ecto – a tool that has revolutionised the way I blog – has added a feature that I requested in forums a few weeks back to their MacOSX version – the ability to add Amazon affiliate products to your blog all remotely! This means not only can I blog this entry without having to log into MT – but I can now also add links like this one to “Blogging: Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content” (Biz Stone) or the image based one in this post with just a couple of clicks!

Have I mentioned that I LOVE ecto?

Product Placement hits Blogging

‘On Monday, a squad of around 15 independent bloggers will begin inserting mentions of Marqui’s hosted communications management services into their blogs for money.

The bloggers will get $800 a month to mention Marqui with a link once a week in their blogs and post its emblem on a page. They’ll get an additional $50 per qualified sales lead they send to Marqui.

“We hit on the idea of [connecting with] heavily read, influential bloggers who create public discussion groups and get feedback,” said Stephen King, Marqui CEO. “But there are no mechanisms for them to make money. So we came up with idea of paying them.”‘

Read more of this article at Marc’s Voice: Marqui product placement ads

Also talking about this story is Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion, who writes ‘I am on the fence on whether this is smart strategy or not. On the one hand, the company gets to reach influentials in a very cost-effective way. On the other, I feel that it’s tainted.’

I tend to agree with Steve and feel like this is something of a risky experiment both for Marqui and the bloggers taking on the job. Does this approach run the risk of disenchanting readers?

This will be an interesting story to follow – if its done carefully and the bloggers chosen are writing on related topics to the product they place in their content then it could prove to be a worthwhile move – however if it becomes an unsubtle and obviously money grabbing exercise that dominates the blogs chosen then I’m not so sure.

Blogger for Hire on EBay

Blogger Jeremy C. Wright is in the news again – this time he’s auctioning his services as a blogger to the highest bidder! Yes you heard me right – Jeremy of Ensight is willing to blog for three months for the highest bidder – posting 5 to 10 times per week. The auction is at ebay and the bidding as of tonight is at $112.73.

He posts about it on his blog answering the question – Isn’t this all a little stupid? – Maybe. But, like all free market stuff, you never know if there’s a demand for something until you try. If there is a demand for this, there may be a demand for more blogger trials at more companies in which case – who knows – maybe I’ll end up brokering such deals for other bloggers with other companies.’

This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned Jeremy on this blog – last time he was selling his blog in another attempt to earn money from his blogging.

So why is he auctioning himself? – ‘To be honest, I’m doing this to raise the profile of blogging, plain and simple. Plus, being a writer as well as a consultant in a past life, I know I can help companies figure out if blogging is the right space for them to be looking at.’

Interesting move – not only is he raising blogging’s profile but again he’s raising his own and hopefully will earn a few dollars on the side. $112.73 would be a bargain but with 7 days and 3 hours still to go in the auction I’m sure the price will rise – if not I know I’ll be putting in a bid!

Pay per Click Advertising Trading

A lot of Bloggers are earning good money as a result of being publishers of pay-per-click advertising but those that are making the most out of it are also bringing traffic to their blogs via the same method.

It sounds all wrong when you first think about it – why would anyone spend money on getting readers to their site in order to get them to click an ad to earn money? Wouldn’t it cost more to get readers than you’ll make from it?

Well it all depends how clever you are really. Let me explain a little…
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Building blog traffic for newbies

The Blog Herald has a good post on Building blog traffic for newbies – pretty basic tips but well worth a read if you’re new to blogging and wanting to get some traffic over to that blog you’ve been working hard on. Here is their last tip:

‘The most important feature of all: post regularly and post often. It not only brings readers back regularly but it means the spiders from the search engines will return more frequently indexing your entire site, and you’ll start getting hits from the search engines. Some may argue but these aren’t that valuable but I would argue that’s rubbish. It exposes your site to a new audience for free, and even if only a few return you’ve still built up your readership for free. Take the Blog Herald for example, we get 5,000 views per month just from clickthrus in from Google and another 2,500 from other search engines (Google is the only real game in town though). Even if only 1% return to the site later, that’s 75 new regular readers per month or nearly 1000 per year, and what I also find is that this traffic also responds well to advertising on the site if they’ve stumbled in for the wrong reason.’

Mailing List Services

Does anyone out there know of any plugins for Word Press and Moveable Type that are for collecting and generating a mailing list for your blog? I’ve been using a paid system for the past year that has been very unreliable. I’m sick of writing up emails to send to those that have signed up for my mailing list only to find that the program which is billed as seamless and easy to use doesn’t end up sending anything 50% of the time.

It doesn’t have to be a plug in for WP or MT – I’m looking for something that will allow me to collect email addresses (opt in style) and shoot out weekly emails. It needs to be cheap (free is good, but willing to pay) and able to handle lists of over 3000 recipients. Any suggestions would be gladly received.

Essential Pro Blogging Tools

Hypothetical question time – If you were stranded on a desert island (with dsl broadband and a laptop) and the had to make a living (to pay for your boat ride home) from blogging – what would be your top 5 blogging tools/programs/services?

Ok – silly question – but someone was just asking me about my blogging and the tools that I use – I told them that I LOVE…

1. Google Adsense – my wife loves them too – They give me money to research and write about stuff that I’m really interested in and probably would have researched and written about for free!

2. Bloglines – These people find me the stuff that I write about in a 10th of the time it would have taken me to find it otherwise. They also tell me if others are writing about it within minutes of them doing so.

3. Ecto – I still remember the day I first fell in love with this little program. It makes uploading blog entries so quick and easy. What you see is what you get editing – one click publishing – purrrrr.

4. Google News – Once again the nice people at Google come to the problogging party and kindly email me news on any topic that I might choose. Articles from around the world that I’d never have heard of land in my inbox daily.

5. Topix – Once again this service sources news (for free) from around the globe and shoots it into either an email or an RSS feed for my blogging pleasure.

What are your top 5 blogging tools??