One question I am often asked by other bloggers or even by friends is how did I take my hobby of a blog and turn it into a business that takes care of my family and has afforded us opportunities we could have only dreamed of. The reality is that it was and is a lot of hard work, but there are some things you can do right now in order to get started. So, I wanted to share with you 15 ways to go from blog to business TODAY! There is an affiliate link used in this post.
Do you have categories on your blog? How many do you have? The reality is that you only need about 4 or 5 well thought out categories in order to order your content. Ask yourself what you think your main topics are and go with those. Make sure they are simple, direct and easy to add sub categories to. The title of your blog should be catchy, yet simple. Make sure readers know what they can expect when they arrive. A tagline that is short and to the point is better than one with little to no focus. Have social media icons and links on the sidebar of your blog, near the top or somewhere it is easy to find. About pages are necessary and should reflect your personality and draw readers in.
2. BLOG YOUR PASSION
You have probably heard this many times, but the truth is, if you don’t want to write about it then why would anyone want to read it? Besides that, you are going to burn out and stop blogging altogether if you are not completely passionate about what you are writing about. Blogging as a business is not something that happens overnight, so get ready to work hard! Find your niche and stick to it. You’ll be surprised the following you can build if you are being true to yourself and letting YOU shine through!
3. CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR
If you do not have an editorial calendar, you need to start one today! It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. The truth is, if you make it too hard then you will never stick to it. I actually just use my google calendar to schedule all posts. I like it because it has all of my appointments on it as well. It is easier for me to schedule things out in advance when you see all that you have going on! I also like that I can just “pick items up” and drag them to a new date if need be. It took me about 2 weeks to get into the habit of constantly checking the calendar since it wasn’t right in front of me, but now, it is the first thing I open up when I turn on my computer. Whatever you choose, just be consistent and you will be surprised at how quickly it becomes second nature. When you plan ahead you have a better chance of posting content readers are looking for in the right time frame. Professional bloggers are generally a season ahead just like retail!
4. CREATE GENUINE CONTENT
The best part of your blog is you. No one else is you and no one else ever will be. So, be the best YOU you can be! Do you have a gift for being funny? Maybe you have solid advice when it comes to saving money or making cakes. Whatever it is, just be YOU and make sure you are creating content people can use. Any time you can help answer a question or solve a problem people are going to listen. Catch their attention and keep it by offering lists or splitting up your paragraphs into sub titles.
5. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS NOW
If you started your blog solely to make money then you need to reevaluate why you started. Remember the previous tip, create genuine content? That means that you need to be honest about what you are doing at all times. If you are reviewing a product or received payment make sure you are following the FTC guidelines. A great example of just being honest and building relationships would be my partnership with Pampers. We have used Pampers religiously and at one point in time I started blogging about the fact. Pampers noticed and reached out and asked to work together. After a few years of working together on small things, Pampers asked me to become an ambassador. That relationship grew and lead to many other brand partnerships over the years just by me being honest, doing a good job and maintaining professionalism.
6. FIND A BLOGGING BEST BUDDY
If you have followed this blog from the beginning then you have to also know my dear friend, Piera Jolly of Jolly Mom. Having a like-minded friend who navigated the waters with me was HUGE! Together we were able to conquer finding blogging answers in half the time. We split up what we were doing and constantly shared with each other. While I was learning coding and design Piera was busying herself with learning the ins and outs of the business. Together we were a powerful team. Today, Piera is the CEO of her own company! Think of another blogger who seems like you. Reach out to them today to see how you can help support each other.
7. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
Ask yourself, “What can I do without selling myself out”. Or, “Is this post going to make me happy or do I feel pain writing it?” Why do bloggers torture themselves? Do you write a health food blog? Then it is probably not a good idea to blog about a candy bar just because the company wants to pay you $50. Not. Worth. It. Ever. Your readers know that you are not being honest and you are going to be miserable writing it. Besides, (insert your favorite health food brand) was probably checking out your blog because they thought you might be a good fit to work with, but when they saw your post they passed you up. Just food for thought.
8. FIND LIKE MINDED BLOGS AND GROUPS
If you want to grow your blog then it is time to do some work and find some like-minded bloggers. Leave well thought out comments on their blog posts and visit frequently. Make sure to engage with them on social media as well. Attend a blogging conference. There are so many to choose from but two of my favorites have been Type-A Mom and iRetreat. Find blogging groups on Facebook that will allow you to ask questions and learn from other bloggers. There are several to choose from, just do a quick search. Eventually, you can start to team up with other bloggers and offer giveaways or create shared content where you help promote each other. Maybe you could even offer to guest post on a few blogs that you make connections with.
Blogging Support Networks to Join:
9. TAKE BEAUTIFUL PICTURES
This takes practice and a good camera. It’s worth it to go ahead and invest in a quality camera if you plan on turning your blog into a business. Consider taking a short photography class or educate yourself by watching YouTube tutorials or finding guides on Pinterest. Either way, you are going to have to practice to create great photos.
10. HAVE AN EYE CATCHING AND SIMPLE DESIGN
We talked about organizing your blog and making sure your social media icons are easy to find, now we need to talk about the overall design. The name of the game is SIMPLE! Try to make your design look professional, but different from other blogs. You can do this for free by finding different templates or you could pay to have a blog design. Overall, it is going to be a must if you want to turn your blog into a business. Consider the color palette and if your blog looks friendly and inviting. Consider load time and how easy it is for readers to be on your website.
If you want businesses to take you seriously, then you are going to need to be on a self-hosted WordPress site. That means signing up for WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. You will then need to have your site hosted. I use Bluehost (affiliate) for my hosting and have had great service.
11. SIGN UP FOR NETWORKS
Signing up for blogging networks is a great place to get started working with brands and businesses. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere so keep that in mind as campaigns roll in. Here are a few of my favorite Networks to work with or ones that I have worked with in the past:
- Massive Sway
- Double Duty Divas
- Mom Central
- Pollinate Media
- Clever Girls
- The Motherhood
12. PRACTICE GOOD SEO
Good SEO is what is going to grow your blog from search traffic. A few basic things to remember is to use a great title on your blog post, make sure the first few sentences of your blog post include the keywords of your content, use a meta description that includes your keywords and makes people want to visit your blog post, and use keywords in your photo tags.
Here are a few of my favorite SEO tools:
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13. MAKE A MEDIA KIT
If you are going to be professional, part of that is presenting yourself to companies and brands in a professional manner. Your media kit is selling yourself and letting others know what you can offer them. Include your numbers as well as a few quotes from brands or clients who have had a positive experience. You can find free media kit templates by doing a quick search on Pinterest.
14. OFFER INCENTIVES
If you want to grow your blog then a great way to do this is to offer incentives. Maybe you could make a great free printable or provide a quick tutorial eBook that is downloaded when they sign up for your newsletter. Another great incentive it to offer a giveaway. Not only can it help drive traffic and grow numbers, but it can also be a great way to create a buzz for a brand or your blog! Pair up with other bloggers in order to make an even bigger impact with incentives.
15. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF
It sure is easy to look around at other blogs and start comparing yourself. Just remember that you can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. While I think it is great to check out what successful blogs are doing, constantly remind yourself that you are unique and that your hard work WILL pay off in a way that is unique to you! Keep a positive attitude and try not to fall into the negative blogger chatter that can happen sometimes. Remember, you are trying to build a business so you want to constantly remain professional. In the end, you will feel better about yourself and hopefully encourage others along the way!
What else would you add to this list?