When weblogs first started peppering the face of the internet, I thought they were just a fad. But they have caught on in a big way. The internet hosts about 70 million blogs. According to Web- analysis service Techno-rati, about 120,000 blogs are created worldwide every day. What most of these blogs have in common is their lame content. The lack of quality partly explains why most bloggers fail to earn anything and just write for the love of it. Professional bloggers, however, are doing well. Darren Rowse, the Melbourne-based founder of ProBlogger ( www.problogger.net ), claims to earn well into six figures. But how does he do it? Marketing consultant Kevin Stirtz, author of Marketing for Smart People, who writes his own and several commercial blogs (notably AllBusiness.com), offers simple advice to anyone hungry to make big blogging bucks: find a paymaster. Some bloggers just 'sell' their posts - accept fees to blog about something. 'It's like an ad. I don't consider it true blogging,' says Stirtz. Most bloggers who make money do so by building traffic (readership) then selling advertisements on their blog. 'This is commonly accepted and perfectly legitimate,' says Stirtz. The best platform on which to build traffic is the free blog-pub-lishing system WordPress (wordpress.org), which Stirtz describes as simple yet powerful and flexible. One can install it on a website or use a hosted free version at WordPress.com. Write often and regularly, and attract readers with pictures. Also, make the content so compelling it competes with the pictures. The secret is honesty. 'Great blogs are genuine,' says Stirtz. 'They don't have to be catty or mean. But they should reveal the person behind the blog. My rule is to blog like you talk (but with better grammar and punctuation). Have an opinion and dare to be different. Don't insult or be rude. Use your blog to share your ideas, to spark thoughts and to start conversations.' If you do not write a blog, the 'opportunity cost' may be considerable, says new-media consultant and blogger Eric Kuhn. 'There are many famous people who started for free on a blog. Blogging has made careers from nothing.' An example of a blogger who rose from nowhere and became stellar is Brian Stelter. He launched www.tvnewser.com from his dormitory room while still in college. Media marketplace MediaBistro ( www.mediabistro.com ) promptly bought it and Stelter's blog became a television-industry must-read. When he finally graduated from college, he became a New York Times columnist. The obvious basis for a lot of blogger success stories is Blogger.com, according to Kuhn. But he says users should think twice before adopting it because the site tells outsiders, 'Hey, I just started a blog!' Kuhn favours Typepad.com, which claims to be 'great-looking', 'up-to-date' and 'search-engine friendly'. If you dream about generating a six-figure income, choose your platform carefully. Remember, true pro bloggers never procrastinate.