“Never mix business with pleasure,” states a popular adage.
But, if you’re a blogger today who would love compensation for monthly recreation (and who wouldn’t?), it’s time for a paradigm shift.
Your blog could be a fun passion project that leads to serious profits, if approached correctly. And, I should know.
Since launching my site back in 2009, I’ve been able to earn thousands of dollars, connect with groovy people of similar interests, and grow my writing career. And, you can too. That’s right. Your blog can become a functioning business without a “formal” business plan or start up capital.
According to Merriam Webster, a business is simply defined as: “the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.”
But, before you hang out your “open for business” shingle, today we’ll explore some basic principles and practices that will be crucial to your success:
1. HAVE A PROFESSIONAL IMAGE
Much like a brick and mortar business, your site needs to be clean, uncluttered, accommodating, and attractive. For optimal results, you as a site owner need to:
– Keep your sidebars neat and orderly
– Provide tabs, categories, and headings for easy navigation and a user-friendly experience
– Ensure that images and graphics are appropriate, tasteful, and relevant to your topic and niche
– Use standard font styles and colors, and a professional design
2. PROVIDE CONTENT THAT ENHANCES AND ADVANCES YOUR READERS
We live in the information age. And, people’s need to know, combined your ability to provide answers and solve problems, can definitely increase your net worth. Accordingly, the best way to be taken seriously as a blogger, and to garner attention and business consideration from potential advertisers, clients, and future customers, is to provide quality content with take-away value. Your posts should always be informative and engaging, and include reliable statistics and studies to back up your position or advice. (Unless your site is just for entertainment, or to rant about issues of the day). Establish a reputation for being credible, resourceful, and authoritative–whatever your niche–and you‘re half way there!
3. ESTABLISH SOCIAL PROOF
One way to show others that you know your stuff, and that you are a blogger worth following and supporting, is to include positive comments from people you have worked with, praise from readers you‘ve helped, or even awards that you have won for your creativity on your site. Remember, everybody loves a winner.” You can view mine HERE.
4. BE CONSISTENT
Would you continue to patronize a store that didn’t maintain regular business hours? One that might be open this week, and closed the next? One you couldn’t count on to be reliable and considerate of customers’ time? Probably not. Yet, it’s a tendency of far too many unenlightened bloggers who underestimate the hard work involved in keeping a site updated regularly for its readers. Don’t be one of them.
5. CASE THE COMPETITION
Casing the competition helps you to determine and understand your unique “positioning” in the virtual market place. Read blogs in your niche to assess what other successful bloggers are doing. What are they writing about? What services or products are they offering? What are their price points? Remember “knowledge is power.”
6. BRAND BODACIOUSLY
Branding essentially helps you and your blog to stand out and be remembered amid the millions of blogs online. It’s about your overall image. It should include a professional, unique logo, clever slogan, and clear focus. It should also answer the question W.I.I.F.M. (What’s in it for me?)
7. DECIDE HOW YOU WILL MONETIZE
There are numerous ways for bloggers to generate income from their blogging efforts. Some of the most popular methods are: selling ad space, affiliate programs, publishing eBooks, and offering email classes. Pick one or do a combination of several. Make sure to align your offerings with your creative strengths and the needs of your readership.
Follow these seven savvy tips and you’ll discover what many other bloggers have: Blogging can be a fun way to build your platform and your bottom line!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jennifer’s blog is also a paying market for writers. You can see her writer’s guidelines HERE.
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a veteran freelance writer, content creator, author, and award-winning blogger. Her work has been featured in numerous top-tier sites including: PRO BLOGGER, Men With Pens, Tiny Buddha, Lifehacker, Pick the Brain and Write to Done.
She is the author of “Smart Branding for Busy Bloggers.” Learn more at her popular site, Pen and Prosper.
The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication
Practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.