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Guidelines for Teen Pro Bloggers

I’ve had a growing number of emails from teenagers in the last couple of months – all asking about how they can get into blogging for an income.

In a general sense I think blogging can be brilliant for teens (and even children) for a number of reasons as I’ll explain below, I also recommend to those that email me that they should proceed with a little caution as well.

Blogging is something that all ages can engage in (young and old). Many teens do it on a personal level (not for profit) and increasingly schools are using blogs in their curriculums as part of their assessment methods. Recent studies showed that 1 in 5 teens had blogs – whether you think it’s a good idea or not for teens (and some people do argue strongly against it) the fact is that they are doing it and perhaps rather than fighting against we should attempt to build awareness about how they can do it more safely and responsibly.

Teen ProBloggers
Over the last year I’ve seen a number of teenagers (and even one or two younger than that) doing blogging with a more professional intent.

There are some really great things about this. Here are a couple that come to mind:

PocketmoneyPocket Money (and more) – when I was 16 I worked in a supermarket stacking shelves (I referred to myself as a ‘shelf technician’). While it was nice to have some extra money in my pocket I would have loved to earn the same sort of money while surfing the web (if there had been a ‘web’ back then – gee I’m old). I know of a few teens who are making pocket money levels of income from blogging and think this will become more common. Of course just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can only earn small amounts of money from blogging. The cool thing about the web is that it has the ability to even things out for people on many fronts including that of age. I know of a couple of teens who actually make VERY good money from blogging. It’s taken them time to build up – but they’ll graduate high school with money to go to college (and more) from their micro businesses.

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The Secret to Becoming a Professional Blogger in Half the Time

The following post has been submitted by Shane Pike from Three: Twenty Interactive.

The secret to becoming a professional blogger in half the time is … doubling your current revenue.

Thank you very much. You guys have been a great audience. Enjoy the rest of the blog.

(Oh. You want to know how to double your revenue? Oh, allllllright.)

What do you think is the fastest way to double the revenue from your blog?

(I’ll give you a minute to think about it.)

(Seriously. Answer the question before you read on.)

(Did you really answer it?)

Alright. Show of hands. How many said a) doubling your traffic or b) finding higher paying advertisers was the fastest way to double your revenue?

If you did, you’re in very good company.

Too often, we get so close to our blogs that we develop tunnel vision. Everything is in place, and we think if we can just keep generating enough content, and growing our readership, and if we can just find some higher paying advertisers, surely, somewhere down the road, we’ll get to the point where we can quit our day jobs and do what we really enjoy. We can see the progress, slowly, day by day, so we know we’ll get there eventually.
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In Case of Security – Planning for Blogging Disasters

I’m Michael Hampton, principal author of Homeland Stupidity, a U.S. politics blog. Today I want to address the issue of business continuity, that is, have you planned what to do if a disaster strikes your professional blogging operation?

Over the past few months I’ve had some all-too-common computer emergencies arise, and had to move fast to recover from them. In October, filesystem corruption ate about two weeks worth of e-mail, critical files such as all of my RSS feeds, and a few works in progress. I didn’t have up to date backups, and without them I’m only getting by as best I can without the missing materials.

And late Monday night my computer decided, during a round of system updates, to uninstall my feed reader, and then refused to reinstall it on Tuesday.

These are just two examples of things that can go wrong in pro blogging, but there are others. Have you planned what to do if your Web host suddenly goes down, as TypePad did recently, goes out of business entirely, or is hit by a natural disaster?

It’s one thing to simply address crises as they arise. About eight months ago, when my blog was still a small site running on my home computer, I needed to reinstall the entire operating system due to severe filesystem corruption. I pulled out an old Pentium 166 which I had laying around and pressed it into service as a temporary Web server to host my site while I was making repairs to my main computer. It was incredibly slow, but it served for the nearly full day it took to get the main computer running again.
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Keeping it Legal

This post was submitted by Stephanie Patag from Beyond Adobo, Asian Cuisine – The Asian Food Blog and Stefoodie.net.

Recently, two of my fellow food bloggers were plagiarized. In response, some of us decided to launch a protest blogging event. While preparing for the launch, it hit us just how much plagiarism goes on all the time. Sometimes it’s because people are simply unaware of what’s legal and what’s not. Sometimes they’re aware of what’s legal but just don’t care or take an attitude that “everyone else is doing it“. Sometimes it’s because the information that’s out there is ambiguous and confusing, which is to be expected since some of the rules/laws regarding fair use, linking (controversial to this day), etc. are still being written. Right now, though, if you stick to some basic rules, you should be fine.

Consider this before you read on: most of the laws/rules I outline here are applicable to US residents only. Because blogging is a worldwide phenomenon, there are not only different countries’ laws to consider, there are cultural and individual differences as well, hence variations on what’s deemed acceptable behavior on the ‘net and what’s not. [Read more…]

The Undocumented Tools of a Blogger’s Trade

The Undocumented Tools of a Blogger’s Trade

I’m John Evans and I write Windows Vista and Microsoft Weblog for b5media. My personal blog is SYNTAGMA.

Medieval monks had their scriptoriums for the laborious task of illuminating manuscripts. Do modern bloggers have an equivalent nook?

A blogorium, ideally, would be a room set apart from the daily round. Quiet, even to the point of meditative in mood, it would contain the tools of the blogger’s art, plus a few indispensable extras. No, not a minibar. I was thinking more of a trampoline (see below).

The blogorium would be the focus of any serious blogger’s household. Children would pass the hallowed entrance in awe and perpetual silence. The dog would refuse to bark when padding by. Wives would remove suggestive clothing; husbands stop clanging their tools around. In short, it would be a place of retreat, devoted to blogativity.

My blogorium is a snappy space with a bay window which overlooks a rest-home for the elderly. I can gaze down and contemplate my future. Coincidentally, the room has become a repository for furniture nobody knows what to do with. Thus it has developed an old world colonial charm of decaying opulence, rounded off by the aroma of ancient books and polished oak. And that’s only the blogger.

All bloggers deserve a blogorium, I believe, if they are to do their best work undisturbed by the trivia that passes for life. A short verse written about the writer Rupert Brooke catches the mood : [Read more…]

Preventing Blog Burnout

The following post has been submitted by Dan Zarrella from TomKatCrazy! (one of the new celeb blogs over at b5media).

We’ve all heard the normal tips about establishing a regular posting frequency and finding a tight niche to focus on, but as we start posting to more and more blogs it becomes important to prevent blogging burnout when posting to 5 blogs a day. The best way to do this is to plan for sustainability.

When picking a topic or niche most general wisdom indicates that you should focus as tightly as possible to really cover the subject well, but it is easy to select a micro-niche that won’t provide much material and will leave you hovering over the keyboard or scouring your feeds trying to figure out what to post. This was something I thought about when planning my TomKatCrazy blog, but it soon became obvious that between the baby, the wedding and all the gossip I would have plenty to write about. On another blog of mine, GuerillaScience, I started out with a more general anti-authoritarian focus which proved to be too wide of a topic for me to cover comprehensibly without dedicating all of my time to it. I tried narrowing it down to only Boston-specific anarchist news but this was way to tight of a niche and I found I had nothing to post most days. I’m in the process of finding a nice balance between locally relevant stuff and a more wide range of news. [Read more…]

First Steps for New Bloggers

My name is Adams Briscoe and I specialize in stringing together nouns and verbs to build somewhat coherent ideas in the form of readable content. I run a personal blog over at Virtuashack.com and also managed to trick Weblogs Inc. into letting me get away with posting on some of their video game sites.

As a typical male, I had a hard time picking up on hints as to what I should give others for Christmas this season. One of the harder individuals was my father, who became increasingly curious as to what this whole “blogging” thing was all about. After tuning him into several sites of his interests (like ProBlogger), he made the proclamation that he would like to start one himself, and (surprise!) make money.

Certainly not a new concept, and definitely not worth reinventing the wheel this time around (again). The catch-22 is that he had absolutely no background in website maintenance or blogging. The most experience on a computer he ever had was sending e-mail.

How do you get someone like that into the blogosphere? Moreover, how do you make it worthwhile and bring in traffic? Okay, sure you’ve got to find a niche. But as a newbie, he had no idea what works and doesn’t work for blogging. All the do-it-yourself posts in the world only do so much for you when you don’t even know how to start.

So what did I do? I bought him a domain and set him up with his own high-powered blog for Christmas. Using WordPress (fast, easy, and complete with wiki documentation), I told him to cut loose and write whatever tickled his fancy. I also dropped a few hints about gaining a few eyeballs here and there.
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7 Things to Do with your Blog when you take a Vacation

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What should I Do with my Blog when I go take a Vacation?

This is a question I ask myself in the lead up to every break and one that I seem to answer differently each time. I thought it a relevant topic to write about as I’m currently on holidays (or at least will be by the time you read this).

Here’s a few of the approaches I’ve taken over the last few years:

1. Give your Blog and Readers a Vacation

This is probably the most common approach that bloggers take – they simply stop blogging for the time they are away and resume on their return.

Advantages
– it’s low maintenance in the lead up to and during your time away.

Disadvantages
– your blog stops and you risk losing momentum
– you might end up with a lot of catching up when you return in terms of any news that breaks while you’re away
– traffic will probably fall due to lack of RSS updates

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How to Make the Most of the Start of Year Quiet Patch on your Blog

The increased traffic and earnings that many Bloggers have had over the past few weeks in the lead up to Christmas yesterday and today has begun to slow for many bloggers. I’ve had a few emails and Instant Messaging conversations with concerned publishers asking if the slow down is ‘normal’.

While I won’t answer for every industry I know it’s normal for most sites to experience lulls in traffic at this time of the year and also in most cases to see decreases in both CTR and click values in contextual advertising programs.

I know of a number of AdWords advertisers who put their ad campaigns on hold between Christmas and mid January and suspect that the decreased demand for ads translates to lower click values. While I don’t know this for a fact I suspect that this might be the case for Chitika advertisers also.

Some industries will see things pick up sooner than others. Traditionally online (and offline) sales start in the new year (and sometimes even earlier in some countries) and this can see things pick up for bloggers in those niches. But for many the dead patch lasts through to the end of January. There is no hard and fast rule.

Similarly there is no real right or wrong in terms of what to do as a blogger over this period but most experienced bloggers change gears in some way or another. Heres a few ways that bloggers see this quiet patch as an opportunity rather than something to get down about:

  1. Some take advantage of the quiet news patch and low traffic and go on vacation
  2. Others use the next few weeks to do redesigns
  3. Experience bloggers often use the end of the year to do reviews, look at stats and set direction and goals for the year ahead
  4. Quite a few bloggers use the time to launch new blogs
  5. Some bloggers use this time to start up other projects like writing books, recording podcasts etc
  6. Others use the time to write posts and series that they’ll use later in the year
  7. A few bloggers I know spend January going through their current blogs with a fine tooth comb to do SEO, delete dead links and basically get everything in ship shape order

I personally am going to rest and forget about blogging for a week or so and then come back to do some review, planning and to work on a couple of projects that I’ve had on hold for a while before getting back into the swing of my ‘normal’ routine.

Whatever you choose to do over the next few weeks it’s worth reminding yourself that if traffic and earnings do slump for you that it’s not the end of the world and it’s not worth getting too down in the dumps about. Things generally pick up I no more than a month. Rather than get down about it – see it as an opportunity to do some or all of the above on your blog.

What are you going to be focussing upon the next few weeks?