By: Stephanie Foster
Blogging is hot. You can find ebooks about it, read about it in major magazines or even hear about it on television. But is it for just anyone or just the lucky few?
Much depends on your goals. How soon do you need to be earning? How much do you want to earn? How much effort are you willing to put into blogging?
Just about anyone who can write reasonably well can earn some money as a blogger. I don't mean you need to write well enough to become a published author. Blogging is often done in a very personal, conversational style, which is something most people can manage. Just write as though you're talking to a friend.
There are now websites that hire bloggers at varying rates. Some pay depending on the number of posts while others have profit sharing plans.
You can also start your own blog. Blogging on your own means you have to learn how to market your website and earn money from it, so it's not all that easy. But it can be done and at low or even no cost.
There are websites such as http://www.blogger.com that allow you to create free blogs. The problem with the free model is the sheer lack of control. Your blog can be deleted with very little warning. Also, some free blog sites don't allow you to advertise on your site, which takes away most of your ability to earn money from your blog. You will want to check the terms of service before starting if you want to earn.
Another problem with free sites is that you can lose your blog simply because someone labels it spam. If you don't respond in time your blog can be deleted, even if you wrote every word yourself. This is more likely in highly competitive areas where people are eager to get rid of competition when possible.
Hosting your own blog is actually pretty easy. You can buy a domain name for under $10 per year and hosting can be quite affordable, often under $10 per month. Many hosts have one click install of the WordPress blog software, which is popular, fairly easy to use and has many themes and plugins available to make your blog look and work the way you want it to.
Monetization is a big trick. Recently a new way to earn from your blog has come about in the form of sites which pay you to post about particular sites or products on your blog. There has been quite a bit of controversy about this, as some feel it takes away from your blog to do so, but my own opinion is that so long as you give your honest opinion and keep things relevant and useful there is little or no harm to getting paid for a post.
AdSense is another alternative. You need to have traffic and hope people click on your ads without actually telling them to do so, but once you have that going it can be quite profitable. Without enough traffic you may be lucky to earn a couple bucks each month, however.
Affiliate programs are another way to earn from your blog. If you find relevant products you can recommend to your readers and get paid when (if!) people buy them, you can earn pretty well from them. Once again, of course, you'll need some pretty good traffic for this to work for you.
Traffic is not that easy to come by, but it can be done. A good route to that for a blogger is to make comments on other blogs. It will bring attention to your blog, especially if your comments are relevant and interesting.
A big question people ask about blogging is whether to start one or several. My advice would be to start with one and spend a few months getting a feel for it. Then you can decide for yourself – are you up to running multiple blogs? It's a very personal decision and you need to decide which way is most likely to be successful for you.
Whatever you do, make sure you blog about something you enjoy talking about and know well. You want to build a solid reputation. That will give you your best chance to earn good money and have fun with what you are doing.
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