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M ford indie chicks presentation M ford indie chicks presentation Presentation Transcript

  • Blogging Basics, Monetization and How to Become a Full-time Blogger
    Molly Ford
    Indie Biz Chicks Conference
  • PART ONE:MY BACKGROUND
  • Smart Pretty and Awkward Overview
    • SmartPrettyandAwkward.com
    • Started in December 2008
    • 250,000 page views/month
    • Utilize Facebook, Twitter, Blog Comments, BlogLovin’, StumbleUpon
    Site Map
    Homepage
    The homepage links to the four site pages below.
    Who Writes This? Who Reads This? Press Page More!
  • Importance of Knowing Your Readers
    • In Summer 2010, I did a readership survey of my readers to provide my sponsors with more information about my readership.
    • Used SurveyMonkey to create, collect, and analyze the results
    • The survey page was linked to my homepage; I collected just under 900 responses.
    Survey Survey Results
    Most significant readership data:
    • 98% female
    • 95% US-based
    • 82% between 19 and 25 years old to your site (numbers according to a January 2010 readership survey of 800 daily readers).
    • 91% have or are in process of obtaining college degree
    • 47% check Smart Pretty and Awkward daily
  • Analytics and Legal Ownership
    Analytics
    I track my analytics through Wordpress’ Analytics model, which comes free with my self-hosted Wordpress blog. I used to use Google Analytics, then switched to OneStat, and am now happy with the current embedded program.
    Legal Ownership
    I own the domain name for ten years and all relevant variations, which all redirect to my site. Because I sell merchandise under the label “Smart Pretty and Awkward,” I have both a state business license, and the name Smart Pretty and Awkward trademarked from the U.S. Patent Office.
  • PART TWO:BLOGGING BASICS
  • So, You Want to Start a Blog.
    What Should Your Write About?
    • Write about a topic you like
    • Not trendy topic
    • Stuck? Ask yourself: What do you like to read?
    • Want topic to be broad enough that you can mold it to what your readers are responding to, but themed enough to be cohensive
    • Examples: CupcakesandCashmere.com, ThePioneerWoman.com, OhSheGlows.com
  • How Often Should You Write?
    • Quality vs. Quantity
    • Write when you have something to say, balance between quality content and readers relying on you
    • This changes when you are full-time blogger
  • How Transparent Should You Be?
    • Hard to be truly anonymous
    • Different levels of transparency
  • How Genuine Should You Be?
    • Be YOU
    • Same person online as person offline
    • Eventually you will meet readers offline and they should see the same person they have been reading
  • When Should You Tell People About Your Blog?
    • Three month rule: Commit to blogging for three months without trying to promote yourself
    • Allows the write to decide how to write, lets the reader get addicted to your blog when they do find you
    • Try different media (text, photos, video, audio). Your time to experiment!
    • Example: Offbeat Empire blog
  • How Will Your Community Trust You?
    • Readers should have some idea what they are seeing when they head to your site
    • Take into account readership
  • How will you Promote Yourself? Social Media
    All major social media is accessible from the site’s homepage on the left hand side.
    Facebook Page/Ads Twitter Page
    LinkedIn StumbleUpon/Bloglovin’ RSS Feed
  • Summary:
    Top Blogs Do These Things:
    • Post Often
    • Promote themselves on Social Media
    • Content and links should be interesting and haven’t been overplayed
    • Average top blog is 34 months old
    • Blogging is long-term!
    Source: Second Edition of ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
  • PART THREE:MONETIZATION
  • My Transition
    • About a year into Smart Pretty and Awkward, thought it could happen
    • Then waited another year to build up traffic—waiting for 10,000 hits/day
    • Then in a three month period between February and May 2011:
    • Coffee with Molly
    • Ad Publishing Network (BlogHer)
    • Amazon Affiliate Links
    • August 2011 Revenue Breakdown:
  • When to Monetize?
    • Either do it from Day One, or do it once traffic has grown
    • If you do it once blog is established, try not to disrupt content or change site design too dramatically to avoid oft-putting readers
    How to Monetize Your Blog Directly?
    • Blog Publishing Network
    • Banners
    • Text Links
    • Sponsorships
    • Let people know when you want to accept sponsors, current readers are a good place to start
    • RSS Ads
    • Affiliate Ads
    • Donations
    How much to charge?
    • Request media kids from other blogs with similar traffic
    Source: Second Edition of ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
  • SP&A Example: Coffee with Molly
    Being introduced to MailChimp is completing changing my revenue model for the blog.
    • On May 1, the 28 month anniversary of the blog, I launched a paid email-only newsletter for the blog’s readers.
    •  
    • The newsletter costs around $2.23, the price of a Starbucks cup of coffee, branding as a ‘cup of coffee with Molly.’ The newsletter comes out 5 times per month.
    • The content for the newsletter is positioned as a conversation, or coffee, with myself
    • personal blogroll, FAQ, reader relationship questions, music I like, giveaways and discounts from smaller shops, outfit posts and pictures, top ten lists of my favorite tips, or 3 tips grouped together by theme.
    Newsletter Template
  • SP&A Example: Other Blog Revenue Sources
    I sell merchandise with SP&A’s logo at CafePress (mugs, tee shirts, mousepads, etc.)
  • How to Monetize Your Blog Indirectly?
    • Blog for other sites, as your current blog has helped establish your writing niche and ability
    • Speaking on your topic
    • Consulting on your topic
    • Just boost your resume and land better full-time job
    • SP&A Example: I’ve done all of these things!
    Source: Second Edition of ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
  • PART FOUR:BECOMING A FULL TIME BLOGGER
  • How Do You Know When You are Ready to Become Full-time Blogger?
    • First, obviously look at the finances. How much are you making currently as a “hobby” blogger?
    • Advertising structure is in place, indirectly or directly
    • Pipeline: Wait until people and businesses are reaching out to you
    • Until you have so much to do, it is a full-time job (tip: keep resume current so you are always ready to go back to full time job)
    • Where do you want to take your blog? (Book, TV, something else?)
  • Questions?
    Molly’s Contact Info
    Site: www.smartprettyandawkward.com
    Email: molly@smartprettyandawkward.com
    Resources
    Grow Your Blog by the Simple Dude
    ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett