Making Money with Your Own Website

I’ve been reading a lot on how to making money writing online. Since I’m partial to writing and not getting out of bed it’s the most ideal gig for me. So far I’ve made the majority of the money I have from writing relying on other websites. This is safe, just like working for an established business as opposed to starting your own. It’s also limiting as you don’t have full control.

As a writer, you should always look for as many streams of revenue as possible. I barely make anything from the Cleat Report. The moment I was able to get WordAds onto the site was also when is started writing at SportsBlog where I make decent money. WordAds, while simple, can be tough to get accepted to (or so I’ve heard). There are other options though and it requires you to build your own site from scratch. This is unfortunately not something I know much about however I can point you in the direction of what you should do to make money.

Ads are the best way for a writer to make money along with the acceptance of donations. I prefer ads because I have enough trouble getting people I actually know to lend me cash. I’m sure you’ll find the same problems early on in your writing career. Ads are great because the money is paid by big corporations plugging a product. When you ask for donations, especially early on in your blogging adventures, you’re asking your cheap friends to pay.

There are plenty of different ads to include on your site. Unfortunately with a simple WordPress.com blog you are limited to WordAds like I am here. If you create a site through WordPress.org though, you can explore different options. I’m in the process of planning out a site where I will experiment further with these.

The best ads at the moment are the ones that target your readers based on their search history. They’re known as Native Ads. Sites like Taboola and OutBrain are the big ones. If you Google alternatives to these you’ll find different resources pointing you in the direction. You can decide rom there which ones work best for you. Many you can add to your site immediately without any traffic requirements. Others do unfortunately require you to already be a big shot.

These ads are the ones you’ll see everywhere now such as the “From Around the Web” ones that try to trick you into clicking on them. There are many different kinds similar with many imploring the same strategies. It’s actually a smart way of marketing as it relates more to your content and different websites you’ve been to.

I’ll let you know more about my experience with these types of ads once I actual use them. For now, feel free to share any input you have on this topic.

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My Twitter Lists You Should Subscribe To

I’ve been neglectful in offering some writing advice lately and this will continue today. I just wanted to let you know you should totally follow my two Twitter lists I created if you’re a baseball writer. Right now I have one for Baseball Writers and another for MLB Players. You can thank me when you start writing posts and breaking news before other websites.

Baseball Writers Twitter List

MLB Players Twitter List

If you have any questions on how to use these, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Querying Major Sports Websites: I Have No Advice on This

By the time this posts I will have queried a major sports website on joining them as part of the writing team. Spectacularly, I was actually planning on doing a blind one (without their call for new writers) in the coming days when I actually saw they were looking for writers. It’s a site I do think I could fit in with if only given the chance.

Querying is tough to do. I’ve queried publishers in the past along with agents and managers in my pursuit to get books published. I never got a real response back other than stock messages provoking me to quit. I couldn’t. Writing is something I can’t give up at this point if only because I don’t have any other hobbies, very many friends, or desire to follow any other dreams.

Thus far my attempts at getting an actual regularly paying gig as a writer have been tough. There aren’t many out there anyway so I don’t feel like a complete failure. This particular one almost feels like destiny. Of course, that could just give me an even greater fall when I never hear back or end up publicly mocked.

I’ll keep you update. If you never hear from me again assume I got the gig right away or died from crying.

Dealing with Internet Trolls: We All Do

Internet trolls are everywhere. I’m pretty sure the Internet was created just to give them a haven once people stopped crossing bridges to get across small rivers by foot.

We all do become these wild, untamed monsters at some point in our Internet surfing. A rule to follow to ensure you don’t grow too much hair is to never actually become a bully. By this I mean you shouldn’t pick on someone smaller than you. Leaving a trollish comment on a big company site or a well-known writer is a little different as they’re in the position to actually handle your negative comments which is where you should hope to get to.

Internet-Troll

When I first began writing on the Internet my skin was much thinner than it is now. But hey, I’m sure I have consumed more donuts since then.

Every troll comment, whether genuine or not, did dig at my soul. Eventually I had so many people say negative things it no longer seemed to bother me. It was after publishing my first article on Yahoo Sports when someone suggested I must have penises for fingers because my writing was so poor. This was the first comment I ever received on a “high-profile” article and obviously hasn’t left my memory if only for the amusing image. Oh and many people agreed with him too.

The best advice I have for Internet trolls is to laugh about it. My take is if they disagree with you, you still win because you actually went out and wrote about it. All they did was make a quick comment without much effort. For the outright nasty people, imagine them with penises for fingers living an awful, lonely life. Anybody who is going to be rude to you on the Internet doesn’t deserve your time anyway or to see you cry from their hurtful words, even if they’re honest.

Most of the time I don’t read comments people leave me anymore. On Innings Eaters, where I don’t get too many anyway, I will since they need to be approved. I do the same here on The Cleat Report. If ever I do write somewhere with dozens of comments I’ll avoid reading them. Writing sports means you’re going to have people disagree with you often and usually they have awful things to say about your mother in the process.

Just remember, their mother gave birth to a child with penises for fingers. Don’t feel bad when they disagree with your opinion on who should bat leadoff for the New York Mets.

Creating Twitter Lists for Your Sports Writing

Twitter lists are a good way of navigating through the mud and finding the users you follow that you don’t want to miss. For your sports writing career, it’s essential to use this feature.

I just started doing this and I must say as tedious as it was to go through the 400 or so people I follow in the site, putting the baseball writers in one batch was worth it. Now, instead of seeing tweets I don’t really care about, I can go straight to the ones I don’t want to miss.

It’s simple enough to set up. Go to the people you follow, click on the grey gear icon next to the name, and add them to whichever list you want. For the first person you’ll need to create the list. I recommend keeping the names simple. Something like “Baseball Writers,” “Philadelphia Sports,” “People I Know” works and will be what I use on my own list aka don’t copy me or else I’ll sue.

Now with this setup I no longer have to see retweets about things I don’t really care much about until I’m prepared. I can get straight to catching the latest free agent signing or trade.

I’m still learning other ways to best use Twitter to help advance my sports writing career. This is one of the essentials everyone should take the time to do.

Appearing on SB Nation’s Twinkie Town: Add “One Blogger” to My List of Aliases

I’ve noticed Innings Eaters popping up on sites like Fansided and SB Nation on a regular basis lately. A few times I’ve been credited by name. The most recent appearance was something new.

twinkie town

See that one about Tyler Clippard going to the Minnesota Twins? The “one blogger” they’re referring to is me. Here’s the article they’re talking about.

The above is a screenshot from Twinkie Town, the SB Nation Twins blog. Amazingly, most of the comments in reference to my suggestion of the Twins signing Clippard were not meant with insults. Instead, many of the readers embraced the idea. This is pretty shocking to me because I fault this idea was yanked out of thin air. I wanted to write about Clippard, saw a match with the Twins, and it landed on the daily round-up post.

While it hasn’t landed too many hits, it’s always nice to know you’re reaching some die hard fans.

Admittedly Bad Editing Advice Nobody Else Will Give You

Becoming a great, good, or even readable writer requires some editing skills. It’s something I work at a lot because it’s one of my weaknesses.

I can guarantee you there are plenty of grammatical errors in my writings. Most people suffer from this when they don’t have an editor working for them. Not only that, English is a tough language and there are rules I’m not even familiar with…and I have a blog! I’m practically this century’s Merriam or Webster.

You should always edit your work. However, when you’re first getting started and writing online, I wouldn’t worry so much about making sure your article is clear of all errors and meets every demand of our difficult language. Typos should be murdered and very basic guidelines should be followed. It’s those other parts of the language I don’t find very important unless you’re writing for a major website that requires a certain style which can be neglected.

One writing rule you should begin practicing is refraining from using the same word in a sentence. Try not to repeat it. The more you edit your work, the more you will pick up on how weak your vocabulary is. You’ll find words such as “just” and “like” popping up often. One of my crutch words is “that” and I try to avoid the word as much as possible since I know I’ll end up using it plenty anyway. All three words can be completely avoided most of the time anyway. This will help your writing significantly. If all you did was went through each sentence and picked one word then found a synonym you’d have a bigger variety.

Photo Courtesy of writerswin.com
Photo Courtesy of writerswin.com

To save yourself time before becoming a full-time paid writer, the moment when you should edit a lot better yet have professional editors working for you, I would suggest finding a way to edit where you don’t waste too much time. Writing online about sports news does require you to write often and I feel spending lots of time editing can be wasteful. You’re not going to win any Pulitzers. You’re also not going to get discovered because of how great your editing is. You probably will have some people look away if you get your facts wrong or have articles filled with poor grammar. In the sense of strictly making money though, you honestly never have to do any editing at all. This is incredibly unfortunate because some “writers” out there are not even close to becoming respected because of how poorly they write.

It’s probably bad advice to give you when I said you should half-ass your editing. My strategy is to write then go through the article for a rewrite while editing at the same time. Anything going somewhere important should at the very least receive a second look-through.

I can’t give you any true grammar rules to follow other than little things I notice about other writers. I’ll go over those at some point, such as how to properly use player’s names. Hopefully your writing style is more Dead-Spin and less Associated Press because the former allows for a bit more freedom of expression instead of delivering nothing but the facts.

Writing Good SEO Titles with Your Sports Articles

SEO is a term you’ll see a lot when learning about writing online. It stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the generic way of saying something is written well to the point where search engines will pick it up. Think of SEO as the friend who fixes your hair for you or points out there’s a booger on your shirt before a big date. It’s your best friend when writing online.

A lot of SEO depends on the site you’re writing for and takes a lot more than following the basics to get the full benefits. Sites with built-in SEO are incredibly helpful as nobody is quite sure how to keep up with all of the constant changes by Google. Along with backlinks and those other fun time consuming things you should do to get more readers, creating strong titles are necessary and a really easy way to grab attention.

Let me give you an example of a good title and one that needs work. We’ll use New York Yankees’ pitcher Andrew Miller as an example since I wrote about him recently on Innings Eaters and took it into consideration.

Photo Courtesy of CBS New York
Photo Courtesy of CBS New York

Good Title: Andrew Miller Trade Possibilities

Bad Title: Possible Andrew Miller Deals

The same amount of words with the name present and sending the same message, there’s a big difference.

“Andrew Miller trade” is the real key. Anything else practically doesn’t matter. Maybe you’d want to list out some of the teams he could possibly get dealt to with a comma between each. You want to deliver keywords, the basics of SEO, but also remain very clear in what your article is about. A lot of people try to get too creative and smart for their own good. Use your actual writing, not your title, to show-off what a great writer you are.

I don’t like the second example because “Andrew Miller deals” is not a strong sports term with a clear message. Deals means a lot more than trades. It’s called MLB Trade Rumors for a reason and not MLB Deal Rumors. Deals are what we get on food at the shopping market. Although we think of them as synonyms in the sports world, as you should when making sure your vocabulary is stretched, when putting a title to your article it’s not going to help you any.

Of course, one you have a big following, this doesn’t matter as much. Still, you’ll want to follow these practices as it certainly does help you get more hits through Google, Yahoo, and your Bing using grandmother.

Let’s look at one more example while we’re at it. Bad titles are a pet peeve of mine because I’ve seen some perfectly capable writers fail at it. Here are two more about a made-up trade involving Miller and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Good Title: Andrew Miller Traded to LA Dodgers

Bad Title: The Yankees Send Andrew Miller to Los Angeles

There are a few things wrong with the second one. First I want to go over why I like the first. The first is good because it starts with the simple statement letting everyone know Miller was traded. When people are searching on the Internet keep in mind they will half-ass their searches and not type in verbs. Sometimes, to sound intelligent, you should include them. I know I do often to keep from people realizing I’m a complete moron.

In the case of the bad title, the use of “the” at the beginning is completely unnecessary and looks bad. You’re writing the title to an online article; leave it out. I also have a problem with the word “send” as it doesn’t strike me as a sports-centric choice. Go with trade, always. In your actual article you can and should mix it up.

Hopefully you also noticed another problem with the title even in regards to basic grammar. Saying the Yankees sent a player to Los Angeles is not clear. First of all, you should stick with cities or team nicknames in the title, not switching between the two. When the city has two teams, like Los Angeles does, you’re better off going with the nickname to avoid any confusion. Plus, nicknames are more sports specific.

There’s a lot to learn about SEO. When I write about a certain subject I’m always mindful to use the big piece at least one other time in my story. WordPress offers plug-ins that can help you with this where you can specifically target search terms to direct people your way. There will always be new information on SEO so make sure you read up on it. Use keywords in your title and keep things as simple as possible. Read other successful news-related blogs for ideas on how to do this to the best of your ability.

My First Bleacher Report Article…Sort Of

I noticed on Innings Eaters I was getting a couple of hits from Bleacher Report, one of the most popular sports websites out there. Unfortunately there was no way of knowing exactly which article it was getting all of the hits, but I had an idea as one post I made about Jay Bruce as a possible replacement for Alex Gordon was climbing up the charts. Some research on their site and I determined this was indeed the case.

bleacher report story

I’ve noticed a few of my articles linked to other sites lately. Last week one was on the Baltimore Orioles’ page. This is a pretty big deal as the linking gave me a couple thousand views.

Overall it has been a big month for my Innings Eaters blog. Plenty of Google hits earlier in the month, links from other websites impress me even more as someone took the time to actually select my post. I’m not sure how or why it was chosen yet in doing so I’ve been able to have two consecutive days of over 8,000 views.

Hopefully this has landed me on the BR radar. More than anything, I have to pray there are no decision-makings working for Bleacher Report whom I teased in high school.

I’ll do a bit of research into how to get on their list a little more frequently as the exposure has done a lot of good for Innings Eaters this month.