The first days of the rest of my (blogging) life

I’m a few days into treating blogging as a full time job. My explanation still hovers somewhere between this being what I really want to do and something I’m doing until a new job comes along. Hopefully I’ll soon be earning enough to stop apologising for my choice.

The Plan

The simple motivator is my transition to New Deal and the government’s desire for me to stop being a statistic. What this means, in practical terms, is training in the basics of cashflow and book keeping then six months of supported trading. during that period I stay on benefits and any money I make goes into a business account, only to be touched for business use. At the end of the six months they give me my cheque book and I’m left to sink or swim.

What’s the business plan? Well it’s a collection of vague and specific aims.

Vaguely-

Increase revenue by raising readership and optimising the various advertising and other money making schemes.

More specifically-

Relaunch Eco House as How to Save the World for Free (a name right on the cusp between catchy and clunky, I admit), get it some media coverage and use it as a stepping stone to, preferably, a TV programme or, at least, a book.

Pimp up Spinneyhead. I see the site continuing as a repository of silly stuff with new material and the occasional bit of home made, and hopefully viral, media like the parrot.

Expand the Spinneyhead family. Not much chance chance of challenging Gawker or WeblogsInc but there are a few specialist areas to cover. Launched recently was Spinneyhead Scale, dedicated to modelmaking and tracking down online resources for modellers. Coming soon- Digest, covering foods, diet and general health stuff and Spinneyworld- local news from around the world.

Sell more stuff. This starts with make more stuff. I’ve fallen behind on the one product per week plan from the start ofc the year, it’s time to catch up. Obviously, every piece of merchandise will say Spinneyhead on it somewhere, all part of spreading the name.

Other stuff, including an increase in comments on other blogs and the use of trackbacks whenever possible. I’ll consider lots of things to raise my profile, within reason, particularly anything that’ll get a mention in the mainstream media. (I am not putting on a Batman outfit and pulling any Fathers4Justice style stunts.)

How to make money, and how much I need to make

I’ve discussed previously how much I’d be willing to live on. Minimum wage is currently �4.85. Assuming a 7 1/2 hour that equates to �36.37 per day, �9457.50 per year for a 5 day week. Is that possible? Of course it is, or there wouldn’t be any pro bloggers for me to take advice from. Can I manage it within 6 months? There’s the question.

So far Google AdSense has proven the best performing of the schemes I’ve signed up to. This month I’m averaging just over $1 a day. Last month was a better $1.60. Nowhere near what I need to be making, but it’s a start, something to build on.

Amazon is the next best payer. I get a few sales every quarter, but not always enough to trigger payout. The shop has generated a small amount of income, and the affiliate schemes haven’t been going long enough to get a good read on them.

The obvious first step toward increased revenue has to be the increase in traffic. Ad revenue and affiliate sales aren’t directly proportional to traffic, but getting the links in front of more eyeballs can’t hurt. In terms of AdSense I need to work on improving the value of each click- the headlines from How to Save the World for Free aren’t just there to cross promote, they’ve also convinced Google to serve me more than just ads for blogging services.

Amazon have recently improved their methods for building links, and I’ve been taking advantage of them. You’ll have noticed the highlighted boxes at the right or left of occasional posts, much more enticing than text links. I’ve also started doing more reviews. I’m being honest in them. I wouldn’t try to sell you Catwoman for instance (though, if you really must, please use the link I just provided), so when I say something is worth buying you can believe me.

I’ve already mentioned the first step to improving merchandise sales- make more of it. On top of that I have to get some of it into shops. Discontinuous Infill is stocked by one shop in Manchester, and I’m trying to get it press attention and more outlets for issue 2. Manchester has seasonal markets and my sister is looking at getting a stall at one of them. If I can go in with her on that I should be able to sell some stuff and generate some interest.

I’m still not sure what to do with the affiliate programmes. Would anyone like a Free Mini Vibrator?

In the long term I see a book. Not a book about blogging, far too many people have done those, possibly a tale of the successes and failures in my 100 Things quest and definitely something tied into How to Save the World for Free. If webcomicsnation ever gets off the ground I’d still like to do a webcomic and I’ve been mulling over a few part formed ideas for novels. But most likely this will take me in a direction I don’t expect.

So there you are. The state of the Spinneyhead nation as of Tuesday this week. Team Spinneyhead members- when I start turning a healthy profit you shall be paid an amount commensurate with your posting volume. Possibly in beer or chutney.

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