Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2019: Making Money by Blogging with WordAds

Once upon a time, there were a whole lot of folks who thought that blogging was the quick way to a work from home job. All it took was dedication, the right topics/audience, and the time to create quality content.

While I won’t say that is never the case, I feel it’s pretty rare. Now days, I feel it’s even more rare than back when Full-Time Blogger was the dream. The Net is constantly changing, and new technologies, such as video and streaming, nudge out the old. For a while it was blogging, then it was building up a YouTube channel, now everyone wants to be a professional Streamer.

But let’s reel that back in and talk about what’s feasibly possible. If you host your blog on WordPress.com, it is possible to make money from WordAds. However, don’t expect it to pay the bills… much less even cover the cost of hosting (unless you’re really lucky).

My WordAds Experience

Looking at my WordAds stats, I started hosting ads on my blog back in February of 2018. Now, WordAds does not pay out until you reach over $100 in revenue.

To put it into perspective, I got my first payout June of 2019.

Now, keep in mind, in order to host WordAds, you must have the Premium WordPress.com package. This is $8 a month, about $96 a year.

My thinking on taking this plunge last year was… it’s only $3 a month over what I was already paying for a Personal account. And if I can make $100 in a year in revenue, then my blog would pay for its own hosting.

This didn’t quite happen, as you can see… But hey, $107 in my pocket is more than nothing. While it didn’t completely pay my hosting, it did cover some. Also, I went ahead and grabbed a deal to lock in my WordPress package for two more years at a discounted price earlier in this year, so I’m paying a lot less for hosting for the upcoming period.

WordAds Eligibility

One more thing to keep in mind – there is an application process. Just because you upgrade to Premium doesn’t mean WordAds will approve you. The exact amount of traffic required is vague, and you must also have your own domain name.

Q: I applied to WordAds. When will it be available to me?
A: Our advertisers have a minimum traffic requirement. Once you reach the level they’re looking for, your application will be automatically sent to them for evaluation.
Q: What is the minimum traffic requirement?
A: A site generally needs thousands of pageviews each month to earn meaningful revenue.
Q: Why do I need a custom domain name?
A: We are unable to provide WordAds for sites with the default free [example].wordpress.com URL, so you’ll need to either register a new domain name or map an existing domain name to your WordPress.com blog of choice.

From the WordAds FAQ

I guess somewhere down the line, in the many years I’d hosted at WordPress, I somehow qualified for WordAds. I don’t think I have a ton of traffic every month, but apparently, it is enough.

The Ads

Revenue each month is not just based on the amount of traffic you get, but the quality of the ads that WordAds can provide to your blog. This appears to vary widely from month to month – some months I have a lot more views than others, but make less revenue! How does that even work?

My list of revenue – Feb started at the end of the month

I read about it, and it really does rely on who is advertising with WordAds and how much the advertiser is willing to pay. For example, April and June were pretty good months for me, partially because I was seeing FFXIV ads on my blog. I’m going to guess that S/E is willing to put more ad money towards Shadowbrigners than the standard ads that are served up normally.

It also helped that Shadowbringers hype drummed up some traffic – but as you can see, that didn’t help May very much for some reason (?)

Let’s talk about Ad Control. I’ve never seen a way to tell an ad not to display on my site. Some of the ads don’t really relate to my content, but nothing has ever been offensive that I’ve seen.

While you do have some control over where ads appear on your blog, it’s only a general location. For example, you can turn it on or off on your sidebar, but you can’t control where on the sidebar it shows – I’m going to guess this is based on your WordPress theme (?)

Ad Placement Settings

Overall, the system is pretty set-it-and-forget-it and it takes care of itself. I don’t really mess with ad settings, or even do much more than check back on it every now and then.

WordPress has added an Ads section to the JetPack stats, so now you can see your earnings daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. This is a lot better than it used to be – simply waiting to see what last month’s payout was at some random point in the month after.

So, is WordAds worth it? I’m not thrilled to slap ads on my blog, but I’ve also not heard anyone complain about them. It’s low maintenance, but also low return. However, some return is better than no return, right?

Disclaimer: All this being said, please, please keep in mind that just because you upgrade to a Premium WordPress account does not assure WordAds will approve your application. So please don’t run out and upgrade your WordPress account based on what I wrote here. This is only my personal experience, and from doing reading, it varies depending on the blog.

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust Brainstorming – Using Gmail Tasks

It’s brainstorming week at Blaugust – and rather than tackle that big ole topic, I’d like to talk about jotting down ideas as they come to mind. Specifically, a tool I’ve taken to using myself – Tasks within Gmail.

Now, if you already have an app or a program where you drop your to-dos or ideas, great! But if you’re like me, most of these apps didn’t stick. I’d set up an account at something like Evernote, and even download the phone app, but then forget all about it because it’s just not in a place I think to go daily.

However, I’m a Gmail user and it’s pretty typical for me to have my Gmail open on my browser 99.9% of the time I’m on my computer. So when I noticed the little Task button on my Gmail sidebar, I explored it… and found a list-making tool that became pretty effective for me.

It’s not as fancy as some of the other tools out there, but the fact that it exists in a space that I’m looking at several times a day makes it effective. I keep notes about posts I want to come back to read, reminders about various gaming and IRL things, and… when Blaugust rolled around, I made a task to keep up with ideas for blog posts as they came to me.

It’s really simple to create a task with several subtasks, set a date/time, and even have different task lists. Individual subtasks are hidden when you check them off, as is the main task when you finish it. There’s also a mobile app version of the task list, though I’ve never actually messed with it. I tend to be a PC person when working in a browser and in mail.

So, as ideas come to you during this month, be sure to jot them down! If you don’t already use an app for this, and you are a Gmail user like I am, see if the Google Tasks can help you out with it.

Or, well, you could always use a notebook, I suppose. 😉

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2019: Introducing This Blog

Greetings to those of you discovering my blog for the first time through the pulse of Blaugust! I spent some time going through the list of bloggers participating and adding folks to my Feed Reader and following via WordPress when I could.

Since there are some new faces, I wanted to take time to introduce myself and my blog, and talk just a bit about how it came to be and why it is the way it is.

Hello!

I’m a middle-aged gal gamer and technical writer by trade. I’ve been writing (fiction) since I was old enough to make up stories, and have carried that with me throughout my life. I was first introduced to the Internet back in 1997-1998, and being the tech geek I was, fell in love with the concept and idea that one could connect with so many different people on the other side of the screen.

Naturally, I began posting writing online, to an old Geocities account. This was mostly fanfic (which I didn’t know had the name fanfic) that I’d written long-hand in my young teens and stuffed in a box under my bed for years. That story still exists online… but that’s not important. What is important is that from the moment I understood what the Internet could do, I was posting writing to it in some format.

Short History of Me on the Interwebs

Eventually, Geocities gave way to other less tedious means of communication (meaning you didn’t have to know how to code HTML to post stuff), and things like LiveJournals became popular. I’ll say that’s probably the first blog-format type writing I did. It’s all long-gone now, and I’m not sure it even called itself a “blog,” but it cemented the idea that hosted websites could give writers a CMS environment to post their thoughts online.

Eventually I installed my own WordPress – it was a very small and personal blog, and I don’t even recall what it was named or that it had any function. The only thing I do remember is that it taught me to never post too detailed information about yourself/job/family online!

I recall one day being shocked that someone had Googled a certain phrase that was related to my job, and it took them to my blog because I’d mentioned something about it in a post about a work conference. While there was nothing bad in that post, it shook me – I didn’t realize Google had such deep-reaching abilities until then. I’ve always been the type to separate my RL from my net life, so while nothing came of it, it was rather uncomfortable, and I learned that lesson. Hence why you don’t see much about my RL in this blog.

How This Blog Came To Be

The story of how this blog came to be is too long to tell, even if I could remember it rightly. I’ve had so many blogs over the years that I don’t remember the half of them. But what they taught me was this: When I try to focus on just one topic and don’t have any flexibility, that blog will fail.

I know a lot of times you hear about people telling you to find your niche and things like that when it comes to blogging. I tried that. I tried it over and over. I’ve had blogs about webcomic making, fiction writing, specific gaming, RP characters, fitness, etc. None of them made it.

The reason why?

I discovered over the course of the years that I need to be able to write about what’s inspiring me from day to day. While this blog often focuses on my main MMO – FFXIV – I also love to write about an awesome Steam or Switch game that blew me away. Or maybe I want to talk about RL with my cats (doesn’t happen often, but I have). Or about progress I am (or not) making with learning to play violin. Maybe I’m into learning Blender and creating content for Second Life…

Whatever my creative spark, that’s what I want to talk about in a post. It seems simple, but so many writers paint themselves into a corner by dedicating a blog to just one game or topic. And then, when life changes or they’ve lost interest, that blog suddenly falls to the wayside. It’s not their fault or the blog’s fault, it’s just life!

So when I created this blog, I left it wide open as a “Gaming and Geek” blog to talk about whatever pleases me. I consider it a hobby blog, and I used my Internet handle as the name. Sometimes I’m a little regretful of that, but at this point, it is what it is.

Even this blog has gone through several changes. It was rebranded and moved from self-hosted to WP hosted (which I don’t regret). But for now, I feel like it’s pretty well settled where it is.

Anyhow, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this ramble, congrats! Have a cookie! And if you have any questions for me about my blog or my processes, feel free to leave a comment!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, FFXIV, MMORPGs

Welcome Blaugust & August Gaming Goals

Welcome to the new month, and to the very first day of Blaugust! For anyone who doesn’t know already, this is a month that bloggers rally together to support blogging and their fellow bloggers, both new and old. I’ll likely be talking about this throughout the month, but if you’re interested in learning more, click here!

Now on to my goals for this month. I think this is going to be another month of rather loose goals and just plodding along making progress.

FFXIV Goals – My Main

As expected, my main earned Level 70 on Warrior last night! I also finished all the job quests, aside from the final Level 70 one, which I hope to tackle tonight. So her goals are as follows:

  • Level Dark Knight (Daily Beast Tribes)
  • Level Carpenter
  • Level Trusts (With Bard)
  • Level Fisher
  • Gear up with new Tomes

Mostly a lot of leveling going on here. Dark Knight is the next tank I’m going to pull through using daily beast tribe quests in Stormblood. As I see it, it will take about two months to finish off my final two tanks. Dancer I can level through roulettes since I don’t mind playing it in group content. So I’m not as worried about catching up with that as I am about just making slow, steady progress with my tanks.

FFXIV Goals – Amon

  • Level Miner to 80
  • Earn Scrip gear sets for Botanist, Miner and Alchemist
  • Level Fisher

I’m pulling back on things for Amon since I got most of what I wanted done on him already. He’s a level 76 Miner at this point, so getting him to 80 is do-able. I’ve already started earning Scrip gear for his Botanist, so finishing out those sets shouldn’t be too hard to do. And I’d like to dabble in Fishing with him as well.

I’m not as worried about earning Tomes for his gear, but will probably do some alliance runs here and there (which nets Tomes). I’ll take that as it comes.

FFXIV Goals – Tai

The same as last month, Tai is my Stormblood -progression character. I guess this is a thing now, since I have so many characters stuck in Stormblood. I really want to get him at least through the base 4.0 MSQ. I think once that’s done, and I can start gearing him up, the way forward will be a whole lot easier.

Blaugust Goals

And, of course, there’s Blaugust Goals. I’d really like to post more consistently this month, if nothing else, at least every week day. I’m also going to make an effort to get other people’s blogs on my feed reader and try to keep up with the Blaugust Discord.

If there’s any specific blogging topic or question you have, feel free to drop it in a comment to me, and I’ll certainly look at writing something up for it!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2019 – Festival of Blogging

It’s almost that time of year again. The summer is heating up and August is quickly approaching. And for bloggers, that means it’ll once again be time for Blaugust!

If you run a blog, or want to start up a blog, it’s the perfect time to do it! Here’s what you need to know.

About Blaugust

Blaugust is the brainchild of fellow gaming blogger Belghast, who originally started it as a blogging challenge during the month of August. The idea was to try to write a post for each day of the month. However, as the face of blogging has changed over time, so has the structure and goals of Blaugust.

I think he says it best, so I hope he doesn’t mind if I quote him:

We live in a time when blogs are going dark and the hope is to keep infusing the community with a fresh lease on life. Those of us who have been doing it for over a decade now can easily lose hope. It sometimes takes a fresh batch of whippersnappers to keep us engaged and interested in making sure that the community thrives.

If you have a blog that is waning in frequency, or if you ever thought of creating one… this month is the perfect time to put those plans into action.

Last year, I took on the role of mentor for Blaugust, and joined the Discord group. However, timing was rough for me as I had just spun up my FFXIV RP blog on Tumblr and was heavily into fiction writing. Sadly, I didn’t feel as if I gave Blaugust the attention it deserved, but Bel seems forgiving of that.

This year, I’m going to try and make up for it. Though I’m not a super active Discord user in general, I’m already planning posts and topics I want to talk about next month. There’s also a handy-dandy schedule, which is there to offer suggestions on what to write each week. You don’t have to follow it, but it gives loose topic ideas if you find yourself grasping for a post.

There’s plenty of time to get involved and start planning. You can find the sign-up sheet, Discord join link, and more information on the main Blaugust post here.

So if you’re a long-time blogger, a blogger who hasn’t written in a while, a new blogger, or someone who just wants to try blogging for the first time — you’ll find new connections, blogs to read, suggestions/help/inspiration, and readership here!

Hope to see you in Blaugust!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

#Blaugust2018 Tally & August Gaming Goals in Review

Tally Tally!

Yesterday, I wrote a farewell post to Blaugust a day early, noting that while I posted 18 posts here (including this one) on this blog, I did the majority of my writing on my creative RP Tumblr this month. I didn’t think that counted, but the comments I got said the contrary.

So! I’m going to leave that in poor Bel’s hands (or whomever is doing the judging for the Blaugust awards this year). Here’s my Tumblr archive for this month for proof of crazy fiction and RP writing! 🙂

Based on fiction alone, I wrote a 7-part short story called “Chocobo’s Tale” and another 7-part series called “Decent“… along with about 6 more chapters that are in reserve to post over the next week or so.

I’m not really overly worried about the award, but just wasn’t sure what counted. I had a blast writing for my fiction/RP blog this month, and that’s really all that matters!

FFXIV Leveling Goals

  • Level Culinarian to 70 ✓
  • Level Dragoon to 70 ✓
  • Level Astro (maybe?)

Not only did I finish leveling Culinarian to 70, but I leveled ALL of my remaining crafting jobs to 70 and finished ALL of the job quests associated with them, too.

I was a tad lazy at the Alliance Roulette this month, so I’m about halfway through level 69 on Dragoon. But tonight should probably get level 70, or pretty close to it, so I’m going to mark it as a done deal.

Still haven’t touched Astro, but that’s something I’m going to be working on now that all of my crafting leveling is out of the way and I have more time.

FFXIV Cleanup Quest Goals

  • Summoner – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Ninja – Lv 50-60 Quests
  • Culinarian Quest catch-up ✓

Again, I failed on finishing job quests… for everything except my crafters. BUT, I’m going really make an effort do work on these now that crafting leveling is done. I’m pretty confident I can knock some of these out finally next month.

And that was August in a nutshell!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Gaming

Blaugust: Keep Your Finger Near the Print Screen Key

The first week of Blaugust is officially Topic Brainstorming Week. So I wanted to talk shortly about one way of generating ideas for your blog. While this seems to primarily focus on gaming blogs, this can carry over into real life, too, if you just keep your phone camera handy at all times.

Now while this isn’t true for every day and every post, I’ve found a lot of my blogging content comes from just having an awareness of what’s going on around me, and being ready to capture that for future reference. 

In short, whenever I’m playing any game, part of my mind is on what experiences I might be able to share on my blog the next day. My finger is always near the screenshot key. I’m always looking for a topic starter or a story. For example, many of my FFXIV Tales from the Duty Finder stories are just the You-Had-To-Be-There moments that I captured via screenshot to bring back the next day as a post.

You might be saying, “But if you’re always thinking about blogging, how can you just enjoy the game?”

As a blogger, part of what makes me enjoy the game more is hunting down something that I think will be fun to share. The more you practice looking for the story in something, even mundane situations, the easier it gets. It’s really never a bother.

So I challenge you to think like a blogger and search for stories in everything you do during Blaugust.

Be it gaming, other hobbies, your work, or social interactions. There are so many stories hiding there, stories that only you can tell the world from your point of view… but only if you’re receptive to finding them. If you start to practice that mindset, you’ll often find the stress of “What do I write about next?” starts to fade as it becomes replaced by a more productive desire to find stories to share.

So, go out there and bring us back some stories! I’ll be reading!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Gaming, MMORPGs, Writing

Bl-August 2018 Gaming Goals

First, happy Blaugust everyone!

It’s that time again — a new month means new goals to reach for!

I’m not going to go into too much detail at the moment, but I am going to say that things may be in a flux for me when it comes to FFXIV in fairly short order. I haven’t talked a lot about the things happening over the past month (nothing bad, persay), but this may be a month when things realign in a different way. We’ll have to see how it shakes out.

In the meantime, I’m going to drop goals down here as if everything is normal. 😉

FFXIV Leveling Goals

  • Level Culinarian to 70 ✓
  • Level Dragoon to 70
  • Level Astro (maybe?)

Pretty straightforward and easy to hit. My Culinarian is level 64, so Namazu will take it to 70 with no sweat. Then, I’ll only have one more crafter to level to 70! My Dragoon is level 67, so Alliance Roulette should carry me through in short order.

I do really want to work on some of my lower level jobs, like Astro, but we’ll see what happens.

FFXIV Cleanup Quest Goals

  • Summoner – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Ninja – Lv 50-60 Quests
  • Culinarian Quest catch-up ✓

I’m trying this yet again this month. Maybe I’ll actually do it this time! I do have a motivation to complete Summoner quests as they have lore information that ties directly into my creative projects at this point. I also need to finish quests for Ninja to unlock all the skills so that I can keep leveling the job in Alliance Roulette.

I’m not sure where I left off on Culinarian quests, so that’s something I need to check on while I am leveling it using beast tribes.

Creative Goals

With Blaugust here upon us, of course one of my creative goals for this month is to post as much content as I can and participate where I can. I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold to a post every day as I really do value taking a break on the weekends, but we’ll see what I can do.

I’m also still going full force on my creative RP story project on Tumblr. I still have a whole lot to write for this, so it’s going to be competing with my blogging time, sadly. I’m going to try to keep things balanced, but my inspiration has been skewed towards fiction since last month, and I want to hold on to that feeling. It’s far easier for me to pound out a blog post than a piece of fiction!

 

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blogging: Importance of Voice & Choosing your Audience

It’s prep week for Blaugust Mentors, so I decided to sit down and write about something that’s been on my mind lately. Prep week focuses on giving some advice to new and upcoming bloggers — so you’ll see a lot of useful information about blogging platforms, choosing topics, consistently writing, picking your blog name/URL — very important stuff!

I wanted to tackle some things that aren’t always so obvious to think about from the start: Voice/Tone and Audience.

These are actually concepts to think about no matter what kind of writing you’re doing — blogging, fiction, bussines, etc. And while you might be going… “Oh gosh, I’m just trying to put some words on the page, when do I have time to figure this out?” …I feel that establishing your blogging voice and knowing who you’re writing for early on makes things easier.

What Attracts People?

Think about those folks you follow on social media. Think about your favorite streamers or YouTubers. What do these usually have in common?

They’ve established a personality (voice) that’s unique to themselves, and that’s something you’ve connected with. You start to like them as a person, and therefore, you come back to see what they have to say again and again.

They don’t have to share anything super personal for you to feel like… Hey, I jive with them, and they’re cool to listen to. If they take time to interact with their audience, oh man, they’re really a hit then!

There’s really no secret to what they’re doing (though it’s not always easy to maintain). They’ve just established a voice/personality and they’re consistent with producing content around a specific audience that responds to it. YOU!

Granted, this can take time and effort to achieve. Often, your own writing voice will evolve and change the more you learn about the craft of writing and the people you’re talking to. That’s totally okay! It’s a part of growing as a blogger.

But that doesn’t mean that when you sit down to roll up a blog that you can’t already be thinking: Hey, who am I writing this for? Who do I want to reach out to? 

Do you want to approach things with humor and an honest down-to-earth slice-of-life personality?

Or do you want to be known for someone who says what’s on their mind, no matter how brutally honest it is?

Maybe you want to establish yourself as someone who provides ground-breaking strategies and has an powerful authority over the topics you choose to write?

tone-of-voice

Different approaches will connect with different kinds of readers. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of the voice and approach you use — will you be able to maintain it over a long period of time, for example. Or will it exhaust you (or confine you) to try to step into the persona that you’re building?

Sometimes even refreshing an existing blog is just about taking a different point of view and changing your voice. 

With my blog, I’ve chosen to establish a casual and laid-back personality. It’s very much in line with who I really am IRL, so it’s easy to maintain.

You’ll hear me talk about what’s happened in my gaming life. I like to post things that make people laugh, if possible. I stay away from more somber and serious topics, even if that’s the direction everyone else seems to be taking. And if I do write things like a game review, it’s generally something based on how it made me feel, rather than a professional take on the game.

Thinking about your blogging voice and audience from the start will also help you decide on the overall feel and presentation of your blog. Once you know who you want to be, and who you want to write for, you can center your theme, blog name, and everything else around that to present a consistent face (a brand) to your audience.

 Join us at Blaugust!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Hey, Listen! Blaugust is Reborn!

If you’re a reader of other blogs across our lovely blogosphere, you may have already heard the news on the wind: Next week, Blaugust is returning! 

Though I haven’t written about it yet (was waiting till it was a bit closer to time… like now), this is an event I’m really pumped for… and that I hope that other bloggers will get excited about, too! I signed on to be a Mentor this year, so it’s probably time I start putting on my Mentor hat.

Prep week starts now. You’ll find a ton of great prep-posts ramping up already on the many mentor blogs that are participating — check out a spread sheet of who is who and where you can find them!

In the past, Blaugust (started by Belghast at Tales of the Aggronaut) has been focused on challenging folks to reach a certain number of posts within the month of August. This time around, he’s shaking the formula up quite a bit, and tossing in a pinch of Newbie Blogger Initiative (NBI) into the mix.

See more about this here.

This time, there are several levels of participation to take part in:

  • Newbie Blogger Award – You did it, you created a new blog and by god we are going to sing your praises for doing it!
  • Bronze Award – You made at least 5 posts during the Month of August 2018.
  • Silver Award – You made at least 15 posts during the Month of August 2018, go you!
  • Gold Award – You made at least 25 posts during the Month of August 2018, you are a badass!
  • Rainbow Diamond Award – You did it, you posted every single day during the Month of August 2018 and deserve accolades.

So even folks who ramp up a new blog or just post 5 times next month are all rockstars!

To help out through the month, we have the Mentor system and a structured set of themes to roll with:

  • July 25th – July 31st – Blaugust Prep Week – posts about the technical details of getting started in blogging.  Tutorials, advice, tips for naming your blog… that sort of stuff to get people ready to hit the ground on August 1st running.
  • August 1st – August 7th – Topic Brainstorming Week – posts about ideas for topics that the participants can then mine for the rest of the month.
  • August 8th – August 14th – Get to Know Each Other Week – hanging out and meeting other people in this new fledgling community and hopefully gaming together a bit!  Also highly support doing some sort of collaboration on shared topics!
  • August 15th – August 21st – Developer Appreciation Week – post about the things that you really appreciate in gaming or any other community… because chances are there is a developer or designer behind the things you love.
  • August 22nd – August 28th – Staying Motivated Week – tips and tricks that you might have to stay motivated and keep creating content against the tyranny of a blank screen.
  • August 29th – August 31st – The Final Stretch: Lessons Learned – as a way of getting us across the finish line, talk about some of the experienced you had during the month and maybe things you learned about yourself.

If this sounds exciting and interesting to you, by all means, please, please join us! Even if you don’t have a blog now, or need to blow the dust off an existing blog, we will welcome you with open arms!

Bel has a signup sheet to officialize your choice to participate, and a Discord where you can connect with fellow bloggers and mentors across the globe!

Hope to see you there!