A reader sent in a couple of questions this week, specifically about where to start if you want to move into writing for money. I think that these aren’t exactly uncommon questions, so I decided to post my answers here.
How do you make money writing a blog?
There are a couple of different approaches to making money from a blog. For a lot of people, a blog is more of a marketing tool than a business in and of itself. It’s a good way to show off samples of your writing without having to sort through clips. It’s also a good way to move information about yourself up the list of search results Google spits out for your name.
That said, monetizing a blog isn’t impossible. A lot of bloggers rely on advertising revenue, either from Google AdSense or from other sources, to make their blogs profitable. Using your blog to sell products, such as e-books, t-shirts (quick plug for the ones in my side-bar!) or even consulting services. There is also the option of affiliate marketing — promoting someone else’s product for a cut of the sales.
In my opinion, advertising is the hardest way to make money blogging, although it’s the route most people take. It’s just so difficult to go beyond earning a few cents a day.
What are the best tools for starting a blog?
I use WordPress for my blog. In my experience, you can customize it far beyond what you might be able to with Movable Type or Blogger. There is also a great community, with lots of people willing to help you out.
I also suggest new bloggers get very familiar with Google’s offerings beyond the search engine. I use Google Reader to follow other blogs, Google Adsense for advertising, Google Analytics for tracking how my site is doing and more.
What websites do you recommend for help with novice writers? I’ve learned to not trust any site that wants money up front to learn how to.
I think Deb Ng’s Freelance Writing Jobs is a great resource. Absolute Write has wonderful forums — lots of wonderful help. Hope Clark runs Funds For Writers and puts out an extremely useful set of newsletters every week.
I would like to submit articles for places like CoolStuff4Writers but, honestly, am intimidated by the quality (and quantity) of writers. I’ve submitted a few articles in other sites and never seem to get “in the money”. Is it a matter of write, write, write and sooner or later I’ll be recognized?
To be honest, there is an element of ‘just keep writing’ to getting published. Even now I have some places turn down my work. Throughout your freelance writing career, you just have to keep sending stuff out and keep writing.
But you can make significant progress quickly. Most editors care a lot more about the quality of your writing than how long you’ve been at it or where else you’ve been published. If you’re able to demonstrate the quality of your writing, someone’s going to want your articles sooner rather than later.