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blogs by the book Emily Mennemeier


table of contents

photo by Emily Mennemeier

intro

3

most visited blogs

5

top 3 moneymakers

6

making money

9

blog platforms

10

professional chat

12

dos & don’ts

14

references

17


intro

blogs by the book

So you want to be a “blogger?� Millions of other people all over the world do too. In fact, millions of people already blog. What makes you unique? What will make people want to read your content or look at your photos? Blogs by the Book provides information about the market and audience, includes excerpts from interviews with professionals, and contains helpful tips about blogging. Through research of blogs, this booklet was compiled for aspiring bloggers who want to set themselves apart from the millions of other bloggers out there. Blogs by the Book will give you the confidence to enter the blogging world with a bang!

photo by Corey Ransberg

Blogs by the Book | 3


blogs most visited 1.

The Huffington Post,

with about 105,000,000 visitors a month

According to several different sources, The Huffington Post is the most visited blog. However, these sources do not agree on which blogs are in second and third place. Here is a list of the blogs that follow The Huffington Post:

TMZ Business Insider Mashable Buzzfeed Gawker Gizmodo photo by Emily Mennemeier

Sources: Online Income Teacher, Income Diary, ebiz MBA, Technorati

Blogs by the Book | 5


3 $ $ top

moneymakers To get an idea about which blogs are making the most money and how, check out these top three moneymakers.

1. 2. 3.

6

The Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com)

Founded by Arianna Huffington in 2005, this blog makes about $2,330,000 a month. Most of its income is generated through a pay per click system.

Mashable (mashable.com) Mashable was founded in 2005 by Pete Cashmore. It makes about $560,000 a month mainly through advertising banners.

Techcrunch (techcrunch.com) Michael Arrington founded Techcrunch in 2005. It makes most of its income, which is about $444,500 a month, through advertising banners.

Sources: Online Income Teacher, Income Diary, ebiz MBA, Technorati

Blogs by the Book | 11 photo by Emily Mennemeier


making

$

money So blogging sounds like a pretty fun career, right? You can be your own boss and tell the world about things you’re interested in. However, payroll won’t be direct depositing that check for you each month. You’ll have to get a little more creative if you want blogging to be your primary source of income, let alone pay the bills. Don’t get me wrong, you CAN make money blogging. However, don’t mistake blogs for a quick money-maker option. Expect to make little to no income in the first year. Using ad players such as Amazon Associates and Google AdSense is a common way to start earning an income. These players are mainstream and userfriendly. They allow you to choose where on your blog the ads will appear, and they bill the advertisers for you. Banner ads are another moneymaker. They are paid on a CPM (cost per mille) basis, which means cost per thousand readers. Unless your blog is an instant hit, these ads are probably not going to make you a fortune each month. But, hey, every little bit helps, right?

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photo by Emily Mennemeier

Source: U.S. News and World Report

When using mainstream ad players, you may not be able to choose the type of ads on your blog. Therefore, you must beware of those that may seem controversial. If you blog about going green, you wouldn’t want an ad for disposable paper plates on your blog.

Now, for the content. There are all kinds of different blogs out there. People write about almost anything. To gain readership, however, you must provide the reader with something they don’t already have, whether it be a humorous blog to make them laugh, a blog of stories to keep them entertained or a blog teaching them how to cook. Choose something to write about, and make sure it’s a subject you’re not only comfortable with, but also knowledgeable about. Use what you know to attract readers. If you’re a DIY expert, blog about it. If your projects are good, people will read your blog. Finally, make sure to use proper grammar and check your spelling. This seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many grammar and spelling errors you will find on sites that are supposed to be “professional.” Always double and triple check spelling and grammar so your readers find you credible. Blogs by the Book | 9


First and foremost, choosing a blog platform is about what you’re comfortable working with. WordPress offers the best blog platform with the most features and flexibility to easily customize your blog. However, the only way to find out which platform site is best for you is to try some out. To help you get started, look over this list of pros and cons for four different popular blogging platform sites. First, take a look at this list to find out what attracts you, and next, dive in and start testing out the features of your top choices.

Blogger was founded by Pyra Labs in 1999. The site made little income until 2002. In 2003, Google bought Blogger and still owns it today. WordPress was started in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Today, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform. Wix was founded in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan while they were trying to develop a website. They realized it was difficult and time consuming, so they came up with Wix, a platform that anyone can use to easily make their own website. photo by Emily Mennemeier

10

Tumblr was founded in 2007 by Daivd Karp, during a break in business at his software consulting company. The company is now owned by Yahoo!, which bought it in 2013.

Source: Start Blogging Online

r p

ns

blog platforms

co

s o

Blogger (www.blogger.com)

Wix (www.wix.com)

Pros: free automatic updates no CSS or HTML knowledge required scheduled posting available

Pros: free and premium options no CSS or HTML knowledge required various theme options automatic updates scheduled posting available

Cons: limited free custom plugins limited free theme options CMAP required for own domain no post categories

Cons: available for own domain for premium users limited plugins no post categories

WordPress (www.wordpress.com)

Tumblr (www.tumblr.com)

Pros: free available for own domain many free custom plugins various free theme options scheduled posting available post categories available

Pros: free available for own domain many theme options automatic updates post categories

Cons: CSS knowledge required for advanced editing manual updates

Source: Start Blogging Online

Cons: HTML/CSS knowledge required for customization limited plugins scheduled posting unavailable

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professional

chat

Q.

A.

What components go into capturing a good photo? Most of our shots are pretty candid. Even a good, quick photo from a smartphone can provide the image we need to accompany our message. We’re going to be moving into determining our visual strategy more in the future.

with Megan McConachie

photo courtesty of Columbia CVB

Q.

A. Q.

A. Q.

A. 12

Why use a blog over other social media? It’s not about choosing blogs over other social media, but rather using content across multiple platforms so it goes farther. We use social media to promote blog content as it’s posted. Additionally, a blog allows us to produce larger amounts of copy than what we can currently use on our website and social media. It lets us get deeper into what we’re trying to promote.

How do you determine what kind of content your readers will want to read? We start planning our content early and make sure it’s in line with our marketing we’ll be doing at any given time. To determine what readers like and don’t like, we look into which posts get read the most and which get us the most follows and shares.

What components go into capturing a good photo? Most of our shots are pretty candid. Even a good, quick photo from a smartphone can provide the image we need to accompany our message. We’re going to be moving into determining our visual strategy more in the future.

Q.

A. Q.

A.

What environments/locations work best for photo shoots?

I’d love to tell you that we use lots of staged photos and photo shoots, but that’s definitely not the case. We use lots of candid shots on the blog especially.

How would you describe your design aesthetic? Our design is pretty simple and was built within Wordpress. Aside from making sure we keep with our new branding colors, I don’t put a lot into our design.

Megan McConachie is the Web and Communications Manager for Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. McConachie has lived in Columbia, Missouri since she was 2 years old. She graduated from Truman State University where she received a degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism. In addition to maintaing the CVB’s website, McConachie is a member of the Mid-Missouri Tourism Council.

For more information on blog content and layout, visit www.blogsbythebook.wordpress.com

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&

dos do: do: do: do: do: 14

Plan your content and posts in advance so they are well thought out instead of thrown together at the last minute.

Proofread! People associate proper grammar and spelling with credibility.

Promote your blog content through other social media. Creating more outlets for your content will make it more widespread.

Develop your own voice and writing style. Help readers connect with you, and keep them coming back for more.

Keep it short and sweet. Short lines of text broken up into small paragraphs are easier to read than lengthy pages.

don’ts

don’t: don’t: don’t: don’t: don’t:

Plagiarize. The internet is full of other people’s work, and you don’t want to get caught using it without their permission.

Be afraid to push the limits, but be mindful of taking things too far.

Lose your voice. If your audience are used to your unique voice, they will notice if it changes or becomes unfamiliar.

Be offensive. Be careful when writing about potentially controversial topics.

Forget to do your homework. If you post about something without knowing all of the facts, someone will notice.

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references Dunlop, M. (n.d.). Top earning blogs-make money online blogging. Income Diary, Retrieved from http://www.incomediary.com/top-earning-blogs Smith, M. (n.d.). Successful blogs earning money online. Online Income Teacher, Retrieved from http://onlineincometeacher.com/money/top-earning-blogs/ Stelzner, M. (2013, 05). 2013 social media: how marketers are using social media to grow their businesses. 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Retrieved from http:// SocialMediaExaminer.com Technorati top 100. Technorati, Retrieved from http://technorati.com/blogs/top100/ Wallagher, M. (n.d.). Blog platform comparison chart. Start Blogging Online, Retrieved from http:// startbloggingonline.com/blog-platform-comparison-chart/ Williams, G. (2013). Can you make real money blogging?. U.S. News and World Report, Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/07/11/can-you- make-real-money-blogging (2014, 02). Top 15 most popular blogs. eBiz MBA: The eBusiness Guide, Retrieved from http:// www.ebizmba.com/articles/blogs A special thanks to: Amy Parris, Lisa Lenoir, Megan McConachie, Dana Consalvo, Natalie Benedict, Stephanie Miller and Chloe Tyau

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photo by Emily Mennemeier

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Blogs by the Book