Title: What Is Freelance Blogging? Word Count: 902 Summary: Blogging (short for "web logging"), born from the Internet age, is one of the newer venues for freelance writing. The Internet has generated a lot of news about the financial possibilities open to bloggers: an audience of potentially millions -- along with possible corporate spon sorship, a byline, and infinite cre ative control -- captures the imagi nation of many prospective bloggers , and makes blogging seem like an i nfinitely desirable, lucrative field. The truth is it is... Keywords: writing, freelance writing, freelan cing, creative writing Article Body: Blogging (short for "web logging"), born from the Internet age, is one of the newer venues for freelance writing. The Internet has generated a lot of news about the financial possibilities open to bloggers: an audience of potentially millions -- along with possible corporate spon sorship, a byline, and infinite cre ative control -- captures the imagi nation of many prospective bloggers , and makes blogging seem like an i nfinitely desirable, lucrative field. The truth is it is much more diffic ult to become a successful freelanc e blogger. A good knowledge of mark eting, web design, and being consis tent are skills you need to make a living (or a comfortable extra inco me) from this new form of media. The reason for this is the low barr ier of entry. Anyone with access to web space can start a blog. Sites like Blogger, Livejournal and even MySpace offer free web space to any one willing to sign up. This has re sulted in millions of blogs in exis tence today, many of them literate, many of them wildly popular, and n early all of them free to read and browse. That variety of free content makes it difficult to charge for access t o your writing, no matter how good it is. You could be the greatest ex pert on foreign policy or nutrition known to man, and few people would be willing to pay $5 -- or $1, or one cent -- to read a blog post by you, the expert, when there are tho usands of semi-qualified (but brigh t and engaging) writers giving away similar material. So your main sources of revenue are going to come from advertising and from whatever paid content you can fit into the site. Luckily, web ad vertising is becoming less dicey th an it was a year ago. Google's "AdS ense" program is a good baseline fo r a page, providing targeted advert ising based on your content and pay ing you, directly, per click-throug h (although the pay rate per click is low.) You can supplement that am ount with other forms of web advert ising, from the comparatively unobt rusive banner to pop-up animations that "float over" the text. This brings us to the "double-edged sword" problem in web advertising. The most effective advertising is obtrusive advertising; that is, adv ertising that blocks valuable conte nt until the user clicks on it eith er to make it disappear or to take you to a different website. However , obtrusive advertising also irrita tes your readers, which can lead to a lower reputation for your blog o verall. On the Internet, reputation is the single best determinant of your web traffic. Using obtrusive a dvertising can significantly lower your traffic and make your blog tha t much less attractive to potential advertisers. So you'll need to find a happy medi um between heavy advertising (and l ight traffic) and little to no adve rtising (and high traffic, but litt le revenue.) Luckily, the instant r esponsiveness of the Internet, alon g with the commenting features avai lable on nearly all blogging softwa re, make it easy to ask your reader s about exactly what level of adver tising they'd be willing to accept. Reader connectivity is one of the most important features of any good blog: not only does it allow you t o fine-tune your blog over time, el iminating features that readers fin d irritating or off-putting, but it also allows you to develop persona l connections with your readers, th e kind of connections that build lo yal audiences. There are other ways to make money by blogging, such as the following: 1) It's possible to sidestep advert ising altogether by making some of your content unavailable, except to subscribers. For example, you migh t only keep your most recent five o r six blog entries unlocked, and re quire a monthly subscription fee to read the rest of the archives; 2) Or you might keep your current p osts and your entire regular archiv es active, but produce some longer or specialized entries or other con tent and charge a set fee for these ; 3) You could even compile some of y our best entries into a physical bo ok, along with some new content, an d offer it for sale. Even if all th e entries are available online, you 'd be surprised how many people are willing to pay to have something t hey can hold in their hands; 4) Additionally, you could go the S alon.com route -- make all of your archives available to anyone willin g to watch a short full-screen adve rtisement -- or you could rely on r eaders' willingness to support cont ent that they find worthwhile by as king for donations outright. Many prominent blogs and online con tent providers have done this and f ound themselves able to make rent a nd pay all of their bills every mon th on donations alone. No matter how much advertising or s ubscription services your blog has, it's all worthless if people don't want to read you in the first plac e. And there are three simple rules to make your blog popular: 1) Write on something you care about 2) Write consistently and thoughtfu lly on a regular schedule (daily is best) 3) Read and comment on other blogs People read blogs because they prov ide a source of information and ana lysis on topics that traditional me dia sources only cover sketchily an d hastily, or don't cover at all. D on't try to figure out an ideal mon ey-making blog topic and proceed fr om there. People care about blogs b ecause blogs are about personal, in -depth viewpoints and thoughts. If you can provide those to your au dience regularly, and you can set u p a minimally-intrusive but still w orthwhile revenue system through ad vertising or subscriptions, there's no reason why you can't become a s uccessful blogger.