Monday, February 27, 2006
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Blogging 101 How to Make Money
Google Adsense is a program that puts targeted ads on your website or blog and pays you every time someone clicks on the ad, whether they buy anything from the advertiser or not. Your share of the revenue can be anywhere from 3 cents to over a dollar or more for each click.
To target the ads, to make them specific to your web page, Google bots read your website and try to figure out what it’s about. They can only read text. It helps if they find keywords that relate to the content and not many that don’t.
You can also get money from search boxes with Adsense and by referrals (putting a sign-up button for Adsense on your site).
Because you are a writer and know lots of writers, you should also become an Amazon Associate and a Barnes & Noble Affiliate. Those programs are also free. Then you can put links to your favorite books on your site. You get paid if anyone clicks on the link and buys anything within the hour. Your books, someone else’s books, anything else they sell!
Many people are putting donation buttons on their site, saying, “If this content was helpful, please make a donation.” Anybody with an e-mail address (that’s you)
can get money from anybody else with an e-mail address through PayPal or you could set up some other payment arrangement.
You can create an e-book and sell it as a download or ship a hard copy the old fashioned way.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Blogging 101 How They Will Find You
But you also want to attract people who don’t already know you. The bots will crawl your site within a few weeks and start returning your blog with their other results. The challenge is that there are lots of websites and lots of blogs out there and people probably don’t look past the first 10 or 20 results. Which means that you have to keep some things in mind when setting up and maintaining your blog so that you rise to the top for the people you want to find you.
Most bloggers blog every day or nearly every day, although some only blog once a week or so. It is important to blog on a predictable schedule so that your readers know when to look for your new postings. Sophisticated readers may have a blog reader that lets them know when the blogs they subscribe to have new postings. But they will still want to see regular postings. If you neglect them, they will neglect you.
As a blogger yourself, you absolutely need to get a blog reader and start reading other people’s blogs. You especially need to read people who are in the same field. I use Blogline. To use Bloglines, sign up for a free account, then find a blog you like. Copy the URL (web address) of the blog, then go to your account in Bloglines, click on the My Feeds tabs, click Add, and paste the URL into the space provided. Every time the publisher of that blog adds a post, it will show up in Bloglines. You can see all the blogs you want to read regularly without having to go to multiple website addresses. The post will show up in Bloglines and you can read it in the reader or click through to the blog to see the entry there.
Blogging is a network activity in itself. In fact the whole web is about networking on a global scale. Bloggers live off of links. Don’t think of other bloggers in your field as competition. Think of them as mass that helps create the gravity that draws your readers to you.
For example, Tom Peters is the biggest guy in my field. He wrote In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies and many other books and is an internationally recognized expert on business-related topics. Happens he has a blog, an excellent blog, on which he shares a lot of information, including every slide show that he creates for his clients. Naturally, he often talks about things that I care about and I post a comment on his blog. That’s a link back to me and it’s seen by my target audience, because my target audience is the same as his. You want to be “polite” about posting comments on other people’s blogs, which means that you keep them relevant and short and don't use them to advertise yourself. If people like what you say, they will click on your name to come over to see your other writing.
When you do post comments on a Blogger blog, you should use the “Other” identity instead of your Blogger identity. The link that is created from your Blogger identity goes to your profile, which is not where you want people to go first. The link that is created from the Other identity goes to whatever web address you specify, which is much better.
You should also link to and request links from anybody whose content is in any way related to your content. For example, an excellent resource for us is the Southwest Writers link page. Southwest Writers gets a lot of hits. Having them link to you is important in two ways. First, someone might follow the link over to you. Second, your page rank (how high your website or blog appears in search engine results) is partly dependent on how many and what types of sites link to you. High ranking sites linking to you brings up your page rank.
In fact, my website has a page rank of 4, which is very high for a new website. Usually a new website starts out at zero. The way I got that was that I wrote an article for a high-ranking website called www.lifeintheusa.com and the publisher of that website put a link back to me in the article. If you have anything that could relate to life in the USA you can contact the publisher, Elliot Essman, through the website and see if he will take an article. Look for other websites who might do the same.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Blogging 101 Why We Blog
But first, I’d like to talk about why we blog because it has a bearing on how we blog.
For the first time in history, it is possible for writers to publish their work, for free, where the whole world can find it. Not only that, it is cataloged, also for free, by bots, which are robotic programs that crawl the Web 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and include your website or blog in the results when people search for the words you’ve written.
This is true for any website and a blog is a website, searchable, viewable, just like any other website. But a blog is the very best kind of website because it is dynamic and interactive and free.
Setting up a regular website requires a lot of expertise which, for most authors, requires either a lot of time spent learning a new and unrelated skill or a lot of money to hire someone who already has the skill and then a lot of time explaining to them what it is you want.
Regular websites are difficult to update which means that they usually remain static for long periods of time. You can usually get people to visit your website once, but, if the content doesn’t change, people won’t come back often.
A blog on the other hand, is designed to be easy to set up and update. All you need is internet access, an e-mail address, and something to say. That’s what makes it perfect for writers.
Google, the search engine, has a blog service called Blogger at www.blogger.com, which is the most popular. That’s the one we’re going to learn how to use here. Other popular blog services are: www.livejournal.com, www.typepad.com, www.wordpress.com, www.bloglines.com. MSN (Spaces) and America Online (Journals) also have blog services for their subscribers.
A regular website only offers one way communication. From you to them. Sure, they can e-mail you, but that just turns it back into a one-to-one conversation and nobody else gets to hear it. It’s not a shared experience. With a blog, people read what you’ve written, and they can post a comment immediately, right now. You’ve given them the great gift of publishing their writing on your website, letting them speak to you, letting them speak to the world, and they’ve given you the great gift of adding something to your blog.
Then when they send people to your website, your blog, they’re sending them not just to read what you’ve written but also to read what their friend has written and contribute something of their own. How much more powerful is it to say to someone, not just, hey, this is cool, but, hey this is cool and you can be a part of it.
To connect with people all over the world on a personal level, that’s one of the reasons for having a blog, Specifically for us as writers, there are other good reasons:
1. We practice the art of writing every day (or every week or whatever we choose).
2. We get our writing out on the Internet where people can find it (readers and also agents, editors, and publishers).
3. We develop a readership and a following -- we develop a platform.
4. We become part of a community of writers that we link to and who link back to us.
5. We make money from our writing both by selling books and other writing that we promote on our blogs and by getting advertising revenue from our blogs.
Blogging 101 Who Blogs
You might start a family blog, especially if your family is geographically far apart but wants to stay close. Then you can post and your father, mother, sister, or brother could comment on your post. Or you can make them members of your blog and they can create their own posts. You can post text, audio, or pictures. It's a great way to stay in touch and keep up on all the latest doings of family and friends.
You might start a blog just to write out your thoughts, which can help you to think things through. These blogs can be very interesting and touching even if you don't know the person. They help to demonstrate how much people are alike, no matter how different our lives or our cultures are. People will sometimes respond to blogs like this in a way that they would never do face to face. They might be able to provide wonderful insights that come precisely because they are strangers.
Many blogs today are topical blogs and are written for a specific audience and purpose. They inform, inspire, and entertain and promote ideas, services, and products. Blogs always provide something of value for free, even when they are used to make money. The free content is what the search engines catalog so that they can direct people to the site. It is what most people are searching for in the first place. And it is what bloggers provide in order to have people's attention.
You might start a blog about coffee because you love coffee and want to share your love with other people, because you have a coffee house and want to become known as an expert on coffee, or because you want to sell coffee over the internet. A Google search for coffee yields 278,000,000 with Starbucks.com in the top position. So you might decide to blog about pure arabica coffee from Kenya (only 35,800 results). And that's why blogs are becoming the new authority on everything. Because blogs are so cheap to publish that any expert anywhere on anything, no matter how esoteric or obscure, can put their knowledge on the web and be found by anyone anywhere. And also because all the people that are interested in a topic, no matter how well universal and well known, can help to make sure that the information being provided is correct and complete.
So the answer to the question "Who blogs?" is everyone!
In this series of posts, I will be talking especially to writers, who might blog to practice writing, to promote their books and other writing, or to publish on the web and make money from advertising. But then again, as my friend Rob Spiegel said, "If you write, you're a writer." I think that also means that if you blog, you're a writer, so these posts are for all of you, every one.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Blogging 101 What Is a Blog?
Who provides all these free tools? The blog service providers do. This blog was created on Blogger. Blogger is the blog service provider I will be talking about the most, although I will mention some of the others later. Blogger is the most popular blog service. It is owned now by Google. Google is a search engine, a very good one. What Google is interested in is content that it can search. It provides these tools to make it easy for you, for everyone in the world, to put more content on the web.
The word blog comes from the words web+log. A web log was originally a personal log or journal that was posted on the web so that it could be shared. The first blog was posted in 1994 by Swarthmore student Justin Hall. He knew how to write HTML (hyper text markup language), which is the code behind everything on the web. If you want to see what HTML looks like, right-click on any webpage (including this one) and select View Source. For a long time, you had to be able to write HTML to blog. Then someone decided to invite the rest of us to the party by creating software that takes regular text and formatting and turns it into HTML automatically, and in 1999 Blogger came online with the first popular, free blog-creation service.
A blog is a website, but it is a special website because it usually has features that most websites don't have. It has a header containing the title of the blog and a short description. It has a sidebar that contains information or links to information about the author, the author's other blogs or websites, other blogs or websites that the author reads, and advertising (more on that later). But most significantly, it has articles (called posts) with a title and date stamp that move down the page as new entries are made. A blog usually has a comments section so that readers can respond to the author. The comments section is one of the coolest features of a blog.
You may think that you've never seen a blog, but I bet you have. If you've ever been to a website that had a header, a sidebar, articles with titles and date stamps that moved down the page (or moved to an "archive" page), and a comments section, you've seen a blog.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Writer's Blogging Incentives
FROM THE INTERNET WRITING JOURNAL BLOG:
Karp Talks Author Blogs
August 24, 2005
Legendary Random House publisher Jonathan Karp, who is responsible for numerous bestsellers shocked everyone when he quit and headed over to Warner Books to head his own imprint, Warner Twelve. He tells Business Week why authors need to blog. A lot.
"Writers have to be promoters if they believe in their work. Blogs are a way for authors to communicate directly with readers and establish a personal connection. It's a way to reach readers who may not attend bookstore events, and it's more convenient for authors, too. I haven't met too many writers who were eager to fly to Houston for a day -- though I'm sure Houston is lovely this time of year."
Yes, we fondly remember those August days in Houston: 100 degrees with, say, 80 percent humidity. Lovely. Now, back to blogging, you slackers!
FROM THE MIT ADVERTISING LAB BLOG:
Advertising in Books Comes to the US
February 13, 2006
Ads in books - not just for Russians anymore. Info Today writes today: "Citing the desire to create new revenue streams for authors, mega-publisher HarperCollins has announced the first free Web-based, ad-supported, full-text business book. Go It Alone! The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own by Bruce Judson is now available on the author’s web site, where an affiliate link to Amazon, not the publisher, can also be found. Not only can the book be read at the site, but it can also be searched. HarperCollins Publishers is calling the project a test of a new business model. Some self-published authors also offer ad-supported books online, but HarperCollins’ move is the first by a major publisher."
and BUZZMACHINE by Jeff Jarvis:
The exploding book
February 16, 2006
Harper Collins is touting the fact that it put up Bruce Judson’s new biz book for free online with ad support (not tons of ad support, though: Yahoo text ads). Says the Harper press release:
Each page of the book’s text will be indexed for search engines and accompanied by contextual ads served by major search companies. Additionally, the site will include a link to an online bookseller where consumers can buy a copy of the book.
The permalinks within the book are the more important part of this, as far as I’m concerned. More on that later.
There is a writer named Steve Pavlina. Have you ever heard of him? I hadn't either. But several of the bloggers I read regularly posted about him, so I followed a link over to his blog. Steve writes about personal development. His blog is well written and interesting. His posts are too long (hear that Steve, they're too long), but he does what he wants to do, which is what is great about blogging anyway.
The reason I'm telling you about Steve Pavlina is that Steve started his blog 15 months ago. In February 2005, he started putting Adsense ads on his blog. That month, he made $56. In January 2006, he made $4,700.
Steve talks about it on his blog, Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog, in an article entitled, 2005 Traffic & Adsense Revenue Growth.
Anyone who has a blog can put Adsense ads on it, but first you have to have a blog and you have to have content.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Hello, Fellow Bloggers!
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting my talk, Blogging 101, here (and also posting all the things that I forgot to say!). If you have any specific questions, please post a comment and I will try to answer.
Thanks to everyone who came out!
And thanks to a fellow Toastmaster, who came and wrote an evaluation for me so that I could get credit toward my Advanced Toastmaster award. Thanks, Holly!
Monday, February 20, 2006
Blogging 101 Tuesday 7:00 PM
by Marianne Powers
Tuesday, February 21, 7 - 9pm
at the meeting of
New Life Presbyterian Church
5540 Eubank NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Another Good Day At Hastings
I was determined this time to say Hi to everybody, as instructed. I only missed a few. It was amazing. No matter how determinedly they were not looking at me or frowning or looking preoccupied, almost every single person did look my way and say Hi back to me and very nicely, too! It was very cool to see people's faces change and get a greeting. I was content with that and didn't try to get anything else out of them.
I did have a few people stop and talk to me but I hadn't sold any books until my friend LM came by. She was in from Colorado and bought one for herself and a friend there. Thanks L!
It turned out to be a pretty good day and I learned a lot. Smiling and saying Hi is the right thing to do! I think my sign helped people to know what the book was about in just a few seconds. I haven't thought of anything else exactly to do yet. If you do, let me know! I think that maybe Sundays or maybe even weekdays will be better for me than Saturdays.
Friday, February 17, 2006
I got this photo from Windows Local Live, an awesome site. Be sure to choose the bird's eye view if is available for the location you are viewing.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 7 - 9pm
at the meeting of
New Life Presbyterian Church
5540 Eubank NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico
by Marianne Powers
Are you ready to start blogging?
Marianne Powers will conduct a class that will get you blogging five minutes after you get home and log in to the internet. You will walk away with copies of screen prints and detailed instructions for one of the most popular blog services, Blogger.
Blogs are your personal connection to everyone else in the world – readers, agents, editors, other writers. And they’re free!
Services like Blogger give you a free web address, free server space, a choice of free templates, free archiving, and free comments for your readers. Marianne will go through all of these steps:
Setting up an account in Blogger
Choosing your blog server
Choosing a template
Creating your first post
Marianne will also give tips on getting your blog noticed, such as:
Sign up right away for the SouthWest Writers link to your webpage!
Titles are important to search engines, choose wisely.
Use the keywords you want people to search for.
Update your content often, or at least regularly.
Put an RSS feed on your webpage.
Search for other blogs on your topic and, if you like them, link to them and ask them to link to you.
Read other blogs on your topic regularly and post courteous (pertinent and short) comments – these are links back to your website.
When posting comments to other blogs, use “Other” instead of your Blogger identity so that the link goes straight to your blog instead of to your profile.
Don’t miss this chance to learn how to become an internationally published writer!
Marianne Powers is a writer and public speaker in the areas of management, conflict resolution, working relationships, and personal growth. Her blog and book, Doing the Right Thing and Achieving All Your Goals at the Same Time, is published on her website, www.mariannepowers.com. She can be reached through her website and at www.mariannepowers.com.
Booksigning at Hastings This Saturday
Hastings Books Music & Video
4315 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
Monday, February 13, 2006
A Good Time at Hastings
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006
Best Quality/Worst Flaw
Adrian Savage over at The Coyote Within has a remarkable post on how a strength can become a handicap in a different way. It's fascinating.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
6051 Winter Haven Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87120
NE corner of Coors and Montano on the West Side
Sunday, February 12, from Noon to 4:00 PM, maybe longer!
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Accepted for Publication
The Trib has an interesting history that spans over 80 years. The founder, Carl Magee, said: "For many years I had the idea in my head that some day after I had made my pile, I would try to run a newspaper that would tell the whole truth about everything as near as I could get the truth. Then I would see what would happen." Apparently, that created some excitement for him and some New Mexico politicians of the day. Read the details in the "Tribune History".
Monday, February 06, 2006
Have a Little Faith
Sunday, February 05, 2006
It was a timely reminder for me today. I was uncomfortable listening to an exchange between two friends who are working on a big project together that I have a financial stake in. I walked away, hoping they would sort it out, but that did not happen.
I realized later that one of us needed to call it, to name it, to say it. One could have said he was exasperated (or whatever was making him appear to be exasperated). The other could have said he was irritated (or whatever was making him appear to be irritated). And I could have said they seemed exasperated and irritated to me and it was making me uncomfortable. To call it would break the tension. Was I afraid they would fight? Maybe. But that wasn't avoided. In a way, they did fight. If we had talked, we might have been able to understand and, in understanding, solved the problem.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Even though you spend time alone to be quiet and rest, it is like sleep is to waking, preparation, because being alone is not living, being with people is.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Best Management Ideas Contest
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Don't Take It Personally (continued)
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Don't Take It Personally (continued)