Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Web savvy teenage blogger making good AdSense money with niche subject

Chloe Spencer is a web-savvy 15-year-old who has turned a hobby and an interest into a thriving blog.

Though you’d expect her journalist father to talk up her achievement, it’s no mean feat, and an opportunity I wish I’d had as a teenager.

She reportedly makes at least US$30 per day in AdSense revenue on her “Ultimate Neopets Cheats Site“, and is planning to expand the site with a discussion forum, and branch out into other niche subject areas.

Depending on your current blogging success (as measured financially), her earnings may or may not sound impressive to you. I’d say they’re pretty good going for a teenager, particularly as any ‘real world’ job she’d be able to get would pay far less, and demand far longer hours, doing something (likely) far less interesting.

Her success didn’t come by chance, either:

After performing some keyword research through WordTracker and Google Suggest for her blog’s title and section headings, she discovered that “neopets cheats” was a hugely popular search term to target for her blog. So she settled on the name: the “Ultimate Neopets Cheats Site.” She then used the free WordPress.com service to start the blog. Chloe’s site was able to ride on the coattails of WordPress.com’s trust and authority in the eyes of Google, thus sidestepping the “Google Sandbox” and jumping to page 1 in Google for the term “neopet cheats” within two weeks of launch.

Wanting to capitalize on her success, Chloe attempted to place Google ads on her WordPress.com blog, only to find that she was unable to monetize her blog due to WordPress.com’s restrictive Terms of Service. So Chloe migrated the blog over from neopetcheats.wordpress.com to her own domain, neopetsfanatic.com, powered by the WordPress software. She then went about building links through places like Blogger Stories.

Of course, Chloe isn’t the only teen blogging and being successful. Darren Rowse has received many emails from teens wanting to become professional, paid bloggers, and he’s interviewed Matt Jones from Random Shapes and 12-year-old David Wilkinson, among others.

Proof, without wanting to sound patronising, that anyone can blog, and can make money too. Of course, there are certain legal restrictions that prevent under-18s signing up for online advertising programs such as AdSense, but a supportive parent can solve that issue.

No rest for seasoned (read, old) bloggers, it seems. The teenagers are blogging, and they’re probably doing it better than you, too…

About the author: Andy Merrett has worked in a variety of commercial and not-for-profit organisations in both administrative and technical roles, including web and database development, systems analysis and programming. He is now a full-time professional blogger, writing on a variety of subjects including consumer technology, the Internet, music, and society. He currently works on a number of Shiny Media titles including Tech Digest, HDTVUK, and iPhonic, and other projects including Piano & Synth and Family Relationships. He is a prolific Facebook user. Andy lives in London, England.

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