Most blogs start as a hobby. These bloggers start with just a passion for helping people through their story, lifestyle, or expertise. But, over time, bloggers (much like you) find huge opportunity in their platform and blog. This propels them into a business mindset that can lead a blog into a full-time successful business.
This doesn’t entirely happen organically, of course. If it did, you’d already be there, right? With motivation and lots of focus, you can drive your blog from just a hobby to a super profitable business. So, today, we’re dedicating a post to the business management side of blogging! We’ll walk you through each step of the process, from registering your business to operating it with success.
The Business Side of Blogging
If you want to run your blog as a business, you’ll have to do more than just write a few articles each month. There are lots of behind-the-scenes tasks that help bloggers prosper and thrive! Don’t get us wrong – your content is still the most valuable part of your blog! But, there are many things you can do to help more people see your content and drive that monetization. That’s what we’ll get into next:
Even if you’re an expert in your niche, there will still be research involved. Valuable internal linking gives you more credibility and better search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re blogging as a business, SEO will be very important when it comes to driving traffic to your blog posts. Spend time finding high-quality sources that will build trust with your readers and Google web crawlers!
Depending on the type of blog you run, you may need to gain some photography skills! High-quality images are very important for SEO, professionalism, and readability. If you’re a lifestyle blogger who relies on images of your own life, outfits, or recipes, a good camera and good photo editing software is a must. We have a few suggested products here.
If you feel you don’t have a decent understanding of lighting, angles, and other photography basics, watching some YouTube videos or taking an online course is definitely a smart investment! We also recommend following other influencers or bloggers in your niche to gain inspiration and learn about the types of images people love to see!
When blogging, there are tons of graphic design needs! Whether it’s graphics for your blog posts, social media pages, or merch items, you’ll need to do some quick designing. Now, if you’re getting super overwhelmed by the thought of having to draw or use complicated software like PhotoShop, don’t worry! There are lots of user friendly beginner graphic design tools like Canva, that are loaded with pre-made templates and images!
There’s nothing like the high of writing an article on the topic you’re super passionate about. But the editing afterward? Not quite as fun. Nevertheless, the editing must be done! Anyone who does blogging as a business will scrutinize their work for grammatical and spelling errors. They’ll also find opportunities to increase clarity and overall readability for their readers and for SEO!
When you run a blogging business, your website is like your storefront. Just like a physical space, your website will need to be maintained, managed, and updated regularly! Website management means taking care of broken links, fixing duplicate content, updating outdated content, and improving the user experience overall.
Social Media Management
The days of physical marketing through flyers and handouts are over! This is good news for you, actually. As a blogger, you want to reach the widest audience possible, and social media allows you to do just that! You’ll need to keep a regular presence on at least one social media platform. There, you can interact with your readers, post new content, share useful graphics, and gain new followers!
Responding to Emails and Comments
If blogging is going to become your 9-5, you’ll need to stay connected and responsive as often as possible, not just when you have free time. When you actively communicate with your readers, you gain insight into what they want and you build valuable loyalty with them.
All small businesses must use networking to thrive. Connecting with other bloggers in your niche will widen your audience and give you much-needed exposure. You can network by sharing content on social media from other blogs, linking regularly to allied blogs in your posts, and guest writing for other websites. This will get your name out there and will show others your authority and unique perspective in this niche.
Tax time is one of the most intimidating times of the year when you start a business. When you become self-employed, you have to start managing your own taxes and finances. You must track income, expenses, and deductions regularly to avoid being blind-sided come tax filing season!
When you are self-employed, no taxes are automatically withdrawn from your checks. Instead, you have to keep track of how much you’ll owe in income tax and business tax. Remember, now you are both employee and employer. Bookkeeping is one of the most important tasks for blogging businesses to avoid audits and huge surprise tax bills come spring!
When you started blogging, you might not have ever heard the term “SEO.” Maybe you’re still not sure what it means! But, it’s so important to your blogging business’s success.
SEO means “search engine optimization,” and it refers to how visible your blog posts are on search engine results pages. When someone searches a topic related to your post, you want that content to show up near the top of SERPs, so more readers are inclined to click on it. SEO is the process of driving your posts up the SERPs.
For your blog, you’ll need to regularly manage your SEO to have any chance of developing a profitable business. Traffic is the first step towards monetizing your blog, so don’t underestimate the importance of this step! You can manage your SEO through Google Analytics or have a third party like InfluencerSEO do the complicated work for you!
How to Register a Blog as a Business
When you start blogging as your full-time job, you’re considered a sole proprietorship. You’re self-employed through your blogging, but you don’t need to fill out any business tax forms or pay any special fees. When you’re a sole proprietor, though, you are your business, which puts your personal assets at risk in a legal battle. This is why we recommend small businesses like a blog form an LLC (Limited Liability Company.)
Not sure how to do that? We’ll teach you! Here are the steps to move your blog from a sole proprietorship to a registered LLC business entity.
Step One: Check for Trademarks
When you picked your blog title, you proabably did a quick Google search to see if it was already taken. But, now, you’ll need to do an official trademark check! You won’t be able to register your business under a trademarked name. Trademarks can be checked here, but don’t forget to read the details! Many trademarks reserve the name or phrase only for their specific industry. So, if you’re in another niche, you might still be able to use it!
Step Two: Register Your Business Name
Now that you know your business name is good to go, the next step is to register it with the state. In most places, you do this with the Secretary of State’s office, a business agency, or a business bureau. You can look up where to register your business in your state here!
Step Three: Get an EIN Number
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is obtained through the IRS. This alerts them that you are an active, taxable business. You can apply for an EIN in under fifteen minutes on the IRS’s website here.
Step Four: Search for Other State Registrations
Some states, counties, and cities require a business tax receipt and other registrations. You can find this information on your county’s tax collection website.
Step Five: Pay Your Taxes and Dues
If you make more than $400 a year, you’ll need to pay taxes on your business. Businesses need to pay quarterly taxes and pay annual fees. Make sure you don’t miss out on these! We recommend getting a good CPA that can help you manage these regular taxes and dues.
How to Run a Blog as a Business
Now that you know the basics, below are a few tips for running your blog as a business:
When you’re running a blog as a business, you can no longer post whenever it’s convenient. You must be committed to consistent content to keep your audience engaged! We recommend posting 2-4 times a week to gain followers and keep them.
As we discussed, SEO is a huge part of blogging. It’s not an optional piece, but a totally necessary piece! Our blog is dedicated to teaching bloggers like you vital SEO knowledge. So, be sure to check out our content if you need help developing this skill.
Maintain a social media presence.
First, think about where your audience is located. Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter all have different demographics. Pick a couple platforms and post on each one daily! Do research about when it’s best to post and how often as well. Posting regularly will help you grow your audience, learn what readers like, and build meaningful connections with your followers. For more on when to post and how often to post, click here!
Consider ways to monetize your blog.
This whole post is about building your blog into a business, right? Then, let’s talk monetization! There are a few ways you can monetize your blog. Not every one is the right fit for every niche. So, put some thought into which option or options would add value to your message.
- Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is very common in the blogging world! You find products you like and develop content about that item. When a follower uses special affiliate links to buy those items, you get a cut of the profit! You can learn more about affiliate marketing here!
- Offer Services: Another way to monetize your blog is to offer a relevant service. If you’re a food blog, maybe you offer catering. If you’re an organization blog, maybe you offer home organization consulting. You decide, but this is a great way to profit from your blog!
- Sell Courses: Similarly to offering services related to your topic, you can also sell courses related to your niche! Your course could teach people how to complete interior design projects, different ways to use essential oils, or anything your audience would value learning!
Know your weaknesses.
Let’s be real. There is no shame in not being able to do it all! In fact, it’s a virtue of a small business owner to know your weaknesses!
If the SEO piece is stressful, hire SEO managers like InfluencerSEO to take that off your plate. Or, maybe you’re not great at grammar and punctuation. An editor or editing software can help you with that! And if finances and numbers are not your thing, hire a bookkeeper! You don’t have to do it all!
Build and manage an email mailing list.
You’ll want to do everything you can to build a big mailing list! Grabbing people’s contact information will allow you to keep them engaged and in-the-know about your content and services! You’ll want to keep content going out regularly to remind readers about new posts, sales, giveaways, and other important information.
Download helpful apps and programs.
There are lots of apps and programs that are helpful for the everyday managing of a blog as a business. Here are a few of our favorites:
- QuickBooks Self-Employed: This app helps track your income and deductible expenses! Every time you open the app, it populates your estimated quarterly taxes, annual income, and other important accounting features! It even has an invoice creating feature if you decide to offer services or classes to your customers.
- ProWritingAid: This software connects to ANY writing program. It will even check the grammar and spelling of social media posts and graphics! ProWritingAid will provide you with meaningful insights, readability scores, and general suggestions to make your posts more powerful.
- InfluencerSEO Copywriting: If you think you’ll struggle to keep up with 2-4 blogs a week, outsourcing some of your content is a great idea! InfluencerSEO is a trusted copywriting service that can provide up to 8 optimized blog posts per month!
- Planoly: Planoly will help you manage multiple social media accounts. You can post in-advance on a schedule, so you can set it and forget it! That way, if you have a busy day, you don’t miss those important engagement times!
- MailChimp: Much like Planoly, MailChimp allows you to plan your content to go out to your followers! Instead of social media, though, MailChimp is an email marketing tool. It can send out all of your scheduled newsletters and help you manage correspondence with readers!
- Google Docs: Google docs is a great platform for composing posts on your phone, tablet, or computer! You can directly hyperlink and add your headings while you write! It can also be used online or offline. This simple platform can help keep you organized and productive.
You can turn your blog into a business with these helpful tips and tricks!
If you’re ready to turn your blog into a business, get out your pen and paper and write out a plan! Remember, you’ll need to register your blog, post regularly, manage your website, keep track of your finances, and engage with your audience continually!
It’s a big undertaking. But, nothing you can’t handle! As you embark on this journey, make sure you check out our blog and the services we provide! InfluencerSEO is here to help! We provide super helpful SEO and copywriting services AND tons of business blogging tips and how-tos. We are so excited to help you grow!