Welcome to the Information Age
A professor said that to my college class in 1984.
And I've been travelling down the Information Highway ever since.
When was the last time
you gave someone information?
How about earlier today?
You probably made a comment about politics, your golf game, or the state of your back lawn.
Whatever it was, I bet you it was an example of just a smattering of the extensive knowledge you have on this subject.
We are all well qualified as information distributors and gatherers.
The other night you might have had a 20-minute chat with a friend about the Boston Red Sox. You've been following them since you were a kid and basically could write an encyclopedia on that team.
Remember that last paragraph. I will return to it once I tell my story.
In 2008, I was getting more and more tired of the office and my duties. For 20 years I had been doing what I loved - working in the newspaper business - everything from sports reporter and photographer to cartoonist to editor to graphic designer and back again.
My job was running its course at this particular place. Plus, I wanted to be my own boss. That's the control-freak-free-spirit voice in me. I found myself saying, "There's got to be a better way."
Despite a difficult job environment and losing interest in some of my duties, there was one underlying passion which was still as fresh as ever - photography. I still had a desire to create through this medium.
Also around this time, while surfing the Web, I found a site which contained images that looked almost too real. Images that possessed a tonal range unlike any photographs I had seen.
With high dynamic range photography, your eyes can see the tonal range in a composition, but your camera can't record it in only one blink of the shutter. So you take multiple exposures of the same scene and combine them through HDR software to get what your eyes saw in the first place.
Paralleling this was a desire to create a website that could showcase my work while also earning me some money. And I wanted the theme of this site to be on something for which I had a passion. Afterall, if you were to invest time and money into a venture, it makes it a whole lot easier if it's on a topic you enjoy.
Initial research pointed out the Google Adsense monitization route, which I now incorporate, but I was lacking a model template to generate this source. Blogging was looked into, but I didn't have a clue how to market my blog/site and get the traffic I needed to realize this goal. As well, even though I had a small understanding of Web design and html, I wasn't interested in pouring hour after hour into site construction. I wanted a simple yet professional way of building pages.
Through more random surfing about blogging, I read a mention of Site Build It on someone's site. It was just a short review or passing recommendation, but somehow it stuck in my brain's history cache until....
....one day it hit me...
This is one of SBI's taglines and it definitely made sense.
I kept returning to founder Dr. Ken Evoy's creation and the more I read, the more I knew this was the route I should take.
It was like the Web was saying to me, in a fatherly, arm-around-you kind of way, "Look son, I'm going to do you this favour."
Site Build It also introduced me to the concept of an becoming an "information entrepreneur." An
in other words.
I could provide the world with my information - in this case, my knowledge of photography - and the visitors/students could take from it what they wanted. I didn't have to grade them and attendance was on their terms. They could visit my site for free. No signup costs for photography classes. No subscriptions. No need for the teacher to interact, actually.
SBI teaches me how to make money through this free approach. Google Adsense is just one of many ways. Since joining, I have also learned about the 'affiliate' world and its lucrativity. And I'm just at the beginning.
It gives me endless resources, a goldmine of information and the opportunity to connect and share with other SBIers. It's like an all-in-one hardware store. With their tools, I can plan the house, build the house and even add on to the house.
Time Takes Time
Ringo Starr recorded an album by that name and it's been like a mantra of mine for several years through personal and career obstacles. In a nutshell, it means there are times when you have to accept that the path to results will not be immediate. In return you learn patience, humility and gratification.
My site is young. I started it at the beginning of 2009. It's been fun; good brain fitness.
My Alexa traffic rank began in the eight-digit range and as of August 2009, was in the 800,000 category (top 3% of all sites). My goal is to hit the magic 100,000 mark sometime in 2010.
HDR-Photo's average unique visitors count has increased each month. It's not an overwhelming stat, but the car is headed in the right direction.
Getting back to that discussion
you were having with your buddy....
Please understand this is not for everyone. The SBI adventure requires focus and work. If you commit to it, you will be