12 June 2009

Blogging Tips : When did you get start with your own blog?

Interview with Ali Hale on Staff Blogging

I first met Ali Hale via a guest post submission. She sent an article to be published on Daily Writing Tips, and it was so good that I offered her the chance of becoming a paid staff writer on the blog. She accepted, and stayed with us for almost 8 months, writing over 50 posts. After that she went on to become a paid writer for several other high profile blogs.

Last week she contacted me to talk about her newest project, which is an ebook course aimed at people who want to make money with paid writing gigs. I through it was an interesting idea, as most courses around teach people how to make money with their blogs, and not with their writing, which according to Ali, can be more profitable to many people.

I asked her some questions on this topic, and here is what she answered:

1. When did you get start with your own blog, and when did you start writing for other people?

I first got interested in “Pro Blogging” (and became an avid reader of Daily Blog Tips!) in Autumn 2007, and launched my first blog,, in January 2008.

My first guest post for was a thinly disguised attempt to get more than three readers for my own blog, also in January 2008. By the end of February, I was a paid writer for Diet Blog.

2. Do you think that for some people writing as a staff writer for other blogs can be more profitable than trying to make money with their own?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, I strongly believe that for most people, it’s more profitable to work as a staff writer. Think about it this way: if you wanted to write for magazines, you’d find an existing publication to freelance for - you wouldn’t try to launch your own. Obviously, it’s much cheaper to launch a blog than a magazine, but building up traffic is a long, hard slog.

From a personal point of view, I made peanuts in 2008 from The Office Diet (a few cents of advertising revenue each day) - but by the end of 2008, I was making enough from my work as a staff writer on other blogs to pay my rent and bills each month.

Back in 2005 or 2006, problogging was new enough that newbies could come in and make good money. It’s still possible, but unless you’re very very talented or very very lucky, staff blogging is far more likely to get you a good, reliable income. There are just so many great blogs out there already!

3. How much time do you spend every month with your writing gigs, and how much money do you earn with them?

I spend about eight hours a week on my blogging gigs (that includes admin, brainstorming, answering comments etc, not just the writing), and I make around $1000 a month (it fluctuates slightly as sometimes a blog will want extra or fewer posts). That works out to about $30/hour.

The rest of my time goes on other paid work (copywriting and various website design/creation services), some voluntary work for my church and college, and my part-time Creative Writing MA (a post-graduate degree).

4. People often wonder if they need outstanding writing skills to make money writing. Do you think that is the case?

Absolutely not. If you work as a staff writer, you need to be confident with your writing, but no-one’s going to expect you to be the next Shakespeare. If you really struggle with basic issues like grammar, or if you find writing a slow and torturous process, however, you might want to think about finding a different job.

I would suggest that staff writers need to be able to:

  • Communicate ideas clearly (it’s actually an advantage here to use simple, rather than “literary”, language)
  • Write in a conversational, friendly style
  • Avoid glaring errors with grammar, spelling and punctuation (readers will forgive minor slip-ups, so don’t obsess over every comma)

You definitely don’t need to be an English major to make good money from writing. If you feel that you do need to brush up your writing skills, I recommend, and as great places to learn.

5. Do you think that the economic crisis affected the demand for staff writers on the web?

I’ve certainly not seen my work dip - in fact, I’ve taken on some new regular work over the past few months. I’ve not noticed a rise in demand, but I certainly feel safer having multiple clients rather than one employer! If one of the blogs I write for closes, it won’t be a big financial problem.


Ali asked if I would like to become an affiliate for her Staff Blogging Course, but instead I asked if she could create a discount code for our readers. She agreed. If you use the code “DBTreader” you will get $5 off. The price of the course is $19, so that is 25% off.

No comments: