Can you go from blog to business?
Are you capable of running your blog as a business?
In my post “Why not turn your blog into a business?” I chatted about our natural marketing power as bloggers and asked these questions:
- Are you posting on a schedule?
- Are you promoting your posts?
- Are you building strong relationships with other bloggers?
- Are you sharing your expertise, your experience, your tips?
And as I mentioned, if you’re already doing these things, you’re well on your way.
How I run my blog as a business.
Now I won’t lie to you, I only do 3 of these 4 things. For the life of me, I can’t seem to blog on a schedule. Something always comes up.
I’m a WAHM looking for a full time gig, sometimes I have to drop what I’m doing to respond to an opening, tweak my res or write a pitch. Even better, sometimes I have a gig.
I’m a wife with a husband who calls every hour or so to see how I’m doing, check on the kids, tell me he loves me and then say something like “can we have ___ (enter some complex recipe that involves me going to the market and buying the ingredients and then standing in the kitchen for 3 hours here) for dinner?”
Not to be forgotten, I’m a mom of toddlers and teens who do incredibly silly-mommy’s-got-to-fix-it stuff. Seriously. As a matter of fact, and I’ll give you a reminder when the post is up, you need to check out my friend Eve’s blog, Beautiful Spit Up, for my guest post about one of the most insane things one of my kids have ever done. She’s also a brilliant cook who shares the best recipes ever and super fun to read.
So with all that going on, I don’t post on a schedule. Do I still make an income from my blog? Yes. And it’s not all from my design services (that was making an income before I put up the page). I’ve been making an income from affiliate ads in my sidebar and from back-links. Also from a couple of affiliate links in product reviews I did in the past when posting about my psoriasis.
- I’m sharing what I know
- I’m promoting my posts across social media and networking sites
- I’ve built great relationships with awesome bloggers who refer my posts to people who could use the info
- I’m building back-links to my site while leaving comments on my favorite blogs
- I’m search engine optimizing (seo) my posts.
- I have affiliate links on my site and in a couple of posts.
Side Note: I want you to know that “seo-ing” my posts and writing for seo are two different things. When I seo my posts, I write my post and then return and edit and choose heading tags, etc. Not sure what I mean? Check out basic blog posts seo tips for further explanation. But keep in mind, organizing your posts by topic and sub-topic makes it easier to write a tutorial or review post. You know what your H1 and H2 headings and keywords will be up front and you”ll keep on topic.
These steps are a huge part of running your blog as a business. In the business world their equivalent is marketing + advertising, client relations and brand/product awareness.
If I blogged everyday, if I committed to building my readership, if I expanded my offering on this blog, which I will, you can bet your butt my little income would increase. And here’s some insider info, my regular readers give me a reason TO blog, share my posts across social media and help build my web presence. Without them, I’d be nothing. But not one affiliate penny was paid by them directly. Those pennies, as far as I can tell, come from new visitors via search engine traffic. Other pennies come from sponsored back-links. But without an audience, a community, I’m nothing.
What’s needed to go from blog to business
Well, ask yourself, can you make the time to commit to:
- blogging frequently
- picking specific topics to blog about and sticking to them. This would be major topics and then their subtopics. More on this in my next post.
- sharing your expertise in that topic.
- seo-ing your posts
- commenting on several fellow bloggers’ blogs everyday while building backlinks (and I’m not talking about spammy comments for the backlink, because I’d keep you comment and remove your link)
- promoting your post via social media and social networks
- a willingness to learn
If you can make these commitments, you’re well on your way.
Now I’m about to be frank…
You’ll need an uncluttered design. I visited a blog yesterday where I needed to scroll past a bunch of blog buttons and “i support” banners and social media widgets to get to the actual post. Social media widgets like GFC and Networked blogs should be kept in your sidebar. If you’re interested in sponsored posts, having your widgets in the sidebar offers PR people a quick way to confirm your followers. However, if you’re going to sell ad space or post affiliate ads, your SM widgets should be listed after your ad space. Those “I support” banners can also go on a page of their own.
You’ll need to take your friends’ blog buttons out of your sidebar and cut down on non-paying affiliate program buttons, build special pages for your friends’ buttons because that sidebar should be reserved for sponsored ads, affiliate ads, your own products/services and promoting your online influence.
You need to realize your niche if you’re an established blog. This is not the same as picking a niche. Picking a niche is for people who are starting out. Realizing your niche is understanding who your readers are, what you like posting about the most and reviewing your posts and prioritizing them by which ones your readers engage with most. As much as I love my kids, I rather blog about blogging, social media and seo.
You’ll need to refocus your blog.
You’ll need to brand your blog and your web presence. Your brand sets you apart, makes you unique. More on this in a coming post.
You’ll need to choose what streams of income fit your blog audiance, design and niche and which you’d like to start with first.
I’m not just talking about tracking your visits and who’s site they come from. You need to also know about your readers. This will help you write your posts. I know that some of my readers need help building traffic to their blogs. I know some can benefit from reviews pertaining to WordPress and Social Media.
- What do you know about your readers?
- What are they interested in?
- What do they need help with?
- What can you do to provide that help via a post or an ebook?
For instance, I shouldn’t cook on Thanksgiving. I screw up traditional meals every time. Now if someone who’s recipes I trust because I’ve been trying their recipes for a while and because they’re great with explaining every step, including every ingredient and possible substitutions along with pictures, were to create an ebook on making the perfect Thanksgiving dinner (substituting turkey for a chicken, cause the kids hate baked turkey) I’d pay $10 for that ebook. I’d try a few recipes early and once happy with it, I’d promote it to other bloggers too. I’d even ask if there was a way to signup as an affiliate. (that’s why the there’s a Twitter Dummy Affiliate banner in my sidebar).
By the way, I never know what treats to whip up during the week between Christmas and new years. I feel like there should always have something sweet + special around to offer guests who drop in, but our Betty Crocker Cookbook doesn’t have many pictures and sometimes I’m surprised with what I get and that damn book cost $30. Hint, Hint. free great recipes already on your blog, $10 ebook special recipes for christmas? here i come.
Considering what we just went over…
Do you want to turn your blog into a business?
If so, be sure to come back or sign up via rss feed or for my posts in your inbox. In upcoming posts we’ll discuss Main topics, their subtopics, how it assists seo and traffic, then the different ways you can start to build an income from your blog while still looking top notch and then blog + web presence branding.
In a few weeks, my first newsletter will be out with an seo insider tip or two and info on the affiliate program I’m starting for my design services. This info will only be available to newsletter subscribers who sign up for blog promotion tips.
Also, I’s appreciate a tweet, stumble, +1 of this post, which ever is your poison. Thanks.
Photo credit: © iofoto – Fotolia.com and © Anastasia Karamova – Fotolia.com and © AKS – Fotolia.com
a compass was there to get you thinking