Blogging for Dough, Does it pay?

Writing something!
Hard at work at my new job!

I first started blogging back in 2010. One tiny blogpost and then nothing for an entire year. I restarted in ernest in 2011 but never got any colossal views on the Blogger site. I added Tumblr to my little blog verse and, again, didn’t really set the world on fire. It wasn’t until I made the move in April last year to WordPress.com  that my views, readership (aka followers) and interest picked up.

I have been doing this for roughly a year and three months and I’m only now getting a solid blog set up, with a lot of help from my “real job” working for the Las Vegas Guardian Express.

I had written an earlier blog about the likelihood of gaining employment from writing your blog. It is possible to make money from it. If you’re an author, it is an excellent springboard for advertising your wares and increasing your fan base, which in turn, will increase book sales.  There are ways to advertise on your blog, but my trips down that particular avenue have not been very profitable.

In truth, they’ve been practically non-existent.

I was approached by a company when my views started going up. I was pleased to think that my ramblings could earn me cash. Then reality hit. The money that they offered me was laughably low. It amounted to around $100 for a year of letting them advertise on my blog.  I also took so long to respond that I missed that particular window of, limited, opportunity.

I then tried the “Adsense” route, or the WordPress version of it anyway. I never heard back. Presumably my little blog is too little to count. I then attempted to branch out and go the freelance route. While my first attempt got positive feedback, the finished product didn’t meet their “expectations” and I was left penniless at the end of the day.

The only income from my writing has been as an entertainment journalist/editor for the Guardian.

I would like to say that my blog was instrumental in getting me this nicely paid job.

It wasn’t.

I got the job almost by accident. I had gone to another newspaper, owned by the same organisation, with the idea of posting some of my short stories on the site. While I busily built my profile, I noticed another advert on the site that was looking for writers. It was the Guardian Express.

I applied.Thumbs up!

To cut a long story short, I received training and tips from the owner/founder of the paper, DiMarkco Chandler. I already knew how to write, so that part was easy. What I didn’t know was how to write for the internet world of news. I’d had journalism a million years ago and remembered all the things you must do in an article.

What I didn’t know was how to utilise those rules in an internet format to ensure that people read my articles.

But it was more than the training that got me swept up in the excitement of writing for a newspaper at my advanced age. It was the chance to work for an organisation  that, not only paid handsomely for my work, but one that believed in dreams. Everyones dreams. That, plus a group of likeminded folks, make this a “dream” job!

So, if I was asked by anyone, does blogging for money, pay? I’d have to answer, “Yes and no.” I’ve not earned one red cent from my blog. But writing it and posting several articles a day, brushed the cobwebs out of my very rusty writing skills and helped me to start to develop a singular style.

It was blogging for fun that got me started on this venture and while it never reached the “blogging for dough” stage (well not very much dough was offered at any rate) it hasn’t paid me one thin dime.

But it was blogging that inadvertently and in a very roundabout way led me to my current position. I still think that blogging is an excellent way to polish your writing and a great way to meet likeminded folks who also enjoy writing their creative, and sometimes personal, thoughts and sharing them with the amazing blogging community.

I’ve made some real friends via WordPress and at least one helped realise that I could still act and was instrumental in making me realise that no dream, even one that had been given up on years ago, was beyond my reach.

So blogging for dough, does it pay? Not really. Not for me, at least. But the recompense in making friends, building a following, and interacting with a wonderful community is much more satisfying than making money. Although you can’t pay bills with that sort of recompense.  But I’ve only been doing this for a short time, I may yet make some “real dough” for my labours!

Michael SmithIMG_0229

United Kingdom

23 July 2013

70,000 and Rising! Thanks!

70,000

This will be a short post. (The idiot that is my sense of humour, wanted to stop the post there!) A lot has happened to me since I started blogging on WordPress last year. I’ll do a very short recap for those of you who came late to the party.

April last year, I started posting on WordPress. I’d been posting things on Blogger and Tumblr but wasn’t too happy with the amount of views I was getting. I switched to WP and the first article I posted (a review of Stake Land) garnered over 2000 views. I knew then I’d made the right choice.

While I’ve never matched that phenomenal view count on any of my other posts, I’ve reached a lot more people and gotten an amazing amount of folks following my little old blog.

2012 was the year of injury and pain. I got injured at work in February after two lads decided to have a fight at lunch time (it was only with extreme self-control that I did not say “feeding time”) and when I attempted to pull the attacker away from his “attackee” and the officer holding him, we all fell to the ground, with moi on the bottom. Cue two more days of intense agony as I shuffled around work and responded to a couple of alarm bells.

Finally, after a 12 hour shift, I drug myself to the doc’s and found I had nerve damage in my lower back. Enter six months of time off work with me hobbling around like a 100 year-old with arthritis.

I then just started back to work and took couple of weeks off for a steroidal shot (two actually) at the end of the first week. Big mistake. The shots hurt worse than the nerve damage and roughly six days after the shot on 30 August, 2012 I had my heart attack. I’ve written all about it in a previous post.

I also forgot to mention that in between the steroidal shots and the heart attack, I got Freshly Pressed! Despite Tyson’s “gut feeling” that the heart attack was brought on by my getting FP’d, I don’t think they are life threatening to everyone!

It’s now going on 11 months since that “life changing” experience (that resulted in two “emergency surgeries” that kicked my arse) and in that short time, a lot of things have changed.

I no longer work in a job where getting assaulted was a daily risk, but I do miss a lot of the folks who I worked with and still feel like a Prison Officer despite my ill-health retirement.  I now work for a Las Vegas newspaper The Las Vegas Guardian Express as the Deputy Managing Editor and Senior Entertainment Editor.

And I’ve just finished a project working in front of the camera for the first time in years.

Thank you all

I’ve also made some wonderful friends through the WordPress blogging community. Natasha “Tash” Harmer over at Films and Things; Meera Daji over at Meera Daji Film reviews & other interesting posts; Katie-marie Holbrookboosh Penniman Jr over at Katie-Marie Lynch (Film Punk), Fiona Lockwood over at Fionalockwoodyr1; Marilyn Armstrong over at Serendipity; Tyson Carter over at Head In A Vice; and so many others that if I mentioned them all, this post would be, if not novel length, at least novella length.

I want to thank all you folks that I’ve mentioned and whom I haven’t the room or the time to mention. Misty Layne over CinemaSchminema also deserves a special mention, it was through her I got to write (for all too short a time) for Rogue Cinema, thanks mate, your support has been terrific.

But to Marilyn and her wonderful “other-half” Garry Armstrong – who has met and interviewed the world’s rich and famous, among others, I want to really thank as they’ve both been there for inspiration when my days felt pretty damn bleak.

Tash, Meera, Katie, Fiona, I love you all, you helped an old actor discover he could still do it. (I’ve just re-read that and thought of you guys’ references to another type of short film!) And any time you young ladies need an actor for anything, do not hesitate to call me, I owe you.

Now I must stop this long, and somewhat self-serving, post and get busy. I had many days of “too much time on my hands” and I’ve swung to the other end of the pendulum and now seem to have more things to do than time. I prefer the latter. So in closing, I’ll just say that I’m grateful and pleased and a bit shocked that I’ve gotten as far as I have in the blogging world.

I’ll also leave a link to my employing newspaper, The Guardian Express Las Vegas just in case you’d like to see all the articles that I write for them.

I raise my metaphorical glass to you all, “Here’s to another 70,000 views and posts!” Oh, and I lied about the length of the post…sorry!

Blogging Part 5: Viewing

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As I sit here watching my WordPress follower number steadily approach the big four-oh-oh, I’m thinking of things that I’ve done and can’t help but wonder if others do it too.

One of my lazy habits for a long time was to go to the Readers menu and go through all my followers blog posts. If I was feeling guilty, I’d quickly go down the list and hit “Like” on the ones with the titles that impressed me most. (or thumbnails)

Now besides showing a sort of “kack-handed” support, it also showed just how lazy I could get. It also doesn’t show up on the bloggers view count. Now I did not realise this, back when I was doing it. It only became apparent when I paid a bit more attention to the “stats” for my site.

I would get a notification that “so-and-so” and good old (fill in site name here) had “Liked” my latest post.

But…

My views had not increased. It took a little concentration on my part, but, I eventually made the connection. In a moment of serendipitous epiphany-age, I put two and two together and, besides getting four, I realised they’d hit the “Like” button without actually reading the post.

Now, I’ve always had a “thing” about my view counts. I had it on my first blog at Blogger.com and I had it on my second blog on Tumblr.com and I still have it. I’m attached to my view counts and will (throughout the day) keep checking them to see if they’ve gone up. I am, almost, OCD in my feeling about my view counts.

I then made another connection. I was doing that myself! I felt a little bit ashamed. I mean, I read incredibly fast (always have) and it seemed worse than cheating for me to ignore the actual content of the bloggers I was following to not at least look at the damned post!

So I have stopped that heinous habit and started really liking the post versus, liking the idea or the notification of the post. I would like to point out that I didn’t do that all the time, just occasionally when I “felt” strapped for time. Something that, now-a-days, I’m not but old imagined stresses are hard to break.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this preoccupation with viewing figures.

So how about you?

So you have anything that you obsess over? Do you compulsively check your follower numbers or views? Do you even bother to look at your stats at all? Do you succumb to this “lazy liking” and not read posts at all?

Let me know.

My obsession.
My obsession.

Happy One Year Anniversary to My WordPress Blog!

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The 1 year anniversary logo.

It has taken me all day to decide on what to write after WordPress told me of my one year anniversary this morning. I will admit a certain amount of astonishment. I thought I’d been with WordPress much longer than a year. But after looking at my old posts and remembering that a goodly number of them had been first posted with Blogspot.com my amazement diminished pretty rapidly.

I have written before about how much I like the WordPress set up and the fact that I have loads more views per post and followers here than I ever managed to get on the old Blogspot site. I’ve been accused of being a “view” junkie and I will admit that I am hooked on my view numbers and also pretty excitable about my follower figures. Aren’t we all, to some degree?

But the nicest thing about having been on WordPress for a year is the great folks I’ve met and interacted with. Folks (aka fellow bloggers) that I never would have met on my old blog site. These are people who I, rightly or wrongly, feel are friends; some more so than others, but friends nonetheless. My daily interaction with them has been a boon, especially since my heart attack last August.

Of course, view counts and followers aside, the very visibility of WordPress is what has made this such a great ride. I actually started blogging in 2010.  A short timid two sentence entry that laid dormant for an entire year. Then in 2011, I began in earnest and tried to pretty much write every day. This wasn’t possible at that time, but as my input (or output) became more frequent and I discovered Tumblr and then WordPress I kept leapfrogging to each site looking for a blogging home.

It did not take me long to discover that here was where I wanted to be. The support from the staff is phenomenal and the themes are fantastic. I guess that the reason that I thought I’d been here longer than a year was twofold. Firstly, I manage to upload two or more posts a day. I have also managed to get 254 followers on this blog alone. I guess in my mind the culmination of blog posts plus followers equals a long time, i.e. much longer than a year.

Still, I’ve had fun here and as I start to reach more people I feel like I’ve been blessed to find so many folks who feel like I do and not just about films and books, but life as well.

After being “ill-health” retired from my job at an obscenely early age I had a lot of time on my hands (I still do actually) where the days could have stretched into a depressingly long time period of too much inner reflection and fears about health. The people who I’ve met via my little blog have made my days interesting and (in some cases) challenging.

I am not much of a “joiner” preferring instead to be on the outside of the social circle instead of actually being part of it. For the first time that I can remember, I’ve enjoyed being part of a community. One that shares kudos and publicity and awards with one another.

The other great thing about WordPress’s visibility is the contact that I’ve had with people in the entertainment and literature business that I never had with my other blogs. I have directors, actors, producers and authors who comment on my reviews and I can honestly say that I’m “blown away” each and every time it happens.

As my blog continues to evolve and grow (I’ve just done my first ever interview!) I look at the fruits of my labour and the community that I’m a part of and I think how lucky I am to have discovered this world of blogging and the folks who inhabit it. It is the people who I’ve met and interacted with combined with those  who have paid me the ultimate compliment of following my blog who make this so worthwhile.

So I raise my glass high and I’ll make a toast to you all: “Thanks WordPress for making this a great first year and thanks to you all who stop by and read, like, comment and follow. You guys are great!”

Happy anniversary to me and my blog!

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