Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Darren Rowse, the man behind ProBlogger.net and a number of other blogs, including Digital Camera Reviews and LivingRoom, as well as the b5media.com blogging network. Mr. Rowse is perhaps best known for his tips that he gives to aspiring and expert bloggers alike at ProBlogger - I myself have learned a lot about promoting my own blogs from Darren - in addition to the fact that he is a "pro blogger"; he is able to earn a full-time (pretty decent!) living working from home with his blogs. With that brief introduction, let's get straight to the interview.
Could you explain how you became a full-time blogger?
It's been a long process but let me try to summarise it. In November of 2002 I started my first blog - it was a personal and very general blog that covered everything from topics of culture, spirituality,politics, emerging church and life in Australia. I started it more as a diary than anything else and naively didn't expect it to be found by anyone.
I quickly discovered the power of blogging to give ordinary people like myself a voice on topics that they write about. I quickly grew a readership and became one of the 'go to' blogs within the Christian community -particularly the 'emerging church' sub community.
In September 2003 I accidentally started my second blog - a blog about digital cameras. I originally hoped that the blog would be a good place to show some of my digital photography - but when I posted a review of my camera there and it got 20 times more traffic than my photos I realised I could be onto something bigger and with commercial opportunities.
I also discovered Google's Adsense contextual ad system at this time and started to test it - hoping to cover my hosting and ISP costs. I quickly discovered that I could not only cover costs but make a little extra from my blogging with Adsense.
This began a journey of slowly adding content to my blogs, starting new blogs and learning how to use Adsense and other affiliate and advertising programs. I gradually spent more and more time on my blogging and cut back on my other work - to the point where I'm now virtually a full time blogger and have 20 blogs.
What is ProBlogger's mission?
ProBlogger is about helping bloggers to earn money from their blogs. I have learned a lot over the past three years about blogging and making money online and ProBlogger.net is a place where I talk about the lessons learned and how not to make the same mistakes I did in the early years.
What are some tips for newbies who would like to blog as a full-time gig?
- Don't expect overnight success. Blogging has great earning capacity - but it takes a lot of time and energy and a long term vision.
- Pick a niche topic to blog about. General multi-topic blogs are difficult to earn a living from. Pick a smaller niche topic and become THE "go-to" blogger on the topic.
- Experiment with different ad and affiliate options. Adsense doesn't work on every blog topic but that doesn't mean you can't earn an income online. In addition to trying new ad systems try new positions and designs for your ads also - and track your results so that you can tweak your blog for optimal results.
- Work on SEO (search engine optimisation) - I've found traffic from search engines can be better better paying than regular readers. Ideally you want a good mix of both loyal readers and SE traffic.
- Diversify. Don't put all your eggs in one blogging basket. Start multiple blogs on a variety of topics and domains, add a variety of income streams to your blogs (consider an e-book perhaps?) and have a back up plan of non-blogging work in case something terrible like disappearing from the SE's happens.
Read the rest of my interview with Darren Rowse on page two.