Category Archives: Uncategorized

What is Your Weapon of Choice?

What is your most constant set of companions when you write? Would it all be things connected to the digital world? Or do you still have roots to the offline world.

Notebooks – Aside from the desktop computer at home. I keep two notebooks. The first one is a computer laptop. Actually, one of the first netbooks or ultralight computers that came out. The Asus Eee 701. Yes. It is still working and with a set of thumb drives and SD cards this is my mobile communication, mobile blogging device and my ‘typewriter’ when I am far away from home.

Having an ultralight it has its advantages. You can almost carry it anywhere.

Another set of notebook I still carry is a notebook. Quite handy when going from place to place or event to event. A pocket notebook is handy. Start up time is fast and it does not crash.

It is also good for brainstorming, mind webbing, doodling and playing tic-tac-toe.

Dongle, thumb drives and SD cards – The dongle is quite handy when connecting to the Internet where there is diffiultu getting wifi. Believe me there are such places. While thumb drives and SD cards are quite useful in storing data and running applications while at the same time not compromising the performance of the computer notebook.

A digital media player and a set of good headphones – Quite useful if you want to retreat into the coccoon of writing. Partially isolates you from the world and enables you to write under the musical environment of your choice. I prefer a different media player than the one in the notebook.

A camera – For capturing those moments in raw or jpeg or any other format. Most cameras come with video recording features. And this can also come in useful when capturing those precious moments and news worthy events.

A USB Microphone – This is good for podcasting on the road or when outside the house. A USB microphone can isolate sound and deliver quality podcast n terms of sound. But the content is still dependent on you.

A Dictionary – No matter how fast the Internet is. I still find it useful when writing and you need to check a specific detail. One of my favorite books.

A book – Of course something to reade during the free hours and when writer’s block descend.

Pens and pencils – These things are quite useful when scribbling things down and when doodling. I always carry a clutch pencil with me that its own sharpener.

Food and beverages – Most important for a scribbler and writer on the move.

Cash

Of course as in all things a sense of humor – a self-effacing one is of great also.

What weapons of choice do you have?

Blog Network Pay Versus Writing Work Completed

One thing not being mentioned in the whole Blog Network pay structures is how much writing the bloggers are doing. I have to wonder at the amount of content bloggers are putting out at $25, $50, and $100 pay levels.

If they are doing one post per week at five hundred words, that would be around one thousand words a month, and at a $25 pay rate, they would be earning $0.025 per word, which isn’t a bad rate in my mind.

However, if they are producing two posts per week, at around five hundred words, and still making the same $25 pay rate, then they would be only earning $0.0125 per word, and that is pretty near slave labour.

Also, say those two posts per week took up an hour of your time, and so you spend four hours a month working for a blog network. Your hourly rate is $6.25 per hour, well below the current minimum wage here in Canada.

Again, doubling the equation will bring you to a saddening $3.13 per hour wage, which to me is closing in on slave wages once again.

How can business online survive and prosper when wages such as these are being handed out? I am not sure what kind of time and how many posts are being generated, but I have to believe that if people took a more rational look at what they are getting paid, that they would either come to the quick realization that opportunities elsewhere are more rewarding for their time, or only further create a situation where they expect to be strongly compensated at a later date.

Full Time at b5media: How Much Traffic is Needed?

So, TechCrunch broke the news on the new pay structure for b5media, and normally this wouldn’t be big news, but it gives us a clear picture of what the company will be like to blog for going forward.

For me it comes down to simple metrics. As a blogger, what is my potential “take home” pay when all is said and done?

Taking a quick look at the CPM offerings that b5media is looking to offer, how many page views would you need to generate to be able to make two thousand dollars a month?

You would need 500,000 page views per month to have b5media cut you a cheque for $2000.

While that doesn’t take into account bonuses or any other additions to pay that they come up with, I still think that is a very high level of traffic that very few blogs in their network will be able to get to.

The hardest part of growing a successful blog, and building it into your full time business is getting to the transition point. And the reason that it can be so hard is because your time is split, and blogging usually ends up at the end of the line. You work for a company, you take care of yourself and your family and then you blog for companies like b5media.

Even if you are skipping television, radio, reading and other distracting past-times, you are probably only able to put in around two or three hours of effort each night and, if you want to burn yourself out, weekends too.

I am not sure how extensive their “bonus” program is really going to be, as you have to remember that paying out bonuses, surely, hurts their bottom line when it comes to impressing investors, but even if their best bloggers could earn $500 in bonuses each and every month, that still makes blogging for b5media full time a difficult challenge.

As for the $4 CPM that the blogs will make. I agree that it seems like a great rate, until you consider that you could easily make around $1.5 – $2 CPM per ad on your blog, and if you were willing to have four or five advertisements at that rate, you could be bringing in around $6 – $8 CPM. Which, based on page view adjustments that b5media says statistic programs like AWStats inflate numbers by, is pretty much what this blog currently earns.

Of course b5media has to pay for servers, take time to find advertisers, pay for programmers, and a support staff, but as a struggling blogger, hoping to make writing online their full time occupation, that $2 – $4 CPM that the blog authors are loosing out on once their blog gets successful, is hard to live without.

I will give them credit though that their lower end tiers are more than fair, and that bloggers just starting out will most likely make more money being part of b5media than they will earn on their own. But, I worry about those successful few that make it to that top tier, after taking what might be as long as two or three years, only to realize, they are still hundreds of thousands of page views short of transitioning to full time blogging.

This new pay structure also doesn’t talk about bloggers working on multiple sites, but if I were a b5media blogger, and saw this new structure, I would probably want to focus on getting a single blog to higher tiers as quickly as possible, rather than trying to fuss around with two blogs stuck at the lower tiers of the pay structure.

Has b5media come up with the best pay system possible? From a balance sheet perspective, maybe so, but it will definitely put a crimp on many people’s dreams to become full time bloggers in their network.

Gary’s Blog World Expo Keynote in More Formats

For those of you that have been complaining about the huge file, or the bad quality of the Viddler upload in my previous post, a friend of mine, Tom Leroux, has created some more great ways for you guys to have access to Gary’s great keynote speech from Blog World Expo.

A nice compact 230MB Quicktime Movie version.
A MP3 version and a M4A version as the audio is the most important part.

Very cool stuff for those that haven’t checked this out yet.

You Can’t Take the Same Path

I know this might be frustrating to those that have bought a million different “get rich today” e-books, but the fact is that the Internet is changing hourly, and the tactics that made one person rich will most likely no longer work, and it is even worse if that tactic is rolled into an e-book because you will no doubt have competition from every other person that has bought that same e-book. Think about that next time before you buy one.

So many people try to follow the examples of others and find themselves hitting a wall. Sure, some of the general concepts work, and sure sometimes you can take the same route as someone successful if you tackle a different niche or market, but many of people that are doing so well today online couldn’t repeat their success if they had to start over and only use their original tactics, and so what makes you think that following their step-by-step advice will lead you to making tons of money online?

You would be better off learning how the web functions today, what people are looking for, how search engines work and capitalizing on that. I would also suggest again that everyone follow their passions as no niche is too crowded if you are passionate and persistent.

When I started this blog, everyone told me I was crazy, and that the competition and saturation was just too high, but here I am today, doing better and better thanks to my persistence while many competitors have disappeared long ago.

Blaze your own trail to success, and don’t just follow the stale advice of e-books.