Blogging for profit: #Twespians bloggers’ seminar (4 of 4)

Previously on Twespians: Luke gave a talk on blogging, Jason explored tips for SEO and Laura looked at a common-sense code for theatre bloggers.

The final talk was from Sian Meades, a freelance writer whose own venture, Domestic Sluttery, runs at a profit.

Paid blogging (@SianySianySiany)

  • Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City) has destroyed the image of the freelance ‘lifestyle’ writer, particularly women
  • Other speakers extolled the virtues of self-hosted WordPress over other platforms, especially Blogger/Blogspot. However, Domestic Sluttery runs on Blogger and she would avoid WordPress at all costs (she prefers MovableType)
  • It costs $10/year to run – and that’s for the domain name. It is possible on Blogger – but it does take a lot of time to get it working to satisfaction
  • In terms of sharing buttons, DS had a Tweet button on all their pages, but Facebook was generating much more traffic without a share button. Adding a Facebook button saw huge traffic increase. Look at your traffic and see what works for you.
  • If you’ve found a niche, be comfortable in it. Don’t feel that you have to branch out into other areas (e.g., using the keyword tips from Jason’s presentation) if you don’t want to
  • Get into a routine that works. If you write best at midnight in bed with your laptop, write then.
  • Bloggers are quite needy – strange beasts that stay away from the public, but at the same time to want grab attention
  • There are two types of blog ‘success’: your readership size, and your reputation within your chosen sector. Going after the former won’t necessarily get you the latter
  • Blogging can be a lot of fun, and open a lot of unexpected doors. Sian has had trips to the North Pole (in the Arctic Circle, rather than the pub in Greenwich) and an African safari as a direct result of her blogging
  • If you build a loyal readership, they will want you to do well. Don’t feel apologetic about your success if/when it happens
  • People buy into bloggers as people. If you write on lots of different, even controversial, themes, people will find your writing on those subjects. They might as well find them on your personal blog, where you can be in control of how you are perceived.
  • If people have an issue with you as a writer, they won’t be the sort of people likely to work with you anyway
  • Other bloggers will be better than you. Don’t worry. Don’t be threatened. Use it as an inspiration to improve.
  • You make all the decisions about what you blog. If it’s not working for you, do something different, whether it’s branching out into new topics, etc.
  • Domestic Sluttery makes money in a number of ways:
    • display advertising, through Handpicked Media’s ad sales network – paid for on a per-impression (CPM) basis
    • directly managed display advertising, charged for on a fixed monthly rate
    • Affiliate links, using Skimlinks
  • If taking direct sales, working with small companies can be beneficial (but may need hand holding in terms of working with bloggers) [And, in my experience, in terms of the concept of web advertising in general]
  • Affiliate links don’t make a living wage – display advertising does

And with that, we went off to the pub. I hope these four summaries have been useful for the people who weren’t able to make the event. The next Twespians meetup (a social event rather than a seminar evening)  is currently scheduled for March 15 – keep an eye on the Twespians website for details, or follow @Twespians on Twitter.

Author: Scott Matthewman

Formerly Online Editor and Digital Project Manager for The Stage, creator of the award-winning The Gay Vote politics blog, now a full-time software developer specialising in Ruby, Objective-C and Swift, as well as a part-time critic for Musical Theatre Review, The Reviews Hub and others.