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Do you have time to be a ProBlogger?

I’m currently taking a bit of a working holiday in New Zealand and am spending a few days with two fellow bloggers to talk about the possibilities of working together as a blogging collective. One of the things I’ve found myself thinking on a number of occasions over the last few days is that it takes time to build a blogging business.

This morning I had an email from a reader of this site telling me that they want to earn money from blogging and they want to earn it fast.

In writing this blog I do not want to create any false impressions that blogs are a silver bullet – that all you have to do is start one, add some ads and then you’ll be set for life with a nice passive income.

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Micropayments and Blogging

When I was in my first year of high school I met a guy who would change my life – ok he didn’t really change it, but he taught me a lesson which I still use today in my pro-blogging. He taught me that if you aim small you can actually make it big! Indulge me if you will as I reminisce about my friend Trent.

My most vivid memory of Trent is in an Aussie Fish and Chip shop. For some reason our class was out on a field trip on this particular day and our teacher had taken us to a Fish and Chip shop to get some lunch. We’d all been told to bring a $2 – $3 dollars to get our lunch but as usual Trent hadn’t brought any money.

Trent wasn’t the most organized person in the world and I suspect money wasn’t flowing at home and so he’d developed this wonderful skill to get by when he needed money in such situations as this.

He waited until everyone else in the class had ordered and paid for their fish and chips and then he proceeded to move around my class mates asking if they could spare a few cents. He did it in a funny/clownish kind of way and made most of us laugh in the process. Most people gave him a few cents, no one gave him more than 20 – but when he’d finished his rounds of classmates and fellow customers and the time came to order Trent proceeded to the counter and placed an order that made the rest of us look like we were just having snacks. He’d collected $3.50 – more than enough for lunch – and probably a snack on the way home after school.

None of Trent’s classmates really minded about his good fortune – after all it hadn’t really cost us much – but when added all together our spare change was significant in Trent’s eyes. Trent was ahead of his times – a forerunner in the Micro-Payments industry.

The theory is simple – get enough people to give you a small payment and you’ll earn a significant income.

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Blog Advertising – Fear and Ignorance Keep Media Buyers Away

Advertisers including Paramount Pictures, The Wall Street Journal, and The Gap are successfully reaching niche audiences for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising and a handful of bloggers are earning six-figure incomes from their blogs. Why aren’t more advertisers and bloggers getting together? Fear, ignorance and the knowledge that a lot of pioneers got shot.

With clickthrough rates in traditional online advertising dropping, inexpensive blog clickthroughs are as high as 5 percent. Blogs provide advertisers an excellent opportunity to reach a devoted audience niche for as little as $10 a week. Already, blogs like DailyKos which receives 15 million page views a month, get $9,000 a week for advertising and is sold out for weeks in advance.

Advertising on blogs is not like buying a minute on the Super Bowl says Henry Copeland, founder of Blogads, which matches advertisers with blogs. Successful blogs are edgy, have a sense of humor, and are recognized experts in a narrow niche. Blog audiences look at traditional ads, like “Click here, get 20% off,” and say “screw this, I’ve seen it everywhere,” Copeland says.’ Read more at Blogs are a Good Buy for Advertisers but Fear and Ignorance Keep Media Buyers Away

Article Swapping

Wayne over at Blog Business World has a good article on Article Swapping as a strategy to increase the content on your blog. If you can ensure the quality of your article swapping partners this is a good strategy that can double your article producing power and therefor quantity of content on your page. He writes:

Adding new visitor traffic to your website is always a challenge. Finding fresh and innovative promotional techniques is often as difficult as creating fresh content.

Wait a minute! Why not accomplish both goals at the same time? By working with your current link exchange partners, and other website owners with businesses that complement yours, both goals are achievable.

Every website requires new content to provide interesting information for your site visitors. The same old stale articles won’t bring in much in the way of return traffic.

The various search engines give extra credit for site freshness and incoming links. Every article you provide to other webmasters provides them with new content. It provides your site with a themed incoming link. The same holds true for guest articles hosted on your site.

The level of my blogging earnings are directly related to the number of pages on my blogs (of course there are many other factors but quantity is a significant factor). Therefor one strategy for increasing earnings is obviously more pages as I’ve written about in my Generating Quantity of Content series.

Street Talk

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Street Talk is another blog with an income stream that uses the Adsense program. It is a little different to other blogs that we’ve featured here in that instead of focusing upon products it focuses upon a popular New Zealand Television show – Shortland Street.

The site is currently in beta and will no doubt add more features and advertising opportunities – it will no doubt be a popular site for private advertisers which will be drawn to the site as traffic levels build – which they will if it goes in the same direction as another NZ fan blog that the owners of Street Talk own – Idolblog which focusses upon the New Zealand Idol and Australian Idol shows (ala ‘Pop Idol’ (UK) and ‘American Idol’ (US)). Idolblog has been a massive success for its developers generating a frenzy of activity every week before during and after episodes of the popular shows.

The beauty of these sites is that they are highly targeted on geographic areas and they will appeal to private advertisers from those locations.

Questions for Nick Denton

Nick Denton seems to be on a bit of a publicity tour at the moment as there have been quite a few interviews with him and articles about him online in the past few days. Here is another Questions for… Nick Dention. Here is one of the questions put to Nick:

WSJ: Name two interesting moments in blog-ad history.

Mr. Denton: The first most significant development is Google’s AdSense. This enables small Web sites — like Weblogs — to at least fund some of their costs without having to build an advertising sales force. It provides very good targeting of text ad to content. If there is an item about Palm Pilots, then Google will supply ads about Palm Pilots automatically without any need for manual intervention. For certain topics, the revenues are quite meaningful. There are some Web sites, like a site called PVRblog, all about personal video recorders, that pretty much cover their running costs with Google ads and nothing else. The other development, in the last six months, advertisers like Nike and Audi are discovering blogs and engaging with the medium. I think it shows that blogs can attract innovative, brave advertisers, not just technology advertising, not just performance-based advertising, but classic brand advertising.

RSS Ads – Monetise your RSS feed

RSS Ads is a system to add ads to your RSS feeds. They are currently signing up publishers for a release of the program shortly.

They write – ‘Monetize your RSS feed. Maintain total control over the ads placed in your feed. Expose all of your content via premium RSS feeds.’ It will be interesting to watch how this system and others like it work out for bloggers.

If any of you are using such a system drop me a line and let me know how you’re finding it and we’ll put it up as a case study.

Found via Micro Persuasion

Nick Denton Profile

Fortune Magazine has a profile piece on Nick Denton and his growing blogging ventures:

‘With nine sites launched in two years and 24% month-over-month aggregate traffic growth, the business outlook for Gawker’s mini-media empire seems promising. Denton won’t talk about the company’s financials, and he points out that even at 2.5 million unique visitors per month his sites are only just starting to “get the numbers that actually register with media buyers.” But he also makes the case that numbers aren’t everything. “It’s not just a numbers game. If it was, they’d all be advertising with Weather Bug,” he says referring to a popular Windows toolbar download.’

Read more at Gawker Grows Up

Blogging for Dollars: WebPro News

WebProNews has a good little article on Blogging for Dollars that picks up a few income streams available for bloggers wanting to make money from their blogging.

‘Blogging for dollars might sound like the latest game show or some new drinking game, but it’s the latest craze to hit the Internet. Bloggers began blogging for a number of reasons, but as the blog movement has increased in popularity, they have found ways to monetize their blogs and are seeing their commitment pay off’

Also read my article of the same name – Blogging for Dollars

Travel Blog

travel_blog.jpgTravel Blog is one of the best ProBlogging ideas I’ve seen for a while. They offer free blogs to travellers to update with their latest travelling stories and photos.

‘Travel Blog is a collection of travel journals, diaries, stories and photos from all around the world. The journals are added by real travellers, and recount real experiences and impressions from the places they visit. The site includes lots of features that help you keep family and friends back home up to date with your adventure.’

So how do they make money from their blogs? Adsense ads appear on most pages – and adsense ads for travel pay out pretty well from what I’ve heard and seen.

They also sell Travel Blog Journals on the side. I havn’t seen any affiliate ads yet on the site but suspect that they would do well to add some – especially ads for travel books (amazon), cheap flights etc.

Found via Seths Blog