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'Start Your Own Blogging Business'

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[March 14, 2007]  "Start Your Own Blogging Business." Entrepreneur Press and J.S. McDougall, Entrepreneur Press, 2007, 96 pages.

Review by
Richard Sumrall

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 their interest.

  • 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 ""). 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 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.

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"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 prospective advertisers.

"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]

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