Last night we had Jen, the Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat at our public library to give a presentation about blogging. Jen’s a very popular humor blogger and author, and I was sorry I didn’t have a chance to look over her blog before I went to the program. I could probably have asked better questions.
She took the time to personally chat with each person who attended to find out what kind of blog they were working on or wanting to start, which helped set the tone for her presentation very well. She also has some tips for bloggers on her own website, which are helpful and encouraging. I suspected that because she is so “successful” that she would have some kind of an air of superiority about her work and its results, but that was not the case at all. She was a competent and helpful guide and patient with people just finding their way into the morass of blogging. I definitely should have taken notes.
However helpful the information was, though, it was taken as a given that bloggers are in it for the money made by blogging. Hence, her preference for Blogger over WordPress, because Blogger (I think) is owned by Google and it makes it easier to attach advertising.
If you look at her blog, you’ll find that advertising is no big deal to her as far as the appearance of her page. I don’t get a kick out of seeing a lot of ads on a blog, myself. I think they look sloppy and detract from the writing. I know WP puts some in there without my permission, but as far as I can tell, they are single ads, and minimally disruptive. Of course, I’m not making money off of mine at WP. Jen is making $2,000/month on her blog because of her ads. So a good deal of the conversation last night was about Google Analytics, Adsense, and a bunch of other tools that help track the readership and generate income. She pointed out that until she had about 300 readers there wasn’t any point in looking at advertising because the advertisers didn’t think she had enough traffic.
I don’t mean to suggest that people shouldn’t make money blogging, of course I would love to make money as a result of this blog. But the way I would expect extra income would be because people who like my art work and want to own a piece of it can connect with me here. But everyone has their own reasons for blogging. Her big break came when she posted something that “went viral” and her advice was to make sure you’re set up to reap the results if that happens. Have all your money making methods in place, and then you’ll be ready to roll with the results. In her case, results eventually included a couple of self-published books and two more under contract to big-name publishers. She also emphasized having a “tribe”… fellow bloggers who connect with each other in different ways and assist each other in gaining hits and making it easier to generate more income.
I honestly have such mixed feelings about her successful results that I suspect I might actually be a little bit jealous. I mean, here she is, working from home and making more in a year than I make at two jobs. But when I ask myself if I would enjoy doing all the behind-the-scenes work that she does to bring in the income through advertising, the answer is no. But I did learn a lot from her and I appreciate that she did a library presentation that was helpful.
When I looked over her blog, and read the post that “went viral”, I didn’t think she was especially funny, but maybe that’s because I’m not the mom of young children any more. It also occurred to me that going on a rant and being critical and insulting probably wasn’t always considered a funny way to write. I’m so out of touch with popular writing, media, and modern style, that it didn’t resonate with me as much as I expected, given her popularity. It did make me pause to consider what I think is humorous and why I don’t think her style is humorous. I mean, if I think The Bloggess is pretty darn funny most of the time, why isn’t her stuff the same amount of funny to me?
But that’s a subject for another time.