This is the age of the online entrepreneur. Almost two-thirds of businesses in the US have fewer than five employees, and the number is rising year on year. There are numerous ways to monetize your blog and generate the income – but can you really make a viable business of it?
Of course, it is more than possible, and digital entrepreneurs like Brian Clark show just how successful it can be with a great idea and the right approach. The other benefit of turning a blog into a business is that it requires very little in the way of capital investment. So even if funds are tight or you’re wondering how to establish credit with little financial history, there is nothing to stop you from pursuing your dream of owning your own business.
That’s not to say it is going to be easy. It seems that practically everyone has their own blog these days, so yours will need to stand out from the crowd and be truly extraordinary in order to become a real money-spinner. Here, we offer some guidelines on how to do just that.
1. Write for Your Audience
When you set up your blog, it almost certainly focuses on the topics that are of interest to you. But here’s the thing: While there are some voyeuristic types in this world who would happily spend all day reading your diaries, they are not going to make your blog an overnight financial success.
The most successful blogs know and understand their audience and give them the content they want to consume. It sounds dead simple when you say it, but can be the difference between moderate traffic and runaway success. There are some handy tools in Google Analytics where you can find information about your audience demographics, and these can give you some great pointers on who is visiting your site and what they are looking for.
2. Use Ads Smartly
People turn their noses up at ads, and if your blog is plastered with banners and pop-ups that detract from the content, they are right to do so. However, used properly, ads are one of the most effective ways to monetize your blog and get it bringing in money. Now that you know your audience better, you can use targeted ads that your visitors will actually find useful and relevant.
The quickest and easiest way to get started is to sign up with Google Adsense. It takes a matter of minutes, and is used by millions of bloggers worldwide.
3. Become an Affiliate
Becoming an affiliate partner can prove to be extremely profitable, and the great thing is, it’s easy to start small and build it up. You probably know already how it works – as an affiliate, you promote or endorse certain products, and you get a commission for leads and sales you generate.
That’s fine, but doesn’t it mean reaching out to sellers or manufacturers and convincing them that they want to go into partnership with you and your fledgling blog? Not necessarily. Amazon has its own affiliate program called Amazon Associates, and anyone can join. Just like the ads, you need to keep the affiliate activity to a sensible level, and be selective. Focus on products or services that you genuinely believe in, and even more importantly, that will capture the imagination of your readers.
4. Start Selling Things
Are we missing the elephant in the room here? Surely the easiest way to make money from your blog is to use it as a platform for selling things. If you’ve followed the tips to the letter so far, you have a successful blog with lots of loyal visitors, and you know what interests them and captures their attention. That means you’ve also got a very good idea as to what they would like to purchase.
This is the real key to successful selling. Don’t just come up with a product for the sake of selling it. Come up with something that will make your readers’ lives better, happier and more fulfilled. So what is that special something? Well, of course, it depends on your blog and your visitors, but it might be a book, a video or even personal coaching sessions.
Don’t Give Up
The above tips really can get your blog bringing in some serious money and operating as a business with negligible start-up costs. But you get nothing for nothing in this life, so be prepared to put in the long hours and to battle through a few false starts to really make it work. Good luck!