This weekend I solicited ideas from readers for my next 25 Rookie Wednesday posts to push me to 100 weeks of topics to break down in a rookie way. I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate all your ideas. This also brings me to a great comment from G. Roger who suggested:
“I’d like to see a rookie post on how to start, run, and make money writing a blog.”
This is not really a topic for Rookie Wednesday as that is for travelers not those who want to run a blog. But this is Monday and I bet many would like to know the answer to these questions. Since I run two blogs that together should end up with nearly 2 million total page views for 2014, I think I am in a position to share some thoughts.
First G. Roger, I hope you took a peek at my personal Fireside chat for some background of how I got started. Beyond that, here is what else it takes.
Starting a blog is simple. I bet hundreds start one each day. But if no one reads your blog, what is the point? Then, the next big part, original content, otherwise you add nothing and are just wasting your time and others as well. To run a blog that is more than just a glorified Facebook page takes more time than you could ever dream about (think 30-60 hours a week). Some who start blogging each day, give up and post only a few days a week. This is a sure slow road to failure. Unless you can produce original content at LEAST once a day, you should call it a day and move on. To really succeed takes 2 or 3 posts a day. Are you ready for that much time out of your life?
Next, are you creative and have bullet proof skin. There are days where ideas pour out of a blogger’s head, but other days when you can sit for hours and not come up with a good idea to share. Then, when you have either a good or bad idea, be ready for some to say the worst things you could ever imagine in the comments or on other boards or on twitter etc. When first starting out this is hard to take; after years of blogging you grow to understand these types really just don’t matter.
Then on to making money. Years ago, if you could establish a good readership, and with the help from banks, you could, as I did, make a decent income from the get-go. Today, this is simply not the case. In the current blogging environment it takes a staggering following to even have a chance to eke out a few bucks. This is not to say you cannot achieve this, but it will take a niche that is not already being covered in a saturated space. Plus it takes really understanding your topic and then covering it thoroughly and clearly. Another sure fire path to failure is learning tips and not sharing them; sharing is a path to success. Only posting or commenting about some tip or trick after the fact will anger readers to no end.
The only exception I would make to this is ideas that are, shall we say, not really assured of success. These kinds of topics are best saved for frequent flyer events like the ChicagoSeminars as those who attend them understand the risks involved in trying ideas that could just as easily fail as succeed. To blog about something that is 50-50 at success is another way to fail and lose readers very quickly (not to mention a ton of hate mail in the process).
I will say being part of BoardingArea is a way, if you have a quality idea, to succeed. Now I understand that a ton apply to be a part of the greatest collection of travel blogs on the planet each month and only a few ever have the chance to try to succeed. If you have an idea and want my input, feel free to e-mail me and I will share some of my thoughts. BAcon, from last year, gave a few a chance to be ROCK STARS and begin to blog at the next level.
So there you are. To sum up, dedicate a stupid amount of time, share openly, be original and be a positive part of the frequent flyer community, produce tons of great content, give back and get noticed then maybe you have a shot to do this for a living. – Rene
PS – the only other huge tip I can share that I have already touched on is to be supportive of those of us who are established in the space. Most bloggers read comments left on other sites. Trashing those who are the leaders in the space is no way to help your site to get noticed – in fact quite the opposite.