Since blogging has gained such popularity there are now many bloggers who started by creating an informal blog site, which has now begun to evolve into something bigger. They have got regular readers and maybe an e-mail list started, they have lots of content and an audience that is starting to ask for more specific material.
If this sounds familiar to you, or it is where you would soon like to be, then maybe you are at the next stage in your blogging journey…
……and it is time to take your blog and turn into an online business.
Create a Blog Business
The first stage in creating a blog business is to have developed a blog site. This doesn’t need to be very advanced, although the more content and followers that you have the easier this next stage will be.
The second stage is to list out some of the ways in which you can make money and turn your content and ideas into a proper online business. Here are some of the more popular ways.
- Converting content into digital products
- Selling tangible products
- Affiliate marketing
Converting Content Into Digital Products
This section can actually cover quite a wide variety of products, so I will outline three different examples here.
One of the ways that many bloggers collate their content and make it more accessible to readers is to create an e-book from the blog material.
I have already detailed the process that I use for developing an e-book in this post How to Re-Use Blog Content and Publish An E-book. E-books have a number of advantages for a business.
- They promote your authority and expertise further which can bring in more customers and readers to your site.
- They develop your work into manageable and theme related topics
- They are stand alone and easy to read and access.
Self-Publishing platforms are common nowadays, although Amazon still holds the largest market and is an ideal starting place for new authors looking to maximise their audience potential.
Podcasts can be made of blog posts or of the e-books and sold separately as audio books. I have created a podcast as an experiment on this site (An Introduction to SEO) but as of yet I haven’t written up the process. However it is relatively straightforward (otherwise I wouldn’t have done it)
One expert that has really developed the art of using podcasts is Pat Flynn and his site is well worth visiting if this is your area of interest.
This is an area that I am considering at the moment and currently researching different options.
As a WordPress site there are a number of plugins available that can be used on an existing site such as this. However other training course software that I have seen need a dedicated website, which isn’t a problem since my current hosting platform provides additional sites for free.
This site by Chris Lema has provided me with my starting links and information and seems so far to be a useful resource.
Another option that many bloggers choose is to use affiliate marketing, to sell products through a third party website. Basically companies pay bloggers a commission for every customer that they send to their website who makes a purchase.
Affiliate marketing works well for bloggers because it relies on a content based marketing strategy.
In other words each product you promote needs to be written about and supported with other content linked to the topic.
This coincides with how many bloggers operate and manage their own content, so it is an easier model to use.
There are a number of posts on this site about affiliate marketing some of which are listed at the end of this article.
Selling Tangible Products Through Niche Marketing
As well as affiliate sales some bloggers also make their own products, which they sell through their website. Like the affiliate marketing model they tend to be specialised sites that focus on a smaller or niche area of the market.
Many examples of these niche marketing businesses can be found on one of the forums that I participate in at Wealthy Affiliate. Here new bloggers and internet marketeers offer support to each other and also have access to a full training program in internet marketing.
You can read more about the program in this post Wealthy Affiliate University.
As well as creating and promoting your own selected products, there is also the option to allow advertising on your site. This can be done in a number of different ways.
- Google Adsense – by signing unto a google adsense account
- Paid adverts
- Banner links to affiliate goods
Advertising is not as lucrative an option as it once was, since according to the 2015 Digital News Report nearly half of all UK and US online users use software to block ads. This is especially true of younger users (under 35).
The term Native Advertising has been introduced into digital marketing, which refers to paid posts or content. These look like regular posts but the owner has paid to have them promoted. Commonly seen on social media they are also gaining momentum in other forms of media and could replace block adverts in the future.
Making Money Online
Whatever combination of methods you use, the only way that you can make money in a business is to have customers willing to buy the products or pay for there advertising.
There are three key ways to gathering and retaining customers
- Create interesting content
- Promote the content
- Maintain quality at all times
One of the advantages of an established blog is that you already have readers interested in what you have to say. Your sales or marketing approach is to work along with this content so that the reader’s experience is still good and they continue to gain from your information.
Many bloggers avoid banner ads for this reason and instead use text links so that readers have the option to visit a sales site, but it doesn’t interfere with their flow of reading. You see this with the blue links throughout this post, which lead to other articles but don’t interrupt the content.
Once your content has been written it also needs to be promoted.
Email lists are a great way to remind interested readers that new material is available.
Social media and posting to niche forums are other ways to get the message out there.
It can be tempting to focus on creating lots of content and keeping your name alive in social media. Remember though the greatest draw people have to your site is for the quality and reliability of what you produce.
If your standards start to fall this will be more devastating on your sales than if your frequency of posting drops. Readers will wait for good quality, they may not return if they experience bad quality.
Turning Your Blog Into An Online Business
Once you have developed content and have started to gather a following then you are in a good position to start making money and turning your blog into an online business.
Obviously you can start thinking about a business idea right from the beginning of the blog, but like all businesses it takes time to develop and start to make money.
To summarise in order to sell any product you need to do the following.
- Create products of your own or
- Source affiliate products to sell through your site
- Create content to promote and explain about your products
- Gain sufficient traffic to your site to make enough sales
- Maintain the quality of the site to ensure that customers will return.
Changing your blog into a business is not much different to maintaining a blog and building your readership.
The focus does begin to change though as you to start to have to analyse sales pages and see which content is converting, but don’t worry this will be covered later once your business has been started.
There are a number of other articles on this site that may also be of interest.
- How to Re-Use Blog Content and Publish An E-book
- 9 Myths About Affiliate Marketing for Niche Businesses
- How to Start An Online Business
I hope you enjoyed the article please feel free to leave a comment and/or share on your own social media channels.