Practical Tips at Turning Your Blog into a Business
In many cases, blogging starts out as a hobby or creative outlet for someone looking to have a little fun writing about a topic that interests them. But at some point, most bloggers reach a fork in the road where they have to decide whether they want to continue their blog as a personal endeavour or turn it into a professional pursuit. Considering there’s a lot of money to be made in blogging, a lot of people choose the latter route.
The problem? It’s not an easy road. Trying to turn a blog into a profitable business takes strategic planning, hard work, and precise execution. But if you think you have what it takes, it’s definitely worth a shot.
How much do successful blogs earn?
The Huffington Post, for example, which is technically a blog, reportedly makes $2.33 million per month. Mashable brings in a healthy $600,000 in monthly earnings. The popular Life Hacker blog earns $110,000 per month, while the lesser-known Shoe Money blog brings in $30,000 per month.
If your head is suddenly spinning with ideas at the prospect of earning between $30,000 and $2.33 million per month…slow down. These are some of the most successful blogs in the world. Most people will never come close to sniffing these figures in a year, let alone in a month. However, it is possible. When you compare these blogs to the ones that make just $25, $500, or $1,000 per month, there’s an obvious difference in the approach. The more successful ones treat their blogs like functioning businesses – not hobbies.
Five Ways to Turn Your Blog Into a Business
While you aren’t going to make $30,000 per month from your blog anytime soon, who’s to say you can’t start making $300 or $3,000 per month by the end of the year? It’s far from easy – and many fail trying – but the first key is to start treating your blog like a fully functioning business that’s hell-bent on bolstering the bottom line.
There’s obviously way more on this topic than can be fit into a single article, but let’s review some of the things you need to do and think about as you shift your mindset towards building a business.
1. Don’t Do it Alone
Most bloggers operate as a one-man team. At best, they solicit help from their spouse or a close friend. But would you ever attempt to build a successful business without ever hiring an employee, advisor, or partner? Hopefully, the answer is no because solopreneurs rarely taste success. If they do, they end up working themselves to death.
Don’t think you have the resources to hire writers, editors, and marketing pros up front? Feel free to get creative. Offer small amounts of equity in the blog. Trade content on your blog in turn for content on their blog. Provide a talent you have in return for a service they can provide.
2. Find Your Voice
One concept new bloggers often struggle with is the idea that their blog can’t be everything to everyone. They want a blog that reaches the masses – therefore, they generalise everything they do in order to appease as many people as they can.
Hint: That doesn’t work.
Think about the most successful blogs in the world – such as the ones referenced earlier – and consider that even they don’t attempt to reach everyone. The Huffington Post targets liberal people on the far-left – specifically younger liberals. Mashable is squarely aimed at millennials. Life Hacker targets millennials who want to learn practical skills. Shoe Money targets people who are interested in earning money online.
Your voice is your brand. Just as a business can’t survive without a recognisable brand, your blog can’t thrive without a voice that connects with readers. Don’t rush this process, but certainly don’t delay it. You’ll find that your voice will evolve over time, but the key principles will remain the same.
3. Create Value With Your Content
Monetisation may take place through other vessels (more on that in the following section), but for all intents and purposes, content is your currency. If you don’t have good content, your blog (business) doesn’t stand a chance of surviving. Specifically, your content needs to create value for your users.
The point is that while revenue may be produced in other ways, your blog’s content is what drives traffic to your business. Without content, everything else withers away. Consistently create valuable content that aligns with your voice and you’ll do well.
In order to create value with your content, you need to move your readers to action and give them a reason to share. It may sound obvious, but if you go back and review your posts from the past, you’ll find that many of them don’t create much tangible value.
4. Develop a Monetisation Strategy
In the beginning, when you’re still trying to transition from hobby blog to money making business venture, the focus needs to be on creating quality content and engaging readers. However, as your audience grows and you start to see results, you should also start looking at opportunities for monetising your blog and driving revenue.
There are more than a dozen ways to monetise a blog, so you’ll have to experiment with some ideas and see what works for you. However, these are the most common techniques:
- Product sales. Presently, one of the more profitable monetisation strategies is to sell physical or virtual products to blog visitors.
- Advertising. The classic strategy is to turn pageviews into revenue by attracting advertisers and charging them for space on your blog. You can do this through banner advertising, CPM advertising, or even pay per click ads via Google AdSense.
- Affiliate sales. If your blog is an industry where there are lots of different products and services from various businesses, you may find it profitable to join affiliate marketing programs and sell their products on commission.
The key is to stay honest to your blog’s purpose and voice. You don’t want to pursue some monetisation technique that stands contrary to your blog’s long-term focus just to make a quick buck. You’re trying to build a sustainable business, not develop a side hustle. It’s always better to forgo a little revenue up front if it means making a smart decision for the future of your business.
5. Treat Your Blog Like a Business
There isn’t a ton of up-to-date information on the subject, but according to a survey conducted a few years back, just 7.4 million of the 133 million blogs tracked had been updated in the 120 days leading up to the study. Assuming that a blog needs to be updated at least once every four months in order to be considered profitable, that means roughly 95 percent of blogs are failures.
If you want your blog to be a part of the five percent that actually thrive, then you need to treat it like a business. It’s easier said than done, but you have to start somewhere.
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This story originally appeared on Problogger