I WENT along to the BBC Manchester blogging workshop yesterday and it turned up a wide selection of people, all with different questions, thoughts and ideas.
It was great to chat with people and thanks to both Richard and Robin for putting on an interesting event.
I was asked to give a quick five minutes on earning money from a blog and for those who were there, and for anyone else, here is the basics of what I said:
Setting up a blog
Thoughts on the actual how and why of setting up a blog, one thing I think is important to stress is that blog software is just a way of publishing your work, in the same way that a notebook and pen is. Also make sure you write on a subject you are passionate about and that will keep your interest for a long time - this will then come out in your writing.
Basics of Google Adsense
Adsense is most probably the first port of call for most bloggers, so here are some thoughts on making the best of it. Use the channels facility within the admin section so that you can measure how effective the location of your adverts are. Really the success or otherwise of Adsense rests on the number of people reading your articles.
Getting the best from book reviews
I think book reviews on your site covering your subject, show a real knowledge and appreciation of both your own and your readers' interests. We are not talking a thousand word critiques, and you don't even need to buy any books just check your own bookshelf for titles, but I do think they add a certain gravitas to a site.
A look at the Amazon aStore
Launched in the last few months the Amazon aStore allows you to create a virtual shop that offers books, DVDs and other items covering your particular subject. Link it in to your main website, and try not to replicate Amazon itself, focus is the key. And point your readers to it maybe from one of the columns in your site.
I didn't get a chance to highlight affiliate schemes, but these often require someone to go on and buy a service or product. For example, if you write about travel and you feature a flight booking service, you would earn some money from people going on to buy tickets to the US. I've found writing a piece and offering simple links to products works best, flashing banners and skyscrapers struggle.
There were one or two photographers along there last night asking about online services to sell their pictures.
Whilst not my strong point, I have used Photobox in the past, but some general pointers about online shops.
First do your maths and see if the commission you have to pay the company supplying the products is worthwhile, also go through the process of buying an item, how difficult or simple is it?
Also ensure you promote your work through your own blog, if you can tell the story behind a picture then there is a better chance people will buy it as they can then enjoy telling their own friends the same story.
And one of the things that came up a little later in the Lass O'Gowrie was the importance of "atomising" your work - which basically means getting it out onto things like Flickr, Technorati and people's own websites to feed back to your own site.
This is a key element of understanding where the internet and self publishing is heading, and you can start doing it yourself by just writing and linking to others in your field.
As an example, I noticed this morning that Jonathan Fox had linked to this site in a piece about last night's workshop.
Ultimately if your site becomes the hub around which others rotate you will enjoy writing and discovering new things on a subject you are already passionate about - now that's not too bad is it?
UPDATE: To read what others have written about the workshop check Technorati.
If people have questions it would be great if you could leave a comment below as I can then post an answer for others to read...