WHAT YOU DO: Think Woodward and Bernstein meet Joan Rivers. But blogging isn't just dropping snark bombs and dishing on celebs. Successful bloggers comb Web sites, monitor news feeds, and cultivate sources to maintain a fresh supply of information—just like their creaky print counterparts. It can be an intense workload, but being your own master? Priceless. "I sleep pretty late, write a few posts, and go out for a run," says Rocky Thompson, gear blogger at online retailer Backcountry.com.
WHY NOW: Bloggers get coveted media seats from Davos to Bonnaroo, and even The New York Times has skinny-jeaned keyboard punchers on staff. Play it right and you can cash out: All-things-green TreeHugger.com was snapped up by the Discovery Channel for a reported $10 million last summer.
THE NUMBERS: Pros caution that only the most successful bloggers can score full-time jobs, but salaries at established empires like Gawker can push into the high five figures. Running your own site? Ad revenue at top-tier blogs can exceed $15,000 a month.
BREAKING IN: Find a niche that you love and cover it relentlessly. Asking other bloggers to add you to their blogrolls and link to your site is a great way to build readership. "You need to produce an avalanche of original material, throwing out as many links as you can without whoring, or at least whore skillfully," says Chris Mohney, former editor of the urban-travel blog Gridskipper.