When I first started blogging it was mainly as a creative outlet. I was a newly stay at home mom with one baby working hard running a home daycare and I didn’t get a lot of adult interaction. This was before texting was mainstream (I know. I’m old) and before Facebook so it was just me and a handful of toddlers. I feel sorry for the door-to-door salesmen that showed up at my door during this time because I probably talked their ear off. It didn’t take long before I realized that blogging could be more than a hobby. Blogging could be a viable business if I worked at it the right way.
Now my blog is my main source of income. It’s given the ability to keep a more flexile schedule (and get out of the house a bit more often) while contributing to my family’s budget. Turning your blog into a full fledged business definitely takes some work though and it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.
Be professional. If you want to turn your blog into a business it’s important to be consistently professional. Yes, you can take days off (that’s part of the appeal of working from home) but you can’t go weeks without answering emails, write rude replies to people, or miss deadlines. You can’t maintain a readership or your relationships with brands unless you prove yourself to be someone worth working with. The internet is a surprisingly small place and word will get around if you make a habit of being unprofessional.
Be consistent. Personal blogs give you the freedom to post whenever you want. Blogging as a business does not. You can pick any posting schedule you want, whether that’s posting daily, weekly, or anything else, but once you decide how often you want to post you need to stick to it. Your readers want to know when they can expect new content from you. I know if I show up for a blog that hasn’t been updated in several weeks I usually don’t go back. You can pre-write posts and schedule them in WordPress. I like to work about a week in advanced so I have some wiggle room but my posts still feel current.
Streamline your blog. Blogging can take up all of your time if you let it, especially if you are a one person show. Save yourself a lot of stress and streamline as many things as you can. HostGator now offers Optimized WordPress, a new hosting platform that automatically updates your plugins, themes, and WordPress. I’m terrible about staying up to date with those so I love the idea of it being done automatically. I’ve been using HostGator for years so I’d definitely recommend them. I’ve used their 24/7 live support (via chat, phone, and email) more than a few times to get some help with issues that went over my head. Optimized WordPress also provides Sitelock malware scanning and removal and CodeGuard daily backup and restores. You don’t have to mess with a cpanel to install WordPress, which is kind of nice if you want to keep things simple.
Grow slowly. Blogging is more of a marathon than a sprint, especially when you are blogging as a business. You may have to remind yourself of that from time to time. Growing quickly sounds appealing but it can have a steep learning curve and cause your site to have some growing pains as you work out things on the technical level to keep up with quick traffic. Focus on continuous growth over sudden spurts. You’ll be less likely to burn yourself out and you have better growth in the long run.
Focus on the long-term plan. It’s easy to get caught up in what is happening right now. The immediate is more exciting. It takes time to build a business though so you need to focus on your long-term plan. Is your ultimate goal to gain traffic, write an e-book, or earn a living from your blog? Decide right now what your end game is and work towards that. If short-term sponsored opportunities don’t fit with your end goal, don’t take them. Our goal here has always been to help moms who are a bit overwhelmed. I’ve been in that place more than once in my life (heck, I’m there right now). It doesn’t make sense for us to partner with high fashion brands or something similar because it doesn’t fit our goals. I ask myself 3 questions when looking for site partners: Does it simplify? Does it bring joy? Does it educate? If it doesn’t do those things it probably isn’t a great fit for us.
Create a business plan. If you were starting any other business, your first step would be to create a business plan. Blogging as a business isn’t any different. Your business plan may look a bit different but it’s not any less important. A business plan helps you figure out where you want to go and how you want to get there.
Have a professional-looking design. In the beginning it probably won’t make a lot of sense for you to pay thousands of dollars for a custom logo and design (unless you want to hit the ground running and in that case go for it). It is important to make sure your design looks professional though. Use clean and clear images. Have layout that is easy for your readers to navigate. Avoid hard to read fonts or colors. You want to create a blog that gives your readers as easy an experience as possible. If you can do that on your own, great. If you can’t, find someone who can.
Are you thinking of turning your blog into a business? What tips or questions do you have?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.