Blogs. It sounds like something from a
1950s sci-fi movie. In reality, blogs are "regularly updated web sites with
dated posts. ... To blog means to submit posts (entries) to a web site." In
their new book, "Start Your Own Blogging Business," authors Entrepreneur
Press and J.S. McDougall show you how to turn this growing phenomenon into
your own money-making opportunity. In this book the authors reveal how to:
Attract visitors and hold
Entice advertisers to promote
their products on your blog.
Earn fees when your visitors
shop at popular websites.
Promote your blog and get
listed on the top blog search engines.
"Planning Your Blog"
Generally a blog should have three main features: a steady stream of
content, a large audience and a reliable revenue source. One critical
component is the selection of a popular and profitable topic. Topics can be
of interest to the general public, industry or organizations. They can focus
on the personal, the political or a continuous stream of content (blogs that
hold the public's interest now and in the future). After selecting your
topic, you must establish credibility for your blog. This involves a
familiarity with your topic and selecting a specific rather than general
topic. As the authors point out, few of us are experts on animals, but it's
more realistic that you'll be taken seriously as an expert in dog training.
You usually have two decisions when selecting your blog name: the domain
name and choosing a pseudonym. Your domain name is your blog's site address
(for example "cutek9blog.com."). Pseudonyms allow bloggers to create an
online alter ego and protect their true identity. Other decisions include
choosing your platform for growth and recruiting the necessary staff or
contributors. Platforms "perform basically the same task of publishing a
blog" and can be established through a hosted service or a server
application. In the beginning you'll probably perform all of the work
associated with your blog. As your business grows you'll need to consider
hiring part-time or full-time help for research, posting, advertising,
merchandising and administration.
"Publishing Your Blog"
The next step is to select a suitable service and application for your
blogging platform. Although there are numerous service and application
opportunities to choose from, the authors recommend using either a community
blogging service, a Web-based blogging service or an installed server
application. Community services and websites such as MySpace or Facebook
offer blogs to their members. Web-based services are commercial companies
that offer blog setup and hosting services for a fee. The most popular ones
include Blogger, TypePad and Wordpress.com. Installed server applications
are blog programs that must be downloaded and installed on a Web server.
Although they are more difficult to use than the other options, they give
bloggers more control and greater customization of their site.
[to top of second column]
"Profiting From Your Blog"
According to the authors, "Blogging is a great way to earn some
money while working with the topics you're passionate about." The
first months of your blogging business are crucial for filling the
archive on your topic, developing site consistency and regularly
testing your site platform. Once you're comfortable with this, you
can concentrate on attracting traffic (site visitors and users),
generating revenue and posting your media kit. There are several
methods used to attract users to your blog. These include submitting
your site to search engines, keyword optimization, search engine
advertising, blog aggregators (Web tools that collect blogs into one
site) and word of mouth. Because blogs represent a new business
model, the old, established ways of generating revenue may not be
successful. New ideas for revenue growth include selling merchandise
with the blog's brand and content, soliciting donations from your
readers, participating in affiliate programs, selling paid
memberships or advertising space, or advertising other businesses to
your audience. If you decide to sell your own advertising, you'll
probably need a media kit to "specify and quantify exactly what it
is that you're selling." Media kits describe your blog and its
audience, show you traffic statistics, and explain your offer to
"Becoming a Business"
There are many advantages to setting up your blog as a legitimate
business. In addition to providing certain legal and tax
protections, becoming a business allows your blog to legally hire
employees, open financial accounts and establish a line of credit.
You can define your blogging business to the IRS as a sole
proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S corporation or limited
liability corporation. You'll also have to register your business
with the state in which you conduct business, apply for an Employee
Identification Number and protect the content of your blog through
the U.S. Copyright Office.
"Start Your Own Blogging Business" is a very informative
introduction to the business of blogs. In the book's preface the
authors write, "The popularity of blogs as a viable form of
communication and publishing is exploding. ... This book will help
readers recognize and capitalize on the immense opportunity that
awaits any person with passion, patience and a PC." This book is
recommended to anyone seeking new business opportunities with an
emphasis on the Internet and online technologies.
[Text from file received
from Richard Sumrall,
Lincoln Public Library District]