Writing Wednesdays: How to Make a Blog your Livelihood

11 08 2010

This is a journey we are embarking on together.  While my blog is not, currently, my financial livelihood, I certainly intend it to be that some day soon.  Because, I need an income and I really don’t want to work away from home, and writing is my passion.  It seems that blogging is the best way to go about starting a writing career as it is cheap, easy, accessible and lots of people read blogs.

(credit for this image from this site: http://www.scottscales.com/ which is an MLM site, but, I like the picture)

So, I have been researching how to actually do this, because I am a firm believer in NOT reinventing the wheel, though I am also stubborn enough to actually try to every time.

However, it is much easier not to get the urge to reinvent the wheel when I know absolutely nothing about how to go about doing something, like say, making a living from blogging.

Luckily, there are people out there, like Leo Babauta, from Zen Habits, who actually do.  Better yet, they are willing to share their experience with others!  Isn’t that nice? I think it is, very nice indeed.

The reason why I’ve picked up on researching what Mr Babauta is doing is because his blog reached Time magazine’s top 25 blog list, with over 150K subscribers, and, he seems to be quite open about actually informing others what he perceives as keys to his success.

So, without further ado, this is what I have learned, thus far, about how to make a living blogging:

1. Write for your readers.  Make good quality posts that interests the people that you want to read your blog.

If you’re the kind of person who writes about music, then make your blog geared towards musicians.  For me, however, this is an interesting point.  I’m writing about my life.  Who is interested in my life, other than my family and friends?  How do I attract more people to be interested in my life?

Which brings me to the next point

2. Create a “brand”.

Not like, say, Coca-cola, but something that people come to know as “you”.  If you are writing about lawn ornaments, then you are the “lawn ornament person” and you need to establish yourself as such, not just within the lawn ornament community, but also the gardening, home-making and decorating communities as well.  To the point where if someone wants information about lawn ornaments on the web, they come to your blog, because it’s so darn informative and is consistent with what the readership believes they are coming to read about.

3. Read other people’s blogs and comment on them, linking back to your own site.

I like doing this, but sometimes fear getting lost in the blogosphere, because there are just so many amazing and interesting people in the world.

4. Try to engage with other bloggers in your “field”.

I put “field” in quotations, because I don’t really like looking at it that way.  I prefer the word community, but field is the word that is generally used.  So, if your “field” is personal development, then try to engage some well-known personal development bloggers who might think you’re neat-o and link to one of your posts.

5. Be kind and open to your readers.

This, for me, is a no brainer.  Even if/when people start saying mean things, they are still your readers and have at least taken the time to read your post.  Always reply with your voice in mind.  If you are writing a meditation blog, don’t tell someone off if they don’t like what you say.  It discredits your “brand”.

This is what I have learned so far.  There are other things, like design, ways to make your blogs more readable and all that jazz.  All of it can be found through this handy site that Leo Babauto and Mary Jaksch, called: A-list Blogging Bootcamp.  Most of it is free, and then there is some pay-for-membership stuff, that is community oriented.  I haven’t even got through the non-pay stuff yet, so haven’t signed up yet.  I encourage all of you to check it out, if you’re wanting to write a blog that makes you an income.

And, in light of all that, I am doing some serious soul-searching about what structure, focus, lay-out and image I want to have for this site.  I want it to be authentic and I also want it to be my financial sustenance. I hope to keep it personal enough that family and friends still want to come by, but informative and interesting enough that new people will want to stop for a visit too.

You can help with that by sharing this via Facebook, or Twitter.

Thank you for reading!