How to Build a Business Around Your BlogDecember 02, 2018
Building a business around your blog might be an idea with which you started right from the beginning. Or you might decide somewhere along the path of
Building a business around your blog might be an idea with which you started right from the beginning. Or you might decide somewhere along the path of writing your blog articles, that you can actually transform your blog into a business. Either way, there are a few aspects that you need to know before and while you build a business around your blog.
In case you want to start right from the beginning, meaning that you don't already have a blog, then I invite you to read how to start a blog. You'll find information about choosing a domain and a hosting platform; considering your audience; writing blog articles etc. Afterward, come back here and read about building a business around your blog.
In the situation you're already a blogger, then continue reading. Building a business around your existing blog might imply that you already have a quite big number of readers. You know your audience, and you have your blog community.
For those who have a blog, but they need to develop a blog community, here's information about growing and maintaining one. Having this community, or at least an audience, will be a tremendous help in your process of building a business around your blog. Not only you'll know your readers' characteristics (what they like, how do they behave etc.), you'll also have (potential) clients for your future business.
I've mentioned a few ideas above, now let's put them in a list. It will be easier for you to follow them.
- Start a Blog (in case you don't already have one, of course);
- Be Legal (a business has some legal requirements; you either start a company or you officially make yourself a freelancer);
- Build a Blog Community (you'll have a relationship with your readers; you'll find valuable knowledge that you can use in deciding your business);
- Analyze and Brainstorm a few ideas that you can use as a future business;
- Create a Business Plan (each business has to start with this);
- Promote your Business;
- Be Consistent;
- Be Patient.
We'll talk about these ideas further in the article. I'll skip the first 3 because:
- Here's a complete article on how to start a blog. In case you need a specific niche, we've got you covered: Travel Blog, Fashion Blog, Tech Blog, Mom Blogging.
- I'm not an attorney nor do I have legal competences in order to explain to you about the legal requirements. I only know that any source of income must be declared. In addition to that, having your own business means that you either started an official company, or you're working as an official freelancer. I don't think it's possible to make money (legally) without being in one of these categories (declaring income, having a business or being a freelancer), but each country has its own laws. Make sure to carefully read them and ask an attorney for help.
- There's already an article that is full of information regarding how to build a blog community. One idea that you'll find there is that an audience is quite different than a community. The article has too many ideas, that you might want to read separately from this business around your blog article.
If you want to make money out of your blog, there are a few classic ways. But you might need to have a bigger number of readers in order to really feel that there's an income.
It's about adding ads or using affiliate links. Both of them can be used for any type of blog (social media, travel, fashion, tech etc.). You might find it a bit tricky with affiliate links, but don't worry! There are plenty of companies of all types that use affiliate marketing.
Again, there is a lot of information to take in, so I suggest to read about this subject in the separate article.
Now we are here to discuss how to build a business around your blog. Maybe you've already implemented ads on your blog. Or maybe you've already tested the affiliate links market.
Seeing that people constantly read your blog articles, makes you think bigger. You've been successful in creating a blog community, along with a big number of followers across social media platforms. Maybe you can actually build a business around your blog.
Let's follow the steps that I mentioned above.
Remember! Even before adding ads to your blog, or using affiliate links, make sure to get some help from an attorney regarding information on being legal. Those ads will generate you some money. If you're part of affiliate programs, you might have to declare your income. Either way, earning money by yourself doesn't make you free of paying taxes, so be sure to read the law or ask for some help.
Transforming your blog into a business means that you have to view it as a business. In Marketing and Sales, the first step you do when creating a business is a business plan.
I remember the college courses that thought us about business plans and what information to include. They were a bit scary at that moment, and you might have the same feeling right now. Seeing that it can contain a lot of information, might make you feel overwhelmed. But there are only questions that will help you know exactly what your business is going to be like.
There are about 8-10 parts in this business plan. Each focuses on a different aspect of your future business.
Mission Statement, Existing Growth, Products/Services, Goals.
So the first part of a business plan is basically a short review of your business. The mission statement is no more than a brief explanation about what's your blog/business about.
When you came up with the ideas of building a business around your blog, you might not have thought about this. But what's your purpose and why do you want to create this business?
The Existing Growth can be included if you already have a blog. Describe a bit when you started, and how did your audience grow over time (in terms of followers, page views etc.). What benefits did you have?
In the Products/Services part, you have the chance to point out some short ideas about what do you want to sell. Also, you can mention how do you want to sell your products/services?
The last part is about your Goals. Where do you see your blog business in the future? What are you planning to achieve? Now, these goals are quite vast; they can easily be confused with hopes.
A better set of goals is represented by the SMART Goals. Each one of your goals should be Smart. The SMART acronym stands for:
- Specific – Instead of saying “I want to make money out of this business”, you should be more specific: “I want to earn $5000 each month by selling training courses”.
- Measurable – Each one of your goals should have to be measurable. How else would you know if you're on the right track or not?
- Attainable – Think about what you have to invest in this goal to make it happen. In case you're not content with the time you'll be putting in, or the money (or any other resource), then it's not a goal for you. If you continue trying to achieve it, and you'll fail, it will only disappoint you.
- Relevant – Imagine you reach your goal. Will the results be relevant to you? Do you really want to be famous and have a business?
- Timely – Make sure your goal is defined by a specific period of time. Don't give it too much time, nor too little. Think about a period of time that will help you put that goal to work. Otherwise, you might find yourself postponing it.
Business Name. Your Uniqueness. Brand Personality.
Here's where you write your business's name, and other legal factors (if it's a company or not, for example).
In these days, it's incredibly hard to think of an idea that hasn't been there before. There are certain domains where this can happen, but blogging has been around for quite some years. With the development of all these social media platforms and forums, there's been an increase in the number of bloggers out there.
But this shouldn't intimidate you. Each blogger has a different style, a different goal in mind.
Start by thinking what are you planning to offer your products/services. Or what differentiates your products/services from other bloggers like you. You can mention details about the industry, such as: what are the trends, is it a popular industry, what makes it popular and so on.
Mention what could be the strengths of your business. Include some ideas about your future brand personality. Think about how do you want people to feel when/after reading your blog articles or using your product/service.
Describe, in a few words, this brand personality. Maybe you can make it similar to your own personality. Try to make it different from the others, in order to have better chances to succeed.
The Problem to Solve. Industry to Enter. Market to Conquer.
This part should explain the problem that you saw, and how are you planning to solve it. With your product/service, of course. Let's be clear, a problem could mean a gap in the industry, such as there are no training courses about something. Your future business is about training courses about that specific thing, hence you are solving the problem.
You might find this opportunity suddenly, or you might have to dig it. It certainly requires more analyzing and information. You want to be sure that your future business built around your blog will actually be successful.
That is why you should talk about the industry you're getting in. Are there any barriers that can keep you from entering it? How are the customers acting? Is there another service/product like yours?
There are a lot of questions like this that you should answer, in order to be sure about what you're going to develop. There may be other bloggers that offer the same product/service as you do. But you have to analyze how are they offering it. Then think about what can you offer more? Or where can you improve (leading to a better product/service)?
Analyzing your competitors implies some serious research. You need to check all the aspects of their blog/business. This includes:
- promotion strategies;
- their audience;
- price ranges;
- strengths and weaknesses.
You can even compare your competitors between them. This will certainly give you a clearer idea on what can you offer.
The market is all about your audience. Try to have a broad understanding of the whole market: how big is it, how fast is it growing, consumer trends and preferences shifts.
After this, in case you already have a quite successful blog already, you can use that audience or community to figure out your readers' characteristics. But you still have to do some research regarding your future product.
It goes hand in hand with the other two ideas that I wrote above. Especially with the Opportunity part. Maybe you've found a gap in the industry, but do people really want a solution?
No matter if you already have an audience or not, make use of surveys (which have to be correctly done, in order to be relevant). Ask around – your family, your friends, acquaintances. The survey shouldn't be long, but it should have enough specific questions.
Google Forms is the easiest one to use (and free). But there's also SurveyMonkey or Typeform.
Here's a more detailed version of the Industry, and you can actually include it there.
This part should contain details about how are your competitors positioning themselves in the market? You might want to make use of different ones; examples include the SWOT analysis, the PEST analysis, or Porter's Five Forces.
It might seem like there's a lot of work to do: studying those analyses and then applying them. But it's the only way you'll know every aspect of your business compared to the others. I found a great article that talks about How to do A Competitive Analysis.
You've written all of your research and your observations regarding your future business. Now it's time to explain how are you going to tackle each part? What strategies are you going to use to build a business around your blog?
Here's the part where you'll explain whether you'll focus on a broad audience or on a niche one. It's where you give details about how are you planning to succeed in the market.
Your strategies can be offline or online, even both. Depending on your product/service, start with the one that helps you the most. After that, you can always think about new ways of conquering.
If you're starting this business all by yourself, then you'll be the one doing all of the work.
In case you will hire a team, here's the place where you should explain what will each member do. How will each member contribute to the development of the business?
A bigger team will also require an organizational chart, that will show the hierarchy in the company.
Here the part where you should think of how will you market your product/services.
This means that you should include information about the following:
- why is it valuable to your future clients;
- price/prices, including future sales and offers;
- selling channels (in this case, it will probably only be your blog);
- promotion strategies (where and how).
Marketing is a complex domain, and it doesn't include only the promotion part. It includes a mix of everything about the products. Think of the classic 4 P's: Price, Product, Promotion, Place.
I chose to combine these two because the Operational plan is something that you can dispose of. It refers to where and how will your business function. But if you are the only ones that works around your business, from the comfort of your own home, then you don't have many things to write.
Regarding the financial part, here's where you can write how much money will you need to invest in creating your product/service. Think of what you'll use:
- tools for creating videos, eBooks, ads;
- paid aids;
- hosting services;
- tools for surveys and research;
- and so on.
All of the above will basically enlighten you, and give you a clearer idea about how to build a business around your blog. It will not be easy, but it is definitely necessary. Each business in this world thought of a business plan (even it was simpler or more complex). The whole idea behind this plan is to know what you're doing.
You don't want to invest time and money into something that you think it will bring you money, but which in the end will prove to be a mistake.
Each blog is different, thus you have to pick up the ideas that will work for you. Still, having a business plan is the first step in creating a business around your blog. That is why I chose to firstly give you information on that.
Now let's find some ideas that you can use as business, a product/service to sell on your blog. I will solely mention the ideas, because your own creativity needs some work, too. You're the one that will figure out how to use the following ideas for their own.
And, more importantly, if the following ideas are taken (almost 100% that they are), then the business plan will come to rescue. You'll have to analyze your competitors, your audience. Let people know that you offer a higher quality or that you offer something they won't find anywhere else. This applies to every single type of blog mentioned below.
There are some many types of Marketing and Online Marketing Blogs. Some blogs focus on a specific platform (YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram etc.); there are blogs that have a broader spectrum.
Each one of them can make use of these:
Most of these blogs, or bloggers to be more exact, start their business by offering people a more in-depth information. Let's say that someone has a blog about YouTube. That blogger can make a business by trying to sell guides, eBooks, or courses, teaching people how to create a successful YouTube channel.
Tech blogs can make use of the same products mentioned above. They can also add some 1-on-1 teaching courses about how to use specific applications.
Coding can be another source of income, as tech bloggers that are into programming, can offer their help: teach others how to code in various languages. Here there can be different programs for beginners, medium users or advanced.
Cooking is just a big category. These day people started to try out various diets, various foods, hence there is a vast number of cooking subcategories present on the market. Gluten-free, Paleo, Fasting, High Protein and so much more.
Every cooking blogger can go further by:
- creating its own recipes;
- writing a cooking book;
- creating meal plans;
- cooking videos;
- and so much more.
As long as you'll offer valuable content (and this applies to every single type of blog out there), people will pay to know more about how to cook, eat and live a healthy life.
Along with the cooking industry, the fitness domain has skyrocketed. At least this is how I see it. It's much easier now to become a personal fitness instructor, to blog and to share your knowledge with the world.
There are so many types of exercises and fitness plans out there, oh boy! I'm not saying this to scare you. If you remember, I said that your idea can already be taken. But if you know properly do your homework (analyze and research everything), then you will be able to offer a better product.
Here are some ideas:
- Fitness Plans;
- Yoga Teaching;
- Strength Achieving;
- Losing Weight Program;
- Personal Trainings;
- and many more.
Being a fitness blogger you can combine some cooking with some sport. And you can offer a complex program that will help your readers/clients to achieve their goal.
The following types of blogs can be a bit tricky. I didn't see much information on this, so let's brainstorm a few ideas.
You can be a high-street fashion blogger, a luxury one, or you can focus on budget clothes. Depending on your niche, I would suggest some of the ideas:
- Tailoring “sheets”;
- Course on how to improve/choose your style (1on1);
- Sewing Course;
- Personal Stylist Services;
- Writing a Fashion Book;
- Creating an Online Store for Clothing Swaps.
Travel bloggers can also fall into various categories: backpacking, luxury travel, exotic adventures, city breaks etc. Thinking of some things to sell on your travel blog, I came up with these ideas:
- Planning Trips;
- Selling your Presets (VSCO or Lightroom);
- Be a City Guide;
- Offer Experiences on Airbnb.
This types of blogs offer a broader spectrum of subjects. Being a lifestyle blogger means that you can actually write about everything that happens with your life (that's worth sharing with others, of course).
Here are some ideas for a business:
- Meditation Courses;
- Life Coaching;
- Personal Decorator;
- Personal Shopper.
Of course, these types of blogs can profit more easily on using affiliate links and partnering with various companies. But I'm sure there are quite a few different bloggers out there that had some great ideas to build a business on their own.
We welcome new ideas of businesses, so if you have one for any type of blog, feel free to reach us.
Remember that building a business, a successful one, that will last, will not happen over the night.
As long as you know you did all that you had to, you have to have been consistent in delivering content for your business. Promote your business organically, but also by adding some paid ads.
Every business needs some time to develop, to catch some roots. It might be months, it might be years. But constant work will pay off. Of course, if you see that after some time you earned no money than you might consider your business strategies.
Analyze your work and progress monthly, to see if what you're doing something good or not. In this way, you'll be able to act quickly if something is not working.