When I started blogging, all I wanted was to write. Create good content, as I was told, and readers would naturally come to my site. A few years later, I realized the error in that thinking. Blogging involves so much more than writing. A blogger has to play several roles all at once in order to have a successful site.
- Ad salesman
- Business director
Focus on only the top two and chances are you won’t have a successful blog. You need to become a marketer, salesman, and business director as well. Here are five tips I’ve picked up in the last seven years.
1. Stay active in your community
Blogging in many ways is about community. Tech blogs have their own community, while cooking blogs have theirs. These communities are generally accepting of newcomers, as long as they are serious about blogging and are genuine in their interactions. If you want your blog to succeed, you must become an active member in these communities.
How can you actively participate? There are a number of ways.
- Join forums. Make niche forums part of your daily routine. Answer questions, and ask your own. Follow the rules, and you’ll blend right in.
- Comment on blogs. The best way to get known within a blogging community is to comment on blogs within that community. Make sure you have something to say, though; no one likes people who comment for the sake of commenting.
- Email other bloggers. Staying in contact with fellow bloggers increases the sense of community. It also gives you opportunities to help them out, and eventually, maybe get help from them.
2. Explore all advertising opportunities
Some bloggers simply slap Google Adsense into their blogs and leave that be. Unfortunately, that will make it difficult to pay your bills — even your hosting bills. Adsense might have been the “in” ad network, but it’s not the only one. And even if it is the best for your niche, it takes active work to optimize. Again, bloggers have to be ad salesmen.
Exploring other networks allows you to find the best for your particular niche. You might find that some networks allow auction options for ad space. That means you can set your price. Using this, combined with other networks, can help you maximize your revenue.
3. Look for affiliate opportunities
While not all blogs can harness the power of affiliate marketing, there are some where it’s a natural way to make more money. Affiliate marketing means selling other companies’ products and getting a cut of the share. Done properly, this can provide bloggers with far more income than ad networks. But it takes a lot of work, and not all blogs are ready for it.
The key word here is marketing. In order to sell products, bloggers must become marketers. If you are not prepared to take this step and still want your blog to be about the writing, then affiliate sales are not for you. But bloggers who want to be copywriters stand to make money from these opportunities. And yes, it’s possible to provide quality content while selling products.
4. Partner up
When I started blogging, I wanted it to be about me. I wanted to write all the content and hog all spotlight. Unfortunately, as I quickly learned, doing it alone is not always possible. It’s like an entrepreneur trying to run all aspects of his business by himself. It’s just not realistic. To help remedy this problem, growing blogs should look for partners wherever possible.
This might be someone else to help handle content duties, so that you can go out and find more ad and affiliate opportunities. It might be someone to handle those ad sales. It might even be combining forces with another blog. This means you not only get the content power of all involved, but also the blogging knowledge. By partnering up, blog businesses can really take off.
5. Pick the right host
When you start off blogging, you can select from among dozens of introductory hosting offers. These are attractive at first, because they’re all cheap. But you want your blog to grow, right? It’s important, then, to find a host that has affordable plans for bigger blogs. VPN and dedicated hosting plans are more important than introductory plans, since your blog will spend more time on those bigger and more expensive servers.
The business end of blogging might not seem as glamorous as the content end. After all, it’s the people who write the content that get their names in the spotlight. But the business end is just as important. Without it, a blog simply cannot thrive in today’s environment. Learn the business end, though, and your blog can take off in ways that others can’t. Hopefully these lessons push you in the right direction.