Some start blogs as a hobby. And, some start blogs to build an empire. If you’re one of the brave content creators who hope to create a successful blog that makes an impact AND generates an income, come along with us today! We’ve got a great post for you.
Today, we’re dedicating our post to making a business out of blogging. Using these steps when starting a blog will help you create the perfect foundation for a thriving brand. Here’s our step-by-step guide to making a successful blogging business.
How to Make a Business Out of Blogging
Creating a blogging business is just like starting any business. It’s not something you can do overnight! It’ll take hard work, research, and a real passion for your craft. A great way to reach your goal of making your blog into a business is to vision cast and make a plan with set goals. To help you develop that journey map, use these steps as checkpoints! Achieving each one will get you closer to your blogging dreams.
Step One: Choose a Niche and Create a Brand
First up, you need to develop your brand! What’s your niche? Maybe you have a unique lifestyle. Or, maybe you’re an expert on some unique topic? Figure out what that thing is, and then decide how you want to share it with the world. You’ll need a mission, a distinct voice, and, of course, a name!
Then, decide how you’ll visually represent your brand. What colors will you use? Do you have a logo? Is the aesthetic modern, edgy, feminine, etc.? Decide all this before you get started, so all of your content is consistent and appealing. And, when you have all of it worked out, assemble it into a brand kit. This will act as your model for every post. Consistency will help make your brand super memorable!
Step Two: Decide Your Budget
Every business has start-up costs. Blogs are no exception to this rule. You’ll have tech costs for a quality laptop and camera. Plus, your website hosting, domain name plug-ins, and design all have an initial cost. You’ll also need email marketing software, photo editing software or graphic design tools, and potentially a social media posting scheduler!
It’s true that not all of these are necessary for a blogger starting out, but they can be really helpful to give you some momentum. Before starting, develop a budget for your starting costs. This way, you won’t overspend and you can prioritize purchasing your necessities. Here’s a breakdown of all potential start-up costs to help you get moving.
Step Three: Develop a Great Website
Next, you’ll need a great website. This will make sure you rank high on the search engine results pages and you look professional to new followers or clients. Now, you don’t need to be an expert coder or website builder to create the perfect blog. There are plenty of blogging platforms out there that can help you design a quality site in minutes.
A WordPress blog is the most popular. The platform is specifically designed for blogging, and they have all sorts of plugins to help your blog be even more functional and user-friendly. These WordPress plugins are especially helpful for curating vital analytics that will help you understand your audience better. When you know what your followers want, you can create more relevant and engaging content.
A great website needs to have the following qualities:
Since 2018, Google has started prioritizing the mobile version of a site over the desktop. This is because lots of internet users are only browsing using a mobile phone! So, ensure your website is just as amazing on phone screens as it is on your desktop.
Easy to Navigate
Google’s web crawlers explore your website and interpret the data to determine whether or not it’s a quality website. If it is, Google will drive it up the search engine results pages. Moreover, if your website is difficult for users to navigate, it’ll be a travel challenge for the web crawlers too. This will drive your score down, so you’ll want to make sure your site is super user friendly!
Internet users are impatient. The standard is high for speeds! If a website takes too long to load, users will leave before the page even finishes populating. A user is 90% more likely to leave a page if it takes 5 seconds to load over 1 second. Because of this, your website needs to be fast. Like, lightning fast. Here are some ways you can promote great loading speeds: ensure your images aren’t too big, ensure you don’t have too many widgets, and ensure you don’t have too much content on your home page.
Lots of Images
Visual elements help the user experience by breaking up content and adding more context to posts. Because users like them, Google’s web crawlers will too. So, make sure your pages have a few images each. With that being said, it’s important to make sure that each photo is well-optimized and the right size. Without alt text and a manipulated size, images might slow down your site. Keep them optimized!
Step Four: Add Optimized, High Quality Posts
Once you have your website, niche, and branding, it’s time to create your content! The blog content you create should be thoughtful, informative, and conversational. Readers will love to connect with you and your perspective via your quality posts!
In addition to having well thought-out content, you also need to make sure the posts are search engine optimized. There is a lot that goes into search engine optimization, from keyword research to subheadings to linking. You can take online courses to educate yourself on the ins and outs of SEO.
Or, you can check out InfluencerSEO’s optimization services, where we take care of all the backend stuff for you. With our program, you create great content, and we’ll ensure it ranks as high as possible on the SERPs. We also curate helpful blog posts every week on all things SEO, so you can learn about the process yourself and avoid big SEO mistakes.
Here are a few SEO musts for your optimized blog posts:
Images and Graphics
Like we mentioned before, images and graphics are loved by readers, so they’re loved by web crawlers too. Each post should have a few images that help break up the content and add value to the post. Make sure these images have alt text that describes the images for the web crawlers to interpret the visuals. This will help them confirm the images are relevant and helpful.
Meta Descriptions and Title Tags
When someone Googles your niche, you want your content to be listed near the top of the results. But, to get someone to click on your post, it needs to grab their attention among the sea of other posts. So, make sure you take time to edit the title tag and meta descriptions. This is the title listed on the search engine as well as the description of the content. Reading this will help readers know for certain the post will have the information they’re looking for.
External and Internal Linking
Readers and web crawlers alike will see you as more of an authority in your niche if you have lots of linking, both external and internal. When you make claims or references in your posts to other content, you need to link to the source. This will increase the user experience and enhance your credibility. Additionally, when other blogs link back to you, it shows you truly are a trusted source of quality information!
Google will interpret short and sweet content as spammy and low quality. So, you want a little length and weight to your posts. A quality post will usually sit around 1,500 – 2,000 words. It doesn’t have to be exact, but as a general rule, it’s not a good idea to post pages that have very little information. Keep it thorough and informative.
Step Five: Build a Social Media Following
The question has been asked, what’s more useful for gaining blog traffic: search engine optimization or social media presence? The truth is, you really need both! This is especially true if your goal is to monetize your blog and live off the income.
A social media following takes your content to the readers. They’re already hoping to discover new content on their social feeds every day, so you just need to find a way to get in front of them. Once they follow you on your social channel, you can easily convert them into blog readers! Plus, the graphics you use for your blog posts can double as content for your pages!
You can build a social media following on any number of channels. But, it’s best to find where your niche is and set-up camp there. If you’re a food blogger, Pinterest is a great place to be. If fashion or lifestyle is your niche, Instagram is a MUST! Tech or business blog? YouTube is where you should hang out. Wherever you go, study the algorithms, post frequently, and engage with your followers to go from casual blogger to career influencer.
Step Six: Cultivate a Loyal Readership
In addition to that social media following, you need a loyal readership on your website. These are people coming back to read your content again and again. Additionally, you want a decent influx of fresh readers coming in organically from search engines.
As your blog readership grows, make sure you’re having those followers join your email list. This will keep them in-the-loop about new content, and it’ll come in handy when it’s time to monetize. (More on that next!)
Step Seven: Monetize Your Content
In order to make your blog into a business, you’ll need to monetize your content. Creating content is great, but if you’re not generating an income with it, there’s no way to take your blog to the next level. In order to keep elevating your brand, you’ll need to monetize your blog using one of these five methods.
Product or Service
You can make money using your brand by selling a product or service related to your topic. It could be something as simple as selling merch with your logo, key phrases, and colors. Or, it could be some sort of consulting service or handy tool that your readers would find helpful. Think through a product or service you could provide for your followers and start making money. Here are a few more ideas:
- Books or Ebooks
- Printable Guides
- Phone App
- Branded Merchandise
- Event Tickets
Once your website has regular traffic, it becomes a lucrative space for advertisers. You can sell banners, pop-ups, and other spaces on your pages to generate regular revenue. You’ll need a good standing on Google Adsense and a decent number of monthly visitors. But, there are options for blogs with lower regular pageviews too.
With ad space, you want to be careful to only add ads where they won’t be intrusive to your readers. Annoying pop-ups and banners could hinder the user experience and increase your bounce rate. So, make sure to do plenty of research on the companies you’d be working with to confirm your ads won’t be too intrusive.
Affiliate marketing is a favorite way for influencers to make money. Essentially, you find products you already love, create content about them, and collect commission on purchases or clicks that are sourced back to your posts. There are a ton of affiliate programs to fit a wide variety of niches. You can browse some of the top sites in our blog post on the best affiliate platforms for bloggers.
Influencer marketing has become a gold mine for modern companies. Big brands have moved from flyers and billboards to massive digital marketing campaigns. These involve influencers like you! Companies will pay you to represent their products or services and then you craft content focused on that topic. This is called brand collaboration. Much like affiliate marketing, you get to pick what you advertise, so you can keep the integrity of your brand and respect of your followers.
The subscriptions model is a particularly smart monetization strategy because it generates consistent, predictable income. This subscription could be access to exclusive content, a regular course, or even a limited product. Consider adding a subscription model to your blog to generate regular income that will cover your monthly costs AND provide a sustainable income for you.
Step Eight: Keep Track of Monthly Costs
Blogging doesn’t have much overhead over some other businesses, but it does have some! It’s a good idea to be prepared for these monthly costs as you go, so you can make smart decisions on sustainable spending.
Web hosting, domain management, and plug-ins all have regular monthly or annual costs. These keep your website alive, so you’ll definitely need to add that to the list! Proofreading software is always a good idea too, even if you feel you’re a pretty strong writer.
Additionally, once your email list hits triple digits, you’ll likely want email marketing software. This will make the process of sending newsletters and other content a whole lot easier! The same goes for social media posting schedulers. Are they must haves? No. But, they’re worthwhile for the time they save! (Plus, they’re pretty low cost.)
For more on the regular monthly costs of blogging, check out our post that details all the basic costs of running a blog.
Step Nine: Execute a Marketing Plan
Having a social presence and good SEO will go a long way for marketing. But, you may decide you want to build momentum faster and give yourself a little advertising boost. You can promote in lots of free ways like interacting with others on social media, posting on subreddits and Facebook groups, answering questions online with your posts, and guest blogging.
If you want to go the paid route, you can buy ads on any social media platform, join content discovery platforms, or use pay-per-click advertising on Google. Whatever you choose, it’s good to have a plan before jumping in. This will help propel your blog early on and keep those new followers rolling in!
Step Ten: Keep Up
Once you have everything rolling, stay consistent. There might be periods where it feels like nothing is working. When you get discouraged, keep on pushing through! You don’t want to take a break from all your doing and ruin your momentum. Continue what you’re doing and pivot if you need to – but don’t stop.
Keep your website search engine optimized, continue posting regular content, don’t stop engaging with your followers, and pursue all your monetization opportunities. As you grow, you can start outsourcing parts of the process like SEO services, content writing, talent management, and more! Do what you can to keep everything rolling and maintain the blogging empire you’ve built. We can’t wait to see how you grow!
Building your blog into a business is a big task, but with some planning and research you can reach your blogging potential.
In the modern age of digital marketing and internet fame, there’s no reason you can’t make a living from blogging. It takes perseverance, strategy, and creativity, but you can turn your blog from a hobby to a business in no time. Follow these simple steps and keep up with our blog weekly for more tips for up-and-coming influencers like you. We’re here to help boost your blog to the next level!