I’m sure you have read about my tips on how to establish an authority business blog… well, if you haven’t you might want to read that first because it will give you a reason or two why you should build a business blog – not just a biz blog, but a reputable and authoritative one.
But no worries – you can always do so later on (promise me you will read that, will ya?) Now, let’s assume you are reading this blog post because you want for your business blog to support your living expenses – even better – give you financial independence. Well, your assumption is correct because I won’t write about the technicalities behind starting a business blog.
Instead, I will give you tips from my experience – especially those that challenge your perception about business blogging – that can help you build an income-generating business blog.
But why “financial independence”?
Well, it’s because the possibilities: While 80-90 percent of bloggers won’t make even close to $100 a month, the rest are making three, four, five even six digit of monthly income. It IS possible for your blog to give you income that allows you to be financially independent; allowing you to pursue your other dreams, opportunities or even to enjoy a better lifestyle, if you want. Indeed, financial independence will bring you more choices in your life.
Now, do YOU want more choices in your life from the income generated by your business blog? Before you answer the question, please note that what I am going to share with you after this sentence is not about Internet Marketing how-to; rather, it’s all about your mindset, because what you believe will determine whether you will take action or not.
Are you ready? Let’s do it!
Let’s start off with misconceptions. Why? It’s simple. Your journey in building a successful business blog will be determined by your mindset. Misconceptions will slow you down and hinder you from success.
Okay, let’s begin with misconception numero uno…
Misconception #1: You should not make money from your blog
While it’s all up to you regarding your blogging topics, it’s simply misleading thinking that you can’t make money from your blog. If you don’t want to monetize your blog, that’s alright; but you can’t insist others to do what you do, even telling them “greedy,” “wrong,” and any other label.
Misconception #2: Hide your ads because they will upset your readers
While this is true in some cases, we shouldn’t generalize this. True, too many ads will hurt your readership. But you should not hide your ads down below. You should display your ads above the fold and keep the amount manageable – don’t spam your readers with ads!
Misconception #3: You should not display ads! You should make money with other methods
Some blogs are actually company blogs, helping the company to drive traffic – and eventually sales. However, not all business blogs are attached to a particular company, product or service; some blogs are blog-as-businesses: Online publications that are supported with ads – not by asking visitors to make a purchase. It’s a sustainable business model, and it’s a shame that you are not monetizing the free expertise you offer via your blog posts.
Misconception #4: Wait until you reach X number of visitors before you add any advertisements
I often read about this kind of suggestions, and I have to say that I disagree. I believe when you are running a blog as a business, you need to show your readers that your blog means business; that you will share valuable information, and in doing so you are ad-supported.
Adding ads later on, to me, sounds like you are betraying your readers. “Why now?” they might ask. It’s a sensitive issue and I have proven myself that it’s potentially disruptive.
On one of the blogs I purchase from bloggers, there is no ad on it; I start adding ads – as I am going to turn it into a self-supporting, revenue-making business blog. The blog gradually lose readers – and a couple gives feedback that echo the same thing I mentioned above: “Why now?”
Okay – by now you might feel a bit puzzled… but that’s okay; that’s because the media give blogging-for-money bad reputation. What I am trying to do is to let you “get exposed” with new concept about business blogging.
While you’re at it – let’s move on: I do have a track record of building income-generating blogs that let my family and I to live 100% off my online income and invest the money coming from my blogs on growing investments.
Tips on starting a successful business blog
Here are some tips right from my personal experience on how to start a successful business blog:
1. You are a web publisher and you run your business as a business: Don’t deny it!
When you are running a blog-as-a-business, you are no longer a business blogger – you have become a member of an elite group called “web publisher” or “internet publisher.” You join the ranks like Mashable, Entrepreneur.com, Problogger.net, Hulu.com, and other online publications which provide ad-supported content.
You might not be a professional blogger or A-list blogger, but that doesn’t stop you from becoming a web publisher. As one, you are not only blogging for your blog; you run it as a business. Some do it by hiring a team of bloggers; some allow guest posting; some just love blogging and run the blog as a one-man show.
So, when you are running your blog as a business, refer yourself as “web publisher.” Believe me, it will open up more opportunities; your potential clients will know that you are more than just a blogger; you understand your asset very well and believe it or not, you will get better offers (e.g. Instead of getting “please consider blogging about our new app” you will start getting “please consider reviewing about our new app – we will compensate you for your time.”)
2. Monetize as soon as your blog is established
Some won’t agree with my suggestion, but I do have my reasons: I want to let my readers know that I mean business: I want for you to know that I offer superior products (blog posts) and I made them available for free. As I don’t have venture capital money to back my blog operations, I display ads so I don’t have to charge you with anything.
That’s fine if you don’t have a product to sell on your blog. Along the way, you might want to add more than just blog posts: You might want to add your own products. In the mean time, promote affiliate products you personally use and find useful.
Again, doing this early on will avoid you from being questioned about your decision in monetizing your blog.
3. Start with an end in mind: Don’t start with “YOU” – start with “US”
One of my blogs starts as a personal blog, and I need some moment to “re-brand” it to be a proper business blog. I don’t want to relate me as a person to the blog. I want the blog to be known as a brand in itself.
Why would I want to do so? It’s simple – because it’s not my plan to keep my blogs mine for a lifetime. When the time comes, I will sell them as profitable businesses. In order to do this, any personal ties to the blogs need to be broken.
Biz Penguin is, well, Biz Penguin. It’s not me. I am the Founder/Editor, but that’s all – true, I write all the posts, but that soon will change. Why? Read on…
4. Go for multi-authored business blog
There’s nothing wrong running a one-person business blog. But I learn that turning your blog into a multi-authored one brings more benefits to the table: Your blog will contain blog posts in different perspective. Your blog will cater a wider array of readers, which always mean a good thing.
5. Promote, promote, promote – and don’t rely on Google. Please.
“Just build it and they will come” just won’t work. You are competing against more than 160 million of blogs – to get yourself heard (or read) you need to pitch your audience. You work so hard producing authority blog posts – don’t let them go unheard/unread. Promote your blog and blog posts on social media; create videos from your blog posts; create slideshares from them; bookmark them on BizSugar, Reddit, etc.
Your focus should be on getting found. Use off line promotion methods if you will – anything will do!
The bottom line – keep on promoting your great stuffs. C’mon don’t be shy 🙂 If you don’t rave your writing, how can you expect other to rave yours?
6. Be the expert: Write something authoritative and choose your topic wisely
Gone are the days of 50-word blog posts. They will surely be lost in the sea of billions of blog posts published on the web. Obviously, if you want a successful blog, you need superior products: You should start that with your blog posts as your main products. Be authoritative, and if you don’t have anything that adds value to the web, then don’t publish any!
While going niche is recommended, choosing the wrong niche can backfire. Not all topics will cater large audience – and you need to cater an adequate number – not necessarily a large number, though – of audience to help you establish as one of the experts.
And yes, expertise matters; it will help your blog gain readers. You may not be as popular as Perez Hilton (PerezHilton.com) or Darren Rowse (ProBlogger.net) but you gotta start somehow. They also start from the bottom and climb up the popularity ladder as they establish their expertise. If personal branding is not your forte, you can get your blog brand to climb up the popularity ladder, instead.
7. Build a blog as a business – not a career
“I am a blogger” is cool, but “I own a blogging business” is way cooler. As a blogger, you are self-employed. As a blog owner, you are a business owner. And whether you like it or not, business owners make more than self-employed (of course, there are some exceptions – but let’s take the business path, shall we?)
Did you know why SmallBizTrends.com is an authority in small business? It’s because small business authority Anita Campbell, the CEO, run it as a business. She blogs occasionally, but the blog runs with or without her writing blog posts.
8. Future-proof your business blog
You always heard of a new ways of growing your blog’s readership or driving more web traffic to your blog. While some advices are great, some others are not, especially if those involve capitalizing on loopholes or doing “grey hat” – even “black hat” methods. Those can work, but you’ll live on the edge.
I have practiced grey hat tactics, and to say the least, you can’t easily fool Google and other search engines like before. It’s better to play it safe: Don’t copy or rewrite others’ blog posts; don’t copy others’ blog layouts; don’t try to game the system. Just. Don’t. Seriously.
9. You can’t do it all alone – collaborate
It’s a lonely world out there. Sure, you can ask your friends, family and colleagues to spread the words out about your new business blog. But unless a couple of them are online influencers or evangelists (someone with strong opinion and personality with many online followers) your chance for your blog to get found is slim.
The best way for you is to collaborate with fellow business blog owners. Exchanging guest posts and cross-promoting each other blogs work wonder. Even better, you should join or create your own bloggers/blog owners’ network, from which you can share information and expertise, as well as cross-promoting each other blogs.
10. Consider to incorporate your blog
I haven’t done this, but I will do so in the near future. Some of the most reputable business blogs are incorporated, and they have a good reason to do so.
An LLC can help you lower your taxes, as well as protecting your personal assets from any liabilities your business generate. An LLC shouts “trust” and “legitimate” – you will get better opportunities, as many would only want to make a business deal with incorporated business due to the trust issues.
Building a successful business blog is not easy. If someone else tells you that it’s easy, well, I don’t think you should trust him/her.
You see, it’s probably easy to make $20-30/month. But if you want your blog to be the one that makes you $2,000, $20,000 or even $200,000 a month, it takes extra effort on your end. No shortcut, unfortunately.
“More work” means your job is not only creating quality blog posts and promote them; your job includes pitching to industry leaders and fellow blog owners about your blog; continuously promote your blog; create videos, slideshares and so on to support your blog; attend blog expos; and so on.
Now you know what it takes to build a blog business. So, are you ready to step up your game and start establishing a successful business blog that allows you to enjoy financial independence?