Who Wants to be a Problogger?
Welcome to tonight’s edition of Who Wants to Be a Problogger. I am your host, Indigo Black. No doubt you’ve heard the success stories of Darren Rowse, Dooce and Jason Kottke who have all managed to carve out a decent living via their mad bloggin’ skillz. I see you sitting there with dollar signs in your eyes just dying to know the secret to their success. Well I can sum it up for you in just one word and I won’t even force you to read to the end of article before I bare all.
Okay, so that’s two words but if you are continuing to read this article rather than immediately clicking exit button, that means having to work hard doesn’t scare you and you have just won the first round of Who Wants to Be a Problogger. Give yourself one point and let’s move on to round two.
What is a Problogger?
First of all, do you know what a Problogger is? Give yourself another point if you do because I had to look it up. A Professional Blogger, or Problogger for short, is one who blogs and lives off of the earnings his or her bloggings bring them.
So in essence if the internet was, say, a television station like USA or Fox, then blogs would be the individual television shows and the bloggers would be the hosts or main characters of aforementioned shows. And, just like actors, you can work as a freelance blogger and write for other people’s blogs or you can strike out on your own.
Do you have what it takes?
As a Problogger, whether freelance or independent, your job is to draw in as big a readership as possible. Why? Because like television, the bulk of a blog’s revenue will come via advertisement sales, reader contributions (either through donations or purchases) or both. The higher the traffic numbers, the more attractive the blog looks to advertisers and the better the chance that a reader will make a purchase or a donation.
Of all the things that go into creating a blog, building a readership will be the hardest and most time consuming thing you will do.
Okay, onto the bonus round. Here are a few other things to think about when considering this avenue. Give yourself one point for every ‘yes’ answer:
1. It is a job! Can you commit the necessary time it takes to research subjects and write on them? Can you keep to a regular publishing schedule? You may not have to write everyday but you should not go too long between posts. Even television shows come on at least once per week.
2. Can you persevere? Are you willing to stick with it for at least one year? It takes the average blog at least one year to make its mark on the blogosphere.
3. Is there enough interest in your topic? Niche topics, or topics devoted to one specific area, are the easiest to write for however, it may be more difficult to recruit a big enough readership or find interested advertisers. General interest blogs may have a bigger pool of advertising dollars to draw from but with that brings an equal increase in competition. The only thing that may distinguish your blog from your competitors is your personality and writing style. Are you interesting enough?
4. Are you willing to market your blog? Some blogs take off through simple word of mouth and some do the full SEO and marketing workup but never get noticed. Between the extremes, however, you will need to put some effort towards getting your name out there.
5. Can you play well with others? Gaining readers and attracting/working with advertisers requires that you have some people skills. As your blog grows in popularity, you will experience criticism (deserved or not) for various reasons, can you handle that?
6. Operating a blog involves more than just knowing how to write. You also will need know some basic computing skills such as HTML, how to network with others and market yourself and your business. If you don’t already have these skills, are you willing to learn what you need in order to be successful?
How’d you do? If you are able to answer yes to at least 99% of these questions then you just may have what it takes to be a Problogger. Here’s a few ways you can help prepare yourself:
1. Read blogs. Both the popular and the not so popular. What differentiates the two? What can you learn from both in order to help you succeed and avoid the pitfalls that lead to obscurity?
2. Write up a business plan. Really. Without a road map and a destination, we often end up just walking in circles. Unless you are planning create some type of blogging empire that will eliminate the competition one hostile takeover after another, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just grab a piece of paper and write down your goals and what you will do to achieve them.
3. Test your idea by setting up a blog with a free host. If you find the idea is a success, consider moving the blog to it’s own domain name and web space. This will give you greater control over the blog.
4. Look at your life and carve out time for working on your venture. Enlist the help of your family by letting them know what your goals are and what they can do to help.
5. Increase your knowledge in areas where you are weak (marketing, SEO, HTML, writing). There are tons of places on the net, such as The Towne of Blogilepsy, where you can learn all you need to know about these topics.
And that will conclude this episode of Who Wants to Be a Problogger. I wish you much success in you endeavor.
Good night and happy blogging