In 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
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.
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.
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.
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.