By Simon Donohue
One of the main reasons I started the Dadsdayoff blog was to learn more about digital and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to promote products or services, or have an outlet for their writing.
I was a print journalist for a long time before the advent of the internet changed all that. My first few jobs as a reporter involved sitting at a manual typewriter tapping away, so I’m very much a digital explorer rather than a digital native.
Digital has provided tools beyond the wildest dreams I had as a young reporter, when the process of publishing involved dozens of people and significant investment in infrastructure.
The words I typed would be edited on paper by my news editor, then by a sub-editor, then they’d be moved about by a compositor, placed by a page designer, bundled off to a printer… It was an intense process.
Now I write via an app and hit publish. Just me, no matter where I am. Just like the Bolton Metro News – my first paper – my words can be distributed to thousands of people. And I’ve monetised my blog too, through advertising.
So how do you do that?
- First, have something to write about. It’s easier to maintain a passion, or write content for a purpose – business promotion for example
- Start out with a free WordPress site – other free blogging sites are available – as it’s really easy to use and it will give you a taste of how it feels to write and publish. The free version has limitations in terms of design and will carry adverts that you can’t control, but you’ll be up and running in no time.
- Promote your work by sharing links to your posts on social media.
- Still interested? Move on up to a hosted WordPress site. It’s more difficult to do and requires some technical knowledge but gives you more flexibility and control over things like plug in features, design and advertising
- Speaking of which, it’s relatively straightforward to set up advertising on your site through Google. It won’t make you a fortune if you have low traffic but it’s an interesting exercise if you simply want to learn more about digital and website monetisation
- You’ll need to register for a Google AdSense account, then associate your website through a verification process.
- Once you’ve done all that, you can use it to generate adverts that you can place on your website using the WordPress dashboard
- Adverts are generated by Google depending on the interests of the person visiting your website, using their browser cookies to indicate interests.
- What you’ll be paid is based on the number of people who see the adverts and the number of times they click through, which obviously generates a higher return
- You might not make a fortune and probably won’t but it’s a very rewarding way of learning more about the nuts and bolts of digital publishing and promotion.