Looking for Something?
Monthly Archives

April 2009

For Love or Money: How to Find the Blogging Sweet Spot


Nightclub Dancer Being a professional blogger is sexy.

You get to make money writing on the Internet in your pajamas. It’s the epitome of the American dream, all idyllic and hypnotizing. Well, it is until your bills come anyway. Then that fantasy land you created while drinking overpriced mochaccinos comes crashing down and you remember that being a professional blogger kind of sucks. Because you’re not actually getting paid for your lifestyle blog. Or at least not yet.

Anyone who has tried to make money through blogging feels your pain. It’s a hard road. But you can make it to the other side and make a career out of doing something that you love. You just need a game plan.

There are two different kinds of bloggers out there – Those that do it for love and those that do it for money. I don’t care what kind of blogger you are in your heart, because the truth is to be successful you’re going to have to adopt a little bit of both mindsets. Profitable bloggers make a living off the marriage of passion and commercialism.

So how do you find that balance and get that career that you love?

Step 1: Finding Your Subject

This is hard. For most it means creating a list of their many passions and then deciding which one they think could be the most profitable, has the best hope for advertisers and is the most long-lasting. For me, however, it only serves to remind me that I have no passions. No hobbies. No interests. But let’s go on the assumption that you’re far more well-rounded than I am (if not, let’s be Twitter friends!).

You want to find something niche that you’re interested in and then think a layer or two out. For example, if you’re addicted to a certain type of coffee bean that can only be found in the southern most corner of South America, then bump that out a bit and create a blog that’s focused on coffee around the world and everything coffee-related. This way you can get your kicks by writing about something you love, but still keep it general enough that you’d serve a larger audience and wouldn’t have too hard of a time finding content on a regular basis.

If you’re not an expert on your topic immediately, don’t worry. You don’t have to know everything there is to know about coffee right out of the gate, but you do need to be willing to become an expert. Even if you’re just in it for the money, the blogging world is competitive. The only way for you to be authentic and real and successful is for you know your topic inside and out, better than anyone else.

Step #2: Scope Out the Competition

With that new found topic in hand, you want to take a look at how competitive the market is. Hopefully you haven’t selected something that falls into the technology, gadgets, mommyblogging or entertainment sector. If you have…please go back to Step #1 and try again unless you’re very experienced (and talented) with marketing a blog. These niches have become so saturated that unless you can write like Dooce, you’re going to have a very difficult time turning a profit. You’d be much wiser to find a niche that hasn’t been totally developed yet and will be naturally less competitive. It’s a lot easier to be a big fish in a small pond than to try things the other way around.

If you’re not sure whether your topic has been tackled or not, try running some searches. Use tools like Wordtracker to see how much traffic those terms get or perform some Google searches to see how SEO’d the results look.

Stay away from fads. You want to find a topic that has longevity and that people will be still be interested three years from now, five years from now, etc. Picking something that’s only seen a huge traffic spike in the last few months, may not be profitable in the future. Use your gut.

Step #3: Research the Monetary Possibilities

As pure as your heart is and as passionate as you are about your topic, the goal here is to make money off your blog if you want to be able to be a full time blogger. And there’s no shame in admitting that. That said, part of creating yourself a career that you love means educating yourself on the different blogging revenue streams that will be available to you.

A good way to find out how commercially-viable your topic is would be to search for your terms using Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool. All you have to do is enter your keywords into this free tool and Google will populate a nice list of data for you, including the search volume and competition among advertisers. Obviously, the higher the competition, the more healthy that market will be and the more money you can make from it. You want to balance the competition between advertisers with the number of visible bloggers in that space.

Somewhere in there will be your sweet spot.

Not every topic is going to have the same commercial viability. Some will work well with an affiliate system while others may work really well with AdSense or CPM based advertising. You’ll need to do a bit of research to determine which topics will go best with which revenue stream.

Step #4: Commit and Start Writing

Once you’ve nailed down your blogging sweet spot, it’s time to become a real life, professional blogger. One that knows that a big part of making money through blogging means getting your posts to show up in the search engines when someone performs a search for your topic. And that means knowing just enough SEO to be dangerous.

I’m a reformed blogging purist so I, too, was once horrified of the thought of changing my words around for the sake of a search engine. But the truth is, writing in a way that makes your posts more searchable, actually improves your writing for the user. Why?

  • Using keyword tools like Wordtracker encourages you to use the words searchers are actually looking for. You should be using the same terms as everyone else.
  • Knowing to put keywords in your titles helps curb your fascination with pithy titles that describe nothing.
  • Incorporating keywords into the body of your content, helps users to find them and tells them what you’re about.

You should also be using tools like Google Trends and Google Insights to spot ways to tie in real life events with your blogging to increase traffic. Take advantage of what’s happening in your little world and use it to help your readers find you. Basic SEO is really just about becoming a more aware writer, optimizing your WordPress installation and promoting your blog.

Hopefully the tips above will help you find a blogging subject that’s not only commercially viable, but one that you’re passionate about, as well. Because as sexy as it is to say you’re a blogger, it’s even sexier to have a career that you love.

Lisa Barone is Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer for the team of SEO Consultants at Outspoken Media, Inc and has been writing about blog and search since early 2006. She’s passionate about building brands, saving them and blogging about them. She also kind of has a thing for knee socks.

Twitter Worm Spreads Over Easter Weekend


Isn’t Easter supposed to be the time of getting dressed up nicely, maybe going to a church with your family, eating too much ham, eggs and rolls and finding bright colored eggs hidden all over the yard?  I’m fairly sure the last thing it’s supposed to be about is the spreading of a new worm that is aimed directly at and infects Twitter accounts.  Have we officially entered into a new era of virus attacks?  Are social networking sites next?

If that is indeed the case, and new worms are being developed that target social networking, things could get extremely ugly, extremely fast.  This most recent worm that spread over this Easter weekend throughout Twitter and is bringing up a great deal of questions about the safety of this type of networking and ways to avoid it in the future.

According to reports:

“The attack began around 2 a.m. Saturday from four accounts. Twitter’s security team hunted the malicious code and secured compromised accounts throughout the day. Nearly two hundred user accounts were compromised by the worm on Saturday…Another wave of attacks hit on Sunday, but the blog didn’t say how many additional accounts were hit. The company says it removed nearly 10,000 tweets that could have been used to spread the worm.”

Yikes.  As you know, both Facebook and MySpace have also been used, in the past to spread some nasty code and viruses, but Twitter is a different beast.  If someone is figuring out ways to spread malicious code just by using Tweets, that opens the door for a huge number of different devices vulnerable for infection.  From laptops to desktops, cell phones to email, a lot can go wrong.  Keep your eye on this one, you haven’t heard the end of it.

Social Networking Finds Higher Calling


Social Networking Right when you thought you knew exactly what Social Media and Social Networking was capable of, right when you thought you knew exactly what it’s future would be and that it was officially shifting towards business, something pops up that gives you a renewed hope for just what all this new technology could be capable of.  Today is one of those days.

I just caught wind of a project taking place in Cleveland, Ohio where health officials are actually using social networking sites like Facebook and other mediums that are similar to address a growing problem in the public health scene:  HIV and STD’s.  Check out the official news from Cleveland:

“The city’s health department will set up profiles on two popular gay meeting sites next week and plans to log on to Facebook later….The profiles will allow the department to communicate with other users on the sites whose real names may not be known by their sexual partners….Cleveland HIV/AIDS services director David Merriman says it’s not unusual for those who test positive for HIV or another sexually transmitted disease to say some sexual encounters were with people they knew only by a Web site screen name…Columbus Public Health began using social networking sites in a similar manner last year.”

Personally, I love seeing new technology being used in even newer ways.  It would be closed-minded to think that all of the buzz and excitement surrounding new social media, social networking and microblogging sites is limited to business and profit.  The bottom line is, a lot of good Can be done when you’ve the ability to reach so many people in one fell swoop.

With Facebook officially hitting 200 million members, the time is now to really embrace the technology and start reaching broader audiences with broader problems.  Taking advantage of this is officially job number 1.

Google Wants Twitter…Is Twitter King?


141010-googlelogo_180 Unless you’re hiding under some sort of stone in the past few days and weeks, you’ve most likely heard the rumors circulating and floating around that Google has officially expressed some interest in acquiring the wildly popular microblogging site, Twitter.  Wow.

Given the fact that newer rumors are now circulating that Twitter wouldn’t sell to Google, not even for $1 Billion, it’s so far looking highly unlikely that Twitter would ever take the bait, take the check and relinquish control, but nevertheless, the simple fact that Google is expressing the interest they are says a great deal more than whether or not they sell or not.  Let’s face it, right now, Twitter just might be king.

The question that remains is, WHY does Google want Twitter?  Are they in the habit and pattern of just buying what is hot and what is popular while they are still on top, as they did with YouTube, or do they see something of a threat in Twitter?  It’s clear that Twitter’s “real-time search” is a big deal and something that Google as of now doesn’t have, but is it enough to threaten Google?  No.  So why?  That question remains to be answered and given the fact that in today’s economic climate, many companies are actually trying to shave costs, the acquisition of a company that so far has shown it’s a bit difficulty generating revenue, it doesn’t make much sense.

According to an article in PCWorld recently, many are speculating as to why and what Twitter represents to Google.  In an interview in the article:

“Twitter is clearly hot. The phenomenon of real time search and the ability to capture this stream of ‘tweet’ discussions is an important development in social media and search because people are trying to mine data for information that might otherwise be sought in a search engine…This whole phenomenon Twitter represents is here to stay and needs to be addressed by search engines.”

My best guess, Google wants Twitter so no one ELSE can have it.  The age old story, I want you, so no one else can.  What do you think…why is Google even entering the rumor mill about wanting Twitter?  Sound off…

Facebook Booms, MySpace Falls


Facebook > Myspace Facebook, Hulu, Twitter, Bebo are all booming.  Every day, week and month the traffic numbers continue to steadily rise and their popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  One of the original founders of social networking, however, has done nothing but show a steady decline in traffic and popularity over the past few months…that’s right, MySpace is falling.

How far will it fall remains to be seen, but no longer is MySpace at the head of the social networking class.  According to a report done this month by research firm ComScore:

“…MySpace had 124 million unique monthly visitors in February. That means MySpace’s traffic for the month is down 2 percent overall…and remains in sharp contrast to Facebook, which increased its traffic by 16.6 percent to 276 million unique visitors in February. “

I suppose it doesn’t help that already this month two MySpace executives and their COO Amit Kapur announced that they would be leaving the company for an unnamed startup company.  While last year, Facebook and MySpace were head to head for traffic, Facebook officially overtook them in 2008 and literally hasn’t looked back since.

Is the fight over?  Is this the end of MySpace?  Maybe, but that remains to be seen.  Time will tell and until then, we’re not counting anyone out.  Neither should you.

Rappin At SXSW? How About Blog World Expo "I Wanna Be A Rock Star?"


This has gone around the blogosphere out on Twitter and a number of other places.  Rebecca Corliss did an awesome job of putting together this recap of SXSW in Austin, Texas.  Some of the rock stars in blogging, podcasting and conference attendees are in the video.

What I would like to see now is a video done for Blog World and New Media Expo to the tune of “Rockstar“.  I’m thinking it could be titled “Blogstar”.  I want to be a Blogstar, don’t you?

Rappin At SXSW? How About Blog World Expo “I Wanna Be A Rock Star?”


This has gone around the blogosphere out on Twitter and a number of other places.  Rebecca Corliss did an awesome job of putting together this recap of SXSW in Austin, Texas.  Some of the rock stars in blogging, podcasting and conference attendees are in the video.

What I would like to see now is a video done for Blog World and New Media Expo to the tune of “Rockstar“.  I’m thinking it could be titled “Blogstar”.  I want to be a Blogstar, don’t you?

Mark Cuban Fined for Twitter Comments


Cuban I guess if you’re as rich as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, $25,000 really isn’t that much money to lose.  If you’re like me or the rest of America it is, and it begins to make me wonder just how responsible we’re all going to be for the comments we make on Twitter, in our status updates on Facebook, or any of the other micro-blogging services out there.

If you didn’t hear, Mark Cuban was indeed fined after criticizing the referees and some of the calls, and lack of calls that were or were not made during last Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.  Cuban made the comments to his fans and followers on Twitter, and it looks like the NBA is officially tweeting back, to the tune of a giant fine.  Oops.

Apparently, Cuban is “fine with it” but it does bring up bigger questions as to just how responsible people should be for the tweets they post, or the statuses they update on other social networking sites.  This could open the door to an entire new world of libel suits that could potentially take place all over Twitter.  We’ve heard reports of other cases that are popping up that combine Twitter and libel, but the question of just how responsible people are, and the weight of that responsibility have yet to be completely answered.

Look for a great deal more of these types of suits, fines, and irritations to pop up as the popularity of all of these services continue to boom.  Where will it stop?  That’s the burning question.

Learn About NMX


Recent Comments