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How to Treat your Blog like a Business

ramped-reviews-cover.jpgIn this post Robb Sutton – author of the ebook Ramped Reviews. A very helpful ebook that I’ve just read that has some great ideas on how to get products to review on your blog, how to write profitable reviews and much more. It’s a great read on a topic that I think a lot of bloggers will find helpful.

As you take a look at your blogging habits in your quest to become a top blogger, you need to ask yourself several questions that will determine how you need to shape your blog for the future.

  • Are you going to pursue direct advertising on your blog?
  • Are you going to attempt to generate revenue through affiliate promotions?
  • Are you going to open the doors to review product from companies in your niche?
  • Do you want your blog to become a sustainable source of income and someday…just maybe…support you and your family?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you need to look at your blog seriously and start treating it like a business. Each of those questions directly correlates to a function that takes you out of the pleasure blogging world and into running a secure business that generates profits. As we continue on this path to creating a source of cash revenues, what do we need to look at specifically to treat our blogs more like a business and less like a hobby?

How to treat your blog like a business

Planning

Every successful business has a laid out plan of attack and blogging as a business is no different. You need to have an idea of where you want your blog to go in the future and the steps you are going to take to get to that goal. Plans change and adapt with the times, but the end result is often one in the same.

Are you trying to build a successful review blog on fishing equipment? You have to lay out the steps required to get to the top of your niche. What products are you going to need to review? Which interviews do you need line up? Which companies and blogs do you need to work with to create more traffic and subscribers? Are you going to hold contests and giveaways with some of the industries latest gear? These are all types of questions that you need to answer for yourself and create action steps to carry out as you continue to grow.

This long term planning and focused goals are what sets the successful blogs apart from the vast wasteland of un-updated waste that plagues the web. Each of these blogs had grand plans of making it big, but by not having a defined plan that required action…they become unsuccessful and ignored in pursuit of the next big thing. By creating these action steps that lead towards goals, you are developing a business plan for the future of your blog. These actions steps need to be written down on a whiteboard, digital checklist or any mind mapping generator you feel comfortable with to keep the goals at the forefront of your thoughts. Cross the goals off as they are achieved and create new goals for the future.

Organization

For your blog to be taken seriously as a business entity, there needs to be a defined organization to the content. By having clearly defined categories, archives and design layout, you are insuring that your content will be absorbed in the most efficient means possible by your readers. This organization in your blogging also bolsters confidence with potential investors, product companies, advertisers and future partners. When it comes down to it, the more serious you take the outward appearance of your blog, the more it pays off when you venture into outside business relationships.

Branding

It today’s marketplace, branding makes or breaks a business. With the thousands of blogs that are started with each fleeting thought of creating content, it is becoming more important to set yourself apart from the pack. If you are really going to take blogging serious as a business, your own domain name is going to be a must. Your cute setup on Blogger is not going to instill long lasting confidence in your blog from an outside perspective. If you are not willing to throw down the pennies it takes to self host your site, then you are not willing to make the investments needed to create a successful business in the eyes of potential business partners.

Create a brand around your blog url and have a defined logo. This logo will be used in the future for business cards and letterheads, but more importantly…it brands your business in the eyes of your readers and potential business partners. Successful logos are often simple, so there is no need to get extremely ellaborate. If you can not come up with any ideas, enlist the help of others.

Building Credibility

As you continue to treat your blog as a business, you are going to start building up your credibility as a serious pro blogger. Credibility is something that can be won and lost in seconds as you continue to build something that you can call your own. To keep your street cred high, you need to consistently pump out positive results. Get in the habit of under promising and over delivering as you take on more affiliate promotions and advertisers. You need to continue to churn out quality content on a regular basis that consistently adheres to some sort of schedule. As you continue to build upon your credibility, more doors will be opened with even more avenues of revenue generation. You will start to see the snow ball effect take place as your readers and partners continue to be drawn to your success and quality content.

Create A Business

Turning your blog into an actual business entity is a crucial step. While creating a business to house your internet ventures has obvious tax and protection benefits, there are some non-legal aspects that you need to consider as well. By creating a business, you are now protected your own personal information. You no longer have to give out your personal and sensitive information to advertisers and affiliate programs as all they need is your tax ID to generate payouts. The outward appearance of your blogging is also secured through advertisers and affiliates as they are now dealing with a business and not a blogger. Again, you are strengthening your brand in the eyes of the businesses that you are going to rely on to generate income.

I would also recommend setting up a business checking and paypal account to handle the money transfers. This keeps your blog revenue separate from personal accounts and creates a lot easier organization during tax time.

A Completely Different Mindset

When you are just blogging for fun (which there is nothing wrong with by the way…just a different goal), you have a completely different mindset than when you are blogging as a business that creates income. You are stepping into a completely different world as you are now managing, running and producing in your own small business environment. Even the hugely successful personal blogs on the net are run like a successful business on the back end. You now have to take your future seriously and continue to take the steps to see success.

Like any business, you are going to see your share of failures, but a successful business will analyze these failures and learn from them for the next round. Bloggers and business owners that learn more from their failures than their successes will enjoy the fruits of their learning through increased success.

As you go to publish that next blog article, are you keeping your goals close or are you just putting up another article as you go through the motions of pumping out more content?

Check out Robb Sutton’s great ebook Ramped Reviews.

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. PMullaly says:

    Thanks for this timely advice. I have been blogging for several years and have finally found a niche: golf for women, that I think will succeed. Building quality content is my present goal, adding affiliates, developing a Free E-Book that will be available to future subscribers.

  2. Frank says:

    It intrigues me that at first blogging to me was just a hobby. It soon became something I wanted to turn into a business. Granted my blog is still very young, but it’s something I am serious about. Having these tips available to look at blogging in this manner helps keep my goals in check. I prepared a list of goals as recommended in this post and made sure I marked which ones are vital to my success. Hopefully I hope I can make my blogging business a source of income where I can support a family. It’s something I strive to achieve and this post gave me the will and determination to continue to do what I am doing!

  3. Planning seems to be the corner stone of any good business
    great article!

  4. prasanna says:

    The great blog post as always.If a layman can follow to Darren,he will be a successful blogger in very short time.
    I am thankful to Darren for his honest efforts.

  5. Cindy says:

    Thanks ,Darren, for another great post.
    “When you are just blogging for fun (which there is nothing wrong with by the way…just a different goal), you have a completely different mindset than when you are blogging as a business that creates income.” I think this is the crucial transition for us all, to begin to change our mindset.

  6. teratips says:

    thanks for these guide lines Darren
    Blogging Tips, SEO and Money Making Tips by http://teratips.com

  7. I treat my blog like a business in terms of planning, organization, branding, and advertising, but it’s a hobby more than anything. If I became too serious about my blog, the humor and lightheartedness of my content could suffer.

    That being said, I wouldn’t mind my ad revenue being enough to retire on… ;-)

    Jeff
    2Lincolns.com

  8. Sharon Roode says:

    Thanks for all the valuable information you provide on this site. I have now bought your book and found it extremely helpful in the way it gives the good, the bad and the reality of Blogging. It saves wading through all the hype and glorified promises and brings you back to the good old fashioned “time and effort” it takes to start up any kind of new venture, whether for your own personal satisfaction or for business purposes.

  9. Radiance says:

    My story is very similar to Sudeshna a couple of comments down, the difference being I blog about interesting discoveries in various branches of science and technology as well as “green” technologies. I started blogging last September for fun. However, almost 1 year down the lane, I have built some base of regular readers and traffic. However, I don’t expect my blog to ever have 1000s of visitors a day as the niche I have chosen is not something a lot of people are interested in. However, recently I have started giving a thought to getting some revenue from my blog. I know its not going to be something I can live off of but nonetheless, would be nice to make few extra bucks from something I love doing. Thanks, Darren, for this article and also the others that I can see links below to and will be reading soon.

  10. Excellent and very timely post to help me rescue my blog from being just another one in the “vast wasteland of un-updated waste that plagues the web”. So eloquently described!

    To start with I have got a designer to give my blog a very quick makeover whilst we work on a design, look and functionality in the background.

    I found myself being stopped from writing as I found the current design “boring” and old.

    Time to make it happen!

  11. Mae says:

    Thanks for the excellent information. I can put it to good use. There’s lot of room for improvement that I can see for myself in my blogging. Thanks for this great blog.

  12. Emily Geizer says:

    Thanks for another insightful and timely article. I’m finding myself at a crossroads with this very issue and wonder where to go from here. Probably a Business Coach.

    I continue to get very positive feedback to my blog focused on parenting issues and advice. Parents have suggested I write a book, write more articles, or offer parenting consultations. But, at this point I put in very limited time, only producing about 1 post/week. The next step is either hiring care for my kids to be able to produce more content and be more active in the blogosphere or throw in the towel (leaving me with unfinished business).

    Any thoughts?

  13. Cris says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the post.

    The hardest part for me is building up credibility.
    I just started my blog this month and I noticed this when contacting folks to be on the blog: they don’t take it seriously.

    I defenitely need to change a few things..

    Thanks for the insight!

  14. Steve Rubin says:

    Great post. I’ve been feeling frustrated lately- it’s been almost 5 months since I started Sprezz Central and the numbers are not where I’d like them to be- not where it’s feasible to earn any sort of income.

    I’ve done my best to identify my target readers and cater to them but how do I reach MORE of them?

    As for the money aspect, I definitely write as a passion but I’d LOVE to be able to earn a living out of it rather than my corporate job. The audience I do have is loyal and enjoys the posts, I get good feedback and try to keep the material entertaining but I’m VERY naive about internet marketing and the technical ways to promote my website.

    Few things that are always on my mind.

    1. Is it necessary to pay a fee for a designer to create a more professional site? Will that give me more credibility?

    2. Key words, search engine optimization, I’m sure there’s a whole arsenal out there that I’m completely unfamiliar with and that’s frustrating…

    3. Right now I rely almost entirely on facebook promoting. How do I REALLY spread the word? Everyone says to comment on related blogs but I don’t know of any blogs that are similar to mine.

    If you have any ideas please feel free to e-mail me ([email protected]) , NONE of my friends are knowledgeable about the internet and it’d be great to have some people to run stuff by…

    http://www.sprezzcentral.com

  15. Thanks for this article:-) I have just started a blog…and your advice has help…all am worried about now is monetizing and getting traffic to my blog..

    Avis

  16. This information would really help in churning out more money from blogs, thnx for the great info.

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    Nice ideas given by this site to upgrade and improve your blog

  18. work at home says:

    I am a big fan of problogger. Every post on this blog really helpful for me,

    Chandan Saud

  19. festplatte says:

    You don’t have to go it alone. You surely have interesting and relevant colleagues that you could ask to post as guest bloggers. One hand washes the other…

    Also, consider having your blog be the official website for a group you host. Our blog is the website for the LinkedIn Inside Sales Experts group and members ask each other questions and share information. Not going it alone makes it so much easier! Hope this helps.

  20. jeux virtuel says:

    Blogging is here to stay, no doubt about it. I love the analogy – your blog is your home, the social network sites, twitter and other blogs are the cafes and bars. I think it’s important to put yourself out there and have a presence in the “cafes and bars”, so social media sites are a very useful place to convince people that you’re worth going home with.

  21. work at home says:

    I completely treat my blog as my home business, I am a full time blogger and this is my only one home business. I am working hard for grow my business.