How to turn my blog into a business?

2009 December 7
by velvet

puzzle piecesMany people, including myself, start their blogs as a hobby. Blogs provide us with a platform to share our experiences or dreams or an outlet to express our creative spirit. We work hard to produce original content, we’re continuously fiddling with the technical aspects or with the layout and we’re on social media channels marketing our articles every day.

Soon this hobby turns into a full-time job; not exactly a source of serious income but one that provides a high degree of contentment. Many of us then begin to wonder if this blogging hobby could actually be turned into a business. Is it possible? We’ve heard so many stories of bloggers earning a decent income each month so it must be. So, how do I turn my blog into a business? Before that question can be answered, a critical mind-set switch has to be made: we have to start to treat our blog as a business.

The most important step in turning your blog into a business is to think of it as a company, with its own brand and product suite. This switch in mind-set may seem logical but if it isn’t made, the lack of business focus may result in missed opportunities. One method of facilitating this mind-set switch is to ponder on the following questions:

  • Objective: What is the objective of my blog? Do I want it to generate direct income for me (for instance, through advertisements, affiliate programmes, selling merchandise)? Or as a platform to showcase my skills and talents? Or to establish myself as an expert in my field and generate business leads? Or elements of all three?
  • Goals: How do I want to further develop my blog? Grow my audience? Expand its functions? Increase its page rank?
  • Brand: What do people like about my blog? What differentiates my blog from others? What does my blog say about me? Does it sufficiently reflect my perceptions/expectations?
  • Product: Which products and/or services can I/do I want to offer?

To be able to answer these questions, talk to other bloggers and your readers and get some feedback; do some research on brand-building, increasing traffic and ways to monetise your blog; and reflect on your skills and talents and how these can be turned into selling points.

notepadOnce you have the answers to those questions, I recommend creating a business plan. It can be as specific or as general as you wish: some scribble on a blank sheet or a bound 10-pager. I started with a few notes, then later expanded on each note. In any case, it should describe your brand and your mission, as well as contain a list of your goals (short and long term) and how you intend to achieve them. I suggest creating a ‘To Do’ list and attaching it to your list of goals. Maybe there are aspects of your blog that you would like to learn more about (e.g. traffic, SEO, ads, etc..) or new contacts you would like to make, or new marketing avenues you would like to explore. Include these in your ‘To Do’ list. Your business plan should also include a list of your products and/or services and the rates, the income you expect to earn, how you aim to earn it, and the cost associated with it.

The business plan is a great way to put your thoughts and ideas on paper in a structured manner. It also helps you to maintain your focus when you’re writing new content, building your brand, marketing your blog or chasing business leads. When opportunities arise simultaneously from different directions, or when you have the feeling that you’re not progressing, pick up your business plan and use it as a guide or as a source of inspiration.

When you switch your thinking and start to treat your blog like a little company, and you put your soul (i.e. passion and honest hard work) as well as every ounce of positive energy you can squeeze into it, doors start to open and voilá… your blog has become a business!

Update: September 2011: I’ve included the slides from my presentation with Janice Waugh at the Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Innsbruck August 2011 on How to Grow Your Blog as a Business:

Problogger is an amazing resource for bloggers. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of insightful articles. I’ve listed several relevant articles below which I hope you’ll find useful:

One Response leave one →
  1. January 5, 2011

    That is an amazing post, i enjoy reading the information on this site.

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