Thursday, June 12, 2008

The ways I choose to balance the budget at the end of the month are changing again- every other month I sit down with the account books and the expenses and what I can do to affect them. It's not always an obvious choice. One thing I found that I need to do, as much for me as for the bank account, is to earn money while I'm caring for the house and kids. There are umpteen million ways out there to do this. Some are practical, some are less so, some are outright scams to get money out of my wallet and give little/nothing in return.

One way that I've found to succeed at this is paid blogging. As readers of this site will be aware, I've dabbled in this for about a year now. I started with PayPerPost, which is awesome. Recently I started working with the new site, SocialSpark. It's the next generation of PayPerPost, tweaked to provide better opportunities both for bloggers and advertisers and brought to you by the same creative genius. I like them because not only is the pay decent, but they don't want anything from you beyond your best efforts and creativity. Unlike other companies that promise a work-at-home income while sitting in your pajamas, this one doesn't want you to pay them. Not setup fees, not membership fees, not one of those places where you pay a fee for a product with the promise that you'll get that money back once you jump through their hoops. Nothing upfront.

What do they want? Primarily, a grasp of the english language. You need to have a blog, which can be done easily for free. You need to have that blog for a while; no setting it up just to do this stuff. It has to be a real blog, with real original content, 90 days old with no gap of greater than 30 days betwen posts. You need to add a small piece of code to that blog, and then wait for their team to manually approve your blog before you can start taking opportunities. That was the basic standards for PayPerPost, and SocialSpark has added several tidbits that make their new platform even better.

One of them is full in-post disclosure. Paid posts are clearly known as such. No trying to guess whether or not you've been compensated for this item, whether or not your view might be skewed by the thought of a payment behind the scenes. There is 100% transparency; if you go to the site you can see what bloggers took which opportunity, how much they get paid for promoting the product or service, who paid for that opportunity in the first place. There are 100% real opinions. No more taking a half-relevant topic or even a completely off-base topic to what your blog is really about. This makes it more relevant to your readers, easier to write about, it makes me as a poster happier about accepting money for the post and less like I have to slink around feeling ashamed. As my mother once told me, if you feel ashamed for doing something, you're likely doing it for the wrong reasons and shouldn't be doing it at all.

Social Spark is also search-engine friendly. Have you been concerned that your google rank is being affected or could be affected by doing paid posting? There are a lot of strongly held opinions on this. The opportunities offered are all in compliance with the no-follow rules. Personally, I'm not sure how that works, and I don't care enough to keep track of what the current thinking on it is today. But I know that there are plenty of people who do, and this is a good thing for them.

Sponsored by SocialSpark

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