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February 25, 2009

Blog Writing: What Do You Do When a Blog Goes Bye-Bye?

Ah, a day in the life of a blogger and computer geek. It began with an attack from two ten year old emil viruses and ended with the star blog of the article I was working on disappearing.

Blogging can be easy and fun, but if you do it for a living, it has its ups and downs, good days and bad. In my ongoing series on called “Blog Struggles,” I share some of the hardships associated with blogging, from the early days to present. Today, it was a bad day. Two weeks of research down the drain.

I’ve been working for two long hard weeks on an article about an open source program with the focus on an excellent community fan blog. Just before hitting the Publish button, I visited the site to verify some information.

The site I’d visited so often in the past ten days greeted me with a big white page and a note that the site had been “discontinued” without further explanation or link to an alternate resource.

site discontinued notice

Poof. Gone. Bye-bye. read more

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February 13, 2009

Do You Need The Best Things in Life to be Free?

Exploring Social Media article series badgeEntrepreneur Magazine’s article “The Best Things in Life are Free,” featured a list of free web-based services businesses and online entrepreneurs need today to run their business and spread their message around the world.

The list of web-based services, open source, free programs, and social media tools for today’s businesses is impressive, but incomplete. It included Remember the Milk task management system, live web analytics, OpenOffice, Google Docs and Calendar, FreshBooks for invoicing, expenses, and time-tracking, SlideShare, Audacity audio recording and editing, YouSendIt for sending files free up to 2 gigs, and Oovoo the video messaging, conferencing, and chatting service. A great collection of outstanding free services, but what’s missing is more interesting. read more

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November 4, 2008

Exploring Social Media Series

One of the Anderson Historical Family Farms in Wisconsin - copyright Lorelle VanFossenHanging on the wall in a family friend’s home is a quilt bearing the name of our grandmothers. Surrounding their names are the names of men and women from their community. Funds were needed for a community project so a quilt raffle was developed. Each participant embroidered their names onto flour sacks in this once agricultural community now lost to the time and the metropolitan expansion of Marysville, Washington, USA. All the flour sack squares were sewn together to create a simple and colorful bed quilt, padded with a left over blanket and backed by a bed sheet.

The quilt was displayed in the community center of the now lost village while community members spent what little money they had on raffle tickets, knowing it was going for a worthy cause. Her grandmother won the raffle and the quilt comforted the beds and the spirits of their family’s sick and cold children for decades, finally finding its way to her wall in honor of the past and community spirit that once thrived in a place covered with housing subdivisions where no one knows their neighbors.

For the village of Sunnyside and others around the world, community quilts were their social media tools and resources. Neighbors would get together in between long days of planting, harvesting, and familial responsibilities to chat and share stories and news over pieces of fabric.

Local bars served the same purpose, along with food and drink, to create a family away from family where people could be “themselves” and share their thoughts with others, often encouraged by the spirits. read more

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July 15, 2008

Blogging Jobs: How Much Are Bloggers Paid to Blog?

Blogging Jobs by Lorelle VanFossenAs we continue with this series on blogging jobs, it’s time to look at the income a blogger can make by blogging for pay.

The skills and qualities a company or blog owner is looking for from a blogger are extensive, far beyond just writing abilities. As with any freelance job, determining how to put a value on the time it really takes, and the costs associated with the time and production, is really hard when the real cost is in time, not materials. Bloggers should be paid for the time as well as their expertise and abilities. Are they? This is a problem that has been around for a very long time. How much is your time worth?

For many decades, professional editorial writers found a compromise on the time/value issue with payment by the word with a restriction on word count. I often was told, “We’ll pay you a dollar a word up to 1,000 words maximum.”

This meant the magazine, newspaper, newsletter, or other print publication had space for one thousand words that needed to be filled. Going over meant changing their magazine or newspaper design structure. Giving them less meant I’d be paid less, but somewhere in the middle was a compromise for both of us, usually in the form of me setting a minimum fee I was to be paid, no matter the word count, such as “I want $500 minimum for 700 words and a dollar a word thereafter.” If the article came it at 400 words, I would still be paid my minimum. If it crossed the 700 word mark, at which point I should have been paid $700 for a dollar a word, that’s when they have to start paying me the dollar a word rate. It wasn’t the best, but the companies felt like they were getting a deal and for the most part, I covered the minimum I needed to pay my rent and eat.

Here is a chart for the various traditional writer’s pay scale based upon a dollar amount per word. The more experience and expertise, the higher the fee per word.
read more

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