Instead of posting on Facebook, why not start a blog and make money from it?

Each day, we spend so much time on Facebook. All you need to do is to observe during your daily commute and see people with their faces buried on their mobile phones….fully engrossed in their Facebook accounts.

What you write or post would appear in the newsfeed of some of your friends. Most of your friends don’t even get to see your updates if they did not login or if it does not show up on their newsfeed.

Lately Facebook has also gotten more commercialised, and businesses who pay to ‘boost’ their posts would have these posts being shown in your newsfeed instead of the posts of your friends. And most of the time, I noticed my Facebook friends usually start sharing or forwarding articles from blogs if they have nothing else to post about. It could be that these mind stimulating infomercials would garner more likes than a personal event.

If you have a lot of interesting things to say or travel posts to share… why not consider starting a blog instead to put in all your musing and stand a chance to make money from it?

Well, you cannot control what you don’t own

Facebook is a free access tool- and because we do not own it, basically we have no say of what they want to implement. Well, you can complain and rant all you want- but once the ones on top decides on something, there’s nothing much that can be done.

To quit may not be an option- as so many long time friends and contacts are already linked together with us- all we need to do to contact an old time friend is to login to Facebook and send the fella a private message- so easy, quick and effective than to try to call mutual friends looking for that friend’s phone number.

Furthermore, we have to be grateful sometimes to Facebook- because most of us just upload tonnes and tonnes of photos- eating up huge bandwidth and storage space- and Facebook just allowed it for free. All in the spirit of sharing.

If you feel angry with yourself because that your life and time seemed to  revolve around your Facebook friends’ lives, don’t impulsively deactivate the account. Doing that is like to cut off the nose just to spite the face. It’s not the solution to our problems. The solution is to find other diversions more interesting that stalking other people’s Facebook profile.

Something like…. ahem…. blogging.

I know, you may counter to say that there’s also what is known as the BAD…. ie Blogging Addiction Disorder. Granted, but the disorder is usually more milder than the Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).

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Creating blogs that detail your life or travel

It can be quite fun. If you upload some stuff in Facebook, more of friends who you know personally would be able to view it. But you know like what they say about yesterday’s news, that event that meant something to you would be forgotten the next day by everyone else who is busy seeing other people’s updates. Soon the news become forgotten. And it’s also quite depressing for some if no one ‘like’ or comment on the photos and status updates.

But update it in a blog and it would be sort of eternalised. The information especially of your travel experience can really benefit others. I remember while planning my own journey to Bangkok, I was searching for information when I found a fellow Malaysian blogger who had updated his experience about the places that I was able to visit. The information was useful to me- having an insider version.  Through contacting him, he was very helpful and answered my questions. Incidentally, he was the person who invited me to join Facebook in 2007- during the time when most people are on Friendster.

Sometimes I see very nice photos taken by friends who went on outings and holidays. A few friends travel often due to the nature of their work and have posted beautiful photos of various places of interest. I often wondered- why not upload in a blog?  Systematically arrange the photos, write brief explanations about them. It does not matter if the photos are taken with a DSLR or not- if we intend to set up a Phototravel blog to sell the photos, then the images have to be taken with DSLR and with expertise. But if just to show and give people an idea about the place, any appropriate photos taken would suffice.

To me, it’s such a pity to have beautiful photos lying in an album somewhere, buried and forgotten deep in abodes of the Facebook Timeline where no one could see and appreciate the images (the page would just hang and put off people to dig further). Whereas in a blog, most people may find your blog through a post that you have written years back- most visitors arrive at the homepage. They arrive at different pages of the archives. At least someone would appreciate the photos.

Monetizing the blog

Then come the monetization part: you can try to sign up for Google Adsense. Their approval is now more strict compared to last time so you must good content in your site before submitting your request to them.

Once your account is approved, you just invest a little time to figure out how to insert the advertisements after you create your own Adsense account. There are tonnes of guides and tutorials teaching site owners how to set up and insert their Adsense advertisement.

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Other alternatives is you can also sign up for affiliates like Amazon Affiliates to feature an item that you are using in your travel or to promote some travelling items like backpacks from the brands that you are using.

If someone is going to make money, it might as well be you

You know, when I set up my first website using Yahoo Geocities way back in 2001 or 2002, I had some good materials that gave a lot of traffic to my site. There was about 30 pages in the site and each page average out to about more than 200 visitors per day, per page. If you have used Yahoo Geocities, you would know that it’s a free hosting platform- with advertisement plastered all over the left, right and bottom of the page. So Yahoo got to make lots of money…. of my content. Of course, I was totally ignorant about the whole thing- until a visitor send me an email that he could not access my site due to bandwidth restriction. So I made the decision to migrate to Blogger and eventually in 2008, to my own paid hosting.

Now, Facebook is also having advertisements all over the pages, even though not so obvious like what the Geocities pages used to be.  Facebook is would be making tonnes from advertising- well, in a way which I think is also fair since many people upload a zillion photos- and well, photos take up band width. Band width cost money.

That is why I wondered how free blogging sites like Blogspot Blogger makes money when they allow people to host blogs there for free. But Blogspot has its own limitation in terms of page customization (unless you are good with the coding stuff)- it is okay if you just want to showcase your stuff and plaster a few ads here and there.

For me, I switched to WordPress hosted under a paid hosting platform from Blogspot in Sept 2008 because I wanted to take my blogs to the next level.  I do not know how personalise blogspot to the way I want and have been wasting too much time trying to look for hacks. Switching to self hosted platform and switching from free to a paid theme are the best decisions that I have made- it allows me to customize my site to something I at least like and frees up my time to concentrate on writing blog posts (instead of trying to tweak a free theme and add plugins).

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However, if you are serious about blogging, you would like that they do take up a lot of your time. Come to think about it, so is Facebook 🙂 But there more feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when you watch your blog grow.

Privacy concerns

In Facebook, you can easily set privacy settings for everything, ranging from who see your photos albums, wall posts, updates, etc with just a few clicks.

For websites and blogs, it’s not so straightforward. The whole world can see what you have updated. So lets not to get too carried away with your rants and complaints about your job, the politics, some groups of people that may potentially land you in trouble not only with your company but possibly with the authorities. And if you are someone who values your privacy, then you may not want to post photos with your face on them or make reference to where you would be going in your blog.  Also, if you have a full time job, you need to respect your company’s privacy, don’t talk back about the management openly, maintain a reasonably ‘clean’ image of yourself. Coz some companies actually do a name search of prospective employees and check out their blogs.

So, you may want to consider blogging using a fake name if you want to be a bit vocal and express your thoughts and emotions- but that also may kill your joy because you can only share your updates and photos with strangers and not your friends.  Quite lonely actually.

For me, well, I blog using my real name because when I bought my domain name when I was jobless (quit and went travelling in and out of the country, stuff like that).  Well, can’t change that already.

Don’t think that Facebook updates is safe- there are many cases of employees getting themselves fired because of an unfavorable Facebook update. Even if your boss or the management is not part of your Facebook friends, you’ll never know if a sarcastic comment you’ve posted on your profile about your company gets screen captured and sent to the unintended recepient. Probably by someone who you thought was your friend but that person is actually jealous or is after your place.

So you need to watch what you post in Facebook or your own blogs- avoid offensive, sensitive issues, extreme politics- because that post written from the ‘heat of the moment’ may just come back and haunt you later.

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