The following post was submitted by Jill Manty as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series
My husband convinced me to start a blog related to my organic baby business. He had been interested in blogging for over a year and had been trying to get me interested for most of that time. I kind of felt like it was a waste of time and didn’t really see the potential for profit. My organic business blog relates to news of interest to parents who are interested in organics, alternative energy, attachment parenting, etc. It’s made a little money. It pays for itself, plus a tiny bit extra, but it certainly wasn’t enough to make a living.
Then, in December I was reading on ProBlogger, and I read that Darren had written a blog on the Summer Olympics in 2004. The Winter Olympics were coming up, and I thought we should write about them. My husband wasn’t sure that it was a money making idea, but I convinced him that it would be, so we bought www.2006turinolympics.com. I started writing at least one post daily at the end of December. By February, I was writing 5-6 posts per day. During the Olympics, I was sometimes writing closer to 10 posts per day.
I consider the site a success for a number of reasons. One, it made money. Not enough to retire on, but enough to buy a used car, which we desperately needed. Two, I was interviewed by several media sources and was even quoted for a front page story in The Washington Post. That was pretty exciting, as that sort of thing doesn’t usually happen to a stay-at-home wife and mom to five children. Finally, I consider it a success because it has finally gotten me to see what my husband has said along– you can make a living from blogging. We’re in the process of trying out several new blogging ideas. Some of them have been more successful than others. I have no doubt we will drop some of them in time, or convert them to something different.
What have I learned from this experience that I’m taking into our new blogs?
1. If you are inspired by an idea for a blog, go for it! Even if it doesn’t make money, you’ll learn from it.
2. Contrary to popular advice, you do not have to love what you’re writing about. It does need to be something that you can be excited about, but it doesn’t have to be your first love. Prior to this Olympics, I hadn’t even watched the last two (or more) Olympics. But the more I read about the Olympics, the more interested and excited I was. I started the blog because I thought it would be profitable. I continued it because it was profitable. I will continue to write on it because, along the way, I became interested.
3. A great way to make money on a blog is to pick a topic that a huge number of people are interested in. Even if you only get a tiny percentage of a million visitors searching on a topic, you can still make decent money off of that.
4. Be specific when picking a topic for your blog. It’s much easier to make money off of the Olympics or Dogs than a site devoted to sports or animals.
5. Timing is important. If you’re planning to blog about an event, such as the Olympics, you have to start blogging before the Olympics start. We now have a summer Olympic news site and a winter Olympics news site. I’m already posting about the 2008 and 2010 Olympics and actually making some money from it.
6. Your domain name choice is important, too. Having 2006turinolympics.com as our domain certainly helped in getting traffic and media exposure.
7. People read blogs because they like you and because you provide a different perspective. I received so many very nice comments from people as the Olympics were winding down. They really appreciated the blog because I tried very hard to be positive about the athletes and the Olympics. You don’t have to be a negative, naysayer to be a successful blogger.