Friday, February 27, 2009

What is Blogging?

Blogging is a great way for work at home moms, professional writers, students, or those desiring a work from home job, to earn money online. This post is the first in a series devoted to blogging and making money online with a blog.

So ... what is blogging?
The word blog, a shortened term for weblog, or web log, refers to a frequently updated online site in which the author shares thoughts, ideas and information in print, audio, photographic or video form. Blogs typically contain dated posts and comment sections, and can range from personal diaries to authoritative niche sites to witty commentary on current events.

Blogs started as a way for internet users to share their thoughts on websites they visited -- hence the "web log" notation -- and link to sites they found interesting. As blogging evolved, popular blogs developed large, diverse audiences and became more interesting. Bloggers now write for an audience, not just for fun.

Blogging can actually be quite lucrative, and many top bloggers earn six-figure incomes every year. While blogging revenue was a surprise to many early bloggers who had started blogging just for fun, many bloggers now begin blogging with the intention of making money from their efforts.

Thus the answer to the newbie's question, "What is blogging?" will be as varied as those who ask it. As the internet evolves, so does the concept of blogging. But overall, most blogs contain dated posts, a place for users to leave comments, links to other blogs and sites, and regular updates with information presented in any variety of mediums, from podcasts to photographs to prose.

Many bloggers also started creating informative blogs in different niches and now pull in amazing part or full-time incomes!

Many blogs derive loyalty from consistent visitors and loyal readers. Blogs on a specific topic are a great idea because they can often attract and keep a targeted audience. Readers who find and enjoy the things you are writing, the chances are that they will subscribe or bookmark your blog and revisit again and again to read new posts.

As a blog gains more followers and you write more content, you will start to ranking higher in the search engines, which is important for traffic and, ultimately, blog earnings.

TIP --> Blogging can also be a great way to promote your other sites and articles with links and traffic. Thus even those desiring a primarily passive income, such as myself, may find that blogging is a great way to help build that up. Also, since passive income can be slow in the beginning, a more active income source, such as blogging or writing articles for pay, can help a writer transition into a full time passive income.
If you have decided that you want to become a blogger, but aren't sure where to start, or are already blogging but don't know how to take your blog earnings to the next level, I recommend learning from professional bloggers who have created a solid method for building income-producing blogs.

It can be difficult to choose something to blog about, and not everything will be profitable, so if making money is your goal you need to focus on the right topics from the start, and set up your blog in such a way that you will maximize your income.

If you are serious about eliminating the steep learning curve, check out Amy Bass' The Niche Blogger membership site.

The first thing that got me was the fact that it was created by a mother who, like me, stays at home with her kids. She found a great way to make money online and shares that with many other stay at home moms, too.

She makes it very clear that if you follow her instructions and focus, you may be able to make the same level of income she does -- and at this point that's enough to entirely support her family at a very nice level of comfort.

I am comfortable recommending this resource to you because not only is it top quality, the price is very low. It really is a no-brainer when you consider the amazing, life-changing, value that you get from having expert advice on setting up your blog, choosing a profitable niche, and making money online.

I highly recommend this site if you've decided that after reading my answer to the question, "what is blogging?," this is an online income stream you're interested in developing. You can even try a free three day trial of the site with no other obligation. Try it and let me know what you think!

Are you a niche blogger? Please share your experiences!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Twitter: Networking tips for WAHMs

Do you Twitter? Are you an avid user, or have you signed up but never really "gotten" it? I'm kind of in the middle. At first I didn't really understand the concept, but after a few months it kind of clicked. I find it's a great resource as well as a very good way to promote your work and build an audience.

On Twitter, I get ideas for my articles and blog posts, as well as participate in conversations on a variety of topics and current events. And there's also the social aspect of peeking into eachothers' lives -- I especially like to see what's going on with other work at home moms.

Like any social networking tool, it's very important to actually be part of your Twitter community, in a give-take sort of way, and not simply use it to self-promote. That won't work, anyway, as your followers will drop off like dead flies. I saw one Twitterer whose whole page of recent updates was a documentation of recent activity on certain websites. There were no responses to other Twitter friends or even chatty Tweets. Unfollow.

Here are some thoughts and resources I've gathered about Twitter, from my experience as well as from Twitter pros.

Twitter People
If you've just signed up for Twitter, your Tweets wil echo as you send them out to an empty Twittoshphere. You need an audience -- followers -- and you need to find people to follow to receive incoming Tweets.

You can start with your email contact list, but that will likely only produce a few good matches. Next step is social networking. Check out your favorite blogs -- many will have "Follow Me on Twitter" graphics or Tweet feeds. Definitely follow anyone whose blog interests you.

Write a few Tweets right away so people will follow you back -- post a intro Tweet, link to your blog, ask your followers a question. This gives readers an idea of your Twitter personality.

Find out who your new Twitter friends are following, and look for profiles that interest you. Follow them, and you'll likely be followed in return. You can usually find a bunch of writers by checking a freelancer's profile, and Mommy Twitterers by checking out other Twitter Moms' lists.

Twitter Tips
  • Don't fire off a series of Twitters one after another; this creates a whole section of Tweets from you on your follower's page and can be annoying. Unless related, space out your Tweets.
  • Respond to Twitter peeps who ask questions; this helps to build Twitter relationships.
  • Write at least two helpful, fun or chatty Tweets for every one update linking to your work.
  • Tweets should be useful, funny, informative or catchy.
  • Check out PC Mag's Twitter Tips for Newbies to get the scoop on RT (retweeting) and other Twitter functions.
  • If you're past the newbie stage, read these 35 Twitter Tips gems.

Twitter Tools
Okay, this is for those of you who are ready to take Twitter to the next level. Apparently, there are all kinds of tools you can use to be a more effective Twitterer. (And if you're not there yet, don't worry--just enjoy it and leave the gizmos for later.)

I'll refer this section over to the pros, as I don't have the experience to give you a in-depth rundown. Read

12 Twitter Stream Aggregators To Make You Smarter

to learn about Twitter tools you never knew you needed.

Twitter for WAHMs

Once you build your Twitter community, you can use Twitter to offer freelance writing services, promote new blog posts you write or websites you build, sell design services or whatever else you do as a WAHM.

You can get tips from other work-at-home moms balancing kids and computers, diapers and deadlines ... or just enjoy knowing there are many others out there just like you.

Twitter is a great way to network with a large number of people and find a smaller number with whom you will connect more closely, in professional working relationships as well as friendships.


Are you on Twitter? Follow me and I'll return the follow. And while you're here, share some twitter advice -- I'm still learning the ropes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Residual Income Blog & Future of my WAHM Blog

I've decided to re-focus my WAHM blog to all things WAHM, from getting out of debt, entertaining preschoolers, and balancing work and home, to freelance tips, work at home ideas and resources to help other WAHMs and online writers.

To better focus on passive and residual income topics, I've created another blog, I am really excited about the blog, as it will better allow me to share what I know and what I learn in the future on the subject.

I hope you'll take a look -- I've got four posts up, and began the blog by sharing my journey to working for long-term residual income rather than for wages or a flat fee per content article or freelance piece. If you subscribe to the blog, you'll see new content as soon as it's posted.

Meanwhile, I'd love your input on My WAHM Blog. What do you like to see, and what would you like me to write about? What do you look for when visiting the blog?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide from Google

Another WAHM pointed me to this excellent resource on SEO from Google, which came out in November 2008. (And who better to learn from when it comes to SEO?!) The Google picture above is also from November; it was the Veterans' Day search illustration.

The 22-page ebook is titled Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide and I uploaded it to my WriterGig eJunkie Shop where you can grab a copy for free of course.

I'm still working my way through it, but it is a very thorough manual for new webmasters as well as a great refresher for those of us who already have niche websites.

In addition to information on making each page of your site Google-friendly through appropriate use of meta tags and on-page content, there is a section with great tips on promoting your site and building traffic and links, as well as a section with Google Webmaster resources links.

I hope it's helpful -- let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to Make Money with a Website

Figuring out how to make money with a website is a learning process, one that has certainly been simplified by the plethora of informative guides, blog posts and articles available online for free. One of the best resources I've seen recently is the How to Build Passive Income with Article Sites Series by Lindsay at Writing for Your Wealth. If you're new to creating niche sites, or want to take your earnings to a higher level, pay attention to Lindsay's advice. She knows what she's talking about -- she earns over $100,000 in Adsense a year.

I have several sites online making money and several domains that I plan to bring online this year. My non-Blogger sites consist (so far) of the following:
  • A nutrition site created with SiteBuild It! in December 2007
  • A home and garden site & Wordpress blog started in June 2008
  • A pets site created in December 2008
  • A mini-site for my eHow eBook
  • Several other domains with one page or none, needing attention
For all except the nutrition site, I use HostGator hosting and can have unlimited domains under that account, paying about $15 to register each one and then $10/ month to host them all. I decided to go this route rather than purchase multiple SBI sites because, under my one membership, I have access to all the tools and can use the Brainstorming tools, keyword information, forums and networking/ link building aspects for any of my sites. Also, I am not expecting to make a large amount of money from the sites right away, so HostGator was more affordable than SBI! for multiple small sites. The education I received at SBI! was invaluable and I continue to use those resources on my SBI site as well as in my other website ventures.

My pets site, whose link I will share sometime later when the site is more complete, has 9 pages and has been indexed by Google. I have earned just over $10 in Adsense and $4 in Amazon referrals since I published the first page in mid December.

I'm doing this site partially as a case study, to see how well it will earn and whether it is a better method than writing for content sites with better page ranks. I also want to diversify my income.

Some quick stats on the site:
  • Domain name is a three-word search term.
  • The topic has low search engine traffic and low cost Adsense ads.
  • Competition for the keywords isn't bad.
I'll be interested to see how it earns as I add more pages and do a little site promotion. As always, I'll post updates.

Do you make money with your website or a blog? I'd love to hear how it's going.

Photo by Eylem Culculoglu

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thanks to Bloggers, Affiliates for eBook Sales

The most important element to sales, I think, is getting the word out. It's pretty basic but hey, if people don't know about your product or services, they can't make a purchase. With my ebook on increasing eHow earnings, I've been blessed by some great folks who helped get the word out, some as affiliates, some as bloggers, some as both.

There are some great resources to be found by following these writers' links. I am currently addicted to several of the blogs you'll find below.

So ... thank you to Suzanne, aka eBayCoach, Pat with Smart Passive Income Blog (an awesome site!), Felcia, at No Job for Mom, Airel, aka acole on eHow, and Pam, aka BlondieWrites.

I have to thank Lindsay with Writing for Your Wealth for having me on her site (and a nod to Julie Mayfield for telling me about Lindsay's blog!), Michele Tune at Writing the Cyber Highway and Jessie, aka covewriter, for mentioning me in her eHow-related posts, and David Sarokin for including the book as a resource in his popular eHow articles.

Thanks to those who found the book helpful and spread the word just because.

And of course, a huge thank you to the good people at Demand Media for the wonderful weHow experience, and for creating a site that allows any user to participate, network and earn money online.