Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Story So Far

Three years ago I started blogging I became a technical writer instead of a web programmer. After three years of technical writing, I moved into professional blogging.

Theoretically, there's nothing wrong with technical writing. I simply found that most of my clients were extremely difficult to work with and most of what they wanted me to write was crap. Or, I would write, and no one would read it.

Furthermore, despite the fact that I had 14 previous years of technical knowledge before I began technical writing, I found that technical writers are treated as the low end of the food chain. Which is rather strange. Technical writers are the interface between your products and the user, even more so than your GUI, online help, or customer support. Sure you can use these three things to substitute for technical writing if you really need it, but it sure is a waste of time and money.


I left a technical writing position and applied for a programming job at company A, but when I showed up, I said that their company could use a blogger and I would prefer to do that. And they accepted.

Some people think that being a professional blogger means easy street. Yes, I'm finally doing work that I really enjoy. But I still have to work hard at it, and I'm being paid less for my time than a technical writer.

That's because company A didn't have a budget for a blogger, and therefore was willing to try me out only on a part time basis for half of a low salary.

In addition, company A didn't have any real expectations of what a blogger was supposed to do or how blogging actually works. I found myself being asked less than a day after the first post as to where all the traffic and increased viewers were.

After two weeks of this, company A came to realize that they weren't really interested in paying me for the slow ramp up over several months that blogging would accomplish, nor investing the several hundred or thousand dollars in a marketing campaign.

Furthermore, they weren't really interested in my writing about anything other than the great features of company A. Which, as any blogger will know, does not a popular blog make.

Still, writing daily about a company does have an important effect. Search engines pick this up and it keeps the company's name active in search results. Investors and reporters like this.

So they weren't interested in the traffic building aspects of blogging, only in the daily post about a feature on the site. This resulted in our reducing my working hours to only 1 hour a day.

While this was happening, I got more ads going on my personal site. I'm being paid about the same for both blogs: from company A for the company blog, and from ads for my private blog. Each about $250 - $400 a month.

To live in Israel, I need a minimum of around $2000 a month. $3000 is more like it. $4000 or $5000 is comfortable.

That means that I'm looking for more part time blogging opportunities which will fill in the other hours of my day. Figure 1 hour a day for company A, an hour for my personal blog, and that leaves me 6 to 8 hours for other companies. If I get 1 large assignment, or a few small assignments, earning around $1500 to $2500 a month, I'll be making a living, working hard, and enjoying myself.

But easy street? Certainly not. Not until I find myself writing a popular blog which gets so much ad income that I can work for only a few hours a day. I'm envious of those bloggers who can pull in $100 a day or more in ad income. I would have to change my topic niche to accomplish that.


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