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Building an Empire around Your Blog

This is a guest post on growing your blog into a full blow website by Robby G from Shite I Like.com.

When many people get into blogging, they usually, not always, but more often than not, start by blogging about their daily life’s activities. When they see that not too many people are interested in knowing what they’re doing on a daily basis, they figure out that they need to offer some sort of incentive in order to get visitors. The incentive usually comes in some sort of advice in things they have much knowledge in. Then as they do more research on their subject and offer what they learn to their readers, their traffic grows. Now once they market some more and occasionally guest post on other blogs, many stop at just that and their blog stops growing. They make a few dollars here and there from selling ad space and from Google AdSense, but they miss the big picture.

Bigger Readership Equals More Opportunity

When you have a high number of returning visitors, you most likely have a high number of comments as well, and in effect, a high number of interested people who trust your judgement. This is what every product marketer looks to accomplish with his product. They try to get their company name to have a following of people that stick to the company’s latest products. So now that you have that, what should you do with it? You need to expand. You must constantly be looking to innovate your blog. For example, as my blog grew, I incorporated a new way to get my readers to feel more connected with me. I have created a ‘Question’ section in my blog, which allows readers to directly ask me questions on dating advice, which I answer in post format. This lures more readers because it shows that there is a growing trust in my judgement. And there’s money to be made from that trust. I’m not saying that you should try to exploit your readers, but just the opposite, give them what they want.

Transforming Your Blog into a Website

Many bloggers get stuck on just offering their readers posts when they could expand into offering them products as well. I offer my readers a free ebook, but that’s just the beginning. If they find my ebook interesting, I plan to create a soft-cover book, which I will obviously sell for a certain price. Also, I have plans to offer them products that closely tie-in to my blog, such as custom made shirts, baseball caps, belt-buckles, etc. Making sure your blog has a designed logo is very important in growing your blog into a product line, because as you grow your blog into an empire of a website, you want your logo to be known and, in turn, be worth money. That is only one of many ways you can push the focus of your blog to something greater. There are many different goods and services you can offer your readers. For example, Chris Garrett offers consulting services for bloggers, some offer spots in dating bootcamps, others offer anything from clothes to wristwatches. It is important to produce and sell goods and services that are relevant to your niche and sell things that your readers will fully believe that you yourself are either a professional in, or if it’s a product, they must believe that you in fact use the very product you are advertising.

The Importance of a Logo

I’ve seen thousands of blogs out there, some successful, others not so much, and what I was shocked to see was that many bloggers didn’t even have a proper looking logo. They either kept the ones that came with their free WordPress theme or they just had some bold and boring looking block letters representing their blog title. You have to view your logo as the face of your blog. It’s not only important in making your blog look professional and presentable, but if you ever develop a product-line as I’ve outlined above, you will need to stamp it with a logo that people would want to see on their product. It’s best to create a logo that is simple, very easy to remember, while having an original design that is relevant to your blog topic.

Sky’s the Limit

When I analyze my blog, I constantly try to develop new ways I can monetize it that goes past just the basic ways of pay-per-click advertisements and even past selling affiliate products. I attempt to figure out ways not to sell someone else’s product, but instead create enough buzz around my blog’s name to eventually make it something known by people from around the world that is not only mentioned within the blogosphere but by everyone everywhere. This includes many difficult tasks, but since starting and maintaining a blog doesn’t cost as much money as to develop a new product and blindly throw it out there for the public, you have the ability, through perseverance and hard work, to create a market for your product from nothing but your blog. Then once that market is there, all you need to do is invest some money into the product, but the return is guaranteed, because you already have yourself that developed fanbase.

In conclusion, you shouldn’t view your blog as just a little journal you keep on a daily basis, but you must look at it as an empire that you must continue expanding and building. Once that readership is there, you should keep innovating and offering your readers newly developed products that are consistent with your niche.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. You also can use the logo for the favicon, the icon for a shortkey on the iphone and so on. Indeed a logo is very important. the problem is although to make a good one!

  2. Tumblemoose says:

    Very nice post. Timely for me as I am in the process of developing and expanding after six months or so of blogdom.

    I’ll incorporate some of the advice here.

    Thanks!

    George

  3. jan says:

    It’s all very well to think of starting an empire around your blog especially if your interest and strengths lies in internet marketing. But some of us need not look that far ahead. At the moment, I’m more concerned about building a more modest community around my blog.

    Maybe I say this because I’m just starting out and having a few readers leaving comments is all I ever thought that can possibly make my day. Maybe I will surprise myself yet in the future when I get lots more traffic.

    But for now I cringe at the thought of pushing the envelope for a few dollars more. I’m happy that I can meet my self-imposed posting deadline and that there’s a small group of readers who’s anxious to check what I’ve been up to this time.

    Nevertheless, good strategy for flexing your blog muscles, I have to admit.

  4. Creating buzz is an excellent way to get folks to remember your name! One neat tip is to spotlight a different person in your industry every week, with direct links visible for others to submit their information for consideration. Word of mouth is certain to grow.

    Enjoy, Barbara

  5. Cyrus says:

    I agree with your post, making your website or blog into a virtual property is what every internet marketer must do.

  6. Bash Bosh says:

    I absolutely agree with that! Anyone can build up an empire around own blogs, and that’s one more beauty of the blogging!

  7. Daniel says:

    “…you shouldn’t view your blog as just a little journal you keep on a daily basis,…”

    Thats what I did.

    “..but you must look at it as an empire that you must continue expanding and building.”

    That’s what I will keep in mind as a future Blog-Emperor.
    Nice one!

  8. darya says:

    So good to read about the value of logos! I just spent more money than I have getting one made and hope it was a good investment :)

  9. That’s a good post. Readers should really follow the guideline – innovtion and growth.

  10. Thanks for the timely information. Our Lakeblawg is a brand extension of Lakelaw. We want to educate the public about how bankruptcy and foreclosure affect them. Incidentally, they get the idea that we can help. People are beginning to see us as a leader in the field. So the key, I hope, is to get people and professionals interested as well. How is the best way to get the blog interactive? We solicit comments and get fewer than we would like.

  11. Toastmaster says:

    I love the e-book idea. That’s a great one. Also the comment about having a logo. Those are areas I need to work on.

  12. gualan says:

    Thx for post, this one is very helpfull, it is not very hard to make a fine logo for site, but most bloggers didn’t care about it…

  13. Yes absolutely correct.
    First impression is last impression.This saying is fit for all bloggers.Blog’s front page should be uniques and designed look.Like a party going guy who is going to impress his girl friend.He wear good looking dress,shoes,glass. same strategy should be implemented on blog.
    may I right?

  14. Parth says:

    Nice. Timely for me also as I’m about to build and launch a membership site which will be only marketed to blog readers. Darren needs some posts on developing membership sites.

  15. Unoblogger says:

    A wonderful article as usual….. branding and ownership is a primary requisite to do things on the internet…
    gr8 post…

  16. Jes says:

    All great tips! Now, all I have to do is try to increase the readership on my site! :) Not an easy feat.

  17. Great tips. I just added a suggestion area to my blog for readers to contact me with suggestions on topics to explore, similar to your question idea.

  18. This is great advise and validates my recent adventure into blogging. Product/content first and blog second. While I’m new to blogging I’m not new to site design. I spent hours and days trying to get my blog to function inside the navigation of my website. I must have looked at hundreds of other blogs and wondered why most stood alone as separate entities. The blogs I bookmark are ones that offer original content coupled with a professional design

  19. Great post and great comments. A logo is a great idea (and one I’ve overlooked). Now to figure out how to create one that’s “just right”, works as a favicon, etc.

  20. I should say that the main reason why many bloggers stop after building a certain level of readership is because that is the very level that they wanted to reach from the beginning of their blogging career.

    Just look at the newbie bloggers. Most of them think in the same way. That is the simplest goal we initially have and find it hard to achieve in the first place.

    But with the initiative to learn to develop a successful blog through helpers like problogger and other places, a blogger will succeed in that initial goal.

    Knowing this information you are giving much before that point helps continue the journey after reaching that level.

  21. Rick Vaughn says:

    I see Robby’s point here. it really depends on what your goals are for the blog. Making money from a blog is all about creating traffic and returning traffic.

    Logos and all that are great but I would suggest first you make sure you have content that people are looking for. Market it and make sure you are constantly putting money back into your blog.

    Great post Robbie

  22. Building a empire is easier said, then done. Lots and lots of hardwork, time, patience, commenting and spreading the word is required.

  23. MindSpeaks says:

    I like the way this post had shared the idea of raking revenue expounding it as going through a process. Then sticking to the momentum that builds a foundation for readers and not just the initial lure of making money via blogging and personal gains. Its a universally known fact of “harvest what you sow” kind of thing. Thanks to Robby G. and oh.. I could see, how guest post could spell the difference?

  24. David King says:

    Wow! great post! I especially love the title because that is what I am doing! You can use your blog as a Hub to connect and deliver value… You can also use it to gain readership and gain impact and influence in your marketplace!
    It’s amazing! I love blogging… I recommend that everyone blog!

    have a great day!

    David

  25. Jens Upton says:

    Hiya

    Thank you for these useful and inspiring suggestions.
    I’ve recently begun a blog, discovering I enjoy it and now researching what is needed to get readers and make it a valuable resource to them. Plenty to learn.
    I’ve begun the journey and your help in navigating is much appreciated.
    Practical article and great site!

    Thanks
    Jens

  26. Hi all,

    I own a small company and an associated quiz blog by name Neo Quiz Spot.

    Internet is essentially to improve the knowledge sharing . Hence we should be looking at improving the knowledge sharing process.

    The best part about this post is that it has given me the impetus to do the same. I will transform my Blog into a site Today.

    Thank you

  27. Robby G says:

    Happy to hear all the great comments and feebacks! Thanks to everyone who read this post and thanks to Darren for giving me the opportunity to share my ideas on blogging.

  28. Sorry, but arent you contradicting yourself?

    “I’ve seen thousands of blogs out there, some successful, others not so much, and what I was shocked to see was that many bloggers didn’t even have a proper looking logo. They either kept the ones that came with their free WordPress theme or they just had some bold and boring looking block letters representing their blog title.”

    I was looking at your blog and couldnt see your logo… are you just speaking when you write this post, or do you actualy practise what you preach???

  29. Robby G says:

    @Chris Clayton: I don’t know exactly what blog you were checking out, but my blog has clearly has a logo on the top right corner, under the search bar.

  30. Jeremiah says:

    While selling products can often generate more income, I still believe simple old fashioned blog content can generate enough income for your blog too if you build your readership with it. We live in the information age, where people are hungry for information. So if you give it to them, and you help solve their problems, you’ll build your readership. And with heavy readership, you can sell just about any type of ad, as long as you don’t overdo it. I wanted to try products for my blog (t-shirts, ebooks, etc) but so far the content alone has been fine and I think I should just focus on bettering my content before I jump into anything else.

  31. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    By having a good readership, it really takes time to develop, but it’s not impossible. I agree with you with the personal logo, but before these, I think we should have a personal and very own blog design too, shouln’t we?

    Regards,
    Lee

  32. Simran says:

    I agree with you… A cool logo is required for a professional looking blog. It gives a unique identity to your blog.

  33. Robby G says:

    @Lee Ka Hoong: I definitely agree that a personal blog design is beneficial. However, I don’t really advise spending lots of money on getting a theme and logo developed (unless of course you have money to throw around) because you can get a nice WordPress theme for free and instead once you have developed a readership and made money from your blog, then you may pay developers to create a more personalized design. And logos aren’t too difficult to develop anyways. When I got into blogging, I didn’t know anything about web-design and overtime learnt some stuff that helped me develop myself a logo–for free obviously.

    Cheers,
    Robby.

  34. Anders Holm says:

    I have just recently started a blog in the form of a journey of myself writing on building my blog. I have a lot of experience building websites. With a website, you build it to a fairly complete form already loaded with information before you go live. It seems that it would end up being a natural progression for a blog because of all the different features available to websites but it is a project that should not be taken on to early. If you do not have the content to back it up, it could make a growing blog seem very loosely tied together.

  35. Wesley says:

    Nice post! What are some free or inexpensive sources for logos beyond designing them yourself?

  36. Keeping good content on your site is key because you need people to come back, and content and good information is the key. Great post.

  37. Eve says:

    Posts like this keep me inspired! I have had a great deal of success in gaining knowledge to help me improve my blog by networking with others and commenting on their blogs.
    Establishing and maintaining a brand is in fact very important. Although it is sometimes a little difficult, I try very hard not to allow my blog to turn into an ‘online journal’ because of my original blogging goal-establishing myself as a writer. When I do write about personal issues, I make it a point to write my posts containing information that is not only interesting, but containing information that others can relate to. I do this by including information from other sources, or by interviewing others who have had the same experiences. I have also tried to keep my personal posts “alive” by adding humor (with great feedback by the way).
    Once my readership has expanded, I plan to revamp my website with much better graphics and design features.
    Thanks for the great advice and direction!

  38. Annaleen says:

    Hi Robby

    I love creating logo’s, but currently I do only have text because I read that search engine’s would pick that up easier than an image. Do you think that holds any truth?

    I changed to image now following your advice.

  39. fatal-error says:

    I absolutely agree with that! Anyone can build up an empire around own blogs, and that’s one more beauty of the blogging!

  40. I couldn’t agree more.

    As a matter of fact, today I will be receiving my 1st shipment of Marijuana Reviews custom hoodies.

    I plan on giving a bunch of them away to my editors. They will in turn take pictures of themselves wearing them and I will post those pics.

    Guarantee that within 90 days I’ll be completely sold out! (At least I hope so)

    They are just the tip of the iceberg as far as MR merchandise that I have in the works.

    Hats, keychains, branded hand help microscopes, lighters and much more.

    My logo is pretty basic but will work for now. In the future I will definitely be getting a pro logo designed.

    Logo Tip: Don’t be afraid to contact design companies that specialize in adult/porn website design. They are just as good, if not better than most mainstream designers and their prices are usually 1-300% cheaper.

    For example, when looking for someone to design MR I was quoted $1200 – $2700 for the design and WP implementation from a handful of mainstream designers.

    Ended up getting EVERYTHING done for $275 from an adult design company.

    and everything was done very professionally.

    Hope this helps.

    –Chubbs

  41. Charlie says:

    I really struggle when it comes to logo design. I guess that’s why there are professionals out there, I do agree that developing a brand for you blog opens up a lot more avenues later down the line when you want to monetize it.

  42. Robin says:

    I have been struggling with the creation of my logo. I have some ideas, but never seem to find the time to sketch… I’m online too much, lol. I will be making this a priority over the next week or so, though. I have been holding off on making any header changes, until I have one to put up, but I can’t stand looking at all the blue on my site anymore.

    Selling is great, but in my opinion, logo merchandise is really only good for select niches. Unless the site has an inherent “coolness” to it, has a slammin’ logo or screams authority, who will want to wear your brand. I have seen some sites and logo merchandise, that I can’t believe anyone would actually want to purchase.

  43. Robby G says:

    @Annaleen I think there’s truth to that, but I wouldn’t sabotage having a good looking logo (especially when launching products) just when I can put hidden text into my header that search engines can recognize without really having other people see them when they view the site. There’re always ways around things (though sometimes unethical) but even if I hadn’t done that I’d still choose pictured logo over text. Hope that helps. :)

  44. Annaleen says:

    @Robby Thank you for reply. It’s actually not hidden text in Joomla and also at this point the blog more important than the product – will only come much later?

    Thank you – interesting all other comments – as helpfull

  45. Parth says:

    I think it’s important to move on from one thing to another – well I guess that depends on what your goals are. You can just sit there and write all day long, or you can do something new, exciting, and creative with your blog.

  46. Kayla says:

    Good post, I just recently started working on actually ‘branding’ my blog as it’s coming to be a much bigger part of my life.

  47. Robby G says:

    @Annaleen: I see the written content as being the most important part of the blog and the website as well, but as the blog develops and you’ve got a constant following, you may monetize by implementing new side-projects (clothes, ebooks, training sessions, etc) that are relevant to your actual blog. This is a good idea for blogs that are past the beginning stage, however. Not too good of an idea to invest time and money into products that you may not have buyers for due to lack of traffic. Hope that helps.

  48. Robin says:

    Thank You. Your article motivated me to at least change out my header, while I am working on my logo. I put a slightly modified stock image in as a place holder. At least it’s cute and better than the stark blue background I had. Now to get to work on the logo :)

  49. This is a great post and just what I need. I’m in the process of revamping my blog so it could represent me a bit more.

  50. Dj Rayz says:

    This is such a useful post and couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Good stuff…this is the SHITE!