If you’ve got a personal blog, you might have at some point considered turning it into a business. You might have even set it up in the hope of making money, and you may have had a few offers of work. In fact, many bloggers now start out wanting to make money. They’ve seen others turning their blogs into businesses, reviewing expensive products and even spending time with the rich and famous. You might have seen your favourite vlogger make their name on reality tv, or bought a book written by a well-known blogger.
Unfortunately, many bloggers make the mistake of thinking that the successes of others have come easily. They see where they are now, not where they have been. They don’t know about the work that goes in, and the years of improvements that they have gone through to get to where they are. They imagine themselves starting a blog, getting thousands of views and making a fortune in the first few months. They see fame and fortune in their near future.
This isn’t meant to put you off. Not at all. Success won’t come easily, but that isn’t to mean that it won’t come at all. If you want to, you can certainly turn your blog into a business. Let’s take a look
Do the Leg Work
All those bloggers that you look up to and admire have already done the legwork. Don’t look at your beginning and compare it to their middle. If you want to be where they are, you need to put in the hours and the effort. You need to spend time getting your designs right, growing your audience, writing quality content and creating the blog that you want.
This isn’t going to be easy, and it will take time. Even the best content out there takes a while to pick up traffic. It takes a while for it to get noticed on social media and by search engines. It doesn’t just happen because you’ve published something.
Most people don’t reach the point where they can feasibly turn their blogs into a business, making a full-time income for at least two years. So, make sure you are committed to putting this work in before you start getting ideas about quitting your job.
Get Back to Basics
When we start out, most of us don’t really have the first idea of what it takes to make a great blog. We don’t write well, our photography is poor, we’ve never heard of SEO, and we get the basics wrong. Then, over time we make vast improvements. Our photographs become more polished and professional. Our writing is fluid and natural, and we make an effort to write our posts with SEO in mind.
But, so many of us never go back to these old posts. They are still out there, on the internet, getting read and viewed. The people that land on these pages make their first impressions of our blogs based on that first page that they read. If it’s poor, they’ll never come back. They certainly won’t offer you work.
So, take the time now, when you are considering pushing to turn your blog into a business, to get back to basics. Make sure you are giving your new content everything that it needs and that you haven’t grown complacent. Then, go back to those old posts. Add new photos, edit the writing to make it easier to read and make some adjustments to your SEO. It will make your blog look better and help to improve your bounce rate, but it will also help you get more views and more offers of work.
Make Sure it Looks Professional
When it comes to the internet, first impressions count. As they do in many other areas of life. If you want your blog to be taken seriously as a business, it needs to look professional. Clashing colours, too fancy, hard to read fonts, too much going on and unprofessional designs can set the amateurs apart from the professionals.
Often, making your blog look professional is about stripping it back. We tend to throw everything at things when we’re unsure of what we are doing. Get help from a designer with your logos and branding. Make sure your site is easy to read and nice to look at. Break up large blocks of text with subheadings, photos, and infographics and ensure there is plenty of white space, to make the content stand out.
It’s also important to make sure your site looks and works equally well on a smaller screen. The best way to do this is to test it out yourself. Check the loading speeds and make sure it’s as easy to use on mobiles and tablets.
Take a Look at Your Social Media Profiles
Your website looks professional, but what about your social media profiles? Are they professional? Are you using your branding?
Brands, PR representatives, and viewers often find you from your social media profiles. This means that your blog isn’t where they make their first impression, your social media profiles are. Even those that find you directly from your blog will click through to your social media pages to find out more about you.
Work on Engagement
New bloggers often make the mistake of thinking that followers and viewer numbers are the most important markers to their success. They look for new followers at every turn. They are always looking for ways to find new viewers and followers. Some even play the follow/unfollow game or buy followers. This always shows in the end, and constantly seeking new readers can be exhausting.
Engagement can be much more important if you want to build long-term and consistent success. Brands want to work with bloggers who have an influence over their audience. Not those with thousands of followers that don’t take much heed in what they have got to say.
So, spend time engaging with your readers and social media followers. Speak with them, answer their questions, reply to their comments and build friendships with other bloggers. Share other peoples work and take the time to help new bloggers out as much as you can. In the long run, this will help your numbers and increase your views as well as helping you to turn your blog into a business.
Change Your Mindset
If you want your blog to become your business, you need to start thinking of it as such. Stop thinking of yourself as a new blogger and start putting yourself in the same bracket as those other bloggers that you might admire. Think of it as a business, see the hours that you put into it as work, start sending more professional emails and stop worrying that you aren’t good enough to pitch for work.
One great way to change your mindset is to change your working habits. Instead of blogging in bits and bobs around your other commitments, on the sofa with the TV on in the background, develop a routine. Create a home office with supplies like cheap Epson ink and stationery as well as a desk and chair. Start working at set times, and take evenings off. The quicker you start to treat your blog like a job, the quicker it will feel like one, and the sooner you start taking it seriously, the sooner other people will too.
Build a Business Plan
Having a business plan can help you to focus. You won’t spend your days sitting at a computer without much idea of what you are doing. You’ll have focus, drive, and goals. Sit down and create a long-term business plan. Ask yourself where you want to be in five years and what you are going to do to get there. You’ll know where you want to spend money, and how it will help you. You’ll know what you want from your blog, who you want to work with and what kind of future you see for your new business.
Then, use this business plan to create smaller goals. Look at where you want to be in five years and what you can do right now to help you get there. Set yourself goals for the next three months and give them your full focus. Then, in three months’ time, reassess and set new targets.
Consider Income Streams
If you want to make money as a blogger, at least initially, you might want to consider a variety of income streams. Long-term, you might want to focus on creating and selling your own products and services, but to start with this might not be possible if you want your blog to be your sole income. So, consider working with brands, on sponsored posts, with advertising and affiliate marketing.
Find Your Target Audience
Trying to appeal to everyone is another mistake that many bloggers make. Doing this means that they are spread too thin and unable to give anything the focus that it needs. Think about who your target audience is. Ask yourself who you are writing for and who you hope is reading your blog. Then, find them. Make sure you are targeting your marketing efforts where they are likely to be useful.