Monday, June 30, 2008

5 Questions With The Sports Dollar

Can you make money as a sports blogger? It’s something many wonder but aren't sure how to go about. One blogger is out to tell everyone how they can make money with his blog The Sports Dollar. His alter ego is the driving force behind Le Basketbawl. I caught up with this ambitious guy for five questions – I’ll let him introduce himself:

The name is actually Kellen, but I think "Kellex" sounds much niftier online. (Wow...not many people know that but I guess they will now!) I'm a 26 year old, almost full-time blogger in Portland, OR. I grew up in Whitefish, MT which is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and will one day return there but for now I'm just too young to live without a city, lights, and a professional sports team.

1. Tell me about your sports background - who do you follow, what have you played/do you play? Are you more of a participant, spectator, or both?

I definitely grew up as a sports nut playing baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, and hell; I even bowled in league as a kid. Basketball eventually took up enough time that I quit everything else to concentrate on that, plus I happened to have a decent outside jumper which I thought would get me somewhere. Of course it didn’t, seeing as I was only 6’2” and way to slow and skinny to play college ball. The possibilities of walking on to a JC were there, but I was too burned out from some controversial things during my senior year and just wanted to have fun in college. I still play competitively in tournaments and leagues, but the major sports focus for me now is golf and hitting the gym to fight off my aging 26 year old body.

2. How did you decide to start blogging? Why sports? Which came first - The Sports Dollar or Le Basketbawl? What background in writing/education do you have? How much experience do you believe someone needs in order to write online successfully?

Blogging was something that I knew of, but for whatever reason I just kept pushing it away like I was too busy to take part in it. Then this past Christmas, while on vacation, I woke up and said, “You spend all this time talking sports to everyone 24-7 (and probably annoying them)…why don’t you start a blog with all this knowledge and passion?” So a few days before New Years’, Le Basketbawl was formed and from there things have just blossomed! I now have two blogs, a blogging job board and some other things on the horizon that have me really excited.

As far as a background, I wouldn’t say that I have much. I do have a BS in Business and Marketing plus a secret love affair with technology and computers which definitely helps. To be successful as a blogger, you just have to have passion and patience. If you don’t love it, and don’t have the time to let it all play out, then you won’t stand a chance in this business.

3. How did you come up with the concept for The Sports Dollar? What are your goals with the site? How do you find material? Do you promote every money-making idea on the web or do you actually try them out before you write about them?

The idea came almost 3 months ago now while I had hit sort of a slump with Le Basketbawl. Le Basketbawl had grown into something special, but I was not seeing the rewards for all the work I had put into it. At this same time I had really started to read other types of blogs to see what the earning potential was online and realized that people are making thousands and thousands of dollars a year doing this stuff.

So I took some time, researched, tested, and learned every single thing I could about online marketing and actually started helping other blogs on the side by providing tips, tricks, and advice that I thought they could use to help monetize their blogs. The feedback was instant and at that point I realized that sports blogs needed a place to learn about making money online through the eyes of a fellow sports blogger. If I had a blog like the Sports Dollar to pick info from when I was just starting out, I really think I wouldn’t have hit that 3 month slump and things would have grown a lot faster without all those nasty sleepless nights and headaches!

As for material, I just do a ton of digging around on the internet. I definitely have my favorite blogs bookmarked in my Google Reader such as John Cow, BlogStorm, and Daily Blog Tips but you really have to get out there and do some searching. Almost everything you read now a day has been written many times over and is easily accessible.

I’m definitely not into promoting just any money making idea since many of them can be complete scams. If I really like something and have seen potential, then I will create a post on it. There are plenty of money making ideas out there that could make me some quick cash by promoting them, but that’s not what I’m about. The goal of the Sports Dollar is to help other sports blogs understand their potential so that we can all reap the long term benefits.

4. How much money do you believe an independent blogger realistically expect to make? Seriously, without working for 12-16 hours a day scouring the internet and promoting every article on the "hype" sites, is there a reasonable hourly wage to make?

Truthfully, I don’t think they should expect much unless they are willing to put a ton of hours in early on and then just try to hang on for the long run. I’ve been at this for 6 months now and am just now seeing the results of the work I put in months ago. If you really work hard early on (even though you see nothing), I promise it will pay out in the end if you can manage to keep your sanity, relationships, and 9-5.

Once you’ve made it through tough times, have gained enough of a readership, and made a ton of online friends, you should be able to spend less time on the promotional aspect of your blog. At this point your readers and friends will practically take care of this for you by loving what you do and referring their friends and readers on. I think one of the major mistakes bloggers run into is worrying about all those “hype” sites rather than writing “read-worthy” material. Good content can act as its own hype machine if it really fits your niche and readers.

5. What are your favorite sports-themed blogs to read? What do you think makes a good sports blog? What do you think is a good example?

Wow, there are so many out there that I love. Empty the Bench is a great site that includes some of the best writing and topic generation around that just doesn’t seem to get enough love. I think the respect is starting to come towards Thellie and the boys over there, but it is long overdue. I love reading Cuzoogle and the ridiculously creative posts that Cuzzy puts out every day. I also read a lot of Ball Don’t Lie. For a major site blog, Skeets and Dwyer really seem to get “it”. They seem to love the life of a blogger and take it a little less serious that someone in particular over at ESPN.

A good sports blog is easy to pick out. If you browse to a site, are not offended by advertising or half-naked women/betting sites and can laugh or get enlightened within the first couple of paragraphs of a post, then you know it is probably worth checking out. Hardwood Paroxysm is probably the best example I can give


Lindsay said...

I enjoyed this post, Apryl. It had a little different perspective. It was interesting to read about a fellow blogger who has been successful in a short amount of time.

Apryl DeLancey said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Kellex finds some really creative things out there that are easy to use.