Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guest Post from Grammarly

Please welcome a guest post by Grammarly. http://www.grammarly.com/
I hope you will find it helpful!

Professional Blogging
Nikolas Baron

Writing a blog is relatively easy. Anyone with a keyboard, reliable access to the internet, and some spare time can start a blog, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of blogs originated online each week. Getting paid for one’s writing, however, may prove a bit more challenging. Anyone can blog, but not everyone makes a profit from their blogging efforts. Learning to write a coherent sentence and running prose through the plagiarism checker before posting a piece are only two aspects of running a successful for-profit, or “monetized” blog. Blogging is hard work, and turning a passion for writing about a particular topic into a paycheck takes dedication and patience.

The first step in creating a monetized blog is obvious, but often overlooked: Develop a talent for writing well. Study grammar and spelling. Learn to construct a sentence, and how to articulate thoughts in a coherent manner. Develop a personal “voice”. Professional writing, like any endeavor, requires a certain level of skill, which takes weeks, months, or even years to develop. One doesn’t simply decide one day to become a racecar driver. Practice is necessary, as well as some rites of passage into the sport. The aspiring driver accepts the need to enter a few minor races before he or she expects to run the oval in a NASCAR event. The aspiring blogger needs to gain experience and confidence by paying dues as a writer before stepping into the professional arena.

Writing for other blogs, also known as writing “guest posts”, is a good place to begin a blogging career. By creating content for other, established bloggers, the writer gains experience and confidence, and begins to develop a unique voice. The experience also provides opportunities to “try out” different niches, and to discover underlying passions, as well as offering opportunities for exposure to potential future followers. In the beginning, it’s best to write for smaller, lesser-known blogs. With practice comes more confidence and skill. Larger and better-known blogs may offer payment for guest posts, but the exposure is more important in the early stages than payment.

Starting a personal blog, centering on a particular interest or passion, is the next step. The topic should be close to the writer’s heart, so that motivation is strong to post new content regularly. The tighter the focus, the more successful the blog is likely to become. Niche topics may include personal finance, various aspects of parenting, gender-specific issues, religious or spiritual topics, or hobbies like raising chickens or building model cars. The list of possible topics is endless, and limited only by the author’s imagination and interests.

A blog can’t make a profit without readers. Social networking may be used to advertise a blog and attract readers. Buttons called “widgets” can be added to most blog platforms to allow readers to “follow” a blog and receive notifications of updates in their e-mail box. Widgets can also be used to add “sharing” buttons to the blog to maximize exposure through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The social media platforms used depend on the audience, tone, and focus of the blog. LinkedIn is the domain of upwardly-mobile professionals of all ages,  while  younger people tend to gravitate to Pinterest.
Facebook attracts people of all walks of life from the professional to the stay at home Mom. 
Networking within the blogging community is also important, and must be done professionally to be effective. A writer should never “spam” a blog with banal comments posted for the sole purpose of linking back to the commenter’s own blog. Comments on other blogs should contribute to the conversation, and backlinks should only be included if the link is to a relevant post. Care must be taken to project a professional, courteous online presence at all times.

Once a presence is established, the monetization process can begin. Monetization can be both direct and indirect. Indirect monetization includes advertising space sold on the blog platform itself, pay-per-click link and product placement, and affiliate advertising. Direct monetization might mean offering a subscription service or e-book sales. Direct monetization works best for narrowly focused blogs written by an established professional in a particular field. With so much content readily available for free on the ‘web, a subscription must provide the reader with something unique that isn’t available elsewhere.

By Nikolas Baron
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Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children's’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.

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