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					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.