Ever dreamed of making a living blogging? Well, the best way to approach it is by treating your blog like a business—and it’s easier than you might think. Here are 5 key ways that you should approach blogging if your blog is going to earn you money.
Define your niche.
Every successful company is able to clearly state what their niche is. What does your blog offer the world, and what makes it unique? If you want to be a baking blogger, for example, find something that will set you apart. Maybe everything you make will feature bananas as an ingredient, or maybe you’ll be a baker of only “naked” cakes.
Just as how in business a company must display a measure of expertise in a particular realm, you must do the same with your blog so that visitors to your site will have incentive to come back or to follow you. Whatever it is that you talk about on a regular basis on your blog, excel at it—no matter how mundane of a skill or knowledge it might seem.
Use consistent branding.
Branding in the form of carefully crafted logos, color palettes, and typography styles isn’t only for business. In fact, any place, event, or personal blogger who wants to be memorable must apply consistent branding to some extent. When many think of branding, they think of the standard business logo, but it’s actually much more than that, encompassing color choices, typography styles, diction, and more.
So what does this mean for your blog? First, it does mean that you need to create a logo that incorporates the title of your blog, displaying it prominently somewhere at the top of your site. With your logo, it’s a good idea to create a small version of your logo as well; if your blog The Hip Cupcake features an image of cupcake in the logo, for example, the small version of your logo would be only the cupcake.
Don’t forget about other aspects of your branding as well. Here are some of the key points to hit:
a color palette consisting of two to three main colors for your site
one to two fonts to use consistently throughout your site and social media pages
a defined style and voice for writing
typographical guidelines for all blog and social media posts
a defined photography style (vintage look, ultra-saturated, black and white, etc.)
Establish a comprehensive online presence.
Serious, business-minded blogging today involves more than just uploading posts to a blog on a regular basis; it’s about creating fresh content and keeping people up-to-date on the social media fronts as well. A well-rounded blogger, for example, might run a blog on WordPress and in addition run blog-branded social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. As this article details, these social media platforms really do play a central role in the way businesses and blogs market themselves today.
As you create an all-encompassing social media presence on the web, it’s highly important that you make all of these blog-branded social media pages discoverable. This means displaying social media buttons prominently on your blog, and even mentioning your other social media pages within your various social media profiles. On Instagram, for example, you might include your Twitter and Snapchat handles in addition to your blog URL.
Be sure as you run multiple social media pages that you give each page something of value that is unique from the rest. On your Facebook page, for example, you might share articles that relate to the topics your blog covers, while on Instagram you might share “behind-the-scenes” photos of what’s on your blog. Give followers incentive to follow you on multiple platforms rather than on just one.
Create a schedule.
Businesses run on highly organized schedules; so should your blog. Plan out how many posts you want to publish each week and when you plan on making each one live. This includes social media posts as well. A truly business-minded blog and social media schedule will rely on the tried-and-true best times for posting on each platform each day. You might, for example, schedule all of your Facebook posts to go live over the weekend, or all of your tweets to be published at the end of the workday.
Don’t forget to include longer term goals in your “schedule” as well. Think about where you want your blog to be in, say, a year, and map out shorter term goals that will help you get there. If you want to have 10,000 followers on Pinterest in one year, for example, you’ll want to create a strategy plan for gaining followers that you will continue to follow for the next year.
Of course, it isn’t much like a business unless it’s making you some money. How you monetize your blog depends largely on what type of blog you run. Here are a few of the most common ways that today’s bloggers monetize their blogs:
Allow “sponsors” to purchase ad space on your site, such as in your sidebar.
Join several affiliate linking programs and include affiliate links whenever you link to a product somewhere on the web.
Write sponsored posts featuring a company’s products.
Conduct a social media campaign for a particular company featuring a theme that they want to promote.
Join an ad network like Google AdSense.
A fashion blog, for example, might be most successful with affiliate linking, as fashion bloggers are frequently linking to clothing sites. A party planning blog, meanwhile, might be more successful with writing sponsored posts featuring party and craft supplies from various companies. Just keep in mind that if you are going to monetize your blog like a business, you are going to have to track income, expenses, and taxes like a business, as well.