First Impressions of a Beginning Blogger
Having recently joined the widely popular ranks of the unemployed, I found myself spending a lot of time looking for a new job. My training and education left me right in the middle of most jobs. Lower paying jobs considered me “over-qualified” while higher paying ones said “thanks, but no thanks.” I had been working for someone else since I was a teenager. There were intermittent times when I had gone out on my own, had a little success, and promptly failed.
Yet, I now found myself looking back to those times I had been my own boss. It was always rewarding. I set my own hours, which were always far beyond the normal 40. I got to see my family and friends frequently, although business was always on my mind. And, I felt like I was really accomplishing something. Taking into consideration, my current situation precluded me from taking some jobs I might have taken in the past. Transportation was an issue, which it never was in the past. There were no three small children to take care of rather than one or none.
In desperation, I turned to the Internet. There are a tremendous amount of scams out there. Some of the programs I turned away from were legit, but required skills I didn’t possess, time I didn’t have, and money I couldn’t afford. Then, without warning, I came across something that I could do—writing!
I had always been good at writing. I went to school for it. I had even done it professionally in the past. I always wanted to be a writer. I stumbled across sites such as CraigsList, oDesk, and DailyTelecommuter. Granted, there are many more, but these were the first ones for me, and I continue to utilize them. Shortly thereafter, I realized that my resume was lacking, my portfolio was all but destroyed or missing, and I was ill-prepared.
I then stumbled upon blogs. I had seen them and heard of them in the past. I even read a few from time to time, but never found one that interested me enough to come back on multiple occasions. Now, I’m suddenly hearing people are making money from blogs. This is completely foreign to me. However, I thought of two things. First, it would be a way for me to make extra cash. Second, this would be a way for me to build a new portfolio and get published.
So, I signed right up on sites like www.hubpages.com, www.associatedcontent.com, and www.blogger.com. This was good and bad. I always have a lot to say, and I always have something to write, so it was good. But, I was both like a black cat in a room full of white sheets and a needle in a haystack. I had no idea what I was doing at these places. I had no clue in regards to the technologies or techniques used. I was completely out of my element.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. In 2000, I started doing tech support for DSL. I had barely ever used a computer as anything more than a fancy typewriter. Someone there had just retired from MicroSoft sold me a computer “cheap.” He told me to break it, so I would learn how to fix it. So, I did. I was quickly promoted up through that company and regularly looked at as a source on everything technical. I overheard someone on a call once who was stepping outside our boundaries and helping someone with an HTML coding issue. I was baffled. What is this HTML of which you speak? He gave me some basic information, showed me how to “view source,” and sent me on my way. Soon, I was designing web sites on the side, making decent cash. These are just two examples, but that is how I have always been. I just tend to get my head stuck on something and figure it out. I search the web for answers, and I find what I am looking for.
My experience in beginning blogging has been no different. I knew how to enter my email address, name, and password. I even knew how to write decently. Beyond that, I was completely lost. Granted, I’m now on day 3, but I have already learned so much. I understand, to extent how ad placement such as Google’s AdSense works. I understand going out and marketing your blog through forums, other blogs, your own website. I understand people want informative and fun articles with all the bells and whistles. I’m still refining my abilities, and trying to fully comprehend affiliate networking, but am well on my way.
One of the things that initially surprised me most about this industry (and, make no mistake about it, blogging is business) was the ready availability of helpful people and information. If you typed in common search terms such as bog tips, help, or advice, you’d probably come back with more than a million hits. You will also come back with a million different answers and reasons.
For example, there was this one I came across this evening: http://hubpages.com/hub/Learn-affiliate-marketing. The author’s choice of title suggests he’s going to teach you something. The starting headed indicates in a great way—here’s what to avoid. And, the introduction to the article talks about how you will be walked through several suggestions on how to make the right choices. This author fails to deliver any of those things as promised and instead tries to sell you a product to “make money online.” There are other ones like this out there. The author of http://hubpages.com/hub/get-paid-writing put some decent work into delivering believable copy, but all the blog really does is lead you to another “pay us for info” site.
I am not picking on www.hubpages.com at all. This stuff is all over the Internet. Just take a look. It just happened that I had been reading most of their articles this evening. On the other hand, there are a lot of good informational blogs out there. People are handing out their secret tips and tricks—for FREE!!!
Imagine owning a business—maybe you already do—where someone you didn’t know wanted to come in, look at your books, see how much you were paying for stock, how much your mark-up is, a copy of your client list, and for you to give them free courses in how to succeed. Tell you what. If you can’t understand just how insane that is, walk into a big time office, like Google’s or MicroSoft’s headquarters and give it a try.
In the blogging business, though, this is a regular occurrence. And, instead of be laughed out, beaten badly, or banned from a site, people will actually answer your questions and help you. This shocked me at first, but then several things came to mind. These other authors don’t have to worry about me stealing their business. That have established routes of revenue, and my presence, even if I end up making as much or more than them, is not going to affect their earning potential. The Internet is burgeoning black hole for advertising dollars. More people use it more and more every day. More businesses reap its benefits each time the clock ticks. As the presence of both businesses and customers increases on the web, the ads will continue to flow, and now need to reach more people from more lifestyles in more ways.
There is a cornucopia of information out there, ready for you to read it, if this is something you are looking into. You can find it on blogs, forums, and right on websites. Some great resources I can name that I have used just this evening include a number of blogs such as http://hubpages.com/hub/Blogging-101, www.problogger.com, http://hubpages.com/profile/moneyadventure, and http://hubpages.com/profile/ink.
Bottom line is: there IS money to be made out there. If blogging is something you want to do, you need to invest a lot of time. This time needs to be spent doing more than researching and writing your articles, too.