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How To Have A Popular Blog And Earn Money With It

I think I heard a character on the CBS show, "NCIS, " say that blogging was for losers. We'll just let that one go, forgive CBS and this character, as she was a little on the vengeful side anyhow. Furthermore, having read and researched quite a few blogs (into the thousands now), I find that not only are many of these bloggers good writers, they also have loyal readers.

What's more, some bloggers make quite a nice income with their blog. A few have even received book deals, with the traditional publishers, based on their blogs. Wendy McClure's book, I'm Not the New Me: A Memoir is an example of this extraordinary accomplishment. Her book covers the same territory as the blog: her struggles with weight and body image (USAToday, 4/17/2005).

Nonetheless, not all bloggers will receive a lucrative book deal, and most of them are not waiting or looking for one. Most blogs are personal journals about life, faith and yes, politics. How to gain exposure and even earn a nice little income with one's blog is most likely the number one question asked by many, if not, all bloggers.

So let's explore a little further and enter the blogosphere. For the beginner we have selected the easy-to-use software, Blogger, as the number one host-mainly because of Blogger's simple set up. Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley in their book: Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture describes Blogger as "Blogging For Dummies." I don't take offense to that as I use Blogger for my blog, Pieces of Me, and will never claim that I am computer tech savvy. Plus the book gives you valuable Emo points for using Blogger. That is, of course, a whole other article.

Using Blogger, no doubt, will ease your journey into the blogosphere. You can include graphics which you can gather for free on the web. Make sure, however, you adhere to the copyright statements. You could use your own photographs, of course, if you're not afraid to let people actually see pieces of your life-one can never lose with that personal touch, I say. And I will also recommend you write yourself a very entertaining profile. People love to get to know you this way.

In any case, the bottom line is to make your blog attractive so you don't lose those visitors. A blog theme is also wise and if you decide to use Google Adsense on your blog, not only will you generate a few dollars but your site will receive ads that compliment your content.

Speaking of Google Adsense, though there are other companies popping up on the internet, Adsense seems to be the number one ad company bloggers are using. If you decide to use Google Adsense, be careful not to click on your own ads as Google will take your blog out of their program. Beware: do not post to ask people to click on your ads-another no-no, so to speak. Personally I like CrispAds and use them on Pieces of Me. Small potatoes, I know, but I make about $20 per month with them. Strategically placing these ads on your blog is a must and getting the traffic to actually see your ads is tricky indeed, but very doable.

Traffic to your website therefore is foremost. After all that hard work in building your place on the internet, making your home beautiful and attractive enough for the world to see, you would want people to stop by and let you know how much they appreciate you.

How does one get fans, readers or even family and friends to drop in for a visit? Content, content and more content. And by all means make it fresh (meaning new, original and unique), interesting or thought provoking content. In other words, if you have something to write about, write about it well and often. For example, if you have a passion for motorbikes and you know what you're talking about, blog about it.

Sharon Lynn at California breeze, does a wonderful job of integrating her life stories with her family's dirt biking adventures. (Place link to Sharon's AC content here.) Interested in horses? Or visit Janey Lorey, who also writes and illustrates children's books with her mother, at Mustangs N Cowboys. Both have themes and both write very well.

However, if you still find that traffic is hard to come by, you can join the many blog communities. Become a member of sites like BlogExplosion (you can even rent your blog out to other bloggers and receive more readers), BlogSoldiers, and Blogadvance to name a few. These sites are known as blog-exchange sites-for every blog you visit you receive a visit from other bloggers to your page. Therefore, I can't stress the point enough that having good content is of the utmost importance. Like a good book you have to grab your readers with your first sentence or perhaps a great blog post title. Give them something worthwhile to read, or see, so that they will return. And if you want to rank well on Google (always recommended), a link from other bloggers to your blog will certainly help.

At any rate, you now have a blog, enjoyable content including pictures and a very interesting profile, a few loyal readers and daily traffic from bloggers around the world. Would it be possible to make money with your blog? It takes nothing but a little hard work and commitment on your part, but it is certainly possible.

On further review, many bloggers resolve to using advertisements on their blogs to generate revenue. The only work here is to place the html code into your template-this takes a few seconds once you've mastered html. Then, like I've stated before, you hope and pray that people will click on those ads. Besides Google AdSense and CrispAds there are companies like AdBrite and BlogAds that will help you make a few extra dollars if not more. Even Yahoo, to give Google some fierce competition, has launched their blog ad network. It's all to the advantage of the average blogger.

In any case, before we leave the blogosphere we should discuss the business of writing for a living while one waits for that illusive book deal. Obviously Associated Content has done a great deal for writers and has put money in their proverbial empty pockets. You can also place a link to AC and your articles on your blog as you will receive royalties, so to speak, from AC every time your article is read. Furthermore companies like PayPerPost will pay you . . . per post. I make anywhere from $50 to $200 a week with them. Hone in on your writing skills and write ads for major companies or even other bloggers.

In conclusion, blogging can be very rewarding emotionally, financially, and your writing skills won't suffer either. It's a great way to earn extra money for students and stay-at-home moms. It's also a wonderful way to keep friends and family updated on your life and they can leave comments. Making new friends is always a plus and finding a loyal following is priceless. Well written and interesting posts will broaden that fan base. Maintain your blog with fresh content, research advertising companies that will fit your blog, and keep writing. Stay the course and you'll get there.

By Debby Alten - I am a partner with G8Press, a blogger, writer of Fantasy/Horror. I use words like yummy and woo hoo to describe food, love social networking and CHOCOLATE!  

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