My search for employment continues much as it has for the past 9 months. There are always at least one or two promising leads that never pan out. Rather than being further discouraged, though, this has gotten me thinking: should I be doing more to earn income through alternate sources?
Now, it used to be that you could only earn money as a writer if you were an author or a columnist. There was a very high barrier to entry for these kinds of jobs, but the reward was having the privilege of doing something you loved and calling it a job. You can still get a dedicated job writing articles for a publication, online or otherwise, and publishing books online has been getting easier (though not necessarily as profitable, depending on the path you took).
There are still other options, though. Online advertising is a source of income that many bloggers, webcomic artists, and other distributors of online content take advantage of. Most will never make enough from that alone to become financially independent, but still, many ask whether there are ways to make it happen faster. I mean, besides actually creating engaging content for your audience, because that's just too much work for some people.
This is where the idea of SEO, or search-engine optimization, comes into play. Regardless of what that terminology actually means, what it means to most people who use it is, "How can I get more money without having to actually improve my product?" The goal is not to create better content that more people will want, but to market it more so that the number of people exposed to it increases. Online marketing is all about getting your clicks. Even if only 1% of people witnessing the content would care at all about it, simply getting more people to look at it improves the chances that the content can be profitable. This is the nature of the beast.
Now, we're all guilty of this to a degree. Even if your work online is a labor of love, you want people to see it, right? And if you're creating content that potentially helps people, you'll want the most people possible to be helped by it. This is why we use tags and keywords, so that people who actually want our content can find it more easily.
The dark side of SEO is where business-oriented minds try to drive more traffic to their site even if they have nothing to offer most of the people visiting. It's all about getting their clicks, their page impressions, and eventually, their revenue from advertisers. To many of these folks, it's not about the content; it's just a toy to make money.
So, where do I sit in all this? Obviously this blog is made for my own personal amusement first and foremost. Even so, I put advertising on it. I tag my posts and share around social networks to bring in more traffic. I even briefly tried a post-sponsoring program (which I quit after realizing how many of the sponsors were hocking worthless garbage).
I think what I'm saying is, it would be nice if we could all just do things we love and not worry about income. In fact, it would all be easier for me if I didn't have debt and the cost of living hanging over my head. But there is little room for art in a world of want. I'd love to just write and develop games and draw independently at my own pace, but I need money. I need to not be a burden on my family. I can't do the starving artist thing like a spoiled post-adolescent while my parents take care of my financial problems for me.
And so, I give in to stress, and I worry about the future. Of course, worry kills more people than work, as you may have heard. Really, my problems could be solved if I would just be that enterprising guy who will do whatever it takes to make money, but I'm just too stupid and stubborn. If I can't do a thing for the love of it, I feel rotten and hollow. I can't work effectively like that; I'm of no use to anyone if I feel like a sellout. Hell, if I just robbed a bank I could solve my present money problems, just as I could if I just keep leeching off my family. The issue is not whether I can do it, but whether I can do it and still live with myself.
Wow, this got much longer than I expected. Sorry, I didn't mean to keep you. I guess what I'm saying is, I'm still working on it. I was going to say something about independent game development but this post has grown all out of control.
So, the job hunt will continue. If or when I have updates on my various other projects (the games, the webcomics, the novel) I'll share them here. In the meantime, I expect I won't get any money here through amateur SEO nonsense, but just in case:
Facebook, penis enlargement, Bank of America, online dating, lose weight fast, earn money from home...
...are all topics I will talk about in future posts. I mean, you know, eventually, probably, if I get around to it. Or not. Either way.
Peace and love, you gorgeous readerfolk.