If you want to start a blog to generate a sustainable income for yourself, there are several things that you’ll need to do differently from your everyday hobby blogger. You’ll need to develop and execute a strategy for making a profitable business out of your blog. Here are some fundamental tips for making the big jump even if you’re just getting started.
1. Start with a Target Audience
The best thing you can do when you start a blog is to think about your audience. Come up with a central idea. Brainstorm the content topics you’re going to cover. Then think about the audience you’re going to target. Learn everything you can about your audience and think about how you can deliver value to them. In order for your blog to become a viable business, you’ll also want to make sure that your central idea and content topics cater to a specific yet large enough audience.
It’s recommended that you don’t try to be too specific. For example, a blog for arts and crafts may be better than a blog for origami. Going on a slightly broader scale means you’ll be able to tap into a larger audience. This will also give you the ability to sell a wide variety of products and get the traffic volumes required to monetize your blog with sponsorship placements.
2. Start with the Right Content
In order to turn your blog into a profitable business, you’ll need to build readers. In order to build readers, you’ll need to deliver the right content on a consistent basis. How do you find the right topics to create your content on? As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to really study your audience. You can browse community forums, Facebook groups, social media influencers, and analyze similar blogs to get an idea of the topics that really resonate with your audience.
It also helps to conduct keyword research around your topic ideas to get multiple angles. For example, if you search for the keyword knitting, you’ll notice other popular ideas like knitting basics, knitting patterns and knitting a scarf which can all be used as the basis for your content. Another great content intelligence tool is BuzzSumo, which looks for social media posts based on your keywords and returns you results based on the posts that had the best engagement metrics.
3. Have a Scalable Traffic Strategy
One of the biggest reasons why many bloggers quit is because they fail to get the traffic and readership they expected. Many bloggers start with strong motivation but it quickly fizzles when their effort into creating a great looking blog and quality content doesn’t materialize into anything. The thing you need to understand is that blogging is an online business model that requires you to have a clear strategy for generating traffic.
This means that you’ll need to learn how to market your website. You’ll need to utilize all the major traffic strategies like social media, search engine optimization, paid advertising, content marketing and email marketing. The best thing you can do is to start with one or two traffic strategies and develop a plan to scale it out.
For instance, starting with SEO may be a good option if you can find some low competition keywords to rank your content for. You can start out by creating content for the keywords, optimize it and build some links to it to get some traction. Before you know it, you’ll soon have several pages generating traffic to your blog and you’ll be able to scale that into some tougher keywords.
4. Establish a Relationship with Your Readers
Once you start posting some great content, you’ll start to convert that into a following that keeps coming back to your blog. This usually requires that you establish a relationship with your readers. There are many dimensions to accomplishing this. The first is coming up with a unique identity. You don’t have to be too personal but you want your readers to get the idea that you’re a distinct personality or authority in the market.
You want to have a strong unique selling proposition, personality and brand. This will connect you to your audience and help you stand out from competing blogs. The second part is making sure you have clear strategies for communicating with your readers. It will help to publish a regular email newsletter and post updates on multiple social media platforms so that readers are updated and have multiple options for staying in touch with you.
Last but not least, you’ll want to engage your readers. Encourage them to comment on your posts. Reply to their feedback and partake in their conversations. This will show them that you actually care about your readers. You may also want to build a community based on your blog using a Facebook group or an online forum where readers can interact with each other.
5. Have Clear Strategies for Monetization
At the end of the day, you’re blogging to generate an income. That’s why you’ll need clear strategies for monetizing your blog. Come up with creative ways to generate revenue. Are there solid products you can promote on your blog as an affiliate? Can you come up with you own original products to can sell on your blog? Do you want to use publishing networks like Google Adsense to monetize your traffic? Another thing you want to do is to look for advertisers that may want to tap into your audience.
Usually the best approach is to generate multiple revenue streams. You’ll want to sell your own products, promote products/services as an affiliate, and rent out sponsorship placements. You can really get creative with how you monetize your blog. Some business blogs have a small job posting section where community employers can buy ads and users can find jobs. Other blogs give away free trials to subscription services and make commissions when users sign up. You want to test different monetization strategies and figure out what works for you.
As you can see, turning your blog into a profitable business is no simple task. You’ll face many challenges along the way that’ll leave you wondering if you’re making any progress. It may take a long time for you to start generating consistent traffic and build a sizable following. However, if you’ve done everything right and stay on course, you’ll be able to turn a simple blog into a profitable venture.