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Blogging for a living (really)

By Rick Whittington

Last night, I live-tweeted the Refresh Richmond meeting on Twitter and wanted to share the notes from this talk here on the blog. The topic was “Pro Blogging: A Panel Discussion” with John and Sherry Petersik of ThisYoungHouse.com, Arnold Kim of MacRumors.com and Jeff Kelley of Capital Results and Tobacco Avenue.

If you want to read all of my notes, I’ve conveniently assembled them in a Twitter search for you. You can read the notes here.

There was standing room only in the meeting space, and for good reason. The panel gave some good insights for those looking to blog for a living (or just a little extra cash). Here are my takeaways:

Writing a blog gives you credibility

Sherry Petersik spoke about how the ThisYoungHouse.com blog has helped them expand into new ventures like offering both “quickie decorating chat” and “major decorating makeovers.” Their experience renovating and redecorating their home has attracted readers to ask them for advice, which they gladly offer for a fee.

You can monetize a blog not only through ad revenue, affiliate marketing and ad networks — your experience and results can open other doors (like consulting).

Arnold Kim is one smart guy

Not only did Arnold Kim write MacRumors.com’s content management system from scratch, he was also a physician before quitting to focus on MacRumors.com. Talk about a hard decision to quit your day job…

Multiple revenue streams is the key to success

If you think you can slap some Google Adsense ads on your site and make money, think again. All four panelists are using multiple revenue streams to make money from their blogs, including Google Adsense, affiliate relationships, ad networks like AdBrite and private ad sales.

Blogging is SEO

I chuckled when someone in the crowd asked the panelists if they do any “formal SEO.” None of the panelists did, of course, and Jeff Kelley offered up the common-sense approach (which the other panelists echoed) of writing good, regular content. Other blogs will link to yours, and you’ll get exposure. Want to get more blog readers? Offer solid content and publish it on a regular basis.

Blogging for a living is hard work

Not only does Sherry Petersik blog twice per day, but she takes photos, brainstorms blog ideas, offers 1-1 advice to readers, and answers tons of e-mail.

If you’re interested in following other events or my nuggets of wisdom on work and life, follow me on Twitter.

Update — Feb. 20: There’s a very interesting blog post at Copyblogger called “Why You Can’t Make Money Blogging” that details the inability to make money from many blogs and offers this advice for making money with a blog: “Provide value. Solve actual problems. Uncover what’s bugging people and fix it for them.”

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