Blogging to Make Money is like Running a Business
Just because you can blog from the comfort of your home, or in a Starbucks and choose which hours in the day you work, blogging to make money is no different to owning a business be it a shop or an office.
Someone doesn't open a shop on the spur of the moment or in pure hope that they will make money without doing plenty of research. They work out what sort of business they want to build, check to see if there is a need for it, they see what competition there is in the town where they plan to set up, whether they have a unique angle to take on competitors and more importantly are the big boys such as super markets and department stores stifling trade for smaller businesses.
The same is applicable when planning to make money through blogging. You have to research before starting, working out what you are going to blog about whether there is interest in what you plan to blog about and whether there is too much competition and if so whether you can stand out from the crowd with a new angle. And more importantly are there to many big boys, established websites and blogs within the niche you plan to blog about because taking on the might of an established big boy is a test of patience, passion and determination.
Layout & Design
A businessman with a shop, designs it so it attracts people in and when those people come in they want to make it easy for them to shop, to browse to spot what they want and maybe see something else they didn't know they needed. A shop which is messy with a bit here and a bit there is not going to keep customers, oh some may find fun rummaging around in dark dusty corners but most will walk in and walk out as soon as they see the chaos.
Running a money making blog is no different, if people come to your blog and struggle to navigate around, read what you have written by poor colour choices or are distracted by funky backgrounds they are not going to stay around and will hit the back button before you know it. So a blogger has to design their blog with their visitor in mind, making it as easy as possible to use and to place what they want to know where they can see it. Plus if they plan to make money through adsense and affiliate products they need to place them where people will see them without cheapening the look of their site.
Promote & Advertise
A new business doesn't open up and then just expect people to come no matter how nice the business is or how unique they are, they have to advertise to get themselves known. They may advertise in the local paper, do a leaflet drop, they may even establish an online presence. And although they may attract some initial business they will continue to promote their business in some form or another.
A Blogger is no different because no matter how unique their website is, how beautiful it looks unless they get out and start promoting themselves they will never be discovered. So a blogger who is serious about making money must embrace social networking, get themselves known on forums and other blogs within their niche, write guest posts and articles for article sites and rather than just hope people will see their article efforts promote them as well with bookmarking and interlinking.
Customers & Visitors
A business, in particular a shop has 3 sorts of traffic, those which walk past look in the window and move on, those who come in look around and leave without buying and those who buy and return. They need to have a nice shop front to attract people in, once in they need to provide what the customer wants and then provide the service so that they will return and hopefully tell others about the shop.
A blog is no different you have those who pass your blog having hit the homepage, you have those who have a quick look around and then clear off and then you have those who stick around, read, comment, they return and they click ads or buy products through affiliate links. As such a blog needs to attract people in with their homepage, provide content that the user will find useful and different to what they get elsewhere, encourage them to come back and tell others and also give them the opportunity to click an ad or buy a product.
a good analogy is that a shop in the town will be passed by thousands of people a day, they may get just 10% of those who come in and a fraction of those who buy. A blogger can expect the same being seen by many, read by some of those and actually only earn anything from but a few. And that is why generating traffic and visitors is so important.
Move with the Times
A business which opens and then never changes what they stock is soon going to die, they need to keep up with what customers want, they need to see the trends and react to them. For example A greengrocer may stock your basic fruit and veg but with people wanting speciality salads they need to try and offer the same. If they don't try and change and provide what is hot right now then they are going to struggle
A blogger has to do the same they may have started off writing about one thing but as times and demand changes they need to be able to offer what people want within the same niche. For example there's no point in some one creating a blog about how to do SEO if they are not going to talk about the latest ways of doing it. Yes there are exceptions, some blogs which discuss for example old movies will survive but for most it is important to offer current, in demand information.
On top of this a shop owner should also change the look of their shop once in a while, a fresh coat of paint, a new window display and a shuffle around of fittings to make it look different. A shop that never changes, which always looks the same is eventually going to blend into the background.
A blogger must do the same as a blog which looks the same now as it did 4 years ago will start to look old and tired. A subtle change to the colour scheme, a new layout and things look better and fresh.
Someone who runs a business doesn't start and expect to work 9 till 5 and then sit back and watch the money come in. They will work a lot harder than that, they will be doing research and paperwork of the evening, they will be doing maintenance on a Sunday and will work much harder than if they were employed by someone else.
A blogger who wants to make money will work just as hard. They will spend time researching, writing, promoting, networking, doing paperwork and maintenance on their blog. They will be seeing what content works, what content needs changing. They will be seeing what the current trends are and work out ways to capitalize on them. Trust me a blogger doesn't just work a couple of hours a day, they work just as hard as a businessman. The difference is they work the hours they want be it early morning, late at night and can make time during the day to do other stuff.
But there is an exception to this, there are some bloggers who after doing that hard slog of working many hours build up such a successful blog that they are able to work a lot less than they once did.
Patience & Realism
A business owner doesn't expect to start a business one day and before the end of the week to be making millions; in fact a sensible business man is prepared that they may not make a profit for a few months even a year. But they have the patience and self belief to work at it until they do make a profit, knowing that overnight success really is a case of keep working at it, trying new things and learning.
As with a business owner a blogger is the same they don't, or shouldn't, start a blog one day and expect to make lots of money the next. They must be realistic and accept that it takes time for a blog to establish itself and turn a profit. As many will attest to, a blog often doesn't turn a profit or make anything close to worthwhile money until it's a couple of years old.
Knowing when to Quit
Whilst a business man has to be patient and persevere at running their business even when it's been established for years they also need to know when it's time to quit. Times change and although a business may try and keep up with what's current and in demand they may end up being beaten by competition and not making a profit. It's hard to do but a sensible businessman knows when to call it a day, when investing more time and money would be fruitless and doing so is like banging your head against a brick wall.
A blogger must be the same. They need to be patient but also need to accept that not all ideas for a blog will turn a profit and after giving it enough time and effort to turn a profit decide whether it will ever make enough money to keep on persevering. And the same that although there blog may be popular one day they also need to be sensible enough to know when things change and the site stops make money no matter what they do then it's time to call it a day.
So as you can see that running a money making blog shares many similarities with running a bricks and mortar business and I am sure there are more similarities. But what it boils down to is that if you are serious about making money as a blogger then you need to approach it in a business like way to make it succeed.
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