The Realities of Problogging

By: Javier D

So you want to be a problogger? You've figured that the 8-5 daily crunch doesn't work for you anymore, and since you're a reasonably adept blogger you think that you can already make it in the somewhat lucrative world of problogging. You scanned the net and you find that, hey I can probably make a decent enough living writing sponsored posts! You even think that if you get big enough, money would also come rolling in via site ads, Google Adsense and other affiliate programs.

This is all well and good, but before you quit your day job, here are a few things that you really need to think about.

1. Ask yourself this question. Is my decision to go full time blogging borne out of a well thought out decision, or was I just having a difficult time in the office?

Sometimes, just because we had an emotionally charged encounter with the boss we already think of quitting our jobs and try our hand at something else. This is not a very good idea. Making hasty emotional decisions can be very disastrous.

Think about your decision very carefully. Let a few days pass, and when you are no longer emotionally 'overwhelmed', ask yourself again; Do you really want to do this? It may also help if you solicit the advice of people who are close to you. Share your thoughts with them and get their honest feedback.

If after doing so you are still convinced that quitting your work and going into full time blogging is a good decision, then we go to the next question;

2. Do you have enough money?

This is a very critical thing to consider. Quitting your job means losing a steady stream of income every month. Without that monthly cashflow, you will have to dig deep into your savings. Also, quitting your job does not mean that the bills will stop coming. You still have to pay the rent, your water consumption bills, your phone bills, and your electricity bills, not to mention you still have to eat. Just to be safe, you would need to have enough cash to tide you over for two years minimum.

Problogging is a very competitive field and there's no guarantee as to when you can actually live off it. So if you don't have any ammunition in the form of enough money stashed, you may find yourself staring bankruptcy and starvation in the face. This is not a very pleasant situation.

If you're still standing after these two questions and you feel that you've got these two covered, then we can tackle the harsh realities of problogging.

Reality #1-- Problogging demands an awful lot of time.

Contrary to common belief, you just don't log in for a couple of hours, post something, and then sit back and watch the cash roll in. It doesn't happen that way. You have to spend hours networking, honing your craft, and keeping abreast of the latest developments on the issues or things that you want to blog about.

Remember, the world doesn't stop just because you are on your break. Things and events will happen even when you are not looking. As the proverb goes-- "Time and tide wait for no man."

Reality #2-- Traffic is the name of the game.

You may be the most talented blogger in the planet and you may have the best blog, but if nobody visits your site, this all counts for nothing. You can hem and haw in your blog until your fingers are raw and still get only a smattering of visitors. Unless of course you have oodles of cash that you can use to buy an existing site that already has a very high PR rating(in which case, one would question your need to go into problogging if you already have that much money).

To get traffic you have to give it a little nudge and a whole lot of arrows pointing to your site's direction; which leads us to--

Reality #3-- If traffic is the name of the game, SEO is its middle name; and it's a skill that you will need to have.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as defined in Wikipedia "is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results."

Simply put, SEO enables you to position your blog in such a way that when internet users search for the things that you blog about (e.g. via google), your website comes out in the search results preferably in the first few pages. This is not as easy as it sounds. You will have to understand the philosophies of an effective keyword including its strategic placements in your blog, and all the while taking care not to use prohibited SEO techniques otherwise known as blackhat SEO.

A successful SEO campaign means that traffic is diverted your way and your blog gets exposed to the residents of the net.

Reality #4-- Getting your website some internet traffic is not enough. You must also have inbound links.

Some search engines, Google for example, ranks pages based on the number and the quality of their inbound links. Inbound links are hyperlinks transiting domains [Wikipedia]. Take note of the term quality. In this case quality pertains to the Page Rank (PR) of the originating linker.

It is not enough therefore that your website has inbound links. These inbound links have to be of good quality as well, if they're ever going to be of any use to you. Also, the more important links are those that appear to be 'one-way' links; those links that point to you, which you do not reciprocate.

This is one thing to remember before you buy yourself the service of those who claim to bring you one-way links, those so called link farms. Better yet, stay away from those linkfarms altogether, a lot of blogs have already been penalized by Google (demoted their page ranks) for availing the services of these organizations.

Reality #5-- Content is King!

All blogs will rise and fall because of its contents. The key to making people come back to your site time and time again is regular, consistent, and quality content. As Bob Marley said "you can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time."

Keep cranking out those quality posts and people will continue to flock to your blog.

Reality #6-- Be ready for the long haul.

This is primarily the reason why you need a lot of cash to support you. Problogging is not an overnight thing. It takes hours and hours of backbreaking work, hunched on your computer, primping your blog, networking, developing your page rank, before you can reap the benefit of your labors.

Problogging is not exactly a walk in the park. It is a daunting task-- one that has broken many a strong men who have jumped into its bandwagon halfbaked and expecting a happy joy ride. But no matter how daunting and difficult it is, like most worthy endeavors, if you persevere long enough, you should be able to achieve what a lot of men can only imagine.

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