Last weekend in Chicago at the BlogHer conference, my 16-year-old daughter Chloe got to give her very first conference presentation. The topic: professional blogging. Chloe got to share her story of “making money while she sleeps” — through the creation of a blog about the popular virtual pets site Neopets.com.
Attending and speaking at BlogHer really inspired Chloe to start more blogs, to do more speaking, and to do more face-to-face networking with other bloggers. Her plans also include adding a forum to her blog using bbPress, WordPress’ sister project. What a great experience it was for her — at only 16 years of age — to present in front of an audience, to receive kudos from so many bloggers afterwards, and to get interviewed by BusinessWeek. To top it off, Danny Sullivan says he wants to have Chloe on a panel at an upcoming conference!
Here are some highlights of Chloe on her panel at BlogHer…
It all began when my daughter was 15… she turned to SEO and blogging instead of babysitting or running a paper route as her part-time job and turned her love for the Neopets into a profitable venture — with the help of a few smart SEO decisions. For one, Chloe used the keyword research tools Google Suggest and WordTracker to select both the name of her blog and its categories. The name became “The Ultimate Neopets Cheats Site” because it included the highly popular search term “neopets cheats.” She set up her blog through WordPress.com, and within a couple weeks it appeared on Page 1 in Google for “neopet cheats”. Chloe also devoted a bit of time to link building, through trusted blogs like Blogger Stories.
Wanting to turn her blog’s popularity into dollars, Chloe was excited to add Google ads onto her blog, but found out the hard way that this wasn’t possible due to WordPress.com’s restrictive terms of service that forbids the use of AdSense or other third-party ads. Chloe soon moved her entire blog to the domain neopets fanatic.com.
Now, I’m pleased to say, Chloe’s site currently ranks #6 for “neopets” (out of 6.2 million results). Her blog’s traffic has grown to produce $20 to $30 per day in AdSense revenue. Best of all, Chloe only spends a few hours a month blogging and maintaining the site. Not a bad ROI!
That equates to somewhere around $700 to $900 a month. If Chloe wanted to earn something comparable through a typical minimum-wage first job — at her age, this typically means flipping burgers, babysitting or operating a paper route — she’d have to work somewhere around 25 to 30 hrs per week. Because she’s built an income-generating asset (versus working dollars-for-hours for “The Man”), Chloe can take a paid vacation whenever she wants without affecting her take-home pay.
One of the key things to keep in mind about Chloe’s story, is that she’s proven that SEO is not “rocket science.” Heck, a kid can do it! (Note that I’ve only given her a few hours of guidance, she has done this all herself.) So if you have a solid foundation of SEO knowledge, why work for a living when you can create assets that work for you? 😀
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