Its been more than a year since I started Free College Blog – and I’m still trying to figure out how to best help students find money for college. I think I’ve learned a lot through the process and I hope readers have gotten something out of it too, especially everyone who has contributed to the conversation and tried to help out a fellow poster with a pressing question.
Looking back on the last year, there was a post about blogging for college money and I’m more convinced than ever that this is a good strategy for students for more than the straightforward reason of potentially making some money.
First of all – yes – you can make some money online. Even a blog like this one can make its expenses back and so can a blog about your own favorite hobby or activity or news items. Sometimes the things you’re most interested in won’t be the highest paying, but there’s usually a good balance somewhere where topics overlap. For example, Fastweb’s free scholarship search and free college scholarship search engines aren’t the biggest money-makers for a webmaster, but its decent. There would be more money to be made selling student loans, but I’d rather try to help students find money for college that doesn’t have to be paid back.
So think about that – by combining something you’re interested in with a product or service related to that topic, you can find an online business model that doesn’t require selling out your sense of ethics.
The money is the obvious, short-term value of building your own website or blog. The long term value is the skill sets you learn and can later contribute to a business. When you start blogging or developing websites for business purposes, you learn about design, you refine your content-writing skills (this can be text, audio, photography, graphic design, video, any kind of content really), and you start to learn about how internet marketing differs yet resembles traditional marketing.
Perhaps best of all, you’ll have something to show for your initiative. You’ll have some proof that you can take a concept, match it to existing opportunities, and become a “self-starter” with a strong work ethic and ability to learn applied skills.
Of course, a personal blog about your pets and what you ate for dinner last night probably isn’t going to be a regular source of income. Yet even if you have no plans to monetize your website and you have no intention of ever adding advertisements, you’ll still learn skill sets that businesses are looking for.
So just go out there and start building your own websites. It may not pay off your tuition bill today, but it will help you get ahead in the long run – and that’s what college is all about, isn’t it?
In the theme of free, I’m going to recommend a few free web hosts that can get you started online:
Whoever said you “Have to spend money to make money” obviously didn’t have internet access and blogging software.
What do you think? Are you running a website? Does it make money or help you learn new skills? Share your experiences in the comments below!