Making Business More Personal
Retired folks often suddenly find themselves with a lot of time on their hands, and less income than they expected. Many of them will not be able to find another job, as employers are reluctant to provide health benefits to older workers who are more likely to actually have health issues.
How are you supposed to get by?
One way to make money that is often overlooked is blogging. What is the first thing you think of when I say the word "blogging?" There are MILLIONS, maybe even billions of blogs these days, and they exist for a variety of reasons. People who think about bloggers at all often think of writers of personal blogs that rant and rave about all kinds of topics, "Blogs" that turn out to be an extended ad for some kind of weight loss product, or perhaps "mommy bloggers," a category of writers who are either celebrated or derided, depending on whom you ask and how much they know about blogging. But most sites that provide lots of content these days are a type of "blog" - think major news sites, or individual television and radio station sites. Either the whole site, or a part of it, is probably a blog.
what kind of blogger are you?
People who are passionate about a cause may write prolifically without a thought of personal gain, but rather to get the word out about their cause. The cause could be political, environmental, spiritual, or something else. Regardless of the topic, it's what most bloggers start out doing - just dumping their thoughts and dreams out into posts just to get them out there, only later considering that it might be a way to earn income. It's what we do at Crowdify, and other mastermind communities where people band together to help each other succeed. It can drive visitors to your own blog or site where you may be able to convert them to customers. But I'm not talking about this kind of blogging for exposure. I'll talk about that in a minute.
I'm talking about bloggers who are independent contractors who work for clients that need bloggers on a daily basis, or who design blogs for themselves that rely on Google AdSense and affiliate links to make money. Some people laugh when they hear how blogging moms make money, but the truth is that there is quite a bit of money to be made blogging for yourself. You do have to know how to drive traffic to your blog, develop a following for your topic, and how to present your affiliate links and Google ads to make money.
Working for Someone Else or for Yourself
Blogging for someone else enables you to receive upfront pay. This is the preferred method of blogging for many moms. You can expect to be paid a minimum of $5 for a three hundred word post up to twenty dollars a post. I have been paid as much as $100 for a blog post. You can find many blogging jobs at sites such as ProBlogger and Craigslist. Companies use blog writers to keep their blogs updated every day or every other day. If they started a blog but never update it, it will not drive enough traffic to make any money, and they need you to generate enough advertiser or other income to keep the blog running. Worse still, if the content of a blog is not kept fresh and up to date, Google could decide it is not important and de-index it, making you invisible to people who may be searching for your product or service.
Some bloggers write content for their own blogs. They start a blog in a niche that they enjoy writing about to attract traffic. An obvious example is my homeschool blog - I started it in 2006 as a way to talk about the challenges I was experiencing trying to homeschool and work at home. I have migrated some of those articles to the blog you are reading now, including this one, which is an expanded and updated version of something I wrote a few years ago. Some of the people who visit this blog will see Google ads and click on the links. Every click makes some amount of money. It's how I can afford to spend the time thinking up new things to write about. If you choose the right keywords, the Google ads can amount to quite a bit of money. It's how I can afford to spend time thinking up new things to write about, I hinted strongly. :-)
It is worth taking a little time to learn how to select the right keywords. Google will select ads for your visitor that are relevant to your topic, as well as other things that are of interest to them based on their search histories and other ads they have clicked on.
Theoretically, if you are not interested in toys, I am out of luck. But Amazon's affiliate program has a great feature: if you can get your visitor to click one of your links to a product on Amazon, anything else they buy there for the next 24 hours will generate commission for you.
Still other bloggers are members of individual affiliate programs for products they feel strongly enough about to recommend. Others are popular enough to attract advertisers who will pay to have banners or other display ads on their sites. These are just a few ways to make money blogging for yourself.
You can also run contests and free giveaways to bring traffic to your blogs, and over the past few years, special tools have been developed to help you manage contests and giveaways. One of my favorite giveaway bloggers is at Miki's Hope - she specializes in giveaways of books, but she also gives away lots of other things. There are as many different kinds of giveaways as there are blogs.
Although writing is part of the blogger's job, if you don't have any marketing experience, you probably should join forums and message boards so you can participate in discussions with a link as your signature. Everyone on the discussion boards sees this link and they can click the link and check out your blog. This is just one way to generate more traffic that can lead to more Google ad clicks. It's more writing, but it is free, and that is usually a consideration for a work-at-homeschool mom, retired person, or anyone else who is looking for a way to generate income from home.
Mommy Blogging - Not Just for Mommies
Even though you should write about something that you enjoy, you also should do some research to see what types of blogs get traffic before you start. You can make as many blogs as you like free with Blogger. Therefore, you might have more than one blog that increases your chances of making money for yourself. The most successful of these blogs is going to be the one about a topic that you are passionate about, that also happens to be a topic that gets massive searches that people are dying to read about. You might even come up with a powerhouse like Quilting Digest. Who knew that a blog about quilting could attract more than 200,000 Facebook fans and generate as many as 38,000 visitors in a single day? It's a lot of work, but it generates a generous full time income.
Generally speaking, a "mommy blogger" is someone who writes about topics of interest to mommies. But there is another sense in which a "mommy blogger" has become one who writes about mommy issues who also attracts boatloads of mommies. The goal of any blogger is to draw traffic to her blog so that she may get some clicks on affiliate sites or Google ads, and the mom who attracts enough traffic to begin to also attract sponsors achieves the level of a serious "mommy blogger."
Blogging for yourself is a slow process, but if you participate in discussions at forums and message boards with your link, you can increase your traffic and increase your chances of making money. If you need guaranteed pay, you can apply for blogging jobs that pay weekly or monthly. If you blog for a big client, you can actually make as much as one hundred dollars a day just writing five blog posts a day.
The only disadvantage of blogging in a particular niche, is that you may grow weary of your topic if you have not selected it carefully. If you are working for a client, the greater the chance that the topic is going to become tiresome. This is something that you have to consider before starting any blog or blogging job.
Blogging for Money or Notoriety? Or Both?
Some bloggers also make money making their blogs available for advertisements. One way is to allow the advertiser to show an ad on their blog. Advertisers are always looking for blogs with a large readership where they can promote their products. Miki's Hope has an Alexa ranking in the US of less than 15,000. That's a lot of eyeballs to attract advertisers.
Another type of ad you can have on your blog is called Paid to Post. Companies and individuals pay you a certain amount of money to write up a post about their product or website and post it on your blog. Depending on the size of your blog audience, you can make as much as one hundred dollars for a three hundred word post. Of course, it is important to disclose when you have been paid for a post, and the FTC has strict regulations about this. In fact, the FTC has strict regulations about disclosing any kind of relationship with an affiliate program or advertisers. Ignore them at your own peril.
You can also blog for exposure - by that I mean, you can write a guest post on someone else's blog that has a resource box that links back to your blog, or you can write something that you are excited about just for the sheer joy of doing it, with a few links to sites who may send traffic your way once they get wind of your post. I'm thinking of the post I did about Topsy Turvy Garden Bags on this blog a couple of years ago. I totally should have gotten paid for that. But I was more excited about my awesome tomatoes than I was about getting paid. And that post has been widely seen by people searching on gardening topics in general, and Topsy Turvy in particular - enough so that it continued to be listed in my "Most Popular Posts" sidebar widget even three years later.
Whether you want to work for someone else or blog for yourself will depend on the amount of money you want to make, and the amount of time you have. You can do both paid blogging and blogging for yourself and increase your income!
But please, remember not to put your business before your relationships.
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