- If you don’t blog but think some day you may want to get paid for blogging, then start a blog immediately. Just like any other kind of writing work, you need experience, and unless you are Stephen King, you need blogging experience. Other writing work, even web site work, may not cut it. Potential employers want blog savvy bloggers. They don’t want to pay someone to learn the ropes. So, use one of the many free blog sites out there and set one up as soon as possible and start blogging now.
- Make sure you are an active member of the blogosphere. That means, blog regularly and well; link to other bloggers both in your blog roll and in your posts; and read other blogs in your field and leave comments.
- Be part of the web conversation. It’s great to write original content, but don’t write in a vacuum. When you write a post, try to find other people who are talking about what you’re talking about and link to them. Do your best to have a minimum of one relevant link in each post. Feel free to quote and provide sources for these quotes. Show that you are part of the conversation. Oh, and don’t steal other people’s content. Provide sources, just like if you were writing a term paper.
- Look for a niche rather than talk about everything in the whole wide world. To be an expert or at the very least someone who has something worth reading, you can’t cover everything. That leads to rambling and no one (not even your mom) is going to want to read that. Find a topic that you know a lot about already, and carve out your own niche in the blogosphere. Look for niche ideas in your every day life. What sort of magazines do you subscribe to? What kind of hobbies do you have? What kind of activities do you do on a regular basis? What is already happening in your life on an on-going basis that you could write up every day?
- Search engine rankings and page views don’t appear overnight. It’s a long haul up the Google ladder, so be patient. Unless you are already well ranked from other sites that you may write for, don’t expect to see yourself up at the top for six months to a year. Obviously, blog networks will find you much more attractive if you are already known by search engines and you have a good ranking. If you already have a web site (or two) link to yourself. Nothing like your own link love.
- Speaking of link love, what goes around comes around. Don’t become a link farm, but be a good link neighbor with link-minded blogs. This is not a competition. That’s one cool thing about blogging. You help other bloggers by linking to them, posting about something interesting you saw on their blog, adding them to your blog roll, and they’ll link to you. Like I said, though, don’t be a link farmer. Be choosey. If you really like someone else’s blog and it has any kind of connection to yours, then link.
- Pick a topic you l-o-v-e. You’ll hear a lot about passion from blog how-to-ers, but they are right. I’ve been there and done that. There’s only so much you can squeeze out of a topic if you don’t have a pretty big interest in it. Professional bloggers normally blog a minimal of once a day per blog. After doing this month after month, you can really get fried, especially if it’s a topic you are only “so-so” about.
- When pitching a new topic to a blog network, be as specific as possible. If you were pitching a book idea to a publisher, you wouldn’t email them and say, “I want to write about jewelry making. What do you think?” You’d write a book proposal, providing a thorough outline of what you propose. Same with a blogging network – you need specifics. They don’t know you or your work. Telling them you want to write a blog about “nutrition” tells them zip. At a bare minimum, give them the name of the proposed blog, a few sentences describing it, and 3 to 5 sample posts. A step above the minimum would be to start blogging about the topic; set it up on a freebie blogging site, and blog. Locate some available URLs to suggest to them. Then approach them with your current blog as a reference to your brilliant idea. Bottom line – they need something to gauge your idea by.
- To make any sort of decent income from blogging, expect to blog a lot. Very few professional bloggers only write one blog. One reason for this is because it’s really hard to make a living from one blog. Normally, you need the combined income from different blogs added together to make any kind of real money. Of course, there are exceptions to this (see www.dooce.com), but these are usually bloggers who have been blogging for years and have a huge audience. So, start with one paid blog gig, and then start adding on until you find your own balance. It can be a tough juggling act because (on average) you have to blog daily to keep it going.
A Note on Indie Bloggers: If the idea of freelancing for a blog network doesn’t appeal to you, but you still want to make money with your blogging skills, then there is the option of become an independent blogger. There are actually a surprising number of A and B list bloggers out there doing just that such as www.dooce.com, www.shoeblogs.com, and http://www.fashiontribes.com to name a few. However, this road is for the super hardy blogger who doesn’t mind the long journey to google-love and who can wear all kinds of hats while making her way there: writer, programmer, ad salesperson, etc. Like I said, bloggers do manage to do this, but if you look at their archives, you’ll see they didn’t start a few months ago, probably not even just a few years ago.